Converting a Streetbike into an Adventure Bike?

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by mikem9, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. mikem9

    mikem9 Wanderer

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    I have an 03 1200 Bandit S. Have enjoyed the bike and it was relatively "cheap". Have been thinking about trying to change the ergos to make them more in line with an adventure bike. IE: bar risers, dirt bike style bars, lower foot pegs to increase leg room, etc. Has anyone made these types of changes to your similar streetbike (Bandit, FZ1, etc?). Have you enjoyed them

    From the engineering types, do these kinds of changes significantly mess up the handling geometry? Or, are they reasonable changes?
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  2. ganze

    ganze apocalyptic defender

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    the best way to make a streetbike into an adventure bike is to take an adventure on it.

    but don't fool yourself. It's no dirtbike and never will be one. Changing the tires would be first: the rest is up to your own desire to tinker. Changes will effect handling, but don't change that much because not matter what you do, it will not be a dirtbike.

    A Bandit should be able to handle a mild dirt or gravel road just fine with at least marginally appropriate tires. It will never be that good on dirt, gravel or sand because it's a big beastly streetbike, but who gives a damn. Just don't get yourself killed and ride it.

    I used to want to make my bike "perfect" but there are plenty of people traveling all over the world (on and off road) on completely "inappropriate" machines and making adventures out of it. Gear is cool but riding is the best.

    Enjoy that bandit and ride it. When you do, adventure will follow.
    #2
  3. mikem9

    mikem9 Wanderer

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    Ganze - thanks for the encouragement. I've already taken the bike off road several times, including forest service roads, dirt roads, several creek crossings and a pretty good sized river crossing.

    The issue I'm interested in here is whether or not it's realistic to make some ergo changes to make it more comfortable/enjoyable - I like the feel of adventure bikes.
    #3
  4. Rescue Wagon

    Rescue Wagon Been here awhile

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    I took my VX800 and did exactly what you are talking about. And while I will agree that it will never be as good as the dual sports that were built off dirt bikes, I'd match it up to the GS any day. I replaced the tires, had the forks re-worked by GMD-Computrack of Atlanta, Installed Easton handlebars, dirt bike style footpegs, and a set of homemade panniers and I love it.

    Doing the same to a VN900C as we speak.
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  5. jules083

    jules083 Long timer

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    I'd just throw a good set of dirt bike handlebars on it, different tires, and ride it.

    I don't own a true adventure bike, but it has been said over and over on this site that the bike you are taking an adventure on is an adventure bike at that moment. It'll be fine on dirt and gravel roads, but it's not a dirt bike.

    One thing I've learned is that the more capable your bike/truck/ATV/whatever is, the harder it is to get out when you get stuck. My sig is a reminder of that to me. I went down 2 hills, one on a friday and one 2 days later on sunday, that I couldn't climb but had a trail at the bottom. I am still wondering who in the heck rides those trails, because I sure as heck couldn't find a good way out. The second one I was in the creek bottom for probably 4 or 5 hours getting out. Kick only XR650R's suck when the bike is overheating, you wreck it, and you're only 5'9" and 150 lbs.
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  6. soldierguy

    soldierguy Been here awhile

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    I'd start by playing around at cycle-ergo.com. Compare your bike to bikes that you know you like the ergos of, and that should give you an idea of what kind of changes you'd need to make...things like how much you'd need to move the bars up and/or back, how much you'd want to drop your footpegs, etc. Follow that up with searches online for parts, and that'll tell you whether the changes you're thinking of would be off-the-shelf purchases, or if you'd have to go build something (or have it built). I'd also check specs on the Suzuki V-Strom (or Wee), to see if you might get lucky and find some off-the-shelf parts for them that'd work on your Bandit too.

    Or you could take the easy route and buy a ready-made ADV bike.
    #6
  7. mikem9

    mikem9 Wanderer

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    I have a couple of KTM Exc's for more dirt oriented dual sporting. I enjoy a lot of things about my Bandit as a streetbike and sometimes going on gravel etc. My questions about converting a streetbike into more of an adventure bike have to do with making it more comfortable going longer distance and possible a little more comfortable when taking gravel roads etc. I like the feel of adventure bikes, but wanted to see if I could get most of that ergo feel on my Bandit without compromising handling too much.

