The last tracker we featured from Spanish workshop Vintage Addiction Crew was a KTM based racer with the capacity for occasional road use. This Honda XR600 is a step-up in terms of quality of finish, and it has lights too! The style though is unmistakably go fast, turns left.
This build was a collaboration between Vintage Addiction’s founder Carlos and local Honda experts Moto Racing Canet, where Jordi Bañeras and his team opened up the aged 600cc RFVC single to suss out why it had seized. Here in the ‘Shed we’ve had more than a few members and customers experience these old motors when they develop a drinking problem. With so many Dommies and XRs being customised on the outside with little attention paid to the inside it’s not surprising that these 30 year old engines run dry and grind to a halt. The engine in this XR was toast, blue conrod, scored bores – the lot. A spare engine was bought as a donor, plus a huge list of OEM and upgraded components and after many hours of fettling, a box-fresh powerplant sat naked on the bench. And as you can see, it’s been blasted, side cases and rocker cover repainted with a crackle finish and all the fasteners replaced with stainless steel. Delicious!
The aesthetic inspiration is obvious to those who can remember Bubba Shobert dominating the AMA Flattrack Series aboard his Honda RS750D in the mid eighties. (If you’ve never heard of him press pause and spend five minutes on the Google & YouTube.)
The fuel tank is from a Harley-Davidson Sportster but with the tunnel heavily modified fit the Honda oil-in-frame spine. The braced forward facing mounts are a particularly nice addition and far tidier than the clumsy tabs on the stock H-D tank. They’ll also be more reassuring to push a right knee against compared to the centre mounted fibreglass Wood and Knight replicas on the market.
The seat and tail unit is one of the aftermarket units but a Champion style, often associated with Kenny Roberts’ crackling beast of a TZ750 – here it works perfectly. The number board is an in-house piece, made from aluminium and drilled for coolness – both types. The temptation to get too snazzy with the paint has thankfully been avoided. Barcelona’s version of D-Lucks took-on the job, Kilian Ramirez from Pic Studio has nailed the Rothmans Honda colour scheme.
The subframe is smart too. The main uprights are sturdy tubing welded to the main frame but the rear loop was fabricated from thinner and daintier section with a detachable rear light and licence plate assembly. Want to go racing… just undo four bolts and unclip the cable and you’re good to go. A similarly nice touch is the clear perspex guard to keep shale and crap away from the K&N filter yet remain unobtrusive to admiring glances.
The conventional fork has been lowered properly internally, fully rebuilt and revalved to suit road and flat track conditions. The shock has also been lowered and rebuilt, now with a yellow powdercoated spring – racy! Rims are of course 19 inchers, powder coated black and re-spoked with yellow passivated hardware, another nice touch. Tyres are from Mitas, are road legal and suitable for flat track racing (not in the UK though, Carlos will need Maxxis here).
The exhaust is a painstaking reinvention of the massive setups that are still used in the AMA (or AFT as it’s now known). Pie-cut sections of stainless tube were assembled and welded in-house by Carlos to form the headers, which lead to massive Supertrapp silencers. 0.8mm aluminium sheet was formed for the heat shields, with proper racing flared holes to match the sump guard, and left raw whereas the number board has received Señor Ramirez’s deft touch.
As this is an early XR there’s no electric start and therefore no need for a battery. The stator provides enough to power for the super efficient LED indicators and lights via a brand new wiring loom. The smallest and simplest Motogadget speedo is tucked close to the bar clamps but anyone who rides this bike probably won’t notice it’s even there. The bars themselves are the high rise, huge sweep versions as used by Bubba back in the day.
It’s clear to see that this is a no-holding-back type of build. Absolutely everything has either been refurbished and replaced or painted and powder coated. There isn’t a nut, bolt or screw left on the bike that has escaped Carlos’ keen eye – they’re all new.
The many boxes of immaculately finished parts were meticulously pieced together at the Moto Racing Canet workshop before running-in the fresh motor and setting it up properly on their in-house dyno. The re-jetted carb and twin pipes apparently make a great sound and Carlos is over the moon, saying “We are in love with the the finished project, a very comfortable bike to ride quietly but underneath its vintage appearance hides a very fun engine with a few more surprising benefits at high speeds. Finally, thank all the professionals who have contributed a little bit of their best work, the final result of this Honda is so beautiful!” You’re on the money there Carlos, this is a stunner.
Images by Alex Gerlach