F650GS Oryx re-vival. Faster, better, stronger.

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by TobyG, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. TobyG

    TobyG be happy :)

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    F650GS Oryx re-vival. Faster, better, stronger.




    Here's how this story goes, bought my first bike and motor vehicle back in 2012, an F650GS based bike equipped with the TT Oryx kit.

    ATTN: Picture heavy and sorta long introduction.


    17.400km at the time, not in the best shape, but not too shabby either.

    A couple parts missing, some broken, some switched for something else, but the bike ran.


    [​IMG]




    First things first, restored her back to the original looks by putting on the correct front fender and bashplate.


    [​IMG]


    Got my hands onto a Trofeo kit (steel rear frame, same tank, KTM plastics) from Italy a while later and put that on (minus exhaust and header, more on that later), just because I could, I guess?

    The seat was horrible. Hard as a brick. But I liked that it was taller (I'm 6'4").



    [​IMG]



    Converted it back to the original shortly thereafter. All that happened in 2012,
    yet I was already getting annoyed with some details, such as the mounting of the front fender.

    The black tubes on the side, that connect it to the faux-tank plastic are held on by a couple M5 bolts that go on from inside the plastic. These have to come off every time you need the remove the faux-tank plastic. And you have to almost break your fingers to get them in. These photos do not do it justice.


    [​IMG]


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    Through 2013 it went almost unchanged, swapped an F650 Rally bashplate on for a 10k km ride through the Balkans in late summer and put other handguards on.

    Had a great time, met many friendly people with some of whom I still hold contact, saw a lot of cool things.


    [​IMG]



    Of course it didn't stay that way.

    We have a word in german, "verschlimmbessern", to improve something for the worse. While not everything I did back then fell into that category, some of it sure did. I didn't know better, barely ever held a tool, didn't have a welder, not even a drill press of angle grinder of my own.


    One of those things was my attempt (I'm sure it would've worked, but try doing that with just basic tools...takes aaaaaaages and the end result is "meh" at best) to put on a nav tower with rally front.
    No, I don't feel like talking about it. Mothballed, all I still have is the fairing I moulded from the one shown.

    [​IMG]


    Around that time I must've switched back to a standard off the shelf fender since the other was starting to crack around the mounting points (vacuum molded plastic, that's where it was the thinnest). And I did put the Trofeo kit and the (custom) header that I was given with the Trofeo kit along with an aftermarket exhaust on, since I wanted a high-slung exhaust.
    The one that came with the Oryx is the same used for the F650GS Rally. It did work fine with that, since the rear fuel tank gave it some protection, but on the Oryx, it always took a hit when you dropped the bike.


    [​IMG]


    Thanks to a friend from the UK, I received a used set of beefed up footpeg mounts and footpegs made by Overland Solutions. Before, if I took a fall on the left side, the footpeg mount would leave a dent in the header. Almost 2kg of extra weight, though.

    Installed a Unifilter, moved the battery and VR between the tank and engine (got me a stick welder to make the tray) for easier access and replaced the stock FPR/filter combo with a seperate filter and pressure reg.

    Oh, and I put the Rekluse in, after it collected dust for months. The original clutch was insanely hard to pull.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    Now, the seat was bothering me. Hard as a brick, remember? Lucky me, I was able to coerce a friend into selling me his spare Rally seat. Higher still, more comfortable, 3 compartments for tools or e.g. a rainsuit built in.

    Had to modify the (glass fiber) seat pan a little to make it fit and repair some cracks,
    all done and finished in the photo.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    That took place in late 2014, must've also done the handlebars controls (clutch, switches, throttle) as well as switching to wider handlebars and putting a riser on at the same time.


    [​IMG]




    Next thing I know, the shifter forks are so worn the bike slips out of first and second under heavy acceleration. Got a donor bike and swapped the engine since the bike was my only means of transportation.

    Upon closer inspection, the whole motor was quite worn and manufactured in a later year than the bike. Must've been swapped before? The mileage of the chassis was mostly traceable, but that motor must've had well above that. No idea when or why it was first changed.


