2018 Africa Twin ATAS adventure build

Discussion in 'Japanese polycylindered adventure bikes' started by michaelkozera, Sep 3, 2018.

  1. michaelkozera

    michaelkozera Long timer

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    Well, lets get started shall we.


    my CRF500L just crossed over 250,000km's so ive retired it as my "bush bike", that i leave out at my cabin. i am now looking for a bike to do the long haul trips.


    my goal of this build is to make a comfortable long distance touring bike that i can take camping, long haul trips (2,000km+), while riding in relative comfort both from wind and vibration, low cost of ownership, low maintenance, and still being able to "go anywhere".


    so basically i want a competent off-pavement machine, that can still do some off-road, while still being able to do the on-road stuff in comfort.

    insert the crf1000L, the SUV of the motorbike world!




    as always with all my builds, i encourage feedback, both negative and positive please.




    i picked the bike up at the end of May, about 21G out the door. i was one of the first to buy the 2018 ATAS in canada. huge smile under the helmet!
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    apart from the windscreen visor extension, i rode the bike bone stock for 1,500km's to get a good feel for the bike before i started modding it.




    initial impressions.

    pros:
    -bike does indeed ride like a "big dirtbike".
    -gets fantastic fuel economy, ive been averaging right around 4L/100km, which is truly impressive for a 1000cc bike.
    -fuel range is amazing at well over 600km's+
    -the upgraded suspension on the ATAS over the regular AT is a big/ noticeable improvement.
    -wind protection is good apart from the peak buffeting that comes from the fork tunnel.
    -riding position is very good, along with tall handle bar and wider foot pegs over stock to make standing a breeze.
    -the rubber mounted skid plate and crash bars dont vibrate at all, (biggest complaint with after market crash bars/ skid plates, way to much vibration).
    -i measured the bike at 537lbs with a full tank of gas, which is heavy for any bike, but alot lighter then its competition.
    -wide handle bar, and low center of gravity makes this bike feel alot lighter then it actually is.
    -low seat height while still having tons of ground clearance is a huge plus.
    - 5stage heated grips work really well.
    -rubber mounted handle bar means goodbye bent handle bars when you crash! nice!


    cons:
    -stock exhaust is too loud
    -lack of cruise control is a huge miss for honda here. only reason i bought the bike is because you can buy it after market from MC-criuse.......
    -stock fork seals are made of cheese, blew both after the first ~300km's
    -the crf1000L is NOT an off-road bike, it just is not. off-pavement sure, but off-road its useless. too heavy, too wide, too tall, and way too much power.
    -stock tires are garbage off-road ( i realize the above "con" would be helped but not totally fixed with knobby tires). end of the day this is a 50/50 bike so yeah......
    - buffeting from the fork tunnel is unbearable past 100km/hr
    -stock seat is very firm IMO, even tho its like 7" thick????
    -wind screen is taller/wider then regular AT, but for my 6ft frame it needs to be taller.
    -absolutely cannot stand the one-light-out lowbeam/highbeam.
    -stock lighting is better then most bikes, but compared to a car.......still shit.
    -stock gearing is abit short, i would like taller gearing for lower RPM's on the highway/ better fuel economy/ less engine wear.
    - lack of baffles in the larger fuel tank causes fuel slosh, very noticeable off-road at slower speeds.
    -the damn oil drain hose fills up really fast and is a pain to empty.
    -lack of tubeless is annoying but not a deal breaker.
    -on board display is way off,distance km's are off, L/100km is off, time goes out of sync within 1 week. only thing accurate on there is the rpm's ( or is it lol????)
    -7 stage traction control is useless, 7-2 feels exactly the same and is way to intrusive, while level 1 is the only real usable one, with 0 being the best of course.
    -throttle return spring is really strong/ jerky. opening the throttle hurts the wrist after only a few hours.





    now that thats out of the way, time to fix those cons, and build the perfect SUV adventure bike.





