Generally I am a Michelin guy, so I picked out some M12 XC tires based on a recommendation from a friend. I got a 130/80x18 rear, and it is a little smaller than other tires with the same numerical size. Seems perfect for this, not too much tire. We'll see.
On thing I did do was to put both tires in with Bib Mousses. I can tackle most work on a motorcycle excluding bottom ends, but I friggin hate changing tires. Since I will not be doing extended slab on this, I decided to sidestep the whole thing and use the Mousses.
On gearing, I am looking at it like a work in progress. I usually gear down, but in the case of the little XR, some people say that you should gear them up
. I looked at trans and final drive ratios, and sprocket gearing, and this seems to be true.
I initially figured I would both gear up, and try to slow chain speed also. Stock gearing is 13/48, or 3.69. I looked at various application charts, and decided to go with 14/49, or 3.5, a mild difference. Ordered up a popular branded front sprocket and a Renthal Alu carrier / steel ring rear. These are great for saving weight, yet still fairly strong:
These XRs will accept a 14T front, but fit is so tight, you have to modify the stock case guard. The stocker is so flimsy, it seems useless as it is, and grinding it can't help. Throwing chains through the cases is far, far too common, and where I live it can strand you and cause a serious pain in the ass. Additionally. I had decided to use an XRs only guard, but they do not make one for a 14T.
I do not want to have any chain, meet transmission issues, and had to have a good case protector more than 14/49 gearing. Reliability is key, and in the hands of the guy choosing and installing the parts. So basically, I set my 14/49 gearing on the shelf, and ordered a 13/45 (3.46) set from Supersprox:
gets blue Loctitite, especially sprocket bolts:
Sprocket w/XRs Only Guard:
Looking at this, I decided two more things: first, ANYTHING I can do to strengthen the guard and minimize the possibility of case damage, the better; and I don't want to suck the cuff of my over-the-boot pants into the chain. The stock guard would not fit, but I did some Dremeling on it:
cleaned it up with a wire wheel:
And got it to fit. I now have a stronger case protector, and it looks like stock:
Continuing on the theme of heading off issues before they happen, I added an IMS shifter. It does not function any better than the stocker, but the shape places it differently, and the thicker material makes it less likely to punch through the cases in a fall. You can see the PO already gouged the cases with the stock shift level, BTW. I will eventually make a reinforcement and attach it to the side cases somehow.