More photos in the ‘DR650 Preparation’ gallery – HERE
Why a DR650?
Replacing my F650 was an opportunity to take a slightly different approach and incorporate much of what I’ve learnt over the last 4 years. What have I learnt? Well, if you want to travel off the beaten track then weight is the key. My F650 took me to places I would never have believed possible prior to leaving home but at great expense to the chassis. A lighter bike and kit mean its gentler on its suspension so requires lighter springing which in turn puts less strain on surrounding components – at least that’s my theory. Lady P weighed 300kg + food & water. I’m hoping the DR will weigh in around 220kg. I’m hoping too that it won’t just mean it’s more reliable on the kind of terrain I’ve traversed so far, but that I’ll be able to tackle routes that I would have considered ‘off-limits’ on my F650.
26/08/10 – Weights: Inc ALL tools, consumables, tubes & GPS but with NO fuel =163.5kg. Fully loaded inc 35l fuel but NO food or water = 217kg. These weights came from the cement works in Moab, Utah. The original weights were given in lbs – 360 & 480. The figures are so ’round’ that I later wondered what increments and ’rounding’ figures they used.
Another thing I want to ensure is that all tools and spares are carried on the bike and not in my luggage. On many occasions I’ve had the opportunity to ride without luggage but I’ve always been concerned about not having all I needed to repair a flat tyre etc.
A smaller, lighter package will also reduce the cost of airfreight and may make it a feasible option again.
My first choice was a Suzuki DRZ400. Contrary to popular belief you don’t need a big engine to travel the world. Once out of
Western Europe and off the tarmac of Australia the majority of time is spent below 90km/h. Unfortunately it was my short legs that finally made my decision for me as at 935mm the 400 seat is 50mm higher than the 650. It doesn’t sound much but believe me it is when you’re 5’4”!
The DR650 had other benefits too. Air-cooling, adjustable tappets and a three bolt front sprocket all bode well for overland travel. Being Japanese it uses a very small range of fixings (bolts etc) which in turn reduces the number of tools required and will add to the weight saving. Unlike the F650, it needs no special tool for the steering head bearings and a trial run proved I can break the bead of the rear tyre using just my feet and two tyre levers. That was something I couldn’t do on the F650 so I had to carry a heavy cramp to do the job. My toolkit for the BMW weighed a staggering 5.75kg and whilst I haven’t yet been able to weight it I think the DR toolkit will weigh in around 1-1.5kg.
Why didn’t I leave home on a DR650?
That’s a good question. Looking back it seems that most of our bike research was based around Chris Scott’s Adventure Motorcycling Handbook an excellent source of information but upon looking through it again when visiting Maarten & Ilse I noticed it to be fairly dismissive of the pre-’96 DR and barely mentions the post-’97 model (probably because it wasn’t officially imported into the UK).
Of all the other Overland motorcyclists I’ve met, the DR650 has been the equal most popular along with Kawasaki’s KLR650 (8 of each) followed by the BMW F650 and Honda Africa Twin (6 each). This is contrary to the impression given by the book. Every DR650 owner I’ve met has had the same thing to say about them. “They’re bomb proof!”.
There is really no need to go to the lengths I have with my DR to prepare an Overland bike but my bike is my home away from home and there are some comforts I appreciate.
Some of the ideas I’ve incorporated have come straight from the BMW whilst others are those I’ve dreamt up during my 4 years on the road. Only time will tell whether they work or not.
Below is an overview of my DR preparation along with some of the reasons why I’ve done things.
Being comfortable on the bike both sitting and standing is an important consideration in an overland bike. Whilst the seat is the most obvious consideration so is the height and bend of the handlebars, the size of the footrests (if you ride off-road) and the relationship between all of them. If you ride off-road you’ll also need to find a set-up that works whilst sitting and standing.
Seat – Unfortunately, in order to be comfortable a seat needs to be reasonably wide – just what you don’t want when standing. My biggest investment in the DR came in the form of a Renazco rally seat. It’s normal width at the front but splays out slightly further back to give a wider seat when sitting without compromising the standing position. It’s covered in suede which will not only keep it cool when the weathers hot and warm when the weathers cold, but provides good grip for your knees when standing. I had mine built 1” lower than stock for my short-arse legs.
