DR650 Street Tracker Build

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by JagLite, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer

    Joined:
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    The tracker is now posted on:
    http://motorcyclephotooftheday.com/2013/12/08/suzuki-dr-650-tracker/#comments
    Please rate it and leave a comment if you like it! :D

    A couple recent pictures:

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    How it began:

    Last winter I picked up a second DR 650 since I like my regular ride Dual Sport DR 650 very much.
    This one is the same year, 2002, but has 39,000+ miles on it.
    Hard, long miles as an Alaskan rental bike from new.
    It needed everything that wears replaced :cry
    Not that I knew that when I bought it...
    Lots of neglect and minimal maintenance was given it.
    It does run good though. :D

    It was stored outside under a tarp, buried in the snow.
    Dead battery of course, and at 10 below zero F it wouldn't start when jumped.
    It was also dark. But after the 90 minute drive pulling a trailer I wasn't going to come back another day.

    Great time to look at a used bike for sale, eh? :eek1

    So I bought it of course, and once safely home and in a warm garage it only took a couple hours to find and fix the electrical problems that kept it from starting. Ran good and when summer finally arrived I was able to ride it a bit.
    Ugh! Loose and lousy handling. Rear brake that was dragging, suspension that sagged and had no damping.

    I started taking it apart to see what was up and found that every bearing in it was rusted solid or disintegrating.
    The rear brake pedal was rusted and stuck. Wheel bearings trashed, brake pads trashed, and so on.

    Very depressing as I bought it for friends to ride with me but once I added up the cost of all the parts to fix it I realized it wasn't worth doing. My options were to sell it "as is" for what it was really worth (not much) or part it out, but other than the engine it has no value.

    And then I stumbled on the Flat track & Street Tracker forum here on ADV and the light bulb clicked. :clap

    I would build my own Sumo street bike Street Tracker!
    I have wanted to build a tracker for years as a light, low, and sporty "run around town" bike that would also be great fun sliding around on dirt roads. Now I was eager to get started on my first full on custom bike build...

    Let it begin:

    Here it is as I bought it, complete with oil leak...

    [​IMG]

    First thing was to order a new front wheel to replace the 21"
    I don't care for the looks of the 17" front wheel on the Sumo (Super Motard) bikes and I wasn't sure about tire selection for 18" so I went for a 19" from Warp 9 with a 320mm Sumo brake rotor. Eventually I would like to replace the rear wheel with a 19" also but that is down the road.

    I ordered new tires (& tubes), Shinko 705's as I like the looks of the tread for a tracker and they have good reviews for street and dirt road riding. I also ordered a fiberglass TT seat from Hotwings Glass as well as their tracker handlebars.

    I ordered small fog lights to use as daytime running lights and a bunch of other parts including all new bearings, throttle cables, clutch cable, carb mounted choke since the choke cable was frozen with corrosion, a pod air filter, front number plate, chain and both sprockets, new front caliper, ss brake lines, new pads, front fork rebuild kit, LED turn signals, reverse cone muffler, and so on. Big money but great fun ordering and then receiving them in the mail!

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    First step of the build was to strip the bike of all the parts I was not going to use and wash the filthy beast.
    The calcium chloride they put on the dirt roads here is next to impossible to completely remove and this bike had been ridden hard and put away wet all its life.

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    The next step was to lower the front end as I wanted to lower the bike at least 4".
    When I had the forks apart and cleaned the sludge & slurry that used to be fork oil out, I replaced the bushings and seals and then I cut 4" off the end of the stock springs to make them stiffer and to drop the front.

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    I cut the top where the tighter coil spacing of the progressive rate springs are. I then placed a 4" long spacer on the damper rod to limit the upward travel.

    This is the difference in length of stock and shortened:
    [​IMG]

    Yes, 8"!
    However that is misleading because the stock forks sagged 4" under the bike weight without rider. :eek1
    The forks now have 6.5" travel and 2" sag with me on it.

