Dakar Dazed II - the return! Part 1: Project LC4-50

Discussion in 'Racing' started by JMo (& piglet), Jan 26, 2013.

  1. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Gone a bit Baja

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,916
    Location:
    Somewhere west of Laramie...
    As Italrally says above, technically Speedbrain is going through the process of getting their bike homologated (although I don't imagine they have built 100 examples yet!)...

    The Speedbrain project is a good example of what I've been talking about - essentially it started out as a modified BMW G450X (engine, mainframe and swingarm) so no problem there - once the bike became a Husqvarna of course, things got a bit more interesting - the engine was a Husky (in effect an evolution of the G450X), but the frame was still essentially a G450X frame, with various Speedbrain modifications, plus the incorporation of the Husky style linkage rear suspension/swingarm... a real bitsa, and certainly not what you might call a 'production' bike - only the engine was really any part of the Husky TE449...

    However, the ASO have a rule (supplementary to the FIM homologation) that allows anyone on the Elite rider list (and by inference, any team such a rider is associated - which is likely to be a 'factory' concern of some sort) to enter on a machine that only 15 examples have been build/prepared, which is how I'm sure Speedbrain were able to continually develop their bike over the past couple of years without the expense of going into full production...

    Certainly it was in ASO's interest to have a manufacturer like BMW (and latterly Husqvarna) in the mix - especially as one of the main reasons for the 450cc max capacity rule change was to encourage more manufacturer and factory teams - so you can see why they allowed a premier operation like Speedbrain (who could attract competitors on the Elite riders' list) to continue with what was essentially a 'prototype' after all?

    However, as I understand it, even without the sale of Husqvarna and the apparent disassembly of that brand (for the moment at least) - word has it that Speedbrain had to finally commit to a production bike/specification to continue racing in FIM sanctioned events (politics at play here I'm sure), which is why they are in the process of putting the current bike through actual homologation.

    However, I wonder if that too will ultimately all be in vain? - Long/er term, it will be interesting to see which engine Speedbrain end up using, as I can't imagine the supply of that bastard child that was the Kymco 450X/TE449 engine is going to continue all that much longer? Certainly BMW don't want it, and neither I suspect will the re-launched Husqvarna brand later this year... So that just leaves CCM and their GP450 Adventure bike... actually, thinking about it, that might make an interesting rallye bike too!

    Jx
  2. Brimstone

    Brimstone Super Duper n00b!

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2007
    Oddometer:
    621
    Location:
    BC
    Rumour in the Bivouac thread is Speedbrain may be partnering with Honda. So, CRF450 engined bmwhusquvarnaktmberg? LOL!
  3. 640 Armageddon

    640 Armageddon Do or Do Not. There is no try.

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    3,565
    Location:
    Greece
    All other problems aside, it looks to me that the real desert era may end up pretty soon.

    Factories may disagree with prototypes, may be they want to associate rally racing machines with current models like once did (Tenere, Africa, DR big, Tuareg... etc) but leaving prototypes out of the equation is a no go for the future. :deal At least IMHO.

    By trying unique things in this environment, may be some things will find their way into production. Why not open the gates to privateers ? The 450 cc deal of course is better than larger capacity engines and there are lots of 450 engines around. But I feel that there is something missing in the rule book there which I fail to understand. The bike has to be in production. Much like the SBK's were. Why don't they add another category with prototypes that conform to certain basic rules? Engine capacity being one of them. But if you build a frameless 2x2 bike with a 450 engine and they don't allow it to race how on earth do you help in progressing things a little bit further ? :huh

    I hope this turns out the other way round from what it looks now Jenny :freaky
    May be we should all order one LC4-50 and make it to the start line :D
  4. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Gone a bit Baja

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,916
    Location:
    Somewhere west of Laramie...
    Yes, I'd seen that... however, similarly I can't imagine the CRF engine in it's current guise is going to be around all that much longer - it is essentially the oldest of all the 450cc enduro/mx engines - not that there is anything wrong with it at all, it's just potentially lacking in any further development compared to the YZF and current generation KTM XCF engines?

    And what happens with the current Factory Honda effort? - I can't see them letting a 'rival' manufacturer use the same engines as the factory team? - particularly as the Speedbrain chassis/rallye kit is very dialed in now and fast (faster than the 2012/13 Honda factory bikes were anyway).

    Perhaps they are selling a batch of the older CRF engines to pave the way [and help pay] for a new generation CRF engine/bike in the near future? - I heard a rumour it would be in showrooms by 2015 (model year) at the latest.

    Jx
  5. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Gone a bit Baja

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,916
    Location:
    Somewhere west of Laramie...
    A very good point, and a view that John (Rally Raid), Carl (Hagenblad) and myself share entirely...

    Perhaps the day will come where prototype bikes are allowed their own catagory - after all, the 2WD buggies are essentially free rein other than maximum capacity and suspension travel specification...

    Certainly it is a real stumbling block to development having to have the engine and mainframe (chassis) from the same bike, and a production one at that - although to be honest, when you strip away the subframe and ancillaries, the average MX/enduro beam frame really only connects the headstock to the swingarm and cradles the engine - so you can't really get any more minimalist than that! (Obviously a tiny MX style engine is not going to be strong enough to use as a stressed member in the same way as a Ducati V-twin is for example)...