    blown fork seals after only 300km's, and i hardly got a few feet off the ground during the jump that blew them........
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    was pissed but took them apart and re-built them:

    found dirt in the oil, so it was not the jump itself that caused the leak, rather the mud/dirt on the stanchions got past the fork seals when the bike landed off the jump and flexed the stanchions. fork flex.
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    to prevent a blown seal from happening ever again:

    moose racing stanchion covers.
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    the forks are not as smooth now cuz of the covers, but at least i will never have to replace a fork seal ever again, (or at least for the next 100,000km's)





    next up is the headlights/ lighting:

    the stock LED head lights are actually fairly good for a bike, when compared to other bikes that is. as most bikes have horrible lighting. compared to a car with dual headlights, the ATAS lights are shit.

    plus i really, REALLY, hate the one-light-burnt out lowbeam/highbeam look.

    so i went ahead and took the headlight apart, removed the stock LED driver/ reflector and put in two BI-led projectors from TRS, (BI being there is a solenoid/shield inside that cuts the beam in half. half for lowbeam, half for highbeam).

    had to bend and adjust the metal bracket to make both projectors shine perfectly straight, and to have identical beam patterns.
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    just to show how much of the rear of the housing had to come off to mount these projectors
    this entire back panel is sealed up later via plastic welding and silicone to make it water tight. i also added 2 small gortex vent holes, as the single stock one is not enough for such a high powered system.

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    cutting the shroud to make it fit:
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    mounting the LED ballasts:

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    looks pretty good IMO, very very mean looking. stock half halos stay on always when the key is turned now as a DRL.

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    and no more one-light-burnt look!!!!!!!

    lowebeam:
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    now for the obligatory foglights:


    made some custom mounting brackets. i also rubber mounted them to the crash bars
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    using some TRS LED projector foglights
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    mounted some AUX highbeam spot lights too
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    i disabled the front turn signal yellow light via a switch for night time riding, it also turns the rear read tail light on, during the day the switch turns the yellow light back on and the back red tail light off. the signal functionality is unaffected.

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    now for output shots!

    just the low beam now, wow! what an improvement:
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    please note these projectors have a super sharp cutoff so you wont blind oncoming traffic, as seen above the cut off is right where a cars bumper/tires would be.


    sorry for the blurr, but lowbeam:
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    foglights, they are stupidly wide!
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    some before and after:

    old stock led lowbeam:
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    new BI-LED projector lowbeam, you can basically see twice as far, and about twice as wide!!!!
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    old stock led highbeam:
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    new bi-led projector highbeam:
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    Look at that super sharp cut off, love it!
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    and the highbeam is just unreal
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    now onto the electrical:

    stock the bike over read by 13% , as in i was going 100km/hr but the speedo said i was doing 113km/hr........
    installed a speedo healer, speed is now 100% correct, ODO is way off now tho.....
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    mounted up some water proof switches
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    left switch is for foglights, next to it is the lowbeam switch, and on the right is the turn signal constant yellow light off/ tail light on switch.

    used an old Toyota carrolla fuse box for the relays/ fuses
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    not exactly loom of doom but alot of wires!
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    just needs to be wrapped up and stuffed into the old tool box
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    cant even tell its a fuse box, nice! just the way i like it.
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    now for the seat.

    the stock seat was very firm, which makes no sense cuz the ATAS has a taller seat thats like 7" thick........

    so i first added foam on the sides of the seat to make the seat 2" wider on each side

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    i then cut a 1" hole to fit the gel insert
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    covered it up, and much wider now!

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    seat is a full 1" shorter now compared to stock,that plus the low seat setting makes the seat height 34.4"
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    next up, that damn oil drain tube. its so hard to get to and it requires dumping like very 300km's.

    so i extended it, capped it, and hid it:

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    why wasn't this the way the bike came stock???

