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Old 01-23-2011, 07:45 PM   #1
Greg@RME OP
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Greg's DR650 build thread

I was going to post the latest update in the DR650 thread, but figured I start my own thread here in Thumpers... hopefully this goes well.

My need was for a bike that could handle riding on and off road around Colorado and Utah, and beyond. I picked up a '07 DR650 from a fellow inmate in Kansas, the bike had been heavily farkeled for long distance riding. I had owned an '05 DR650 before picking this one up and really like the bike.

Here's how the '07 looked when I got it home-




Right away I changed a few minor things, swapped out the windshield for one from Screens for Bikes, put on a rear Dunlop 606 and a front Pirelli MT21, big bars with risers, a rear BBQ cargo rack, case savers, etc. Later on I added some Wolfman saddle bags for more gear hauling ability.





After riding the bike for awhile, I decided I wanted to get rid of the tubes. I didn't care for the idea of patching a tube in the middle of the desert, so I had to change some things. I accomplished 3 things; Setting up the rear with a 18" rim, adding the Neutech Tubliss setup to the front & rear and putting on a set of tires that should last a decent amount of time and be a better match for my riding.

I found a DR350 rim on craigslist from a guy that did a supermoto conversion on his 350 and he was selling his left overs. I picked up his 18" rim & spokes for $20! My plan was to tear down my 17" DR650 rear wheel and lace up the DR350 rim on my DR650 hub. I have never built a wheel before, so it was going to be quite the learning experience. I knew the DR350 and DR650 rear wheels were interchangeable, so I figured it wouldn't be too hard to make it work. I was a little wrong... it took a decent amount of effort. I ended up using the spokes from the 18" wheel on one side and the spokes from the 17" wheel on the other side. Weird, but it worked. Truing up the wheel was interesting, not super-fun, but I did it myself and felt good for accomplishing it! It was a good learning experience.

The Tubliss setup isn't available for 17" wheels yet, I've heard it should be available by the Summer of 2010, but I wanted to step up to the 18" wheel anyway, so I ordered the Tubliss for the 18" rear. I was concerned about the DR's 1.85" wide front rim, since the instructions say to use them on a 1.60" max width. I contacted Jeff at Neutech and he was kind enough to call and go over the details. Basically, they haven't gone thru the control testing for the wider rim, but plenty of people are running that combo. Sounds good to me... so I went for it. Mounting the Tubliss setup up took some care, I watched the tech video several times, then kept the instructions near by while I mounted them up. It wasn't that bad in the end.

Lastly was the new set of tires. I have been running a Dunlop 606 in the rear and a Pirelli MT21 in the front. They work well offroad, but with where I live, I do a lot of highway riding getting around the area and the tires just weren't lasting too long. I came to the realization that I could get by with a less-knobby set of tires. I decided on a front TKC80 and a rear Mefo Super Explorer. Hopefully I can get 5k miles out of this set.

After the first ride out with the new rim, Tubliss setup and new tires, I had some pretty bad vibes. The Tubliss locks have a pretty large rimlock that locates the tire valve stem and apparently it's heavy enough to throw off the balance quite a bit. It was rideable, but the vibes were quite visible. I unbolted the tires and hauled them down to the local motorcycle shop to balance them. Between the front & rear the rims took 6 ounces!!! Much better now... smooth as could be.

The tires are decent offroad, of course the rear tire is easier to step out under throttle on a packed dirt/gravel road, but being able to run lower pressures and not worry about tubes is pretty damn nice. I added some tire sealant to seal up small holes and tossed on a plug kit, just in case the sealant won't do the job.

Here's some pics from a quick afternoon ride to test the new setup out.-










After a long ride in the Utah & Colorado desert (Link- Moab to Fruita to Moab).... I LOVE the Tubliss product! After getting a flat tire miles from anywhere, I was able to plug the hole, pump the tire up and keep riding with minimal downtime. From beginning to end, we were stopped for less than 10 minutes. Much better than pulling the rim & tire off the bike, spooning off the tire, pulling the tube, patching or replacing the tube, then putting the whole thing back together. The price of the Tubliss system paid for itself right then and there.

My front tire is a TKC80. We had been riding up a very rocky trail, in the Dolores Triangle of Utah/Colorado, if you're familiar with the area. After a few hits, bumping my big bike up some rocky ledges, the front tire lost all it's air. I could still ride on it, since the Tubliss kept the beads locked on the rim, but it was sloppy going.

At first I thought I had tore up the sidewall, but after checking the tire over, the sidewall looked fine. I couldn't find the damage, so out came the bicycle hand-pump. After putting some air into the tire, we found the hole... it was between 2 lugs, towards the outside of the tread.

