THE START OF THE LAST XT600

The Yamaha XT600e was the last of the XT600 range. Yamaha produced two distinct variants of the 600e, the “e” standing for electric start of course. (An XT600K kick only model was also made) The first variant, my model, was the 3TB. The second was the 4PT which received various cosmetic changes and a small reduction in power among a few other minor changes. The 600e differs from the previous XT installment (3AJ Tenere) as it has a smaller tank, 17 inch rear wheel and other changes pointing to a more road orientated dual sport bike. However, it does share a lot of parts with the XTZ660 Tenere.

I saw my 3TB on eBay during the early Covid lockdown. Having just returned from an evening run out with my XT225. I had come to the conclusion that I wanted a 600e as a nice medium between my 3AJ Tenere and my Serow. It would be more powerful than my Serow but easier to man-handle and less prone to damage than my Tenere. For a long time I had also considered a 600e as my backup choice in case anything catastrophic happened to my Serow during “It’s not a race to the end“. As it turned out, I eventually made the choice to use my 600e for that trip and retired my Serow for the immediate future.

Continue reading below to see the modifications I made to the 600e in order to prepare it for an extended period of classic overland travel.

1994

YEAR

45

HP

100

MPH

155

KG - DRY

ADVENTURE BIKE TRANSFORMATION

A NEW PROJECT

I specifically bought this bike to be a bike I could just ride. I had enough projects as it was and certainly did not want another one. However… my Serow had some on-going carb related issues and I began to be won over by the idea of taking the 600e touring in 2021. When I was set on taking something other than my Serow on the trip I came very close to selling my 600e and purchasing a ~2010 XT660R, more modern = more reliable right? It’s never as simple as that is it. I then decided that my 600e would be just as good, I knew it well, I could fix the carb if needed. It’s air-cooled, plenty of parts available and I already had a number of contacts across Europe who knew everything there was to know about 600s. So, in Autumn/Winter 2020, I began collecting spares, new parts and upgraded items to prep my XT for an amazing long term adventure.

Below I will explain the modifications and upgrades I made to my 600e. I will also explain various parts of the bike that I left untouched, hopefully giving a good insight of what it takes to kit out this classic adventure bike. Ultimately, you could buy a 600e in the U.K for around £1500/2500, and you would be able to set of there and then on an adventure. The mods I made were just because I could and wanted to. They add small improvements to the bike. I feel that over a very long trip like mine, small improvements become more important.

OVERLAND PREPARATION

PHASE 1 – PREPARE THE BASE:

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.

I split my bike preparation into two phases. Phase 1 would be to prepare a solid base for my bike. This would involve a good clean, fixing any issues, tidying the wiring and adding my own modifications, accessories and improvements. Phase 2 would come just before I set off. It would be replacing the wearable, cables, discs, tubes, tyres, chains and sprockets.

PHASE 1 PROCESS

I began Phase 1 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. I then started working on my sump guard tool tube. A cheap plastic, but heavy duty, tube from eBay that my Dad has bought and was going to throw out. Some stainless clamps and 2 bolts really secured it to the bike. After that, I began working on the main piece, my rally fairing and cockpit.

I won’t go into too much detail here, I’ll save it for it’s own article, but I put 30+ hours into the rally fairing. I made it myself from basic materials, a Kawasaki Z900 after-market screen, aluminium flat bar and some aluminium sheets. It was a good project that I wanted to do. It provided a nice dashboard area for my electrical outlets and satnav. As well as providing wind protection and much better lighting from my LED units. I was mildly concerned I’d be adding too much weight but in the end, the whole piece weighed only a few hundred grams more than the original setup, and I had a lot of benefits. Success.

yamaha xt600e 3tb

Once I was happy with the front of the bike, I turned my attention to the rear. 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. 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.

PHASE 2 BELOW

Stabilising any surface rust

Protecting connections

My sump guard tool box (unfinished)

PHASE 2 PROCESS

I have not yet started phase 2. I will likely spend the first few months of 2021 collecting my parts: cables, discs, pads, bearings, filters, o-rings, tubes, tyres and chains and sprockets. I’ll do this gradually as to not annoy my postman more than I do already. Then in the final weeks before I depart, I will replace each piece with the new substitutes, perform a few final test rides and set off into the distance.

When purchasing these parts, I often buy 2 or more sets of each. Thing’s like cables, o-rigns, spare tube etc, I will take with me as a spare for when I am on the road. However I like to know that I have a small collection of spare parts waiting at home in case I need anything shipping out to me if I am truly stuck without a part. As I plan on spending the winter in Albania or Greece, I will also send a “service” package to my location, where I can refresh worn consumable parts like chains and sprockets etc.

xt600e

THANKS FOR READING

I hope you liked this post. The website is always being updated with new information about my bike, projects and trips. I have a lot more to post and I hope that I can continue to produce content for you readers to enjoy. If you found this page informative, fun or interesting please consider giving my Facebook page a like to stay up to date. You could even consider taking a look through my shop where you may find something that would help support this website and keep my bikes on the road! Check out the shop here.

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