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  #1  
Old 26 Mar 2004
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The NX650

Hi

I'm looking at buying this bike specifically to ride around Africa. I'm getting a second hand model and am asking what I should look out for in a bike. I'm in the UK and looking to spend around £3000 so I'm hoping to get a low milage model from 1999 or so. I gather the clutch plates need replacing after 40000ks - is there anything else? I'm mechanically minded, but this is my first bike so I'm no expert at fault finding. Obviously if it's ticking or shooting out blue smoke then I won't take it, but is there an Achille's Heel of sorts that I should be aware of?

Am I right in thinking that the Dominator is a bike which will go off-road with ease, withstand some punishment and accept crappy African petrol?

Also, are there custom made metal panier boxes available for this? What about a bigger fuel tank?

Cheers

Dan

P.S. I'm probably in the wrong forum but does this bike seem like a wise choice? I've herad bigger bikes like the Ténéré or Africa twin aren't all that when you take them off road - is this true?
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  #2  
Old 26 Mar 2004
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For £3,000 you should be able to get a gooD XR65OL - basically an XR600 fitted with an NX650 engine, inc. e/start. I believe that most aftermarket XR600 parts will fit the 650 with persuasion. This is a better bike for odd-road. NX plastic is brittle & breaks easily.

Check out the link for Chris Scott's site. He used heavily modified XR650's for an Africa trip not that long ago:

http://www.adventure-motorcycling.com/

Regards

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  #3  
Old 28 Mar 2004
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Steve's right on several counts: the XRL is a damn fine bike for Africa. I took mine to the Sahara a few weeks before Chris' outing and I also rode it from Cape to Cairo last year.

how good an offroad bike you need depends how seriously you want to go offroad. I did more than 10,000km on gravel tracks, rocky mountain passes, deep sand ... the Dominator, Africa Twin and Transalp COULD all do the routes I picked, but it'd be a hell of a lot harder. they're great around europe and fine on African blacktop, but hard work off it!

if you plan to do blacktop, the Dominator is fine, but you'll have a tougher time wherever the road runs out eg Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique ... its similar to the Yamaha Tenere. ie looks OK, but is hopelessly outclassed when you're offroad: the XRL is dirt-tracks ahead.

and I know where there's a fully prepped one for sale: 2002 model with 35,000km and all the right mods such as bomb-proof hard luggage, 45 litre tank, GPS ... you can see a piccie or two at http://community.webshots.com/user/richlees

back to your other questions: Acerbis do a 23 litre tank for the Dommie and Ernie at Overland-Solutions.com has done work on Dommie's before.
good luck and let me know if you want to talk about my XRL. great bike!
Rich
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Old 28 Mar 2004
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Thanks for the info guys.. I've been looking into it and I seem to have been swayed towards and XR650. Same insurance group but miles more powerful etc.. I have also been thinking about a smaller bike; how would an XR400 handle off-roading in Africa? I'm looking to go well off the black stuff - through muddy roads in Cameroon and Congo etc.

The main advantages as I seen it of the 400 is that it's lighter (in the event of hauling it onto a truck), will use less fuel, and is cheaper in the first place. The disadvantage seems to be that if I'm riding it near flat-out with all my luggage etc, the thing's more likely to blow than a 650 going 1/2 or 2/3 speed. Might this aldo negate the advantage in fuel consumption?
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  #5  
Old 29 Mar 2004
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Two things:

First - in your last post you mentioned being swayed towards the XR650, you'll need to remember that the XR650L was recommended. This is a Grey Import bike, one that's never been officially imported in to the UK. If you mention XR650 to many people, they'll assume that you're referring to the XR650 (no L!). This is an aluminium framed, water cooled, kickstart only semi-competition bike - totally different, except that it's still a Honda.

Secondly, the XR400 is a smaller version of the 600, sharing many aftermarket parts. I believe but stand to corrected, that this is a kickstart only bike? If carrying a lot of luggage, I'd go for the 650L, although at least one person has taken the 400 through Africa to Cape Town. I also think(?) that the 400's oil filter is not as good as that of the Dominator engined 650L? Can any one confirm this - I thought the 400 only had a basic mesh type filter more like an XL500?

If going off road in the middle of nowhere, I'd definitely take a bike with e/start.

sTEVE
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  #6  
Old 30 Mar 2004
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My ins. company assumed it was an XR650R. When I corrected them, despite it being a Grey, it saved me a coupla hundred quid.

Wanna have a look at an (almost) prepped XR650L? I'm in London. Drop me an email if you want to sort something out.


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  #7  
Old 2 Apr 2004
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Hi people - am currenlty riding around the world on an NX650 myself.

Now being Australian, dirt riding is something I favour, and is indeed my preference.

I have tried it out on what is supposed to be some of the worst roads in Sth America (not too sure how true this is) but the Dommie is fine, no problems, and whats best is that it handles great on tar too - not super moto style, but all lugguaged up its great. And back home in Australia, for trial runs I took the dommie fully laden, two up, through some really tight trial bike runs (the home of WRs and CRFs) and really fanged it, and the handling was fine. And sand dunes are no dramas, tried them too!