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    stock exhaust is too loud, at idle @5ft away was getting 75db's

    so i installed 2 of these exhaust silencers inside the exhaust, right after the cat, but before the muffler
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    it totally did the trick, @5ft, db's went down to 70, down from 75db's



    next up is the throttle return spring:

    as you all know, the 2018 comes with a TBW system. so no cable. but the damn spring is just way to strong, hurts the wrist.


    so i took it apart
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    drilled a small hole
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    and moved the spring mount hole by about 90degrees (from the middle left, down to the bottom, straight down)

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    now the force required to pull the throttle has been reduced by about 80%.



    the handle bar may be rubber mounted but ive noticed (as others have), some vibration still gets through around 3-4,000rpm's.

    my solution:

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    thin rubber sheet, cut to fit, glued onto the handle bar, and then glued to the riser/mount.

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    i also rubber mounted the brake assembly, and the clutch lever.

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    also added a phone mount, rubber mounted of course. and a fork tunnel wind deflector.

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    ripped off that disgusting rear tail light assembly in favor of the sleek and stealthy/hidden look:
    [​IMG]

    added spools:
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    reduced the gearing in the rear to 40t from 42t.
    this gave better fuel economy, lower RPM's, and longer engine/oil life

    [​IMG]




    added adjustable levers for both clutch and brake. also made a custom air deflector for the oem hand guards to make them larger.

    [​IMG]

    added the oem honda radiator leg/ knee defelctors:
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    used both the sticky tape that came with it and screws to hold it on as i dont trust just tape........
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    got a MRA windscreen, with the extender piece. now the air goes right over my head while not blocking my vision of the road.
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    i also made some custom peices to fit around the middkle of the screen to help keep wind off my pits/ shoulders
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    added the oem honda wind deflectors:
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    [​IMG]





    next up is the panniers.

    now, at the time no-one made panniers for the new 2018 ATAS model year. so i bought a tusk pannier set for a 2016-2017 model and welded it up to make it fit.

    i really don't like it when one pannier sits further from the bike then the other. i really like symmetry. so as i was welding up a new bracket, i brought the right pannier closer to the exhaust, and the other left pannier further away from the bike. that way both panniers sit the same exact distance from the bike.
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    i used ridged cases from home depot, they are water tight, and very durable. comparable to pelican cases, minus the warranty of course.


    the cases hardly stick out the sides of the bike from the front profile, nice!
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    better pics of the welding i did, and the new bracket.

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    small aluminum case that is permanently attached to the bike. this case hold all my tools, tubes, and everything i would need to take this entire bike apart and to full service it.
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    bed liner painted the entire rack
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    looks solid
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    also installed some tank protectors/ knees grip pads:
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    i ordered in the cruise control kit from MC-cruise. it will be in next week and i will be installing it then:
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    as for luggage, i tend to pack light so i dont need that much storage space. the ridged panniers have alot of room in them but i added abunch more just incase.

    i also sewed a gasoline tank mount and attached various camo packs to the bike for a long haul trip. and a net of course.
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    bought a motorbike dual (front / rear)camera dash cam:

    not in the bike yet but will be by end of month
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    got a heated seat installed:
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    mounted the switch near the heated grip button:
    looks ugly, but it is water proof and functional.

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    the seat itself came out pretty good too, not too many bulges from the heated element,.

    also added some brown foam to fill the gap between the seat and the gas tank:

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    and lastly install my custom CNC made mini light bar:

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    just bought these. just trying to control the spray off the wheels in the wet.

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    dash camera all installed:

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    no idea what happened to the sound, i think YouTube made it laggy, its off by about 10-15 secs??

    not completely happy with the quality, altho i have had worse. but my car dash cam is way better ,(using an A119 VIOFO 2K,ultra hd)

    the rear camera is only 480p, front is 720p, however the front one looks worse due to the fish eye/wide angle lens i suspect.











    got the front fender installed.
    noticed almost immediate less mud/dirt on the front of the bike.
    [​IMG]

    rear fender installed too. agian, huge difference in the mount of dirt/mud on the bike.

    also took the time to install AUX brake lights. they dim with just like the night time lights, and go bright when the brake light turns on, just as the stock brake light.

