Siberia/Mongolia/stans 2020. Gotta get my bike ready to ride!

Discussion in 'Technical & Maintenance' started by skibum69, Nov 5, 2019.

  1. skibum69

    skibum69 Well-Known Member

    So...first off I'll blame Bob for this thread and the RR that should follow as he's the one who put me up to starting these threads for a little something different.

    How this story began. RTWPaul and EvergreenE stopped in here for a week a couple of summers ago when they were still together touring around on their DR650's. We had a fun time and I really enjoyed meeting the man behind the RR's I'd been reading on ADV for years. Really good guy who lives on his bike, literally, and has many stories to tell.

    Time moves on and about a year ago Egle and Paul split up while in South America so Paul's plans changed...again. He started dreaming big and planning a massive offroad route around the world. In one of my conversations with me he told me he was heading back to Siberia as the last time he tried it was under water from severe flooding. He asked me if I wanted to join him for that trek. Hmmmm...let me think about that. For about a minute!

    Here we are many months later and I'm pretty much committed despite my financiial situation, when the hell is this opportunity going to come around again?

    His next step was to change bikes again as he wanted something more dirt capable and lighter for the next round of adventuring, he decided to go with a KTM 500EXC as there are a couple of guys already out there doing RTW style riding on them proving they are up to the task. That's cool by me as my 525 is basically just an earlier version and mine still has very few KM's on it.

    My '07 525XCW was built for the '08 Dakar but that was the one they cancelled. The bike went to Lisbon but was never raced so almost no miles on it. It has spent too much time in the shop so even now I doubt there's 2000 km's on it. This 6 speed machine is fun as shit and will wheelie in 3rd gear!

    How I got it, ready to race!

    Paul knows bikes! He used to have a custom bike building shop in Vegas, I've seen some pics and they were pretty cool if you like that sort of thing. He has done numerous builds for various applications and on his 3rd trip around the world he knows how to build them for the long haul. Makes things a lot easier for me as I'm just mimicking his build to get mine set up for the run.

    He sent me his list of build bits and I already had quite a few mods but there's still plenty to go. If you're interested in what he did to get his ready check out his build thread. He also has a current RTW RR up on ADV.

    Here's my blank slate, a little more blank then I'd like at the moment.
    Current setup, what's wrong with this picture?

    The tank is an MDX but not big enough, I think I'll be looking for the 25l Ascerbis super tanker.

    I was draining the oils to pull the clutch and three very little ball bearings and a piece of race came out. Damn!

    Keith at the Toy Box and I examined the parts diagrams and could not find that bearing anywhere! A chat with a 525 guy in Vegas put me onto the water pump. I have a new one coming in the mail. In preparation...

    A side benefit to pulling this lump out is that it will be much easier to learn how to adjust my valves. I managed to put my 640 motor back in and get running so I think I can do this one too.:p

    A Pro Moto Billet side stand was on the list, got that covered.
    billet clutch cover, it was ready to go on my bike for Dakar but didn't

    Not on Paul's list but I already had these CJ Designs light mounts. I have a set of Twisted Throttle D1 lights that were on my 640 which I may put on here. We're not planning to be riding at night but shit happens.

    To be continued...
  2. Bob

    Bob Active Member

    Thanks Mike, nothing like a good build thread to keep us happy as the off season approaches. It seems the smaller bikes are getting the nod for certain types of RTW rides again. IIRC Austin Vince and the Mondo Enduro guys had 350 Suzukis
    ( ) but the majority of rides seem to have ranged from 650cc and up since then.
    You tapped into a good mentor for sure but you still got to do the wrenching yourself. Thanks again for agreeing to share your build with us. Lotsa questions to follow...
  3. skibum69

    skibum69 Well-Known Member

    I read the book Mondo Enduro but have yet to get the video which I do want to do one of these days. I’ve talked to his famous wife Lois Price on email and her books are good reading too. They have an open offer to come visit us here.:p
    Bob likes this.
  4. TonisToo

