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Old 01-14-2015, 05:56 PM   #1
OfTheWind OP
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XRL-X Adventure Build

Well, here's another XRL build, Hope this turns out to be interesting for at least a few of you. This bike is being built for an upcoming RTW trip.(RR to be started shortly).

Long time lurker first time poster here so I'll give a little background. My name is Max, I'm 28 years old and I currently live in Atlanta, Ga. I am a Union First Assistant Cameraman(Focus Puller) for Film and Television, I have a degree in Psychology from Emory University(*cough waste of money *cough) and I have a light background in fabrication/all things mechanical mostly because my father was a goldsmith and big-time tool freak. Oh.. I'm also completely, utterly , clinically crazy about motorcycles. I've been in love with motorcycles for the last decade and the feeling just continues to get more intense, I love them, I currently have 11. No comment.

Anyways, I'm building and gearing up for a RTW trip that I've been planning/saving for/thinking about for about 2 years now. I'm on no particular schedule but I'm at the point where I'm finished with work(the benefits of working freelance) and am planning to leave around late february. My tastes in motorcycles tends to gravitate towards older air-cooled bikes and simplistic air-cooled modern stuff(I have 3 XS650's, a 99 Ducati Monster, 91 sportster and a 92 r100r with a sidecar). That said, when I started planning my RTW I knew a few things that dictated my choice of steed:

-I was going to be hitting dirt quite a lot and a DS bike was a must.
-I wanted something as simple and easy to work on as possible.
-I wanted a good world-wide dealer network.
-I wanted to completely go through whatever bike I took, I like to feel like I know a bike inside and out before I really take it out in the middle of nowhere.

So, long story short, I looked at just about everything from a 690R down to the wr250r and finally settled on the L after sitting on and looking at everything I could. I chose the L again because I love simple air-cooled bikes, and for less than the out the door cost of the 690R I could build it into whatever I wanted.

I started by picking up a nice barely used 2007 model from a gentleman not far from Atlanta who just used the bike as a farm bike(checking his fences etc.). I picked it up for what I feel was a good price($3400) as it only had 4500 miles on it. Since then I've sold off lots of the stock parts and my base cost for the bike is at about $2500 now, I expect it to be about $2000 once everything is gone. I've kept basically just the frame, motor, swingarm, rear shock and some various odds and ends as everything else will be replaced or built. The plan is to fix the problem areas of the factory bike, buy some blingy stuff just because and build my own luggage racks/subframe/battery box/airbox. There's just something about wrenching on bikes that is almost as enjoyable as riding them(almost) and I think there's nothing more exciting than taking a bike you've built on a long trip, so, here it goes. I'll try to be as picture intense as possible, I've been collecting and buying parts over quite a period so this might be a little all over the place until I catch up to the present.

Here's the bike when I first brought it home:

The PO had already done a couple of things like the IMS tank, the Q4 exhaust etc. Basically I stripped and sold everything.

This is roughly how it's currently sitting, the photo gives a little bit of where I'm at away. Guess I forgot to take a shot without the CRF forks and EMIG triples .


The bike basically sat like this for about 6 months, I was doing a TV show which in my industry is a long hard process with terrible hours and I just had no time to work on the bike. Not actually wrenching on the bike didn't keep me from buying all sorts of nonsense for it though. I called up Gary Emig(AKA nicest guy on earth) and had a long talk with him that concluded with me buying a full set of CRF conversion triple clamps in black, a revolution-II stabilizer and UTB mount for fat bars. Gary ended up making some CRF triples in an offset version and I accidentally got sent one of the offset top versions. Excellent customer service with Paige and Gary and they've taken care of everything, I'm just waiting on the proper top triple at the moment which Gary has at the anodizers so no pictures of the full setup on the bike ATM. Anyways, goodies started arriving.


Brand new 650T I scored on eBay for quite cheap.


New set of Mefo Explorers, Were on sale on Revzilla for 25% off on black friday.


