Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by 79thunder, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. 79thunder

    79thunder Been here awhile

    Sep 16, 2017
    Out West
    I'm not sure where to start...
    I've been on this forum for a while, reading, learning, dreaming...

    I don't post on here a whole lot, my post count is accurate!! (36 with this post)
    I find I learn a hell of alot more if I keep my mouth shut.
    I am in awe of, and eternally grateful to those that have educated, entertained and inspired me on this forum.

    Due to the encouragement, or maybe even the insistance of a few friends, local riders and some forum members to post up a build thread, here I am.
    There seemed to be a general consensus that my bike would be of interest to other forum members.

    First off, I wish Yamaha would produce a smaller Tenere with the 321cc parallel twin engine that comes in the Yamaha R3 sportbike.
    Wishing didn't seem to be working.

    Secondly, I did not buy the RX3 with the intent of making any large changes. I had spent enough time learning about the RX3 on this forum to know exactly what to expect from it.
    I'd like to thank all of those who contributed to the CSC RX3 thread for their input and honest feedback!!!

    I bought the RX3, I rode it (around 6000km in 2 months), maintained it, added a few upgrades and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I was very pleasantly surprised.
    It is much better than the spec's and numbers and price suggest.
    I find that for the type of riding that I do, it's great bike.

    I had intended to keep riding and enjoying it but,
    I had an idea, an idea that just wouldn't go away....


    Another one of the main reasons that I chose the RX3 is that I feel that it comes
    "ready-to-ride", at least in my mind. It comes with a rear rack, it comes with a trunk, it comes with crash bars, side cases, skid plate, etc....
    Many of the other adventure bikes leave the showroom naked.
    For myself, it makes comparing prices and weights difficult.

    Off road, I have found it to be much more capable and comfortable than most of the larger, heavier mainstream choices are.
    I digress, like many of you, I prefer lighter bikes off-road.
    There is room for improvements ei: suspension and tires, I'll tackle those later.

    Some of the off-road rides I take the bike on:
    (Yes, I went all the way to the top)



    Not the gnarliest, nastiest stuff in the world, but I don't baby the bike and I have found that I usually keep in mind that "this is my ride home".

    On road, it is much better than all of the small dual sport bikes are.
    It is very smooth and stable, it handles very well, has great wind protection, great luggage, etc..

    I won't bore you with twisty highway pictures.

    To give you some background, I'm not an expert rider, neither on pavement or dirt.
    I might not ever be, I'm OK with that.
    That being said, I have owned and ridden a large variety of motorcycles from 50cc's up to 1600cc's. Most of which were dirt bikes or dual sports, but there were some cruisers/standards in there.

    For the most part, I'm a daytripper with an occasional weekend trip. I seriously envy those that can get away longer. That is not where I am at right now, family time is pretty precious to me.
    I currently don't need a round the world bike, but this may give me a good idea of what I might want or need when the time comes.

    Since returning to my dirtier roots, I have made a couple of half-hearted attempts at making a smaller, lighter dual sport bike into an adventure bike. (XT 250, TTR250 and WR250). I added racks, handguards, ralley type windsheilds, gearing, etc..

    Those were all great bikes in their own way, but I found each of them to be lacking on even slower secondary highways.

    This time I thought I would try a different approach.

    Let's make a few things clear:

    This is not the perfect bike, nor is that what I am searching for.
    It will not be the last motorcycle I ever own. (so many choices, so little time)
    It is not the only motorcycle I own. (I am keeping a real dirt bike for singletrack/camping and keeping up with my son.)

    Most importantly, this is not a max effort/no budget/take-no-prisoners build.

    I'm just a regular guy screwing around with his bike, trying to kill a couple of boring weekends this winter.

    I still believe motorcycles should be cheap to buy, cheap to maintain, cheap to insure, cheap on fuel and most of all FUN!!!

    Some of you guys seem take this stuff pretty seriously!
    (And so you should, there are some fantastic builds in this section)

    If possible, save the chinese bike bashing for any of the other threads seemingly dedicated to it.

    Enough of that crap. You guys are here for the build.