    TonisToo Active Member

    Bravo Mike, looking forward to following your adventures.
  5. Bob

    Bob Active Member

    Assuming this bike's suspension, steering damper, rims, tires, tubes, running gear, exhaust and seat are already rally/race spec and is good gear for long, rough heavily loaded touring?
    Looks like you're starting with a valve adjustment and addressing your nemesis... the water pump?
  6. skibum69

    skibum69 Well-Known Member

    Ok, so Bob pops up the suspension question. Yes mine was tuned by Super Plush for Dakar for a rider almost exactly the same weight as me so I haven’t touched it since. And yes plush is the word as it is set up pretty soft for initial stroke. It rides super nice as is. And they’re dead sexy!:p
    That is one serious sized spring!
    Rad guards were on Paul’s list.
    My replacement rads were a lovely pair of Fluidynes amd last I contacted them to see about getting some bling aluminum guard they told me they’d stopped making MC rads due to the copycat knockoffs from China. Bummer! So the stockers is what I have.
    Bigger platforms for your feet are important over long term running. For Dakar Charlie and the boys who did the build modded a set of stockers by welding on another half.
    Another option would be to get a new part of stockers and add more surface area like I did on my 640.
    The downside to the setup on there now is that it sticks out far enough that the kicker hits it. Yeah it starts but when does the kicker snap off? That might suck in the middle of Siberia.
    As mentioned the all important steering damper. This was put on in the Dakar build and it works I can tell you from having this up to 105 mph on the clock running old soft mousse’s that feel like about 5 psi. :p
    You can see how tall the risers are which makes standing for long periods much more comfortable.

    Paul also had a Cush drive hub on his list and of course mine already had one mounted. Does anyone need a non Cush wheel for a 525? I have a spare.

    As I said earlier I might mount some extra LED’s to those fork mounts. These Twisted Throttle D1’s were on my 640, not a bad little light and they would add a bit to what’s going on there. All I need are a couple of new little brackets for them.

    Spare brake pads are a must, in muddy conditions you can burn through rears especially very quickly. Nice to have Dakar spares.

    Figuring out gearing is an issue too, I’m not sure if mine is stock, I don’t think so as it’s geared pretty high for 6 speeds. Riding up the steep rocky track to the monument above my little town is a first gear grunt. Funnily enough I find it easier to ride a Mtn bike up that trail vs a Moto. I’ve been up it on my 640 and 525. A guy on the 525 thread on ADV put me onto a very interesting website that tells you gearing and what I think I will do is put on this 49 I have and maybe carry 3 fronts with stock’ish gearing in the middle. That way the sliders on the swing arm should have enough travel to handle all of them without changing chain length.


    Seats. Pretty much every American rally racer gets their seats done by Renazco out of California. I’d read that his work on 640 saddles included shaving out the sides a little up front to help get your feet a little closer to the ground. With a 37” seat height and my wee 30” inseam I needed all the help I could get!

    What was I saying about dead sexy?!

    I’d sent him my 525 seat ages ago for the suede treatment for off-road riding. Suede is not a sensible option for touring as once it gets wet it’s gonna stay wet. But it looks great!

    A guy popped up on ADV with a saddle for me for cheap and he kindly sent it straight to Renazco for me. Being the geek I am I got it made up to match my 640 saddle.

    Not cheap but my ass is worth it! I should take half these pics with better light too, sorry.

    Bob mentions exhaust and mine is stock. It’s not terribly heavy And not too loud so it might stay, depends partially on $$ down the line.

    As you can see a lot of thought goes into doing a build for long distance running especially with a lightweight high performance bike not ever designed for RTW running even though it’s been proven they work just fine as long as you keep up with maintenance. Oil changes are the #1 thing to make happen regularly.
  7. skibum69

    skibum69 Well-Known Member

    Started looking at replacing the wiring harness on the 525, dammit if the first plug in the string is different! Looking to replace the original with an EXC harness as it has signal light ad headlight plugs etc that the XCW harness does not. Should make the whole setup a little easier to deal with. Theoretically if I do the swap I'll know the system better too.

    Look at that's aluminum and I don't know if I should be concerned or not thinking of me and luggage on there in the middle of nowhere. Getting aluminum welded is not an option everywhere.
  8. RossKean

    RossKean Active Member

    Aluminum subframe can be a bit of a concern for some bikes. Any info on failures for this model? For my FJR, there is a recognized weak point on the rear aluminum subframe. Someone makes a bolt-on stiffening kit that addresses this. Others have done preventative welding in additional gussets/stiffeners at the weak points. Not normally an issue if you don't overload or ride rough terrain but you will be doing both. And possibly without access to capable repair.

    I would do a little research and find out whether fatigue cracking is an issue with this bike and then decide if I could do anything to possibly prevent a catastrophic failure in BFE. If there is a history of cracks or fractures in certain areas, it would be worth speaking with a competent welder to see what might be done. Good luck!
  9. skibum69

    skibum69 Well-Known Member

    I'm thinking not or I would have seen it on the ADV 525 thread plus the new 500 EXC's which are an evolution do not say anything and Aaron has been riding his 500 around the world for a long time with no issues. It crossed my mind is all as on my 640 the steel subframe has cracked 3 or 4 times and repairs but it is a totally different layout.
  10. Bob

    Bob Active Member

    Interesting stuff Mike! Just thought I'd make a few comments to keep the discussion going.

