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Old 12-23-2008, 07:58 AM   #92
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Aug 2007
Location: Englewood, CO
Oddometer: 470
Man, I love this thread! I've often thought that a UJM would make a great mild adventure bike.

So let me ask the group here: What do you think of this:

(Sorry about the crappy pic - I was still learning Photobucket when I put this one up there.)

Bike is an 82 Kawasaki Spectre 750. About 24k on the clock. Runs good except for an annoying intermittent electrical problem that causes the main fuse to short out unexpectedly (I'll try to chase that down this winter if it ever warms up enough to be in the garage!) Leaks/burns a bit of oil but otherwise runs great. I rode it to the top of Mt Evans (14,130') in August and it did fine.

I remember thinking that an adventure-bike conversion would be cool but I didn't know people actually did that sort of thing until I read this thread!

Tires are OK but what I'm thinking is that within 6 months or so it will need new ones - trying to find some good mild D/S tires that would work. I don't know the tire sizes off the top of my head but I think the rear is a 16 and the front is an 18, though I'm not 100% on that.

Seems to me the only real "hurdles" would be (a) the shaft drive and (b) the air suspension. Spectres had air suspension front and rear - I assume I'd want to get rid of that as it would be unlikely to be able to take the pounding that an adventure bike would dole out. So how can I convert the suspension? Is it as simple as putting in new springs in the front and finding some coil-over type shocks for the back? I'm also assuming that the shaft will limit the degree to which I can lift it (which is fine - I'm not trying to make a motocross bike here.)

Fenders can be trimmed and/or replaced. I've already replaced the hideous "mini-ape" bars that those early 80's cruisers had with a flatter "Daytona" bar from Bikemaster. It would be nice to fab some brackets for hard saddlebags and a small wind deflector would be nice but I think other than that it's pretty much ready.

Hey, it's even got the fork boots (gaiters) already! (Actually they're cracked but if I'm going to replace the front springs I will put new ones on.)

Anyone else have thoughts on a dual-sport Spectre project?

Picture on Mt Evans. I'm on the left, an army buddy named Stacey is on the right. He's riding my brothers old UJM Kwacker, an 84 LTD 700. Both bikes performed well on the ride which was about 80 miles and took us from 5300' elevation to 14,130'.

Martin (AKA ZappBranigan)
"Branigan's Law is like Branigan's Love: Hard, and Fast!"
Current Ride: 2002 BMW R1150R
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