    Starting with a perfectly good motorcycle.
    Flexible goals: Around 400 pounds fully loaded, more than 40hp and a fun, comfortable, useful bike on any road or trail that I encounter.


    I have no CAD drawings, (I wish I knew how, I can barely load pictures on this thread!)
    No diagrams or dimensions, there just did not seem to be any on line.
    As far as I know, this is the first Yamaha R3 engine swap.

    What I do have are some tools, skills, time and materials.
    And luck apparently.

    I scored a 2016 Yamaha R3 donor bike at a local auction for very little money.
    The auction was poorly attended, late in the fall (cold), and the bike was ugly! (purple and orange!)
    It started and ran well, had low km's, it did have a clear title, wasn't salvage, but it did need an out of province inspection, which also helped scare other bidders away.

    I booked it in to a local Yamaha dealer for the outstanding recalls, (whoohoo free oil change, oil pump and clutch nut!) and I was ready for teardown.....
    Huck369, crk, Hittman and 6 others like this.
  2. 79thunder

    79thunder Been here awhile

    Sep 16, 2017
    Out West
    Before I got too carried away on the Yamaha donor, I took some quick measurements. Engine angles, etc..

    Then I made an engine cradle to fit on top of my bike jack, which made things so much easier later on!


    These are the rough dimensions for those interested.
    Weight : 90 pounds.

    Yamaha R3 engine dimensions.jpg

    Time to pull out my Zong..
    Now that's just fun to say!!

  3. 79thunder

    79thunder Been here awhile

    Sep 16, 2017
    Out West
    Engine tabs and brackets.
    Now you see them.


    Now you don't.


    It fits!!!
    Was there ever any doubt?


    I fabricated some motor mounts.

  4. 79thunder

    79thunder Been here awhile

    Sep 16, 2017
    Out West
    I didn't build the front mounts untill later, but I will include a picture of them here.
    Very nice captured rubber bushing in the upper front mount. Thanks Yamaha!


    I built a new airbox/battery box.
    18 guage steel with overlapped seams and a 10 guage lid for a warp-free and leak-free seal. Almost exact same volume as the Yamaha R3 unit.


    Installed in the bike.
    By removing 2 bolts I can either remove the lid and filter or the entire airbox.


    Seam sealer inside for leak prevention and bedliner outside for corrosion and noise control.

  5. 79thunder

    79thunder Been here awhile

    Sep 16, 2017
    Out West
    I bent some new lower subrails with crossmembers and fabricated some mounts.
    Sub-rails are bolt-on, lower mounts also have bushings.
    You wouldn't have to remove the rails for engine removal, but it's nice to have the option.
    You may notice that I chose not to weld tabs joining the front engine mounts to the cradle, I feel that this may prevent engine damage (cracked mount, etc) when you take a big hit to the skidplate/cradle from boulders or logs. In fact, neither the skid plate or cradle will touch the engine at all. It surprises me how many aftermarket skid plates bolt to the engine !!??

    Also tried on all the plastic for rad fitment.


    I'm going to use the Yamaha radiator.
    The RX3 originally used twin rads that were much taller with the associated crossover hoses and a remote mounted thermostat.
    The single Yamaha rad with the RX3 twin fans will be a much simplier set-up.

    Radiator trial fit.


    I used some perforated 1/8" stainless steel to build a radiator guard.
    As well as some wings to protect the side tanks and divert airflow into the core.


    Crap!!! terminate the project! The rad hoses are too short.

    Nttra, plumer1kt, Race Ready and 5 others like this.
  6. 79thunder

    79thunder Been here awhile

    Sep 16, 2017
    Out West
    Sorry about the quality of most of my pictures!!
    My hands tend to vibrate unless I'm holding a gun or whiskey!

    I'll have to get a better picture of this later.
    I made an aluminum and rubber rear splash guard.
    It will allow extra clearance for larger tires.
    Some of the RX3's can have an issue with oversize knobbies and heavy loads rubbing on the inner fender and air box.
    I gave myself about an extra 1 1/2" of room here for tire upgrades later.


    I decided to rework the front lower crash bars a little.
    They originally crossed over in front of, and bolted to the front down tubes with a couple of u-bolts and then swept down alongside at the bottom.

