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  1. The magazine recently purchased a 2000 Honda XR650R motorcycle with less than 1000 original miles on the bike. An honest and forthright previous owner could not start the engine, and given the mileage, we agreed that the problem was stale winter (ethanol) fuel—which had eaten up the plastic tank screen! I trailered the cycle home and looked forward to restoring the fuel system and completing the dual-sport conversion process. The motorcycle will be an HD video shooting platform for remote backcountry documentary filming and off-pavement event coverage, so the XR650R's low mileage seemed a huge asset. After 20 hours of prepping the cycle for a Nevada dual-sport inspection, including some minor tuning and checking out the bike's general condition, I discovered that the 650 thumper engine would not start. Consulting two friends with XR650Rs, I assumed that my starting technique was the culprit. A heavy cardio workout later, it was apparent that the compression was lacking. I did a quick compression gauge check and discovered a 95 PSI cranking compression issue. (To assure an accurate reading, make sure the auto-decompression mechanism is not holding the valves open when performing a compression test!) My next step was a cylinder leak down test, which I have covered in detail with an HD video how-to feature. (Click here to view the HD video how-to procedure and results!) The leak down test pinpointed leaking intake and exhaust valves; a look inside the cylinder (through the spark plug hole) also indicated scoring at the upper wall of the Nikasil cylinder plating. Time for an upper engine tear down, which I cover as a step-by-step HD video: Click here to see the how-to series at the 4WD Mechanix HD Video Network's freshly launched "The Off-Road Motorcycle Channel". So, how did a "bulletproof" Honda XR650R motorcycle, with less than 1000 miles since new, end up with a worn out set of valves and leaky piston and rings? The answer is two-fold: 1) the motorcycle had an incomplete "uncorking" job with a partial "Honda Power-Up Kit" installed and 2) a leaking aftermarket air filter had seeped abrasive dirt into the air stream and through the engine's intake system. The air filter issue is notorious for pitting valves, scoring an upper cylinder and damaging piston rings on motorcycle and automotive engines. An incomplete uncorking calls attention to an ever important problem for any motorcycle engine modification: the need to re-jet the carburetor to compensate for improved intake flow or a less restrictive exhaust system! The "Power-Up Kit" opened up the exhaust cap on the muffler and reduced exhaust backpressure (basically an HRC end cap). The cycle is a non-California model, so there was no restrictive "D" molding in the intake manifold grommet. (The non-California intake manifold is considered the unrestricted air intake, often sold as the upgrade for better breathing.) The pilot jet had the Power Up Kit's #68 sizing, though not the specific "68s" style. However, for some unfathomable reason, the main jet in place was still the ultra-lean, original 125 main jet! The most important ingredient in the uncorking process for a Honda XR650R motorcycle engine is the unrestricted rubber intake manifold and a jetting change to a 175 main jet and 68s pilot jet (base line at sea level). Exhaust modifications help further, the stock OE muffler's exit flow and end cap are ridiculously small for a 650 thumper! How important is the 175 main jet and 68s pilot? Important enough to be the OEM jet sizing on all Honda XR650R engines sold outside of North America! The U.S. engines were leaned to the limit by E.P.A. requirements, and California models (XR650R AC designation) were even more restricted by a draconian reshape and air flow restriction in the rubber intake manifold and the intake air box. So, this uncorked, non-California model had its exhaust opened and uncapped—plus the removal of air intake box restrictors. The EPA regulated (non-California) cycle already had the open, round intake manifold. It was in severe need of the 175 main jet, however, which the dealer neglected to install with the power tuning! The result is clear. Despite the low mileage, this engine was busy overheating its upper cylinder and valves. Upon tear down, which you can follow in the HD video linked above, the engine's upper cylinder looked more like a Baja 1000 Race