DRZ 400 preparation for the Trans America Trail

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by One Less Harley, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. GoMotor

    GoMotor Adventurer

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    On my KLR 650 I ran stock sprockets (15/45) to Salida, CO. It is mostly good roads, flat land and low elevations up to there. In Salida I switched to 2under/2over (13/47) for the steep rocky passes, higher elevations, sand and lower speeds on the rest of the trail. With 2under/2over I did not have to worry about changing chain length. You can go back to stock sprockets for the ride home.

    I would not want the hassle, weight and space of carrying extra tires. Just in to Colorado at Trinidad the trail passes right in front of a good sized motorcycle shop called Valcom Motorsports that caters to riders on the trail. Also, arrowhead motorsports in Moab, UT caters to riders on the trail. You can call ahead to either and if they do not have what you want, they will get it for you.

    I used Kenda 270 knobbies front and rear. They are a good duel sport tire. Long life with not too much noise and vibration on the highwayand good traction for sand, gravel and rocks. I put 11,000 miles on the rear tire before I changed it. It was really really worn out at that point, but no threads were showing.
    #41
  2. Sourjon

    Sourjon TAT'erd

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    You're gonna have a ball! I did the TAT to CO last year on 606's plus four days of passes (Mosquito, Hancock and Monarch amongst them) and still had a lot of wear left. I wouldn't carry tires especially if you camp. You'll get tired of loading and unloading them and you'll easily get to Arrowhead on what you start with.

    Don't bother with the roll charts at least to Colorado. They take too much time fiddling with odo and doing math if you forget. Everything this side of Utah is in Mapsource (if you use Garmin). If you create routes turn off recalculate or auto-routing or it will f*&k you up when you get off route (and you will). I used tracks instead of routes because they never change and because they will cross gaps in roads where routes won't.

    Sam has rerouted CO to go around Hancock and Tomichi passes because so many had complained (even though there were clearly marked big bike go arounds). Mistake in my opinion. This was a fun section and would be perfect for the bike you're riding. Yes it's rough, steep in places and rocky but it's Colorado fer pete's sake! The views are awesome. If you want tracks for that part PM me and I'll send them to you.

    Here's a sample of Hancock:
    [​IMG]

    John
    #42
  3. prsdrat

    prsdrat Been here awhile

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    Yeah. I'm in. Get started!
    #43
  4. Flyrotax

    Flyrotax Been here awhile

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    Good decision on changing bikes for the ride. I also have a GS but rode the TAT two summers ago on a XR650L. You will find that with a full tank of gas and your gear that there will be times when you wish you had an even lighter bike. From experence I think that you will benefit from lowering your gearing from stock. Navada as well as CO. Has some very steep and rutted, rocky sections. I did use the 606s,which did well, got new tiers in Moab.
    Bill
    #44
  5. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    So you think 15-44 is too high? I can go to a 13 up front, but it's such a pain to swap out, one big nut for the counter shaft. It's a DRZ issue to put a little lock tight on the counter shaft sprocket, so changing it requires a big socket and breaker bar.

    Sure don't want to fry the clutch!!!!
    #45
  6. dougfromindy

    dougfromindy I smell premix

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    major work on that bike and its more than ready, looks really good. I would leave on a much less prepped machine, no worries, have fun.
    #46
  7. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    Don't have the swing arm back on yet, so it might be a little difficult!!! Part of the fun for me is prepping the bike. As you can tell I like tinkering and modifying things. Taking the time prepping the bike will hopefully head off problems before they happen and make ridding more comfortable. I worked on a mount for the chart and Sopt holder. Chart holder is in position, couldn't mount the Sopt holder till the plastic cradle shows up.

    Heck I can't leave until June sometime, so there's time to tend to the little details. Think of the modification post as something to be endure before the good stuff!!!
    #47
  8. Flyrotax

    Flyrotax Been here awhile

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    My XR650L stock was 15-45. I had changed the 15 to a 14 for the ride, and thought that would have been fine. But during the ride there were several times when you almost lug and stall the motor going up very steep trails with sharp switch backs.You do not want to slip the clutch on a long ride through remote areas, having a reliable bike is the name of the game. I now run the same 14 on counter shaft and went to a 48 on the rear. That is equal to a little over 10% in lower gearing. the top speed of the bike is still 75MPH plus. Also the motor does not have to work as hard resulting in running cooler,and smoother.My 2 cents worth.
    Bill
    #48
  9. Tall Mike

    Tall Mike TAT Rookie (planning!)

