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Old 01-19-2015, 11:26 AM   #1
racingxtc7 OP
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Building the Ultimate Adventure bike for me

To me the ultimate adventure bike can be ridden cross country and in gnarly single track trails however no such bike currently exists. I’m picturing an ultra high performance dual sport with an engine designed for longevity, windshield, comfy seat, 200 mile range (+4 gallon tank), 3-75mph cruising speeds (extremely wide transmission), capable of holding some luggage and as light as possible (sub 300lbs).

It seems easier to take a high performance dual sport and add all the comfort features than to take and adventure bike and try to get high performance. Some of best dual sports out there are the KTM 500EXC, Beta RS500, Husaburg FE570, KTM 690 Enduro, Suzuki DRZ400 and Yamaha WR250R. Each with their strong points but none having everything I’m looking for. The ones with the highest performance don’t have the engines design for longevity or are high maintenance and the others are too heavy.

Since there isn’t anything on the market that is just what I’m looking for I have decided to build the ultimate adventure bike for me.

I decided to start with an ultra high performance MX bike and I had happened to stumble across a street legal CRF450R. The chassis and suspension are superb however the motor and transmission aren’t designed for the type of riding I’m looking to do so I'm going to have to do a motor swap.


I decided on a Ninja 300 engine and transmission since the it’s a modern motor with fuel injection, reliable, large oil capacity and a really wide ratio, 6 speed transmission. From online sources, it gets around 50mpg, cruises 80mph and tops out at 115mph ish.

I just ordered a Ninja 300 engine and I hope to receive it sometime next week. The engine it’s self seems shorter but a little wider however I don’t think it will be an issue to install. I did find stock ninja 300 controls and gauges which I plan to use.


For the chassis, I ordered an IMS 4 gallon gas tank (6.6g just looked too huge) and I’m planning on ordering a Daylong seat. The windshield is still up in the air.



When it’s finished I’m hoping for +50mpg, 200 mile range, 270lbs with all accessories (minus gas) and ready for the gnarliest terrain.

racingxtc7 screwed with this post 01-19-2015 at 11:36 AM
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Old 01-19-2015, 11:37 AM   #2
gravityisnotmyfriend
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Cool plan. I'm in! I like the idea of a parallel twin in a MX bike. What's your plans for wiring up the EFI?

You may want to ask for a venue change, though. The thread is probably more appropriate in the "some assembly required" forum:

http://advrider.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=83
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Old 01-19-2015, 11:42 AM   #3
racingxtc7 OP
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Thanks. I'm planning on using all stock Ninja 300 parts for the electronics and wiring (with Lith. battery). I'm new to the forum and didn't realized this should be in a different area.

racingxtc7 screwed with this post 01-19-2015 at 04:09 PM
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Old 01-19-2015, 02:02 PM   #4
High Country Herb
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Originally Posted by racingxtc7 View Post
The engine its self seems shorter but a little wider however I dont think it will be an issue to install.
As long as it isn't so wide that aligning the sprocket puts the engine into the frame on the other side. That should be a really smooth motor for travelling, and they sound pretty good too.
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Old 01-19-2015, 02:22 PM   #5
riverflow
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Subbed to see the end result. You've got some really lofty goals, but I think you can come close.

When I heard about the R3, this bike was my first thought (bonus 10hp/lbft over the Ninja). Excited to see how it pans out.

This is kind of early, but don't forget to make some aero considerations, as they will greatly affect your highway mileage/range.
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Old 01-20-2015, 10:02 AM   #6
Sparrowhawk
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Good luck on the build. I would never want to discourage anybody from a Frankenbike project because of all the creativity involved and they are fun to watch. I also get that the act of creation is as important as the result.

However, I think you misjudge the longevity and maintenance needs of the KTM 500 EXC. The increased maintenance over something like your Ninja engine only amounts to more frequent oil changes and they are a snap to perform. Buy a Rekluse clutch cover to gain extra capacity and you can easily go 1,500 - 2,000 miles between oil changes when not riding in competition. Most riders are skipping many of the scheduled valve checks because clearances don't change over many miles. Marc Coma just won the Dakar Rally, racing his KTM 450 almost 6,000 miles back and forth across the wilds of South America, all with the same engine.

