NW Arkansas to Copper Canyon, Mexico on 250's

Discussion in 'Americas' started by TRZ Charlie, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. TRZ Charlie

    TRZ Charlie That's MR. Asshole

    Joined:
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    12/22/09

    Well today I started working on the DRZ in earnest. HERE are a few pictures and a report of the work in progress.

    In preparation of my bar risers I removed the bar clamps from my bars. Then noticed how bad they looked. As they are original equipment they were badly scratched badly and had a lot of rust on them.

    So I stripped off the throttle body, the front brake lever and reservoir, clutch perch and lever, and switch bodies. Next I sanded the bars to a nice shiny steel finish. I am going to keep the bars as I like the width and bend but I needed new grips.

    I had already cut the clutch side grip off and started to cut off the throttle body grip but ended up breaking the plastic throttle body in the process...grrrr. So, I ordered a newer/better throttle body and will have to wait until it gets here now.

    The DRZ tank has been shipped from Thumper Talk and is in route. The XR tank has to be produced as they are out of stock at the moment.

    It feels great to be finally working towards our goal!
    #61
  2. TRZ Charlie

    TRZ Charlie That's MR. Asshole

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    12/25/09

    Happy Holidays all!

    Yesterday, I received my Spitfire windscreen a valve stem chaser yesterday (I have big hands so I cannot easily fish the valve stem through when changing tires or tubes.

    I fitted my new windscreen on the bike this morning and was really surprised at the high quality of the screen and hardware. I paid a total $74 dollars delivered! I think it was a bargain. I will need to do some adjustment before the final tightening of the screen but it is low enough to see over and high enough to effectively make riding more comfortable. What makes it great is the screen comes off with two hand nuts and two "T" bolts. Maybe a 5 minute job, I like it.

    I remounted my newly painted handlebars this morning with 1" risers. I can already tell I will ride more comfortably with them.

    So after mounting the bars I replaced my clutch perch and lever, my front brake and lever, and my brush busters except for the end bars.

    Some research on my part will be done to figure out if the previous owner had the throttle tube and housing mounted incorrectly. It was mounted with the cables entering from the top of the bars. Seems to me that they should be mounted from below the bars? If they do that un-clutters the cockpit a bit for me. Got to find some stock photos that show the DRZ new.

    So, I still await the MCCT (manual cam chain tensioner), Hot grips, variable thermostat for the hot grips, and gas tank to finish the DRZ.

    As for the XR I need the gas tank and luggage rack.

    My wife gave me "The Peoples Guide to Mexico" for Christmas which seems to provide a wealth of information regarding travel in MX. I look forward to having some quiet time to read it.
    #62
  3. TRZ Charlie

    TRZ Charlie That's MR. Asshole

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    1/2/10

    The New Year started out well with family here to help us celebrate. On New Years day I received my Hot Grips and throttle tube and mounted them.

    One oversight on Hot Grips part is that they forgot to ship my variable potentiometer so I will have to wait on the final install of the grips until I receive it.

    I also permanently mounted my controls, readjusted the Spitfire windscreen on my newly painted bars and bar risers. They clutch and brake perches may need adjustments once I ride but that's a minor detail.

    Now I lack the tank for the XR and DRZ and the MCCT for the DRZ and I am ready to ride again.
    #63
  4. TRZ Charlie

    TRZ Charlie That's MR. Asshole

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    1/12/10

    Well the day finally came for all the rest of parts to arrive. I worked all day on the DRZ and got it road worthy again for the first time in a month. The Clarke tank fit perfectly though I did have to get some longer fuel lines.

    I finished installation of my luggage rack, manual cam chain tensioner, heated grips, grip controller, windscreen, modified my air box intake, cleaned the air filter, changed oil, and oil filter. Put new rubber on the front and back and put back all of the tupperware.

    Long day but the bike now runs! Yay! Tomorrow, I need to adjust the cam chain tensioner and I am good to go.

    On another note, I have been following the exploits of a friend that is in the canyon as I type this. He notes that he has gone through three rear tires already? I have to wonder if it is his choice of tire or that the gravel roads into the canyon are just that tough on tires. Time will tell I suppose.
    #64
  5. TRZ Charlie

    TRZ Charlie That's MR. Asshole

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    1/14/10

    Yesterday I didn't get to test ride my bike or even work on it. I had shopping and errands in Fayetteville to get done. The roads are finally clear after 6 days of ice and snow. I can tell you that shopping is not my idea of a fun thing to do unless I am buying something for one of my bikes. But when you live in rural BF Egypt you shop once a month and when you're out of food shopping suddenly becomes important.

