Another XR650R Dualsport project!

Been busy...


Over the past three months I’ve put a Baja Designs lighting kit on, made a crude subframe extension

to hold up the rear lighting, heaver fork springs, new Kenda K270 D.O.T. 50/50 tires with super heavy duty

tubes and balanced, Kouba lowering link, right peg fix, new front and rear brake pads, Baja Designs exhaust baffle,

dual-sport mirrors and a shiny new registration plate.


I still have to install; Edelbrock carb, AceWell 3900 Speedometer/ tachometer/ temperature gauge,

oil sight tube and a 12 kg rear spring and I’m ready for the safety inspection.


For riding gear I picked up a nice FirstGear Trekker jacket, which I upgraded to Core-Comp CE Armor,

Answer Mode M/X boots, Scott goggles and two nice pair of elk skin gloves.

I also ordered the Joe Rocket Ballistic 5.0 Pants, Joe Rocket Phoenix 2.0 Mesh Pants

and a Power Trip Voodoo Mesh Jacket. I figure that will cover me for cold weather and hot weather riding.

Here are a couple of hair brained things I’m gonna try to keep the costs down... Don’t laugh TOO much!

3-Piece Saddle Bag SetCheap Luggage


Sweet Cheeks Seat Cover.

I had been agonizing over a seat for the XR. For long Dualsport rides, I need a wide seat with a lot of support.

For aggressive dirt riding, I need the stock width seat. I was going to spring for a custom seat, but what if

I didn’t’ like it? $400 down the drain... This solution is only $24. I think I will have to tune the seat to get

the maximum comfort from it. If the 2 liter bottles don’t work, I’ll try super dense foam and work my way

down till it does the job.


I put about 50 miles on it. The Kenda K270s seem ok so far. Had to drop the air pressure to 10psi

before they would bite in the dirt and 15 psi seems good for the street.

I was pretty nervous riding the street, but each time I took it out it got better. Started to

remember why I loved riding. I was playing around with some stuff and got it running great. The

Baja Baffle really makes a huge difference in sound without too much of a power loss that I can see.

The bike is really impressive on and off road. I still need to get a wind eflector to bring it to the dual sport

level I’m looking for.

Can’t wait to get it all sorted out so I can quit wrenching and start some serious riding.

Thanks for the post, great information. :thumbsup:

A quick note on the custom seat: I bit the bullet a while back and sent my seat of to Renazco for refinishing. I was worried I wouldn't care for it, but once it got back I was absolutely blown away by how good it was. I had mine refinished in suede, which is very nice for long rides. The seat itself is as wide as stock, but the sides of the seat are vertical instead of tapering in like the stocker (giving more sitting room). Now I'm planning to send the seat off of my second 650R to him as soon as my tax return comes in. :confused: So anyway, I highly recommend it.

Oh, and I have pictures of it which I'll try to post as soon as my webspace is back up. :thumbsup:

Thanks! Lot of fun doing the build and can’t wait to start touring it!

I hear you on the Renazco seat! I like the Bojangles seat and also the Rick Mayer seat also.

I want to try the Sweet Cheeks and see how that works out. I’m fascinated by the concept and I want to

experiment with it. One variable I’m dealing with is a special seat cover I have that came with my graphic

package. I’d like to use it so I may wind up trying to build my own seat... I heard that the gardening

kneeling pads are great seat material, since they are made from closed cell dense foam.


I love this graphic package! Something about it... Maybe it’s the black side panels... I got this package

to offset the IMS 7.0 gas tank that will be going on the bike soon. The tank overwhelms the bike and I’m

trying to offset that.


Computer in the garage next to the bike. Gotta love it. Bike looks good and congrats on the plate and all the hard work. If you're looking to dress her up a bit and get that exhaust ceramic coated let me know. It will give it a nice silver shine finish and work just like ceramic tape, only better. You said you'll be driving it a some long hauls soon, I'd consider it. That pipe will get hot, especially in traffic.


