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 Honda - XL M Paris Dakar
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Honda D2-492-33-18
Photo ou archives : Horville

Capacity : 600
Model : XL M Paris Dakar
Production : 1985 - 1987
Category : (On-Off) Dual Purpose


XL 600 LM - 1985

All a matter of image

Back in May 1985, the Paris-Dakar rally across Africa was at its high point. The factories were investing like crazy in this trans-Sahara adventure, and their marketing departments were exploiting the activity. In the forefront was Honda, trying to repeat its 1982 victory by lining up impressively large works teams of well-known riders.

It Looked like a Racer

It was against this background that the Honda XL 600 XLM was created. More than ever, it played the card of total identification with the prestigious (though luckless) racing machines, not only from the esthetic angle big 7.4 gallon (US) tank, color scheme redolent of the works livery, twin headlamp – but also technically with square-tube chassis and swing arm, tubeless tires and a red-finished power unit benefiting from the lessons learned in competition.

Highly Specified

The 600 XLM was intended as a response to its best-selling competitor, the Yamaha 600 Ténéré, which had appeared two years earlier. Influenced by the unique appeal of its rival, the Honda offered an even more high-tech specification, particularly its radial four-valve head and complex induction system using two out-of-phase carburetors on conical intake tracts of different diameters. The XLM topped its competitor with what seemed to be a decisive advantage: an electric starter. Despite all its advantages, the XL 600 LM never made the big time. It took a twin-cylinder bike before Honda could reap the rewards of its African investment.


Engine: 591cc (97x80mm) air-cooled single cylinder four-stroke

Power Rating: 44 hp @ 6500 rpm

Valves: overhead-camshaft: 4 radial valves

Fuel System: two 28mm carburetors

Transmission: 5-speed, chain final drive

Suspension: telescopic forks (front); swing arm with mono-damper (rear): travel front/rear 9 inch/8 inch

Brakes: disc (front); drum (rear)

Wheels: tubeless; 21 inch (front); 17 inch (rear)

Weight: 331 lb

The Honda XL 600 XLM certainly looked like a Paris-Dakar competitor, but had the advantages of comfort, excellent range and styling.

Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

One can order here

  • Original cards on paper (in french)
  • High resolution scans or original documents presented and signed with my name.

Please contact me at info@moto-collection.org for conditions and copyright.

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François-Marie Dumas

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