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SM Newb with a BRP and Questions

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O.K., so I have a 2000 XR650R en route to me and I'm dreaming of converting it to SM use. It's got the stock wheels, acerbis handguards, and a nice light kit to make it streetable. It's also been uncorked, from air filter through exhaust can, so I anticipate a good bit of power.

I'm 41 years old and have 2 seasons (short VT seasons) of riding behind me (about 15,000 miles total). I find that I'm only happy when I'm riding fairly aggressively and I've been to the track (Loudon) twice for schools. Outside of MSF class, the only things I've ridden have been sportbikes. I've developed an interest in rebuilding wrecks, so I've had a chance to try some different bikes, including a couple of YZF600Rs, an R6 and an FZ1. The one thing I've concluded about sportbikes is that they are TOO DAMN FAST. I don't need to go 150+ mph.

SM caught my eye as a form of riding that will allow some thrills in the twisties, the ability to go off the pavement and a good platform to try wheelies and stoppies, without triple digit speeds at every twist of the wrist.

Anyway, that's enough about me. My questions revolve aound the best SM mods for my Big Red Pig. My goal is to get the capabilities I'll want, without spending more than necessary.

1 - I like to ride twisties and go to the track on occassion. I might even do a novice class race or two (road racing, not SM), but I'm not real hard on my front brakes. Can I get away with the stock caliper, with the addition of a larger front rotor and caliper relocator bracket? Or should I go ahead and get the 4 piston setup? What's the best brand/model? How about ss lines?

2 - What's the best wheel setup for me? How wide can the rear be (rim and tire) without rubbing the chain and swinger?

3 - What's the best choice for tires? I expect to do about 50/50 between paved and unpaved roads.

4 - What spocket combo should I use? On occassion I may want to run an hour or so at 60 mph to get to some of my favorite roads.

5 - What's a good choice for a chain?

6 - Anything else?

Thanks!

Doug

Rutland, Vermont

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The XR650R is a perfect street bike in SM trim (not so good on the track -- just can't move around too much on it and its too heavy).

To tell you the truth goin with 17" wheels on the street is mostly pose factor then anything. Running stock wheels with street tires is just as fast. That being said, on my XR650R, I have the White Bros supermoto wheels running maxxis rain tires and a EBC 280mm front rotor and 15-42 gearing (which is really tall but I like it for faster roads and the motor has enough grunt to pull it easy). I had the 320mm disc but that was just too much and didn't mount on as easy. Plus anyways I generally am not breaking that hard on the street -- so really a stock rotor would have done just fine -- but I keep the stock rotor on my stock wheels so I can swap out really easy for dirt riding. The Maxxis rain tires are uber sticky but they wear down in less then 750 street miles.

For the track I would not recomend the XR at all. It's fun to take on practice days but it is easy to find the limititations. Buy a KTM SMC or SMR instead...

-Micah

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Thanks for the comments.

The track riding I'll be doing will be on the full-size road course at New Hampshire International Speedway (Loudon), so I don't think weight will be an issue. The 650R is about 150 lbs lighter than the YZF600R that I ran there last summer.

The toughest decision for me seems to be how much to invest in brakes. Do I just get the larger rotor? Braided line? 4-piston caliper? Upgraded master cylinder? If i can get away for under $200 (rotor only) that would be great, but I'll spend $1,000 or so for the whole deal if it's going to result in a much better experience.

Any input is appreciated.

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YZFn,

I think you are right on target. And I think you will notice a big difference when going to 17" wheels. Start with an oversized rotor, steel line and EBC HH pads. You can upgrade to a street bike type master cylinder pretty cheap if you want. You can do the caliper later if you decide you need it. The XR 650 R should provide you with miles of smiles. 😢

Mike

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I would then recommend the EBC 280mm rotor. It is about $175 and includes a relocation bracket. I thought the 320mm was overkill -- plus there where mounting issues with the breaking brake systems 320 rotor -- it was so thick it required me to grind down areas of my stock caliper to even get the caliper on. But if you think you are trully going to be doing a *LOT* of heavy braking the 320 will have better heat dissipation...

