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Old 29 Apr 2008
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2000 Honda XR650R - Trans-Africa Trip

Grateful for any input regarding the prep'ing of an XR650R for Africa Trip. Intend on travelling light (soft luggage) on limited budget so cannot afford major mod's save the usual for arduous journey etc. Also, any advice on servicing tips/maintenance issues (suitable oil change alledgedly recommended every 1K...I think not under the circumstances!) would be appreciated.
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Old 29 Apr 2008
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What is your route? Is it rough 'point A to point B' type of route or are you following amintained roads. That would change how your gear needs to be arranged and the needed size of your fuel capacity.

I recommend packing light and staying with folks (or cheap hostels) along the way. I started a 10,000 km in SA on an XR with soft sidebags. After the 20th !!!! time repairing the stupid things, I gave away 3/4 of my gear and I opted for a simple hard case on a rear rack plus my backpack strapped on the tank.

You could even do a soft (squarish) pack on the back. If all else fails, bugee nets are your savior.
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Old 7 May 2008
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Originally Posted by hotspur84 View Post
Grateful for any input regarding the prep'ing of an XR650R for Africa Trip. Intend on travelling light (soft luggage) on limited budget so cannot afford major mod's save the usual for arduous journey etc. Also, any advice on servicing tips/maintenance issues (suitable oil change alledgedly recommended every 1K...I think not under the circumstances!) would be appreciated.
You do need to keep on top of the oil - it's essentially a competition engine (if not that highly strung), and I've found as others on the US forums have, that at higher and prolonged highway speeds, the 650R can use a significant amount of oil - 150-200ml over a 300 mile day isn't unheard of... of course if you keep topping it up then you are essentially getting an oil change every week, but do change the filter every 1000 miles if you can, it is cheap compared to the cost of an engine rebuild...

The rear subframe of the 650R is also not very strong for heavy luggage loads - I use an XRs Only aluminium rack and currently have a Touratech top box fitted, although used a soft expanding bag (tail pack) for the first half of my US trip... I also bungeed a dry bag on the seat behind me and wore a rucksack for clothes - any more luggage than this and you'll possibly have problems...

The bike eats rear tyres, and it's best to go with a steel rear sprocket too, as likewise the power just mashes up aluminium (standard Renthal) rear sprockets.

Almost essential is a larger fuel tank - the Acerbis 24 litre one is the way to go, very good shape/nice fit and helps protect the radiators too.

If you want to read more about prepping an XR650R for overland travel - check out TBM magazine April and May 08 issues, plus next month too...

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Old 14 May 2008
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650R countershaft sprocket seals are prone to failure, keep a spare or 2, easy to replace. When they fail it happens quick, they just dump oil.

And 650R clutches take a lot of punishment of you're doing soft sand - if you are, take a spare clutch assembly or 2. They're not expensive.

Can't think of anything else, just do oil changes & filter claning as often as possible.

And get your seat widened, of course.
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Old 15 May 2008
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Do a search on RichLees posts, he's your man for serious XR 650 prep.

However from my limited experience in comparison to him (my trips are just a couple of weeks mucking about off road in Morocco/Europe) I've used Amercian Dirt Bagz, which come with small frames to mount them, an Australian Whipps alloy rack, with a Kriega US20 pack on the rack, and a small Kreiga rucksack/hydration pack.

This system worked great for me whereas 3 of the other guys all suffered from stuff breaking

Last edited by BDG; 15 May 2008 at 12:16. Reason: sssssssssssssssssss
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Old 18 May 2008
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never had a countershaft sprocket seal fail - too much oil? too tight chain?
never had a clutch burn out - gas it and go and keep going 30-80kmh without touching the clutch even for gear changes
wider seat? nah, wider pegs and high and wide bars and ride standing up

assuming you're going to fit a wide tank, consider the IMS or Acerbis, but also consider having a brace made to protect the radiators from getting crushed in a fall or torn apart by the tank flex at high speed or on corrugations. don't bolt the radiator to the brace cos the frame mounts are flexible and the radiator then tries to flex around the tank attachment and that just ends up in tears or expensive freight or local repairs

luggage: I had Ernie make me a rack above the headlight for 5kg of sleeping bag, ground mat, thermals etc. I alos had 15kg on the rear hump in a kit bag which I tied down to a grab rail that Ernie made for me. I'm usually too mean to buy branded stuff, but my kit bag is a 50litre duffel bag from North Face. very simple and keeps the water in once its got past the zip. ie its not perfect, but very light, simple and robust. unlike me - I'm heavy, simple and badly damaged

Last edited by RichLees; 18 May 2008 at 13:33.
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Old 18 May 2008
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Hi Rich,
Did you ever do the mod for the right foot peg or the frame, I set my bike pretty well but didn't do the foot peg( I do check them often), I do have a support for the subframe but was curious to see your set up.I like the idea fo the front rack for light stuff , do you have any pict of yours , I went to see some pict of your bike but they are no facing front.
Hendi Kaf


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Old 18 May 2008
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I've said it before and I'll say it again - Wolfman Motorcycle Luggage Accessories
I get 4 kgs on the front headlight of an XR and CRf with an enduro carry-all and no special rack. The 650 standard sub frame isn't that strong compared to road bikes but is fine with soft luggage if you're not taking the kitchen sink. We had a Spanish guy staying overnight on the way back from Africa and he had 27 kgs strapped to the rear seat/tail unit and the sub was fine after 9000kms +.
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Old 18 May 2008
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does that much weight on the front affect your riding ( esp off road)
Hendi Kaf


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