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Old 08-23-2014, 09:48 PM   #1
DPS77 OP
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Location: Townsville, Australia
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XR650R Dakar/ Simpson Megatanker

So.. This whole idea was born on the back of a bucking, weaving, mad dash to birdsville last rear on board an R1150GSA, loaded to the point of impracticality with everything needed to cross the globe...twice, except for extra fuel. The Bike diddn't miss a beat but i felt like i was expecting it to be a rally bike in stead of a tourer and that was a little unfair on Bavaria's finest. The Beemer had to go to make space and money for a purpose built machine.
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Old 08-23-2014, 09:53 PM   #2
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I sold the 1150 for the best price known to mankind. The bloke practically stole it but it was opening the door to a rally bike of sorts and that was all i was concerned about. The bikes were a toss=up between a DRZ400 and an XR of sorts and after looking into them there was only ever one choice really. The big XR was a purpose built machine from the factory to basically do exactly what i wanted it to do. So the hunting began.
I managed to corner one in victoria that worked out cheaper to buy and ship than it did to but one at the inflated prices NQ residents ask for pretty much anything.
Josh, the owner was excellent to deal with and helped me out heaps with getting the beast onto a truck up to sunny Townsville.
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Old 08-23-2014, 10:05 PM   #3
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While i was waiting for the bike to turn up i got in contact with Robin at R&V Aquiline and told him what i was thinking about and that I was chasing a 10l rear tank to put onto a modified steel subframe so as to allow better rearward weight distribution as well as a 25l tank to see if i could get close to desert crossing capacities without having to rely too much on bladders or backpacks or some other hair-brained scheme of dragging flammable liquids into the middle of th devils oven to refuel.
Robin was bloody brilliant. A veteran of a few crossings himself, and one of the pivotal people behind GHR racing's 'supertanker'. He asked if i was interested in a bigger tank that they had used in 2003 and thereabouts for the Condo and a few other outings with excellent sucess with a view of using it for Dakar, prior to the 450 revolution. The history was very interesting and he asked me to hold the phone for a second. Coming back he said 'yes, the moulds are still out the back', and asked if id like one.
Of course one cant say no to an offer like that, obviously made with the previso that one realises that there is a CONSIDERABLE amount of fab-work that will be required.
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Old 08-23-2014, 10:09 PM   #4
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Finally the beast turned up...

Honestly. I thought i was going to stroke out trying to start it untill i remembered that Josh had put my reciept in the airbox in a plastic bag for safe keeping.. Sweet heavens above. To the bikes credit it did start, it just ran like a bag of dicks..
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Old 08-23-2014, 10:20 PM   #5
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First off it has to be said that i have a nasty habit of buying EVERYTHING (i think) i need for a project and then sitting back and hoping that I'll be enjoying that 'factory sponsored' feel of everything magicaly turning up with mr-postie-man as i need it. Sadly, im not factory anything and i always forget that things like bearings and nuts and bolts will always pop up and blow the budget.
The bike was stripped and cleaned about 3 or 4 times and still had little pockets of chain grease from 2000 and the other half of Geelong falling out of the undercarriage! finally it was time to start getting down to the building and modifying that would result in the best desert crossing machine yet- my own ultimate XR.
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Old 08-23-2014, 10:34 PM   #6
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After its bath it was wheeled into its gap under the house and i decided to go front to back as it was going to be a while before the tanks were made as they are obviously a special order (incidentally the only clear tanks ever made - all the rest are red) and took about 3 weeks to arrive on the door step. I built a Rally tower mount, and decided to bolt it to the stem as a pose to welding it. It was a bit of an arsehole to get to fit pefectly but worth it in th elong run i hope.