Two boxes full of stuff for the bike. Two big orders from procycle and CRFsonly. So Far:
-Clark 4.7 in natural
-FCR41 from procycle
-XR's skid plate
-Oxford Heated grips
-fmf powerbomb header
-NGK iridium plug(found these to be great on my older bikes)
-Some spare cables
-03 CRF 450 forks in perfect condition from Ebay(only $110 shipped? what?)
-Trail tech vapor in black
-DID gold 520 super street ZVMX(apparently the longest lasting chain they make? not as light as the er series but more durable? gonna give it a shot.)
-Reusable brass spoke weights for rimlocks
-motion pro lite-loc rim locks
-powered cradle for the 650T
-04-05 rear brake master from a yamaha wr450f, I haven't seen anyone do this yet but it's a direct fit for the factory rear master mount and has an integrated Res.
-EBC 320mm supermoto rotor upgrade kit for crf wheel
-Titanium bolts for just about everything on the front end.
-Cycra supermoto fender
-Acerbis lower fork guards.
-2x6" LED headlight bar, basically rigid industries units.
-some stuff that I'm forgetting, more to come.



I originally bought a new front rim and new spokes for the stock hubs from RAD but over the holidays they had a sale going for a wheelset for basically $800 shipped, I couldn't resist and after calling them(Again, awesome customer service here, they basically just agreed to take my spoke kits and rim back right away) I had a full wheelset on the way.

I started to work on the bike/trip full time about 2 weeks ago, now we're approaching the present. I finished work around the holidays and promptly got super sick and didn't do anything for a few weeks, then the work began.

I started with cleaning out the workspace...
Before:

After:

Then I got distracted and rode this for a few days:


Then I got back to work. So, to start with: I'm ditching the factory battery box, airbox, rear fender, side plastics etc. Part of the build is also to significantly strengthen the L's weak rear subframe while everything else gets changed on it anyways. I started by cutting off most of the back of the subframe, the seat hoop, the lock, the mounts, the poor excuse for gusseting.

Then I went to work with the air sander and files until everything was nice and smooth and round again.

The factory used 3/4" tubing for the subframe area of the bike which is why the tubing looks so small and weak. This means though that 1" .120 wall DOM is a perfect slip fit over the clean factory tubing. I started by making my new tail loop. First things first, Pro-model 105 bender and new 1"D 4"CLR die. I turned a spacer for the follower on the lathe to keep it right at the perfect height.

I started by bending some much cheaper and thinner 1" ERW tubing as mock-up's to get a feel for how much kick-up and length I wanted. The factory downtubes on the L are not evenly placed front to back so you have to leave more length on the right side of the bike to evenly get the tubing to match up with the downtubes. I ended up doing 5 iterations in ERW before I came up with the design I bent in the .120 wall DOM.
No kick-up version:

Too much kick-up:

Offset leg issues, Can also see some prototype design for new gussets that will be added:

Lots of cheap steel, don't be afraid to throw stuff away:


So finally I got to a point where I was satisfied, leg lengths absolutely dead on and just the perfect amount of kick-up. This is the ERW prototype with exhaust on for mock-up:


I then went about cutting the perfect piece of DOM. I started with a pipe cutter and cut a piece 1/4" over my 30" overall length, then lathed it down to exactly 30" by cleaning up both ends to perfectly square and creating a very slight bell-mouthing on the inside lips to ease installation over the factory 3/4" tube. After this I completely polished the tube, I love working with clean metal and welding polished metal is really quite fun.

I cleaned and lubed up the bender and put the first bend in it, here you can see the offset in the legs:

and then the last two bends:



Well, I'm slightly farther along than this but for now I think I've been long-winded enough. You can expect pretty much regular daily updates as this thing is in full crunch-time mode. I'm currently waiting on a few parts to start on custom racks that are the next piece to the puzzle, Details to follow. Thanks for following along so far.

Also: Sorry about all the stupid iphone photos, New DSLR is being shopped for.
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Old 01-14-2015, 06:11 PM   #2
Ben99r1
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If I may suggest something. With all the miles you plan to do I would highly suggest a cush drive wheel. I think you will eat up bearing and seals and rear sprockets with the stock wheel.
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Old 01-14-2015, 06:43 PM   #3
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That looks like a great start! I have an XR that's been to the tip of South America and back and you might find some useful information in my brothers ride report in my signature. I'm in Atlanta as well, I'd love to meat and check out your bike if your up for it.
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Old 01-14-2015, 07:14 PM   #4
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I am in!
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Old 01-14-2015, 08:15 PM   #5
OfTheWind OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben99r1 View Post
If I may suggest something. With all the miles you plan to do I would highly suggest a cush drive wheel. I think you will eat up bearing and seals and rear sprockets with the stock wheel.
Thinking about it. I've already ordered wheels from RAD without and I may just run them. I've put 50+K on other bikes without cush hubs and never had a problem with my riding style so I think I may just go with it.


