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Found 10 results

  1. The magazine's Honda XR650R began as a potent desert enduro bike with a Baja Designs dual-sport conversion kit. The bike has power to spare, especially after the rebuild of the engine top end and installation of a Hot Cams Stage 1 camshaft. Machine work by L.A. Sleeve enhanced the performance and reliability of the motorcycle. Now street legal and plated, the platform serves our video filming in the field. This purpose built motorcycle has the inherent agility and chassis engineering to get the job done in the desert and mountainous terrain. Here, tires are a crucial consideration for a motorcycle that winds up a hundred miles from nowhere in remote backcountry. For dual-sport tires, I picked the Michelin T63 and the Michelin Cross AC10 rubber with Michelin matching tubes. If you'd like to see how I mounted and tested these tires, go to: http://www.4wdmechanix.com/4WD-Mechanix-Magazine-Tests-Michelin-Dual-Sport-Motorcycle-Tires.html. I put these tires to the test in the dirt and on highway under the brute torque of the Honda XR650R in the Part 2 video. This Honda XR650R has ample power for additional equipment. For an improved skid plate and engine side guards, plus rear bag racks, I turned to TCI Products. In the Part 2 video, you'll see this equipment and the high quality Nelson-Rigg bags that will tote gear and video equipment into the back country. Expect detailed HD video coverage on the TCI and Nelson-Rigg products shortly... Moses
  2. This is the "Plaine de l'Imbo". There I am front & center in the opening seconds. The Honda XR650R is in the background. I'm still a little dazed from the beast having bucked me off... We are starting to worry however about our ecological impact on the plain, so we might have to constrain ourselves to a more limited part of it. The black Yamaha Tenere you see in the video makes so much noise you could probably hear it in Nevada! But this is not the only riding venue we have - and this is not typical of most of the rest of the country. Here's another link that will give you an idea of more typical scenery. There are single and two-track trails of all sorts going from hill to hill. We basically live in a moto playground - just stay off the roads as Burundian traffic is dangerous for bikers! David
  3. The burgeoning interest in overland motorcycle travel and dual-sport conversions has many incentives. Aside from the relatively inexpensive nature of motorcycling when compared to four-wheeled travel, there is also the unique sensation of open-air, two-wheeled adventure, traveling overland to far away, dirt road places...Every dual-sport enthusiast has his or her idea of the ideal motorcycle adventure. Mine happens to be twofold: the Himalayas (specifically Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet) or Mongolia! Oh, then there's also the Silk Road... To even consider such a grand scale trip would require solid planning and the right equipment. Motorcycle stowage space is limited, and fuel is scarce at distant places. Fuel capacity is always a concern, often remedied with an aftermarket tank during a dual-sport conversion. Camping gear must be compact, light in weight and effective. Despite space limitations, your physical needs will be the same. Quality, life-preserving equipment is the order of the day. This forum community is for those of us earnestly outfitting for long distance travel to remote places. Even shorter jaunts across a remote mountain range, a desert like the Mojave or Black Rock, Death Valley, Central Nevada or whatever, requires provision for the temperature extremes in an arid climate. I've lived at high desert and higher altitudes the majority of my life, so temperature swings of 40-degrees F or more in a 24-hour cycle are not foreign. I've worked outdoors at -20-degrees F with wind chill added from there. I know what materials are life saving in extreme cold—whether running heavy equipment at Winnemucca in December or riding a motorcycle over the Sierra in the late fall or spring. Enjoy this Dual-Sport and Dirt Motorcycle Equipment Forum, it's a community where we can all share our enthusiasm and insight for safely and practically traveling to remote places!—Moses Ludel
