XR600 Chronology - by Jeff Deeney

Here's a brief chronology of the big XR's.  It seems that they only make
significant changes every 3-4 years:

  1979 (or '78?) - XR500 introduced.  Dual shocks on rear.  7-9" travel
     each end.  Honda's first pure dirt 4-stroke.  Somewhat heavy, but
     good handling with stiffer springs.  Drum brakes at both ends.
     Funky 23" front wheel for the first couple of years.

  1983 - Single shock rear suspension.  Front disk brake.  Approx 11"
     travel both ends.  Dual carb setup.  I owned a 1983 for about 6 years
     and really liked it.  A little heavy, but stiffer fork springs made
     it a nice handling bike.

  1985  - Displacement increased to 600cc.  Little else changed.
     Bigger displacement added quite a bit more torque.  '85/86 models
     had some problems with 3rd gear breakage.

  1988 - Nickasil cylinder, single carb, and stainless steel exhaust.
     Weight decreased about 10 pounds over the '87.  Rear wheel changed
     from 17" to 18".  The decompresion mechanism was changed from a
     kick starter actuated system to a cam speed actuated system to
     prevent the nasty kickback of earlier XR's.

  1991 - Cartridge front forks (still too soft) and disk rear brake.

  1992 - Unchanged except for larger diameter front axle

  1993-97, little or no changes.