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Old 02-25-2005, 09:34 AM   #781
CraigTransalp
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My Mod Report

Honda Transalp ’90 Suspension Upgrade Project

Perhaps if Honda decided to keep the Transalp (TA) in production thru ’93 they would have utilized Showa’s cartridge forks 41mm adjustable hydraulic valve and air pressure design used on the ’93+ XR650L’s. But since they didn’t, you have to do it yourself if you want an end to the bottoming-out stock forks when you push the bike hard in the dirt.
Since my other motorcycle is a ’93 XR650L (L), this helped me eyeball things after buying ($300) a pair of used forks from Richard Herrington of Florida. He posted word of an L he bought that was inside a fire damaged building. It had fire extinguisher goo on it, but was not burned. I also bought ($175) the steering stem, upper triple, front brake caliper and axle from this same bike. Richard was nice enough to mail me a used set of Dunlop 739’s free of charge! Thanks very much to Richard!!
When you price new parts listed above they are ridiculously priced from Honda dealer’s. Over $1,700 is my ballpark guess.
Thanksgiving weekend I started the demo following the Honda factory repair manual. When I got to the point of removing the stem lower nut I glanced at the page/picture of a guy using a big tool to remove this nut so I stopped. I asked friends if they had any similar tool and they didn’t. Thru XMAS I was still looking for a spanner tool. On New Years Day I finally decided to use my pipe wrench. When I started to make adjustments on he wrench, the nut moved on it’s own before any wrench torque!! It was finger tight all of that time!
I made good progress when the bearings for the steering stem show signs of being the same part number between bikes. It fits like stock with the L’s splayed washer with a tab to hold off any counter-clockwise shifting of the lower nut.
At this point, I did a trial fit of the forks, ignition switch, front wheel., and brake caliper. Several stymies showed-up that needed trial and error fixes. The first is the ignition switch needs to be raised 1/8 inch to clear the bridge connecting the front assembly to the frame. The solution was to buy a 1/8”thick steel washer for the steering stem. It goes between the lower nut and the upper triple clamp. I also bought a rubber neoprene washer to fill any gaps here. The result was the ignition switch clears the bridge when the handlebars are turned, but needs custom bracketry. The L upper triple has a hole molded for the round switch. The fuse box draws down over the key area, but it’s not a completely snug fit like stock. During the test ride it wiggle up, but when the key is inside it acts as a good stay while in motion. Some future step might be to make a metal attachment utilizing the two holes for the L’s instrument panel.
To solve the front brake caliper fitment problem, I drilled the L fork mounting holes 1/8 inch toward each other. Being really careful it worked while not compromising the integrity of the limited surrounding aluminum structure The TA caliper is bigger and better than the L caliper so I made it workout. Be real careful on this step.
The L axle is about 3mm bigger in diameter than the TA’s so the stock wheel doesn’t fit (initially) because the stock bearing collar is too small. I got the stock wheel to fit by buying ($130) L speedometer drive box, inner/outer bearings, dust seals, inner bearing collar and wheel spacer collar. Had a friend with a metal lath to trim 2.1mm off the length of the L inner bearing collar. Then I used a file on the three tabs inside the hub on the speedometer-drive side. I took off about 1/32” on each tab so the collar fits evenly between them. Followed the manual bearing replacement instructions and installed the stock wheel. Another large 1/8” thick steel washer was needed to offset the wheel spacer collar and the left fork. This made the caliper and rotor fit right.
Oh boy, the stock fender doesn’t fit!! No problem since Maeir Plastic makes a Super Motard front fender ($45) in Honda Fighting Red color. I needed to get some metric hardware and those rubber nuts like the fairing uses to make it secure. It needs to sit about 4 inches down from the 4 mounting holes so it clears the engine area when the wheel is turned. You will need to make a 4 mounting hole cardboard template to transpose onto the fender to drill holes. Instructions from Maier describe the process of checking for bottoming-out and the fender mounting so it doesn’t get smashed.
So far I spent about $700 on parts, hardware, 22mm socket combined.