The suspension was the next issue as Teknik suspension were the guys that beefed up the suspension on the GHR machine, however i am in no way building a race bike, and whilst there is a heavier load on it it is by no means going to be thrashed or be expected to peform competitively. So i decided on a set of progressive fork springs with a slightly higher spring rate and new 7wt fork oil (5wt suggested). I think that anything other than the white stuff that came out of them will be an improvement!
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Old 08-23-2014, 10:36 PM   #7
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The mount getting neatened up..
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Old 08-23-2014, 10:38 PM   #8
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M8's all the way, laid out so they lock each other should they wiggle free.
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Old 08-23-2014, 10:45 PM   #9
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My awesome Dad called up and told me there was a package blocking the driveway and I knew it could only be the tanks arriving from R&V Aqualine. Its kind of hard to insist you're an adult when one is pouncing on a box with a stanley-knife and the delightful squarks of a kid at christmas. They are a thing of beauty and fit like a glove, or clam.. the thing is going to be a monster!
they essentially hold themselves on and can be removed to work on the bike one a side. Very useful in the event of a fall where on would normally loose fuel from a cracked tank, as a segmented tank, at most, only half would be lost.
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Old 08-23-2014, 11:05 PM   #10
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The loom was the next thing to tackle, opting to solder and heat shrink the crappy joins from factory as well as move all the minor under-seat stuff to the nav tower for ease of assessment. The main loom was combined and tidied up with all the roadworthy /indicatory stuff and bundled into one central semi-opaque loom that can be accessed if need be with minimal invasion and pulling-out of hair.
The big brake kit from EBC was fitted to the front and work started on the nav tower and screen. Initially i wanted to have a fuller fairing style screen along the lines of the KTMs and a few XR's id seen online but then it hit me that the CRFX had been raced with a bikini-style fairing, for lack of a better description. I set about figuring out what was available to make one out of besides state-of-the-art composites and rare metals. You see, to most people a rally/DS bike is capable and rugged, but in Australia the thing has to be near bloody indestructable, from the moment you leave your garage heading west you're pretty much on your own.
I decided to make the tower itself out of HDPE (high density polyetheline) because it can be bent back on itself without shattering or becoming overly distorted. It can be fixed with zip-ties or welded with a magnifying glass or simply rebuilt when one gets somewhere that sells plastic breadboards. Most of all its rigid vertically and forgiving horizontally, allowing less than gifted riders the opportunity to stack it a few times without breaking too much structural stuff.
I tried my best to source/use parts and materials from places i knew would be available in the most remote parts of Oz. The screen was moulded out of acrylic using a heat gun and a cup of tea. In person it is quite beautiful and sort of functionally artistic!
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Old 08-23-2014, 11:14 PM   #11
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CRF plastics and rear tank mocked up looked great. Minus the rear wheel (cracked) and the rear swingarm (never greased--rusted bearing cases needed to be machined out) it was still a bit of a sorry sight. The aim was never to make a showroom piece, but something that was fuctional, so i tried not to get sucked into litle jobs like sandblasting and respraying the kickstand, although i know it'll probably end up happening as the big jobs thin out. The EGO barkbusters make it look quite buisness-like and the feel of the Progrip rally grips feel excellent. I am horrified at how spoungy the brakes feel and will have to bleed and overhaul both front and rear brake systems if nothing more than on principal alone.
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Old 08-23-2014, 11:26 PM   #12
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I had a chance to speak to Digga who helped me out heaps with little things he had go wrong and little lessons learned whilst he built his supertanker and i cant wait to swing past and let him have a blat on this one! His bike is BRP personified! Thanks very much mate.

The infills on the sides of the tanks will come later when i have a chance to look at it side on from a number of different angles. At the moment I'm waiting to get my hands on the swingarm and the rear wheel so I can finish the steel subframe and mount the tanks in their place properly. All the new bearings are here and are ready to go but the swingarm and the rusty bearing cases are being dildoes. The thing just needs to be wheeled out into the sun so i can see how much of the CRF 'kick' to keep in the tail, vs tucking it into the rear tank top and the rear of the seat. I need to make a sort of tie-down bar as well and somehow tastefully integrate everything. Im excited...
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Old 08-24-2014, 03:56 AM   #13
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Looking forward to this one.
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... the XR is the greatest off road motorcycle ever constructed. There's nothing it can't do, hasn't won or will not outperform.
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Old 08-24-2014, 04:47 AM   #14
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Go team 650!

Bravo. Shaping up to be a real desert cycle.
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Old 08-24-2014, 06:05 AM   #15
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Liked!!

Those safari mega tanks unavailable to the masses sadly.....
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