    [​IMG]



    Winter came around, didn't keep me from riding it, though. The new motor had so much more punch...powerwheelies were a thing now! Just goes to show how done for the old one was.


    [​IMG]




    May 2015 I went on a quick, spontaneous trip to Slovenia and Croatia, again, had a blast with some partly challenging tracks supplied by an inmate.


    [​IMG]




    Either way, this trip sort of started the build this thread is going to be about.
    The unfortunate end of this trip, rather. Literally not even 2km away from the Hostel where I was going to spend the night I got into a classic "SMIDSY" accident. Straight up t-boned a car pulling out of a parking spot. Luckily I was going slow, since I had almost zero time to react, that's how close he pulled out in front of me. At least no one got hurt.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    The car looks worse for wear, but ultimately, my bike was more expensive to repair, being built from a kit that cost you 8.500€ on top of the cost of the bike didn't help, either.
    From my first look right after, it didn't look too bad, but boy did it add up.


    Oh, by the way, fuck insurance companies. The one I had to deal with in particular.
    Luckily we (lawyer and me) ended up getting concrete proof that they were straight up telling us lies, but it still ended up dragging out almost 15 months before I received the last payment (incl. interest and late fees, at that point).



    So here's what I was left with:
    A bike with damaged frame, all front plastics damaged, triple clamp damaged, front break disc and caliper adapter damaged, headlight and speedo support bent, and many more smaller things damaged. If I carried out the repairs by myself (which is what I had intended) the estimate was almost as much as the bike, had it not been damaged, was worth in the market back then.

    A full, ground-up rebuild was in order, if I wanted to ever get this bike in good condition again.
    One of the problems: Good luck getting parts. I knew TT still had some of the plastics in stock, but almost everything else was gone for good. Used parts? Forget it. There's so few of those bikes in existence, there is no used parts market. Most are garage queens, as well.










    Thought about it for a short while, then said "Fuck it" and went for it.
    I always kept a list of things that I'd love to implement on this bike, to truly make it my perfect allrounder Dualsport. I knew the 650GS bikes inside out, loved my bike and the memories associated with it and it's important to know that by then, I had a TIG welder, a small CNC, spent some time studying mech. eng. and a tool chest filled to the brim. Certainly much better than what I started out with.

    To fall into the category of the perfect allrounder, it needs to be under 175kg with empty fuel tank and no lugagge, easy and quick to service and troubleshoot, bulletproof, good suspension.

    Hence I made a list to build this bike, my dream bike, from what was left from my first ever own vehicle. Which would be the equivalent of Lincolns' axe afterwards.


    -simple (for an FI bike...) wiring loom
    -all important plastics held on by 1/4 turn fasteners
    -battery easily accessible
    -all waterproof connectors etc.
    -fuses easily accessible
    -not having to unbolt anything other than plastics to access vital parts
    -dual, all aluminium radiators
    -no bulbs (except Xenon high beam)
    -keep it slim
    -rugged, nothing that'll regulary break in drop
    -change everything necessary to make the bike fit me perfectly
    -put the aluminium swingarm on that's sitting on the shelf
    -increase suspension travel to 300mm front, 280 rear

    That's essentially it.





    Now where to begin?
    For me, since I am located in Germany, I first went to what I'd say is the equivalent of the MOT,
    to talk through options regarding swapping the frame. Problem is, here you do have to have safety-relevant modifications to your bike (includes plastics, handlebars, suspension, brakes and so much more) approved by an certified engineer, these modifications are then noted in the paperwork of your bike (frame).
    Now if I just swapped the frame, I'd have to have a ton of patience, procure many certificates and have some luck to get all these mods approved again. In the end, I took a used frame I had in stock, crossed out the old number, punched in the number from the original Oryx frame, this way I can keep all the approvals and only have to get the transfer of the frame number approved.

    Once that was done, right on the phone with TT to see what parts they still had.
    Crap. Exactly as I feared, only some of the plastics, that's it. So I have to virtually make everything that I cannot substitute for off the shelf parts.



