Building a Dakar Bike and creating a Western USA Dakar Style Event

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by 2on2off, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. 2on2off

    2on2off Head'n somewhere new

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    Ever since they have been using WR450F's to race the Dakar, I have been interested in building one to ride out here in the west.

    For those of us who don't race but would like to ride a Dakar style bike in our own home area. I have been thinking about building one, that is street legal for California, that I could ride in California, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Colorado and Oregon. Maybe other states as well. Maybe all states in the Rockies and west. It seems to me that is a big enough area for us to have our own Dakar style ralley, but an "event" instead of a race.

    I know some aluminum fabricators that could build a big enough aluminum gas tank, water tank and probably come up with someone to build a fairing and I know a local owner of a body & paint shop who could paint it to look anyway I would want it to. Many of you probably also know someone who could do the same.

    I checked into buying the Dakar parts from Paris for a WR450F but was quoted $20,000 just for the parts not including the bike. That seemed way too much for most of us who might do something like this.

    I think it would be a blast to have an annual event, not a race, that would require a street legal bike, set up like a Dakar bike, that could be ridden a similiar distance as the Dakar Ralley, through the western half of the USA.

    The route could cover parts of the Continental Divide Trail, setions of the TAT, portions of the Oregon Trail, the Mojave Trail and any other route that sounded interesting.

    I'm curious if there would be any interest in anything like this. I know I would love to own and ride a Dakar style bike and especially one within a modest budget.

    Would it be a good idea to come up with one bike that everyone would set up in a similiar way so there would be enough quantity to help bring the price down of creating the parts for such a bike and maybe even get everything CARB approved. Wouldn't that be something.

    What size bike to start with? 690cc, 530cc, 450cc, 250cc??????????

    I recently bought a DRZ400S and have set it up with a 4 gallon gas tank, radiator guards etc, and I'm inpressed with how it runs, after rejetting.

    A fuel injected bike would be even better because it wouldn't have to be rejetted and the choices would be:

    WR250R
    Husky 610, 510 & 450
    KTM 690

    Their may be others but those are the ones I'm familiar with that come street legal from the factory.

    The Honda XR650L runs good enough, without rejetting, for long rides.

    The DRZ400S needs to rejetted if ridden above 3,000 ft and then you get into CARB issues.

    I would be great use a bike platform that is fully street legal, runs good enough in stock trim, that could be fitted with larger fuel tanks and Dakar type fairing and still be fully legal to ride on the street.

    I don't know what is involved with modifying a bike and then getting govt. approval for any of the mods made, but if one model was selected and there was enough interest by enough people, maybe creating a well performing adventure bike that could handle Dakar type riding, maybe without too many miles of deep sand, is possible.

    I don't think this has ever been done before and maybe, just maybe, it is possible.

    I would love to hear some feedback on this. If the KTM690, which is raced in the Dakar, is the bike of choice, then the next problem would be to get KTM to produce enough of them so everyone who wants one could buy one.

    The Suzuki DRZ400S is probably the top selling dual sport on the market but Suzuki has stopped building it for now, the only way a Dealer can get one currently is to dealer trade for one, and it is not known if they will continue with this model or come out wth an updated version.

    "Larryboy" recently did a ride, solo, in the area I'm talking about so his route could be used as a starting point of discussion.

    The KLR650, BMW GS800, VStrom and similiar bikes seem too heavy for what I'm thinking about. The DRZ400S, XR650L, TE610, 690EXC and similiar bikes have enough power and are light enough to handle just about anything that is thrown at them. The TE510, TE450, 530EXC and 450EXC bikes have the most performance but are more expensive and higher maintenence bikes.

    There are two issues here. 1. Finding one bike that the most people would agree upon to create Dakar parts for at an affordable price. 2. Creating a Dakar Style Event to be ridden west of the Rockies. The event could be restricted to only one model bike to encourage people to build parts in quantiy or it could be open to any model bike. I don't know which way would be best since there are so many good bikes available.

    I want a street legal WR450F with Dakar Parts, or similiar bike, but that doesn't exist.

    Maybe from "The Event" standpoint, we start small. Make a loop out the Lancaster to Las Vegas annual ride and add two days to ride back through Nevada and Death Valley. The ride wouldn't have to be difficult and could be more scenic like riding some of the fun areas of Austin, NV. There are tons of possibilities.

    I'm just thinking out loud and primarily am interested in building up a reasonably prices Dakar style bike that is legal. Everytime I see a Dakar bike, I want one........

    Any feedback is appreciated.
    #1
  2. NatetheNewbie

    NatetheNewbie TAT-Tested, Mother Approved

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    You mean like NASA's moto rally series?

    I always thought that a "race/rally across the western tat" would be a hell of an event. Crazy, tho.
    #2
  3. 2on2off

    2on2off Head'n somewhere new

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    I've never heard of the NASA's moto rally series. I googled it and it looks like they are about Rally racing and want to keep it affordable. I'm all for that.