    I also replaced the ugly fork boots with neoprene skins
    [​IMG]


    Sort of a preview of coming attractions:
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    The next big job is fitting the glass TT seat on the subframe
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    Not going to fit as I expected. Options are to cut and section the frame to fit the seat or to cut it off completely and build a new subframe. That is what I wanted to do anyway so I could make it removable.

    Out came the angle grinder...

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    Now to weld up some light steel tube (3/4" x 0.049")
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    Front cross tube cut and the bolt plates and frame mounts getting cut
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    How they will fit up:
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    Clamped in place for welding on the frame.
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    You can also see the tank tunnel I made on the frame for the fiberglass tank I am making.
    Hmmmm, I forgot to show the tank form rough start for shaping....

    Here it is. 2" blue foam glued together and then cut to shape and sanded, filled, shaped, sanded.....
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    Ok, back to the subframe
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    Squared up before welding the brackets on he frame
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    And with the tank shell and seat in place:

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    More to do....
    #1
  2. Keith

    Keith Slabbing it

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    Awesome!
    #2
  3. DRjoe

    DRjoe Long timer

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    Cool
    #3
  4. Pezz_gs

    Pezz_gs Cant ride for crap

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    That is looking great!! :thumb
    #4
  5. PhiSig1071

    PhiSig1071 What's ******width?

    Joined:
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    Very nice!
    #5
  6. Chillis

    Chillis Land Barge Pilot

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    Looks GREAT!

    Will that hold anyone over 20lbs?
    #6
  7. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer

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    Hah! :rofl

    I wondered if anyone would comment on the lack of rear braces on the seat. :lol3

    I want to make the bottom edge of the seat line up with the bottom edge of the gas tank.
    Next step was to make the rear braces and mounts to support the seat at the correct angle.
    I wanted to play with the locations of both the upper end and where the brace would attach to the frame.
    I ended up matching the rear kick up angle of the seat and at a good place on the frame.
    First I needed to make the struts and I decided to use square tube instead of round as that matched the frame.

    I welded a piece of round tube to the bottom end and welded a cap on one side so the bolt head would recess inside just like the upper front mounts. I will use ss socket head bolts for the finished fittings.


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    Then I wanted to see what it was going to look like with the new down pipe I had made (Ugly welding! :cry) and the muffler on it....

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    So far, so good to me :clap
    #7
  8. kellymac530

    kellymac530 motorcycle addict

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    Hey James,
    Super cool build. I love the rim size and wheel/tire combo. Perfect.
    The seat base and rear hump look perfect.
    I hope it does not offend but I was gonna ask why you want to use SS screws on the sub frame?
    I reason I ask is because SS is more brittle that other steel, they can snap a bit easier. Not that they WILL snap, and there are different alloys of SS, some better for this application some worse. I would say that some grade 8.8 bolts would be the best choice, but I am no engineer. Just a thought. It would suck to snap off 2 bolts and crash.
    #8
  9. the schwartz

    the schwartz Buckethead Wendy

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    the orange in the west
    :lurk yummy. subscribed. :lurk
    #9
  10. TheOtherBart

    TheOtherBart Long timer

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    Absolutely awesome. I want a tracker like that in the worst way. All that's standing between me and the goal is a deplorable shortage of money, tools, and talent.
    #10
  11. PhiSig1071

    PhiSig1071 What's ******width?

    Joined:
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    I totally agree. I'm exactly the same way. I would have to farm almost everything out, and it would be prohibitively expensive that way. I could probably swap the rims for some warp 9's and that's the limit of my mechanical ability.
    #11
  12. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer

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    Thanks. I appreciate the kind words from everyone. :D
    No offense taken, I have a reason for everything I do.
    May not be a good reason, but I do have one! :rofl
    I appreciate no one (so far) has pointed out my lousy welding ability.
    Or lack thereof really. :eek1 I am teaching myself how to weld with a book and a video.
    And lots of practice.
    And lots of grinding to make it look better...