    Next up: The humble beginnings of the build.
    #1
  2. Gedrog

    Gedrog Long timer

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    Like it subscribed, interested to see the parts you decided to use and how you do it, I have similar thoughts
    #2
  3. TobyG

    TobyG be happy :)

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    Huh...turns out I took way less photos than I thought I did :scratch
    Guess I'll have to do some ninja edits when I take it all apart again for painting, if I don't have a photo of something in particular.

    Now how'd I start this build?


    Arse-backwards, of course. :fpalm Started out with the wiring loom, got an already butchered loom for cheap and started hacking away.
    Goal: Simplify, waterproof, modify a little. No routing of extra wires by the side of the loom.

    My light setup was going to be completely different from stock, same goes for the handlebar controls and the location of the relays and fuses, requiring significant changes to the loom.
    Unwrapped loom:

    [​IMG]

    The supplies/tools:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    (Not pictured: My box of Superseal connectors)


    At this point, let me assure you, you don't want any more details or how long exactly I worked on the loom. So I'll just summarize this in the following photos with as little commentary as possible.

    First got me the wiring diagram and tore out everything I deemed useless,
    the laid extra wires for e.g. the USB charger, then moved bundles to where I'd need them.
    Put connectors on and wired up the fuse box and relay box thereafter, ended up with this:

    [​IMG]

    Not yet done, but close enough to put it in the frame to check for fitment/routing and start wrapping.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Relais box (Littelfuse HWB series; used the same for the fuse box, equipped with resettable fuses):

    [​IMG]

    The rats nest I'd removed

    [​IMG]


    This was all that I'd do with the loom for now, it'll be finished later when the remainder of the bike is finished, many wires are yet to be cut to final length.




    The loom was done with only the frame and engine assembled, so I went ahead and dropped a set of triples in and see what radiators I could possibly use.
    Turns out there is surprisingly little space for dual rads, most are too tall.
    For the rads, it was of importance to me that, with the support frame, they were no wider than the stock rad and that they were off-the-shelf parts, easy and preferrably low-priced.
    Only have a DC TIG, so modifying them by welding is not an option as of now.

    My choice fell on a KTM 85SX '03-'12 right hand rad to use on the left side and a '01-'11 Kawasaki KX85 radiator on the right hand side.
    Very slim, around 30cm without the support frame, unfortunately barely larger cooling area than stock. But no more fear of cracking the plastic of the stock radiator in rocky terrain and I could actually mount two rad fans.

    Even so, mounting them requires some effort. The mounting brackets for the stock rad have to go, as well as the through-frame coolant pipe in order to make space. The brackets and support are a custom job, obviously. Plumbing them isn't straight forward, either. The single spark models luckily have a removable coolant outlet on the head as opposed to the twin spark, so that allows for some flexibility by making your own.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    The support frame was made in a swift manner, took some 12x2mm V2A tubing, bent it, welded it all up, et voila.

    [​IMG]

    The vent tube barb (1/16th NPT) had to be changed for a shorter one to clear the frame.
    Used a small Nalgene bottle as an overflow catch tank.

    [​IMG]


    Good enough for preliminary mounting the rads.


    I then set onto making a rear frame. I wanted some more threaded bungs for mounting all sorts of crap and wanted a slightly longer frame than what I had before.
    All V2A, mainly 25x15x1.5 box section, bent it using a quick'n'dirty bender to use in a vise, made from 60mm thick wall tubing cut lengthwise. Don't have a photo handy. Nor did I take photos of various stages of making that frame.
    (Now that I have so many parts that I can take accurate measurements of, I'll be busy making CAD drawings before taking everything to be painted to make it easier to fab replacements in the future)

    [​IMG]


    With the frame mostly finished, I finally got to finish the luggage rack I started well before this rebuild. Looks gigantic, but it's designed to be no wider than the handlebars with the bags attached. Compared to some of the welds on this thing, which was the first I ever done with the TIG, I'd say I improved quite a bit. Still barely ever manage a perfect weld, much less a perfect one that I'd planned for, but good enough for me. Hence why I won't show any closeups, just yet :D

