TAT Bound or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Riding my Bike

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by blisske, May 19, 2016.

  1. GLantern

    GLantern A Nut Behind The Bars

    Joined:
    May 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    560
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Thanks for the detailed report on them! I'll check out the Moscows.
  2. blisske

    blisske Been here awhile

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    Aug 13, 2009
    Oddometer:
    117
    Location:
    Denver
    OK, back to the TAT. Initially, I stated that my web searching quickly identified the Suzuki DR650 as the all-around best TAT oriented bike. My DR did suit me well and performed flawlessly. I do think that as far as bang for your buck, it gets you to a TAT capable bike with very little effort, but as you can see, I didn't hold back on the mods. Is there a better suited bike for me?


    One of the things I didn’t like about the DR is very subjective and hard to quantify, but it is important if you are going to be spending a lot of time on your bike. To me, the DR had no soul. The DR starts right up, you point it, turn the throttle and it does exactly what you ask of it, no more and no less. The engine is solid reliable and delivers power in the manner that you would demand of an appliance. Where was that je ne sais quoi?


    The other problem with the DR, and there is just no delicate way to put it, is that she is a girl with a few extra pounds on her that she can’t seem to shed no matter how hard she tries. I like my girls lean. Outside of personal taste, this does become important for a solo TATer in some of the more challenging sections of the trail.


    So, what’s a fella to do? Here is where the Big Red Pig comes in to play. Don’t get me wrong, the XR is a flawed bike as well, but I think I can work with her. Off the bat, she is lighter. Folks say not much, but it sure feels like a lot when you are muscling the bike around. It feels more like my WR250F did than my KLR did, whereas the DR felt more like a KLR than a WR. That is important.


    Next, I think the engine on the XR has the soul I am looking for. Not that I have ridden this bike enough to know, but there is something about an XR. I remember having an early 80’s XR200R as a kid and that bike was amazing. Not the fastest, not the most capable and not the best suspension, but it was the entire package that made it so special and that’s what I’m hoping this XR650L will be.


    So, read on if you like. There will be more thoughts about the TAT along the way, but in the end, I hope we are looking at the perfect TAT bike for me. Maybe not the perfect TAT bike for you, but that will be your journey.
  3. i4bikes

    i4bikes Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    652
    Lots of talk on other sites about the transmission output shaft wearing out under the front sprocket. Some use the dirt XR sprocket because it is thicker. I don't have one just found posts when I was researching bikes.
    blisske likes this.
  4. blisske

    blisske Been here awhile

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    Aug 13, 2009
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    Denver
    XR650 build is drawing to an end. Here are pics of the fairing install:

    IMG_2060.JPG IMG_2061.JPG IMG_2062.JPG IMG_2063.JPG
  5. blisske

    blisske Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
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    Location:
    Denver
    Getting there:
    IMG_2064.JPG IMG_2065.JPG IMG_2067.JPG IMG_2071.JPG
  6. blisske

    blisske Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
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    117
    Location:
    Denver
    Fully adventurized:
    IMG_2075.JPG IMG_2079.JPG
  7. i4bikes

    i4bikes Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    652
    Nice, great looking build. You should have good ride with it.
  8. fastredbike

    fastredbike locked-down tight

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    641
    Location:
    Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
    thanks for sharing your TAT adventure, I really enjoyed it. The build pages are an added bonus. I must have missed where you settled on pannier racks for the XRL - which are those and were they necessary for the Reckless?
  9. blisske

    blisske Been here awhile

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    Denver
    I struggled with the pannier racks. Not necessary for the luggage, but I think they will help support the sub-frame which I understand is a problem area on the bike.
  10. GoMotor

    GoMotor Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Oddometer:
    179
    I have a Cee Bailey Tall shield on my KLR650. I cut it in half left to right and dropped the top down an inch over the bottom and wing nutted it it back together with some rubber faucet washers.

    I ride long highway miles to/from long distance dirt routes (TAT x 3, CDT, TCAT, Shadow of the Rockies, Dalton to Dead Horse, Dempster to Inuvik) with the top part up and flip it around and down for the dirt. Three wing nuts and it is done. Quick and easy. Easier to see the trail in front of the tire and much less likely to break the shield.
    i4bikes and Foot dragger like this.
  11. thorpedo

    thorpedo Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    Oddometer:
    20
    Wow ! Your XR is quite the beauty! I love your build(s) I was actually attracted to the thread for the TAT, but was immediately hooked by the build you did on the DR. Many of the mods you did to the DR, I've already done, or am planning so it was very inspirational. I just purchased a MADSTAD 20" windshield. I haven't mounted it yet, but I liked the mounting system. Easy to turn it upside down while on the trail, or just remove a couple of bolts and take off completely. I mainly want it for some longer slab rides I take.

    The windscreen on the XR looks fabulous! Who makes it?
  12. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

    Joined:
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    Location:
    chico,just below rag dump(nor-cal)
    I see Orange bikes in your future,on your continuing path to shinyness/enlightenment.
    Very nice XR build though!
  13. dml9

    dml9 n00b

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    Sep 13, 2018
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    5
    Location:
    Miami
    I am getting to this late. Just read every post in your RR. Greatly appreciate your wisdom, the nice reporting format, and the final part of modifications from what you learned. I would have liked to know what was in the 10 pounds of gear your deemed unnecessary. Thanks.
  14. blisske

    blisske Been here awhile

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    Update!

    It has been a while. I completed that XR650L build and just looked at the thing in my garage where it just kept getting underfoot. It was horrible on the road and, therefore, I never took it anywhere to ride it off-road. Also, the bike was so highly modified that I didn't consider it reliable for the long haul. Ultimately, I sold the bike and never looked back...until, that is, the new Yamaha T7 came around. Suddenly, I felt a stirring inside that I hadn't felt for years. This new bike must be mine!!! My deposit is paid and I impatiently wait for the call from the dealership. Will you be my perfect TAT bike?
    Xanthophyll likes this.
  15. blisske

    blisske Been here awhile

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    Denver
    Must be some OAEs on this forum.
    Xanthophyll likes this.
  16. desertsteve

    desertsteve Adventurer

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    Feb 8, 2015
    Oddometer:
    51
    Location:
    High Desert, Southern California
    I thought I was the only person that could never quite find that "perfect bike". I loved reading about your TAT adventure, and Ive already started the planning process (scheduling time off from work, the routes, gear, etc) for my own attempt at the TAT next yr... except the bike that Ill be riding! Ive got an Africa Twin (too big and fat to have fun in the dirt IMO) and an XR650R (dont want to have to kick-start it across the country) sitting in my garage, so Im looking for something else that I'll try to sell once I get to the other side.

    Let us know how you like the T7!