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Author Topic: OffRoad on a RE  (Read 4782 times)

Charro

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OffRoad on a RE
« on: January 20, 2008, 04:55:00 PM »
Hi all, thinking about finding a used Military RE and using it for offroad riding. My Buddy's own Kawi KLR's, and I want to tag along. Most riding will be dirt roads and semi rough trails. Went to see the new KLR and DR 650 at the dealer, sit  too high, look like transformer toys, and are too bright with too many graphics for my taste.

Mods on the RE will start with removing turn indicators, (no state inspections in NM) installing off road tires, skid plate, high pipe, offroad handle bars, and a solo seat with rack. I like the Military because of the panniers, and it would just look cool as an offroad adventure bike. I know CMW offers a trials kit, but thats a little more than I want to spend plus the cost of a donor bike.

What do you all think, madness or will a properly out fitted RE will keep up with a KLR as we putt along some trails.

Open for input,
Andy



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stipa

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2008, 07:14:11 PM »
I like riding gravelroads on my Enfield, but I personally think it's a bit heavy, (as its put together), for a really decent offroad bike.  I used to ride a KLX;  lots of power, light, fast, noisy, and now, (I guess), illegal in most places. 
Plus, (and this is just my opinion), I don't like to see off-road vehicles in other than the designated riding places, but I do all the time. 
The Enfield, besides being street legal, and a little workhorse, is plenty capable of getting me to just about any place I want to here in Washington State;  I can walk the rest of the way. 
I don't know how things are where you live, but here, if you are building the bike for strictly offroad, you'll end up trucking it quite a ways sometimes.

In my opinion, it won't keep up with a KLR offroad, but will, on most gravel and F.S. roads. 



luoma

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2008, 07:55:39 PM »
I have ridden my Electra off road before, and the best thing about an RE in the dirt is the torque. The front would need a 21" rim laced up in order to track better, and lacing an 18" on the back might provide enough extra room in the rear swing arms for a slightly wider tire. There are a lot of options in the catelog for reducing weight. These could be added a bit at a time as budget allows. Still won't be a real dirt bike, but then the desert scramblers of the past weren't real dirt bikes either, at least not by today's standards. I'd love to build a retro trail bike myself, but can't afford it right now. Good luck. Have fun. Let us know how it turns out.

Charro

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2008, 08:32:19 PM »
Thanks for the replies, I live in southern New Mexico we have hundreds if not thousands of miles of dirt roads across the desert. Some good, some are nothing more than burro trials. I will be sticking to them NO cross country off road.

I  realize that the RE will not keep up with a KLR on road, but that ok. And that it would never be considered a dirt bike in todays standards.

Luoma, hit it on the head, build a Retro dirt bike, like the Triumph desert sleds of the late 50's and 60's.

I think a RE set up this way would be a hoot, and not look like it came off a spaceship.

Keep your comments coming.
Andy

« Last Edit: January 21, 2008, 06:27:03 PM by Charro »
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echo15

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2008, 03:27:18 AM »
It's not as fast, but should handle just fine. My daughter rides her bullet down gravel roads with more confidence than I have on my Buell Ulysses.

fredgold52

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2008, 08:27:48 PM »
I think as long as you realize the suspension and horsepower limitations, you should have a great time riding the Bullet on the dirt.  With just a few mods, it should be as good as any old Triumph or even Japanese dirtbike from the 60's and 70's.  Lots of people had wonderful times riding those old sleds - me included.

Happy trails!
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cyrusb

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2008, 08:12:01 PM »
Skid Plate would be an absolute must. Its pretty vulnerable down there, and there aren't any frame tubes to bottom out. Any mayhem down there happens directly to the cases, drain plugs ect.

LotusSevenMan

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2008, 08:23:44 PM »
I bought one of those bash plates brand new off of eBay for my Military 'cos  :-    a) I thought it might stop road cr*p accumulation on the bottom of the engine so make cleaning easier. b) it would stop those small magnets I have on the drain plugs getting knocked off and c) it looked the part!!!
Only 20 dollars effectively (10 UKP) so good. I only use bike on road but ya never know eh?
If it ain't broke-------------------------- fix it 'till it is!

