BCKustoms Honda XLR600
Words & photos: Yann Le-Douche
Action photos: Nicolas Serre Photographie
I finally got my wheels on track at DirtQuake VI with my H-D Hooligan tracker, and returned to France planning to take part to the first two official flat track races to be held would be held in his country in collaboration between Vintage Racing Spirit and FFM (the French Motorcycling Federation).
The current rulebook didn’t allow engines over 750cc, so I couldn’t race the Harley. There would be three classes: Vintage (pre-’81), Young timer (’82-’95) and Modern for 1995 to present day.
I had daily running XS500 street tracker that would be modified/simplified to race the Vintage class, but travelling so far from home made me want to have extra track time practicing. I made the decision to build another racer for one of the two remaining classes, in just few weeks.
Somewhere stored in a dark corner of the workshop was a 1987 Honda XL600 RM, that I planned to make into an RS600D replica for street use. The frame was already fitted with twin Bitubo shocks taken on a CB500 PC32, but when it came to convert the XL600 to race spec, some more radical changes had to be made. Like swapping the 1987 electric start engine to an earlier, kickstart-only XLR600 so I could remove nearly all the electric wiring and battery.
The Honda had already received earlier some fork tubes from a 1999 Yamaha R6. Pretty nice units, recommended by most, but much shorter and lighter than the original ones and sizing 41mm diameter like the original Honda tubes so they would fit the original triple clamps. But the clearance between the new 19in front wheel and Mitas tyre, and the oil-in-frame front tube was so tight that I fitted spacers above front springs for extra preload.
Additionally, I swapped the original exhaust headers for homemade stainless parts leaving that space free behind the front wheel. I fitted a single muffler and a short dB killer so that it no longer made 124dB at tech inspection...
Because the hooligan couldn't use its mag wheels at King's Lynn [DTRA rules says they can be used, but the spaces between spokes must be covered to stop arms or legs poking through them], but they were allowed by the French rulebook, time was saved fitting the spare Harley wheels to the Honda. I struck lucky when I realized the swingarm and fork tubes inner widths were exactly the same that on the Sportster, so I didn’t have to make new spacers. That saved a lot of time in my really short building schedule.
Once again I contacted the Redmax Speedshop to supply the Champion fiberglass gas tank. The Knight-style tail piece, including squared number plates, came from Composite Sellerie in France. The tail section has been cut and reshaped to even make the bike look lighter and more modern.
Quimper Honda dealer Moto Sélection decided then to help my racing project, so the paint scheme decision was to make the 2017 race bike matching with OEM red-white-black official Honda colors for that year, my way to thank their support of a rookie rider.
I finished the project in seven weeks. I’d built a short wheelbase tracker (1.37m/nearly 54in) with a new reduced 23° fork angle; 820mm (32in) seat height, with a reliable single cylinder engine and a (too?) short transmission ratio of 16x52. On paper, it looks like the right weapon a rookie like me to learn flat track riding techniques.
Because my business is mostly building road bikes with lots of tuned details and engraved parts, my race bike still had to be some kind of a rolling show bike devoted to track use. But I know I’m going to crash it at some time. Sad, right?
1987 HONDA XLR600 RM
DESIGN & BUILD Yann Le-Douche, BCKustoms
ENGINE 1986 Honda XLR engine, K&N Filter filters, NGK spark plugs and racing wires, reinforced clutch springs with upgrade quality discs; BCK stainless exhaust system, Laser cut BCK designed rear sprockets, BCK alloy homemade front sprocket cover, racing wiring.
FRAME 1987 Honda XLR600 modified for twin shocks
WHEELS 1977 and 1983 Kawasaki front wheels; Mitas H-18 tyres
BRAKES BCK designed wave rotor with Suzuki GSXR master cylinder and rear caliper with Brembo red pads
FORKS 1999 Yamaha R6 front end, Composite Sellerie fork guards
HANDLEBARS LSL flat track bar
BODYWORK RedMaxSpeedShop Champion fiberglass tank; Composite Sellerie Knight style seat, reshaped; Cap Enseignes race numbers
SEAT BCK shaped and Sellerie Eric Clement cover
PAINTWORK KCP Designs
BCKustoms is supported by: Moto Sélection Honda – Quimper; Dezert Point Quimper; Sellerie Eric Clément; Quimper; KCP Designs, Rédéné; L'Académie de la Bière, Chartres; T4 Klinik, Gourlizon; Fifties and More, Pont-Croix; Atelier du Graveur, Ergué-Gabéric; Cap Enseignes, Chateaulin; Le Page Peinture, Breic. Special thanks to T2xC workshop, Quimper, for exhaust welding and machining
Photos: Xxxxx xxxx