My Road to the Mexican 1000

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by cavebiker, Aug 24, 2016.

  1. mx813

    mx813 Been here awhile

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    Cavebiker...you need to check out climberevan ride report! Between the two of your ride/race reports helps satiate my baja fix...until next February.

    ~Mike
  2. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

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    Thanks man, I did. That is some good stuff.

    OK, so how about some more PICS! of the race. For the fun factor of course --->

    Ensenada
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    Now that was fun!!!
  3. NSFW

    NSFW who else would love noobs? Super Supporter

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    tom. your achievements are exceptional. a 1-man team racing in an unforgiving land.....you defied the odds.

    this just proves that even with limited resources, someone with special characters like yours can still do it. what i can’t understand is where you get the energy to document and write ride reports.

    sorry about losing the beloved xr4. i have one and will be saddened if it happens. i went through 5 KTMs and never even occurred to sell the xr.

    hoping to hear your bike is recovered. anyway we can help, do not hesitate to post up.

    you are an inspiration and a great writer.

    thanks for taking us along.
  4. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

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    Thanks so much man, great words :) I'll get another bike and will love that one to.
  5. Ladybug

    Ladybug Bug Sister Supporter

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    Reading this report sat on the back burner for a few weeks so I could take the time to really take the time to enjoy it and I did. Sorry that the bike came up missing. You and Cavegirl have wonderful attitude about it though and that's the best. I heard about more thefts in Baja this year than I heard in the past which make me sad. I always felt safe going down there but I guess things are changing.

    Looking for your next build and where it takes you. A big thumbs up to Cavegirl for being so supportive. :thumb
  6. advrockrider

    advrockrider Long timer

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    Good job on the finish! The last set of photos are awesome.... Next year will be a breeze!!!
  7. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

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    Thank you! cavegirl and I are working our way slowly out of Baja on the way to our new race bike hopefully. But if the bike is not exactly right we will keep looking, new bikes are popping up every day so no worries. With the last bike I was over excited and it was not in the shape I was expecting based on the add, but I bought it anyway. This time it has to be THE PERFECT machine. What fun is that! And for sure you are right, Cavegirl is 100% with me on all of this which is totally unreal and a dream to the highest degree come true for me :)

    :super
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  8. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

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    The best dog in the world and my best buddy took his last breath this week. We are so sad, all we want to do is think about him and celebrate his life. I thought I would share this with the community because you all have grown to know Sam through out the yeas with my posts here, he is always included.

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    Sam we miss you so much, we will never forget you and the joy you have given us...
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    RIP my buddy :|
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  9. Cabrito

    Cabrito Should be looking for work Supporter

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    RIP Buddy..

    Sorry to hear this. He was a great companion for you guys.
    cavebiker likes this.
  10. sprink

    sprink Adventurer

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    Sorry. All dogs go to heaven.
    Feel your pain, lost one this year and the other is unfortunately not far behind.
    cavebiker likes this.
  11. ywr969

    ywr969 Ye Wilde Ryder

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    i feel your pain, brother. two months ago, we had to put down the best pup we've ever known, & i miss her every day. :cry
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  12. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

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    Thanks for the words you guys, it does help.
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    On with the ride:
    OK!, Sam and I went out and picked up an 03' XR400 near Wausau a couple weeks ago. Way sweeter then the 00' we bought in 16', that bike was not what I expected, I felt rushed to buy it. I had a race to do ya know... Anyway this time I took my time looking at several coming back from Baja. But all the bikes looked abused, like the kind of abuse i would do if I rode them. So I just played it cool and kept looking and waiting.
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    This one I liked, almost completely stock except for the larger tank which I would buy anyway and a street legal attempt, all of which I can use. This is gonna be fun, stay tuned. I wish I could commit for next year but I'm focusing on NORRA 2020', I need some time to heal and build the bike right, 2020' is looking perfect. Hopefully a bunch of us will do it so we can all team up and have a blast!
  13. NSFW

    NSFW who else would love noobs? Super Supporter

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    you gotta love the XRs. as long the frame is solid, it will live forever. congrats.

    plenty of parts and easy to rebuild. many years ago, i saw an XR in San Ignacio during the 1k. engine blew up and the crew put it together overnight. i thought that was impressive. this year, i have to rebuild mine with case split. believe it or not, assuming i have all the parts and tools, i can reassemble the entire engine in less than 8 hours. i'm sure there are other peeps who could do it for a lot less. so, i'm not surprised anymore how easy to fix the XR.

    sorry about sam and losing your race XR. hopefully all good news from hereon.

