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Old 07-18-2012, 11:59 AM   #31
Suzuki Phil
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Maintained per the factory specs I think a bike or car is more reliable then a modified version. My DR350 is modded but I've limited it suspension mods and making it more comfortable for long rides. Engine is 100% stock as well as the intake and exhaust systems. After 15,000 miles it's never let me down.

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Old 07-18-2012, 12:24 PM   #32
tbarstow
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Yes, leaving it alone should keep it more reliable, unless it comes with a an OEM doohickey. As I look at stuff that has failed on my bikes, most of it has been aftermarket stuff.
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Old 07-19-2012, 03:06 AM   #33
CanadianX
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Without modifying the map on my bike it stalled, backfired through the throttle body and ran lean and hot. So a little mod to the map and no more issues. In this case I have to say it is now more reliable.
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Old 07-19-2012, 07:19 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNC View Post
You hit upon a clear issue between bikes and the need...or at least the real benefit...to mod a given bike. Bikes that cost $8000-$10,000 or more shouldn't really need a ton of mods, should they? My '06 KLX250S bought used...cost about $5000 new...was in need of suspension work and uncorking the smog, intake, and exhaust issues for anything approaching a relatively heightened off road performance. Many are happy as clams with the stock bike, but many of those riders don't really need a better performing off road bike for their needs. I don't think you can throw a big blanket over the issue of modding bikes and the attendant reliability. There are loads of exceptions and issues. The dual sport category in particular is full of bikes that are blatantly in or very close to the obsolete category and are often in need of some mods to make them perform at a more acceptable level for more discriminating riders. The dual sport category is also one that is hard for manufacturers to put their fingers on and hit the bullseye with any certainty. We want DS bikes to do so much so well, and we want it cheaply. I'd contend that requires compromises that don't fill the bill for many of us. And to top it off, these DS bikes are required to meet strict emission regs that can further diminish the needed/wanted performance for many riders.


Yep... Unfortunately in the DS world I belong to, the perfect bike doesn't exist. Every bike has a compromise. I had an XR650L, and it has gobs of tractor like torque, but was way too heavy in sand and didn't have a MUCH needed 6th gear. The KTM's have that needed 6th gear and the power, but are more maintenance intensive.

If someone made a light weight, gobs of power 6 speed that was low maintenance, I'd be all over it. Since I have 80% of what I need in my KTM, I can deal with 200 mile oil changes.
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Old 07-24-2012, 03:03 PM   #35
okanoganJim
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Great thread, with many valuable points

Great thread, with many valuable points. I can relate to "Modding is a rite of passage" and it is fun, but now at 57, I just want to "ride my machine without being hassled by the man" so to speak. Am finding loud pipes make for unhappy neighbors, and potential fueling problems so I generally stay away from that. My '12 690 will remain stock in the running gear department unless something fails un-expectedly. My last dualsport was a 2007 KLX250S. I left that stock as well. Sure its not an exciting powerful bike to ride, but it has its own benefits and merits that I preferred to enjoy as is. Now when I wanted move on to something more thrilling, I was able to easily sell my 250 in stock factory condition. Myself I tend to shy away from heavily modified used bikes. You never know exactly what your getting into. .
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Old 07-24-2012, 04:05 PM   #36
jon_l
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Great topic, and AFAIK an original one on ADVRider.

I do only 2 kinds of mods - protection, such as hand-guards, skid-plates, engine guards, fender-extender, folding mirrors, and utility, such as sprocket changes, GPS mounts, 12V power, rear rack, top box, etc.

I recognize that I don't have the skills to do engine performance mods, nor suspension tuning. Engine mods I can live without, and suspension mods because I'd rather pay an expert to sort it once, then just ride it.

So anyone buying a used bike from me needn't fear. I have torque wrenches and use them, along with locktite and fitting proper tools, so I don't strip heads and threads. But I'll leave serious mods like pistons and porting to the pros.