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. I pulled the oil filter and passed a large magnet over it but I did not pick up any ferrous metal. The close up photo of the filter reveals many small chips of aluminum. Well all I have to do is open up the motor and start looking for a bright shiny spot! This is the filter out of the 2006 salvage bike.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Each of us has places and tales to share! What's four-wheeling or dirt motorcycling if not travel to places that create memories? It's not always the grandiose trip that leaves a lasting impression, either. Sometimes it's the convergence of time and place—in a most unusual way! I have four-wheeled since the mid-'sixties, and my appreciation for Jeep vehicles began with my folks' 1964 CJ-5, purchased new in the fall of 1964. On a chilly Friday night in the early spring of '65, we headed for Tonopah, Nevada in that four-cylinder CJ. It had the 1/3-2/3 seat, which accommodated all three of us, and we hunched toward the wafting heat from the dealer-installed heater...I drove with a learner's permit, so I was still fifteen years old and not ready to get my driver's license. The F-head four-banger droned along U.S. 95, and with Nevada's basic speed law, cars and trucks sailed by us at twice our speed, headed to Las Vegas. The Mizpah Hotel, a welcome sight, is a Turn-of-the-Century artifact with a gold town history and the first elevator in the State of Nevada...From Tonopah, we headed to the ghost towns of Belmont and Manhattan, then up the long Smoky Valley to Austin—in those years a hundred miles of dirt road, likely with no other vehicle in sight. Next was the Rubicon Trail in 1967, an evening campfire at Rubicon Springs with the Diablo Four-Wheelers, the Sluice Boxes, parking at Buck Island Lake to put on swimsuits and dive into the icy water...This was the trip when my folks thought I'd borrowed their CJ-5 for a "camping trip" with some folks I met—and it was—after all, we did camp overnight at the Springs! I drove prudently and did not damage the stock step plates that hung below the door entries—despite the 30-inch diameter tires...Worth noting, the Rubicon Trail was much milder in 1967, although an I-H Scout that passed through our Springs camp at dawn was later found stalled on the Sluice Box rocks, the engine's starter ring gear had been knocked off the flywheel. We towed the Scout to the top of the Sluice Box and freed the trail for traffic. In the mid-'70s, it was camping with wild horses in the Pine Nut Range after a winter deep freeze furloughed our work crew till spring. We were constructing the I-80 bypass of Winnemucca where the wind blew 30 mph and the temp dropped to minus-8 degrees F on the 10-hour night shifts. Unlike the Alaska Pipeline job, our heavy Cat equipment did not have the benefit of reverse fans, engine cowling and enclosed cabs. A scheduled two hour maintenance break between shifts one Sunday allowed the freshly spread, wetted and uncompacted fill material to freeze 18-inches deep, and the Nevada Highway Department shut down the job. Back at Carson City, in early January, I found the horse band roaming at 6,500- 7,000 feet elevation. Temperatures dipped well below zero at night. My body was still acclimated to extreme cold from the Winnemucca job—where I had worked night shifts in the open air and slept days in an unheated camp trailer. The SWB 1970 Chevy K-10 4x4 pickup had a canopy, so wind chill was not a factor. That April, I drove to the Operating Engineers' school over Highway 88 in a blizzard, discovering at Jackson that the road had been officially closed. I had pushed snow with the front axle of the K-10 from Hope Valley to 4,000 feet elevation on the westside, wipers caking with icy snow that required opening the driver's window and slapping the moving blade away from the windshield to dislodge the snow, all the while continuing to forge ahead. Carson Pass summit is 8,600 feet, and late season storms can lay down volumes of snow quickly. In the late '80s, I once again drove the Rubicon Trail with eight-year-old son Jacob and the Washoe County Search and Rescue group. I wheeled the first FJ40 Land Cruiser project built for OFF-ROAD Magazine. Taking two Geo Trackers on the Rubicon during the mid-'nineties was a deja vu and a successful publicity stunt for Chevrolet...By then I was guiding press launches, working with G.M. 4x4 SUVs and trucks at Moab and going coast to coast with Mercedes Benz for the ML320 debut. I could go on—in far more detail...You have your stories, too! Plenty of exciting trips to share, sometimes ordeals with a positive ending. That's what four-wheeling and OHV travel is all about, and that's why we do it! Share your experiences, details and insights with a community that can appreciate adventure!—Moses Ludel
