THE START OF THE LAST XT600
The Yamaha XT600e was the last of the XT600 range. Yamaha produced two variants of the 600e, the “e” standing for electric start of course. (An XT600K kick only model was also made) The first variant and also my model was the 3TB. The second variant, released a few years later, was the 4PT. This new model received various cosmetic changes and a few other minor changes.
The 600e differs from the previous XT instalment (3AJ Tenere) as it has a smaller tank, 17 inch rear wheel and other changes pointing to a more road orientated dual sport bike. (Sharing numerous parts with the yet more road orientated XTZ660 Tenere). The 600e would prove a popular mid-weight adventure bike. Simple and easy to work on with strong reliability and moderate performance.
KG - DRY
ADVENTURE BIKE TRANSFORMATION
A NEW PROJECT
I purchased my 600e in the first months of the pandemic from a man in the Yorkshire Dales named John. John was actually featured in the moto film “London – Sydney” where he helped tow the films authors stricken KTM with his Yamaha (of course he did). I had decided that I needed a bike in-between my XT225 Serow and my XT600Z Tenere. The 225 was a little small and underpowered for my liking while the 600 Tenere was physically big, delicate and too nice for daily riding. I wanted a 600cc XT that could be used and a little bit abused. The 600e seemed the no fuss bike for me.
On this page I will explain the modifications and upgrades I made to my 600e, the reasons why I made them and how they’ve held up after my 3.5 month trip abroad & Morocco (here).
When I decided that I was going to take my 600e on my long term overland trip, I knew that I only had around 6 months from the decision to the time of the trip. I then began to make a plan to ensure that the bike would be in it’s best possible shape to make the trip a success. The last thing I wanted was to be dealing with problems on the road that I could have fixed at home with a little forward thinking. The bike is over 25 years old, older than me, yet there are very few serious problems the XT600’s suffer from apart from general wear and tear. The previous year when I began to organise my Serow for this trip, I had it completely rebuilt. In hindsight, it was a bit of a mistake. I found that changing too many things at once created a lot of problems and each problem had to be worked out.
PHASE 1 PROCESS
I began my overland preparation by giving the bike a good clean and then started by adding a few accessories. Centre stand, Oil temp gauge, wider foot pegs and my DIY upgraded sump guard. Once the extended and meshed sump guard was fitted, I bolted on a simple lockable cash money box to the front of the bash plate. This would store a few tools, spares and materials. I then addressed the small spots of surface rust on parts of the frame with a Hammerite anti rust solution that stabilizes rust. Best to nip any rust in the bud before it takes hold. Finally, I made a rubber sheet that fits under the seat. This will protect any mud and water spraying up into the gap between the rear fender, potentially corroding the brake/indicator wires and even reaching the rectifier. A small modification but it may prevent an issue one day.
My XT600 had a broken rear mudguard ever since I bought it. I sourced a replacement, the cheapest I could find was £30, from a XTZ660 3YF and came from Sweden. I fitted that, painting the number plate bracket at the same time. I then removed the exhaust. My 600e still has it’s standard exhaust and it is in good condition. I could potentially replace my standard exhaust with a stainless setup. It would be lighter and improve the flow of exhaust fumes however it would also be loud and expensive. Standard was fine. There is something to be said for a quiet exhaust.
I wanted to protect my exhaust for the foreseeable future. I bought a new exhaust graphite gasket and a tin of heat proof PJ1 black. An afternoon spent cleaning and preparing the exhaust and it was ready to paint. After that, I replaced as many bolts as I could with stainless. I found that the regulator rectifier mounting screws had rusted but was able to remove them with an impact driver. This is definitely something to check on your XT. You don’t want to not be able to swap out the rectifier because of some stuck screws.
Finally, I fitted new tyres (Michelin Anakee Wilds, which performed great on road and off-road), gave the bike a service including oil change with high temperature oil (as I was headed to Morocco), cleaned the K&N air filter, re-oiled the filter.
Greasing the swingarm linkage is important. There are 5 grease nipples on the swingarm and you should do this often. I do mine atleast once a year if not more, just before the MOT as it is fairly common for the linkage bushings to wear out over time, giving too much free play and an MOT fail. Keep those nipples greased! The next picture shows my what my XT looked like during my trip abroad in 2022.
THANKS FOR READING
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