I have never owned a bike with after-market exhaust, nor have I ever considered buying an aftermarket exhaust. If I had the coin and was able to buy a new Triumph, I might splurge on a set of Arrows, but basically I like quiet, and I don't see exhaust as worth the considerable coin it costs.
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Old 07-24-2012, 04:20 PM   #37
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There is an art to taking things apart and putting them back together, right... MANY people cannot understand jetting. You have to be familiar with what a bike feels like lean and rich and then right in the sweet spot.
Another area of failure is using a machine shop that is unfamiliar with motorcycles. How many shops have bored out a jug wrong and caused a seizure? I send my stuff out to the best in the country after doing some checking. Modify with caution.
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Old 07-24-2012, 06:33 PM   #38
Richguzzi
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Question

I've learned a few things over the years.
1) Always have a stone cold reliable vehicle around. For that I have a 2012 DR650 and for a cage a 2000 Mazda Protege (135,000 miles, original clutch, one set of brake pads, one set of spark plugs, tires as needed, oil/filter changed every 6k). The Mazda doesn't drink oil and runs as it did the day I bought it.
2) Old vehicles are cool but a lot of work, money, time and are impractical to drive a lot. I had a bone stock 64 Ford Ranchero that always solicited waves and thumbs up. Little did they know that the non-synchro three speed would eat gears, the brakes needed to be jumped on to stop and on a rainy day the one speed wipers were useless and the light rear end would slide all over the place. Replaced it with an unrestored, unmolested, 2 owner 71 Moto Guzzi Ambassador which ran like a champ. But now all the seals need to be replaced. The starter is acting up. The wiring is starting to crack and get flaky. Much work is needed and I find it's a lot of work pushing around a 550 lb motorcycle.
3) But to save the DR from mod fever I have a 1986 Cagiva Alazurra I bought new that I have taken every nut and bolt off one time or another. I have three sets of exhaust for it as I can't find the 'perfect' one. I've swapped out the whole tail section for different bodywork. I think I have every spare part and different jets, slides and needles that Dellorto makes for the carbs. Three different sets of air cleaners. The heads have been ported, racing cams, different brakes, different shocks and forks. Replaced the fairing with just a single headlight and speedo. Rewired about 3/4 of it. When it runs it has a certain 'soul' and I'll probably keep it forever just to have something to 'mod'. But regardless of the fact that every nut and bolt that could benefit by it is blue loctited, it will loosen up something after a couple of hard rides. It is finicky about spark plug condition and gas. But it reminds me of why I prefer to leave things alone.
I am a little concerned about the DR though. I'm at the point of having to upgrade something to fix the dive in it's front end. The seat doesn't bother me. The lean carb hasn't gotten me yet but the front springs are way too soft. There you go my rant on my recent modding situation.
I could write a book on early days modding, or should I say burning up dollars .......

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Old 07-24-2012, 07:38 PM   #39
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My modded bike hasn't been unreliable, but I do wish I could have the power it has now with the quietness of the stock exhaust. Next bike will likely be left alone except for getting the suspension set up properly.
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:29 PM   #40
murgatroid42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jon_l View Post
... I do only 2 kinds of mods - protection, such as hand-guards, skid-plates, engine guards, fender-extender, folding mirrors, and utility, such as sprocket changes, GPS mounts, 12V power, rear rack, top box, etc.
Agreed. Protection is absolutely necessary. For example, DRZ's have notoriously thin side cases, and case savers are essential. I met a rider from Illinois in Colorado who picked up a rock between his skidplate and the side case, which then punctured a hole in the case. This hole drained out most of his oil. A quarter for a 'temporary' patch and some JB Weld saved the day, but it could have gone much worse.

Stronger handlebars are also a good idea. Not only do they not bend when the bike is dropped, but different bends and rise make riding more comfortable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jon_l View Post
I recognize that I don't have the skills to do engine performance mods, nor suspension tuning. Engine mods I can live without, and suspension mods because I'd rather pay an expert to sort it once, then just ride it.
...
I have never owned a bike with after-market exhaust, nor have I ever considered buying an aftermarket exhaust. If I had the coin and was able to buy a new Triumph, I might splurge on a set of Arrows, but basically I like quiet, and I don't see exhaust as worth the considerable coin it costs.
My green DRZ400 came highly farkled by the previous owner. The protection items were essential, the rear rack, larger tank, and larger footpegs made it more useful, but some of the other mods were questionable. Jetting and the standard airbox mod worked, but the aftermarket carb and exhaust made the bike run worse than stock, and at the same time did not give any more power (long story, with dyno results to back this up). The exhaust was MUCH lighter than stock, which was noticeable, but it was also MUCH louder. I let someone ride my bike in the woods, and I could hear it a long ways off. Although it was under the legal requirements (it was checked with an official dB meter), I threw away the exhaust because I believe quieter is better. Also, I couldn't figure out, nor did I want the hassle, of repacking it all the time.

