Before we get started, I was digging through my smugmug and came across another set of pics of the bikes, from a trip I took to Dumont Dunes in 2006. I'll keep sprinkling them in as appropriate, but here's a few that I thought were neat:
As I work on the rebuild, it's been cool to have been around these things pretty much from the moment of conception.
Before we can get into the build, the starting point is what we're after. GP and I had discussed this over a
long candlelit dinner
manly beer, and come to the same conclusion.
The strengths of this bike are that it's reliable, lightweight, has a ton of gas without losing it's balance and composure, is comfortable, and cool as hell. Neither of us want a mantlepiece, so we're not after a rebuild to original spec to freeze the bike in time at it's moment of glory. Rather, we both think these things will be outstanding bikes to tour the backcountry with, in all likelyhood south of the border where gas matters.
To that end, there were some admitted shortcomings in the original bikes that we aren't going to repeat, probably the biggest of these being the skidplates, which were a last minute "we're out of time so this will have to work" type of affair.
The chassis is pretty straightforward- they raced with 660 front ends but those are unobtainable so we're going with stock RFS stuff. Otherwise, they were well sorted and we'll just going to use what's there.
The engine presents a lot of options. After extensive research, we both decided that the most desireable option would be a stroked 525, for 552 in displacement. This will make a torquey motor that will happily pull tall gearing and lope along at 70mph, but without the questionmarks that the big bore motors carry with them (which need revs to breathe, which is where RFS motors go to die). Unfortunately, KTM stopped making the cranks needed- More on that later.
Our approach is the same, too. Get the thing back together and running, then piece by piece address shortcomings or updates.
To that end, here has been my shop for the last month:
I had lofty goals of having a running bike when Gaspipe arrived. Clearly, that was not to be.