I think the XR650L is a great bike, but tends to be more expensive. And I think that it is far more uncomfortable and more gutless - and if you arent a dirt fanatic, I reckon the Dommies right up to the job. And if you dont like the plastic - which it is pretty bad - it takes literally 10 minutes to remove it all. And with an acerbis tank, you wouldnt know it was a dommie at all. And to change the front is a half days job at most...

The best adventage for the dommie is the frame, it is easier to create crash bars, pannier racks, etc. I am one who says it is a hardier frame, not one you would use on a dirt bike.

And my dommie pretty much goes where I point it (and some parts makes my hair stand on end).

Should have some photos on the web site soon...check it out

www.loston.com
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  #8  
Old 4 Apr 2004
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message for blues-bleu who left a question in the Webshots guestbook:
"where'd I get the tank for the XR and will it fit the Dominator?"
well, I got it from Bert Harkins the UK importer for Acerbis stuff. Both he and Acerbis tell me there are none left as it was made for the XR600 about a decade ago. You might find one on ebay? Its almost 45 litres and the coolest thing is that the bike still handles really well: I've ridden it hard on the MX track with that tank, but they made me take my luggage off!

it didn't really fit the XRL - I had to modify the tank (against Acerbis' recommendation), shorten the seat and have fittings welded to the frame. I also had to relocate the regulator rectifier and raise the bars. you'd have to do all that and more on the dommie.

you're probably better off with the 23 litre Acerbis + 10 litre jerries or getting something made specially for you. I have a contact in Russia if you want a funky titanium one ... but you'd have to go there for them to make it while you wait ;-)
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Old 5 Apr 2004
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Rich - where's your titanium contact? Might be interested in that one

In the meantime, I agree with you about the 24L (or whatever) tank and some jerries. Much better, as illustrated by this expertly drawn diagram.





By the way, I have ridden both a Dommie and an XRL on and off-road. The Dommie isn't a lot better than the XRL on - the XRL totally outclasses the Dommie off.

My 2p.

More "I love the XR650L" here:
http://www.pm-04.com/tech1.html
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  #10  
Old 6 Apr 2004
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Are you thinking of fitting a kick start? It has been mentioned by others.
If I were to travel across a remote area such as Africa, that would be more important than all the little extras like altered footrests etc. at least then you are more likely to get home if the starter packs up

- saying that i did near exhaust myself this weekend kicking over a bike on a sodden trail after falling off 15 times!
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  #11  
Old 6 Apr 2004
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OK - the question about the kicker is a valid one, and is something I've come across a few times in my thinking. But why would the starter pack up? Bust sprag gear / starter clutch assembly. You kick it over and it starts (yay!). You ride for a mile and the hardened steel starter clutch components become acquainted with the rest of your gearbox. Result? Totally knackered bike. Nobody ever seems to think this through.

I was going to fit a kicker, yeah. There was a bit of a breakdown in communication with my engine builder and it didn't get done. This is why I have all the componentry ready to go in, at my next rebuild. Have a look at the bits, here:
http://www.pm-04.com/galleries/kicker.html

For the meantime, I have two options. I have a spare starter motor. I have a spare battery (with a split-charge system so I can take one into my tent and run my laptop). And I have pretty good bump-starting technique. Oh, and I also have a charging system monitor on my Rallye dash. So I reckon I've almost got it covered.

The loom on an XR650L is pretty simple.



PS > You'd be amazed at what a difference the extended footpegs make. I've fallen off a bike (causing some damage) before because of worn pegs. Do it! For the sake of some free old footpegs and some DIY welding it's worth it.
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Old 6 Apr 2004
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Mark Crook's starter started to screech so he dismantled it and removed carbon bits that had come off the brushes. ie the starter was heading for toast. lucky bastard that he is, I got him some new brushes.
carry a spare battery or starter - you must be nuts! keep it light and it'll stay reliable. I'm glad I fitted the starter just for peace of mind. used it a few times for fun, too.
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Old 6 Apr 2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by RichLees:
Mark Crook's starter started to screech so he dismantled it and removed carbon bits ...
carry a spare battery or starter - you must be nuts
I've taken the 2000 starter off my bike for a good service before departure, and fitted a 1989 Dominator item. The bike it came off had 69,000 miles on it (I think). It still works perfectly. They aren't complicated, or unreliable.

You might be right about the battery idea - although the XRL only has a small one, it may be a couple of kilos too far.... we'll see. I can bump my bike with full luggage on a grassy field and on a gravel road, so only deep sand would prove to be a problem.

As soon as I leave Europe I'm also planning to remove the headlight bulb to give the charging system a bit more leeway. With the toys (lights, laptop charger, IMO and GPS) it runs at about 13.4v at 3000 rpm. Not bad, but not great either.
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