    [​IMG]




    BTW: The tools are all over the place since this build is taking place in the basement and I sure as hell will not bring the tool chest downstairs. Sucks though, because there may or may not be some time wasted looking for that tool I just used a minute ago. :bluduh
    #3
  4. Gedrog

    Gedrog Long timer

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    :roflThat sounds so familiar I just spent half the day looking for tools I needed to make some level Lines on the wall to fit a shelf
    Even though I have a well organised garage I still have tools all over the place :loco
    #4
  5. VX Rider

    VX Rider Long timer

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    Awesome.....way to get into it.
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  6. TobyG

    TobyG be happy :)

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    Now with the rear frame and radiators/rad frame being kinda sorta close to final dimensions, let's see what I can do about the plastics.
    The plan is to use the plastics mostly as per the last iteration,
    keeping the center (faux tank), front side panels and headlight mask from the Oryx kit,
    putting a fibreglass beak, based on the original Oryx beak, on and making fibreglass rear plastics based on the KTM plastics.

    Since I already have all plastics for the front ready to go, including the beak which I've made a mould for ages ago, I went ahead and put these on,
    with quick release fasteners, of course. Given it was a feasibility study at that point, some shoddy brackets would have to do.

    Copied the bolt holes on a piece of paper and bent some thin sheet metal to fit.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Tried to get a decent alignment with the faux tank piece, but wasn't really able to get it to fit an all axis, anyone who had the pleasure of mounting any of the plastics TT sold in the early 2000s knows the struggle.
    Anyways, I'm left with the side plastics standing out a little,
    I may be able to remedy that later with the hot air gun and some patience. In that aspect I'm lucky it's a deep-drawn thermoplastic.
    When I get a set to fit close to perfect I reckon I'll make a mould from that as well.
    There's a decent chance I have the last 3 brand new sets of side plastics (including those in the photos) in existence, so I'd be stoopid not to.
    They tend to break when they're introduced to rocks. Or cars.


    Prior to the ordeal described above, I did essentially the same for the center plastic,
    only that I'd welded the mounting tabs to the rear frame.


    [​IMG]



    The side plastics where only affixed at the back at that point, but I figured it'd be the perfect time to get sidetracked again and fab a mount for the starter relay, ECU and battery posts.
    Simple, slim (once the ECU is taken off) and only held on by 2 bolts.
    You can also see how the wiring loom is unfinished in some spots.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]





    Got completely sidetracked shortly thereafter, by a number of other projects,
    bonus points if anyone can guess what vehicle/motor that head is for (my first venture in wrenching on 4-wheeled vehicles and Diesel engines both at the same time).

    [​IMG]


    And of course I somehow pushed getting some parts designed and lasercut in there, for this abomination (don't worry George, very close to making the rear plastic mould for the Oryx,
    will do the seat pan mould at the same time - I know you're reading this):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]




    Back to topic:

    Up next my tiiiiiny CNC gets pushed to it's limits and we get some bling parts on the bike.
    And some other minor details. Got to take some photos first, though. Took way less during the build than usual.
    Preview:

    [​IMG]
    #6
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  7. FR700

    FR700 Heckler ™©®

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    Peugeot.

    2.5 litre.


    .
    #7
  8. Gedrog

    Gedrog Long timer

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    for a Lada Niva
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  9. Gedrog

    Gedrog Long timer

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    or a citroen jumper 4b4for a travel van
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  10. TobyG

    TobyG be happy :)

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    You're good.

    Indeed, '96 Boxer, 2.5 TD.
    Engine was a total disaster, but not a lot of rust, mainly just the floor of the cargo area and it was cheap.