    Not riding yesterday was a pity. The weather was nice and sunny and almost 50 degrees. I guess the January thaw is here.

    The plan for this morning is to take my seat back off the Dizzer and trace my wiring, check connections and find out why my heated grips won't heat? I followed the schematic exactly so I am betting it has something to do with my relay wiring. I need those grips functional as I am generally an all year round rider.

    The initial run up of the engine was good. It started right up and the FCR carb I installed seems to be adjusted quite well. Also, there is a noticeable difference in the way the engine sounds with the Hot Cams Stage 1 kit installed. Can't wait to ride a power line and test out the low end grunt!

    After I am confident the Dizzer is good to go I need to tackle the XR. This may take a bit of time as it is in need of an oil change, new plug, air and oil filters, a new rear brake switch. I also need to install the new Clarke tank and do a valve adjustment.

    I also need to fabricate a guard for the rear brake switch (none commercially available) as the heel of my son's size 12 boots keep breaking the cheap plastic switch. He has the grace and poise of an out of work World Wrestling Federation fighter working at a construction site job in a china factory.

    I also need to service the swing arm on the XR but will wait until just prior to the trip to do that.

    While I have the Dizzer down again for wiring problem diagnosis I will snap a few pictures of the finished product.
    #65
  6. nicomama

    nicomama Rugged Rider

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    Charlie,

    What heated grips did you ultimately decide upon? I've been researching gloves to the end of the Earth, but have decided to try the grips first. Did any research pop up saying that other customers of that brand had the same wiring problems?

    Looking forward to your pictures.

    Such a great and thorough prep ride report. I so appreciate you spending the time on it.

    My Best,
    Nicole
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    #66
  7. TRZ Charlie

    TRZ Charlie That's MR. Asshole

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    I have had "HOT GRIPS" on all of my bikes since 1992 except the last one (Vstrom). I used heated grip wraps on it.

    I decided to put them on the Dizzer too. The problem with the grips not heating was entirely my mistake. I wired the VARIABLE HEAT CONTROLLER incorrectly and thus burned up the circuitry inside it....$52 down the drain.

    Fortunately I had a three pole switch and resistor in my electronics bin. I ended up using them to provide power to the grips. At least I have a high and low setting now.

    In my long riding career I have tried just about every combination of heated gloves and heated grips. I find the best thing (for me) is good heated grips combined with winter gloves. When it is really, really cold I wear an old pair of GERBING HEATED GLOVE LINERS inside my gloves. But I find I rarely need them IF I have bark busters on my bike.
    #67
  8. TRZ Charlie

    TRZ Charlie That's MR. Asshole

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    1/14/10

    As promised here are the before, during and after pictures of the DRZ.

    Before

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    During

    Installed new pegs. Nice wide ones.

    [​IMG]

    Big difference between stock and the new ones.

    [​IMG]

    I had done a lot of research regarding the DRZ and found threads repeatedly referring to automatic cam chain tensioner failure so I removed my automatic cam chain tensioner.

    [​IMG]

    And replaced it with a new manual one.

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    Of course on a bike nothing is ever that straight forward so I had to strip off the muffler and various other bits to get to the tensioner for removal and re-installation.

    [​IMG]

    I also installed a set of "Hot Grips" brand heated grips and a Clarke 3.9 gallon tank. A word of caution on the tank install. Make sure you have a foot or so of each size fuel line on hand for the installation. The old lines will not work as they are too short. Also, Clarke does not provide a vent tube so get some 1/4" for it as well.

    [​IMG]

    When I decided to put on the new heated grips I decided that it would be nice not to have to worry about the grips being on when the bike was off. So I tapped into my tail light wiring and installed a relay and wired it to power the grips and brought the wiring forward to the handle bars.

    New relay. Note* you can see that I have removed the snorkle and increased the size of the intake. This is recommended as on of the "free power" mods for the DRZ.

    [​IMG]

    New Wiring to the cockpit and you can see the plug in for my heated vest hanging next to the carb.

    [​IMG]

    Switch in place on the front cowling, kind of a sad place for it but there was no where else that I liked it. I will be adding a GPS and it would have been in the way near the key switch.