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Rockdodger

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2008, 12:00:46 AM »
I'm still a fairly serious off-road rider. ('99 Honda XR400R with Baja Designs dual sport/street-legal kit.) When the bullet first appeared in 1949 it had a revolutionary swing-arm rear suspension. It soon convinced doubters that such a set-up wouldn't be bouncing all over in the dirt. It went on to perform well in such competitive off-road events as the International Six Days Trials (Now ISDE).
A retro looking trials bike would be cool and definitely bring a smile to this old dirt-rider's face. As to taking it off-road, however, I'd be very concerned for your safety.
My 400cc Honda has at least twice the power and torque of my 500cc Enfield. It also has 4 times the suspension travel, better steering geometry and weighs a good 100 pounds less. I do a lot of sand wash riding in Southeastern Arizona. I doubt if an Enfield could ever get up to hydro-planing speed in sand, a feat that is easily accomplished by a circa 1970 Hodaka Ace 100. If you really want to smoke your KLR friends (an easy task) get a Suzuki DRZ400 and drop the suspension to suit your tastes. It can be had in a street legal variant with electric starter. How cool is that!
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birdmove

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2008, 01:11:59 AM »
I have a KLR650 and an XT225 Yamaha. And my 2007 Bullet 500 Classic.Probably selling the KLR and keeping the other two.

    jon
Jon in Keaau, Hawaii

LJRead

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2008, 01:57:09 AM »

Charro,  Hope this thread keeps goin' a while as I would like to know more about R E and off-road.  We have a lot of nice plantation roads I'd like to explore and since I will soon have two R E's, mods on one, gradually, seem like a good idea.  I think in all this the big question is "how serious do you want to get?"  To me that's true of nearly everything,   The key to life is in not getting too serious.

In this respect, my neighbor growing up had a Triumph Cub with lots of mods, but still low power, just knobby tires and a high pipe, and he had a room full of trophies for off-road stuff.  I used to run around on an old Norton, and there weren't many places  it wouldn't go.  Where I grew up wasn't terribly different from New Mexico, the fringe of the high desert, some sand down in the river bottom, etc.

From the sounds of your initial topic, it seems you can have a good old time, but probably good to have your friends out with you.  It will be as dangerous as you want to make it, I suppose, but sure is beautiful country there.  Go for it!

Larry

Charro

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2008, 10:46:10 PM »
Thanks for the replies. I forgot to mention that I do have offroad experience. Many years of MX, Desert Scrambles, and Enduro back in the day.

Rockdodger, I know what you mean about sand. But I don't plan to tear it up, and blow the wheels off my riding buddies. I plan to putt along stopping to see the many sights we have in our great desert. Explore and ride.

LJRead, thanks for the support. Yes the desert along the  Mexican border is a dangerous and beautiful place. Never ride alone, without water, and bring a firearm. As the Coen Brothers said in their last movie "NO PLACE FOR OLD MEN".

Only problem so far is finding a used RE Military for a decent price. They are asking close to what a new one runs. If thats the case might as well buy a new with a warranty. But at that price along with the mods would place me in range of new KLR, KTM etc. Just need to decide what I want, and thats a ROYAL ENFIELD DESERT ADVENTURE BIKE. Will keep you posted.

Andy
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Sam

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2008, 12:02:14 AM »
Andy, a late 50's vintage Enfield was my on and off road ride for a while in the 60's, and I know your territory (this was in Socorro). Everything that could be removed, was. It was fine for gentle plonking around, but the Suzuki 100's and stuff ran rings around it. Still, it was perfectly serviceable within it's limits. If you can find the donor-bike, go for it.
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jest2dogs

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2008, 08:48:26 AM »
We all should remember the Bullet's heritage. It was a working man's transportation to be used on graveled,  twisty, country lanes in (lousy) English weather. It sat outside in all kinds of weather and has its racing genes in trials.

Granted, the road stock Bullet isn't a "works" trials bike, but I certainly have a blast putt-ing along with my friends (they on newer dual-purpose machines). (See my post in "Classics" about the New Year's Day ride.)