    I wanted socket head bolts so I wouldn't have to use overly large tubing just to be able to get a socket on a hex bolt inside. For fit-up I used 6mm hex bolts and that is what is in the pictures so far I think.
    I wanted the bolt heads recessed in for appearance so there will be no caps on the open ends of the tubes.
    I used ss for looks mostly. If I could have found zinc plated metric socket head bolts I would use them but the stainless were not overly expensive and since I am using 8mm bolts I am not worried about them shearing off while riding. When I crash however, that may possibly break one or more, but the entire subframe is very light tube and will likely be all bent up if not destroyed in a big get off anyway. :cry

    I wanted a bolt on subframe so that I can experiment with it, change it easily, remove it for any maintenance, etc.
    With the lowered and shortened travel suspension I am not going to be riding the local mx track on this one.
    I believe the ss bolts will be plenty strong for the intended use and abuse. However, if they break I will be sure to report it! I have room inside the tube to even go up to a 10mm socket head bolt but I think that the tubing will fail long before that strength could be reached.

    Coming up is the aluminum electrics tray that will hide all the wiring under the seat as well as the new Ballistic battery that looks like a toy battery. I want to mount it visible from the rear under the seat.

    Also need to work more on the gas tank to connect the shell to the tunnel and figure out how I want to mount it.

    And I am just about ready to strip the bike back down to remove any remaining tabs I won't use, grind down the ugly factory frame welds and then drop the frame off at the powder paint shop for the satin black.
    #12
  13. RedRaptor22

    RedRaptor22 Been here awhile

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    Make sure to use some anti-seize on those ss bolts, quite partial to ss bolts myself as they are stronger than the fine french cheese that most of the bolts suzuki uses and will never rust like the hardened black bolts they use also, but they gall up pretty easy.

    Overall it's looking farking sweet!

    I've been thinking about doing something similar but probably won't, too many projects and not enough cash lol.
    #13
  14. Keith

    Keith Slabbing it

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    Keep it up.
    #14
  15. kellymac530

    kellymac530 motorcycle addict

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    Zinc coated, grade 8.8, metric socket head:

    http://www.fullermetric.com/products/socket/din912-8.8,12.9socket_cap_screw.aspx

    I am not worried about them breaking in a crash. After a crash I always inspect the bike for damage before proceeding.
    My concern is micro movement, vibration, and wear causing one to weken and break WHILE you are riding, the seat collapsing and landing on the rear wheel, causing an instant brake and pitching you off violently...thats all...:lol3

    It was just a thought.

    Even in high grade 8mm factory bolts on my MX bike subframes I have broken them at least 3 times. I speak from personal experience.

    I agree with wanting to keep the bolt pocket small, unobtrusive and clean looking. I hate odd frame shapes hitting me in the ankles on a bike, bad designs. An Allen head is the way to go....
    #15
  16. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer

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    Thanks for the link!
    I will contact a distributor and find out what minimum orders they require.

    I agree that having a bolt break while riding along would be unacceptable!
    The wire harness will be going through the front of it under the seat so it will act as a tether to some degree.
    But I don't want to find out how much it will do. :eek1

    On with the fun!
    Or rather, the no fun part of the build.

    Fiberglass (should be a four letter word I think)

    I needed to figure out how to make the bottom of the tank and attach it to the tank shell and to the tunnel.
    The way I did it is not the way to do it I now know.

    First I created the bottom by glassing one side at a time to the shell, and then when it hardened to do the same on the other side after trimming the first side. I did it in 4 stages, two on each side to join the tunnel to the shell

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    Did I mention making the mold by gluing layers of 2" blue board foam insulation together?
    I cut and sanded, cut and sanded, to get the shape I wanted and then waxed it up and layered cloth and epoxy on it.