finisher than 1000 miles of reasonable recreational riding. Fortunately, the previous owner had used quality lubricant and changed oil filters regularly. The XR650R's unique liquid cooling (the only XR to ever offer it!) also helped minimize damage and isolate the wear to the cylinder plating, piston skirts, rings and valves. The main engine assembly is still in near-new condition. I'm now in the process of rebuilding the upper engine. The head and cylinder have been sublet to L.A. Sleeve Company. My approach will likely be an alloy iron/chrome/moly, patented L.A. Sleeve liner in place of the factory Nikasil. Though many are fans of Nikasil, I'm not thrilled that's its only a "plating" thick. This Honda XR650R has a lot of work ahead, and it must be ultra reliable. I may consider a Stage 1 Hot Cams alternative, mainly to eliminate the auto-decompression mechanism on the OE camshaft. Compression ratio will remain the stock 10:1 with the new upgrade piston, enough squeeze for higher altitudes and the limit for kick starting and long piston ring life! Quality machine work, a fresh cylinder and upgrade piston choice, renewed valves and proper assembly technique will have this motorcycle living up to its legendary reputation—with a 175 main jet and 68* pilot jet in its Keihin carburetor! Follow the rebuild how-to coverage at the magazine's The Off-Road Motorcycle Channel—in 1080P HD video! *Note: The carburetor had a straight 68 jet installed, and I will see if the 68s is necessary. There is a difference in the flow between these two varieties. Honda's Power-Up Kit does call for the 68s and also a needle change if necessary. I will fine tune as needed, though that would be anticipated at northern Nevada. Our home base is 4,500 feet elevation and high desert; the average/mean elevation at Nevada is 5,500 feet! Moses
  2. Dear Mr. Moses Ludel! First of all, thank you for making these awesome videos, I really liked them! In the one, where you one-kick start the xr, if only there would have been some explanation too, I hear lots of people are strugling with that. Yesterday I subscribed to some of you videos on vimeo, because I would like to learn to be my own mechanic. I am about to buy a Honda xr650r bike on this monday, for this I am traveling 1300 kilometers to Italy and back home. I wish if only I have found your videos on Vimeo and these forums earlier! I am very excited about the trip. I do not want to bore (all of) you with personal details, it is enough that I fell in love with this bike and I cant wait to have my own. I have very little knowledge about what should I pay attention to, when selecting the bike, so because of this, I kindly ask your guidance. There are two brp models that I am going to choose from. One of them (Bike A) costs 2500, the other (Bike costs 3400 euros. Bike A is close to factory state - as far as I can tell - with 11000 km only. Bike B is around 25000 km but spoiled with lots of supermoto extras. No blue smoke, no cylinder jingle that I noticed by neither of them. (I asked the sellers to send me high res pictures and video with the engine running.)e Because at first I am planning to use the bike as a supermoto, I consider the two of them equals, because I will buy the extras either way. Both of them are street legal, and documents are fine. However I prefer Bike A, I would like the adventure of building my own supermoto. Either I use it at first as an SM or as an enduro, I am sure I will learn to ride a bike really well. (I only had naked and speed bikes earlier.) So may I ask your advice, Please, what should I really pay attention to when checking them? What noise or rusty-ness should I give special attention, and basically how should I compare the bikes of totally different cost ranges? Tomorrow, I have an opportunity to take a peek on two other xr650r in my home country, so the ones I will see in Italy should not be the first time I ever see a BRP in life Blind love, it is what it is Thank you very much! Kind regards, Sandor
  3. Snow drifts blocking your favorite dirt bike riding venues? Rainy season drenching the ground and making knee-deep mud? Does the down time in the off-season have you itching for a good ride? While you're going to the gym and anticipating the next riding season, check out this well done motorcycle enduro and trials technique instructional video depicting pro riders at South Africa! A hearty thanks to these professionals for sharing...