I broke out the plug kit and went to town. Due to my excitement, the first couple plugs didn't stay in. Finally I got one to take and pumped up the tire... it held air, no leaks to be found! We put the tools away and were back on the trail in no time.

Here's some pics from the event...








Greg@RME screwed with this post 06-24-2011 at 06:19 PM
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Old 01-23-2011, 07:49 PM   #2
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Over the last couple months, I've been working on the next step in building my ideal bike. My biggest issue with the DR650 was the front forks, even with the heaviest springs, I would still bottom out the forks on rough riding. One of the last rides had me bottoming out the forks way too many times and it didn't feel good! I had a pair of Intiminators, but decided to skip them and go for the big upgrade!

I swapped on a set of RMZ450 forks, a TrailTech Vapor and Highway Dirt Bikes hand guards with push-button ignition, LED lights, fold-out mirrors and Vapor Aluminum dash. I've gotta say thanks to the business that helped out, ProCycle and Highway Dirt Bikes. Paul at HDB makes the best set of hand guards in the world, hands down. He really put some time and thought into his parts and it shows!

I decided to pass up the factory ignition switch since the fork lock would no longer work with the RMZ forks. The fact that I disassembled the ignition switch too far, when taking it off the DR650 upper triple clamp, and couldn't put it back together was another reason for something different. After getting rid of the ignition switch and wired up the push-button ignition, I had issues getting spark and I couldn't figure it out. The bike turned over and everything else had power like it should, just no spark while being turned over.

After asking on ThumperTalk, a couple of guys mentioned that there is a needed resistor if you're going to replace the key switch with a push-button ignition switch. With a little tinkering, I found I needed one resistor... a 20 cent part at Radio Shack.

This is the wiring that goes to the ignition switch, the plug sits under the tank and over the engine. The needed resistor is a 100 ohm ¼ watt 5% resistor between the Orange/Yellow and the Black/White. I tied the Brown & Gray together, then put a switch between the Red & Orange, which go to the main power switch. I soldered all the connections, then covered them with heat shrink tubing and put the stock wiring sleeve back over everything. The ignition now works like it should!


Here's some pics of what I did.-










And first ride out, with new RMZ forks, Highway Dirt Bike guards and TrailTech Vapor!












Everything went well, until the cheesy zip ties securing the front brake line to the fork guard broke! The zip ties were temporary, but in the excitement to ride, I forgot about them. The brake line was dragging the knobs on the front tire, so I limped it back home. I've already purchased the proper brake line clamp, hope to have it by the end of the week.

Even though the ride was short, I was impressed with the change to the RMZ forks. Seems like they held my weight better (220 lbs) and were much more predictable on bumps, seemed like the forks didn't move nearly as much as the factory DR forks with heavy springs. I can't wait until the desert dries up and I can really try out the upgraded suspension!

I'm still running the RMZ wheel and tire, so eventually I'll need to swap the Tubliss setup and the Dunlop from the old DR650 wheel to the RMZ wheel. I added some 2" Rox bar risers and it's a noticeable difference, my bars are Woods bend (high & narrow), so combined with the Rox Risers, the bars sit pretty high. Riding around while sitting down it's a change, but not a bad thing. Offroad while standing up is where the added height really shines, I can actually stand close to straight up and down, yet have my elbows bent to absorb the bumps. Pretty decent for a guy that's 6' 4"!

There is still some final tweaking to do, but I'm very happy with the RMZ forks and the other parts that were involved.

Greg@RME screwed with this post 01-24-2011 at 08:07 PM
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Old 01-23-2011, 08:19 PM   #3
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nice bike! You got me reconsidering my forks, handguards, and mirror setup
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Old 01-23-2011, 10:08 PM   #4
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Cool, another DR build thread. Neat to see what others are up to. Tubliss is cool, but theres a limit to the size hole you can plug. In Alaska we saw 2 bikes that slashed tyres badly on the Dalton Highway, beyond what plugs could fix. Spare tubes would have got them out of the
How do you like the fairing. ?
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Old 01-23-2011, 11:40 PM   #5
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are you finding your western rides are needing more range than the 5gal ims would provide? you've got 8gal with that tank. i wonder how heavy it rides full.
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:28 AM   #6
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Since the RMZ rotor is 40 or 50 mm smaller in diameter.. What about the braking power? Do you feel much of a change?
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:17 AM   #7
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That's a slick looking setup you have there.
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:38 AM   #8
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I have had plans of buying a DR650 and doing exactly what you have done , great work , does the rear shock stand up OK with the new front end ?