    [​IMG]

    also installed a wind screen brace, since the windscreen plastic was flexing too much under high winds, didnt want a wind screen crack.

    this also had the effect of raising the wind screen by about 2".

    [​IMG]




    bike is ready for round the world trip!


    hope you guys enjoyed, please leave a comment!

    cheers.
    #1
  2. michaelkozera

    michaelkozera Long timer

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    at the end of the day, love the bike now.
    well maybe i would change out the tires, thats a must, probably gonna go K60 scout.


    been just over 10,000km's and im loving every minute of it.

    yes, bike is abit heavy, and it does not belong off road. but i love the fact that i can ride 500km's+ do abunch of mild off-road, and then ride 500km's back, all in pure comfort.

    the bike truly does shine on off-pavement roads too. with a nice set of tires this bike would be ideal!

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    #2
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  3. plumer1kt

    plumer1kt Adventurer

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    start reading your post , the list of what you wanted from your bike on the crf 500 thread came in my mind....:hmmmmm
    and i didn't see your weight scale here!:-)
    anyway...
    you did an excellent work...again!
    i really liked the projector retrofit!
    go for tires and maybe another muffler to save some weight.
    cheers!
    #3
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  4. michaelkozera

    michaelkozera Long timer

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    Haha yeah. I wasnt really concerned about weight for this build.

    Ive just accepted the fact that if u want a really comfortable bike that can haul luggage its gonna weigh alot.


    I still use my crf500l as my magical unicorn bike and go on 300km+ trips. I just dont feel confident in its reliability after 250,000kms. Last thing i need is issues on a 30,000km RTW trip.

    I will be building another crf500l in the near future to replace my current one. But thats a project for another day.
    #4
  5. plumer1kt

    plumer1kt Adventurer

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    agree!
    and i am waiting.....
    :lurk
    #5
  6. Glifaus

    Glifaus Adventurer

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    I only miss two things in your build, one is barkbusters handguards (or similar strong handguards) and second, engine protection. Im impressed with your work!!
    #6
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  7. Reidy008

    Reidy008 I,m in if we go fast

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    Great work.. and thanks for such detail on th epictures and work. Got alot of good ideas from you. Cheers
    #7
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  8. mountain36

    mountain36 Been here awhile

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    Amazing work ! Thanks a lot for sharing.
    I wish I had the skills to do what you did by yourself on your bike.
    I’ve read your post with interest as I’m considering buying an ATAS myself (you picked-up a manual, but I’m considering the DCT).
    I had concerns regarding wind protection, but you made me confident that it could become a good long trip bike with new a screen and different wind deflectors.
    I’m just really surprised by the vibration « problem » you felt around 3000-4000 rpm. First time I read about that. I test road a few AT (no ATAS) and all of them appeared to be so smooth, almost vibe free.
    You wife/girlfriend is riding a versys 300 X, right? How does she like it? My wife is also looking for an adv bike and the small versys is one of them.
    One again, congrats for your great work, and hope you’ll have fantastic rides on your ATAS.
    #8
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  9. Junglejeff1

    Junglejeff1 Long timer

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    Thanks for posting this info and nice work.I built my racks because there was no aftermarket in 16 so had no choice.Made mine symmetrical also.You gave me some great idea's to do some more mods on bike this winter.Your lighting system rocks.
    #9
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  10. MFP

    MFP Urbaner

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    Extremely well thought out and put together ATAS, your fabbing skills are top tier!
    Going at that headlight assembly on a brand new bike takes very large ones but I gather your confidence level is high with what you are capable of doing.
    Quick question, what brand helmet is your Wife/Girlfriend/Partner wearing?
    It appears to be a peaked modular, but it does not look like a Schuberth or a Scorpion.
    #10
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  11. twinrider

    twinrider Pass the catnip

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    #11
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  12. CMRacing

    CMRacing n00b

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    Nice to see your ideas and taking your time to work on the bike! :thumb. Ive always wondered about the 40t sprocket, you like it better ? how does the bike run at lower speeds ?
    #12
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  13. Peke

    Peke Been here awhile

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    Very, very impressive. :clap
    #13
  14. tjabbie

    tjabbie Adventurer

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    Wauw; good work. Nice customization!

