Taking on a garage project can be daunting. First-time builders often find themselves in a downward spiral of costs, time and motivation—and vow never to pick up a wrench again.
Not Dimitri Chaussinand though. He pulled off his first project—a cute Yamaha TW125—in the underground parking garage of his apartment block, on a limited budget. And when the Lyon-based architectural draughtsman sold the little TW, he already had a new build in mind …
“I wanted to build another motorcycle in the same vein,” the carefree Frenchman tells us. “But with more displacement, and with a little more work put into it.”
Dimitri found a suitable donor in the legendary Honda XR600R. The 1995-spec thumper had been outfitted with a pair of 17-inch supermotard wheels, but Dimitri quickly returned it to the stock 21F/18R setup, as befits a machine that has won the gruelling Baja 1000 race four times.
“I love the original large wheels, they give it a very balanced silhouette,” he explains.
Dimitri decided to embrace the tank’s compact dimensions—by keeping everything else as tight as possible. So the subframe was cut-and-looped, and adorned with a slim, compact perch.
The rest of the bike is equally bare. “I didn’t want to spoil the straight-lined style with mudguards, turn signals and a license plate holder,” explains Dimitri. So he’s mounted the plate directly to the frame, and fitted wraparound LED strips to the forks for turn signals.
Out back, there’s an LED strip built into the seat, which handles both tail light and turn signal duties. Dimitri borrowed the idea from fellow Lyon inhabitants FrenchMonkeys (they’ve used it on several builds.)
The rest of the XR600R’s running gear is equally minimal: a mini speedo, and a Bates-style headlight, mounted off-centre for a little asymmetry. MX bars with a throwback foam pad cover give the bike an extra shot of vintage.
Unfortunately we don’t have any clear photos of the exhaust, but that’s also a testament to Dimitri’s design and execution. “I re-routed the exhaust along the engine, and put on a megaphone muffler that hides behind the rear wheel when you look at it in profile.”
We love the XR600R’s big-boy-toy dimensions, but it’s the color scheme that really sets it off: a dead simple black, silver and red livery.