    A friend of mine rode the TAT, last summer, from TN but said by the time he got to Colorado, where the good stuff started, he was worn out and headed home not finishing the whole route. He did ride his XR650R from Calif. to TN on the pavement and then back on the TAT.

    He said he wouldn't do it again and next time would start in CO and ride to Oregon and skip the eastern half because of the summer heat and it made for too long of a trip from Calif.

    I have seen enough ride reports to believe that all the riding I would want to do is west of the Rockies and even that is a huge area to cover in one ride. Maybe spliting the route into "stages", like the Dakar, would allow riders to do whatever "stage" they have time for since everyone has different schedules, lives and vacation time.

    #3
  4. JeffS77

    JeffS77 cheap bastard

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    http://www.mex2can.com/
    #4
  5. 2on2off

    2on2off Head'n somewhere new

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    Thanks for the link. I read Jimmie Lewis ride report and it sounds like alot of fun.
    #5
  6. gweaver

    gweaver NorCal is Best Cal! Supporter

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    I know nothing about rallies, but a couple of thoughts-
    As far as bikes go, i'd say run what ya brung- for me, anyway, i don't have the luxury of owning multiple bikes- I do hope to buy a small dualsport- XR400 or DRZ400 would be ideal. Now, if you could get dealer/manufacturer support, that would probably encourage people to gravitate towards those manufacturers, but my assumption is that the average person would be more able to use a bike they own rather than buy/build something purpose-built for a rally of this type.

    If going with a single brand or 2 brands seems to be the best way to go, try to find out what the most common bikes are- I'd bet that it'll be, in no particular order, Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki- plus, there's already pretty good aftermarket support for them, so folks aren't paying more for 'start-up' costs for someone new to the game.

    I like the rally look too, and you've actually got me thinking that some day, if/when i get my small DS, I might try to rally-fy it.

    G
    #6
  7. jimboecv

    jimboecv n00b

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    Hey all, a customer of mine puts on a GPS rally-raid event every year and he's going to open it up to bikes this year (he's a motorcycle guy at heart)
    http://www.offroadexperience.com/nvtr09info.htm
    This is info from the last event but you get an idea of what it's all about.
    Looks like a hell of alot of fun to me, and Mike's a dedicated guy and pretty cool to boot. I saw him yesterday and he said bikes will be $150/each for two days of running around the desert. Sign me up.
    #7
  8. 2on2off

    2on2off Head'n somewhere new

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    Sounds like there are some well organized events west of the Rockies but I'm not seeing that many that are set up as a "loop" where you can ride out and back to the same spot.

    I try to plan all my routes as "loops" and that would be different than the Dakar.

    There seems like an endless amount of places to ride in the west and it could take years to see it all.

    I'd like to do a loop starting in Barstow and ride to Death Valley to the north and then loop back over Mengel Pass, the escape route and through the Husky Monument. Has anyone done that?
    #8
  9. DR650SEDDY

    DR650SEDDY ride2discover Supporter

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    I am a Dakar supporter & a fan since 1982 , i like ur idea & support it in any way , but u don't need all those gadgets they installed them on their bikes , most of these devices are a reqirements by z organization like ICO(2) or Roll-charts , Irritracks , Sentinel etc... , so yeah u can do it with a very modest budget urself . I am working on transforming my bike into a Dakar like bike , but it takes time slowley but surley , because i am doing it by myself and it's costly . Of course i got a lot of help from friends & riders .
    The way i see it is to accomodate ur bike according to z need of z rides ur planning on doing .
    Here's couple of links u propably saw them somewhere but i hope it'll help and i am down with whatever u plan , ur idea sounds cool to me ...

    http://www.rallymanagementservices.com/training.html

    [​IMG] Africa Race 2008 - The Preparation Story
    #9
  10. notmybikemodelname

    notmybikemodelname KOTW is a myth!

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    That's a good story, have another one?
    Done it many times. I start mine in Randsburg, through Spangler, Pinnacles, Trona, Escape Route, Coyote Canyon, Mengels, Warm Springs, West Side, SPW, PS, through the PV and back to Randsburg. Done this route over two days quite a few times, and in one day twice, once by myself.

    Truthfully speaking, not much of a challenge:huh

    I think what the Western US needs is a rally race from Cali, through Nevada, into Utah, then Colorado, back down through NM, Arizona and back to the starting place. A good 2000+ mile loop over 5-6 days, maybe a rest in the middle:clap :freaky . Now that would be worth planning.

    These geo-cacher, TSD things I have no interest in:puke1

    You could easily put together an unsponsored and un-sanctioend event here on ADV. Run what you brung, no engine swaps, carry all of your own supplies, search out your own fuel, wrench your own bike, first to the next finish line takes the times of the rider behind him. Everyone who enters pays a fee to have their overnight gear, food, water and alcohol, hauled from one finish spot to the other. The same people who haul the crap could watch every racer on a laptop computer via SPOT. A few extra chase vehicles for rescues and such, and Voila!, you've got the beginnings of a history making event.