26/08/10 – The seat has proven to be beyond uncomfortable – its painful; and I’ve ridden a R1 from England to Spain! I’ve been in contact with James Renazco and will be visiting him at the end of next month to try to resolve the problem. He suspects it is because I’ve had it built 1″ lower and am lacking cushioning. If that proves to be the case then I’m in a real dilemma as I can only touch the ground with the ball of one foot now and I don’t want to have to compromise my suspension. I’ll post again once I’ve visited James.
02/01/11 – I visited Renazco back in September 2010 (See Chapter 23) and after discussing my problems with owner James, he built me a new seat. 1/2″ taller, repositioned seams and and extra layer of foam should have led to a much more comfortable seat. Unfortunately, whilst a small improvement was made, it remains the most uncomfortable seat I’ve ever had and remains my only real gripe with the bike. In less than 2hrs my thoughts turn from what’s going on around me to how much my arse hurts!
Footrests – My DR came with oversize footrests and a footrest lowering kit fitted. I’ve kept the oversize footrests but removed the lowering kit. I’ve also replaced the OE mounting bolt washers with larger ones to lock-up the rubber mounting and give a more positive feel to footrest input.
Handlebars – My DR came with ProTaper CR High bend bars which I like but the additional 2” risers didn’t suit me and were replaced with 1” spacers (courtesy of the ‘homework’ dept of my previous employer – no names mentioned)
Fuel System, Exhaust and Lubrication
My bike came fitted with a 39mm Flat Slide Kehin carburetor, cut out airbox (link) and GSXR Silencer/Muffler mod (link). Together they improve throttle response and correct the slow speed surging often experienced with the standard set-up. The exhaust system is also several kilograms lighter than stock.
The Safari 30l tank should give a fuel range of approximately 550km and I’ve added a tap for filling my camping stove as I did on the BMW. The aluminium cross brace supplied with the tank is rather poor so I fabricated a steel one. The petcocks supplied with the tank had plastic taps and have caused problems for some so I replaced them with alloy ones. Another potential problem is getting the last few litres of fuel out of the tank as the carburetor inlet sits higher than the petcocks. Most people create pressure in the tank by blowing into the vent pipe so to maintain this pressure I’ve added a one-way valve. Last but not least I added inline filters to each tank outlet.
26/08/10 – The exhaust mid-pipe and silencer fell off in the San Rafael Desert in Utah (see Chapter 22). The mid-pipe welded bracket had failed and the silencer mount added by the previos owner ripped out of the silencer. I found another silencer on ebay and purchased a Two-Brothers mid-pipe kit from Kientech.
02/01/11 – No problems since fitting the above parts
The Safari tank actually holds 35l/9.5 US Gal
The carburetor breather/vent tubes were fitted with T fittings and extra tube run up to the headstock. If all the breathers were submerged in a water crossing the engine would die. I replaced the cross head screws in the airbox and manifold clamps with cap heads.
I fitted an additional tap with an outlet for filling my camping stove, an addition that worked very well on the BMW.
The paper oil filter has been replaced with a washable stainless steel one.
In a bid to reduce weight I’ve opted to use soft panniers on the DR. They still need supporting to stop them bouncing around and to keep them away from the exhaust and so I’ve used MotoSport pannier frames and added a couple of loops to enable me to run some extra straps around the panniers. I also added some brackets for fitting a ‘tool tube’ (see tools/spares).
Soft panniers meant finding a new place to carry my laptop and so I’ve used a 1400 Pelicase for which I’ve made a quick-release mounting.
To keep the weight as central as possible I’ve made a detachable ‘loop’ that mounts to the rack and allows me to carry my camping kitbag on the pillion seat.
26/08/10 – I found the riding position with this set-up too restrictive. It also meant wearing my daysack which was ok in thecold weather but soon pissed me off when it warmed up. I couldn’t find a sheet metal worker at the time so I purchased a rack from Happy-Trails and used it to replace the Peli-case and detatchable hoopset-up. My daysack now contains my laptop and strapsto the top of my Ortlieb duffel bag.
14/05/11 -The Happy Trails rack was always a temporary fix removing the panniers and/or the seat necessitated its removal. I had hoped to modify the OEM rack in LA but I only had Tito for one evening and so had to prioritise what I wanted him to do. Finally I found a place in Colombia (See Chapter 25 – South to South America) where I had some additions made to the OEM rack. See photo.