I think you'll find similar fuel consumption with the 500 as with the Ninja. The KTM motor though churns out 50 rear-wheel horsepower at 8,800 rpm with 34 ft.-lb. occurring at 7,100 rpm and staying above 30 ft.-lb. from 5,300 rpm all the way to 8,700 rpm. The Ninja on the other hand gives only 35 rear wheel HP and 18 ft-lb. at 8,400 rpm but with a nice spread of over 15 ft-lb. from 4,000 rpm to 12,000 rpm. The KTM is around 265 pounds with 2 1/4 gallons of fuel and has the wide ratio transmission you are looking for.

Looking forward on to see how you do on this.
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Old 01-20-2015, 05:37 PM   #7
Paebr332
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Originally Posted by Sparrowhawk View Post
Good luck on the build. I would never want to discourage anybody from a Frankenbike project because of all the creativity involved and they are fun to watch. I also get that the act of creation is as important as the result.

However, I think you misjudge the longevity and maintenance needs of the KTM 500 EXC. The increased maintenance over something like your Ninja engine only amounts to more frequent oil changes and they are a snap to perform. Buy a Rekluse clutch cover to gain extra capacity and you can easily go 1,500 - 2,000 miles between oil changes when not riding in competition. Most riders are skipping many of the scheduled valve checks because clearances don't change over many miles. Marc Coma just won the Dakar Rally, racing his KTM 450 almost 6,000 miles back and forth across the wilds of South America, all with the same engine.

I think you'll find similar fuel consumption with the 500 as with the Ninja. The KTM motor though churns out 50 rear-wheel horsepower at 8,800 rpm with 34 ft.-lb. occurring at 7,100 rpm and staying above 30 ft.-lb. from 5,300 rpm all the way to 8,700 rpm. The Ninja on the other hand gives only 35 rear wheel HP and 18 ft-lb. at 8,400 rpm but with a nice spread of over 15 ft-lb. from 4,000 rpm to 12,000 rpm. The KTM is around 265 pounds with 2 1/4 gallons of fuel and has the wide ratio transmission you are looking for.

Looking forward on to see how you do on this.
KTM rally bikes are not the bikes mere mortals buy at the dealer. And while Coma won Dakar nearly half the KTM's that entered failed to finish, and many of the KTM's that finished did so with penalties for swapping engines.

I really don't think you can conclude anything about normal bikes based on what that manufacturer does in the Dakar.
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Old 01-20-2015, 06:28 PM   #8
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True, and the KTM factory bikes get fresh top ends daily during the rally and bottom ends scoped. Regardless, if one has been paying attention over the years since the first RFS, you will have noticed drastically reduced issues related to valves, pistons, cylinders, and other engine/transmission parts as they have evolved into the current model. Several riders here on ADVrider are using 500 EXCs for long distance adventure travel and racking up big miles without anything but extended normal maintenance schedules.

Edit: Here is a thread on converting the 500 EXC to an adventure bike.

Sparrowhawk screwed with this post 01-20-2015 at 09:50 PM
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Old 01-20-2015, 08:18 PM   #9
ScenicCitySVCult
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Originally Posted by racingxtc7 View Post
[FONT=Calibri]To me the ultimate adventure bike can be ridden cross country and in gnarly single track trails however no such bike currently exists.
I thought this is exactly what the DRZ400s is....?
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Old 01-20-2015, 08:58 PM   #10
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The DRZ is less than spectacular when the single track gets gnarly. It's overweight, the suspension is poor, and the weight distribution and frame geometry are old school.
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Old 01-21-2015, 05:03 AM   #11
MotoChris521
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The DRZ is less than spectacular when the single track gets gnarly. It's overweight, the suspension is poor, and the weight distribution and frame geometry are old school.
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Old 01-21-2015, 08:07 AM   #12
Paebr332
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Originally Posted by Sparrowhawk View Post
True, and the KTM factory bikes get fresh top ends daily during the rally and bottom ends scoped. Regardless, if one has been paying attention over the years since the first RFS, you will have noticed drastically reduced issues related to valves, pistons, cylinders, and other engine/transmission parts as they have evolved into the current model. Several riders here on ADVrider are using 500 EXCs for long distance adventure travel and racking up big miles without anything but extended normal maintenance schedules.

