Friday, February 24, 2017

TDSA Rally

I've signed up for my second 2017 Dual Sport Rally. The 3-day Tennessee Dual Sport Adventure Rally is held March 31-April 2 in Hohenwald, TN (mid-State).

Devil's Creek Rally starts exactly one week from today!

Friday, February 10, 2017

DR650 Side Stand Switch

We're only a couple weeks out now on the first Dual Sport Rally of the season (Devil's Creek) and I'm putting some final touches on the DR650 to have it ready for action. Today I removed the side stand switch.

The side stand switch is a safety device that prevents a motorcycle from being started and operated while the side stand is down. One can be found on virtually all motorcycles. However, they can be a real headache out on the trails. The first problem is that loose branches from the forest trail can force the side stand down enough to engage the switch while on trails. The second problem is that the switch itself is very exposed and susceptible to damage on the trail. You can pull the branches out and continue the rally, but if the switch is damaged the day is over.

Here's a look at the side stand switch on my 2016 Suzuki DR650:


The side stand switch removal is as simple as removing a couple of screws. The cable runs up the frame to a green connector directly behind the fuel tank. A short cut to the side stand switch removal is to jump the two wires and make a continuous open circuit at this location. However, the whole wiring circuit includes a side stand switch relay that should be disabled. It's just an electronic device that is susceptible to failure.


The side stand relay is located under the seat on the left side of the CDI unit.


The wires to the relay are Orange, Orange/black to the flapper and Orange, Green to the electromagnetic coil.


The bypass is to fuse the two wires running to the flap. That is, Orange, Orange/black. That creates a permanent open circuit.


It's an important connection so I soldered the splice before wrap.


Then I wrapped it up tightly...


...and replaced the relay in it's hanger. A quick running of the bike and it would continue to run with the sides stand in the down position and in gear.


I also went back and wrapped the green male-end connector to the side stand switch.


This modification removes the side stand safety feature, which means that the motorcycle can be started in gear and can be operated with the side stand in the down position...both potentially dangerous. There is absolutely no reason to make this modification to either a road bike or a bike used for light trail riding. However, when hitting some serious trails it's a fairly standard modification.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Toy Hauler

My son has operated a mobile bicycle repair business the last two years out of an enclosed 5' x 8' trailer. He just upgraded to a 7' x 12' trailer and he and I decided to take the old trailer and convert it into a toy hauler. We already have a small 4' x 8' utility trailer that I can haul one dual sport bike on. The extra foot on the enclosed trailer will allow us to haul both the DR650 and KLR650 to dual sport rallies, one pointing forward and one pointing rearward.

I'll be building it out over the next couple weeks. Stay tuned...

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Armor FZ-09

As if I didn't have enough blogs going on...have you seen my fishing blog?...I started a new one today: Armor FZ-09. I'm about three days from taking delivery on a 2016 Yamaha FZ-09. After spending 2016 just on dual sports, I was jonesing for a (cheap!) road bike. I think the FZ will take care of that.


The "Armor" is in reference to the armor gray color of this model.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Dunlop D606

I've been running Shinko Crossfly E-804/805 on the DR650. I have been very happy with the E-805 rear. I'm not particularly happy with the E-804 in the sand...and we always have to deal with sand on our trails. In fact, while not entirely the tire's fault, I took a fall in May on this bike in a sandy rut and the damage to my knee pretty much screwed up my entire 2016 season.


As I start thinking about the 2017 season, I've decided to bite the bullet and go straight to aggressive 10/90s on both my DR and my KLR650. In the 10/90 category the options are pretty much limited to Dunlop D606, Pirelli MT21 and Kenda K760s.

Among those tires, the D606 seems to be the most popular block knobby and I really want to try them. In between rallys, I'll reinstall the Crossflys, as the D606 will wear down to nothing with too much pavement uses.

I have two sets of D606 coming. Best price was Rocky Mountain ATV, which surprised me because normally Revzilla has the lowest prices.




I can't think of too much else I need to do to get the DR650 trail ready.

Update:

Wooohoooo!

A set for the KLR650 and a set for the DR650. I can't wait to take on Devil's Creek on these bad boys.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

DR650 Death Wobble

Well, it looks like I'm going to have to say so-long to my Laminar Lip Speed Screen. My 2016 Suzuki DR650 has developed a severe death wobble and I've concluded that the vast majority of the problem is the Laminar Lip.


The DR650 had a little steering oscillation from the very beginning when I got it in Mid-April. That was mainly due to the motorcycle's off-road geometry and the dual-sport tires. My subsequent addition of some more aggressive block knobby tires didn't help, but I need better performance in off-road conditions like sand and mud.

In late May as I was laid up with a knee injury. During my recovery of almost nine months I made a few modifications to my DR650. I added hand-guards, a Laminar Lip Speed Screen and a few other items. When I finally emerged from my knee problem and was able to ride again, I found the death wobble had developed into the extreme and dangerous tank slap. Mostly in the low 70s, but in some instances, the oscillation commenced in the high 60s. It was intermittent.

Item by item I worked to diagnose the problem that was triggering the oscillation. Take something off, put it back on, take something else off. Well, when the Lip came off, things improved dramatically. I still had oscillation like I had since the beginning, but not nearly the problem I had with it. Without the Lip the oscillation doesn't really start (again very intermittently) until well north of 80 mph.

I really liked that screen when trekking between riding sites, but the alternative is a steering damper and those things run $500 and up. I pain $90 for the screen, but I'm just going to have to pack it away and maybe it'll be useful on some other bike. Plus, I think I'll see if I can tweak a few things and get rid of the rest of that annoying oscillation.