    my new instrumentation, all in one!
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  14. xr-nut

    xr-nut Out Ridin' Around

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    A couple comments from Kansas- one, I'm so very sorry about your dog, Sam. I think I cried :cryharder when my last golden(Fischer) died than I have for human family. Second, thank you for the excellent thread/ride report! I spent the last couple days reading when I had spare time and probably when I should have been working! Honestly, Im glad I made it through it, for the experience and so I finally get back to work! :clap Third, did you see the rear sprocket on the sportster race bike?! :eekers And lastly, I love love love mexican food. The reporting on the food is great, I just have to ask.......how do you not have the shits constantly!?!? I know I would! :rofl
    cavebiker likes this.
  15. BadPoet

    BadPoet Proper grammar is over-rated

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    So sorry for your loss cavebiker. I’ve lost half a dozen in the last 30 yrs. and it’s never been easy. I once read a book called Merle’s Door - highly recommended. Amongst the many observations the writer describes of his dog’s
    cognitive abilities and the relationship that develops between them he laments the fact and considers it unfair that their life spans have two radically different trajectories and he must witness his best friend Merle growing old at an accelerated pace while he is in his prime. Archeological evidence suggest at least 50,000 yrs. of history between the two species. A special relationship for sure.
    Congrats on the new bike. You’ve got me thinking about the 400. I’ll be following along in 2020. Have fun with the build and keep us up to date.
    cavebiker likes this.
  16. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

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    OK thanks everyone for the good words. Time to move on with the bike build and prep, YeeHaa!

    Alright, parts are arriving. I like this Tusk dual sport system opposed the Baja Design dual sport kit I installed for the last XR. I like them both and the Baja Design kit is a much simpler installation, everything goes up in the headlight cowling, battery, rectifier, regulator, the works. This is brilliant for ease of installation but for racing I want to minimize the weight on the steering column. The Tusk system requires the installer to figure out everything, how to wire it and where to place everything. There is no battery included or rectifier or regulator. If you want DC you have to pick out and purchase that separately, and then you have to decide how your system is going to ber setup. You don't need DC to run your lights, you can run everything on AC without a rectifier but if you want to be truly street legal you need a battery to keep some lights on when the engine is off. And with DC you can power your navigation equipment, GPS, iPhone Rally app, etc. And the total cost is under half of Baja Design's, which is pricy. You pay for simplicity I guess.
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    With the Tusk system you need to heavily modify the kit, it's a universal thing that will work on just about any bike but you have to be willing to just make it work. Of course to me this all adds to the fun. evil grin
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    I setup a little paradise in my boat shed.
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    Oh geez I have to drill holes! That's only more fun...
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    I like these blinkers. Blinkers on other kits only last for one or two crashes because they stick out.
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    You need to have extra wire, connectors and a crimper to get everything wired up. The Ricky Stator I purchased and installed has two secondary windings for lighting, 125 watts each. I decides to keep them separated and keep one side AC to run one of the 55W headlight and the stock tail light which will always be on when the bike is running. The second output I'm rectifying to DC and regulating it to a battery. This will go to the dual sport kit's switches, the other 55W headlight, tail light, brake light and blinkers.
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    Now remove the tank and figure out the wire routing and where I going to place the rectifier and regulator. My Crew Chief is there to make sure everything is going smooth. I like it ;)
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    Hang on! much more to come in the preparation for my next NORRA Mexican 1000
  17. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

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    Continued: More bike build pics---->

    Figuring out the wiring is anything but simple because you have to design your own system. Luckily electronics has been my hobby and profession practically my entire life and to me this is extreme fun.
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    I need to do some heavy modifications to the kits wiring so i can power up my USB navigation equipment power. I solder when I need to otherwise I use wire nuts.

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    As long as I can remember I have always said that the more wires I have to work with the happier I am. (I think theres something wrong with me @%&*)
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    Done! I haven't installed the front blinkers yet but it good enough for a test ride.
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  18. Critic

    Critic More or less!

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    Maybe there is something to; "the more wires I have to work with the happier I am" and "I use wire nuts" :D
    cavebiker likes this.
  19. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

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    Bike prep and Baja training continued... I have been working feverishly to get the new (used) Baja race bike street legal and road worthy so I can ride it to the ADV Central Rally. This is all about training for Baja so I'm posting it here, and for the fun factor of course.

    The day before the rally I install two new enduro tires.
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    Last, I do a check of one man tent I inherited from my father. He was an Appalachian Trail hiker and always talked about ways to lower his backpack weight. I'll never forget him talking about cutting his toothbrush in half to lower the weight. This is the first time using this tent and I'm only doing it because of the limited packing space on the XR400, everything is going on my back so a 3.2 lb tent makes sense this time.
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    I am ready to Do It! I downloaded rally GPS tracks and saw on my computer that the tracks merge up with my all time favorite and killer trails. I have heard a lot of good things about Cannonshot and now I know more than ever I have to get with-it and check out more of his tracks. So the plan is to ride from Hayward to Bayfield all off-road on the tracks then continue to the rally on more tracks.