Look what peaple are doing --

You need to do the same!!!!!!!!!!!


HONDA get with the program before KTM and others pass you by so far you have no way to catchup. :thumbsup:

Hey Tim!

Yeah, a computer is part of the tools now…

Spent the day working on the bike. Started by giving it a bath, then I cleaned, prepped and painted the side panels black. When it comes to paint, I suck… While the paint was drying I started mounting the new speedometer. I took off the odometer and mouthed the speedometer unit off the handlebar clamps. I added some extra rubber for vibration isolation to be on the safe side.

The speedo uses a Hall effect sensor that plugs in to the speedometer drive just like the stock cable. Cool… The cable going to the speedo is thinner than stock cable so I cut some pieces of fuel line so the two clamps would hold it firmly. I also ran the RPM sensor wire to the coil through a plastic cable guide and connected it with a ‘T’ connector. While there, I also ran another wire down near the CID module for the front brake switch that I had to add for the inspection. I’ll tie that into the rear brake wiring tomorrow.

I got tired of electrical so I pulled the throttle and cables off, the new parts that came with the Edelbrock QC will replace them. Hope to finish the speedo and get the QC installed and tuned tomorrow. Happy, but tired…

Hi Al,

Wow, your bike is looking tough as nails! Nice build… Is that a Ram mount on the left side of the bars beside the hand guard clamp? Can’t quite make it out…

Yeah, isn’t it a shame we have to piecemeal a competitive dualsport together? Of course, if Honda did make it, I probably couldn’t afford it… 8^)

I worked on the bike for the last two days and got a lot of stuff done but I ran out of time and didn’t finish the QC. :bonk:

I did get the QC throttle on though... :confused:

I did get the side panels painted black... I hate painting... I suck... Heck, it’s a dirt bike... :bonk:


Also got the new digital speedometer on and connected (except for the temperature sender, need some parts...) and it looks really great! You wouldn’t believe all the wires behind my headlight now... Nine connections coming from three cables from the speedometer alone! I also wired in my front hydraulic brake light switch required my Massachusetts and I tried to hook up a Radio Shack audio warning device to the flashers, but I think I need a diode or two to make it work right... I want it to beep when either direction is on, I have a tendency to forget to shut them off and that’s dangerous... :bonk:

I took a little ride before I started tearing it up again; MAN that bike is fun... I did get the stock carburetor dialed in perfectly! It starts on two kicks max cold and first kick when it’s hot and it really runs great from idle right up through WFO. THE POWERRRRRR... :bonk:

Even so, I’m looking forward to installing the QC, from what I’ve heard, there are many great features besides easy starting.

My cheap luggage came in today! Was sitting there when I finally came home... Excellent quality for the money ($27) but it will need some work to convert it from a horse to a bike... Interesting project that should work out great and pay for the QC! :thumbsup:

I did find one unexpected problem with the BD lighting kit. For some reason, the stator connections were burned. Not any of the wires, just the brand new connections... :bonk:

The only thing I can think of is a liberal amount of Dielectric I used when I assembled the kit. Maybe the dielectric caused resistance under high current flow and turned the connectors into heating elements! I cut of the burned connectors and installed new connectors without the dielectric, but didn’t get a chance to test it yet. :thumbsup:

Well, had a busy couple of days. Got the Edelbrock, 12 kg rear spring and seat cover installed and I painted the exhaust system. Also checked out the new Dirt Cheap Luggage and Sweet Cheeks saddle cover.


I dropped the QS down a needle size to 17 because of the Baja Baffle prior to installing and it seems about right but haven’t done much testing yet. Starting appears immediate so far.

The horn bags fit the stock XR tank perfectly! Can’t go wrong for $10. I picked up Velcro straps at Ace hardware and they secure the bags to the bottom of the tank air vent. The horn bags are too small for the big IMS tank though and will probably go with the stock tank once I’ve switch to the 7-gallon tank. The larger saddlebags fit the big tank perfectly.