I'll edit this soon with pic's.
Craig
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Old 02-25-2005, 09:48 AM   #782
Jeff@TheQuadShop
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Your making it sound much harder than it really is.
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Old 02-25-2005, 09:55 AM   #783
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Your description of the work you did highlights why I took the path I did- Race Tech emulators in a stock TA fork along with the brake upgrade to Hawk specs. Total cash outlay was about $450 (which included labor) and no installation hassles (they're hassles for me, if you like to do this kind of stuff it's probably a benefit for you). Probably around 6 hours total. And it's work that I could have done (and therefore pretty much any average mechanic could do) were I so inclined- saving about $150. The one thing I do like about the XR forks (if they have this) is air adjustability: I've had this on several Hondas and thought it worked real well. Don't know why it's not used anymore.

Of course the big question is how they compare performance wise. I beleive (based on no direct comparison) that for what I do and what the TA is capable of doing, there will be minimal or no difference. I hope that we meet at a rally this year (NC TA rally in May?) so we can do a back to back comparison. Bring knobbies
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Old 02-25-2005, 10:25 AM   #784
Jeff@TheQuadShop
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The way I'm doing it is actually easier than installing the emulators in the stock forks (I'm a motorcycle suspension service shop and have installed them before). With the XR600 forks you will get 280mm of travel, if you get them from a 1990 and newer 600 they will be cartridge forks and flex alot less than the TA forks (XR650L forks will also work). 1987-1988 CR forks are also the same with different valving and spring rates. The extra ground clearance is worth its weight in gold if you do any kind of off road traveling. I have less than $200 in this setup and it can be done by anyone with normal hand tools.
I will have pics and better install notes throughout the next several days.

Just a note, these forks where never designed to have air put into them. The only reason they have schrader valves on the top is to bleed air out of the forks after each ride. Running air in the forks will eventualy blow seals as pressure builds from the fork action.
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1998 RMX 250 singletrack bike
1999 DR350SEX Dual Sport bike
1996 XR600R adventure bike
KY state Vet A offroad champion
TAT, KAT and TWVT survivor
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Old 02-25-2005, 11:05 AM   #785
CraigTransalp
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Adjustablity...

The '93 L Showa cartridge fork has 22 clicks of stiffness adjustment using a "dial" at the bottom of the fork tube.
I like that you guys have options other than mine, everyone benifits from a detailed report with pic's so they can decide what upgrade is right for them.
Another benefit of going L forks is there at least some aftermarket products you can add on later if you want. Like the fork brace and maybe upper triple clamp w/steering stabilizer.
We can settle the debate at a TA rally ride in ruts in the future.
Craig
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Old 02-25-2005, 07:22 PM   #786
Jeff@TheQuadShop
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This is going to be a project to turn my 89 Transalp into an Africa Twin with better off road capabilities. The first part of the conversion is the suspension, I'll be starting with the forks then moving on to the shock. I'm going to give basic instructions with each pic.

Here is the list of parts for the front part of the conversion. I found most of this stuff used on Ebay.
XR600 parts (XR650L parts will also work):
1. Pair of forks
2. Triple clamps with stem
3. Axle (only if XR is 93 or newer)
4. Brake hose brackes and clamps
5. Front wheel bearings, seals (Pivot works makes a complete kit), side bushing and center sleeve (only if XR is 93 or newer)
6. Speedo drive (only if XR is 93 or newer) and cable
7. SRC fork brace (optional)
8. SRC seal savers (optional)
9. XR or CR front fender, bolts and spacers (optional)


Other parts
1. Galfer custom length (XR600) brake hose with TA master cylinder and caliper ends
2. 1 brake caliper bolt that is 5mm longer than stock TA
3. 17mm x 2.5mm washer

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1998 RMX 250 singletrack bike
1999 DR350SEX Dual Sport bike
1996 XR600R adventure bike
KY state Vet A offroad champion
TAT, KAT and TWVT survivor
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Old 02-25-2005, 07:43 PM   #787
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After removing the TA forks and triple clams (this is much easier than it sounds) Install the XR triple clams into the TA stem.





I chose to use the SRC fork brace because of my years of racing XR's and working with Scott Summers. These braces make conventional forks steer like upside down forks without the harshness that come with upside down forks. It also gives a perfect place to mount the OEM TA fender. I have never had or seen one of these units fail!



I only had todo very minor triming and drill 4 holes to mount the fender to the brace.



Next up is to slide the forks into the clamps, I ran mine about a 1/4" above the top of the upper clamp till I get the rear done and can set the ride height. I used the SRC fork skins to protect the forks from rocks, mud and dirt. Its amazing how much crap the stock boots suck inside them. All that dirt will sit on top of the seals and will eventually make them leak. The fork skins will not allow any of that stuff to get to the seals.