    I cut out a small section in the center and tacked them to the new down tubes and rebent the lower section.
    Very strong and stable. This also opened up a little more room for the exhaust.

    I also began playing around with a skidplate.
    After messing around with cardboard for 1/2 an hour, I found out I had some 3/16" aluminum leftover from another project.
    Other than the corner notches, I didn't even have to cut it!!
    Ideally i would have used 1/4" aluminum, and really it could be about 1/2 wider.

    For now, it gives me something to practice shaping and really helps visualize.
    Nice fit to the rails.
    Only 2 bolts and it slips right off.


    joenuclear, plumer1kt, ACR and 8 others like this.
  7. 79thunder

    79thunder Been here awhile

    Sep 16, 2017
    Out West
    I'll admit I dropped the ball on taking any pictures during the exhaust work.
    I was probably a little too excited/focused at this point.
    I'll grab some pictures when I blow the bike apart.
    I still haven't decided on whether I will have the exhaust coated or not.
    I hadn't really planned on it, but the new pipes just look so nice that I'd kind of like to keep them that way for a little while.
    Basically I started with some fresh bends and straights like this:
    exhuast tubing.jpg

    1.25" 304 stainless steel tubing. Oh so nice to work with.

    I bought some cheap E-bay Chinese replica mufflers. (kind of suits the build in a way!)
    Mostly because the price was excellent, but I also did not want to hold up the build process.
    They can be replaced at any time in the future.
    Honestly, they are quite well built and have a replaceable/tuneable insert.
    I would like a fairly quiet exhuast system. Spoiler alert- They don't sound bad!

    Although it can't be seen, I did fab and install a full H-pipe in the system.
    I think that goes a long way towards toning down the exhaust note and can help bottom end torque.
    Again, I'll try and get pic's of the system out of the bike later.
    Also, rad hoses are connected, thank god I was able to sort that out!!
    rx3-xt3-3 084.JPG

    Very happy with the clearances. Neither the tire nor fender can hit the exhaust.
    Comfortably away from from my legs.
    I will likely install the heat sheilds that are shown.

    The money shot!


    Gotta love dual pipes on a bike!
    I think the fit turned out well.
    Tucked in nicely, will actually give more room than the original single pipe.
    The mufflers alone weigh 8 pounds less, so that's a nice bonus too.

    rx3-xt3-3 072.JPG

    The black steel exhaust hangers are rubber mounted to the bike.
    The mufflers are also wrapped in rubber clamps.
    The system is very solid and should be vibration free.
  8. k555

    k555 Adventurer

    Nov 21, 2016
    Very impressed. How much is it gonna weight ?
  9. Salsa

    Salsa Long timer

    Dec 12, 2006
    Arizona, Alaska
    Looks very nice.

    Good fab skils.

  10. 79thunder

    79thunder Been here awhile

    Sep 16, 2017
    Out West

    Less than my old Roadstar!!!

    I honestly don't know, nor am I really concerned.

    Fully dressed, with all of the racks, crash bars, skid plate, trunk and side cases, passenger pegs, GPS, etc.. Fully fueled and ready to ride i'm going to guess at 404lbs ????

    I'm not interested in posting up a mythical lightweight number.
    I need a fully functioning bike that I can comfortably haul whatever camping gear, tools, parts, lighting, electronics, food, whiskey, that I might need.

    I do believe that another RX3 owner removed many of the above extra's and his bike weighed in at 344lbs if that helps compare it to other bikes.
    When stripped down to the level that most other bikes leave the showroom, the RX3 is right on par with most dual sports.

    Down the road, I may replace wear items such as the battery or even rims with lighter weight alternatives providing they are cost effective and as reliable/durable.

    I will weigh the Yamaha engine when I drop it out next time.

    I would have to estimate it to be approx 95-100lbs. [edit: turned out to be 90 lbs.]

