Friday, July 3, 2009


I can finally ride the beast!!! It’s even more fun than I expected!

Posted by thierry.coup at 6:18 PM



    Angostura BittersJuly 3, 2009 8:41 PM

    that’s pretty awesome, thierry – I’ve got a million questions, such as:

    1) what did you use for the countershaft sprocket guard? Do you have any closeup shots of it?

    2) What is the headlight “hood” made from?

    3) how tight of clearance do you have between the air filters and the monoshock?

    4) What kind of shock did you use?



    thierry.coupJuly 3, 2009 11:38 PM

    Thank you, I have been working on the bike every night for a while and I feel pretty good about the way it came out. I really wanted to remain as true to the minimalist flat tracker style as possible but as you know it is not an easy task…I was riding it for about 2 hours today without any issues, it starts right up cold, warm or hot. Did you have a fun ride the other day?
    1) I used the XRs only Case saver, here is the link
    2) The Headlight and hood are straight from a Harley sportster, $20 on ebay, they come up all the time.
    3) very tight clearance only about 1/8″ but it is not rubbing at all.
    4) I used an XR250 shock which is 1″ shorter than the original XL600R, here’s one on ebay



    thierry.coupJuly 3, 2009 11:51 PM

    To minimize the clutter, I got rid of the big ignition switch and I am placing a small after market switch under the seat, I used a trail tech speedo with the magnet pick-up at the front caliper which is made for a Honda CR500 but fits the XL600 perfectly. All my front wires fit nicely into the Headlight. Got a turner hot start lever for the manual decompression which adapts onto the front brake lever clamp so I could delete the extra decompression lever, less clutter…I adapted a BMW 650 rear brake light switch which is extremely small and fits behind the pedal so it’s completely invisible.



    GroundhogJuly 4, 2009 1:48 AM

    Hot damn, man! I love it! I think that is my favorite XL flat tracker. Are the rims both stock, or is the front one bigger? The only thing I’d change if I built one is the headlight flap wouldn’t be there, and the seat would have a thicker foam pad for comfy longer riding. What kind of paint did you do on the frame?
    Let’s all ride when I visit the bay area again.



    thierry.coupJuly 4, 2009 8:38 AM

    Thanks, The rims are both 18″ from the salvage yard, i have no idea which bike they are from. I am thinking about painting the Headlight cover Black to minimize it.



    bubble visorJuly 9, 2009 4:16 PM

    wow! great bike!
    what tires do you use?
    and the tank you use, is it a standard xl500 tank or did you customize it?



    thierry.coupJuly 13, 2009 2:31 PM

    Thanks! I used IRC vintage Dual sport tires, the tank is from Omars street tracker’s web site it’s an XR 500 and fits perfectly on the XL600 frame.



    SakeRacerJuly 22, 2009 8:13 AM

    and Omar’s website would be…????


    great example of street-tracker anyway!
    great bike…great style!!!




    SakeRacerJuly 22, 2009 8:18 AM

    and btw… rear and front wheels r the same size??



    streetrackerJuly 22, 2009 2:43 PM

    Congratulations. Great bike.



    thierry.coupJuly 23, 2009 1:00 AM

    Thanks for your positive comments!
    Omar’s web site:
    Both Rims are 18″, the rear is 1/2″ wider but both tires are identical.



    SakeRacerJuly 23, 2009 1:07 AM

    i’m not a mekanik boy…
    what’s the point to used different rims and the same identical tires??
    what do u gain with that??



    thierry.coupJuly 23, 2009 1:17 AM

    The offset from the front Hub width to the Rim width would put the spoke at a worse angle and they would not sit properly unless you re-drill the spoke holes.



    thierry.coupJuly 23, 2009 3:46 AM

    If I was buying new rims now I would probably get the same size front and rear and get them drilled correctly but I only paid $20 at the salvage yard for the ones I have now so I just made them work.



