Evan Fell Motorcycle Works

My name is Evan Fell and my hobby is motorcycle restoration, customization, and riding. This is a blog about my bikes.

Installing Dirtbagz on my XR600R

Posted on October 28, 2010 | Posted by | 5 Comments

This post won’t really pertain to the typical street bike repairs I report on, but hey – this is my site, I’ll write about my bikes regardless of convention! Dirtbagz are a saddlebag luggage system built for off-road bikes. They consist of two brackets designed to mount onto the side of the bike which are then used to secure the bags. Like this:

I used to have a set of the Dirtbagz racks on put on my previous XR600R, a 1996 model. I used the racks, but modified an existing set of bags to fit them. The install went seamlessly and was done in about 15 minutes.

1996_Honda_XR600R_With-Dirtbagz

However, this latest set of racks turned out to be quick tricky to install. The right side rack wouldn’t fit around my aftermarket White Bros exhaust. The exhaust was too high up and slightly too far out for the bracket to light up with the frame mount:

Dirtbagz on Honda XR600R

Dirtbagz on 1995 Honda XR600R

It should be noted that this was not the fault of the manufacturer. Had my bike had the stock exhaust I’m confident this bracket would have fit fine.  But then, to my surprise, I found that the left bracket didn’t line up either! This one however WAS due to the manufacturer. When the top mount was attached the bottom mount wasn’t even close to lining up where it was supposed to.

Dirtbagz on Honda XR600

Dirtbagz-Honda-XR600R-07

The rack was about one inch too long. Since my access to tools at the moment was pretty limited there was only one solution – a torch!

Torching a dirtbagz rack

A simple bend in the rack made it fit beautifully!

bent dirtbagz rack

Now, the other side was much more difficult and is NOT pretty! I first shimmed the exhaust out and down a little bit to make as much room as I could. Then I used the resources on hand; the LA sidewalk, the torch, and a big brick I found on the side of the road.

Evan Fell working on his XR600R in LA

This isn’t my finest work, and some may call it a hack (which I would agree with) – but it worked. It is a bit mangled, the tube is a bit crimped, the powdercoat is obviously ruined, and I had to use a very long bolt to torque it down into place.

Dirtbagz custom fit

Bent up dirtbagz

So, the bags are on and I can now head out on my bike. When I’m in Mexico this time around I’ll stop at a welder and have them hack up the right rack and made a custom piece that fits as it should.  The right bag sits uneven due to the rack being bent out so far, but for now I’m satisfied.

xr600r with dirtbagz from the rear

xr600 r with dirtbagz from the right

One more thing I should note, and I remember this from the install on my previous bike as well. The couple bolts that come with the Dirtbagz setup aren’t even usable. The bolts are too short. When you put them through the rack and the frame it doesn’t even come out the other side.

dirtbagz bracket upper mounting bolt xr600r

dirtbagz bolt too short xr600

I also much prefer a hardened grade 8 bolt to the low grade ones they included, as well as something with more surface area on the face, and one that isn’t threaded all the way to the head.  This picture shows their bolt on the bottom, and what SHOULD be included on top.

replacing dirtbagz bolts

At least their on! Now I’m off to Mexico!

– edit –

I should say, despite the difficulty I had mounting this set, I do still like the Dirtbagz product and would recommend them to others.

Comments

5 Responses to “Installing Dirtbagz on my XR600R”

  1. Heading for Argentina in T-Minus 10 Hours - Travel by Motorcycle
    October 29th, 2010 @ 3:57 am

    [...] I’ve already mounted up some saddlebags, done a little more maintenance which you can read about on my motorcycle site. [...]

  2. tex
    November 5th, 2010 @ 7:22 pm

    what, you got tired of your makeshift bags being ripped open by the tire and dumping your tacos and wrenches all over the desert?

    [Reply]

  3. Evan Fell
    November 5th, 2010 @ 7:38 pm

    Hey Tex! Those previous bags actually worked pretty well – If I had done a better job of packing my gear and tending the tension on the straps I probably wouldn’t have had an issue.

    Either way – great to be back on an XR600 with bags!

    [Reply]

  4. Zach
    November 20th, 2010 @ 3:50 am

    Noted your Tracy body comment. NFI on my parts, but if you’re still looking – http://desmoines.craigslist.org/mcy/2058238045.html

    [Reply]

  5. bike mechanic
    April 30th, 2011 @ 6:48 am

    All the photos are too fantastic. Its a good way to tell how to install a Dirtbagz on XR600R. I was not aware of all this. thanks for telling at least.

    [Reply]

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I have owned nearly every make and model of vintage Japanese motorcycle as well as a number of other Europeans and more modern bikes. I do everything from simple fixes to full restorations. I also travel and ride every chance I get.

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