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Old 07-04-2014, 07:17 AM   #1
micko01 OP
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Location: RTW, currently Botswana
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When a project gets out of hand: Building two DR650 RTW bikes

Ok, so there are a few inmates who know Ive been busting my arse over ther last couple months on two DR650 builds for a RTW trip starting this month in South Africa, and they have been quietly suggesting I should do a thread. So here it is; my build thread to show how I (and a few very notable others) turned 2 relatively standard DR650SEs into these:













Its safe to say this project suffered a fair degree of scope creep. It seems that everything that was on the "nice to have" list ended up on the "to do" list. Here is a list of mods completed:
KTM Rally Fairing
KTM 990 Adventure low fender
Reinforced frame
Custom light tower
Acura TL bi-xenon projectors
Custom Dash and electrics
RMZ450 Showa USD fork
Cogent Dynamics Mojave Shock
Reinforced Swingarm
Excel 18 rear wheel
Custom Luggage rack
10l Secondary Fuel tank which is the Left Hand Pannier Frame
6l Lockable toolbox which is the Right Hand Pannier Frame
Bashplate with 3l water tank
DG muffler with extra baffle
TM40 pumper carb
Delta wired stator
MOSFET regulator/rectifier
Battery isolator and some other security devices
Plus other stuff..

Over the upcoming posts Ill go into a fair bit more detail on the ins and outs of the build in an effort to add back to the knowledge base here on ADVRider.

Cheers, Mick
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Old 07-04-2014, 08:16 AM   #2
xaman
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Very nice! Thanks for taking the time to share this, looking forward to it
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Old 07-04-2014, 08:17 AM   #3
johnno950
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Terrific stuff,the dr is a great bike.I am not a well travelled rider etc but a friend of mine rode from vadavostok (spell check) to london on a dr 650 with 2 other dr riders,nearly 30k for each bike and had basically zero issues for the combined total of 90k for the drs! from what he told me only dramas was a hold up waiting for tyres somewhere in central asia.Look forward to your future posts etc on your trip.
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Old 07-04-2014, 10:19 AM   #4
bobfab
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well they look like great builds i look forward to the play by play!!

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Old 07-04-2014, 08:42 PM   #5
JagLite
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Cool2 RTW DR build

Excellent!
Safari tank?
I am looking forward to details of the pannier "frame" tanks and the many other custom features of your bikes.
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Old 07-04-2014, 10:19 PM   #6
Night Falcon
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cool another build thread, best looking DR's I've seen for good long while. Who said ya cant make a silk purse out of a sow's ear!

How are the screens working out for wind noise and buffeting?
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Old 07-05-2014, 12:46 AM   #7
micko01 OP
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yeah the fairings are excellent. Very little buffeting, and lots of protection. Wind over the top of the fairing hits the very top of my helmet and both shoulders.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Night Falcon View Post
cool another build thread, best looking DR's I've seen for good long while. Who said ya cant make a silk purse out of a sow's ear!

How are the screens working out for wind noise and buffeting?
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Old 07-05-2014, 12:55 AM   #8
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So to start off I should say that a lot of what Ive done is not particularly original, in fact you will probably recognize a lot of the stuff Ive done as stuff youve seen before. Ive used a lot of build reports and other threads here on ADVRider as inspiration and a great source of ideas. A few notable sources information in no particular order:

Bergdonk
DRJoe
Snowy
Colebatch
Greg@RME
Ron Seida
Procycle
KTMatt

Ive also got to say a massive MASSIVE thankyou to my father for he put in what turned into weeks and weeks of work to get the bikes going. He also ensured the electrical system was far more user friendly than anything I would have come up with.

Also big shout out to Treborbig who was a good source of aluminium knowledge, as well as aluminium! This being my first foray into aluminium fabrication, Rob put me on the right path from the start. Cheers mate.