Up front I’ve fitted some Aerostich tank saddlebags, in which I keep my stove and food. The bottoms of the bags are held in place with built-in bungee cords but with nowhere to attach the hooks I added 4 dedicated loops. One on the stove tap mounting, one on the exhaust header cover and two on the Safari tank cross brace. The right-hand one of these also needed a spigot(?) welded onto the oil cooler protection bar to help the bungee route around the oil cooler.
26/08/10 – I managed to totall destroy the zip in one of the tank panniers my trying to overload it. Aerostich replaced the zip for $20 +$4 postage and did so very quickly.
How to carry water was my biggest challenge luggage wise and after several prototype designs eventually settled on the one in the picture. It uses the passenger footrest mounts and is easily detachable for trail riding by removing 1 x 6mm bolt and 1 x M8 nyloc nut. Unfortunately they weigh approx 400g each but it was the best I could come up with and allows me to carry 10l of water as I did on the BMW.
26/08/10 – I was never totally happy with these as they’re made of cheese, but despite dropping the bike a few times and bending the carriers I’ve easily straighteded (kind of!) them by hand. I did manage to puncture one of the water containers by failing to see a protruding branch whist looking for a bush camp and I can’t find a replacement – yet.
02/01/11 – One of the bottles/brackets fell off somewhere on the CDR, the other broke off in my hand after straightening it onece too often. I’m yet to find a suitable, stronger mount.
Lastly a small tankbag (Wolfman Enduro) for my camera.
26/08/10 – Having short legs this gets me right in the nads when standing up. Ideally I’d like to find something of the same volume (orslightly bigger) but that sits across the tank at 90°
Brakes – After servicing both brake calipers (using an anti-seize compound on the pad retaining pins) I added a stainless steel hose to the brake and filled both reservoirs with DOT 5.1 fluid (higher boiling point than DOT 4). Another part that often gets overlooked is to clean and re-grease the rear brake pivot with waterproof grease.
26/08/10 – The front brake pads wore out rather quickly and all I could get at the time were EBC Red and I don’t like them. They don’t have the bite of the OEM pads and require a lot more lever pressure which in turn means less feel.
02/01/11 – Replaced front brake pads after 33,000km. Plenty of material left on the pads but I don’t like the feel of the EBC and have gone back to OEm Suzuki.
Suspension – Like all Japanese dual-sport bikes the DR comes with very basic suspension (it’s one area manufacturers cut corners with to keep prices down) and therefore it needed upgrading. After the abysmal after sales service I experienced with the Ohlins rear shock on the BMW I wanted to modify the OE Suzuki shock rather than replace it. I found the ideal solution in North Carolina’s Cogent Dynamics who re-built the OE shock with quality internals and added adjustable rebound damping along with suitable spring (7.6kg/mm). Rick (the owner) even included a repair kit of seals should I run into problems overseas. He also keeps all of the parts in stock and is happy to send whatever I may need to wherever I may need it – music to my ears after the Ohlins fiasco!
26/08/10 –The rear shock is fantastic. No bottoming despite the load I’m carrying and yet I can unload the bike and go trail riding. The rear does spin-up a ittle too easily on hard loose surfaces but that may be down to the lack of low-speed compression damping?
The forks have been fitted with 0.48kg/mm Eibach springs and Race-Tech ‘Gold Valve Emulators’ (which I used to great effect in the BMW) and 10w oil. Fitting these involved drilling extra holes in the damper rods, which in turn led to the need to make a special tool to disassemble the forks. Thanks to the DR Wiki page for the tip on how to make the tool using a ¾” bolt, 2 nuts and a 14” extension bar.
26/08/10 – The front is ok but not perfect and I still can’t put my finger on why. It doesn’t help that the load on the front end varies enormously depending on how much fuel I’m carrying and how full my food bags (tank panniers) are. The front tends to try to ‘plough’ if I’ve not got my weight in the right place and is quite harsh on steep bumpy descents. Probably because the forks are riding along way down in their stroke. I’m not sure there is a perfect solution because the weight varies so much so I’ve learnt to ride it the way it is. Doesn’t stop me having fun 🙂
The linkage bearings along with the swingarm and steering head bearings and top shock mounting were stripped, cleaned and packed with waterproof grease.