    As I say above, the ASO (and FIM) do have a caveat that allows the Elite riders/Factory teams to build a limited run of 15 bikes (ie. say six team bikes and a few test machines) and still compete - and I guess us privateers have to realise that the Dakar (and FIM world championship) while still open to non-professional riders and teams, is very much geared towards being the F1 or at least WRC of cross-country motor sport...

    As far as they are concerned, we should be grateful we are even allowed to still play with the big boys! - so if we want to, then we have to foot the associated costs of joining the party, and comply with the regulations which increasingly favor the manufacturers and factory teams...

    Jx
  6. Trang

    Trang ... 2nd last to the Sweep

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,111
    Location:
    Orange NSW Australia
    Dunno,
    The One thing that I love of Dakar Bikes, as compared with Dakar Cars, is that you can actually buy a Dakar Bike from your local dealer ( to some extent) and ride it on the weekend.
    Dakar Cars however really only have a brand/model name in common, and often have nothing in common with the real machine (aka Hummer)
    My 2c
  7. Bluebull2007

    Bluebull2007 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    Oddometer:
    5,470
    Location:
    Oviedo, España
    So Jen is the only reason you are going this route is because that is the bike you have? I hope your French is good!

    I must confess that to me it seems like a long shot trying to convince the frenchies who are known for being obstropolus at the best of times to bend the rules bit? :dunno

    All the best with your efforts!
  8. 640 Armageddon

    640 Armageddon Do or Do Not. There is no try.

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    3,565
    Location:
    Greece
    This is what I am afraid of... They will be left with 5-7 teams in the near future and then they will be surprised by the fact that they do not attract racers :deal:huh ...

    I hope they change direction some time soon.

    Watching and following the so called ''aliens'' is nice, but the real race, which is run way before Christmas and involves everyday people is fought at the rear of the pack by the privateers :freaky
  9. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Gone a bit Baja

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,916
    Location:
    Somewhere west of Laramie...
    Hi Trang - certainly that used to be the case - basing the Dakar bikes on production large-capacity dual-sports, with bigger tanks and fairings, and essentially racing modified production bikes...

    However, these days with the 450cc rule, every race bike is now based on a lightweight MX/Enduro machine, and while you can certainly buy a stock CRF/YZF/EXC-F etc. they bear little if any resemblance to a modern Dakar bike - other than the KTM factory 450 RFR, you would also have to spend just as much again (and usually more) to buy the corresponding Speedbrain / JVO / Meca'system etc. kits... and the bikes are so specialist these days that it really is a one-trick pony, built specifically for racing at high speed...

    I can't see the current crop of ultra-performance 450s translating into anything commercially meaningful, other than the minimum number required for homologation - I guess we can only hope that the manufacturers build a similarly 'styled' mid-capacity dual sport bike for the adventure/trail market?

    Personally what I would like to see (and John from Rally Raid and I were discussing this just the other day) is a refocus on the Marathon class in Dakar - one where you are only allowed one engine, and it if it goes pop, you're out - simple. That ought to inspire the engine builders to produce something that is genuinely applicable to the commercial marketplace?

    But then I guess racing is all about who crosses the line first - the Dakar is no longer the ultimate endurance test in the same way it was...

    Jx
  10. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Gone a bit Baja

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,916
    Location:
    Somewhere west of Laramie...
    Hi Neil - I still have my WR450, and it is all refurbished and ready to go - however, the main problem is money (which is why I didn't enter 2013), and I really need to sell my WR to bankroll my entry for 2014...

    The the offer of a bike from Rally Raid was the opportunity to do this, and together with fielding a two-bike team in 2014 (which was/is the plan still), the assistance costs would be shared and indeed minimised because a lot of the support would come from Rally Raid and Torque Racing who are developing the bike.

    Without a bike, or a second seat rider - there is no way I can get back to the Dakar this coming year, and realistically, ever... I spent a lot of my own personal money on my 2011 campaign, and as you may recall always said it was a one-shot deal for me.

    The Rally Raid project was a [the only?] realistic way for me to get another chance - I simply cannot afford to spend another £30K+ on a second personal/private Dakar attempt, no matter how much I want to!

    Of course I still have my old XR400 - which, the maverick in me still quite fancies having a pop at Malle Moto on - but realistically the odds would be very much against me - I always quote Si Pavey "Malle Moto is what you do for a new challenge - once you've got at least one finish under your belt..."

    Jx
  11. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Gone a bit Baja

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,916
    Location:
    Somewhere west of Laramie...
    So, while we wait... I thought you might like to see a few photos of 'Old Faithful' - my WR450F from 2011, refurbished and ready to go again...

    How many times can you wire and rewire a bike? The answer is A LOT!

    [​IMG]

    Still, now the Nav gear has been fitted, I took the opportunity to reroute all the loom/s so that nothing chafes or tugs, and everything is easy to access should the need arise (I'm confident it won't of course!)