x 10 on Paul's work at Highway Dirt Bikes , excellent stuff . He is also very good at picking his bike up all day long .
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 514Advrider View Post
Since the RMZ rotor is 40 or 50 mm smaller in diameter.. What about the braking power? Do you feel much of a change?
I'm interested in this also... any more detailed info on the fork swap with regards to which bike's stem and upper/lower bearings were used to achieve this?
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Old 01-24-2011, 12:50 PM   #10
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Thats a sweet looking DR, nice job! I have been contemplating the tubeless tire solution, although im not sure if Tubliss is the way to go, yet. I don't like the idea of putting on an 18" rear wheel on mine, as it raises up the back, which requires me to raise the front, leaving the bike a bit too tall for my comfort, one of the reasons i went with the DR and not the KTM. It also adds that much more weight, and you need to pack a tube anyways, just in case (ask me how i know ) Finally, how well do they hold up to 90% highway driving for a world travel bike? Have you seen the tubeless spoked rims on the new Yamaha SuperTenere?
I think i'm going to get another set of Sun rims, the ones with the safety bead, and try sealing off the spoke heads mith marine sealant. This has worked successfully with others, and in the event of a failure, you can stick in a tube. I do like the fact that you can run low pressures with the Tubliss, but this becomes irrelevant when you start carrying luggage. This trail in Baja nearly destroyed the buttery Behr rim i have now.
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Old 01-24-2011, 06:56 PM   #11
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Sweet project. We're almost neighbors as I'm in GJ.

I'm on an old 1991 DR650 until I figure out what I want for my next bike.
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Old 01-24-2011, 07:15 PM   #12
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Wow...love that dash!
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Old 01-24-2011, 07:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WEEGEE View Post
nice bike! You got me reconsidering my forks, handguards, and mirror setup
Thanks! Glad I could help confuse you! I'm pretty happy with the outcome so far, it seems to be a good setup.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Phreaky Phil View Post
Cool, another DR build thread. Neat to see what others are up to. Tubliss is cool, but theres a limit to the size hole you can plug. In Alaska we saw 2 bikes that slashed tyres badly on the Dalton Highway, beyond what plugs could fix. Spare tubes would have got them out of the
How do you like the fairing. ?
I'm not against packing around a tube, just in case. It's always good to have a backup plan. So far all I have had to deal with were regular old holes in tubes & tires. Plugging a tire is pretty nice, compared to the other option.

I really like the fairing, it's small enough that it really doesn't get in the way while off-road, yet it takes the wind off my chest & shoulders while riding the highway. I have fresh air at my chin, but minimal buffeting.


Quote:
Originally Posted by eakins View Post
are you finding your western rides are needing more range than the 5gal ims would provide? you've got 8gal with that tank. i wonder how heavy it rides full.
I really think the Safari tank is overkill for most riding in the States, but there have been a time or 2 where I had ridden well over 200 miles since the last fuel and knowing that I could ride at least another 150 was pretty comforting. At one point in a ride last Fall, I already had 200 miles on the tank and ended up getting a bit lost, in a big place (the Bookcliffs). I back-tracked several times, covering a lot of ground. If I had an IMS tank I probably would have ran out of fuel up there and that would have been pretty bad.

When the Safari tank is full it's heavy, but it's really not as bad as you'd think. I think the weight actually adds stability, unless you're going slow and you begin to loose the bike sideways! Then, the bike can be pretty hard to recover and keep up right.

Even then, I have considered buying an IMS tank for most riding, then change to the Safari tank when needed. I'm not sure I'll ever do it, because a half-full Safari tank keeps the fuel pretty low. I do like how the Safari tank acts as a bit of a fairing...


Quote:
Originally Posted by 514Advrider View Post
Since the RMZ rotor is 40 or 50 mm smaller in diameter.. What about the braking power? Do you feel much of a change?
Yes, there is a pretty substantial change in braking... unfortunately. I really liked the front brakes of the DR, I thought it had pretty good control and stopping power. I'd dare say that you have to increase lever pressure by 40% or more to stop the bike with the RMZ rotor versus the DR rotor. I'm sure I could upgrade to a supermoto rotor, but that seems like it would be way too much and a huge rotor would get in the way off-road.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
That's a slick looking setup you have there.
Thanks Keith! I do think the RMZ forks really sexy-up the front end! Hopefully they work as good as they look!