    SakeRacerJuly 23, 2009 1:15 PM

    so…. actually… u dont even know where these rims come from??


    they could be of any enduro bike…
    and since they r both 18″… they must be both rear rims… but from different bikes!


    so… with both 18″ wheels… how is it on the road (or even offroad)???
    it rides good??



    thierry.coupJuly 23, 2009 6:02 PM

    It rides surprisingly well on the road and on dirt trails, it is really nimble and feels like a 125cc except with the power of a 600cc. I haven’t tried it on big bumps and jumps yet :)) we shall see!



    SakeRacerJuly 24, 2009 1:37 AM

    wow wow…
    and think that in greece it’s full of old bikes like these..
    xl/xr/dr/xt…from 250 to 650!!!
    u really gave me ideas now… for a new project!

    the only thing is to find a nice tank,
    in order to make the bike look like a nice old-style street-tracker!

    the rest is easy!



    christianoJuly 25, 2009 1:02 PM

    wow…..what a bike……very nice work…congrats!!


    tyres rule!



    zomJuly 26, 2009 10:48 AM

    Fatanstic looking bike!!
    Really love you bike, esp the the clean look.
    I hope i can see more process photos, from before cutting your frame.

    I am intented to modify on XR400.
    But here in singapore, they dont allowed this kinda exposed tire.

    Really well done, keep it up.
    just suggestion, if only Honda Text is smaller or small winds Logo will be better? i am not sure…




    zomJuly 26, 2009 11:30 AM

    u didn’t cut your frame ,do you? it a subframe right? lol, you got me .. 😛



    thierry.coupJuly 28, 2009 6:36 AM

    Thanks to everyone for the positive comments! The more I ride this bike the more I love it! It gets a lot of attention and people keep asking me where they could buy one…I may have to start building a few more ; )

    Unfortunately I did not do a good job at photo documenting the build since I did most of the work at night but I am thinking about building another one anyway and I will do a better job this time.



    rubbersoul1991August 2, 2009 2:09 AM

    looks great – well done



    AaronAugust 2, 2009 10:31 AM

    very impressed! found your link whilst drooling over the deus sr542. Have been looking for cheap sr’s for a while but you have given me a few ideas, thanks!
    What year model is your bike? Finding it hard to find older xl’s here in Australia.

    Really like your work, well done!



    thierry.coupAugust 3, 2009 11:27 PM

    Thanks Aaron! the bike started as an 85 XL600R. it is a great base to start , it is light and fast and very simple to work on. They made this model for many years so you will find a lot of used parts. Make sure you setup a blog when you get started on your project I would love to check it out!



    ZZ chopAugust 4, 2009 5:45 PM

    very nice outcome!



    BobAugust 13, 2009 11:49 AM

    I absolutely love this bike and keep returning just too look at it.

    Well done, I wouldn’t change anything.



    thierry.coupAugust 13, 2009 1:15 PM

    Thanks Bob! I keep looking at it as well, it looks even better in person! Stay tuned for the next project I think it will look really cool as well!!!



    ehpawkAugust 14, 2009 12:18 AM

    thierry: stunning. just one thing. did you think about putting fork gaiters on it? i think it might make it look even better, if thats possible.

    and thanks for posting all thin info on your build plus links to the parts places.

    if you happen to have the time would you take a peek at my bike and see if you think it is possible to mimc yours?



    thierry.coupAugust 14, 2009 8:52 AM

    Thanks Travis, I will probably try fork gaiters on the next bike. I really like the XS400 as a base for a “Street Tracker” or a “Brat Bike” I think you should have no problem to mimic my bike, just let me know if you need help and make sure to take photos!



    CaseyAugust 23, 2009 11:16 AM

    Brilliant bike! I love street trackers and yours is my favorite one, along with the Mule Yamaha XS. Well done. I’d love to try to build one – if you don’t mind me asking, how much time and $ do you have invested? I want to ‘count the cost’ before jumping in, though I’d love to have something very similar to the beauty you’ve built.



    thierry.coupAugust 24, 2009 1:43 AM

    Thanks Casey! I have around 120 hours in the bike and you can count on spending at least $2k in parts after you purchase the donor bike but it requires finding a lot of the parts at a motorcycle salvage yard or looking for deals on ebay, but searching is a good portion of the fun as well!
    I have 2 other designs in the works and I am thinking about fabricating sub-frames, seats, tanks, wheels and other parts for converting the XL600R since it makes such great base for a Street Tracker. The engine and frame are really light and made for high performances and it’s a true thumper. The XS650 is a road bike and weighs 200 pounds more in its original version it’s a great classic twin but it is more expensive to rebuild and to get more power out of. It’s really a matter of choice at this point, I used to have an XS and I loved it as well. Just make sure you let me know when you start your project I would love to follow your progress and give you some tips if needed.