    Estimated weight gain: +10.5 lbs
  11. Egoland

    Egoland Adventurer

    Jan 13, 2010
    Denmark, Scandinavia
    How much have you upped the HP? Can it take a higher gearing? I hope you chekked the sprocket-line....
  12. racingxtc7

    racingxtc7 Been here awhile

    Dec 31, 2014
    Kenosha Wisconsin
    Can't wait to hear how it rides :)
  13. cedric

    cedric Been here awhile

    Nov 7, 2006
    Are you selling the Zong engine?
  14. 79thunder

    79thunder Been here awhile

    Sep 16, 2017
    Out West
    I've gone from 24.8 hp to 42 hp.
    The numbers certainly don't tell the whole tale though.
    There is so much more involved with useful driveabilty, the "area under the curve" is what
    seperates the good bikes from the great bikes.

    I'll add more engine details later.

    And yes, sprocket alignment is bang on the money. In the verticle alignment with the swingarm pivot and longitudinal with the rear sprocket and the bike chassis.

    I did not show that process, I'm not trying to write a how-to book.
    I think it has taken me longer to post what I have so far, than building the bike!

    It is the most critical, hell maybe the only critical portion of engine installation.

    I used a variety of tools to check and double and triple check sprocket alignment.
    Including a laser, a string, straight edges, calipers, tape measures, a chain,
    and last but not least, common sense and a good eye.

    If any of you are new to this type of thing and reading this hoping to learn something,
    I will add this:

    Begin by aligning the rear wheel.

    Don't get lazy here, don't use the notches on the swingarm.
    Measure carefully to a fixed point such as the swingarm pivot centerline.

    Check the runout of the rear sprocket and rear wheel.

    Check the swingarm pivots for any excessive play.

    Make sense?
    When aligning your front sprocket to the rear, you had better be certain the rear sprocket is aligned correctly and is not bent, warped, loose, or misaligned in some way!!
  15. Lesharoturbo

    Lesharoturbo Nerdly Adventurer

    Mar 23, 2009
    Austin TX
    Those mufflers look awesome, got a link to the ebay seller?
  16. Sootgrinder

    Sootgrinder Been here awhile

    Jul 27, 2016
    Two thumbs way up!
    79thunder likes this.
  17. Eddieb

    Eddieb Long timer

    Nov 14, 2006
    Hamilton, New Zealand
    x32792 and 79thunder like this.
  18. jasonmt

    jasonmt Long timer

    Sep 20, 2011
    Alberta, Canada
    Nice! I recognize Limestone lookout so just curious as to general location as I would not mind taking a look at it in the flesh if the opportunity presents itself.
    79thunder likes this.
  19. 79thunder

    79thunder Been here awhile

    Sep 16, 2017
    Out West
    You're not the only one!! We got another 2 feet of snow last week. Looks like a test ride is a month away!

    Yes, I'm not sure about forum rules-maybe PM's are best?
    I'll see what I can do, ...I'm not sure how to add a link...this was the seller-->https://www.ebay.com/usr/bfbegin
    There are quite a few on e-bay, many different colour options, etc.
    Mine were $39.99 each, shipping included.
    Yes, $80 for a pair of mufflers, shipped to my door.

    Thank you !!! I appreciate that very much !!

    I have seen those, I'll never understand why certain markets do or don't get certain bikes.
    Well ok, I understand it little: demograghics, economic forces, emmisions compliance, etc..

    The 250 Tenere's look pretty cool. I think you could build a reasonable example at home.
    The XT225s and XT250s are great bikes, I would never discourage someone for buying or riding one.
    They are simple, solid, reliable and fun.

    Caution: personal opinion ahead
    For myself, I think they are getting a little long in the tooth, I think that basic engine is 32 years old now!!!! (I know, if it's not broke don't fix it).
    Oh and 17.5 hp is fine on the trails. Even gravel and slower highways. sometimes.
    Remember, I've tried the XT225, XT250, TTR250 and WR's.

    Maybe if I just moved closer to the trails!!

    The XT is one of the bikes that I can outride. Both on and off road.

    I may touch on other comparable bikes later, to answer the "why didn't you just buy a...?"
    JagLite and Pezz_gs like this.
  20. Eddieb

    Eddieb Long timer

    Nov 14, 2006
    Hamilton, New Zealand
    Video of how it sounds with those twin pipes required stat.
    79thunder and Lesharoturbo like this.