Introducing the TardMo

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by Roadracer_Al, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. Roadracer_Al

    Roadracer_Al louder, louder, louder!

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    I have been following with great interest the following threads. They've been inspirational, to say the least.

    LukasM's KaTaMaki project
    Resolrider's Ninja 650 motor in a KLR chassis
    TonyMorr's A different kind of Versys
    JDRocks' Gravel Runner
    and Sanjoh's Sanjohsaki, the build

    I like building stuff. I'm a pretty fair amateur welder & machinist. So... my crazy idea is to merge a Ninja 650 and a CRF 450. My goal is to swap the complete (linkage and everything) front and rear suspension onto the Ninja. I've eyeballed it, and there is a ton of space behind the swingarm pivot for the shock. I'll have to move some things around and create the top shock mounting, and the lower linkage mounting points.

    I expect, also, that because the Ninja motor has a *lot* of depth below the sprocket (i.e. the oil sump), I might need to shorten the stroke of the suspension, but I am confident that I can achieve 10", maybe 11" of wheel travel without risking constant and serious bottoming on the skid plate or crazy swingarm angles.

    I found and bought a moderate-mileage 2006 Ninja which had shed all it's bodywork, presumably in someone's hedges - it's cosmetically pretty thrashed - but mechanically sound. The best part is that it has a clean title, not a salvage title, a bonus if this bike ever gets sold.

    In what I consider a propitious sign from the forces of nature, a complete 2003 CRF chassis showed up on Craig's List 2 weeks after I bought the Ninja. I secured it promptly.

    There will be a pile of goodies that will wind up on eBay and partially fund the project.

    I've been riding the little Ninja for a couple weeks now, and I'm kind of surprised at what a good little bike it is. The chassis geometry is very friendly and neutral but the suspension damping components are harsh (typical budget stuff -- damper rod forks & unsophisticated shock). The motor is a peppy, willing partner for hooliganism, which I completely approve of.

    So, the name -- I was talking with a friend of mine, and he said "You know you're doing the Motard thing, only backwards... you ought to call it the TardMo." I thought about it and he's right... instead of putting street wheels on dirt bikes, I'm putting dirt wheels (and suspension) on a street bike.

    Today's TardMo picture is "as bought". Love the funky Ninja 250 lights & fairing (I think?).

    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. OaklandStrom

    OaklandStrom Long timer

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    Subscribed.
    And you're in Oakland - which means I might even see it in person. Can't wait.
    #2
  3. JimmyTheHog

    JimmyTheHog Low Speed Adventurer

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    Im in ! Sounds cool.
    #3
  4. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    drank that rat bike kool aid? these are a fun build.

    the lights are 650R, not 250.
    #4
  5. Kawidad

    Kawidad Long timer

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    I'm in too. :wave
    #5
  6. Roadracer_Al

    Roadracer_Al louder, louder, louder!

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    @ JD -- Yep. I had the idea a few years ago, and have really been enjoying the inmates builds - from mild to wild.

    @ Tackett -- Cool! A neighbor! Hopefully, you'll see it on the road in less than 5 years. :huh I keep thinking "this isn't that hard". Right.

    There are a couple other "rat bike" builds I've seen that I'd like to link in my first post - might as well compile them for posterity. If anyone want sto reply with build threads -- especially if they're not on ADVrider -- I've missed, please feel free.

    JD, I think you do yourself a dis-service calling your builds "rat bikes" - you do quality work. Just because you utilize some very creative parts bin engineering doesn't mean it's ratty. Mongrel, maybe, but not rat.

    I figure this build is an intermediate step for me - ultimately I want to build my own chassis with a long-travel floating headstock/Hossack front end. I'm a participant on the MC_Chassis design list, and one of the truly charismatic posters, a fellow named Hoyt (sadly, now deceased), built one in the '80s using a Honda XR 350 motor. How cool would it be to make a modern version!?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #6
  7. LukasM

    LukasM Long timer

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    That bike looks almost too nice to cut up! But that could a good thing since it will give you lots of parts to sell.