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oh yeah, with the 320 to get the front calliper on or off I actually had to remove the rotor from the wheel -- which was a real pain...

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peanut gallery here: Do the brakes right the first time. Meaning, get a complete setup. Everytime I try to do things the "economical" way I end up paying more in the end and end up with spare parts.

YMMV

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kockroach: I like your way of thinking - rationalize the purchase of a killer full-blown system on the theory that it's actually less expensive in the long run. I can't tell you how many times I've used that argument to justify the purchase of cool stuff. That's why I got a separate credit card for all mc stuff - wifey doesn't bother me about it.

micahp: You raise an interesting point - I want to maintain the ability to switch back and forth between stock wheels and SM fairly readily. I would think you could remove the caliper from the fork and then slide it off the rotor .... but apparently not?? I definately do not want to be removing/replacing the rotor frequently.

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I can't speak for everybody, but from what I've personally seen---

trying to save on things like brakes usually leads to brake levers

coming all the way back to the handlebar and subsequent "holy sheeeet!!!!"

and "ohhhhh myyy gggoooooooodddddddd".

Then, the cheapie stuff goes on eBay or TT's for sale forum, and sells at a loss.

Next, Motomaster race kits usually follow.

This is followed by a better kind of "holy sheeeeeettttt!!!!!"

and the other phrase turns into, "oh my gooddd, these brakes work amazing! oh my ggoooodddd i can't believe i didn't use this setup before!!!" lol

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I also run Loudon track days and wrench for NESR racing. I also have an 02 XR650R. As you know Loudon is a technical track but it sounds like you aren't really hammering it too hard. You're brakes would fade if you were hammering a 280mm rotor with stock caliper....but it doesn't sound like you're Jeff Wood turning 15's (6 seconds off Mladin's track record!) on a Honda 450. That said, get the 280 EBC setup from Rocky Mtn ATV...part# RS-6001 would be a great addition. It includes a nice anodized caliper relocation piece and costs $134.99. I haven't motarded the 650 yet but i will be buying this setup for the dirt anyway. Don't fret over the extra 25lbs the piggie has.....a 300lb, 48-50 hp bike is gonna fly on that track...if you want it to. Braided lines will certainly help feel at the lever also. If you go with the 17" setup, run the Dunlop D208 DOT race rubber. Good prices can be found and they hold up well for the occasional trackday or a rip up and down VT100. I haven't explored street gearing yet, but looks like you've got some recommendations above. Best chain is the DID ERV2 520. Very high tensile and nice looks....gold anod. I run this chain on my 130 hp street/trackbike with no ill effects...so far.

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Thanks zx - you're definately on target as far as my anticipated use of the bike. Route 100 is at least a once a week ride, with quick side-trips through the various gaps - especially rte. 17/Apallachian Gap (can't wait).

Question on tires - One thing I'm really looking forward to with this bike is the ability to ride on unpaved roads. We have lots of well-maintained hardpacked dirt/gravel roads that I would like to add to my repertoire. Is there something between a sportbike tire like the D208 and a full-on dirt tire that would give me reasonably good handling on both paved and unpaved surfaces? I understand that there will be tradeoffs either way.

As far as brakes are concerned, I would really like to become more proficient/aggressive over the next year or so and may just bite the bullet and invest in the full system up front. In case anyone hasn't figured it out, I'm trying to rationalize the expense, so just back me up on this ... ok?

Thanks again.

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Thanks zx - you're definately on target as far as my anticipated use of the bike. Route 100 is at least a once a week ride, with quick side-trips through the various gaps - especially rte. 17/Apallachian Gap (can't wait).