    [​IMG]

    I also installed a Spitfire windscreen. I may need to add a laminar lip later. You can also see my LED front flashers that I installed on the bark busters.

    [​IMG]

    Next up is my new Luggage rack from RUGGED RIDER. This a very heavy duty rack that was well thought out, I highly recommend it.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    In this last picture of my rack you can see my UFO lighting on the rear of the bike. This cleaned up the appearance a lot. I want to change the bulbs out to LED and have ordered what I need to do this.

    [​IMG]

    Here you can see my Thumper Talk case armor

    [​IMG]

    I am about 98% done with the DRZ. I installed Hot Cams Stage 1 cams about three weeks ago and didn't take pictures like I wanted. I need to order a fender bag that works with my front fender. I got one from a friend (Elvis on ADV) but it isn't suited to the bike. I also need a tank bag and I have already ordered a yellow plastics kit to replace the white bits. Nicole at Rugged Rider will hear from me next month (pay day) as I will be ordering the add on skirt rack for my Rugged Rider rack. I think it will be an excellent option for extended motoring.
    #68
  9. nicomama

    nicomama Rugged Rider

    Joined:
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    "In my long riding career I have tried just about every combination of heated gloves and heated grips. I find the best thing (for me) is good heated grips combined with winter gloves. When it is really, really cold I wear an old pair of GERBING HEATED GLOVE LINERS inside my gloves. But I find I rarely need them IF I have bark busters on my bike."

    Charlie,

    Thanks so much for the very experienced advice on keeping the hands toasty in some wicked weather. I've bookmarked all your leads and I, too, am waiting for pay day to add them to my arsenal.

    Thanks, too, for the nice compliment on the rack. I have an Adventure Rack waiting for you when you're ready?:D

    My Best,
    Nicole
    www.ruggedrider.com
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    #69
  10. TRZ Charlie

    TRZ Charlie That's MR. Asshole

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    Location:
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    1/19/10

    Up until now I haven't been able to find a time for Brad to accompany me to the Passport Office. Today we plan to get there around 4pm. So, that is the last piece of the puzzle.

    Next we will be planning the actual trip. An agenda if you will, albeit a quite flexible agenda.

    Here is a picture of the XR it it's finished state. It may still get a new luggage rack but were undecided at this point. It's a bit dirty but hey, it's a dirt bike.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I am anxiously watching the progress of State Dept. warnings regarding Mexico and the State of Chihuahua. Currently they are stating that the recent drug lord killings by Mexican authorities is making travel to the area somewhat hazardous. However, this has done little to deter us from making the trip at this point in time.
    #70
  11. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    On the XR250L my suggestions:

    1. Get a luggage rack where you can mount soft panniers and a tail rack where you can mount a soft roll bag. Your DRZ rack from Nicole has enough capacity to carry your stuff, but not your stuff and your son's stuff. He needs his own complete setup, self-contained, in case he has to ride away from you, or if you get separated.

    2. Carry a portable tachometer like TinyTach for the 250, and get a long pilot screw to replace the stock screw. The 250 will act up at altitude and you will have to open and close the pilot screw at whatever the bike's altitude threshold is and reset the rpm (with the tach). Check the service manual for this. It's probably around 6,500 ft. You probably don't need to re-jet, but that's also a consideration.

    3. Get the lowering link for the 250 and also lower the front fork for him. I don't think you have to worry about bottoming out as was said up-thread. Just adjust the sag accordingly.

    4. For saddle comfort on the 250 I would suggest an Airhawk cushion. Size 'small cruiser'. It will have some overhang on the saddle width-wise, but that actually makes my ride easier, at least based on my last 1,300 mile trip in/out of Mexico. I would have also suggested the Airhawk for your DRZ before you got the custom seat from Corbin. I secured the Airhawk cushion with Velcro to the saddle, as the bungee type straps don't work well with saddles on non-cruisers. See here ==> http://www.advrider.com/forums/showpost.php?p=11329235&postcount=1

    5. You should consider carrying tools and parts that you need for the most common of repairs across the border. The repair infrastructure in Mexico is not what you are used to here in the states. As a minimum you need everything to make your own tire and chain repairs and those common items needed when you drop the bike. You should expect/plan to drop both bikes at least once while in Copper Canyon. Practice your repairs in the garage. Learning in the field is a pain, as I am sure you know.