    I'm in! :freaky
    #7
  8. mtothef

    mtothef Been here awhile

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    get after it, al. if you need any advice on how to completely misplace the link points, or want help getting the math completely wrong on spring rates, you know where to find me.

    been waiting for someone else to pull the trigger and go fully overboard with a 650r conversion. no disrespect to the many modded jobs so far, but none of them have fallen off the bad side of the welding table yet (except repsolrider, who stomped all over the welding table, and who makes everyone else look like a hack anyway). bring on the long travel, completely out of place, this-makes-no-sense-at-all mutation!

    "these go to eleven..."
    #8
  9. Snr Moment

    Snr Moment Unafarkler

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    A few welds here, a few welds there, and Presto......

    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. archkb

    archkb n00b

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    I saw one of those once, in SoHo and thought it looked at least as at home in that brick and cobblestone jungle as it ever would be in a forest or desert....

    [​IMG]

    But I met the owner a little while after taking the photo. Seems he did take it off-road quite a bit - and not just onto sidewalks, either.

    p.s. BTW, that's my dear, departed Multistrada 620 in the background. And sorry for the thread-jack, but Snr Moment started it!
    #10
  11. Roadracer_Al

    Roadracer_Al louder, louder, louder!

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    @ MtotheF, Good to see you here. I figure you of all people would understand. I strongly believe that too much is just about enough. ;)

    @ LukasM - My approach is that paying a little more for the bike (a little less damage than a $1200 insurance write-off) would yield a lot more in-demand eBay-able parts.

    Aaaah, the Terra Monstro. What a lovely thing.

    My post for this evening involves the PowerCommander. The bike ran like poop when I got it -- lots of backfiring on decel, stumble on low-RPM roll-on. Classic rich symptoms.

    So, I had a look at it -- looks dead as a doornail... no lights, no nothing. So I download the software and install it on my wife's antique PC notebook. The software can't find a Power Commander on the USB port, so I tried tracking down the fault.

    One of the wires, I'm operating under the assumption that it's the switched power wire, was Scotch-Loc'd.

    Let me just share with you for a moment how much I hate standard Scotch-Loc connectors on vehicles. The insulation interrupt method basically creates a perfect environment to grow corrosion on the wires, just add water - or, salt water if you want it to work faster. They're also mechanically fragile - if it gets squashed the metal spade is exposed and can back out, creating the possibility for intermittent shorts or open circuits. Tracking down intermittent electrical faults is as much fun as a barrel of monkeys.... feces throwing, screaming, biting, flea-infested monkeys.

    Having thoroughly trashed Scotch-locs, they really do have their place -- I have no issue with them for indoor, non-mission critical connections, but keep them the hell away from my vehicles.

    [​IMG]

    You call that a connector? Now THIS is a connector: Also a Scotch-Loc, and it's waterproof. The red button contains a resin that hardens once the button is depressed. This literally seals the mechanical joint inside a blob of plastic. Brilliant. Wish I'd thought of it.

    [​IMG]

    Anyway, long story short, get the stupid wiring fixed up with proper connectors, and it *still* won't light up, so I un-installed it.

    I shot off an email to the PCIII tech support and ask if the units can be repaired. A couple volleys of questions and I am told that the map can't be read if the motor is not RUNNING.

    Damn.

    So I have to reinstall it and tinker with the PC notebook again. The bike actually runs better without the PCIII, which tells me that it was actually doing something.
    #11
  12. OaklandStrom

    OaklandStrom Long timer

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    :ddog

    Is this thing on?

    How's progress going?
    #12
  13. Dastard

    Dastard Just another guy

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    wherever I am told to be

    Where do you find these? Is there a model number or name? I searched the 3M website but can only find the insulation displacement type

    ETA: Found them

    http://products3.3m.com/catalog/us/...upport_3_0/command_AbcPageHandler/output_hTml

    3M™ Scotchlok™ IDC Butt Connector UR2/Cart

    those look a LOT better than my posi-lock and hot glue solutions
    #13
  14. Jeff Watts

    Jeff Watts Adventurer

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    North East TEXAS
    in.
    #14
  15. anonny

    anonny What could go wrong?