Edit: Here is a thread on converting the 500 EXC to an adventure bike.
Perhaps the OP was not looking to spend $10k on a bike that would then require several $k more in mods to be converted into an adv-bike?

By you own post the KTM bikes used in the Dakar were getting a full top end rebuild (plus an oil change, etc.) EVERY DAY (except on the marathon stages). I doubt the OP wants to change oil and swap top ends every couple hundred miles, or even every 1 or 2k. Again, not really sure how this in any way shape or form relates to bikes one can actually buy at a dealer and then ride on a regular basis.
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Old 01-21-2015, 09:44 AM   #13
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Again, not really sure how this in any way shape or form relates to bikes one can actually buy at a dealer and then ride on a regular basis.
The relationship is distant but not insignificant. When ASO changed the rules several years ago limiting motorcycle displacement for the Dakar to 450 cc it was common for top competitors to replace the engine several times during the rally. Later, ASO initiated a 15 minute time penalty for the first engine change with increased penalties for the second, third, etc.. The last couple of years one engine change mid way through the rally was the norm. This year is the first time the winner raced the whole rally on a single engine. Honda's engine change and associated time penalty basically secured the win to KTM.

How does this relate to a normal rider's reality? The basic engine design of the 500 EXC is the same as the 450 Rally Replica. Improvements in longevity for retail dirt bikes has paralleled what has happened at the rally. Ten years ago competition dirt bike engines would need a new top end every couple years and complete rebuild after a while. Engines were wear items almost in the same way as wheel bearings. The current street legal dirt bikes from KTM, however, have engine longevity approaching any other thumper, such as a DRZ for example. Life is good for the consumer.
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Old 01-21-2015, 11:10 AM   #14
Paebr332
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Originally Posted by Sparrowhawk View Post
The relationship is distant but not insignificant. When ASO changed the rules several years ago limiting motorcycle displacement for the Dakar to 450 cc it was common for top competitors to replace the engine several times during the rally. Later, ASO initiated a 15 minute time penalty for the first engine change with increased penalties for the second, third, etc.. The last couple of years one engine change mid way through the rally was the norm. This year is the first time the winner raced the whole rally on a single engine. Honda's engine change and associated time penalty basically secured the win to KTM.

How does this relate to a normal rider's reality? The basic engine design of the 500 EXC is the same as the 450 Rally Replica. Improvements in longevity for retail dirt bikes has paralleled what has happened at the rally. Ten years ago competition dirt bike engines would need a new top end every couple years and complete rebuild after a while. Engines were wear items almost in the same way as wheel bearings. The current street legal dirt bikes from KTM, however, have engine longevity approaching any other thumper, such as a DRZ for example. Life is good for the consumer.
Again, Dakar results are utterly and totally irrelevant. Replacing the top end EVERY DAY, as is done at Dakar, is not something most people want to deal with in a bike they plan to put significant mileage on. If Dakar was the measure, the OP should just leave the engine in the Honda he bought. After all, 67% of the Hondas that started Dakar this year finished it. That is the highest proportion of bikes to finish among the major manufacturers.

Let the OP build the bike he wants. It is doubtful he wants to be lectured about how he is doing it wrong by not buying the bike someone else thinks is better.
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Old 01-21-2015, 12:58 PM   #15
Sparrowhawk
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Let the OP build the bike he wants.
+1 There is an inmate that made a very competent desert racer out of a CB500 four. Not only is it fast but makes beautiful music amidst all the thumpers. I love these Frankenbike projects that create something outside the box.
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