    6. I would suggest you put Ride-On TPS in your tires. I've tested it. It works.

    7. GPS stuff I am sure is fun, but you know as well as I do that basic land navigation is what you really need. You can get some topographic maps here ==> http://www.mexicomaps.com/index.lasso?-session=mmid:46F72A7A052752F5FEIsWN4A601D and if you haven't taught your kid intersection and resection already, now is a good time to do it. You should also get yourself a Guia Roji map book. Typically I trace the route non-scale on onion skins ahead of the ride and then just slip these into my tank bag window for reference, though I usually have the route memorized before the ride. You probably know all this already.

    De Oppresso Liber to you and all that. Ranger Class 4-81 here.

    Mike

    P.S. I have a BII/PLL list I use for my CB250. If you want it to adapt for your XR just PM your e-addy and I will e-mail it to you.
    #71
  12. TRZ Charlie

    TRZ Charlie That's MR. Asshole

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    1. Get a luggage rack where you can mount soft panniers and a tail rack where you can mount a soft roll bag. Your DRZ rack from Nicole has enough capacity to carry your stuff, but not your stuff and your son's stuff. He needs his own complete setup, self-contained, in case he has to ride away from you, or if you get separated.

    I agree that we need a rack for the XR. I have a pair of throw overs for the XR and will need a decent rack for it. To date I haven't found what I want. But it will be done before we leave. I agree that should we be separated he should be self sufficient.

    2. Carry a portable tachometer like TinyTach for the 250 Hadn't thought about a tach for the XR but a good idea for sure, and get a long pilot screw to replace the stock screw. Both bikes have a long pilot screw in them. The XR has three sets of jets that will be going along with it. The 250 will act up at altitude and you will have to open and close the pilot screw at whatever the bike's altitude threshold is and reset the rpm (with the tach). Check the service manual for this. It's probably around 6,500 ft. You probably don't need to re-jet, but that's also a consideration. I have two sets of jets for the DRZ as well.

    3. Get the lowering link for the 250 and also lower the front fork for him. I don't think you have to worry about bottoming out as was said up-thread. Just adjust the sag accordingly. Even though my son is only 16, he is 6'4" and 175# , we have set the sag on both bikes and changed springs in the DRZ for my weight.

    4. For saddle comfort on the 250 I would suggest an Airhawk cushion. Size 'small cruiser'. It will have some overhang on the saddle width-wise, but that actually makes my ride easier, at least based on my last 1,300 mile trip in/out of Mexico. He maintains that he DOES NOT want seat changes. I think he will need them. I would have also suggested the Airhawk for your DRZ before you got the custom seat from Corbin. I secured the Airhawk cushion with Velcro to the saddle, as the bungee type straps don't work well with saddles on non-cruisers. See here ==> http://www.advrider.com/forums/showpost.php?p=11329235&postcount=1

    5. You should consider carrying tools and parts that you need for the most common of repairs across the border. In most cases we are covered for planned tool kits. We will have each bikes respective tool kits with us (he was made to utilize all factory provided tools when doing the upgrades to his bike). In addition he will carry a small hand pump, and I will carry a small powered pump. Each bike will have two tubes, and patches for both tubes as well as slime in them. The repair infrastructure in Mexico is not what you are used to here in the states. As a minimum you need everything to make your own tire and chain repairs and those common items needed when you drop the bike. You should expect/plan to drop both bikes at least once while in Copper Canyon. Practice your repairs in the garage. Learning in the field is a pain, as I am sure you know.

    6. I would suggest you put Ride-On TPS in your tires. I've tested it. It works. I use slime but you are correct. It works.

    7. GPS stuff I am sure is fun, but you know as well as I do that basic land navigation is what you really need. You can get some topographic maps here ==> http://www.mexicomaps.com/index.lasso?-session=mmid:46F72A7A052752F5FEIsWN4A601D Good information, thanks! and if you haven't taught your kid intersection and resection already, now is a good time to do it He/we are both proficient. You should also get yourself a Guia Roji map book. Typically I trace the route non-scale on onion skins ahead of the ride and then just slip these into my tank bag window for reference, though I usually have the route memorized before the ride. Being a team member you know that I am doing this already! But great advice. You probably know all this already.

    De Oppresso Liber to you and all that. Ranger Class 4-81 here.

    Mike

    P.S. I have a BII/PLL list I use for my CB250. I would be most greatful for the list. Please check your pm's If you want it to adapt for your XR just PM your e-addy and I will e-mail it to you.[/quote]

    Wonderful advice, thanks for the input we are most grateful and thanks for your service I salute you "DOP".