The Saddlebags seem to work very well on the rear of the bike, but I’ll have to adjust the width. Plan to just use pop rivets, heck with stitching... I found some neat snaps that I’m gonna test for attaching the bags to the bike. Once side attaches like a bolt and the other side rivets to the cloth. I’m thinking that two snaps on the fender will keep the bags from shifting side to side and then four snaps on each side cover will secure the bags to the bike. Don’t know if that will be secure enough for dirt riding, but I’m rather sedate now anyway.


The snaps will allow quick attachment and removal but the question of course is can they provide a solid mount. It appears that the bags will only weigh a couple of pounds and because of the weight limitations of the subframe, I’m only planning on carrying clothing in them. The heaver stuff will go in the tank panniers that will be attached with straps.


I tried the sweet cheeks seat cover with the recommended 2 litter bottles. It looks a little hokey with the bottles and I felt that they were too heavy with 4 litters of water in them. I suppose that they would be just the ticked if you needed to carry 4 litters of liquid with you. I picked up two kneeling pads from the hardware store and rolled them as tightly as possible then taped them to keep from unrolling. They fit in the sweet cheeks perfectly and a brief test run found them comfortable but I’d like them even larger. This is pending.

The bottom line is the Horn Bags are perfect size for the stock XR tank and the Velcro straps give you 8 litters of storage for about $14. Thro in a couple of zip lock plastic bags and you have waterproof to boot. I’m gonna see how much it would cost to have zippers sewn in which would make them perfect.


The saddlebags look very doable as panniers for the big tanks and with some creativity, will make usable saddlebags. Anyone looking for Luggage for their BRP on the cheap should seriously look into these, especially if you know someone that could sew zippers into them cheap!


Hice bike. How do you like the lowering link?

Hice bike. How do you like the lowering link?
Thanks! It’s been a lot of fun.

I don’t really have any experience with riding the BRP without it so I can’t give a good review. The first thing I noticed when I bought the bike was how high it was so I put the link in right away. Even with the proper race sag set (4”), I can now flat foot the bike! This makes the bike feel much more stable, and it makes tight technical riding that much easier. I haven’t noticed any downside yet, but like I said, I don’t have any experience with the stock suspension. I’m very happy that I did the lowering link at this point.

I have stubby little legs so I was thinking of getting onr myself.

i like that speedo more than any other i have seen i think i'll go with one of those too

Mounted a National Wind Deflector to the bike, bent the mounting bracket for the Speedo for better visibility at night and added a turn signal beeper for safety sake. I took the bike for a 20 mile test spin and found that it feels a bit skittish over 50 mph on the highway so I dropped the forks back to the stock position. I had raised them when I did the lowering link mod. That made the bike a little higher, dang... Haven’t tested it since.

The turn signal mod was added because I found I have the tendency to leave the turn signals on after turns... This is dangerous... I used a small 1-amp bridge rectifier for a switch and a small Radio Shack 86 Db beeper. Works great and it cured the problem.

The Deflector mounted very nicely and it’s relatively small and not intrusive but it deflects the air off my chest. I like it...

I found that the new grip I installed on the new QC throttle was binding on the stock handguard. Took a while to figure this out as I checked all the normal things. I wound up going the quick dirty route and cut the rubber donut off the grip and that fixed the problem.

Every time I ride the bike I can feel it coming together. This is a really fun project.

Ordered a Ram Mount for my old Garmin eMap and loaded the new 128 Mb card with maps of the East Coast. This is a MUST HAVE because I can get lost just going to the bathroom; I’m THAT BAD...

Items still outstanding:

Mount new Cheap Luggage,

Mount and wire eMap,

Rear fender reflectors for the Safety Inspection,

Install the Oil site tube,

Install the Manual Oiler,

3" Rubber Foot Peg conversion,

Paint rear disk guard bright red,

New Rubber Mounted handlebar clamps and SUB triple clamp when available.