    Ever seen Cannonball Run? Same thing, just in the dirt and only for fun or a modest trophy or gift card.:rofl

    No sponsors and sanctioning, means no permits, BLM, etc, etc ,etc.

    Only requirements:
    Solid Bike
    Liability Insurance
    Health Insurance
    Life Insurance if married and kids.

    Now this, I'd go for and pay handsomely to have my spare tires, food, tools and clothes hauled, and some extar for a cook.
    #10
  11. airborndad

    airborndad Long timer

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    I'd be up for all of your Timing, hauling, chasing, cooking (well maybe It would be best for everyone if I bring the wife for the cooking part) [​IMG]
    #11
  12. Ben99r1

    Ben99r1 Long timer

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    Rob. I don't know but I would like to have something to do with this ride. Sounds like a good time sign me up. Chase, pit crew, haul gear ill do it and I might pony a few buck to do so too. Ben
    #12
  13. JeffS77

    JeffS77 cheap bastard

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    I would so participate in something like that..if anybody wants to ever try to set something like this up let me know i will do what ever i can to help
    #13
  14. T O Double D

    T O Double D Pogue Mahone

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    This is something I've been wanting to pit together myself. I just have to much going on to really get into it at this time. I'll keep an eye on this thread and will help however I can.

    I will say that I think there should be no bike requirements. I would feel fine doing this on either my super enduro or 525. Also I think you'd get more particiation with no limits.

    Cheers!
    #14
  15. BELSTAFF

    BELSTAFF ADV NOMAD

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    Howz about this----- Lets say we have a total loop of five or six states west of the front range of the rockies & that there are active d/s riders & clubs in each state that could & would ban together to complete a "leg" through their state incorporating their best fun rides & challenging areas of their local then pass it on to the next adjoining state & so on till each loop forms a complete circle back to the start point.
    This could be like the" IRON BUTT RALLY" except never touch tarmac==== Jeeze,that would be a true iron butt would en it ?
    I'm sure at each has their favorite area & I'm also,sure that each of us would love see & ride the best of the best.
    Damn what a concept!!!!!!!!!!!:clap
    #15
  16. notmybikemodelname

    notmybikemodelname KOTW is a myth!

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    That's a good story, have another one?
    2on2off, sounds like this is taking a direction away from what you're talking. We more race minded people can start a new thread if you'd like.

    Belstaff, excellent idea. Who knows where the good trails are better than the riders in each state.

    I agree about no limit on size and type of bike. The idea would be to design a course that favors any style of bike equally. So lots of sand and tight canyons for smaller bikes, high speed flat sections and open desert for larger faster bikes and so on. Have a class break at 650cc's .

    I think it's important to follow these rules though to keep the spirit of ADV in tact, and to be sure that those with more money can't win by spending more cash:
    • Each rider rides the whole course
    • Each rider does all of their own wrenching
    • no engine swaps
    • no private chase crews
    • You must find all of your own fuel along the route which will be designed for get outs to gas stations every 60-100 miles. This makes fuel planning part of the strategy
    • You must carry a SPOT for monitoring.
    • No more than 10% of each leg can be spent on the Tarmac, which can be verified via SPOT.
    This will really be a "high speed traveling motorcyle campout" with the idea to be the first to get to the next camp site.

    Each start will be a GoldRush Style start. We will have to limit the amount of people to no more than 30 or so to make this manageable.

    The first "camp out" could be in June and Start on a Wednesday in Randsburg, CA with the first stop Outside Vegas around Glendale. Second could go from Glendale to Brianhead where a friend of mine has a big house at 12,000 ft. We could have a 1 day stop there for a party and. rest. Then from there to somewhere around Flaggstaff, then the last leg would run from there to Randsburg for a finish on Monday.:clap

    I'M Committed, who else???
    #16
  17. notmybikemodelname

    notmybikemodelname KOTW is a myth!

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    That's a good story, have another one?
    How about a team challenge?

    Three man teams.

    All other rules stand.

    This allows each rider to have team mates to help wrench on the bikes and repair on the trails, thereby removing the rule that any rider who comes along another in need.........

    Any team who finishes a leg without a rider due to injury, breakdown, fatigue etc, will have to add the average time of the remaining two riders to their overall time to account for the missing rider, plus a penalty factor of something like 10% of the overall team time on that leg.
    #17
  18. notmybikemodelname

    notmybikemodelname KOTW is a myth!

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    That's a good story, have another one?
    Don't want to highjack 2on2off's original intent.

    So new thread.
    #18
  19. SSrider

    SSrider Been here awhile

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    :super I'm in.
    #19
  20. RAZR

    RAZR u may run the risks my friend but I do the cutting

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    i'm IN on either 2on2off or notmybikemodelname's ride/route.

    i would like to see what unfolds on these ideas.:deal
    #20