    Would be good to hear and see more streetbike to adventure conversions and hear how they handle.
    #7
  8. mikem9

    mikem9 Wanderer

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    That is a very cool site - thank you!
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  9. ghostdncr

    ghostdncr Burnin' daylight...

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    Can't be done, don't waste your time. :evil

    [​IMG]
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  10. ganze

    ganze apocalyptic defender

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    go for it. get those tires, bars, pegs, crashbars, rework the fork, and consider a new (different) shock. it will be a great ride. You can hardly mess up a bandit or fz1 unless you go off the chart and try to make it a dirtibke with 12" of travel.

    Show us pics as you do it and give us the ride reports too.

    Oh, and search the site for "converted" or "conversion" and see what comes up:
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=330726&highlight=converted
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=686055&highlight=converted
    #10
  11. See red

    See red Been here awhile

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    Tires, shock upgrade, and don't cry if you break a little plastic. Works on my fz6r. I haven't figured out if I can make the lower parts of the fairing out of aluminum or sheet metal.
    #11
  12. dukedinner

    dukedinner Been here awhile

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    + 1.

    I think Adventure Riding is a state of mind. Road bikes can take you to neat places, so can Dualsports. I see many of both in the same places and on the same roads all the time...
    #12
  13. mikem9

    mikem9 Wanderer

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    I feel the same way. Now, I just want to make the bike more comfortable.


    [​IMG]
    #13
  14. MOzarkRider

    MOzarkRider Adventurer

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    I love the enthusiasm in this thread. I too am looking to do a similar conversion with my street bike a 92 yamaha XJ600 Seca II. It is relatively lightweight for a streetbike and has a good starting point for a Duel-Sport. A pair of KLR forks are a direct bolt on for the Seca. This opens up the front to tire possibilities and suspension travel. The rear is a mono-shock so a lengthier mono-shock will compensate the rake angle of the longer forks. This also serves the purpose of giving the bike an overall "lift kit". Then the normal adds will follow, lower footpegs, higher handlebars, ect....
    I am not meaning to highjack your thread but I figured this would be a good example of maybe something you could look into doing. See what size the forks are and look at your options. Or recently I read about "air forks" forks that you can change the pressure of the air to determine travel and stiffness. Someone on another forum is trying it out.
    I will say that there are plenty of adventures that dont require dirt tires. Street tires on gravel work just fine, it may be a little rough but hey you'll get to where your going and see all the sites. :beer
    #14
  15. BmoreBandit

    BmoreBandit nomo B

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    I'd like to see that Seca build. That would be cool, sure it might not be a 990 but it could be very capable and, ultimately, it's all state of mind anyway. A guy here did a compehensive job on an FZ1...
    #15
  16. windmill

    windmill Long timer

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    FWIW,

    I did way more "adventure riding" with my V-Star 650 classic than I ever did with my Ducati E900 elephant.

    For relaxed riding on logging and forest service roads and an occasional easy trail, the V-Star was actually easier and less stressful to ride, and a minor spill far less expensive.

    The best adventure bike in the world is useless if you cant risk damaging it. "Run what you brung" and have fun.
    #16
  17. mnd

    mnd Long timer

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    Just ride it.

    [​IMG]

    (I've had the even less modified CB650SC in some pretty hairy places.)
    #17
  18. fallingoff

    fallingoff Banned

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    why change it
    looks like you can
    go anywhere
    great shot:clap:clap:clap
    #18
  19. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    Well, maybe check out rtw Dougs ride reports on old Indians, Harley's, even choppers.

    I was dual sporting an old 1969 Triumph Daytona which did amazing in most places, even without knobbies.

    Lighter is better, as is a low center of gravity.
    #19
  20. IRideASlowBike

    IRideASlowBike Banned

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    Another haiku!!!

    :clap:clap:clap
    #20