    The tunnel I made right on the bike by draping wet cloth over the backbone (with a thick towel and plastic sheet over it) I didn't take pictures of the actual glassing because it is so messy and I didn't want to throw gloves away to take pictures and then put new gloves on. Not difficult to work with fiberglass but is sure is messy! And the cutting/grinding of it is terrible! my arms break out with red spots like I have a disease. I have worked with it some over the years and the irritation has gotten much worse over time. Now I shudder when I have to grind it. :puke1
    And, yes, I wear full covering gear, respirator, gloves and all. I didn't when I was younger and I think my body is telling me "Don't do it"!!!

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    Hideous I know. It will look better I promise. :wink:

    I didn't take any more pictures of the glassing job but I did manage to get the tank together and faired.
    I used the gas cap and flange from an old tank I had and glassed it into the inside top of the tank.

    I needed to make mounts so I cut up some more sheet metal and made some epoxy on connectors to use the stock rubber donuts.
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    That's it for now.

    Next time: Disaster! :kboom
    #16
  17. oregoncoast

    oregoncoast Racing Like a Noob

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    Duh!
    #17
  18. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer

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    Fortunately here in Alaska we don't have ethanol mixed in the gas so we avoid many of the problems that come with gasohol.

    However, I also coated the inside with Caswell gas tank sealer even though I used epoxy resin to build the tank.

    I made my own tank because I'm cheap :eek1 and I was unable to find a tank with the shape I wanted.
    And, because everything is so much easier to do, if you have never done it before. :cry
    Yep, the less we know about something, the easier and quicker we are sure it will be to do.
    Or is it just me?

    I had a lot of "challenges" to deal with in the glass tank build and I learned a lot.
    How NOT to do it. And how I would do it differently next time.
    I will write it up soon but for now, here is the tank in primer:

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    Lousy pictures I know, but you get the idea I did get it together and overcame the problems.

    My home paint shop... :huh

    I open the garage door 20" and have the box fan blowing out (exhaust) with the filter in front of it while the rest of the opening below the door is blocked off. Outside air comes in over the top of the door. I move what I am painting to be in front of the fan and then slide it over for the next piece. I shine a halogen work light on what I am painting to keep it warm and I wait until the outside temperature is above zero before painting but it is far from ideal. :puke1

    I had hoped to get the base color sprayed before going out of state for three weeks but it isn't going to happen. :cry

    The IMS tank in the picture getting primer is fiberglassed over the plastic so I can paint it as an experiment.
    #18
  19. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer

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    After way too much time and trouble I got the tank ready for final mounting and bonding on the mounting cups.

    Only problem is, with the cups bonded on, the tank will not fit over the frame. :huh

    Turned out that when I glassed the tunnel in I managed to get the tunnel too narrow.
    After staring at it for a while I decided to not use the mounting cups/rubber donuts.
    So I broke them out and cut the frame mounts off.
    The front of the seat holds down the rear of the tank and now I have a proper "racer" mount at the front.
    Velcro strap that goes around the frame and an aluminum saddle at the steering head.
    Very strong and quick to remove. :clap

    Jumping forward in time for the moment, During final assembly I installed the new throttle cables and discovered the elbows of the cables on the carb mount don't fit inside the tunnel! ARGH!!!! :baldy

    So, once again I had to cut the tank and reglass it. Most frustrating because I had sealed it with Caswell tank sealer and now I had to buy another quart to reseal the new area... With shipping to Alaska (cheapest way) it comes to over $70. That hurts. :cry

    This shows the interference of the tank and cables.
    The carb is twisted in these pictures to fit the cables in the tunnel and the tank is offset too.
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    All good now... I hope!
    BTW the tank will have rubber isolators that are not on in these pictures. The tank is just sitting on the frame here.

    Back to the build timeline now:
    With the subframe, seat base, and gas tank fit it was time to strip the bike down for frame welding.
    The holes in the frame where the stock seat base lower tubes tie into the rectangular box section and the jagged hole where the upper chain roller had been torn out by the chain at some time in the distant past.