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    Northeast Oregon
    If you have countershaft sprockets that will both work on that length of chain, you can go small in the mountains and put the big one on in the open country. A countershaft sprocket is a lot easier to change (and carry!) than the big ring! :D

    I agree, you want slow speed on the mountains...there are some technical rocky patches and places you NEED to go slow! :deal

    There are several RR's with DR400's out there... (probably the most popular flavor of TAT bike right now!)
    #49
  10. Ed Muggles

    Ed Muggles oh, the other left

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    Melb, Aust - land of coffee and rain
    looks like your off to a great start i look forward to following you on this one :p
    #50
  11. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    Parts are coming in way to slow!!! Got the "new" radiator installed which was painless. Finished fabricating a mount for the Roll chart/ spot holder and took it to the powder coater. The 44T steel chain ring came in too, so it got slapped on, after cleaning up the threads to the bolts, plus a little lock tight on them. Also the carb float bowl gasket arrived, so that's in place too.

    Extra clutch and throttle cables have arrived.

    Thinking of mounting the eastern beaver fuse panel just behind the battery and in front of the tool tube. Of course it'll need a bracket, plus another box around it to protect it from the weather. I can't locate a potentially dry out of the way place for it, there just isn't a good spot for it.


    Still no swing arm bearings!!!!

    A note on the shock upper link bearing replacement from All Balls. The top bearing and bush are steel. The one in the bike looks to be stainless, beacause there is no corrosion on it. Also the outer race on the ball pivot looks to be split and rolled around the inner pivot. The is a very small hairline visible on the outer edge. Crappy!!! I'll be putting the old one back in w/ the new seals.
    #51
  12. mikegc

    mikegc Long timer

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    I'm an old enduro rider and thoroughly enjoying reading about your prep work. "You'll do well, pilgram." Thanks for taking me along.

    Mike
    #52
  13. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    OK, since some people can bare with my preparations, here's some more for you...

    Here's a shot of the upper shock link, see the hairline crack in the outer race, and it's three pieces. Plus look at the metal compared to the original. I've noticed that Moose sell one that looks like the original. Also it's all one piece!!!

    [​IMG]

    Oil on the bearing makes it look worse than t really is.

    [​IMG]

    Stock one piece upper shock link bearing. I'll be reusing this!

    [​IMG]


    The outer swing arm pivots were shot, full or rust and zero movement of the bearings!!

    [​IMG]


    Knocking the old one out.

    [​IMG]


    Another issue w/ the All Balls bearings, the spacers, just aren't like the stock ones, No side needle bearings in the kit, instead there is a teflon coated shim. Not saying that is bad though. I don't like the all balls bearings, they are a compromise!!! Wheel bearing and head set are fine, but don't use the swing arm or shock link kit.

    More info on the All Balls bearing kit (here).

    I screwed up one of the swing arm pivot bearings, so things aren't going back together......:baldy
    #53
  14. Highside>Lowside

    Highside>Lowside Hairier Than Thou

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    Yep, best to try to keep your motorcycle money as motorcycle money. I would be silly enough to attempt the TAT on that little MT. (I still miss my MT125, but I'm not 5'7" and 155lb anymore)


    Oh, and Subscribed. :D
    #54
  15. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    Nice prep work.
    #55
  16. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    Prep for the day, added grease fittings to the swing arm and pivot links. Plus made a heat shield out of some scrap stainless steel. Added an insulating layer to the back. It's not quite done yet though. Don't think I'll paint it. John Delorean would be proud.

    [​IMG]
    #56
  17. red bud

    red bud alky w/motorcycle problem

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    #57
  18. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    Guess what what's used for muffler packing......never can tell, it's good as cash and can relieve the stress and pain from a days ride too!!!
    #58
  19. Blaise W

    Blaise W Been here awhile

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    #59
  20. Sourjon

    Sourjon TAT'erd

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    Hehehe! That it is Ken! See you in Moab!

    John
    #60