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Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else This is an opportunity to ask any question, and post any notice you wish that doesn't fit into one of the other sections.
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  #1  
Old 24 Jan 2012
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Make your own bike

Just a curiosity, any of you guys have ever envisioned about building your own bike from scratch (frame, forks, engine, gearbox) instead of buying one bike like, for example, a KLR650 or a 1200GS?

Answering my own question. Yes I already thought about building my own bike, and I´d like to make a bike similar to the BMW R80GS Basic with Showa front forks, Brembo brakes, and Ural 750cc engine (with the newly designed crankshaft, modern electronics and Japanese alternator), a 6 speeds gearbox (with a loooooooong 6th gear) and a rear suspension similar to the Buell Ulysses.

How about you guys? What would be your ultimate adventure bike?
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  #2  
Old 24 Jan 2012
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hello, I recently bought a yamaha TT 350, the idea was to transform it into a TENERE for traveling two up.(only adding pegs (passenger)change tank, seat, windscreen...)
So I did start reading about tranformations and people who did so, BUT after reading stories about the front wheel becoming very light at high speed ( for TT350=120 km/h ?) I started doubting about my personal engeneering skills, I gave up and sold the bike
I gonna buy me a XT 660 Z Tenere and thrust the precious life of my wife in the hands of the yamaha ingeneers

sorry for your enthousiasm
see you on the road
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  #3  
Old 25 Jan 2012
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My original idea behind buying a KLR650 was to more or less do that. I planned to change so much on the bike, there would be almost nothing left of the original KLR but the frame and the engine -- but even those would be modified, perhaps significantly. Then I started planning my RTW trip and that all fell away as I prepped it for travel instead.

I would still like to try it some day if ever I have the time and money. I would probably choose the bike to start modifying from based on the engine I wanted to use. Not certain what it would be, but my first instinct is a single cylinder, easy to maintain, with a history of being rock solid (very few repairs).
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  #4  
Old 25 Jan 2012
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A wise old man once said "you don't need to reinvent the wheel"

Or as Grant has signed off on couple of occasions "KISS"

There really is no need, but I am curious as to why you would pick a Ural engine ahead of say an airhead BMW flat twin.
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  #5  
Old 25 Jan 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electric_monk View Post
There really is no need, but I am curious as to why you would pick a Ural engine ahead of say an airhead BMW flat twin.
Sentimental reasons
A modern twin engine like BMW´s F800 engine would make a lot more sense for sure, but an Ural Big Trail would have a special place in my heart.
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  #6  
Old 26 Jan 2012
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This https://sites.google.com/site/yorkshireoutbacksidecar/ is pretty home made to my own requirements.

It has the huge advantage that with the exception of some stuff I'm still working on it meets my exact needs. The bits I'm working on have spaces left ready in the design.

For every step in this direction you lose something at the other end. I know the power settings to weld the frame at home but give me a different welding set in another country, who knows. I know the running gear is Ford Escort but you can forget any help from Ford or BMW if this breaks so much as a light bulb. It can get worse if you have parts made, the Unit forks are going rusty inside a year because they've obviously switched to some summer bikers standard of paint. I dread to think what would break if the machine shop got a Ural to gearbox bell housing adapter out of line and fixing it would be a nightmare.

You also get hassle with any government department you meet and the in-sewer-ants.

The balance between getting the bike you want and the hassle is up to you.

I too wouldn't touch a Ural motor (people used to bin them and put BMW/VW/Subaru engines in the Urals, so the opposite could be done). You can have air cooled and carbs, made out of proper modern materials, without 30 years of previous owner bodges and gearing of your choice on a Hinckley Bonneville. Scrambler shocks take the ground clearance above R80GS levels. Same performance and still has the support of the manufacturer. I'm sure you could do the same to a GS500, CB500/750, Kawasaki W650/800, Moto Guzzi etc.

If you want a practical bike, modify as little as possible IMHO.

Andy
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  #7  
Old 26 Jan 2012
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I'm 'sort of' building my own bike (I'm not building the frame). I am getting a nickel plated oil-in-frame frame and putting a reconditioned Trophy/Bonneville engine in it. I wanted to ride a classic bike around the world because I think they help open doors, look great, feel more visceral etc.

I was originally going to rebuild a Commando but they are heavy bikes, track very well on tarmac but are crap about bad surfaces but I read an article about a Rickman-Metisse competition frame from the 60's - Metisse are now making the same frames. I'm using modern suspension, wheels and brakes and running a batteryless system, which will help save weight.

I've totted up all the parts and spec wise it will have about 8" travel front and back, decent ground clearance, about 50bhp and weigh in at less than 145kg.
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Old 27 Jan 2012
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henryuk, I would like to see some pictures of that bike. It sounds very interesting.
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  #9  
Old 27 Jan 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkrijt View Post
henryuk, I would like to see some pictures of that bike. It sounds very interesting.
+1

Lots of pics please.
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  #10  
Old 27 Jan 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkm_br View Post
Just a curiosity, any of you guys have ever envisioned about building your own bike from scratch (frame, forks, engine, gearbox) instead of buying one bike
Imagined, yes. Actually done something, no.

The cost and time factor alone are prohibitive, not to mention the outcome and quality that one person vs a whole company could come up with.

I believe that modifying vs building is the much better solution for countless reasons. But if you want some then:
1. parts availability thereof
2. price
3. time & effort
4. expertise
5. testing - both by manufacturer and actual real world
6. power output
7. latest technology
8. documentation
9. support
...


The only real factor FOR building your own bike I see is knowledge, that being you built it and you know it, but over time you might forget little things, and I doubt you'd have written a workshop manual to keep notes of what you did and how, so when you came to fixing things years later, you'd have only your memory to rely on. And for some of us, that is less than perfect . Everything else seems to be AGAINST building your own.

But you can't underestimate the feeling and emotional high you would get from knowing you built your own motorbike!! That would be pretty cool
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  #11  
Old 28 Jan 2012
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You end up with a sort of manual. All the ratty bits of paper and fag packets covered in "notes" gets stuffed in some sort of container. You intend to write it up and laminate it so you'll never be standing in the rain wondering which black wire does what. You never do!

Andy
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  #12  
Old 28 Jan 2012
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I am also building up a bike frame modified and strengthened using a flat twin motor and chassis as the basis. The BMW g/s series bikes are great but have very limited ground clearance and the suspension is limited by its length and strength - the wheelbase is short and as such if loaded up it can be a bit limited in the handling department and I nor am I a great fan of monoshock or paralever set up so so I am hoping to improve the bike and have based it on the Paris dakar racers of the 80s, using a twin shock bevel box (very reliable and simple) but built to my own requirements and with a different approach to certain areas ie the swing arm and rear suspension etc different suspension one off rear end, one off wiring and a lot more to boot its almost done and should be ready for the paintwork and powder coating in a few weeks. I put some photos on this web site so it might be of interest The BMW Club :: View topic - project Paris dakar rallye bike (home built) Jake.
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