  4. Given the opportunity to test the Pulstar® PlasmaCore spark plugs, we targeted the magazine's Honda XR350R and XR650R motorcycles. The XR350R is air cooled, the XR650R has liquid cooling. Both cycles use fixed jet, slide type carburetors. The XR350R has twin Keihin carburetors, the XR650R uses a single, large Keihin carburetor. We rode the bikes extensively. The XR350R is OHV permitted for dirt only use, and that testing took place in high desert and mountainous terrain, both dirt roads and single track. The XR650R with its dual-sport conversion received a full test at both dirt and asphalt riding. The HD video shares installation details, riding footage and an evaluation of the Pulstar® spark plugs: The magazine article is available at: http://www.4wdmechanix.com/Testing-the-Enerpulse-Pulstar-Spark-Plugs.html. We will continue testing and discussing these spark plugs at the magazine and these forums! Here are our test results and findings: Honda XR650R Motorcycle—This bike is a highway legal dual-sport conversion and ongoing project feature at the magazine. The top-engine is freshly rebuilt to "blueprint" standards, featuring a cylinder head overhaul by L.A. Sleeve Company and a moly-chrome cylinder liner with new piston and rings. We performed all work as a how-to project that became a feature HD instructional video at Vimeo On Demand. The head and upper engine work includes a Hot Cams Stage 1 camshaft. Spark timing and valve timing are "stock" with Honda Power-Up Kit tuning. This popular "uncorking" of the engine's jetting, induction system and exhaust have each been covered in detail at the magazine and the magazine's forums. This iconic motorcycle model has a large following, as the XR650R is the largest displacement enduro single cylinder bike built by Honda specifically to win the Baja 1000 and other open desert races. The magazine's viewers and forum members have followed the performance gains made with this engine build-up and tuning. The addition of the Enerpulse Pulstar® spark plug provided these noticeable results: 1) Since the rebuild and tuning, the engine has produced superior torque (49 lb-ft estimated) and a high horsepower output (approximately 55 horsepower). Along with the Pulstar® spark plug change, we added a 6.3 gallon fuel tank (5 extra gallons of fuel at approximated 40 pounds net weight gain between the fuel and the large tank) to the motorcycle. Testing the Pulstar® spark plug, performance with the additional weight is slightly better than with the lighter 2.6 gallon factory fuel tank. 40 extra pounds is significant for a dirt enduro motorcycle. When we reinstalled the 2.6 gallon tank for further testing, acceleration and throttle response showed noticeable improvement. Torque increased, and fewer downshifts were necessary under load. 2) A converted dual-sport, highway legal machine, the XR650R is kick start only. Tuning has enabled ready starts with a stock-type NGK spark plug. The Pulstar® spark plug fires the engine with equal ease. 3) Flooding is always a concern on a large displacement single cylinder motorcycle engine. The Pulstar® spark plug strongly resists fuel fouling. The spark plug readily fires through richer mixtures at altitude. 4) This engine has a fixed-jet factory Keihin slide-type carburetor. Altitude sensitivity is always an issue with fixed jets. Larger displacement engines are more susceptible to fuel fouling at higher altitudes. The Pulstar® spark plug, with superior spark output and more complete fuel burn, clearly maximizes performance over a wider range of altitude—even with a fixed jet carburetor. During the road and dirt testing, this motorcycle operated between 4,400 and 7,600 feet elevation with no sign of "rich" mixture spark plug fouling. The fixed carburetor jet setting is for 1,500 and 5,000 feet elevation. Clearly, the Pulstar® spark plugs burn cleaner and more efficiently, producing better power and performance at higher altitudes. Honda XR350R Motorcycle—This OHV bike is strictly set up for dirt riding. The stock motorcycle was upgraded for desert hare-and-hound scrambles, tuned and jetted for optimal performance at 4,400 feet altitude with the stock factory dual Keihin carburetors. In top condition, with normal compression and peak tuning, the only change was the switch to a Pulstar® spark plug. Our extensive testing in the high desert and mountains spans from 4,000 feet elevation to 6,500 feet elevation. A single cylinder, air cooled engine provides an optimal test bed for combustion and fuel burn comparisons. Pulstar® spark plug test conclusions: 1) Starting is easy whether cold or hot. Starts readily with the choke on. Warms normally as with the stock type NGK spark plug. 2) Throttle response is crisp and noticeably improved. Engine stability under load has improved, requiring less downshifting to compensate for load. (Watch the video.) 