Question on tires - One thing I'm really looking forward to with this bike is the ability to ride on unpaved roads. We have lots of well-maintained hardpacked dirt/gravel roads that I would like to add to my repertoire. Is there something between a sportbike tire like the D208 and a full-on dirt tire that would give me reasonably good handling on both paved and unpaved surfaces? I understand that there will be tradeoffs either way.

As far as brakes are concerned, I would really like to become more proficient/aggressive over the next year or so and may just bite the bullet and invest in the full system up front. In case anyone hasn't figured it out, I'm trying to rationalize the expense, so just back me up on this ... ok?

Thanks again.

You're a motorcyce enthusiast...of which, being rationale is not a part of! LOL! I've justified more than my fair share of underperforming performance parts because they make me feel warm and fuzzy. Get the full setup, it is a nice piece. Personally, my intended purpose for the BRP is actually 3.

1) Registered for street/supermoto

2) The Track

3) Quick conversion to off-road trail use (which would mean buying some 17's).

Basically a universal soldier. As far as tires are concerned, the 208 is only going to come in a 17". If you were planning on motarding with your stock rims, I think you would be hard pressed to find a tire that would satisfy serious track duty and class 4? roads. As you know, Supermotard at Loudon is not really SM, it's road racing dirtbikes. They rarely factor in a dirt section. Even when they do run the (very small) dirt section (in the bowl)they are usually running cut DOT's. There may be something that would work for you though. I'm still a little green when it comes to those different options.

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Thanks zx - you're definately on target as far as my anticipated use of the bike. Route 100 is at least a once a week ride, with quick side-trips through the various gaps - especially rte. 17/Apallachian Gap (can't wait).

Question on tires - One thing I'm really looking forward to with this bike is the ability to ride on unpaved roads. We have lots of well-maintained hardpacked dirt/gravel roads that I would like to add to my repertoire. Is there something between a sportbike tire like the D208 and a full-on dirt tire that would give me reasonably good handling on both paved and unpaved surfaces? I understand that there will be tradeoffs either way.

As far as brakes are concerned, I would really like to become more proficient/aggressive over the next year or so and may just bite the bullet and invest in the full system up front. In case anyone hasn't figured it out, I'm trying to rationalize the expense, so just back me up on this ... ok?

Thanks again.

YZn,

IMO there is no compromise on-road/off road tire. I have practiced for the off road section of supermoto races on supersport race tires on hard packed dirt and gravel roads. Under the right conditions, this is really fun and it is amazing what you can do/get away with on road racing tires in the dirt. It is easier if you have some familiarity with off roading on true dirt tires. Knobbies slip and slid around too, so when you start to do it on smooth road tires, it isn't that big of a deal.

Go with at least a 320 mm disc if not the whole system. I have run a 280 mm disc and a 320 mm disc with my stock DRZ caliper. The difference between the 280 and 320 is huge IMO. 😢

Mike

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Awesome feedback guys.

zx - sounds like you and I have the exact same objectives.

Mike - based on what you said, I think I'll start with the D208s on my SM rims and maybe use the stock BRP wheels and knobbies to cut my teeth offroad.

Is it springtime yet?

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Is it springtime yet?

On that note, you could also stud for ice.....ahhh, that's another topic....LOL

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You'll need a 40T on the back (with a 17" wheel). I heard that someone out there makes a 39, but I never found one....

And you'll be happy with a fork brace, especially with 17" front.

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Yep - the bike I bought came with lots of goodies, including a fork brace.

40 tooth sounds like the ticket for the rear .... can you go up a tooth in the front?

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Yes, I'm running 15 x 42 on my 650 SM,with a good exhaust system and carb(mine is a Mikuni TM40)/intake mods, no problems to start a wheely in 4th @ 90km/h 😢

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You'll need a 40T on the back (with a 17" wheel). I heard that someone out there makes a 39, but I never found one....

And you'll be happy with a fork brace, especially with 17" front.

Have you given Sprocket Specialists a shot. If they have the tooling for the bolt pattern of a 650r, they can usually make it in any quantity of teeth. Just a shot.

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