    A few picks of the ride. There are no pics of the extreme knurly sections because of course I wasn't about to stop to take a pic when it got BAD (meaning good of course), I was just glad to make it through those sections without crashing or stalling out. Yeah, the sand gets so deep you need to keep momentum at times. I questioned my decision to mount enduro tires instead of knobbies.
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    The tracks follow ATV trails. The popularity of ATVs in my area has exploded in recient years.

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    The first ATV on the trail stopped to talk and told me there are about thirty machines behind him. I said "Good time for a break" ATV riders are usually cool holding up fingers to show how many ATVs are behind them. For quite a while they all flashed 5 fingers up and down until the last one who just showed a fist meaning he is the last one. How cool! I blast off...
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    After Heidi and I spread our dog's ashes from our pontoon last week we were out in the middle of the lake. Suddenly a humming bird came in and hovered underneath our pontoon canopy, then took off. I immediately said "Thats Sam! He came back as a Hummingbird! Hummingbirds travel south to Mexico for the winter and that's what Sam likes to do" On this trail below in the middle of nowhere while resting a Hummingbird flew up to me and hovered for a while. Sam always wanted to go with me know matter where I was going or what I was doing. :)
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    When I discovered motorcycles are legal on the ATV trails in the Chequamegon - Nicolet forest that changed my life. These trials are killer challenging and Cannonshot's tracks shows you the way to them. Last year i would study maps, make cheat sheets and blast off for the day trying to find them. I found a ton of trails but never found how to get all the way to Bayfield. Cannonshot shows two ways to Bayfield through the Chequamegon - Nicolet forest. Fantastic! the other route I have never even been on. The future is looking exciting...

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    I thought to myself "Is this our ADV Baldy?" (but he's not old ;)
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    Yeah Baldy this motorcycle adventuring and photography is an addiction, and I blame you. Thanks man I like it!
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    This Lenewee trail looks mild here but if you attempt to follow it all the way to Bayfield you are guaranteed to a challenge of the highest degree.
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    The trail passes through beautiful areas.
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    I am so glad for Cannonshot's tracks. When I was out exploring these trails solo and saw a trail sign without a motorcycle symbol I assumed I was now illegal, but now I know I have full rights here. The value of that is huge.

    I followed the ADV law "after a crash first take a pic before picking up" I took this one before I even stood up.
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    These trials are similar to Baja in that the super deep sand can last hours. No time to relax, 100% time to enjoy.

    Time to regroup, smell the flowers and continue kicking butt...
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    I started before 8 AM and thought I would make the rally by mid afternoon but Cannonshots tracks are so challenging I didn't make it into the rally until after 7 PM. Thanks to the people who brought back out the buns and barbeque for me after my late arrival, what a warm reception feeling was that. Thank you thank you! bonebag encouraged me to try the coleslaw, it was fantastic. He says to me "Ha!, last time you were here on a Harley! Now your here on an XR400!" That made me feel special that he remembered me from eleven years ago. Thanks man, you are a true cool dude.
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    Great meeting old friends and new.
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    The rally trails are all in my neighborhood, I'll be exploring then for decades...;)thanks a ton man and everyone in the rally for the spark and inspiration, how sweet that was. Baldy was here and I wanted to meet him to say thanks for all the inspiration I have gotten through ADVrider and Smugmug. Somehow I missed my chance, I was trying to wait till he wasn't surrounded. Next time man!

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    Ride back to Hayward

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    Back to Hayward, what a blast. I put on over 400 miles mostly off-road. My legs are toast, my grip is tweaked and my face is smiling.
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    One of the best things about attending ADV rallies are the people you meet. The high energy, the excitement in their spirit, the endless hi octane stories gives me an adrenaline blast that lasts years after. Even though I showed up late and only had one night I still enjoyed all these benefits. i said this to Heidi as soon as I got home and she knew exactly what I was talking about. We immediately canceled out plans for next year and made new plans to do the Central Rally again!

    Art pic -->
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  20. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

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    1,918
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    Hayward, WI
    Alright! Time to get this bike build project completed and tucked away for the Winter so it's ready for when Hipster and I ride Baja in April. Were not doing the NORRA 1000 this year but were riding to it and following it all the way to Cabo, and then ride back. It doesn't matter that we won't do a ton of off-road miles, but it is still 5 to 6 thousand miles of hard riding, and that's good training for the NORRA 2020 no matter how you look at it, which is what this thread is all about. All in all this is a good race plan. Our crew chief agrees and will be waiting in Cabo with others, a dry run you could say filled with conversations of NORRA strategies and race planning (Life can be so great and fun when you make shi_ like this up and it all works out!)