3) Again, the most significant gain is less sensitivity to altitude changes with fixed jets in these two carburetors. We operated the motorcycle from 4,000-6,500 feet without adjusting the carburetors or altering the jets. The motorcycle performed flawlessly. 4) This motorcycle has always been miserly on fuel compared to two-stroke engines or larger displacement four-stroke thumpers. Testing revealed a noticeable improvement in fuel efficiency. The motorcycle ran our pre-determined course under load and used less fuel-per-hour than with the stock-type NGK spark plug. This improvement can only be attributed to the Enerpulse Pulstar® spark plug. We'll continue to evaluate these spark plugs over time. They offer a significant breakthrough in spark and combustion technology. Enjoy the video! Moses
  5. In the 1990s, we began riding Honda XR dirt motorcycles. In the early '90s a modest $75 worth of parts invested in a Honda XR75 became youngest son Jacob's first motorcycle at age 12. Oregon friend Kirk donated two core bikes to the cause from his stockpile of old Hondas. When we returned to the high desert country at northern Nevada in 1994, my logical companion for Jacob's XR75 was a used 1983 Honda XR200R purchased from the Reno dealership. Jacob soon outgrew the XR75, and I outgrew the XR200R thumper. Jacob inherited the XR200R when I found the right four-stroke bike, a very well prepped 1984 Honda XR350R built by Rick Sorensen, a professional Airframe and Powerplant aircraft mechanic and owner of an independent motorcycle shop at Yerington, our hometown. Rick built the machine for his daughter Tasha to potentially race hare-and-hound, and she prized the machine. Tasha went to college, and while a student, she offered the bike for sale. Knowing how much energy and upgrade equipment Rick had put into this purpose built machine, I gladly paid Tasha her asking price. The bike received my respect as well, and it continued to deliver everything from bona fide desert enduro riding at speed to tight, single track trailing on the steep, off-camber switchbacks leading to mining claims at Black Mountain. The XR350R was a great teacher, its Pro-Link rear suspension, advanced forks for the era, rugged tubular steel frame and bulletproof four-valve, single cylinder engine were predictable and ample. In the day, a six-speed gearbox and advertised weight under 250 pounds had made the XR350R popular alongside its potent yet beefier XR500R counterpart. Rated 22.4 horsepower by most accounts, the 1984 engine featured some upgrades yet still maintained the progressive dual carburetors for the twin intake port, four-valve head. From a tuning standpoint, the dual carburetors were condemned by many, as this was the period when single cylinder engines commonly had only one carburetor. Although the rumor mill is rife with attacks on these twin-Keihin carburetors, I have never experienced trouble with this design. In fact, the tune that Rick Sorensen set was so precise that the only cause for rebuilding these carburetors came a decade after acquiring the machine. My rebuild had nothing to do with a deficiency in the carburetors but rather the result of leaving ethanol-laced gasoline in the bowls too long and ruining the pilot jet on the primary carburetor. I "blueprint" built and staged these carburetors, and the performance went right back to Rick's original aims. I've had several opportunities to part with this machine, offers from those who know its virtues and steadfast ability to pull off a great day's riding, anywhere and anytime, from High Rock Canyon to Johnson Valley when I covered the King of the Hammers race in 2012. Appreciation for its consistent performance and exceptional reliability has kept me from letting go of this machine, which is now relegated to occasional recreational riding since the acquisition and build of the "Big Red Pig" Honda XR650R. Our youngest grandson, Camden, now 2-1/2 years old, calls the XR350R "Little Red Pig" and the XR650R the "Big Red Pig". My '84 XR500R restoration project, while under a dry tarp at present, is nonetheless the "Middle Red Pig"—or simply "Middle". Honda XR350R Specs.pdf It's pointless to compare the air-cooled Honda XR350R to the XR650R, the latest CRF450X or KTM 350. The vintage XR350R four-valve thumper has nowhere near the power hit of an XR500R, XR600R or the liquid cooled XR650R. However, for many riders, the XR350R can be the weekend desert enduro bike with a low