Scott’s damper,

Mount and plumb the new IMS 7.0 Gallon tank and apply graphics.


Sorry, no pictures of the latest work but I will catch up on the next work day.

Uh, No, more like THIS.



I just found out that Aerostich is selling them too!

Rain, Rain, Rain!!!

Not a lot done this week. Forgot to take my digital camera so NO PICTURES! :lol:

Got the 3” rubber pegs mounted! :ride:

Took the stock donor pegs and the new pegs to a welding shop and told the guy what I wanted. It took two tries but they came out nice. I found some stainless steel clevis pin clips so now I can change from street pegs to dirt pegs in a heartbeat, no tools needed. Most of the time I’ll run the new pegs but for serious dirt I can return to the stock pegs faster than it takes to air down a tire.

A short test run and the peg buzz is GONE! And the pegs are MUCH more comfortable with about 3 times the surface area. I’m VERY pleased with this mod and HIGHLY RECOMMEND it for DualSport.

At first, I though this was going to be a real headache because of the compound mount angle on the stock pegs. Then, it came to me; make a common denominator (top surfaces of the pegs) and side step ALL the problems. Here’s how it’s done. :lol:

The stock pegs are placed upside down and the mount is cut of square to the peg. This gives a square-mounting surface on the mounts.

The same procedure is done on the new pegs; flipped upside down and the mount cut off square to the peg.

Keeping everything upside down, the stock mounts are then welded to the new pegs and the new unit is cleaned up and painted. It’s really simple! By flipping the pegs upside down and cutting it square to the peg, all the correct angles are maintained and matching pieces are square.

Interestingly, since all the relationships have been maintained, the new pegs ‘feel’ exactly the same as the stock pegs while sitting on the bike. When you stand up though, the extra support from the larger pegs is obvious. The real gain only becomes apparent with a test ride. :banana:

To finalize the safety gear, I stuck the two new red reflectors on the rear fender making sure the luggage and the directional signals wouldn’t obscure them. It was a ‘tight fit’ but there was just enough room for them.

It had stopped raining so I tried to make it to the inspection station but it was closed. Bummer. So, I went for a little shakedown cruise up to New Hampshire to test the bike, the clothing and me, of course. Wow, it all came together! :lol:

With a light continuous drizzle and cold temperatures I found the First Gear Trekker jacket and Joe Rocket Ballistic pants kept me warm and dry. The only slight aggravation was wiping the rain off the goggles every few minuets but other than that, I was comfortable. :busted:

The Street Deflector kept the windblast (and rain) off my chest and maintained a clean airflow around the helmet with no buffeting at speeds up to 60 mph on the secondary roads. Also, dropping the forks back to the stock position returned the steering stability with a small but noticeable increase in seat height.

The Kenda K270 tires felt stable on the wet road surface, but the rear tire could be broken free with a twist of the throttle. Fortunately, the feeling was the same as spinning them on dirt and was not a problem at all. Even with the rain, the bike handled great and with normal braking and acceleration I felt quite secure.

After returning to the garage, it occurred to me that my butt hadn’t complained about the seat AT ALL! Thinking back, I realized that I didn’t have to squirm on the seat occasionally to relieve pressure points! Cool, the Sweet Cheeks with the foam mod worked! With out it, I would have been uncomfortable even on such a short ride.

There was ONE FLY in the ointment! After removing all the riding gear, I went back to look the bike over and found the Baja Designs Baffle was MISSING! I thought to myself, “That’s the end of that, $100 down the drain!” :eek:

To make a long story short, I took the truck back along the path I had taken and was shocked and pleased to find the baffle on the road less than a mile away. The pristine stainless steel polished surface now showing battle damage, but still intact.

I never cared for the silicon hi temp o-rings, or the single screw that secured the baffle from the start. I found the o-rings had melted and the baffle bouncing around and vibrating had quickly backed out the screw. :smirk:

Since it had failed, modification was in order.