  10. I've written six 4x4 Jeep® and truck books plus a Harley-Davidson book. Most know me as a 4WD Jeep, light 4x4 truck and automotive guy, some as a Harley-Davidson author, and few are aware that motorcycling has played a role in my life. My earliest on-highway vehicle operators license, at age 14, was a Nevada Scooter License. Unique to that era, without the sanctions of insurance and high registration fees, scooters were a recognized means for getting to high school. Nevada was the fifth largest state in the U.S.—with the smallest population at the time... I rode a Cushman on the highway and a friend's Honda Trail 55 on dirt. By sixteen, my attention turned to Jeep 4WDs and muscle cars, though I never turned my back on motorcycling. My first return to two wheels was a series of three pre-owned BSA motorcycles (each '69 model year by sheer coincidence). One was a Victor 441 B44, allegedly a scrambler but rather ill-equipped for the dirt by today's standards. Cycles with vertical rear shocks and short stroke, highway style front forks were hardly off-pavement material. (This was "On Any Sunday" stuff, and many of us, including J.N. Roberts, Steve McQueen and Malcolm Smith, rode near vertical rear shock machines.) If nothing else, at nearly 10:1 compression, the Victor was the quintessential "thumper" and a good way to learn about compression release starting! Several road bikes have been notable, my BSA 650 Lightning and 750 Rocket III, a BMW R80GS (that hardly met "off-road" standards despite the implications), a BMW K1100LT that was a highway delight and a Gold Wing GL1500 that I can only call "a beast"—ridiculously cumbersome and far beyond the realm of a flick-about motorcycle. My takeaway from the Gold Wing was that I'd never ride a cycle over 500 pounds again. So much for today's "cruiser", touring bikes and dressers! As long as I can swing a leg over the saddle, I'll take a sport bike under 500 pounds, hands down. We discovered serious dirt riding and cycles two decades ago when youngest son Jacob was 11-years-old. I wanted him to ride sensibly, and a vintage XR75 was the choice after a brief detour with a Kawasaki KX80. Honda's "red" assets caught our fancy, and I acquired a used XR200R to accompany Jacob. That quickly grew to an XR350R, passing the XR200R to Jacob (typical family maneuver with motorcycles). The XR350R had been prepped and "blueprinted" by the late Rick Sorensen for his daughter Natasha to race. Rick was a topnotch aircraft A&P mechanic and motorcycle tuner...In pristine condition, this cycle has remained in my stable since, impressive enough to warrant the acquisition of an XR500R counterpart. Both are '84 model Pro-Link chassis, the 500 boasts dry-sump engine oiling...hot for the era! Yes, I do ride dirt motorcycles—with passion and vigor, desert enduro type terrain my favorite, single track or destination "overlanding" well within bounds as well. Today's cycles draw me toward an XR650R Honda for my current kind of riding, fitted with a Dakar tank and dual-sport retrofit kit, ready for long distance travel. We live at Northern Nevada, a virtual Mecca for dirt riding and backcountry motorcycling access! A CRF450X might be a consideration, though "Dust to Glory" and the XR650R are forever etched in my mind—how can Johnny Campbell, Andy Grider, Steve Hengeveld and Mouse McCoy be wrong? The XR650R Honda is the ultimate icon, a virtual cult dirt bike for the desert. So, don't be surprised if I'm regularly peeking into this forum and even adding my two-cents worth. Dirt motorcycling is on my mind—a lot. It's an incentive to stay in top physical condition, to keep my reflexes primed and not to let chronological age blur my self-concept. I'm still healthy, quick reflexed, and more than ready to ride a converted dual-sport—anywhere, any time!—Moses Ludel At left is our third XR Honda, an XR350R. We have a fourth one, too, an XR500R, for possible restoration. Or maybe we'll add an XR650R built with Baja/Dakar trim with a dual-sport conversion!...Tying to the Karavan dual-motorcycle trailer, it's time to ride in the desert. The magazine's XJ Cherokee (right) provides a good tow platform for getting the dirt bike to a trailhead or desert dry lake. A dual-sport conversion would eliminate the tow need. This cycle has done a variety of chores for more than a dozen years, included getting me around with a video camcorder for covering the Stampede Race and King of the Hammers.
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