initial purchase price and far less maintenance cost if in good condition with a credible history. These bikes perform trouble free for years, and they wear out slowly and predictably. Parts are still available for most areas of the cycle. Used pieces or improvising are sometimes necessary. I ride my XR350R to stay in good physical condition and to maintain agility and survival reflexes for both dirt and asphalt motorcycling. Easier to throw around on dirt than heavier machines, the bike provides excellent terrain feedback and continuously works all five of my muscle groups! My most recent workout on the XR350R was a test of the Enerpulse Pulstar PlasmaCore spark plug this morning. I filmed my ride with the GoPro Hero3 mounted in a Chesty harness. The edited video default is HD 1080P, and if you have the bandwidth or can stream Vimeo on the big screen through your Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV player*, enjoy the scenery! (Otherwise, there's the subtler SD play option.) *Note: If you have one of these streaming players, simply do a search under "4WD Mechanix". You'll have access to the 190 videos now available at the Vimeo 4WD Mechanix Video Network Channel! If you have a smart television or large computer monitor, simply go to the Vimeo Channel at: http://www.vimeo.com/channels/4WDmechanix. The riding venue begins just ten minutes from the 4WD Mechanix Magazine office...Take a 15-minute ride with me as the XR350R ascends from a high desert elevation of 4,000 feet into the nearby mountains and wild horse country over 6000 feet. This is what desert enduro motorcycling is all about! See why this three decade old "friend" has remained my recreational dirt bike and exercise outlet for nearly twenty years now... Moses
  6. Well, I rode the Honda XR650R motorcycle this morning, not unusual in itself, as I've been trying to rack up miles on the top-end engine rebuild in time for Fall riding. One thing was unusual, though. At 204 miles since the rebuild that included L.A. Sleeve machine work, the bike has reached a whole new performance level! The magazine's Honda XR650R top-engine teardown and inspection. My morning riding venue is typically rural highways, both two-way traffic two lanes and divided highway four-lane. I've been on dirt with the Michelin T63 tire tests and have much more planned, this Fall will be extensive dual-sport riding both on- and off-highway. Customarily, these cooler morning rides have been intended to run the engine up and down the light load and rpm scale, nothing stressful, just steady rpm stretches mixed with changes in speed and load. The beginning to present: Our XR650R evolves from a desert bike with a dual-sport conversion into a bona fide video filming platform and road/trail adventure profile bike! Take a ride with us. Still in the break-in phase, this cycle is already "badass"! I've continually added weight to the bike, though this was not my original plan. Sleek and race-bred, these bikes look quite "cool" stripped to competition desert enduro form. In our case, though, the dual-sport conversion and additional TCI Products racks with Nelson-Rigg bags have been a necessity for carrying our video filming equipment. The motorcycle is highly versatile and can also serve as a "support" bike for backcountry group riding at remote areas like Moab or the Black Rock/High Rock Canyon. All of that said, I should probably weigh the bike "wet" with the racks and bags (at least empty) to answer a fundamental question: Why is this bike evolving into the most badass of any dirt bike I've ever owned and ridden? Despite the add-on items, and my current dry weight of 178-180 pounds, the Honda XR650R just keeps getting stronger! This motorcycle clearly has the best roll-on throttle, from idle to higher rpm, of any desert enduro cycle in its class. This performance applies in any gear, at any throttle position opening and regardless of roll-on road speed! No wonder these motorcycles dominated the long Baja races until Honda pulled them... Note: Sprocket gearing is 14/48 (stock N.A. enduro form) with the tires described in the Michelin T63 tests. Some XR650R models, like Australia export, have taller gearing. This bike tops out at over 100 mph, and that's plenty, thanks! Worth noting, with this gearing, that speed comes up remarkably fast. Collaboration with L.A. Sleeve reaped big results. The cylinder head rework, iron/moly/chromium cylinder liner plus quality replacement parts help account for the bike's impressive performance! A Hot Cams Stage 1 camshaft adds to the impressive torque output. Part of this is tune, which includes the official N.A. Power Up Kit ("uncorking") and