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    This is the start, when Cavegirl and I returned from our year long ride to Panama and back we turned her into a Street Rat Chopper. I thought this is where she would stay till death. But after a couple rides to Vegas and to Sturgis i realized these high handlebars suck. Don't get me wrong, this is my dream look for a bike, I had this seat custom made from a 70's photo I found and it's the coolest seat anywhere we go, Heidi has even ridden all the way to sturgis with me on this seat. But it's time for a change...

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    This is the dream: I've always gone off road with our Sportster, 5 weeks to Belize, twice down Mexico's Copper Canyon, Colorado, Utah, bla bla. This year's race I see this Sportster registered for NORRA. It blew me away, this is so cool.

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    I like the clean look of the wires inside the bars, and of course the ADV 'Ride the World' decal but I preparing to ride this bike down Baja, chasing the 2019 race, i need to get it off-road'ed.

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    Biltwell Moto bars, this will work.

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    Stringing the wiring inside the handlebars and doing the job right was a lot of work, i dreaded having to do new bars but the time is now. Here we go.

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    New bars are on, i just need to do the wiring right.

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    Could I be having more fun!

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    All good. I love the way it feels. I wish i had these bars for Copper Canyon. Time for a ride.

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    Right now I'm painting the tank and fenders, changing the seat and adding taller shocks. Fun time. Looking at the photo I will probably change the blinkers to something smaller and lighter. And i'm sure we can think of other things we can do (grin)

    I need to pick another seat for Baja, I have four of them but I still want another, a more enduro style seat (I'm out of control!)
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    The middle seat is what Heidi and I rode to Panama, great for her, sucked for me. I've always liked the stock seat for comfort, so thats it for now, unless of course I pull some dirt bike seat off an enduro or something, which would look much cooler. I almost went with this tank also, it's bigger than stock but for self supporting in Baja the 4.2 gal thats on there is hard to beat.

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    I've always loved these Duro knobbies on the Sportster but for this Baja run I'm doing Dunlop 401s, only because of the huge milage we may be putting on, especially if we start in WI/MN and don't need to trailer first to warmer weather. Of course Tommy that's what we are hoping for, 'ride the whole way' right? What tires are you starting out with?

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    The crashed Sporty had a few dents in the rear fender but that fender is in much better condition than the one I'm running. So out with the ball pein hammer (evil grin)

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    Looks good...

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    Painted the tank and fenders. Still looking for Enduro fenders. May have to visit Sport Wheels in Gorden MN. Bet I can find a seat there.

    The Dunlops are mounted to the wheels so all I have to do now is slap the wheels on. I've spent most the morning cleaning everything.

    Onward :pynd
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    This is not a full off-road project yet, that will come over time, but for now taller stiffer rear shocks is the ticket. The front already has stiffer PS springs so it's good to go there.
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    Crew chief directing operations.
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    Crew Rick can't help digging into the fun. Shocks in!
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    Fenders done.
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    The home-made Sportster pannier brackets took a hit when Heidi and I ate-it in a Costa Rica landslide a few years back. One side was bent and made that pannier hang funny. So I got out the big hammer and pounded it back straight, and of course I broke the weld on one side.
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    The bracket got welded back up for free by a local friend, super. When I mounted the brackets I noticed that one side still angled funny. Inspection reveals the rear subframe is bent on that side, the side I bolt the welded bracket on. I guess that landslide wype did more damage than first thought. Maybe my design for rigidity was flawed in that it bent our subframe in the crash instead of just breaking away and losing the pannier. At least we kept the ride going after same minor repairs I did in a seaside Costa Rican motel parking lot, with the help of a local drug dealer who would go to big construction sites for me to get new holes drilled in the brackets.

    Anyway, next I Install the new and much smaller panniers to the home made Sportster brackets. After adjusting the angle of the right pannier bracket to compensate for the subframe all is good. Oh Yeah!
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    Approved.
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    This will work. I still need to add rear blinkers somewhere and remove the highway pegs. The pegs are bolted to the engine mounting plates and if you crash it's easy to break a plate (I know) Not what you want happening on a Baja run.
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    On the first test run the bike ran like crap. It needed the choke on to run at all and when I throttled up to take off it killed. The only thing I did to the motor was add those new cool yellow plug wires. I couldn't believe it was that but I wasn't going to start taring into the carburetor until I tried that first. Sure enough I dig the old miss-matched plug wires out of the trash bucket, swapped them out and now it runs like a champ again. Weird! The yellow Accel wires feel thicker and like a better product. Looking at the specs show they are 'Supression Core' wires. I'm thinking apparently the Sporty doesn't like that extra resistance or inductance or whatever a 'Supression Core' wire has. Weird. Now the mission is to look for 'other' cool yellow plug wires that doesn't have RF supression and hope for the best.

    Soon to be ready, Baja Rate Bike--> Stay Tuned:bubba
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