Grumble, the mighty XT225 that just keeps on going
Well just over 2 years ago now I found myself newly single, without a vehicle and some money burning a hole in my pocket.
After a week of moping around home I found myself attending the devastating Christchurch Earthquake with the search teams and over the next three weeks gained a new appreciation of how we have to make the most of this life.
So as soon as I got home I was on TM, found an XT225 with less than 5000kms on it and an asking price of only $3000 as the guy needed some quick cash.
Back out the out the door again and brought my self the lil beauty of a bike you see here:
From the looks of it 0kms was offroad so I set about rectifying that on the way home!
Of course I had to take the long way home through Port Underwood and get to know my new toy, I met my brother on his bike and proceeded to teach him how to ride on gravel:
Now seeing as this was also my only form of transport beside foot I find it essential to have a dry lockable boot space, a backpack just doesn't cut it anymore.
Using some flat stock steel and aluminum I had in the shed I fashioned a basic rack and mounted a tail box to it:
Perhaps a little shortsighted I used steel that was not strong enough on the horizontal brackets and after a few thousand kilometers it crack, more to come on that later.
The hand guards were next, factory Yamaha brush guards had been fitted but these were very very flimsy so some reinforcing was needed:
I removed the bar end weights and welded a nut inside the bar, bent up some 3mm aluminum and bolted them on:
A sleeve spacer was made for the throttle side so the twist grip would still rotate but the bracket is close enough in that you wouldn't notice it at all:
After many thousand of kilometers and quite a few offs (including one by my brother which included replacing the front forks) these simple guards have stood up well, I have not had a single broken or even bent lever and they cost all of $5.
They might not be as strong as Barkbusters but hey, they also don't carry the price tag.
After these mods it was time to really test the bike and see what it could do.
A two day trip was planned including some mud, stream crossings, a bit of altitude, some rocky snow covered single trail and lots and lots of gravel roads.
I spent the night out under the tarp only, curled up in my winter sleeping bag, smoking away and sipping at a flask of whiskey.
It was the best night out I'd had in a long time:
About this time I was pleased with how things were progressing but i wanted a little more power and efficiency from the engine.
The air box was left standard but a better quality and freer flowing K&N filter was fitted.
Now the exhaust, aftermarket units are expensive or if cheap they require a custom fit but a little searching of the net showed these bikes respond well to having the muffler internals cleaned up a little.
I went to a specialist exhaust shop and in exchange for a bottle of whiskey we cut the end off, gutted out the muffler and fitted just a few baffles in place.
A larger end cap was welded on and I now have a factory looking muffler with all factory markings still imprinted.
The bike was then taken to a mechanic and we changed the jets in the carburetor to get it running right.
I now have a bike that will top out at 130km/h on a good day, sit on 100km/h in all but the strongest winds and I get 3.5L/100km (70mpg).
And it sounds throaty like a dirt bike should. http://survivalhq.net/images/smilies/cool.png
Not long after these mods I went on a ride to see some friends with a 6yo son and as soon as he heard it the bike was christened Grumble.
A common modification to these bikes is to relocate the rear turn signals as in the stock position they stick waaaay out and are quite far forward.
So the whole rear of the bike was dismantled, the lights unplugged and the project was on:
New mounting holes in the brake light bracket were marked and drilled:
All the electrical gear was gathered:
Due to the fact the lights were being moved about 200mm to the rear I needed to extend the wires, a suitable length of wire was spliced in, all joins being soldered, greased and then covered individually in heat shrink:
Then both joins were covered in another layer of heat shrink to produce a tidy, lasting join:
Then the wires were rerouted and ziptied along the frame and everything mounted back up:
It was at this stage that it was found the rear rack was cracked on one side due to insufficient strength.
A larger piece of flat stock was sourced and fitted, the rack is now strong enough that the bike can be lifted with it and the mounting bolts will break before the rack does:
There nothing worse than crap tools that stretch, break or ruin the nut you're trying to undo and the Yamaha factory tool kit falls into this category.
The tool box was tiny, way too small for any use and so I made a replacement from 100mm (4") PVC spouting, using an end cap and a screw cap.
Some aluminum flat stock was bent up and affixed with bolts and glue and then fitted in place of the factory tool box:
Of course then I needed to fill it again, so a I found all that I need to work on this bike from the Koken and Snap On catalogue's and a tool roll.