use of a Hot Cams Stage 1 camshaft with L.A. Sleeve head and cylinder work. I'm looking forward to comments from Greg and David about the performance of their Honda XR650R machines, as the acceleration and on-tap torque—idle speed up—of the magazine's machine is quite impressive. The camshaft obviously plays a role, and we need to compare this machine with two XR650R models that are "uncorked" and without the camshaft upgrade. Frankly, this Stage 1 camshaft that eliminates the auto-decompression mechanism on the camshaft has no downside. I can start this engine cold or hot in one or two kicks, using the handlebar decompression lever for manual tick-over. So, I'm waiting for others to jump into this discussion. How does the Honda XR650R compare to the best contemporary 450cc and 500cc class four-stroke enduro bikes? Is the XR650R new enough technology to excel over a field of later bikes with less displacement yet higher compression and EFI? Would anyone with another make and model desert enduro bike care to comment? I'd like to objectify my experience, as frankly, this bike really does act badass! Moses
  7. The magazine's Honda XR650R performs remote field work as an HD video filming platform. Reliability is essential. After purchasing the bike in non-running condition, I ran a compression test when the engine refused to start. I moved from the simple compression test to a full-fledged cylinder leak down test, the pinpoint diagnostic tool of choice. Want to know more about a leak down test? Click here for the 4WD Mechanix HD Video Network feature and details on the leak down test! High cylinder leakage called for a top end inspection and repairs. That tear down for inspection can be found at the magazine as the HD video how-to: http://www.4wdmechanix.com/Honda-XR650R-Motorcycle-Upper-Engine-Rebuild-Part-1-Tear-Down-How-to.html. At left is the cylinder leak down test covered in the HD video how-to. At right is the actual top engine tear down, part of the current rebuild. See both HD videos at the magazine for details! The step-by-step teardown, rebuild and assembly are now a single HD video streaming rental at Vimeo On Demand. Included in this rental is a bonus feature on valve adjustment (which is also available as a separate streaming rental). You will find this 54-minute feature at: http://www.vimeo.com/ondemand/hondaxr650r. Here is a review of that rental video: "Coming across this video couldn't have been more fortuitous - both in timing and content. I happened to inherit a motorcycle of the exact same type and with the exact same problems as the one starring in the clip. The author/producer treats the subject thoroughly and with close-ups giving great detail of the matter at hand. Not only that, he has an online magazine with a forum through which he is eminently available for input and feedback. Having watched this gave me the confidence to embark on the solution on my own - saving loads of money and learning in the process."—David E.
  8. There's a loyal following for many of the "adventure-touring" motorcycles, cycles like the KTM 990 Adventure or BMW F800GS and 1200GS. On the other hand, many dirt bike riders are now turning to "plated" dirt bikes, bridging the gap between asphalt and a desert enduro bike. Do we need to draw a literal "line in the sand" about what makes a legitimate off-pavement motorcycle? I have ridden this '84 XR350R for nearly two decades and also own an '84 XR500R. Despite growing parts availability issues, these bikes are failsafe mounts for open desert riding. For the magazine's 2012 King of the Hammers coverage, I took the XR350R to Johnson Valley. A dual-sport conversion for plating this cycle has been considered, if so, highway riding would be limited. I would not hesitate to take this machine over the Rubicon Trail and often ride to remote desert and mountain reaches! For decades, I have ridden dirt bikes (primarily Honda XRs) in single track woods and open desert. I have ridden on asphalt for over half a century, beginning with motorcycles like a vintage BSA 650 Lightning, a Victor 441 and a Rocket III 750. More recently, my highway cycles were an older BMW 80GS boxer, a Honda GL1500 Goldwing and a BMW Kll00LT. Despite my respect for high end adventure touring motorcycles like the KTM 990 Adventure, I have an opinion and will share it: Serious dirt bike riding requires a true dirt bike—adventure-touring bikes, even the best of them, are no match for a true enduro motorcycle off the pavement... KTM, Yamaha, Honda, the Christini AWD DS and others now offer serious dirt motorcycles that meet DOT and EPA highway requirements for street legal use. (I do not include Kawasaki's