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Author Topic: OffRoad on a RE  (Read 4650 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



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)

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 »
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)

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
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)

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
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)