01/02/11 – In San Diego I had planned to strip & grease the steering head bearings but with the front wheel out I could feel they were notched. With just 50545km on the clock I was rather disappointed, but thinking back I seem to recall leaving them a little tight and expecting them to settle in. That appears to have been a mistake and so I had a new set sent to Mexico City and replaced them there at 55949km.
Wheels – The wheels remain standard but I’ve prepared them as I would an endure bike. The rim tape has been replaced with five layers of duct tape and the valve holes elongated to allow the valve free movement should a tyre ‘creep’ on the rim (valve nut is screwed up against valve cap). I then fitted HD inner tubes.
Chain & Sprockets – The OE chain & sprockets are 525 on the DR which is rather unusual. Before leaving north America I’ll change these for the more common 520 (and use different sizes) but in the meantime I’ve swapped the front sprocket from a 15T to a 14T (an easy job on the DR thanks to the 3-bolt design). I’ve also fitted a Scottoiler that I had great success with on the BMW but this time I have used the ‘lube tube’ and fitted it behind the OEM tool tube. Fitting the Scottoiler wasn’t straightforward because of my bike being fitted with a ‘pumper’ carb and therefore not having vacuum fuel taps. I ordered the universal adaptor and drilled the manifold rubber to fit it.
26/08/10 – The OEM chain and rear sprocket lasted 27k km which was less than I expected. I used several front sprockets in that time both 14 & 15T. I swapped to a 520 chain but couldn’t get a 45T sprocket so plumbed for a 46T to make 15:46. It sucks! I definately want 15:45.
02/01/11 – The (DID) 520 chain only lasted 22,000km which I was very disappointed with. I did have a few issues with my Scottoiler which meant it wasn’t always correctly lubed. I also lost my last spare sprocket when I lost my tooltube (Chapter 23) so running with an excessively worn front sprocket will have contributed to the chain wear. NOTE – 520 front sprockets need replacing every 6000km.
14/05/11 – The next (DID) 520 chain again only lasted 22,000km so I’ve decided to return to 525. As X-ring chains are now just a little more expensive than O-ring (in the UK at least) I’ve also decided to go X-ring. The change will also allow me to run what I think will be the optimum gearing for me 15:45. I’ll be using OEM front sprockets and a 45t rear from Kientech.
Sidestand – With the bike fully loaded the sidestand was too long causing the bike to sit precariously upright. I shortened the stand by cutting out a 25mm section and inserting a strengthening sleeve before welding it back together. I also added a larger ‘foot’ to better spread the load on soft ground.
26/08/10 – I should have lubricated the sidestand when it first started getting stiff but I didn’t. The result is that it has worn VERY quicky and now fouls the swingarm in the folded position. I need to fix this properly with a welder and a grinder but for now I’m using a bungy to hold it away from the swingarm.
02/01/11 – The stand was removed ad a bead ow weld was run along both the frame and the inside of the stand pivot. Once ground down the stand was back to normal.
Electrical System & Lighting
My DR came to me with the huge rear light assembly already replaced with one from a DR250 (OEM on Australian models), LED licence plate lights and smaller indicators from a Buell.
The wires on the LED’s disintegrated when I touched them and so I replaced them with a 6 LED panel.
Headlight – Not riding at night is one of the golden rules of overland travel by motorcycle and I avoid it most of the time. There have been occasions though where I’ve been caught out and where I would really have benefitted from better lighting. However, as these times are few and far between I didn’t want to spend any money on expensive additional/replacement lights. The solution (though I’ll have to wait to prove it) seems to have come simply and cheaply in the form of a simple relay circuit and a better bulb. The theory: The stock headlight circuit uses small gauge wire connected through the switch to supply the headlight. This modification uses the OEM wiring to switch one of two relays (1 High beam, 1 Low) which in turn connect the headlight direct to the battery via larger gauge wires and an inline fuse. This system reduces the voltage drop to 0.1v; a drop of 1.0v can equate to a 25% reduction in the headlights ‘output. I also added a Phillips X-Treme headlight bulb of the OEM rating 60/55w.
26/08/10 – I’ve ridden in the dark a few times over the past few months and have been very impressed with the mods so long as I keep the speed to 80km/h max.
02/01/11 – The Phillips headlight bulb (and the spare) both blew their dip beam filaments very quickly. I’m now using a 100/55W Heavy Duty bulb which has a thicker filament.