    #72
  13. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    Charlie,

    BII/PLL sent. If you have anything generic to add to it, let me know. Sounds like you've got what you need.

    You might also want to get motorcycle specific health insurance that covers you both outside of the US. Most of these will also evacuate you to the closest treatment center, but if you want medevac back to the US with no questions asked, then you will need a MedJet Assist membership, but for Copper Canyon you should be okay for simple broken bones, abrasions, etc. with local treatment. Similar to being able to wrench for the most common fixes on your bike, you should both also know the basics of first aid and have an appropriate first aid kit for each of you. Since you've already trained him in landnav, I am sure you have given him the first aid training as well. I find that the first aid kits designed for hunting are probably the best for motorcycling. Check out Pro Bass shops. Lots of gauze like for gunshot wounds. You'll need to throw some eyewash in there too. Most kits these days don't come with a tourniquet like the ones the medics carried for us. This is due to liability. However, you can pick up a tourniquet at a pharmacy. Best to take one in case you have to walk out with a bleeding limb since you will be riding in remote areas. I ride solo, so I keep my kit on the tail rack in a highly visible fire engine orange colored bag, so someone can find it hopefully not too far from the bike in the event of a crash.

    Your kid will remember this ride forever. Arte takes his son with him on a lot of rides throughout Mexico. Great adventures with dad! :thumb

    Mike

    P.S. Not a team member, just a Ranger tab. BTW I used to be on a freefall parachute team with Al Aycock. Just got a note from him the other day. He's a one star now. Whooda thunk? I am sure you know Carl Franquet as well. Used to do a lot of skydiving with him too back in the late 70's. Probably some other SF legends we know from back in the day.
    #73
  14. acejones

    acejones Long timer

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    The First Aid and Insurance advice above is right on !
    #74
  15. TRZ Charlie

    TRZ Charlie That's MR. Asshole

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    Aycock was an up n comer when I was laying it down. I only met him once or twice and from what I remember I thought he was a prick...but then we all were/are. I heard Franquet died a while back? Perhaps I am wrong.
    #75
  16. Tury

    Tury Been here awhile

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    Charlie:

    If you enter México by Ojinaga/ Presidio border and need to know anything concerning your adventure post me while at the border.
    All the quotes:deal said before, are of great value. they have done it before and some several times ! ( Acejones,Bigdog,Gustavo ):clap
    #76
  17. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    Wow! On the Franquet thing. I will have to check that out. He was a great NCO :cry I saw him on History Channel a decade or so ago.

    Lol! On the Aycock thing.
    #77
  18. TRZ Charlie

    TRZ Charlie That's MR. Asshole

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    #78
  19. TRZ Charlie

    TRZ Charlie That's MR. Asshole

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    Well, my last farkle arrived this morning. The new seat for the Dizzer. Very comfortable!

    I freakin love it! I had them add 3/4" on each side so as to better fit my derriere. Glad I did.

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    #79
  20. TRZ Charlie

    TRZ Charlie That's MR. Asshole

    Joined:
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    1/27/10

    I took the Dizzer out on a 175 mile ride today. About half the ride was via gravel and dirt. The bike did brilliantly, we averaged about 45 mph on all kinds of terrain so I am confident the bike is set up properly now.

    There were two minor problems. My windscreen has some thumb turn bolts that kept backing out. I will need to add some locktite to prevent re-occurrence.

    Another problem was that I have an intermittent conductor in the lead going to my GPS. I suspect a cold solder joint where I spliced wires.

    My son took his bike for a shake down cruise last Saturday and Sunday at a friends farm. He dropped the bike fairly hard and it took us a couple of hours straightening and readjusting. He said it rides well but needs new tires. I have four sets of tires coming for the bikes sometime next week.

    We are still waiting for our passport cards to be returned but they haven't been in the works very long at this point. I suspect they will be done by the middle of March.

    The ride today allowed me to see how much range I have with my new Clarke tank. I still have maybe a half gallon of fuel left after 173 miles. So, I think the range will be near 200 miles. A little short of what I wanted but still at least 90 miles more than the stock tank.

    Oh, and the Corbin seat...all I will say is ahhhhhhhh, what a pleasant change! Money well spent. Our ride started at 10:30 am and ended at 5:00 pm. My butt wasn't hurting at all. Great stuff.
    #80