Now its time to install the brake system. The only difficult part about this is that the lower caliper bolt hole on the fork must be slotted about 1/8" upwards. To do this I used a bit that was the same size as the bolt hole and pulled up on the drill to slot the hole. Do a little bit at a time untill the bolt will thread into the caliper. It took me all of about 2 minutes to do this with a sharp bit. This will not weaken the mount since it is very little material removed.



You will now notice that the upper caliper bolt is too short so you will need to find one that is 5mm longer.



Next comes the brake hose. I called up Galfer and told them that I wanted a stainless TA hose that was the same lenght as an XR600 hose. Just make sure you tell them you will be using the TA master cylinder and caliper since they have different ends.
I used 2 brake hose guides from the XR on the upper and lower triple clamp pinch bolts.









__________________
1998 RMX 250 singletrack bike
1999 DR350SEX Dual Sport bike
1996 XR600R adventure bike
KY state Vet A offroad champion
TAT, KAT and TWVT survivor

Jeff@TheQuadShop screwed with this post 02-25-2005 at 08:00 PM
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Old 02-25-2005, 07:57 PM   #788
Jeff@TheQuadShop
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Next comes the wheel. If you got forks from a 93 or newer XR then you will need to buy the larger XR bearings, seals, bushing, center sleeve and speedo drive (you can also bore the speedo drive) since the axle on these models is 17mm as opposed to the 15mm TA and 92 and under XR axles.



Once you have the bearings replaced, slip the wheel into the forks and push the axle till its just come through the opposide side of the hub. This is where you will insert the 17mm x 2.5mm washer (you won't have to use a washer if you have the 15mm axle and forks).



Now is the time to install the fork brace if you have one.



I mounted my stock front fender to the brace using the thread holes in the front of the brace. You can also go with the high fender since the lower triple clamp has the mounts to install an XR or CR fender. You will also need the aluminum spacers/washers and bolts from Honda to mount one.



And drilled 2 holes in the center of the brace towards the rear.



All done, it took be about 2 hours including answering work calls to install these.



Man its gonna have some great ground clearance!



This weekend I will make an aluminum bracket to hold the key switch and fuse box. I will star on the rear install on tuesday or wednesday.
__________________
1998 RMX 250 singletrack bike
1999 DR350SEX Dual Sport bike
1996 XR600R adventure bike
KY state Vet A offroad champion
TAT, KAT and TWVT survivor

Jeff@TheQuadShop screwed with this post 02-25-2005 at 08:05 PM
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Old 02-26-2005, 07:47 AM   #789
azabeemerboy
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Jeff:

Great report on your project. Please keep it going. By the way where did you finally pick up your TA?
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Old 02-26-2005, 08:00 AM   #790
Jeff@TheQuadShop
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Thanks, I picked it up in Columbus OH.
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Old 02-26-2005, 08:52 AM   #791
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Jeff,

I no longer feel special

Very nice work you're doing. By all means... keep it going.


I've nothing to show for mod'n (well, unless you call spending 4 hours treating some 1980s HG Dakar leathers to a nice conditioner a mod --hey, they look F'n sweet now! ). Anyway, here's a little vid of my ProDuro. The sound sucks as it's just off my HP720

http://www.ramshage.com/TA-pics/ProDuro.AVI
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Old 02-26-2005, 10:24 AM   #792
Jeff@TheQuadShop
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LMAO.....don't worry, your still the king Alper! I'm working on the key and fuse box mount now.
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1998 RMX 250 singletrack bike
1999 DR350SEX Dual Sport bike
1996 XR600R adventure bike
KY state Vet A offroad champion
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Old 02-26-2005, 10:58 AM   #793
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I'm trying to see if I can attach a video. Hope it works.

http://http://yogoi.smugmug.com/photos/16523194-O.mpg

Lets try this.
http://yogoi.smugmug.com/gallery/411318
OK I think that one works. The vidio is this one
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Old 02-26-2005, 01:38 PM   #794
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YOGOI
The vidio is this one
very cool, nice
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Old 02-26-2005, 01:57 PM   #795
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YOGOI... great vid.

I must say... BALLS man... BALLS... doing submarine stuff with only that stock lower cowl
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