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    Im in.
    #15
  16. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

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    That's awesome, I was going to do the same exact thing except use a YZ450f suspension!! Then the Ninja I secured ended up being stolen and I moved on to an FZ1 with 950 suspension:lol3

    I'm excited for your build, I had it all envisioned in my head and didn't anticipate many problems. The great thing is that the swingarm doesn't go through the engines on these bikes so you just need to space a swingarm. Make sure your pivot bolt OD and swingarm ID are at least close...
    #16
  17. Jimmy the Heater

    Jimmy the Heater Tilting the Horizon

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    Waiting to see how this turns out :clap
    #17
  18. slackmeyer

    slackmeyer Don't mean sheeit. .

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    What he said.
    #18
  19. Roadracer_Al

    Roadracer_Al louder, louder, louder!

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    Sailah - bummer about your bike. Great minds, right?

    I owe a pic of the CRF donor chassis.

    [​IMG]

    The update on the PowerCommander is that I'm not savvy, savvy? Turns out that the motor has to be running for the PC to do look alive and for the tuning software to recognize the unit. With that figured out, I've been tinkering with the EFI mapping, and it's more or less a shot in the dark unless you have proper diagnostic gear. You need to be able to read the Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) although you can get a general sense of throttle position by using tape on the throttle housing, making a mark on the throttle tube, and marking the high & low extremes, then dividing that up into 10 sub-marks. The real question is what the exhaust O2 is doing. Going by feel ain't so hot, I've found, and I made it worse more than I made it better.

    I may break down and buy a wide-band O2 sensor since it's useful on both EFI and carbureted bikes. I'll need it if I ever change the exhaust to put the muffler in the "usual" place (for better ground clearance).

    I was shocked to discover that the US ECU runs in open loop mode -- no oxygen sensor in the exhaust! The European version does use one, and I plan to investigate if a US ECU can utilize one.

    Sorry for the lack of updates. I've been on vacation on the TardMo as a shake-down run in as-bought form. I put on a total of 1762 miles, with 480 miles on the last day. I discovered some interesting tidbits. It gets only modest mileage cruising at 65-70 -- the best tank got 40 mpg. On I-5, cruising between 85-90, it gets crap mileage, the lowest I got was a horrifying 24 mpg! My V8 Camaro gets 23 on the highway with the AC on! I was definitely range-limited with these mileage figures, and they need some improvement.

    I whipped up a luggage rack for soft luggage the day before I left. I can admit & own that I'm proud that I started making it after lunch and finished with enough time to spare to paint it. :clap The main loop is 3/4" tube, all the rest is 1/2" tube. It came out nice enough -- strong, unobtrusive, held the luggage firmly -- although the welds are cosmetically sub-par. MIG is good enough, but makes ugly beads. The rack performed flawlessly. I'll build another rack later for my hard luggage. You can see how the rack sits on the bike in the second pic... the one in front of the bizarre Korean Taco food stand.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Not to turn this into a ride report, but I did a big U-shaped loop through Southern CA into Nevada & back to Yo!Oaktown.

    [​IMG]

    Here, you can see the load of luggage I had. Believe it or not, I could have taken MORE CRAP - the Lee Parks Design Laguna bag wasn't expanded fully, and I bought for my wife the monster of all tankbags. That thing is bigger than my college dorm. Taken on Route 95 North of Las Vegas. I actually ran into a fellow-ADV'er also having a gas stop.

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    In the Mojave, I went off-pavement to look for old mines. I found this one not far off the highway. I tried to find more, but got a bit cautious about getting stuck in sand. I discovered I could barely push the bike to turn it around because the tires had sunk into the sand over the rims. The short bit of 2-track revealed that -- not surprisingly -- the suspension isn't built for this. Not for long, though. :evil

    [​IMG]

    Obligatory artsy-fartsy pic near the CA/NV line. There's a whole heckofalotta straight roads out that way.

    [​IMG]
    #19
  20. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    something not right on the mileage. gravel roads at 50mph should be 50mpg, backroads at 65mph about 45mpg, 80 cruise about 40mpg, although i have dropped to 30-35mpg riding into a big head wind with the bike fully loaded. above 80, the mileage drops off. the motor will pull a 44T rear without difficulty, but you'll need the lower gearing for offroad.

    get going on that suspension.
    #20