My bike does not have much power, but it is enough to get me arrested. Good enough? If I really need more power, I would just get another bike instead of modifying the one I have. Maybe I learned my lesson hot-rodding cars when I was younger. It is possible to modify an air-cooled VW Beetle to make it run 110+ mph; suspension mods make it handle similar to a 911 Porsche (with the notorious off-throttle oversteer); but 110 mph, 4 wheel drum brakes are not a good idea. Most aftermarket performance parts were expensive and of questionable quality. I spent enough to buy a new Honda Civic modifying that VW, and then engine needed a rebuilt and was stuck in a garage in the middle of nowhere after a track day, but that is another story... Now I stick mostly to stock.

YMMV.
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:39 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broncobowsher View Post
... I do see plenty of good value in "stock". I have seen plenty of stuff for sale that lists $x,xxx in upgrades, in the end it sells for about what something that had $0 in upgrades added to it.
Stop that nonsense talk right now. What you said is definitely true, but it benefits people like me who finally figured out to buy a 'pre-farkled' bike because I can save a lot of money. Too bad about the original owner.
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:11 AM   #42
JimDale
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Depends some on whether you use it as designed.

Lots of great discussion and observaitions on this thread so far. There is also the element of reliability based upon usage (does usage match design intent).

For example, if I take my KTM300xc-w on a short technical DS ride, it would be in its element, but if it is buzzed out in 5th for long periods, parts have fallen off. Or if I need to refuel in a remote station, there may not be premium, or I may not be able to properly emulsify the pre-mix when I fill up. Problems here would reduce the bike's reliabilty, even stock.

On the other hand, if I take my DR200 on a highly technical trail ride, there may be a lot of clutch slipping, or I may drop it when crossing logs or rock outcroppings. The DR is not designed to be dropped without some damage. The stock DR is much happier buzzing along smoother trails and highway.

Properly performed mods to a bike to extend its desired usage parameters can surely make it more reliable. Choosing the proper bike from the start would seem to be the core decision.
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:12 AM   #43
BergDonk
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Depends

I'm taller and heavier than average, and older too maybe, at 58 now. I've also suffered joint injuries resulting in a 'stiff' elbow, knee reconstructions and I'm arthritic, so for me first up a bike must be comfortable, so bars and pegs and seat get modded. I keep my bikes for a long time usually, so they need to be reliable, so I pull them apart and resassemble the suspension, wheels and frame as soon as I get them. I also upgrade springs and valving to make my bikes suit me, and if the fueling isn't right, I fix that. Engine internals I generally leave stock, unless a reliability issue warrants it, like my DRs NSUs, or my FE650's water pump seal, or the roller followers in my FE501.

I learnt years ago, when my only transport was a CB500, that basically stock mechanicals for reliability makes sense. Mind you it was fun to ride when it went, and I learnt heaps, Yoshi cam, rods, 750 carbs, 750 pistons, CR gearbox, electronic ignition, and home made monocoque frame, etc , etc.

Mucked about with cars too, but keep them stock these days, although I have done some suspension work to my 4wd.

Memories:


Sort ergos and suspension, learn to ride, and upgrade any engine reliability issues only for me these days

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Old 01-12-2013, 04:54 PM   #44
milzispete
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Pissed Best thread ever

Why we pay so much money for 'the latest and greatest' bikes and then rip them to pieces is beyond me ( and I do it every time )
I've owned the very best super sports bikes for nearly 20 years and done very little to them as they are awesome from day 1 and obsolete in 5 years.
ADV and in particular MX bikes are the same so why spend a penny on them?
Let's face it, if a super sports bike had awful suspension (BMW gs800) and GOD awful fueling like a KTM 690 enduro we would just buy something else..
I think manufacturers are just taking the piss out of us. if you buy a round the world adventure bike it shouldn't need much doing to it surely !!!

You wouldn't spend 16k on a Yamaha R1 and then just eat Sh!t and spend money to make it go above 100mph now would you.

I know I sound like I am off topic here but some bikes are just 10% f*cking awful from the factory. The fact we spend 1000's of Dollars just to make our bikes (worse in most cases) better is irrelevant. Manufacturers should sort the f*ckers and then we wouldn't have to clown around like a manatee humping a sea mine just to be able to ride them on and off road...

Wankers
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Old 01-12-2013, 06:03 PM   #45
Beezer
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