XR400R Budget Baja build - for Baja Rally 2016 - and beyond...

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by JMo (& piglet), Dec 5, 2015.

  1. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hi Jester - yes, I rode the Brechfa Rally last year on this bike - it was a lot of fun, if rather more enduro going and wet than I would prefer...

    [​IMG]

    I will try and keep my hand in too this year if the dates concur with their road-book events.

    Jx
    #21
  2. Johnnyboxer

    Johnnyboxer Long timer

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    Mmmm............just been out in the garage this afternoon to some work on the DR350 and was eyeing up my XR4 - after reading this thread, this morning

    Who did your powder coating ?
    #22
  3. The Jester

    The Jester Long timer

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    Last year I completed their Tarenig event and a road book training weekend. This spring I completed the Pikes Peak road book event and intended to ride in the rest of the series; then I ended up in Cyprus.

    I know what you mean about the wet weather and enduro going. Not the ideal territory for my big XR but it was fun all the same.

    Work commitments and location mean that my next event will probably be the TransAnatolia in the summer. If the pictures from previous years are anything to go by it should be a good event. In the meantime I am enjoying exploring the local trails but could really do with a bit more roadbook practice.
    #23
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  4. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hi Johnny - I use a company based in Bristol - Griff's Reality Motorworks: http://www.realitymotorworks.co.uk

    They can offer full service - shot-blasting, welding, powder coating and polishing...

    Probably not appropriate to your XR of course, but downstairs in their building is an excellent bodywork paint shop too, that does a lot of custom and classic bike restoration work such as hand-painted pin-striping etc.

    Good bunch of guys, and very reasonably priced.

    Jx
    #24
  5. Johnnyboxer

    Johnnyboxer Long timer

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    Thanks Jenny,
    Not everyone does oil in frame bikes, due to cross contamination or getting grit in frame oilways - so a good tip
    #25
  6. stteve

    stteve Been here awhile

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    Again a nice write-up Jenny. I used my 1997 XR400 in the German Baja300 MittelDeutschland 2 times, with a similar "rally light" set-up.
    Your lights are def. something i have to look into
    #26
  7. husqvarna

    husqvarna Been here awhile

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    Very nice build to give a simple, solid platform. I'm a little jealous.

    Now, did you have to fit any AC to DC converter for the headlights?

    A "rally" you might look at is the Amageza in South Africa ( a few threads on AdvRider & Wildogs). If you have UK / EU money, my guess it should be affordable.
    #27
  8. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hi Husqvarna - yes, I had already replaced the stock regulator with a combined regulator/rectifier - this one here from Electrix (RR120): http://www.electrexworld.co.uk/acatalog/RR120.html - and I also wired in a separate capacitor* that they supplied to smooth the output.

    *However, I see they now also offer a combined version specifically for the XR400 (RR167): http://www.electrexworld.co.uk/acatalog/RR167.html

    This was primarily to provide power for a GPS, but it also is a more stable voltage for the original lights - to help stop the flicker at idle for example.

    I'm not sure if you can run LED lights (or at least some LED lights) off AC, but my point would be why would you anyway, when the replacement reg/rec is a cheap way to get DC to power anything else, and is designed to work with the stock stator.

    Obviously this cheaper (reg/reg & capacitor) option only provides DC when the engine is running - you would need to incorporate some sort of battery and additional wiring (as I did with the rally build above) if you want those accessories or the lights to work independently of the engine running.

    Honestly, the reg/rec and converting the wiring to DC was probably the best £55 I ever spent on the bike.

    Hope that helps...

    Jenny x

    ps. Ah yes, the Amageza rally is already on the radar - a friend of mine raced it a couple of years ago, and I would very much like to take part in that one too one day, if time (and money) allows.
    #28
  9. The Jester

    The Jester Long timer

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    I replaced the complete generating system on my XR650R with a stator and reg/reg from Electrex World. This results in a 280W 3 phase DC output which is far easier to work with than the high output stators from the US with 2 separate power coils that generally have to be run separately. In the name of simplicity and weight saving mine is hooked up to a couple of LARGE capacitors rather than a battery. Let's face it, the XR650 is heavy enough. :-) I did work out how a relay could be used to connect a battery to the main bike electrics only when the engine is running though. This would allow you to have an output for phone charging gps / roadbook while preventing the battery from powering the lights etc while the engine is off. I may get round to it at some point.

    The same stator also fits the 400. If you need more power and/or DC electrics to drive LED or HID headlights it is definitely worth doing. The HID headlight on my 650 is easily a match for my car headlights but this was a complete headlight change rather than just a bulb upgrade.
    #29
  10. The Jester

    The Jester Long timer

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    Just checked out the Amageza site. That's definitely one to add to the list. :thumb
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  11. LTR

    LTR Adventurer

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    Love the detailed write-up as I also have an XR400!