KLR among "lightweight" dirt plated bikes, as the beloved KLR650 has crept from 325 pounds to a porky 432 pounds in recent years!) As an open desert and single track woods rider, I am drawn to these bikes. Unless a lot of asphalt is in the plan, I believe a true dirt bike with D.O.T. approved knobby tires is the best mount for serious off-pavement use—and moderate distance road riding... Contemporary dirt motorcycles with minimalist D.O.T. equipment weigh under 300 pounds. An adventure touring beast can run over 500 pounds, in particular a road-ready machine like the BMW 1200GS. While I truly appreciate the handling, safety and highway agility of a BMW motorcycle, jerking a 525-plus pound motorcycle out of a sand trap is not my idea of a good time...For those who do think of this as an "adventure", I heartily recommend Warn Industries' new line of portable winches designed for adventure touring motorcycles. Admittedly, the plated dirt bikes are minimalist and intended that way: A KTM 500 EXC tips the scale around 250 pounds...These machines remain true enduro motorcycles. Slightly higher in weight is the AWD Christini, coming in at 288 pounds with two-wheel drive traction, a worthy trade-off and ready solution for those sand traps! Before adventure touring motorcycle aficionados boycott this forum, let me add that I have owned a BMW 80GS and a BMW K1100LT. Each was terrific—on the highway. "In the day", I owned BSA motorcycles, including a 441cc Victor, and despite the Victor's lighter weight, it was a stodgy motorcycle off-pavement. Today's dirt motorcycles would run circles around a Victor—or any other vintage "enduro" or "scrambler" motorcycle with vertical rear shock-coil springs! So, I'm raising these questions: 1) Is there a place for adventure touring motorcycles off-pavement? 2) Can a rider on a lightweight dual-sport with DOT knobby tires survive much time on the asphalt—if so, how much? What are your views on each motorcycle design?...Join this forum and share your off-pavement experiences and preferences! Moses
  9. The magazine's Honda XR650R motorcycle came to life this week! After months of sublet machine work, parts delays and time management challenges, the HD video series on rebuilding the engine top end has now finished. The camshaft choice, Hot Cams' Stage 1 type, and sublet machine work to L.A. Sleeve Company was followed by my "blueprint" assembly job and precision tune-up to match the engine changes. Learn more about the uncorking and Honda "Power Up Kit" guidelines, plus the ways to compensate for our 4,400-foot base altitude. How did this turn out?...Well, judge for yourselves fellow members! This is one incredible machine that lives up to its iconic reputation and legendary performance reputation. Enjoy the test ride, I sure did! Click here for access to the HD video. If you need detailed instructional on performing this work, I produced a nearly 50-minute 1080P HD video that has just been released at Vimeo On Demand. The very detailed how-to, step-by-step 1080P HD instructional video can be viewed from mobile platforms to big, wide-screen televisions! The Vimeo On Demand page for Honda XR650R coverage is www.vimeo.com/ondemand/hondaxr650r. At the page, you will also find an additional Vimeo On Demand how-to on valve adjustment for four-stroke motorcycle engines with conventional rocker arm adjusters. The prototype is the Honda XR650R engine. These steps are included as a "bonus" in the Honda XR650R upper engine rebuild streaming video. The 4WD Mechanix 'Tech and Travel' Series Vimeo On Demand rentals are for a full 30 day period each—rent the extensive Honda XR650R rebuild video for only $9.99 or the valve adjustment standalone video for just $5.99! Everyone runs into parts and machining sublet delays on a project...I thought it best to provide a lengthy and realistic viewing window. Case in point: The Honda XR650R was a true test of "delayed gratification". Purchased at the end of September 2013, it took until May 1st to ride the BRP for the first time! Trust you'll find the content at Vimeo On Demand valuable. I look forward to expanding the Vimeo On Demand playlist for 4WD Mechanix 'Tech and Travel' Series pages! Moses
  10. I bought this 2002 KLR engine from a listing in craigslist for $100. The previous owner stripped out the oil drain plug threads then attempted to use a tapered bolt that spread the stripped threads and cracked the engine case. I have another set of engine halves. I could transfer parts from this damaged engine into the good case halves, but I was wondering if this case could be repaired as it sits? I'm pretty sure that the case is made of cast aluminum.