    ChrisAugust 26, 2009 2:40 PM

    i dont know if somebody has already told u…
    taking the honda slr650, it could be a good base for making a bike like yours..
    dont u think???




    thierry.coupAugust 26, 2009 9:41 PM

    Hi Chris, I considered the SLR 650 but unfortunately it has a square tube frame and I prefer the round tube for the old tracker look, plus it has electric start which clutters the engine and necessitates a battery. I prefer the old school kick start…



    AnonymousAugust 30, 2009 10:13 AM

    Hi, top work there.
    Going to be launching into a flat track build as soon as my Gpz1100 is finished. Small question, are you running no battery at all? Or a small one tucked away somewhere?

    In any case, this is one of the nicest trackers I’ve seen.




    KevinAugust 30, 2009 8:53 PM

    fantastic my man noticed the bike on bikexif … you have great taste .. and pay attention to detail !!!! be very proud of this project!

    I have a DT200R (yamaha) that I would like to borrow some of your ideas on
    if you dont mind can you email me [email protected]
    I have a couple of questions i would like to run by you if you have the time





    thierry.coupAugust 31, 2009 11:20 AM

    Thanks Kevin and Jamie for your encouraging comments!
    Jamie, I currently have no battery at all but I found a very small battery pack which I may place under the seat. here is the link



    AnonymousSeptember 3, 2009 12:47 PM

    hello, just stumbled across this and like it a lot. i have an xl600 that i’ve had trouble with for years (including being stolen and having the wiring messed up even more) and i’m really interested in the simplification of the wiring you mentioned. do you have any details of what you did, sourse or link to a group or forum with wiring info, or anything at all? if i could get it running with just head and tail light and get rid of everthing else i’d be satisfied. thanks.



    AnonymousSeptember 3, 2009 12:49 PM

    sorry, to add a bit more, my ignition is gone too (part of the theft) so even a simple universal key switch idea would help me too. thanks.



    thierry.coupSeptember 3, 2009 11:32 PM

    Hey there, unfortunately I did not take any photos of the wiring mod, but what I can tell you is that i eliminated all the wires going to the instrument cluster, ignition switch, battery and turn signals, I only kept the kill switch wires and the vitals to the engine, voltage regulator and rectifier. You can check out this thread
    it has excellent photos and description of an XL600 including the wiring harness. Does your bike run at all?



    PhilSeptember 4, 2009 1:48 AM

    no, it doesn’t. long story. i’ve kept it over the years and ocassionally make attempts at getting it going, like now. i noticed where you said you simplified the wiring and since that’s at least one of it’s problems i thought it might help me.



    AnonymousSeptember 13, 2009 8:25 PM

    wow i dig it very impressive, a true work of art. Can you please tell me where the seat/rear fender came from? Did it start out as a hotwing glass xr flat track-1 seat?



    thierry.coupSeptember 15, 2009 8:26 PM

    Thanks! I fabricated the rear seat/ Fender myself so it would fit the custom sub- frame properly.



    LukeSeptember 23, 2009 2:07 PM

    Where are the “New” on the road photos ?.. Us Left Coasters need ta see.!. Xoxo



    AnonymousOctober 27, 2009 9:10 AM

    I’m in thailand cheer



    ShawnAFDecember 12, 2009 10:24 PM

    Strange. I can’t read any of the comments here. Well, I guess I’ll ask some of my own questions since I can’t see if they’ve already been answered or not. I apologize. Really all I wanted to know is how much a project like this cost. I do not currently own a bike but I’m looking for a low budget, long-term, build up of my own possibly and this bike is truly an inspiration as to what I want in a bike. Very nicely done. Just in case I can’t read any comments posted after me, please send me a reply via email. [email protected]

    Thank you very much.