    I mistakenly thought this was a bone stock machine but looks like it already has some suspension work done to it. I noticed on another thread that the 640 rear wheel fits the 5XX if you turn it around and fix the tire rotation. Not sure if that's relevant to you and also I didn't notice if the spoke lacing made any difference. Good to know you may have a spare rear wheel around if you need it tho.

    About that kick starter interference, do you need the spring in that foot peg or can you remove the spring and just fold the peg up out of the
    way before you kick 'er over? If not, can you shrink a suitably sized length of ABS or PVC over the kickstarter shaft and straigthen it out again so it rotates around the shaft every time there's impact? If you've never tried both those plastics can be moulded and remoulded to pretty much any shape you want and are pretty bomber. I guess you could always have a 'kink' fabbed into the lever so it misses the foot peg but then you're talking $$$ again. Be best if there was zero contact plus you need the kick starter tucked out of the way so folding the peg up out of the way seems the simplest solution.

    Will you have the time to do a shakedown ride fully loaded to test the aluminum sub frame? I'm thinking the whoops on the Rail Trail would be a good testing ground. Obviously the aluminum sub frame is a lighter design for a different application. While a steel sub frame would be heavier it would be weldable in the field plus you could design it to your own specs. Wouldn't be cheap getting a steel one fabbed up but look at the money you've already saved on the upgraded suspension and steering damper that came with the bike.

    BTW: The build threads I've read about 'custom builds', especially modifications to rear subframes etc. NEVER mention the legal and insurance issues implicit in modifying any highway vehicle with non DOT non patented parts. I've had reputable fabrication shops make up 'custom' parts to my specs but wouldn't have anything to do with installing them because of potential liability issues if the bike was involved in an accident. Just throwing that out to see if any Inmates here have anything to add.
  11. skibum69

    skibum69 Well-Known Member

    Paul has been looking into getting steel subframes made for 500’s but mine is different. I may look into it as an option. Yes it is waaay easier to deal with in the field, you can find welders anywhere. Personally Isould swap it and not say a word to anyone in DMV. How many bikes out ther3in NL have plates when theoretically the bikes are not supposed to be allowed to be plated? Like Craigg’s 300 EXC.

    Thanks for the tip on the plastic, that may be easiest. If I find the cash I might get new pegs.

    The Cush drive wheel on there now is a 640 unit, no issues but I’ll double check the rubbers. My 640 ones are still fine after 50K so I’m not worried.

    I’ll definitely be wanting to do a good shakedownride, maybe ride the whole railbed as I’ve never done the whole thing. Maybe do another single day attempt?
  12. Bob

    Bob Active Member

    Yep, 'mods' are all good until it comes down to an accident/insurance investigation, then it's all about deniability and liability.

    Obviously I don't know squat about serious bike builds, or KTM bikes for that matter, so I'm following along to learn something. I did all the work to get my WR450F street plated so I learned a bit from that but that's it.

    Is your '07 525 XC-W street legal from the factory? It don't appear to be, but had to ask. Also you got WP suspension, are the forks "open chambered" or not and what's that all about? I see now why you're looking for an EXC harness, to add lights and accessories...

    Did you upgrade the stator already? The one I added on the WR (from Ricky Stator IIRC) when I street plated it. That could handle heated, gear, heated grips, lights and electric pump if the bike was running. I'm thinking you'll probably surprise us with a few electric
    doo-dads as your build progresses (charging ports or solar device charger? volt meter light or gauge? rad fan? rad temp gauge? engine temp gauge?) Be interesting to see what you do for lighting too.

    You using the stock battery or looking at other lighter weight options?

    If you've read any of Joe Motocross's threads over on ADV you know rides a KTM 5xx and swapped out his front wheel for an 18" rear and says the 18" tire selection is better for desert riding. Got any changes planned for the front? Going with a high front fender?
    Edit: 18" front

    Any air box or 'snorkel mods' planned? Just wondering if your 525 set up to do water crossings? Also looks like that's a carbed bike so wondering if you'll need to adjust the jetting at any point? Did you need to adjust the 640's jetting when you were in Mongolia? Plus the all important fuel and filters... plans for those yet?
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2019
  13. skibum69

    skibum69 Well-Known Member

    The XCW technically is not street legal, it was the full race machine but the original owner had it plated in Ontario for Dakar '08 so all I had to do was register it.

