A post I wrote back on October 5 I mentioned there are two bike projects I want to do in 2020. Both were significant upgrades to two bikes I currently have, one a bicycle and the other my moto bike. I want to do both projects. Each is an exciting, and expensive project. Unfortunately I can only afford one. The other will have to wait until another year. Depending on the day, I went back and forth between the two projects. It took me until March 19th decide on one. That’s when I committed to the moto bike project and ordered 95% of the parts I need.
I announced my decision on my Instagram account then. I thought I should update the blog since this is where I first talked about it.
What was the deciding factor? Two things. The first was something a friend said to me back in October. He said the changes to the Brompton, while very cool, won’t change the way I use that bike. However, the changes to my Honda CB500X will fundamentally change the way I use that bike. The second thing is that I have spent nearly my entire disposable income on bicycles for the past 15 years. I now have five bicycles dialed in for the riding I do. I don’t need, or plan, to buy any new bikes for awhile. It’s time to spend some money on something else for a change.
85% of the parts I ordered from Rally Raid Industries in the U.K. They manufacture and sell specific parts for my model of motorcycle. Most parts were in stock and came last week. I’m doing a complete Level 2 suspension kit and wheel kit, as well as a few other upgrades and accessories. Here’s some of the parts I’ve received:
I received tires and a custom radiator guard from other venders:
Two items were not manufactured yet; the wheel set and levers:
As of right now I have no idea when I’ll receive these parts. In normal times they take 4-6 weeks to produce orders. I don’t know how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect how the order gets processed. Once the wheel hubs are machined and the wheels are built they get sent to Bartubeless in Italy for a tubeless set-up. Not sure if that can happen right now.
Anyway, once I have everything, I can get it all installed. This will transform a very good budget street motorcycle into a very capable All-Road Adventure bike. It will have a fully adjustable suspension that can handle pavement as well as off-road riding. I can adjust it for the added weight of camping gear. I intend to use it for exploring the 100’s of miles of dirt and gravel roads in this region including several million acres of National Forest lands nearby. I’ll be able to scout bikepacking routes ahead of time, if I choose to. Overnight camping trips are a definite possibility when I’m not feeling like pedaling a bicycle. Last summer I struggled with the heat and lack of stamina on multi-day bikepacking trips. The moto gives me an option to still get out when I don’t want to be out on a bicycle.
This upgrade gives me the motorbike I really wanted when I bought my Honda. I thought the stock bike, marketed as an Adventure bike, could handle more off-road then what it really can. Now it will be able to take on anything within my skill level.
That is quite the project but will make exploring the northwoods so much easier!
I had fun last summer exploring local “truck roads” and other gravel roads on my TW200. Sometimes solo, sometimes with one other person. Many of them devolve to logging roads or just peter out in the woods.
A TW200 would be a fun bike for exploring with its fat tires…..as long as you don’t get too far from a gas station.
Exactly!! I actually bought a Gasflask (https://rotopax.com/gasflask/) for just that reason. Sadly it’s mounting hardware doesn’t fit on my rack just right. But a couple of Rokstraps solved that problem.
I can get about 100 miles on a tank before I am desperately looking for a gas station without the Gasflask.
My Honda has a 4.5 gallon tank. Combine that with great mpg, I get 65-70 miles per gallon. Even with the heavy knobbies that are going on the bike I should still have close to 300 mile range. That’s nice to have.
Well, maybe 250 mile range is more realistic.
Can’t wait to hear more stories once you get this set up. Sounds like you’ll have a lot of fun. The hard part will be trying to be patient for the rest of the parts to arrive.