Quote:
Originally Posted by shearboy2004 View Post
I have had plans of buying a DR650 and doing exactly what you have done , great work , does the rear shock stand up OK with the new front end ?

x 10 on Paul's work at Highway Dirt Bikes , excellent stuff . He is also very good at picking his bike up all day long .
I wish I could tell you how the front compares to the rear, but I just buttoned up the bike yesterday and only took it out for a short time. I need some good off-road riding time to come to any conclusion... no worries though, I'll follow up here! The rear has a heavy 8.4 spring and I think the spring is close, but I'm concerned the rear shock won't keep up with the RMZ forks.



Quote:
Originally Posted by GISdood View Post
I'm interested in this also... any more detailed info on the fork swap with regards to which bike's stem and upper/lower bearings were used to achieve this?
I'm going to put together a detailed post in this thread just about the RMZ fork swap, with a parts list and part numbers. I'll start working on it tonight and try to get it posted soon. It may be a work in progress over the next day or 2.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Seida View Post
Thats a sweet looking DR, nice job! I have been contemplating the tubeless tire solution, although im not sure if Tubliss is the way to go, yet. I don't like the idea of putting on an 18" rear wheel on mine, as it raises up the back, which requires me to raise the front, leaving the bike a bit too tall for my comfort, one of the reasons i went with the DR and not the KTM. It also adds that much more weight, and you need to pack a tube anyways, just in case (ask me how i know ) Finally, how well do they hold up to 90% highway driving for a world travel bike? Have you seen the tubeless spoked rims on the new Yamaha SuperTenere?

I think i'm going to get another set of Sun rims, the ones with the safety bead, and try sealing off the spoke heads mith marine sealant. This has worked successfully with others, and in the event of a failure, you can stick in a tube. I do like the fact that you can run low pressures with the Tubliss, but this becomes irrelevant when you start carrying luggage. This trail in Baja nearly destroyed the buttery Behr rim i have now.
Thanks Ron, your DR build was a pretty big influence for me. I love what you did, looks like Suzuki should have built it that way from the factory!

The Tubliss has been pretty good to me, but it's far from the perfect setup. It does require checking the pressure of the locking tube each day, and usually adding air every other day or so. It's far from maintenance free, but I'm happy with it at this point. I do need to pack around a spare tube, in case things get real bad. I think it would be good for a world traveling bike, as long as you understood what was involved to maintain the air pressure and had a backup tube.

I don't mind a taller bike, tall is good for me. I still need to lower the foot pegs and still might send my Corbin in to add an inch of height. I've got long legs though, so the DR does feel pretty compact to me.

I haven't seen the SuperTenere wheel, looks neat!

I have hammered my heavy bike up on the Dolores Triangle on the UT/CO border and it has hundreds of sharp, rocks and ledges for miles. It's rough... I flatted a front tire tire with a tube and with the Tubliss and fixing it was much easier with the Tubliss. That's about where I am right now, it works for me and at this point, I'm pleased with it. Being able to air down low is great, especially with the Mefo Super Explorer, which likes to spin out.

Oh... I'm not sure I can see the trail you're talking about in that last pic.... Crazy!

Greg@RME screwed with this post 01-24-2011 at 08:35 PM
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Old 01-24-2011, 07:58 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by motoracer51 View Post
Sweet project. We're almost neighbors as I'm in GJ.

I'm on an old 1991 DR650 until I figure out what I want for my next bike.
Cool! I dig living here, the DR seems like a great bike for the Western Slope and beyond! I know the older DR's are heavier than the newer ones, but from what I understand they're both fairly similar.


Quote:
Originally Posted by foxfire View Post
Wow...love that dash!
It looks much better than the stock speedo and ignition switch. The LED's are the icing on the cake, they tie it all in. Thanks to HDB for putting it together and making it all work with the Vapor!

I also wired up a headlight kill switch as part of the dash, so I can shut off the headlight while starting the bike. The button on the right kills the headlight. I have 2 more switches I can use, plus the 2 Powerlet holes that can be filled.

Greg@RME screwed with this post 01-24-2011 at 08:08 PM
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:57 PM   #15
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Are you running the RMZ or DR front caliper on your DR. I'm using the DR caliper and master cylinder with my DRZ400 forks on my 650 and was surprised how good it is even with the small rotor. The DR master cylinder has a 1/2" piston compared to the DRZ's 11mm. this may make a difference. Im not sure about the piston sizes in the caliper. I was expecting the brake to be rubbish with the small rotor and altough I will change it, its not an urgent priority. I'm not sure what they make for the RMZ, but for the DRZ you can get a 280mm EBC and 320mm conversions. I think the 280mm will be big enough
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