I would advise the bash plate and at least K70 Dunlops. The stock Avons are a horror in the dirt (at least the ribbed front is).

The bash plate is a good idea. I have had to stop and inspect things after having fist sized rocks tossed up under the motor on some rougher roads. Haven't installed the plate yet,.  I think I want to drill it for complete drain plug access. I don't have a high pipe as I don't intend to ford much water.

Be aware, wider rear tires may not clear the swingarm or chain guard. So don't get too carried away. My 3.25  x 19 K70's front and rear do fine so far. Might go to a 3.50 rear when I find one.

Keep in mind these are ridden all over India, many as tour bikes, and at least one fellow has forayed into the Himalayas.

But remember, Most of all... Have a blast!

-JC
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Charro

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2008, 02:57:55 PM »
JC, thanks that is what I have been thinking. Will the bash plate fit with a low pipe? Thats the only reason I was thinking of a high pipe.

Andy
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Thumper

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2008, 07:36:29 PM »
Charro,

I think you should trade the Patrol in for a Gear-up and use that for offroad riding!

Matt

Charro

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2008, 08:26:04 PM »
Charro,

I think you should trade the Patrol in for a Gear-up and use that for offroad riding!

Matt

Hey Matt, only difference between a Patrol and a Gear Up is the paint job,a shovel and spotlight, to which I have added to my Patrol, and yes I use it offroad. But here in NM the cactus is the enemy. With the sidehack its hard to avoid them at times thus mucho flats. A solo bike is better at times.

Andy
« Last Edit: January 28, 2008, 08:29:12 PM by Charro »
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jest2dogs

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2008, 08:07:49 AM »
Charro,

Bash plate covers sump. Should not interfere with exhaust pipe. Utilizes already existing through bolts. I have the Indian made header pipe and shorty muffler.

-JC
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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2008, 09:21:38 PM »
Hey guys. If any of you ever modify your bikes for more off-road capabilities I want to see the picks. From all the research I have done their would seem to be no reason why you couldn't have a capable off-roader, within its means of course. They have been used to patrol far-flung borders on rough dirt tracks, have been a competitive off-road bike in trials competitions in the fifties and, I WOULD LOVE TO SEE A MILITARY MODEL FITTED WITH AS MANY OF THE TRIALS KIT BITS AS POSSIBLE and still keep it in the military scheme. Perhaps we should all take a look at " royal enfield the legend rides on" and be reminded how people who can't afford to look at they're bikes as fun little pseudo antiques but work horses do with them. That probably came out testy. Wasn't supposed to. sorry. I would love to see a off-road version of one of these new models other than in a catalog.

David R

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2008, 09:27:14 PM »
I own both a DR650 and a Bullet Sixty 5 and for off road there is absolutely no comparison!! I agree that the KLR and the DR aren't much to look at and I love riding my Bullet, but even at modest speeds on any but the smoothest roads you will be at a huge disadvantage. Something to consider is that the DR can be lowered. The prices are all nearly the same for new bikes. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the Suzuki.  I know little of the Kaw.

Charro

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #20 on: January 30, 2008, 09:39:59 PM »
Well fellas the die is cast. Gave up trying to find a newer used Military. So I bought a new 07 from the dealer in Santa Fe NM. If your looking he's got one left and he has it marked to move.
Here are the mods I'm having done:

Off Road Handlebars
Stump Guard
On/Off Road Knobby tires
Performance exhaust
7in headlight
Solo Seat
Carrier Rack
Waiting to do any carb work until after its broken in

Hope it works cause the money I'm putting in this project I could have bought a 08 Kawa KLR with change to spare. CMW if your listening that how much I love your bikes.

Andy

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Charro

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #21 on: January 30, 2008, 09:59:34 PM »
I own both a DR650 and a Bullet Sixty 5 and for off road there is absolutely no comparison!! I agree that the KLR and the DR aren't much to look at and I love riding my Bullet, but even at modest speeds on any but the smoothest roads you will be at a huge disadvantage. Something to consider is that the DR can be lowered. The prices are all nearly the same for new bikes. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the Suzuki.  I know little of the Kaw.