After a long search the next day I found that a small piece cut from flew pipe material and wrapped around the baffle mounting surface gave a VERY snug fit. Since I happen to have two HRC tips I decided to weld the baffle in place and be done with it.

Items still outstanding:

Mount new Cheap Luggage,

Mount and wire eMap,

Install the Oil site tube,

Install the Manual Oiler,

New Rubber Mounted handlebar clamps and SUB triple clamp when available.

Scott’s damper,

Mount and plumb the new IMS 7.0 Gallon tank and apply graphics.

Please...PLEASE tell me that ISNT your helmet !!!!



Yupper... That’s my helmet! Jealous? :ride:

Yesterday I had my first Dualsport ride.

Western Massachusetts 1-State Dualsport Ride

Friday and Saturday were spent finishing up some stuff on the bike. Mounted my eMap

with a RAM mount, nice! Mounted the Sweet Cheeks using a strap and a couple of

plastic hooks I cut off the cheap saddlebags. The hooks attached to the fender brace I

made and a black shoestring now has a new job. The front was secured using the strap

around the seat. This setup gave me a secure and highly adjustable setup.

I put the new red reflectors on the rear fender just forward of the directional signals.

They pretty much match the color of the fender and aren’t noticeable unless they are


The bike was ridden to a local Harley shop and was blessed with a nice Safety Inspection

Sticker on the registration plate! Finally, I’m plated and inspected in Massachusetts.:busted:

Needless to say, the Harley people :banana: didn’t quite know what to think of a plated Baja Bike.

I was originally planning to ride the 125 miles to the Dualsport run then do the 150 miles

of trails and finish it off with a 125 mile ride back to my friends house with a final 50

mile leg in the truck back home. :smirk: Fortunately, I came to my senses and rented a trailer.

My friend was very nervous about me doing such a long run and wanted to come with

me. As it turned out, I managed to get permission for him to ride sweep in the truck with

me. This actually wound up putting a strange spin on the day as it turned out.


All loaded and ready to rock! Note the rear red reflector shows up with the flash!

We left his house at 6am and arrived at the Berkshires at 8:30. I had miscalculated the

time it took to get there and it was rush, rush, rush... I wish I had given myself an extra

hour so I could look around and see what people were riding and how they transported.

Anyway, I registered, hit the riders meeting, bought and mounted a cool billeted rout

chart holder and suited up.


Seventy Eight Bikes showed up at the run.
Multiple copies of every kind of bike,

KTMs, BMWs, Suzukis, Kawasakis and Honda XRs.

But there was only ONE XR650R!

I was quite surprised to find that 78 riders showed up for this event, even with a DISMAL

weather forecast. I’m afraid to think how many riders there would have been if the

weather was great. Actually, it started out as a beautiful day and rather warm too!


And... Ready for Adventure! (So... Does this bike make my ass look fat?

My friend and I were just about the last riders to leave the start. I was very glad that I

had mounted the eMap as it came in handy checking my navigation with the route chart.

This is the first time I did anything like that and I can see where it would be easy to get

lost. One problem is my speedo isn’t calibrated quite right and I was constantly running

several tenths behind the rout chart. If I hit the mileage on the chart, I had missed the


I started to catch up and pass other riders. We started on tar and shortly moved to gravel

then mud and the run varied between these from then out. Another mistake I had made

was not airing down the tires. I should have dropped them to 8 psi for more bite in the

dirt and mud. Another thing I noticed was the Sweet Cheeks were to far back on the seat

but over the 135 miles I covered and at least 7 hrs in the saddle, NO MONKEY BUTT! :ride:

I consider the Sweet Cheeks with the kneeling pad foam a success and

recommend them to anyone that doesn’t want to spend the bucks on a custom saddle.