Switchgear – L/H – The OEM switchgear has no ‘OFF’ position so I replaced it with a KLS switch that does. It also has a blue LED on the top to indicate MAIN beam which is quite handy as I discarded the ‘idiot’ lights. It is also narrower than the OEM switchgear which made space for an independent mirror mount. I lost the OEM clutch mounting when I changed the lever (see Cockpit).
Auxiliary Power – Two waterproof fuses behind the R/H side panel protect both permanent and ignition feeds. The permanent (battery) feed supplies the Trailtech computer and the GPS. The GPS circuit also contains its own 1.5A fuse and an isolation switch with LED (as per my BMW). Those of you with a Garmin 276c will know that when it’s turned off it still displays the battery condition which puts quite a drain on the battery. The ignition feed supplies charge to my laptop (in the Pelicase), a BMW style power socket (for BMW heated vest), a cigarette socket (for iPod charging) and the heated grips. The charge circuit is also switched.
General – After checking for chaffing (nobody likes chaffing J ) and rerouting a few cables I cleaned every connector with electrical contact cleaner and re-assembled them with Di-Electric grease.
Main consul – The cockpit is dominated by the GPS unit mounted on a Touratech MvG mount (from my BMW). I wanted to mount it so I could see it whilst sitting and standing and doing so obscured the view of the Trailtech. To overcome this I made a bracket to mount the Trailtech to the MvG mount. As I use braceless handlebars, I also needed a mounting for the MvG. By using the OEM handlebar clamp bolts from my BMW (they have a female thread inside) I was able fabricate a mounting that included both power sockets, both isolation switches, the heated grip switch, iPod remote, GPS fuse and MvG mount.
01/02/11 – After my GPS packed up on my first day in Mexico I took it off and packed it in my luggage. Despite doing so the bracket I’d fabricated broke through vibration on the ‘Road of Stones’ (Chapter 24). I’m not sure whether I made it from to thin a gauge of steel or whether it was my inadequate welding skills that weakened it from the outset! I got it beefed up in Mexico City.
Clutch lever – The OEM Suzuki clutch lever has just one clamp bolt meaning removal involves sliding it off the handlebar, which in turn means cutting off the grip and removing the grip heater. As I have small hands I always use an adjustable span lever and so fitted an ASV F1 universal lever which has the more usual two bolt clamp for easy removal. Changing the lever meant losing the mirror mount, hence the addition of the dedicated one.
Screen – The screen is from Laminar and is for a Suzuki Speed King. I found a picture of it on ADVRider and it seems to be just the right size for what I want. I didn’t have much success with the supplied 3M DualLock mounts and so drilled the headlight cowl and fitted ‘Well nuts’ then used countersunk machine screws with black plastic screw cover to finish it off.
26/08/10 – The scree has provided great protection but generates some noisey turbulance. This may not affect a taller rider so much but I will experiment with some kind of ‘flip’ when I find some suitable material.
With the GPS tilted forward to where I wanted it, the screen sat too close to access the MvG key and also forced the brake hose to foul the GPS antenna. I made additional aluminium brackets to tilt the headlight cowl forward slightly (lower fixing remained untouched) gaining me sufficient clearance.
My short legs often lead to stupid crashes where a quick ‘dab’ would save the day for most riders. This is usually the case in water crossings and when the going gets slow and rocky thereby making the risk damaging a casing higher for me than most. To that end I’ve fitted ignition, clutch and oil filter housing covers. The bashplate on my BMW took a real beating so I opted for what seems to be regarded as the best available – the Australian made B & B Engineering.
Levers are protected by Cycra handguards and the ASV clutch lever is alleged to be ‘unbreakable’. It is designed to allow the lever to fold out as well as in.
Tools and Spares
Removing the seat on the DR for the first time was a revelation. Every fixing I could see used either a 10 or 12mm spanner or a screwdriver – far simpler than the multitude of tools needed to work on the BMW.
After exchanging a few emails with Tim Hobin (see previous chapters) and spending a while working on the bike I came up with the following toolkit. Replacing the sump plug bolt with one from the timing mark inspection hole was a great tip from Tim and ruled out the need to carry any 3/8” drive tools.
By proving I could break the bead of the rear tyre with just my riding boots and two tyre levers I eliminated the heavy clamp I had needed to carry on the BMW and with a ‘normal’ method of adjustment for the steering head bearings I also eliminated the special tool I’d made in Australia for the BMW.