Then a puncture repair kit, a hand pump and a first aid kit topped the box off:
I don't know why the rear brake rod on an offroad bike such as this runs down the bottom of the swing arm but after a few off road trips it was bent and battered and something needed to be done:
I found on another forum where they had just switched the brake lever arm up the other way and ran the brake rod straight over the top:
A slight bend to clear the swing arm is the only other mod needed, the brake still works perfectly like this:
My daily commute on a good day is 35km around the Queen Charlotte Drive but if the road is icy I am forced to take the much longer State Highway and that distance becomes 70km.
With that distance, cool temps and highway speeds a windscreen, no matter how small is a big help.
After a lil looking around on the net I came accross Nordieboy's great trashcan windscreen and i had my insperation.
A few templates were drawn up and cut out on card to see what would fit and still look good:
I ended up going with the right hand design, cut it out of some 4mm plastic and bent it with a simple press and careful use of a butane torch.
It was then bolted on but at higher speed it vibrated quite badly.
Back to the drawing board, another piece of plastic, clear acrylic this time was bolted to the handle bars and screen and this strengthened the screen enough to work perfect:
This clear acrylic has now provided me with a handy place to mount my GPS, a 12v socket and the controller for my heated grips:
the screen works great for me, it is high enough in a seated position to block my core from the worst of the weather and still low enough to provide good visibility.
And yet offroad it is well out of the way, by leaning slightly forward I can still see my front wheel.
While doing the wind screen a set of 30mm Bar Risers were fitted to provide a more comfortable standing position:
Next up was changing the tires to a little used set of Pirelli MT21 Rallycross knobblies
I always do the rear first as it is the toughest, the tire carcass is stiffer and there is a rimlock, couple this with the fact I run Heavy Duty tubes and it is a mission, fighting the tire the whole way.
Then the front tire, the front tire doesn't have a rimlock and I find it so much easier.
Once all the air is out of the front tire and the bead is just off the rim I find I can do the rest with just my hands, and then push the new tire most of the way into place.
Ahhh I like it when things are easy like that.
So yea, since fitting the heavy duty tubes I have not had a puncture in 20,000kms and the bike has new boots ready for the ride.
Now on to luggage capacity, I have had soft bags in the past and had things taken by light fingered thieves, from now on I am sticking to hard locking cases.
Back at end of last year I rode down to visit a mate and needing some way to carry my gear so the search was on.
I can't afford the price of proper aluminum panniers and mounting racks so like usual I made some myself, keeping them as simple as possible.
Two black plastic jerry cans were sourced and the top was promptly cut off with my jig saw which left me with a good looking, tough seamless box 20L in capacity, these two plus my top box gives me 70L of lockable luggage space.
Some lids were made with sheet steel and aluminum angle.
Marked to cut the corner:
Ready to bend:
Glued and riveted to the sheet steel and hinges:
Some more flat stock aluminum was bent up to go from the grab handles to the pillion pegs and all bolted in place.
The rim of the lids was lined with some foam to make them water resistant and a locking spring latch is used to hold them closed.
Does my bum look big in this?
While fitting them I was keeping the center of gravity in mind and I set it up to keep all the weight and as low and close in as possible.
So spare fuel, water and stuff goes in first and then the lighter gear such as jumpers and stuff.
The top box holds stuff I use while riding, such as another layer of clothing, sunglasses, food, canteen, camera and so on.
If anything the bike feels more solid to the road/gravel while riding, although jumps are another matter when loaded right up.
All up though my whole set up weighs less than a pillion.
Well Grumble is still going great, looks a bit more dirty and tired now and it has a very very small oil leak out of one of the seals but I have done over 70,000kms in less than two years with nothing more than regular maintenance every 5,000km.
So some out and about pics.
Being in Picton I often travel the Port Underwood ridge trails or around the bay to Blenheim
Overlooking Port Underwood:
Some of the track was pretty overgrown, that middle strip was full of rocks
Overlooking Whatamango Bay and Queen Charlotte Sound
Back home and giving the Adventure Rider salute
Yup, I found two tiny little mud holes in about 30km of off road riding, the rest was dryclay and rock
Good writeup except I can't see any pics till the last post. that is on IE & Chrome.
We've got a bach in trevalli Bay & I rode the tracks across to Opua Bay etc.
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