    ShawnAFDecember 13, 2009 10:29 AM

    Nevermind sending me an email. I can read them just fine on my phone. Thanks.



    ShawnAFDecember 13, 2009 12:26 PM

    So, if I want a bike pretty much like this one I need to find me an old Honda 600 and strip it completely down and restore it with newer “street tracker” style parts?

    Your bike looks so clean and brand new!

    Did you paint up the older parts to make them look that fresh?




    AnonymousDecember 31, 2009 7:54 AM

    Have to say – stunning bike mate! how different do you think a 1987 xr600 would be use as a doner? regarding frame rake maybe? also how did you “chop” the front end down?
    many many thanks.



    streetkustomJanuary 7, 2010 11:14 PM

    man, i love this bike.
    awesome!!!great job,bro..



    LukeJanuary 13, 2010 1:02 PM

    Chino.. need an up date on this beast ! – FF …



    thierry.coupFebruary 6, 2010 9:07 PM

    Jean Philippe, do you need to know which Gas tank to buy? which bike are you starting from as a base?



    morpheusMarch 17, 2010 5:10 PM

    Hey Thierry! Really dig what you have done.. a perfect balance between retro and modern performance. Been following a lot of Japanese conversation outfits in Japan and I have to say, what you have done is really smart and badass, the best I’ve seen. I currently have an XR650 that I’ve converted to a murdered out super motard, love it but am selling it for a tracker project. Your bike is perfect and can only hope to duplicate a portion of your efforts. Question, I found an ’83 XR600 with less than 5k miles and cheap. Is this basically the same bike you started with, or do i need to focus on an ’85? Again, thanks for all your efforts in documenting, posting and willingness to help!



    backtrackerJuly 8, 2010 3:21 PM

    Hi, i have just finished my own custom project inspired by yours, i have never done this before and probably won’t again! But everywhere i go people are very appreciative of my efforts.
    just posted some pics on here under title honda streettracker project. Be interested to hear your opinion.
    many thanks.



    AnonymousAugust 9, 2010 12:16 PM

    Hi Thierry, love your bike, and I was wondering if you live near NY, i would like to see it, I just came back from a 1 year trip on a motorcycle, you can see it at but my BMW is not something i want to ride unless is to go on a trip. So I would like to build a strett tracker like yours for the city… i think also with a XL 350.. I would like to do it my self, but i really don’t no where to get the coating for engine, frame,and parts in general, but if you know it, i’ll appreciate any suggestion. If you can write on my email is easier, [email protected] and I live in NYC



    DazjalOctober 2, 2010 6:25 PM

    RIMS question:) SO just two rear 18″ rims and thats it? and then you must have re spoked them right? with out changing the wholes.. but from a different bike..



    DazjalOctober 2, 2010 6:40 PM

    how many wholes in the rims?



    chrisJanuary 13, 2011 12:36 AM

    im about to do something similar to a 1982 honda xl500. can you tell me the height of the rear shock you used hole to hole? the xl500, i believe, sits lower than a 83 xr600 so i want to know if i need to purchase a different shock. thanks.



    maxJanuary 23, 2011 7:01 PM

    Hey Chris I really love what you did with this project it looks amazing the way it turned out. I am a young guy looking to start a project like yours and i was wondering just where you were able to find the bike and the parts you used on it and if you had any advice for a guy who is just starting out.




    AnonymousFebruary 9, 2011 11:37 AM

    Great looking bike. Seriously. Nice work. What is the muffler from?



    nickFebruary 25, 2011 7:29 AM

    hey, amazing bike!! i was wondering what you used for the air box, i got a 1984 XL600R and the air box is a lot bigger. did you use a after market one or one from another bike?



    IljaOblomowSeptember 9, 2011 4:04 PM

    Really a great bike ! I love it. I own an 1987 XL 600 R but your bike ist much cooler then the original.


Load more…

Newer Post Older Post Home

Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)


I hope you can get inspired by this Thumper project as much as I was by other XL600 chopping pioneers like Angostura Bitters.


Blog Archive