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    Chain roller damage

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    Holes in the main frame to be capped.

    I also removed tabs and ground down and smoothed some of the "tooth paste" squirted welds on the frame.
    The latter proved to be another mistake as the factory welds had zero penetration of the joined pieces.
    Once I had ground the weld off the two pieces there was the clear joint crack left.
    It looked like a bridge weld where the weld metal was the strength. Surface welds?
    With my improving welding ability I was able to do full penetration welds and still smooth them out.
    And most of them are covered up anyway. :cry
    A waste of time in the long run that I won't bother with on the next build.

    Then it was time to send the frame off to be powder coated. :clap
    That means removing everything including the bearings and races.
    That was fine since all the bearings needed to be replaced anyway.

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    To be continued...
    #19
  20. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer

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    With the frame gone I worked on other parts and installed the new bearings in the swing arm and shock linkage.
    I started making the aluminum tray for the electrics under the seat and the dual vertical stacked headlights in the number plate.
    Then when I picked up the frame in its new satin black paint I could start reassembly.

    Unfortunately my pictures of that time were accidentally deleted... :cry

    Here is a word picture for you,

    Beautiful! :wings

    Only thing was, the nice shiny buffing I did on the swingarm made it really stand out.
    Not in a good way to my eye either...
    It looked huge, crude, and out of place. :eek1

    So, once again I take steps backward and remove the new bearings from the swingarm and send it off to the powder coating shop. Only it gets lost in the mail! After four weeks of me calling the various post offices in the area, the package is found and finally delivered. The address was correct but it had been taken to the wrong post office and they hadn't got around to sending it to the correct place. I had already started looking to buy another one just in case.

    The paint shop is a 3 hour drive and they are only open when I am stuck at work so I had the newly painted swingarm delivered by courier as soon as it was ready.
    Not trusting the USPS with the valuable property.

    I ordered new swingarm bearings to replace the new ones that were damaged when I pulled them and as soon as I had the painted swingarm, I installed the bearings, the swingarm, shock, and the forks to see how it looked....

    [​IMG]

    You may notice the fiberglass frame covers I made to protect the rub area by the foot pegs,
    I didn't want my boots to rub off the frame paint as soon as I ride it.
    I started to make them in aluminum but they just looked ugly to me.
    The covers (guards?) are held in place with velcro and I may put a zip-tie top and bottom also.

    If you really look close you can see the aluminum electrics tray under the seat.
    I I had planned to polish it but once again I didn't like bringing it to attention.
    It is a tight fit in the subframe and it would have paint scratches in no time so I used satin black vinyl wrap on it.

    It is really crowded with all the wires, the computer, relays, and all so I ended up mounting the voltage regulator to the bottom of the tray.
    That is probably better anyway so it is out in the open air.

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    Notice the battery mounted on the back?

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    Now it is time to reinstall the engine:

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    I use my hoist all the time to save my back.
    I spent all afternoon one Saturday trying to get the engine in without scratching the paint on the frame.
    I tried with the frame vertical from both sides, no success.
    I laid the frame on its side and attempted to lower the engine in, both sides, not happening.
    I set the engine on its side and used the hoist to lower the frame down over the engine and that finally worked.
    Not on the first side I tried of course, but when I switched to the other side it did slip in. Finally!
    I'm glad I wasn't trying to support the weight while doing it, I would have been out of commission with back problems for months!
    I have learned to NOT do that again.

    I built a simple turntable to mount on my build table so I can work from one side by turning the bike around.
    Worked out great and allowed me to use the area behind my build table for storing parts and things.

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    Moving on it was time to mount the carb with a new ProCycle jet kit in it and figure out how to mount my K&N pod filter.
    Some silicone tube, aluminum tube, and hose clamps did the job nicely.

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    I'm happy with it so far :raabia

    Next time the numberplate headlight project.

    Bedtime for me....:bore
    #20