    And love the dual headlight!! Have been looking and asking around since 2016! You're the first I see changing it. Looks challenging though!
    #14
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  15. strapontin

    strapontin Adventurer

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    Which, incidently, are the first two things going on my ATAS! Great build, my funds will require a bit more spreading of the $ outflow though...
    #15
  16. michaelkozera

    michaelkozera Long timer

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    well, if i was doing alot of off-road then yes i would agree with you. however i built this bike as a long haul adventure bike. will be doing mostly highway and dirt/fire roads, actual off road will be maybe 5%. besides, off-road is really not the AT or the ATAS forte. too tall, too heavy, and too wide. ive got other, more capable bikes for off-road.

    ive taken my ATAS where most people dont even take their dirt bikes, and i can say with much confidence the AT/ATAS is not an off-road bike.



    as for the hand guards. i did move both the clutch lever and the brake assembly as far inwards as possible (about an 1"-1.5")and rubber mounted it. so in case i do drop it, even if the plastic guards break off the levers are tucked inwards which should hopefully save em. + rubber mounted anything is usually much harder to break cuz cushion.

    the vibration problem, as others have mentioned is very subtle. and ive noticed it changes based off of engine load, wind direction, wind strength, and air temp. thats why its 3-4,000rpm range. its hard to detect unless your doing alot of flat constant highway. but the extra rubber mounts i added have eliminated the issue completely.

    my wifey is 5ft tall at 105lb's, so she is very limited in bike selection. she really only had two choices for an adventure bike, yamaha xt250 or the v300x.

    go to my wifes build thread, its all there:
    https://advrider.com/index.php?threads/versys-300x-adventure-build.1274086/#post-33957289



    wife uses a scorpion EXO AT-950
    [​IMG]

    its important to note that the ATAS has a taller internal transmission gearing then the regular AT. they both use the same final drive ratio of 16/42

    so the ATAS in 5th gear is the same as the regular AT in 6th. and by me adding a 40t made the gearing even taller, with my 4th gear being like the regular AT 6th. 1st gear is abit tall now , i think its like ~12km/hr at idle vs like 10.5km/hr. but highway rpm is much lower. makes the bike quieter, longer oil life, better fuel economy, plus u can drag out gears now when off-road not having to switch as often.

    ive been getting pretty much exactly 4L/100km (~60mpg) combined consumption, sometimes as low as 3.7L/100km, and i bet you the gearing helps alot. so having a 650km+ range is a huge plus IMO.
    20180904_213758.jpg

    it was very challenging, and i do retrofits on a monthly basis.
    #16
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  17. CMRacing

    CMRacing n00b

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    That sounds great for fuel range ! but, isnt your bike the CRF1000A II ? being the same gear ratios as the standard AT (CRF1000A) ? then the D's are DCT's . ( D AT, DII ATAS)
    #17
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  18. michaelkozera

    michaelkozera Long timer

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    Ahh yes. you are correct.

    i looked back at the manual. i was going off the picture, rather then the actual specs. (the picture on pg18-20 shows a ATAS under D/D-II). silly me.

    my 2018 ATAS 6mt is indeed a CRF1000L A/A-II (A-II), not a CRF1000L D/D-II (D-II).


    thankyou
    #18
  19. AB212ASW

    AB212ASW I ride in the sky Supporter

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    Opps, you did it again!
    #19
  20. Junglejeff1

    Junglejeff1 Long timer

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    About what am I looking at money wise to convert my headlight.As you said stockers are decent for a mc but I really could use more here.Fricken deer everywhere.I try not to ride at night but shit happens.
    #20