    Too many valves for a Niva

    Essentially a Jumper, yeah. 230 series
    Jumper, Boxer and Ducato are/were mostly the same, bar some options and the logos.
    #10
  11. Gedrog

    Gedrog Long timer

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    Any updates??? :-0
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  12. flinders_72

    flinders_72 Long timer

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    What he ^ said. Your rats nest was even bigger than the rats nest of redundant wiring I removed from my 1150RT-P.
    #12
  13. TobyG

    TobyG be happy :)

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    Still in the works, made some decent progress, but looking to finish the aforementioned van before winter hits.
    And took a full time job some 3 weeks ago to keep me busy until next spring once again.
    Will update soon, though.
    #13
  14. Gravel Seeker

    Gravel Seeker Thomas

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    :lurk
    #14
  15. Gedrog

    Gedrog Long timer

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    :lurk
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  16. Gravel Seeker

    Gravel Seeker Thomas

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    :dirtdog.....................:hide.........................:dunno..............................:D
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  17. Gedrog

    Gedrog Long timer

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    Probably like me do something then months of research and uhming and ahing and then there is a flurry of activity again :rofl
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  18. TobyG

    TobyG be happy :)

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    More like a case of I should update the thread.
    Most machining and welding is done. Currently waiting for a couple parts from the laser cutting place,
    as well as warmer weather to finish the plastics.

    Looks like a bike already, the to-do list is quite short by now.
    Only thing I'm a little worried about is that my lathe guy has fallen ill,
    so I don't have an ETA for the rear wheel spacers and the steering stem for my second set of triple clamps (different offset).
    Not trying to make it sound like my parts are more important than his health, anyways.
    #18
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  19. Gedrog

    Gedrog Long timer

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    Hahahah sounds like my problem just when I thought I could get a good WP suspension guy he gets a stroke probably my demands :rofl
    #19
  20. TobyG

    TobyG be happy :)

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    Oh boy...where did I stop?

    Probably somewhere around here. My apologies if I forgot some things already. And no, I did not take many photos once again.

    In fact there's a couple things in this photo already that I didn't document any further.
    Such as the plumbing of the radiators and the first pieces of the fairing/speedo/headlight bracket.

    [​IMG]


    Some other things I did take a shot or two of.
    E.g. I am to get rid of all logos on this bike and put an Oryx or two here and there,
    just to eff with people. Had some take a stroll around it before wondering what make it was, but the "BMW" logo on the engine cases was a dead giveaway.

    [​IMG]

    Also wanted to ditch the stock kickstand switch for a while, since it was very much exposed and thereby frequently due to be replaced after falls
    owed to it being mounted to the footpeg bracket, instead of being tucked away under the engine with the stock kickstand.
    Dug through my stash of parts and got me a reed switch and a round magnet. I milled a recess for the magnet in the kickstand (now THAT was pushing my tiny CNC)
    and welded a mounting boss for the switch on the kickstand bracket. Note that the switch is only held on with one bolt. More on that in a minute.

    [​IMG]


    While I was already machining, I got the calipers out to measure the swingarm carefully; it being as rare as it is, I was happy to get one at all
    and didn't really bother asking whether it was ready to mount. It wasn't.
    There were several iterations of the swingarm as well as the linkage, after a couple calls months earlier I was sent two new-old-stock deflection levers (FREE parts :D)
    to use. Still required having 2 bushings ground to a larger ID, which a mate did for a couple beers and had to machine a number of spacers to get it all to work together.
    Can sorta be seen in this photo, I made them a larger OD to protect the seals a little as well.

    [​IMG]

    Also replaced the half solid/half hose brake line with a longer hose, which allowed for routing it inside the frame and along the top of the swingarm, out of harms way.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Now for something annoying. Tapping small threads. M3 can already be nightmare fuel in hard material and of course I welded a stainless boss on there,
    since I didn't have any thin-ish mild steel stock at hand. Curiously the first cut fairly well, the second one however...the tap snapped.
    So I did what everyone would do: Grind it out, weld it back up, act like it never happened if anybody ask what you're doing, get a proper tap for hard metals and try again.

    Here's how that went:


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    FML.
    Luckily I was able to break the tap inside the threads and extract the remains and the thread was cut juuuuust deep enough...phew.


    [​IMG]




    Given the success of this operation, I treated myself to some hiking in the Alps (just in case someone doesn't believe that I'm just behind on updates, does that look like winter?).


    [​IMG]
    #20