    I'm going to look over the wiring harness that's in it now as headlight and signal lights were wired in there and it looks to be in decent condition as the start of trying to swap harnesses gave me different connectors at the start. Minimal issue to add the lights I want. Brittania composites Lynx fairing going on with these headlights. This was the setup I just put in the 640.

    As for the forks I don't know what the internals are on them, I'll probably try to send them back to be restrung a little stiffer for more fuel weight and stiffer spring rear for luggage.

    It has a Trail Tech stator which will easily handle what I'm running. I have a new volt meter I'll probably put on it. I don't think it's warm enough over there to warrant a rad fan but I'll think about it as I do have a spare that will fit.

    The battery in it is a little lighter, not sure if I'll swap for new technology.

    I'll leave stock wheels on and the high fender, works for me.

    No airbox changes, I'll leave all the engine stuff etc stock to avoid issues plus it runs really nice stock so no need to change. No real elevation so stock jetting should be fine. I have about a dozen spare air filters and I will also take spare oil filters, it takes 2 internals. There are about a million water crossings, it can't go as deep as the 640 but still pretty reasonable for depth, I don't think I'd trust anything to go much deeper than what it is.
    Bob likes this.
  14. Bob

    Bob Active Member

    Looks like the Squadron Pro only draws 40 Watts. What's the other one?
  15. skibum69

    skibum69 Well-Known Member

    I forget, I'll get Ian to fill me in.
  16. skibum69

    skibum69 Well-Known Member

    Did I forget to mention my latest idiot move? So awhile ago the missus and I were cleaning out part of the basement. The boxes I had my roadbook and bits was under the box that had my new fairing for the 525 and they were in the way. I remember picking them up to get them out of the way and the missus remembers me walking away with them. They are nowhere to be found on the property, the only thing I can think is that somehow they got fixed in with the shit that went to the dump. Damn! That's going to cost me!
  17. Bob

    Bob Active Member

    Looks like a security camera. LOL
  18. Bob

    Bob Active Member

    Always practice mindfulness when engaging in domestic activities with a woman. They rule the house and worst of all women think men can multitask. They are wrong. We cannot. If you're not careful they will turn your life into a series of interruptions interrupted by interruptions. They don't mean to do that, they are hard wired to multitask and they think you are too.

    Only enter the basement on important technical missions as you did above when womenfolk are inextricably occupied such as when they are talking on the phone, preferably when engaged in a multiparty call, planning weddings and funerals.

    If possible keep all your good stuff like 525 fairings and such in a shed. To minimize distractions and interruptions, and to promote focus and concentration, a good "Technical and Maintenance" shed will be cold, dark, damp, smell of petroleum products, have only one backless stool to sit on, no wifi and a kickass wood stove. Only in such an austere, Spartan and smelly environment will you find the clarity of mind and purpose you need to pursue your bike build without uninvited distractions and interruptions from the fairer sexe.

    I'm only basing my comments on 42 years of married bliss, so YMMV;)
    HunterSon likes this.
  19. skibum69

    skibum69 Well-Known Member

    How am I supposed to do that when I build my new 30' x 40' shed?
  20. Bob

    Bob Active Member

    Ah yes, I'm glad you raised that question. The solution is simple and rests soundly on evidence based practice... you just build a smaller "Inner Shed" inside your show shed. Some examples:

    My brother did within his 40' x 60' Shedzilla and built a 16' x 20' Inner Shed in the back corner. Works the charm, stores stuff on top of it and you hardly notice it. He suggests insulating the Inner Shed walls in sensitive ears happen by outside when projects get derailed.

    My shed is only 20' x 20' but it's TWO STORIES, so my Inner Shed is upstairs, through a hatch with a secret tamper proof latch. Insulated as per specs plus saves on heat costs and err... umm... minimizes distractions and interruptions. I also have a 4' x 8' auxiliary hatch in the upstairs floor so I can use a chain fall where necessary to bring bigger jobs upstairs.

    If your gentle readers are new to the Inner Shed concept, just assure them that the Outer Shed can quickly become a 'show shed' with a little cleaning. Your significant other can pop her head in, show her friends around and compliment you on how tidy it is. Inmates whom you host can run their bikes right in there and their significant others can remark on what a clean shed you have. Smiles all around.

    The highly technical (i.e. 'dirty') work requiring focus and deep uninterrupted thought, cussing and beer is mostly done in the Inner Shed. In this sanctum sanatorium nothing is ever touched or moved unless you do it yourself. Amenities can range from unheated unheated dirt floors and headlamps to beer coolers, bathrooms and plasma TVs... as befit the Inner Shed dwellers tastes and resources.

    When the time is right I look forward to seeing a few posts about your Shed Build in your moto centric campground B&B thread.

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