After extensive research we decided for the good old, reliable Yamaha XT600E and we bought two secondhand 2003 models via The Yamaha xt600 ticks many of the boxes for our trip: it is reliable, fairly cheap and not very complicated. In addition it is has enough power to comfortable propel me (Paul) including luggage for extended trips, while a the same time it is not excessively high or heavy (156 kg) so that Marlieke can still easily handle her own bike in most situations. Although a good platform, the original xt600e is not a ready-made long distance bike. Here we will explain what modifications we felt were needed to prepare the bikes for our RTW trip. De uitvreter & Precious

Fuel system

The original fuel tank can contain a puny 15 liters of fuel. In order to extend our range, I replaced the fuel tank with an 23l Acerbis tank including lockable lid ( Final result

I fitted some strong braided fuel lines and a strong metal T-piece (not included) to connect the two fuel outlets. Between the T-piece and the carburetor I installed an in-line fuel filter, though I removed this from my bike after a few days of riding since this seemed to impede the flow of fuel at higher speeds. Inline fuel filter

On one bike, I fitted a brass quick connector in order to easily refill our gasoline stove. Most fuel connectors sold over the Internet are made of plastic and are prone to failure or leakage after extended use. I found this high quality connector  and the metal T-piece at a  local kart-racing store. Quick Connector


For security reasons, we decided to go for hard luggage. We researched many luggage systems and finally opted for the most economical/widely available option: Hepco and Becker standard alu including the standard xt600e rack.
At the time of writing we have traveled 15.000 km and we are not entirely happy with our choice. The first issue is the locking mechanism that connects the pannier to the rack. This is designed to break on impact. This is desirable at high speed crashes but the clip also fails during low speed spills as we experienced in the Czech Republic. Unless you have a spare clip and a riveting gun, this is impossible to repair in the field… not very practical in remote areas.  A makeshift solution, available by H&B, is to permanently bolt the box to the rack (as we did in Bucharest). However, this has obvious practical drawbacks. A second disadvantage is that the lid is connected to the box via a hinge. When the bike is fully loaded, including a duffel on top, this complicates access.

I fitted a DIY storage for tool/spares underneath the bash plate. For this I used ammo boxes found at a local army surplus store. Storing heavy tools low in the front of the bike slightly improves handling of the bikes. Tool box


To store reserve engine oil and filters I fitted DIY tubes underneath the left sided luggage rack. Luggage rack and oil tubes


The original rear suspension is pretty good in my opinion. However in order to cope with the added load I have changed the spring on my bike to one suitable for 280kg. The rear suspension of Marlieke’s bike remains unmodified. The front suspension tends to “dive” when breaking. Since this issue is likely to increase when fully loaded, I changed the fork oil from 10w to 20w. A good 15000 km later we are still very happy with this small mod.


To protect the break/shift pedal and our legs during impact we installed strong H&B crash bars. The standard hand covers are of little help when falling, which could result in broken shift levers, brake levers or wrist injuries, hence we also replaced these with strong Acerbis hand protectors. Hand protectors

The original bash plate is completely useless and heavy to boot. I replaced it by a nice aluminium plate sold by kedo. Crash bar & Bash plate


The tiny original windscreen works surprisingly well at keeping the wind from your chest. However, for added comfort, I fitted an after market windscreen on Marlieke’s bike. In addition, to improve off-road handling (while standing) and on-road comfort, the steering bars of of both bikes have been raised (2mm for Marlieke, 3 mm for Paul). Raised steering bar

We bought two cheap sheep skins from Ikea and my mom skillfully modified these to securely fit over our saddles. This has massively improved the comfort during long distance riding… highly recommended!


Both bikes are fitted with a 12v socket. In remote areas we can use this to charge all our electronic appliances including aa batteries, camera batteries, and our laptop. Gps mount

For easier navigation we have installed a Garmin gpsmaps 60csx. The lockable gps mount is sold by Touratech.

We fitted both bikes with a TTI radio system. However this system was plagued by interference and malfunction. Only 1.000 km in our trip one radio failed altogether and we have been doing just  fine without radio communication during the past 15.000 km.


The original side-stand does not work well on soft surfaces. On our request an mechanic has welded a larger footprint on the side-stand. A stable center-stand in invaluable when working on the bike. We bought and fitted a very stable centerstand made by SW-Motech Center-  and side-stand

We have fitted a loobman ,  a simple and low-cost chain oiler. This system consist of a small oil bottle and some tubing that delivers the oil directly to the rear sprocket. The idea is that you must squeeze the bottle before setting of and gravity will take care of the rest. We have used the system our the previous 4000 km and it seems to work well. An big pro of this system is that you can use regular engine oil so we will be able to keep our chain well maintained even after the oil spray cans run empty. Chain oiler



4 Responses to Bikes

  1. Lakisha says:

    The truth just shines thguroh your post

  2. John Harley says:

    Great bikes. I want to fit the same bash plate and crash bars as you did. I see that after cutting slots for the crash bars you did not use the stadard upper mounting for the bash plate. How did you fix the bash plate to the bike? How did you get the bolt in to fix the crash bars through such a small slot in the bash plate?
    Hope you can help

  3. Paul says:

    Hoi Marc,
    Geen enkel probleem, ik stuur je wel een mailtje

  4. marc says:

    Dag Paul, de site is een aangename info voor wereldreizigers. Momenteel zijn we onderweg in Azie maar kijken uit voor onze komende motorreis. Kunnen we jullie mailadresje krijgen voor verdere info aangaande de xt? Is jullie site ook in het nederlands te bekijken. Grtjs fijne reis en opletten….marc en carina

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