The upshot of all this is that I’ve reduced my toolkit weight from 5.75kg on the BMW to 1,75kg on the DR.
Combination spanners 8/10/12/13/14
¼” Drive sockets 6/8/10/12/13/14 – 6mm for main jet
¼ Drive ratchet (Husky)
¼ Drive T bar
Allen Keys (Ball End) 2.5/3/4/5/6
Allen bits 8/10 (these came from ⅜ sockets and I cut them from the casings. They fit in an 8mm socket)
¼ Drive screwdriver bit holder
Bits for above – #2 & 3 Phillips , #2 & 3 Flat
Float bowl spanner (Motion Pro)
OEM front spindle spanner (19mm)
Combination tyre lever/24mm spanner for rear spindle (Motion Pro)
Sparkplug socket and bar (bar doubles as a punch)
Pin punch (cut down) for brake pads
4” Vice Grip
Soldering iron (uses lighter fluid)
Feeler gauges (stripped down selection)
Chain Tool (Ballards Australia)
Tyre pressure guage
Tube valve snake – again, small hands make poking the valve through the rim very hard so I’m going to
try one of these. The ‘handle’ incorporates a valve removal tool.
Toothbrush – chain cleaning
Cut-down filler for Scottoiler
Spares – After meeting many DR riders along the way I’ve decided to carry a very limited selection of spares. They include a gearbox output shaft seal, fork seals, a complete rear shock seal kit (kindly donated by Rick at Cogent Dynamics), fuses, headlight and taillight bulbs, front sprocket, chain links, front and rear inner tubes, MTB derailleur cable inner (will repair throttle or clutch cable) and screw-on cable ends, Scottoiler ‘injectors’, carburetor jets (for altitude change).
Consumables – JB Weld (Araldite), Quicksteel, Superglue, Loctite, anti-seize compound, solder, puncture repair kit (plenty of patches & glue), Schrader valves & caps, Duck tape, electrical insulation tape, electrical wire, Scotchbrite, emery cloth, a length of fuel hose, 2 x fuel hose clamps and a selection of nuts/bolts/washers, zip-ties.
Carrying all the above – One of my goals with the DR was to build a bike light enough to run on lightly sprung suspension that is a pleasure to ride unloaded as well as loaded – something the BMW wasn’t. To be confident riding the bike unloaded means that the bike has to carry all the tools/spares/consumables and NOT the luggage.
I first saw the ‘Agri Supply’ tooltube (used for storing the workshop manual on a tractor I believe) on the ADVRider website but it was too small for what wanted it for. Then, sometime over the winter, a saved search for DR parts on Ebay came up with the ‘Mega Tool Tube’, which with an internal diameter of 4¼” is the perfect fit for a rolled inner tube. I fabricated and welded two additional brackets to the R/H pannier frame for mounting the tube under the exhaust can. An additional bracket on the lid makes it lockable. The tube contains 2 x tubes, 1 x tyre lever (the other fouled on the spares tub), ¼” T-bar, toothbrush and the spares tub pictured below.
The toolkit fits inside the OEM tool bag inside the OEM tool tube along with the soldering iron, Scottoil filler and chain tool.
The pump mounts inside the L/H pannier frame (See Prop Stand in Miscellaneous below)
Quicksteel, Scotchbrite and emery cloth fits under the seat and a 125ml bottle of Scottoil fits in front of the airbox on top of the shock.
A length of fuel hose is zip-tied to the L/H subframe along with the tyre lever that wouldn’t fit in the tube.
Head and tail light bulbs are wrapped in bubble wrap and packed inside two ketchup bottles (tops cut off then one pushed inside the other so both ends are closed) and zip-tied in a ‘recess’ under the rear mudguard.
Still outstanding are the seal/jets kit and the nuts/bolts/washers (which are packed in an Altoids mints tin). Having run out of places to pack stuff they may have to live in my rucksack on day rides.
26/08/10 – When the exhaust fell off it melted a hole in the tooltube so I replaced it. The new evhaust system has the silencer sitting at a slightly different angle and prevented me from re-mounting the tooltube. I re-drilled the pannier frame mounted brackets so I could mount the tooltube lower down but that allowed the tooltube mounts to overhang them which meant they could flex. And flex they did until they broke a second tooltube. I need to find somewhere to fabricate some longer, thicker brackets and weld them to the pannier frames.
