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Old 01-21-2012, 12:33 PM   #1
Joined: Jan 2008
Oddometer: 650
THE 919 TRANSALP PROJECT . . . or "The Tigress"

As I mentioned in another thread, I had test ridden several bikes, mentally recording their respective handling characteristics until one bike up and pegged my fun meter. The 1050 Tiger has torque by the ton, crazy acceleration, and totally nimble road manners with no top heaviness or sluggish steering whatsoever. This is it, I thought. Not so fast. The 2007 Tiger was not in the budget. It wasn't until I rode that first 919 that I knew this balance of power and handling I loved about the Tiger could be had for a price I could afford. The more I studied the specs, the more I realized just how similar the Tiger and the Hornet really are. So this thread is not about how much I have to modify the 919 to get what I want but how little. I began my search. Via I tracked every 06 & 07 919 in the continental United States and even called some the ads after they were pulled to ask how much the bikes actually sold for. The 919's were selling for around half the going rate for a comparable Tiger. After 3 months of market research, the time was right. In other words I finally sold my old bike. Armed to the teeth with fresh market trends, I worked my list until I found a seller receptive enough and due to the distance involved engaged in some pre-haggling over the phone. I left at 4am the next morning and made the almost 5 hour trek to northern Louisiana. We jump started the bike (battery dead from sitting) I did the test ride, made my decision and then said, "ok, on the phone you said you wanted $XXXX and I wanted to pay $XXXX so why don't we meet in the middle?" He said,"I was hoping you'd say that." And we shook hands.

Here she is. She's a 2006 model with 8k on the clock and lived in the back bedroom. The new trailer queen ready for the ride home.

Now the task of turning this minimalist muscle bike into a capable adventure tourer begins.

So here's what I've been up to. First I raised the stock suspension 38mm, as much as I dared. Granted, this is an experiment. I originally planned to do a dirt bike fork swap but thought I'd try this first. I removed the fork cartridges and dropped in a pair of 5/8" impact sockets fitted with 1/2" OD steel spacers to maintain alignment. A 60mm bolt holds the assembly in place. I had to grind a little off the bolt head on the left fork leg for axle clearance. I understand I have decreased the distance between the upper and lower fork bushings but so far it's very stable.

Before and after:

I stressed over the rear too until I saw how ridiculously easy it was. I had to drill one hole to relocate the upper shock mount. Slightly changing the shock angle softened the ride a bit too.
Ken Phenix
IBA #47092
The 919 Transalp Project
KatanaBandit (sold)
smugmug pics

KEN PHENIX screwed with this post 01-22-2012 at 05:32 AM
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