Hey David, thanks for the advice. Looked at a new DR fine bike. But I cut my offroad teeth on Triumph, Hodaka, Penton, Rickman Zundapp. So I'm looking fro a old style.

To clarify this is my Idea of offroad. Putt along  dirt roads and trails, stop and look at a cactus, putt some more stop and kick over a rock or two, putt more stop to eat........

So you see I truly believe the RE is more than up to this duty.

Andy
2014 Continental GT (on order)
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"Tell me what kind of horse you want to ride. I'll tell you what kind of rider you are." (Old Mexican proverb)

Peter

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #22 on: January 30, 2008, 11:04:36 PM »
....
Waiting to do any carb work until after its broken in
...


What I heard is that the stock jetting is rather lean so some carb work may be in order.
(I actually think that the stock carb is probably  just fine and doesn't need any work beyond proper jetting; unless you put a SMALLER carb on,  but that's another discussion)
Slow speeds, high ambient temp, cast iron barrel, freed-up exhaust and a lean mixture almost guarantees a seized piston.
If the dealer is doing the work, make sure that it's jetted right.

Peter

Charro

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2008, 02:01:23 AM »
Peter, yes I also heard that stock jetting is rather lean. Jets will be looked at to compensate for altitude and free flowing exhaust. By carb work I ment replacing carb with larger Mikuni and removing airbox.

Andy
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Peter

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2008, 12:44:46 PM »
.... By carb work I ment replacing carb with larger Mikuni and removing airbox.


A larger carb is not a good idea for your application. A smaller carb would make some sense but is still likely unnecessary. For usable low end, large carbs are poison and a mismatch for near stock engines.  Running wide open at 5000 rpm is another matter. The name of your game is optimal mixture at low to medium rpm.
Spend your money on a forged high comp piston - much more rewarding.

As for removing the airbox, if you bolt the filter right to the carb inlet, you will shorten the inlet tract too much and will have a flat spot in the torque curve. Just because everybody takes a photo of this carb setup and thinks it's authentic doesn't make it right. For high speed applications you need a velocity stack and for your off road application you need a piece of radiator tubing (4-5" worked for me) between the carb and filter. That also takes care of the annoying intake noise.
Spend your money on a forged high comp piston - much more rewarding.

To sum up:
Smallish carb + proper intake tract length + decent compression + free exhaust = tractable torque and power for off road plunking

I have a 30mm Amal (came with cycle) and I think it's a tad to large but not too bad.

Peter

[old attachment deleted by admin]
« Last Edit: January 31, 2008, 12:46:45 PM by Peter »

Leonard

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2008, 03:30:28 PM »
  That is just about the best explanation that I have heard concerning filter placement, Peter.  I've always known that my bike ran better with the K & N filter mounted in the airbox rather than directly to the carb now I know why.
Thanks,
Leonard

As for removing the airbox, if you bolt the filter right to the carb inlet, you will shorten the inlet tract too much and will have a flat spot in the torque curve. Just because everybody takes a photo of this carb setup and thinks it's authentic doesn't make it right.
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Peter

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2008, 04:59:59 PM »
And while we are at it, there are two more things to consider:

1. For better low end torque a SMALLER diameter downpipe may be advantageous. The smaller tube will increase exhaust gas velocity and therefore exhaust gas scavenging at lower engine speeds. (penalty is again high speed restriction - no issue for mild off road use) Supposedly the Bullet 350 has a smaller downpipe. May be too expensive or too troublesome for just trying out.

2. Running a richer mixture can cause plug fouling when plonking around. Leaning things out or using a higher heat rated plug will help there but increase temps and risk of detonation at high engine loads. Using a projected tip plug allows for running a colder plug with richer mixture without fouling. I use NGK BPR9EIX. Do NOT use a projected tip plug without ping timing your engine properly. You will probably need to decrease advance significantly, at least I had to in my high comp engine.

Just food for thought for creating a torque monster Bullet

Peter
« Last Edit: January 31, 2008, 06:20:03 PM by Peter »

Charro

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2008, 07:03:11 PM »
Peter thanks for taking the time to place above post. Only other RE I have ridden is my used 03. It came with 32 Mikuni and open K&N.