Quote:
That looks like a great start! I have an XR that's been to the tip of South America and back and you might find some useful information in my brothers ride report in my signature. I'm in Atlanta as well, I'd love to meat and check out your bike if your up for it.
Awesome, definitely, I am in and out of town right now but will let you know when I'm free a bit later.
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Old 01-14-2015, 08:21 PM   #6
Roland44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OfTheWind View Post
Thinking about it. I've already ordered wheels from RAD without and I may just run them. I've put 50+K on other bikes without cush hubs and never had a problem with my riding style so I think I may just go with it.
Sounds good. I think you should go for it.
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Old 01-14-2015, 08:33 PM   #7
OfTheWind OP
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Update:

So, some small progress as I wait on parts and things to arrive for the racks and other bits.

Battery wise:


As I mentioned before I have a few other bikes and projects and have tested out a few of the newer lithium based batteries available on the market. I've had 3 Ballistic batteries fail me(excellent customer service though) and one antigravity battery leave me stranded in key west(although it did get me to NS but I don't really consider that a success). Anyways, I decided for this bike that I wanted something dead proven reliable and that I was going to put an odyssey battery in it. Since the bike is being purpose built for solo use on my trip I plan to significantly cut down the seat area in a fashion sort of similar to how some of the earlier GS models look. The new battery/electrics box is going to fill in a lot of that area that used to be seat behind the rider and I think it'll have the benefit of getting all that water sensitive stuff slightly higher up on the bike itself and more importantly out of the way of everything. It'll be a full wiring harness build from the ground up so it'll also help me clean and organize everything on the bike neatly from front to back, plus I get to dick around building a fancy stainless battery box . Odyssey only makes a few sizes and I was toying around with the idea of running a slightly larger battery if they had something that makes sense size-wise(stock equivalent being the PC310) I started by making some cardboard mock-ups. I think based on the next size up being significantly bigger that I'll end up with the 310.

My pelican 1520's also came in today, shiny and new and 50% off at B&H right now:


And lastly the EBC 320mm supermoto rotor and bracket:
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Old 01-15-2015, 12:30 PM   #8
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Old 01-15-2015, 01:36 PM   #9
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Old 01-15-2015, 03:09 PM   #10
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Great start on your build and thanks for including us in it!
That bike that distracted you though... What a beauty!
We can easily see how that might happen often

Subbed! Cheers!
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Old 01-15-2015, 05:19 PM   #11
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Yah that bike that you where distracted with any info on that one?
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Old 01-15-2015, 07:11 PM   #12
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Scribed!

sub'd!
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Old 01-15-2015, 09:37 PM   #13
motowest
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so far so good - keep it coming!
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Old 01-15-2015, 11:04 PM   #14
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Nice build so far! Looking forward to updates.
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Old 01-17-2015, 09:32 PM   #15
OfTheWind OP
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Not much to report the last few days, I'm stalled for parts unfortunately, I'm hoping next week lots of stuff turns up. Waiting on a 3/4"D 2"CLR die set to show up so I can build the racks and hopefully the wheels will be here next week as well so I can finish the mock-up for the rear end.

I did get a small order in from bungking.com, great little business if you're fabricating even if you have a lathe or access to tooling. You just can't beat the quality/price/ease for the amount of time it would take me to machine all the bungs I'll need myself. Started by lining everything up side to side.:



Then I got out some heavy gauge steel to make some welding templates. Again the downtubes are uneven so the sides are slightly different. Started by tacking on the rear hoop and then used magnets(small high powered ones are great for little mock-ups in steel) to fool around with placement and positioning



Here you can see all the bungs sort of on the bike for mock-up, going to be using the factory passenger peg mounts for the lower mounts for the rack which is going to be 3/4" dom all the way around with a removable connection across the back of the bike connecting the two racks.




Quote:
Yah that bike that you where distracted with any info on that one?
1979 XS650 that I bought for $400 from a guy in Pennsylvania who had it in his garage for the last 25 years, this was like right before the big xs650 boom. It was a complete factory bike, had everything including the weird cruiser sized mags on it. Funny thing was, and I didn't know it at the time I bought it but the original Pennsylvania registration ended February 1986, the year and month that I was born and I'd hazard a guess that it hadn't been on the road since at least then. I've spent the last 6 or 7 years building it, riding it into the ground, rebuilding it, riding it into the ground, rebuilding it. I don't think anything from the original bike is left besides the frame(which was been really worked over), tank and some of the motor. it's a fun bike, I love it.
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