    I also managed to contain everything inside the tower side plates (my 2011 prep had the fusebox on the outside of the right hand plate) so it is well protected... note. the fusebox features a split live feed, with half the terminals permanently connected (for the ERTF GPS and Iritrack units, as stipulated in the regulations) and the other half switched for all the navigation gear and any auxiliary equipment.

    [​IMG]

    Cable routing and wiring protected with spiral-binding - the OEM switchgear is retained for the horn and hi/low beam switch - note. I have wired the X-Vision Solstice lamps so that the low beam (flood) stays on all the time, and the high beam (spot) comes on with the switch - I have also utilised the indicator toggle to activate the rear hi-intensity auxiliary light, through the original flasher relay so it flashes...

    [​IMG]

    The panel below the switchgear holds the master toggle switch for the navigation equipment and also the fan - the fan wired so it only comes on if the nav gear is also activated, to help avoid leaving the fan on and draining the battery... at the bottom is the OEM WR ignition on/off switch.
  12. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Gone a bit Baja

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,916
    Location:
    Somewhere west of Laramie...
    Down below, I took the opportunity to re-route all the fuel hoses (and replace with new, obviously) - on the right side to keep them away from the exhaust as much as possible, and here on the left so that you can reach the oil filler more easily - although it is far easier with the tank removed of course!

    [​IMG]

    Note. the water tank/s that GMX made for me are not currently fitted - they bolt to the bashplate and help protect the fuel pump, which in turn is already well protected by the lower tank mounting bracket.

    Martin at Torque Racing serviced and refurbished my forks after the 2011 event... I prefer the low fender, but it is easy enough to change to a high fender and lower leg guards if required...

    [​IMG]

    At the rear, the OEM WR rear brake/tail light is supplemented with a DRC LED lamp, wired so the brake circuit is used as a hi-intensity warning lamp.

    [​IMG]

    Of course the rear end wouldn't be complete without the little pink fella now would it?!

    [​IMG]

    So, with the sun shining, it was time to take it outside!

    New number plate:
    [​IMG]

    A few stickers from those 2011 sponsors who have continued to pledge support:
    [​IMG]

    It is a huge shame to have to sell it, but realistically it is the only way I'm going to be able to fund a return to Dakar in 2014 - and this is IF the FIM approve the LC4-50 project bike of course...

    [​IMG]

    If anyone is serious about buying this bike, please do get in touch - I'm looking for £8000 GBP which will include two sets of wheels and a box of spares (but not the navigation gear fitted) - which I trust you'll agree is an utter bargain for a genuine ex-Dakar bike that has been refurbished and is ready to race again...

    Jx
  13. Bluebull2007

    Bluebull2007 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    Oddometer:
    5,470
    Location:
    Oviedo, España
    Thanks for you answer Jen, it truly is a beaut. :thumb

    That's not a bad price at all! If I may ask, what did the new fairing cost? I still have the old one and am considering getting a new one myself.

    Cheers

    Neil
  14. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Gone a bit Baja

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,916
    Location:
    Somewhere west of Laramie...
    Hi Neil - I forge the exact price (I actually bought it two years ago, once I'd got the bike back from South America), but it was certainly the wrong side of €1000 for sure - although that did include the clear screen, headlight covers and hardware, plus new side plates for the nav tower (the headlight brackets are slightly different), and a single X-Vision Solstice lamp for the low-beam/running light... I bought a second 'spot' version here in the UK to use as high beam (Although JVO can supply both of course).

    They have recently revamped their website: www.jvoracing.es including a webshop, however as was the situation before, not all the individual parts are listed online yet...

    Jx
  15. ScotchBonnet

    ScotchBonnet Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2012
    Oddometer:
    43
    Location:
    Scotland, North East
    Very impressive JMo. :clap Bargain.
  16. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Gone a bit Baja

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,916
    Location:
    Somewhere west of Laramie...
    Fantastic News from ASO this morning (they must be high on the announcement that the #1 French Rider will be back in Dakar on a French Yamaha team!) - together with the FIM, they have agreed that the Rally Raid UK modified KTM690 (with a reduction in engine capacity to 449cc) IS eligible for entry in the Super Production class for Dakar 2014!!!

    [​IMG]

    Now we'd better just build the damn thing!!!

    Jx
  17. 640 Armageddon

    640 Armageddon Do or Do Not. There is no try.

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    3,565
    Location:
    Greece

    :clap :freaky

    I am really excited about this announcement (and I mean the LC4-50 project, not CP....)
    BravO Jenny !!

    Fantastic news indeed !! That is as good as it gets regarding the race entry :deal !!

    I am looking forward to helping as much as I can with the towers and RB's of both bikes :wings

    May be CP can buy your Yamaha for some serious practice ? :D
    D.
  18. NordieBoy

    NordieBoy Armature speller

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    7,172
    Location:
    Kiwiland
    Woohoo!
  19. Deadly99

    Deadly99 Fast and Far

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    Oddometer:
    11,346
    Location:
    Merrickville, Canada
    That's great news Jenny :clap
  20. juames

    juames Have Fun, Don't Die!

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,718
    Location:
    Ottawa