02/01/11 – My second tooltube broke its mountings and eventually fell off somewhere on the CDR (Chapter 23). It has been replaced by the aluminium one below.
Fixings – The screws in Japanese switchgear is notoriously soft and so I replaced them all with cap head bolts. I did the same with the cross head fixings on the ignition coil.
Brake Hose – Tilting the GPS forward to enable viewing whilst standing, caused the front brake hose to potentially ride up over the antenna and snap it off. A combination of altering the angle the brake hose attaches to the master cylinder, modifying the headlight cowl and re-positioning the top hose guide loop seems to have cured this.
Prop Stand – I didn’t want to fit a centre-stand to the bike so instead cut-down an adjustable length walking stick and fitted rubber feet to either end. It fits to the bike inside the R/H pannier frame with two ‘floating’ cigarette lighter socket mounting clips and a wrap around Velcro strap for extra security.
The pump fits in the same way inside the L/H pannier frame.
I think that about covers it but will add more if I think of anything. I’ll finish off with a final list of mods along with my working ‘To-Do’ list that those of you building DR’s may find useful. There are more photos in the Gallery under DR Preparation.
Modifications – front to rear
- Slot & tape wheel rims, fit HD inner tubes
- Strip forks, drill damper rods, fit emulators, make spacers to suit, fit new springs and oil, reassemble
- Strip and grease steering head bearings, reassemble, adjust and torque
- Fit fork legs, service brake calipers, fit stainless steel brake hose, modify headlight cowl for brake hose re-route, fit brackets to tilt cowl forward slightly.
- Fit handlebar risers, grip heaters, grips and make all necessary electrical connections
- Fit L/H switchgear and re-wire.
- Fit clutch lever, mirror mount, replace all switchgear screws with cap heads
- Fit GPS/Switchgear mount, fit switches and make necessary electrical connections
- Handguards – fit
- Fit headlight relays and route wiring. Replace headlight bulb
- Screen – fit
- Replace coil mounting screws
- Check all cables and wiring for chaffing – re-route as necessary
- Scottoiler – fit
- Safari tank – fit. Add inline fuel filters
- Aux fuel tap for stove
- Fit 14T front sprocket
- Engine guards
- Strip and clean carburetor. Note jet sizes. Re-route breather tubes
- Add washers to stiffen footrests
- Service engine – check valve clearances, replace sump plug with ignition inspection cover plug, change oil, fit washable stainless steel oil filter
- Clean and oil air filter
- Strip, clean, grease, reassemble rear suspension linkage and torque
- Strip, clean, grease rear brake pivot
- Fit rear shock
- Fit aux wiring fuses, make necessary connections and route wires to front and rear
- Fit rack, drill rear mudguard to suit
- Fit pannier frames (longer bolts & nyloc nuts), tool tube, pump and prop stand mounts.
- Make Q/R system for Pelicase
- Licence plate LED – fit and connect
- Clean and grease all electrical connections and switches
Fabrication list – front to rear
- Aluminium brackets to tilt headlight cowl forward
- Handlebar risers (Thanks to Mr.X and my previous employer J)
- GPS/Switch mounting plate
- Safari tank cross brace – weld
- Add spigot to oil cooler guard for bungy location – weld
- Aux fuel tap/bungy loop bracket
- Side Stand – shorten 25mm and add larger foot – weld
- Water container carriers – weld
- L/H pannier frame – add ‘guide’ loop for flat strap – weld
- R/H pannier frame. As above plus mountings for tool tube – weld
- Aluminium mounts for pump and prop-stand clips
- Removal ‘hoop’ for rack – weld
- Add ‘hoop’ mountings to rack – weld
- Bracket to lock tool tube
- Bike prop
Already completed by previous owner:
- Grind off header weld
- Fit better handlebars – ProTaper Evo (CR High bend)
- By-pass clutch and sidestand switches
- Loctite & lockwire NSU screws
- Fit Kehin 39mm FCR carb
- Fit GSXR exhaust can and fabricate stainless mid-pipe
- Cut-out airbox top
- Fit large footrests
- Replace rear light with DR250 unit
- Fit smaller indicators (from Buell)
If I’ve missed anything out let me know and I’ll add it.