XR600 Gearing and Exhaust

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Oct 10, 2000
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#1
I purchased an '86 Honda XR600 when my son outgrew his Honda XR100 and claimed as his own my Yamaha RT 180 (which was probably underpowered for someone of my nearly 300 lb. girth anyway). I was originally looking for an XR400, but there were few available locally and there was a comparative glut of XR600's, so I decided to go for the big one, and it is much more pleasurable to ride a bike with power to spare. However, the gearing seems very high. For example, I can ride all day in first gear (occasionally second) on trails that would have had me (and now have my son) in second or third on the RT 180. On the XR600, even first gear seems too high for some of the tighter turns, etc. (Though it seems to have low-end torque that is unending). The prior owner was going to make the XR600 street legal, but decided not to. I think he put an aftermarket rear sprocket on the bike and that is the reason for the non-trail friendly gearing. Any suggestions for a sprocker replacement or other fix? While I'm at it, the Supertrapp exhaust the prior owner installed is louder than I would like. I reduced the number of disks from 12 to 6, but there was not a significant difference. Should I go to 3 disks, or repack the muffler? If repacking is suggesting, what shoud I use?
 

Shaw520

Damn Yankees
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#2
sbasset, A 52t rear sprocket will put you in the right gear for woods/trail riding, and if thats not low enough for you, install a 13t countershaft. That'll give ya all the tractor like grunt one can use!
As far as the pipe, I'm not a big fan of those disc style supertrapps,(alot of undue noise with limited power gains) but I do believe they can be re-packed.
A good pipe for that bike is a FMF quiet core. Good luck and definatly do the sprocket change.
 
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#3
14:48 is generally considered the best all round off road gearing. My bike originally had 15:53 but I found that too low. I'm now running 15:50 and plan to switch back to 14:48 as It suits the riding I do. Count the number of teeth on the front and rear sprocket and let us know what they are.

Also most bike shops carry the packing required for pipes.
 

Shaw520

Damn Yankees
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#4
Here in the states, 14/48 in normally stock gearing, (probaly what he has now) and IMO waaaay to high for tight tech. trails.
 
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#5
I counted the teeth on the sprockets. The front seems to be stock, or close to it, in that it has 14 teeth. The rear, however, is a very small 40 tooth sprocket. I guess that's the problem. The chain is almost new, so I hate to replace it (it is no fun getting what seems to be a good deal on a used bike, then having to put alot of money into it). Is it necessary to replace the chain when you go to a larger rear sprocket? How involved a project is it to replace the rear sprocket (and, if necessary, the chain). I am a novice and might have it done at a shop. Any estimates of a reasonable cost for this work?
 
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#6
When I first got my XR600, I geared it down to 14/52, but didn't like it because I was constantly shifting. I went back to the stock 14/48 combo, and it worked a lot better. I don't think its too high for any trail, because you've always got 1st, which still will putt along pretty slow.

And yes, its always best to replace the chain and sprockets all at once. I believe the 600 comes stock with a 110 pin chain. It isn't difficult at all to replace the rear sprocket, just pull the wheel off and unbolt the sprocket. Master links on O-Ring chains can be sort of tricky. If you're gonna take it to a shop, I'd guess it shouldn't cost any more than an hours worth of labor at the most.

As far as your exhaust, I wouldn't try to make the Supertrapp any quieter. No matter how many discs you take out, it'll still be loud. And if you take too many discs out, then you start hurting performance. If you want quiet, without being too choked off, consider trying to find a used stock exhaust, and use something like a White Bros. Vortip or Thumper Racing Stealth insert. Big Gun also sells a quiet core muffler, and FMF just came out with the Power Core IV Q, which is supposed to be pretty quiet.
 
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#7
sbasset: I figured as much, from what you were saying I thought you had to be geared way higher than 14:48.
Anything I can't get around in first gearwith 14:48 isn't really what I consider fun. Being 6'2" and 110kgs helps
me throw the big ol' gal around though!

Quite honestly after 14:40 I'd give 14:48 a go. For all round riding I really feel it can't be beat. You will have
to lengthen the chain, that is if it's still in decent condition. If the chain or countershaft sprocket are showing
any serious wear I'd change both sprockets and the chain, and cut it, or have it cut or "split" to suit. If the
chain and countersprocket are ok you could buy a couple of joining links and a spare piece of chain ......
BUT and this is VITAL, make sure you use something of a compatible type! Preferably the same brand and
size/model, both in the chain and joiners. Otherwise you may end up with a broken chain and they can
result in serious damage to your bike and or person!

I know Ballards here in Australia sell a "lengthening kit" or something of the like, I'm sure a manufacturer over
your way could supply or supply and fit the same thing.

The last option I can think of is keeping two sets of chains and sprockets, the 14:48 for trails and the 14:40 for
a "hiway set". If unsure get somebody to look at it, but be wary of some money hungry bike shops!
 
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#8
Thanks for the suggestion. I think I will go with 14-48. The chain is nearly new, so I hate to scrap it. I will look into lengthening it if I can find identical or compatible links. Also, the countershaft sprocket is in excellent shape, so I don't want to replace it either. I may give it a shot myself and hopefully won't do too much damage.
 
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#9
Just a thought on legthening a chain. I have a '93 XR600. I have it geared at 14/50. But I have a 40 tooth ring and matching chain siting on my tool box that came on the bike. With the chain and ring it is very easy to swap when I want the really high gear. Since a new chain is only about 35 bucks and a "legnthend" chain is probably more likely to snap with the 600s power I would just spring for the new chain. Also get a manual and a few good tools and do the work yourself. There is nothing better than riding a machine you work on yourself. It's well worth the occasional busted knuckle and dirty fingernails.
 
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#10
I checked my Haynes "Owners Workshop Manual" for the XR600 and it lists the chain for an '86 model as having 109 pins (111 pins for 1988 on). Is this the same as 110 or 108 links? In my Chaparral catalog, all of the chain lengths are listed in even numbers, not odd numbers? Any advice on brand of chain and 48 tooth rear sprocket?