So, why DR650s? Easy answer is because we already had them. The humble DR is far and away the most popular adv mule here in oz for a few notable reasons; they are capable, reliable, and simple. They just work, and work, and work, and when they stop working, they are easy to fix. So when we decided to turn our dream of doing a RTW trip into a reality, is was easy to just start with what we had and turn them into what we wanted.

That said, there were a couple of times through the build when I was hitting roadblock after roadblock that I wished Id just sold them and gone and bought some KTM690s or BMW XChallenges. But where is the fun in that? And those bikes have a number of known design flaws that need aftermarket work just as the DR has, so I would have ended up doing a fair bit of work either way, and been more dosh out of pocket. So, DRx2 it was.

Regarding the basic concept of the builds they had to be strong, so the frame needed to be reinforced around some of the known failure points. I wanted more fuel range than a standard safari tank could give me (this was more for Australia then RTW, we did plan on doing the Anne Beadell Hwy, Canning Stock Route and a few other routes that need large quantities of fuel), but didnt want to carry jerry cans, so needed another fuel tank. I wanted emergency water storage, so needed a water tank. I wanted to get as much weight out of the panniers as possible and towards the centre of gravity of the bike, so toolbox. The bikes needed good wind protection, and proper lighting. And proper suspension. So that was the design brief. Not too much to ask for?

Ive got nearly 700 photos of the build (and still missed things!) which Im sorting at the moment. Here is a bit of a taste of what is to come:























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Old 07-05-2014, 03:39 AM   #9
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That's some mad metalwork skills!
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:38 AM   #10
micko01 OP
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Frame Reinforcing part 1

So, the DR frame is pretty tough, but it was never really meant to be used as a loaded up adventure bike and it needs a bit of beef added.

I reinforced the subframes a couple of years ago when we bought the bikes and set them up for some big adventures. The subframe from the seat mount back was reinforced with two pieces of 25mm flat welded on end, one piece vertical on the inside edge of the subframe tube, and a second piece triangulated down to the outside edge of the subframe tube. A piece of flat was also added to the last cross member to stiffen up the back of the bike to torsional loads.



All the mounting tabs were all gusseted also.





When pulling the bikes down this time I checked the bikes very closely for cracks and found two small cracks in my frame – an ’07 with about 27000kms on it. While that’s not a lot of kms, all the kms I’ve put on it (about 12000kms) have been mostly tough roads and tracks, lots and lots of corrugations, and always loaded for camping. Tanya’s frame, an ’04 with about 16000kms was fine.

One crack was on the left hand side where my previous reinforcement ended.



And the second was where the main down tube meets the top tube on the left hand side. You might have to zoom in a bit to see it



The left hand pivot was fine, however its obvious the chain side of the DR frame is a little underdone for strength out of the factory and should be checked probably with every service for cracks if you are doing lots of loaded and/or rough/corrugated riding.

So, I started on reinforcing the left hand pivot point. First effort was a piece of 25x25x1.6 shs with one side cut out and fitted to the front of the down tube.



I liked the concept but wanted more tie-in with the engine mount towards the top. Mark 2 was a piece of 25x50x1.6 rhs with the end cut out. This one turned out much better. Towards the bottom, there is a cut way in the inside edge and the rhs is bent in to mirror the factory downtube.



In preparation for welding, I cut a piece of 25x25 shs to the right length to substitute the swingarm and used the shims to get it nice and tight. Notice the bottom engine mount bolt is removed – more on this later.



Next, I cleaned off the factory paint ready for the TIG. I didn’t do this so well on the first frame I welded up and ended up with a bit of porosity which I had to grind out and reweld, which was frustrating. So I made sure I did a much better job of preparing the second one. I’ve got a bit of experience with MMA and MIG welding, but this was my first project using the TIG so was learning as I went.



So, started off with a gusset made from 50x25x1.6 rhs between the main downtube and subframe downtube. Everything was carefully ground to fit the frame.