Your right smaller would be better for offroad and torquey powerband. Thanks you saved me $300.00 down the road. Come and visit me in New Mexico help me set up this beast, beer and tacos on me. That goes out to everyone intrested in this project.


Thanks
Andy
2014 Continental GT (on order)
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2004 Triumph Speed Four
2001 Triumph Bonneville
2006 Triumph Scrambler
2010 Vespa GTS
"Tell me what kind of horse you want to ride. I'll tell you what kind of rider you are." (Old Mexican proverb)

Charro

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #28 on: February 05, 2008, 04:49:29 PM »
I regret having to place this project on hold for now. The price of the new bike plus modifications was getting out of control. For the price I can buy a very fine adventure bike.

But not giving up on dream, will look for good used Military and start over. Anyone know of one?

Andy
2014 Continental GT (on order)
2004 Triumph Sprint RS
2004 Triumph Speed Four
2001 Triumph Bonneville
2006 Triumph Scrambler
2010 Vespa GTS
"Tell me what kind of horse you want to ride. I'll tell you what kind of rider you are." (Old Mexican proverb)

LJRead

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #29 on: February 05, 2008, 06:06:30 PM »
You know, Charro, not getting that Military might be a blessing in disguise.  I uncrated my bike in the driveway and had to push it up to the shop, and even though R E  is no heavy weight, as bikes go, it seemed awfully heavy at that time.  Something about 150 pounds lighter and with the same sort of power might make life easier out in those hills and gullies.  Sure, you will normally have power, but there may be times when you will need to get off and push.   Just a thought, what do you think?

Charro

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #30 on: February 05, 2008, 07:06:57 PM »
You know, Charro, not getting that Military might be a blessing in disguise.  I uncrated my bike in the driveway and had to push it up to the shop, and even though R E  is no heavy weight, as bikes go, it seemed awfully heavy at that time.  Something about 150 pounds lighter and with the same sort of power might make life easier out in those hills and gullies.  Sure, you will normally have power, but there may be times when you will need to get off and push.   Just a thought, what do you think?

LJ, I think your right on this one. Weight and power are one thing, handling if the rough is the other.

Just for poops and giggles I took my 03 Bullet in the rough last Friday. Handled semi hard dirt roads ok, but was spooky in the soft stuff, got stuck in the deep sand. Had to get off a push, which is ok thats part of the adventure.

I can handle the low power, but the handling of stock suspension, tires, and wheel size is just bad in the soft sand. I was already at 6K with my other mods, these would have added 500-1000 more.

I think I will look for a cheaper RE doner bike and put a CMW modified trials kit on it. That might be the answer for a RE diirtbike.

Andy
2014 Continental GT (on order)
2004 Triumph Sprint RS
2004 Triumph Speed Four
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2006 Triumph Scrambler
2010 Vespa GTS
"Tell me what kind of horse you want to ride. I'll tell you what kind of rider you are." (Old Mexican proverb)

LJRead

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #31 on: February 06, 2008, 09:32:06 PM »
Hey amigo, there were a couple R E's probably unregistrable, new, in the Seattle area for around $2000 each that might make a good start.  They were 350 cc. Under Campfire talk you can check out the site on problems importing a bike from India, or maybe contact Prof_Stack about them, he lives close to the guy selling them.  But anyway, I've seen some good deals for things like salvage cases on Ebay, so if your patient, something will turn up.   

jonapplegate

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #32 on: February 20, 2008, 05:26:53 PM »
Living here in Seattle I saw on craigslist a little while ago a couple of RE's that had been imported and were now on sale for a very good price. I have a feeling that person didn't do their research and has got unregisterable bikes. If one was looking for off-road only then this might make sense but how much would it cost to send something like this across the country? Might be more economical to just wait for a nearby donor bike.

LJRead

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Re: OffRoad on a RE
« Reply #33 on: February 20, 2008, 05:50:03 PM »

I don't know how he managed it, but my shipping agent in New York is shipping an unregister able 2002 Machismo all the way across the U.S. for $500; and this is in Customs bond.  From your area to New Mexico might be a similar amount or possibly less.

If the bikes somehow got through Customs but can't be registered, then they could also be parted out.