In case you missed that, let me rephrase it... With the Sweet Cheeks and kneeling pad

foam, this is the BEST MOTORCYCLE SEAT I HAVE EVER RIDDEN! On the way

home, I realized that this was the first time I did a long ride and NEVER thought about

my butt aching... Simply Amazing!

(Standard disclaimer: No connection with the Sweet Cheeks people, no bucks,

paid for the seat out of my own pocket. Just absolutely thrilled with a SUPERIOR


I love the Big XR! What a cool bike. When I got my butt up off the seat, the bike

soaked up the bumps and it was smooth as silk. Unfortunately, I’m still waiting on my

new triple clamps with the tall bars so standing up was an ‘iffy’ proposition reserved for

tougher spots. The tall bars and higher bar clamps, this bike will ROCK...


Here you can see the Sweet Cheeks, 3” rubber peg mod, eMap, wind deflector and if ya

squint, the red reflector on the fender, just ahead of the rear turn signals.

The weather started out just beautiful and I was worried about over heating. As it turned

out, this was NOT an issue, by 1 pm the sky was heavily overcast and brief intervals of

rain proved my riding gear. At around the 76 mile mark I found an injured rider. He had

almost wiped out and while trying to save it put a foot down and promptly severely

jammed his left knee. He was sitting on his bike, unable to even get off because of the

pain. It took three guys to get him off the bike.

His buddies hid the bike in the woods and would return with a truck to pick it up. He was

unable to ride up front in the cab of my truck so we put him in the rear and padded him as

best we could for the ride to emergency. Using my GPS, I led the truck to the nearest

Hospital quickly and easily while ridding through a now heavy downpour.

We get to the hospital and its some weird kind that DOESN’T have emergency facilities!

Thank GOD we didn’t have a life threatening injury on our hands or this guy would have

been dead. There’s no other hospital listed on my older GPS software so we ask

directions from the unconcerned staff. Turns out they gave us the wrong address and the

wrong directions. We finally stop at a fire station and they give us directions, also

wrong... Then my friend sees a ‘H’ sign and takes us to a ‘real’ hospital. We take the

guy in and he tell us that his friends will take care of him and we should take off. We do.


Here’s my support team! ...and best friend of 45 years! Without his support there would

be no bike and no Adventure! Thanks Mike!

Because of all the time it took us to get off the trails and find a hospital, I make a decision

to abort the run, grab some food and head back to the start to pick up the trailer. As it

turns out, this is the BEGINNING of the adventure.


Here you can see the eMap, route sheet holder and wind deflector.

Apparently the Berkshires is one of those ‘Ya can’t get there from here’ kind of

places and it takes hours to cover the GPS 27 mile straight line distance to get back. On the

way back, a cold front moves in and the temperatures drop like a rock. It gets so dark I

can’t even read my GPS, HEAVY rain that turns to pea sized HAIL! I felt like I was

being machine-gunned with BB’s... I have to ride one handed and constantly wipe my

goggles and cover my chin with the free hand. Lesson... Get a full-face helmet!

Shortly after the hail, I was treated to a fantastic lightening display and, I had a front row,

center seat for it!

While my First Gear Treckker jacket, Joe Rocket Ballistic pants and Answer boots kept

the rain out, my Elk skin gloves finally became water soaked and 8 miles from the

destination, I had to stop being unable to feel my hands. Another lesson learned,

waterproof over gloves. My friend went back to the start location, picked up the trailer

and came back for me. Thank GOD he had come with me... We ate a nice dinner and

then motored home.

So how does an XR650R Dualsport? FREAKING GREAT!

Statistics for the ride...

Distance 135 miles.

Highest Altitude: 1,979 ft.

Lowest Altitude: 783 ft.

Change in Altitude: 1,196 ft.

So, in summary, I drove 125 miles to the run, 135 miles on the bike, 125 miles back to

my friend’s house and then 43 mile run home for a total of 406 miles. Experienced nice

weather, light rain, heavy downpour, hail and finally lightening... Quite and adventure

and I actually loved it...

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