And welded in.



Next, the main pivot gusset was tacked in



I then welded up everything I could get at with the motor still in.



Here is a piece of 20x20x1.6 shs with the inside edge cut out and fitted beteen the pillion peg mount and the main downtube.



And welded inside



Remember that comment on taking the lower engine mount bolt out? Well, on the first frame I reinforced I didn’t take that bottom engine mount bolt out, and when I went to pull the engine out and finish welding up the inside of the gussets, I realized this bolt comes out on the left hand side of the bike and was now captive! Bugger.

So I cut it.



And then chamfered it.



And welded it back together.



It got cleaned up after this and went back in the bike. Should do the job.

Right, that’s probably enough for now this post is getting enormous. Will follow up with some more tomorrow.
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Old 07-06-2014, 06:31 AM   #11
micko01 OP
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Frame Reinforcing part 2

Frame Reinforcing Continued……

I gusseted in the seat mount bolts.



And on the inside aswell. The reason for this was at the time I was considering using this as a mounting point for pannier frames or other things – drill a hole through and put a bolt through and you could get a lot of weight off the back of the subframe. I didn’t end up doing this.



Next was to stiffen up the top tubes in front of my previous reinforcement. I carried forward the same principal of standing so flat up vertically on the inside of the top tubes…..



And then triangulating it with another price of flat laid over from the outside edge of the top tube.



Quick paint with cold gal and finished…. Well sort of. Note I filled in the recess around the left hand pivot point with weld to try and tie this in with the frame better.



Profile of the pivot reinforcement.



My frame had the top chain roller ripped out by the previous owner. I sealed it up with aluminium backed tape and did a lot of kays like that – about 12000, but figured I should fix properly.



My welding was a bit rougher in the first frame…..



I stiffened up the right hand pivot point as well – I haven’t known of any failures on the this side but figured I should do it while the bike was apart. So the pivot was gusseted with some 2mm flat which allows room for the rear brake line to run as normal. Also added some 20x20x1.6 shs on the underside of the tube between the pillion peg mount and the pivot to mirror the left hand side.



I think JamminJay’s frame cracked up here at some stage from memory. This is 50x20x1.6 rhs which allows enough space for the top shock bolt to come out.



And the other side, this is 2mm flat to allow room for the external chamber of the shock to fit in if I ever fit one again – I fitted a Mojave which doesn’t have the external chamber but figured I should leave myself the ability to fit one again if needed.



More photos…



I filled in sides of the factory bashplate mounts so they are less susceptible to crushing.



And finally, this was after the bike got put back together I read about BergDonk’s frame failure propagating from the battery mount bolt holes. I decided to TIG around the threads properly and then lay some steel down the outside to the give it some more tensional strength through here.

Standard – just a tack holding the battery mount threads in place.



I ran the TIG around and tied this all into the top tube, then laid some 19mm pipe which I cut in half and opened up slightly down the side.



Final product



So hopefully that should do it for reinforcing the frame. Because I was doing two bikes, as I went I cut two of everything so when it came to do the second bike, I had all the bits of steel ready to go. I weighed them before installing and it was about 800g worth.

Next – headlight tower.
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Old 07-06-2014, 09:27 AM   #12
JagLite
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Cool2 Framed!

Excellent!
Thanks for the great pictures of your frame reinforcements.
Well thought out brace designs instead of just throwing a bunch of heavy steel at it.
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Old 07-07-2014, 01:13 AM   #13
BergDonk
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Good stuff
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Old 07-07-2014, 04:10 AM   #14
kezzajohnson
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inspirational

Very well done. I look forward to further instalments.

Really appreciate the effort you have gone into to provide insight into the frame strengthening. It's inevitable that at some stage I am going to need to do the same and will be pretty well duplicating what you have done.

Cheers
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Old 07-07-2014, 09:03 AM   #15
micko01 OP
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cheers fellas for the great feedback
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