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Old 02-02-2011, 06:42 PM   #1
Wattner OP
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Joined: Oct 2003
Location: Treasure Coast, Florida
Oddometer: 5,490
"L" Build for fun

I have been contemplating my next bike for quite awhile. I want a bike that can go long distance comfortably with the ability to still hit the trails and offroad. I have a KTM 525 with a lot of goodies, and have ridden the bike on many multi-day, yet dirt oriented rides. I have no problem riding for 12-15 hours and am still quite comfortable at the end of a ride.... When I get on the road for extended periods, I am always thinking about my 650L. I had a few BMW GS's and while they are fantastic for long distance, anytime I would get offroad, I would once again think about the "L". The shortcomings of the "L" are the seat (For multiple 10+ hour days anyway), the stock suspension leaves a lot to be desired, they are WAY down on power stock and the lighting is not too great.

What I LOVE about the "L" is the old school, air cooled true thumper. Massive torque and the sound they make simply cannot be beat in my opinion. I have had several in the past and have either had them built, or built them myself with big-bore, high compression, reworked or aftermarket suspension, etc, etc... I am guessing I have well over 30k miles on "L"s with a lot of riding in Mexico.

With all of that being said, I considered a KTM 690, had a LC4 640 for a week (what an underpowered, undersuspended paint shaker that was...), I looked at the 950 SE, Husky 630, BMW 650's, Honda XRR, Triumph, etc, etc.... Every bike either was too heavy or simply did not stir me.

Enter the "L" again. It really is the platform I wanted to start with, so I began looking for a low mileage bike.. I found one from an inmate with 800+ miles, the price was right, so the deal was done.

In my decision, I felt that I would go ahead and get it just the way I want it.... Huge-Bore, add the NX second and fifth gears, and go full on for the rest of the build. I have spoken with Shawn (CycleWizard) and was most impressed with his knowledge and ability with the air cooled motors. We both have a passion and love for them, he actually makes the pistons, has ground cams, made one off parts, makes the sleeves and sells huge bore kits for the "L"...

After a few conversations with him, I kinda gave him the reins to build a high compression, giant bore, long stroke motor with every goodie we could find. He is actually contemplating making roller rockers, which would ease my concern with an aftermarket cam. I have had several from Mega-Cycle and WebCams go south. I always suspected the difference in hardening between the rockers and the cam, so rollers will solve that! I have an HRC cam in another "L" and really like the cam, but I cannot locate another so that is off the table. Shawn convinced me to go with a slightly modified version over stock, but staying away from the radical race grinds. We will get our power from the stroked crank, high compression and massive bore.

Add some Kibblewhite Stainless valves, springs and Titanium retainers and the top end is happy. He has made the piston, a custom crank to 84mm., welded up the crank pin holes, is making a new pin and will bore to fit, has made the sleeve, ported the head and will bench flow to get it spot on, etc. He is now removing all of the casting flash and will radius and polish the inside of the cases and will shave the flywheel to get some of the mass off for faster rev's. We will end up with a 742cc firebreather!

I have ordered the NX 650 second gear to close the gap between first and second and then the NX 5th gear to add the taller gear on top, kind of an overdrive.

Add a new XR's only exhaust, extend the clutch actuation arm (by 3/8" to ease the pull..), heavy clutch springs and a Mikuni 42 mm Pumper and the motor is about complete.

Shawn added several frame gussets from some photos I had sent him and the frame is off at the powdercoater getting a Jet Aluminum coat and will be all polished as well, which should look nice and clean up pretty easily. The side cases will be powdercoated as well with a finish that will clean up nicely, color yet to be determined...

I ordered a new set of CRF forks, RSW clamps with a Scott's damper mount, some Highway Dirtbike handguards, top clamp and desert high bend pro-tapers that are tapped and ready to go.

I am sending my Ohlins rear shock off to Dan Kyle to have him go through it, freshen it up and get her like new. I also bought CR Stuff oversized brake rotor and caliper mount, a set of RAD wheels with red hubs, giant Stainless spokes and black rims... the rear hub is cush as well to assist in longevity of the motor...The front tire will be a MotoZ Enduro and the rear will be Mefo explorer in a 150 width.

For the lighting duties, we will begin with a CRFX rear fender with LED's, LED's in the blinkers (along with diodes to correct the draw), a license plate frame that is LED and a device from Kissan that will allow the blinkers to operate as running lights with auto-cancel.

For the front lighting, we added the LED's to the blinkers (That will operate as running lights as well...), a Cyclop's Halogen Headlight in a Trailtech 8" racelight frame (the reason I went halogen instead of HID is to have instant brights...) and a set of 24 watt LED lights from Sanjoh with dimmers.

I am going with a set of mirrors from Neduro and an oilcooler from GSMark (both inmates here..) and a seat concepts seat.

There are some things that I still need to order and have missed here, but will update as CW gets me the info and pictures to post.

I know, I know... Why spend that much and put all of this effort into a platform as old as the "L".... Simple, because I want to! In the end, I feel I will have a bike that will suit many needs, have the suspension, comfort, motor and be set up for what I want to do...

There will be tweaks here and there to get it all dialed in, but let the fun begin!!!!

I want to thank CW for his desire and ability to get this bike together. I have built many bikes and I feel his experience will trump my ability. He is in the business to build bikes, so please get in touch with him for products and service. He is a great guy!!!!!