  11. Demand for more off-pavement motorcycle coverage has led to the launch of 'The Off-Road Motorcycle Channel' at the 4WD Mechanix Magazine's HD Video Network! The new channel covers dirt, off-road and dual-sport motorcycles, including tech how-to, step-by-step tuning and repairs, troubleshooting, backcountry riding and survival tips—everything related to off-road and dual purpose/dual-sport motorcycling! Inspired by the needs of the magazine's 2000 Honda XR650R motorcycle, the channel launched with HD video tech how-to coverage in Vimeo Pro 1080P full-screen detail. Whether you own an iconic XR650R Honda big-bore XR thumper motorcycle or a similar four-stroke, overhead camshaft motorcycle, you'll find the launch coverage of interest. The Honda XR650R cylinder head inspection after tear down. See the full HD video coverage. Check out 'The Off-Road Motorcycle Channel' playlist at: http://www.4wdmechanix.com/The-Off-Road-Motorcycle-Channel.html! Moses
  12. As you might guess by now, I also ride dirt motorcycles—a lot! Our Honda XRs have been terrific desert and single track bikes, my style is desert enduro and slower-speed rock maneuvering. Nevada has enacted an OHV "permit" program for ATVs and dirt motorcycles. By July, its an annual permit on the off-pavement motorcycles or converting either my Honda XR350R or XR500R to a street legal dual sport with a license plate and insurance. With the dual-sport approach, I've considered upgrading to either a converted XR650R or a current factory dual-sport. I am steering away from the weighty adventure-touring motorcycles, I'm after a legitimate, lighter weight dirt motorcycle platform. Poking around, I like the KTM 350EXC and 500EXC, though each comes with severe MSRP sticker shock. The Christini 450 DS also caught my eye. The Christini chassis hosts a powertrain and chassis with a strong resemblance to Honda's CRF450—add to that the patented and competition-proven Christini AWD system. Yes, that's two-wheel drive for a motorcycle! Rave reviews and competitive laurels include the successes of Geoff Aaron in brutal off-road races like the Iron Giant and Wally Palmer taking on the XGames at EnduroX and MotoX Step-Up! Less known is the Christini DS, a 49-State legal motorcycle for dual-purpose, street and off-pavement riding. At 288 pounds, with this kind of power, AWD and a competition-proven chassis design, the Christini may well be my choice. (See the Christini cycles at www.christini.com.) Stay tuned, all-terrain is my thing whether a built-up 4x4 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, our XJ Cherokee with 6-inch long arm lift suspension, a vintage FJ40 Land Cruiser with a 383 stroker V-8, a rock buggy, or on a dirt motorcycle—two driving wheels on a moto? Wow, you'll want to know more about this one! Expect ongoing updates here. The magazine has committed to more dual-sport and OHV coverage, and my personal angle is dual-sport desert and overland motorcycling. Whatever cycle I choose, expect 1080P HD video coverage. Yes, the goal is way more off-pavement destination four-wheeling and motorcycling. Stay tuned at the 4WD Mechanix HD Video Network! As this unfolds, expect updates and helmet cam views from the single-tracks...Join this forum, and let's share our experiences with dirt and dual-sport motorcycles!—Moses My XR350R has been a workhorse! I used this bike to cover the 2012 King of the Hammers Race at Johnson Valley, California. This cycle has been my primary desert bike since the mid-1990s. I also have an XR500R. Both the 350 and 500 are 1984 vintage with Honda's Pro-Link suspension, still a functional design to this day! An XR650R would be a nice alternative for a dual-sport conversion.
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