    I'm curious about your opinion on riding the XR for long distances given the minimal oil capacity. Some people have told me they would not recommend taking this bike on long trips. Thanks.
    #31
  12. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hi LTR - I've owned that bike since new (late 2003), and as I mention in the intro, over the years it has probably covered 48,000 miles or more - including a number of long distance trips - riding round trips from the UK to Spain twice; and although on another occasion we trailered our bikes through Europe to the port in southern Spain, then rode over 2000 miles all around Morocco.

    The book suggests 1.8 litres of oil with a filter change, which is a lot more than the typical current generation of enduro bikes (my WR450F for example only took 1 litre), and although the oil is arguably working harder since the XR is air/oil cooled, in practice with good quality oil and especially if you are not ragging it the whole time, you can easily go 1500 miles without an oil change - and in Morocco as I recall, I didn't actually change the oil until the end of the trip.

    That said, if you do a lot of high[er] and constant speed road riding (as I did riding down to Spain through France), then it's worth changing the oil at around the 1000 mile mark perhaps - fortunately regular oil and filter changes are a 15 minute job - as you really don't have to check/clean the oil screen in the bottom of the frame tube every time - I only tend to do that during a more major service, once or maybe twice a year.

    After about 35,000 miles, I did notice the bike was starting to burn a bit of oil each time (again, more noticeable on longer rides at higher speeds on the road) - eventually as much as half a litre over a 200 mile day for example - so while I tended to just top it up at the end of each ride (like a sort of perpetual oil-change) - ultimately I decided to get the engine overhauled at the end of last year (as I explain in the build report).

    I think the only real limiting factor with the XR as a long distance travel bike, other than scheduling in stops to change the oil every so often, is the stock seat... some people find it's ok (I do), others would rather have more padding. Again though, compared to the narrow board-like seats on modern enduro bikes (and even something like the DRZ400), the XR seat is a sofa in comparison.

    Honestly, I would have no qualms about riding the XR on an indefinite RTW style trip - yes the lack of e-start (and general lack of security - no steering lock or ignition key as standard) means it's not as convenient as a more modern dual-sport or some of the larger cc thumpers like the XR650L or DR650 for example, but I'd suggest the simplicity and dependability is off the scale compared almost any other dual-sport bike?

    Hope that helps alleviate any fears or concerns...

    Jenny x
    #32
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  13. LTR

    LTR Adventurer

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    There goes my excuse for not riding more! Thanks.
    #33
  14. xr400r

    xr400r Long timer

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    it may also be possible to change the filter every other oil change if need be and you would still be ok. As long as you know there is nothing that would have clogged it up.
    #34
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  15. The Jester

    The Jester Long timer

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    Or fit a stainless mesh filter if you are on an extended trip and flush it with petrol at each oil change.
    #35
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  16. AZ Mark

    AZ Mark Long timer Supporter

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    Great report... Thanks for sharing you knowledge! :thumbup
    #36
  17. x32792

    x32792 Cracker American

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    Enjoyed your build -- Thank you for sharing.
    #37
  18. xr400r

    xr400r Long timer

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    I'm not sure how it was left but is the build done?
    #38
  19. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hi xr400r - yes, in as much as the bike is now ready to race/rally (in the Baja Rally event), and everything is working how I'd like it to.

    There are a few additional things I intend to address, but they are only cosmetic really...

    The SDG gripper seat I'd like to get recovered in XR blue to match the fork gaiters and continue the whole 80's vibe. It's not essential, but since I had to trim an inch or so of seat base and foam to fit around the rear tank, I'd like the cover to fit more snuggly there.

    The OEM wheels are still solid after all these years, but if my budget allows I'd like to buy a new set (probably SM Pro or Talon if I buy them here in the UK), so that the original wheels essentially become spares - the Baja Rally is only likely to require one fresh rear tyre at the pace I ride, so having a fully built-up wheel with tyre and mousse is the simplest way to do that in the bivouac, and having a second front wheel is always handy as they tend to be the one to suffer damage. Of course if I do buy a new set of wheels, then gold rims will complete the 80's look ;o)

    The rear tank brackets and the mounting plate for the IMO Trip Meter sensor have already been powder coated black, so that's another little job done.

    Once the weather improves a little here in the UK I'll be getting some riding in and see how everything shakes down over some long-term mileage.

    Then closer to the time I will also supplement my current spares and service items (oil and air filters, wheel bearings, brake pads etc.) to make sure I'll have everything I'll need during the event.

    Jx
    #39
  20. solitary1

    solitary1 Been here awhile

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    try LSN coatings in Castleford 01977 604461 they have experience of doing xr frames
    #40