Here are a few pictures and links to some of the stuff I am using:
The shop (not house... this is his shop!):

The Master at work:

Some gussets to the frame:

The new slug CW made:Photobucket

Look at that baby sitting on top of the stocker!!!!

Table full of goodies:Photobucket

The wheels:Photobucket


Mirrors and other stuff:

Oil cooler:Photobucket


Front Rotor:Photobucket

Clarke Tank (not TOO fond of it, we'll see what I end up with...)Photobucket


A few links (I'll add more...)

RSW Racing for clamps:


Rad Wheels:

CRF Stuff (Front Brakes):



Sanjoh LED Aux.Lights:

MEFO Rear tire:

MotoZ Front:

Seat Concepts:

Oil Cooler:

I'll add more as we go! I am STOKED!!!!!!

Wattner screwed with this post 02-02-2011 at 07:45 PM
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Old 02-02-2011, 06:47 PM   #2
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Aug 2007
Location: Quakertown, PA
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This is gonna be amazing. What a great project!
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Old 02-02-2011, 06:58 PM   #3
Motorcycle Operator
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Joined: Mar 2007
Location: Medford, MA
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Originally Posted by worldrider555 View Post
This is gonna be amazing. What a great project!

I like where this is going!!
2008 WR250R
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Old 02-02-2011, 07:01 PM   #4
earthbound misfit, I
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Location: Kansas City
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Old 02-02-2011, 07:05 PM   #5
my name is Rob
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Old 02-02-2011, 07:21 PM   #6
Not in the clique...
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: South Central Texas
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Originally Posted by brothermosley View Post
...I like where this is going!!

I don't...yet another motorcycle I will dream about, but will never have. I'm already drooling over post #1.

Wattner, this is going to be awesome! I would say something mean, but you would see right thru it...straight to the jealousy.

I spent all my money on motorcycles, 4X4's, whiskey, and women...The rest I just wasted. (edited to fit/original phrase by "WIBO")

"There's a WEALTH of cool people and knowledge on ADV, there's also a decent sized pocket of douche bag assholes that think their ADV forum Post Count (Oddometer) is their badge at being experienced riders." goodcat8
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Old 02-02-2011, 07:22 PM   #7
Butler Maps
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Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
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nice man cave!!!
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:18 PM   #8
looking for bionics
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Joined: Aug 2009
Location: border of granite & flats
Oddometer: 715
N i c e......c o o l

Now if I had a big bucket of disposable cash.........

I like your choices. If you can bring yourself to reveal the costs, I sure would like to know how much to subtract from my retirement account to do a similar build.

Are you gonna add in a minisquirt later?
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Old 02-03-2011, 03:16 AM   #9
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Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Bolton, ON
Oddometer: 823
This is going to be GOOD!!
2001 XR650L - Done for now...!!

Pics: Adventure setup, SUMO setup, Dirt setup
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Old 02-03-2011, 04:27 AM   #10
Wattner OP
Beastly Adventurer
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Joined: Oct 2003
Location: Treasure Coast, Florida
Oddometer: 5,490
Bike $2,200.00
Build labor $ ?????$
Tires/wheels $1,500.00
Rest of the stuff, gheeeesss ummm, uhhhh, I have not added it up. I will guess around 8k total, then I have sold the shock, forks, stock wheels and a few other goodies for several hundred. I am guessing it will end up costing me a little over 7K.

I am not going to attempt to justify it, but it will be exactly what I want and what Honda should have built. It will still be a carburated, air cooled, full on Thumper that I can work on trailside and should last a long, long time!!! (My current "L" is a '94 and is about as clean as you can get)

I am planning a Colorado trip this summer and a trip through the Carolinas, Georgia, and beyond this spring. The old bike may find itself on a boat real soon to Mexico. It will stay there or South for a fly and ride

Originally Posted by Ghost_Mutant View Post
Now if I had a big bucket of disposable cash.........

I like your choices. If you can bring yourself to reveal the costs, I sure would like to know how much to subtract from my retirement account to do a similar build.

Are you gonna add in a minisquirt later?

Wattner screwed with this post 04-15-2012 at 09:43 AM
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:16 AM   #11
Enjoying my last V8
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Joined: Apr 2008
Location: Cypress, Tx
Oddometer: 7,284
Looks like a cool project. Man, you must have cleaned up on a resto job to get the loot for this!!! LOL
Good luck.
I think; you will need more cam. A radical race cam for a 650 will be a mid range cam in a 742CC motor.
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:34 AM   #12
One day closer...
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Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Austin, TX
Oddometer: 1,215

Hey Mike,

On the mirrors, did you get the 2 or 3 inch bracket?

2007 Honda XR650L
Dirt Roads within a 100 mile radius of Austin, TX
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Old 02-03-2011, 06:06 AM   #13
Joined: Jun 2008
Location: Steamboat, CO
Oddometer: 252
Looking forward to following this

I'm thinking of upgrading my lighting also, Are you going to use hard or soft bags for your gear?

The wheels are very nice. I gotta start saving my pennies.
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Old 02-03-2011, 06:30 AM   #14
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Joined: Oct 2008
Location: Prescott AZ
Oddometer: 4,152
Don't over look the RevLoc auto ciutch
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Old 02-03-2011, 06:54 AM   #15
bout a dollar 3.98
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Joined: Jul 2010
Location: Texas Gulf Coast
Oddometer: 3,563
cool project

Subscribed, Got my eye on this 1, I'm jealous,

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