Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The rally bike of 2011

I thought I would try to sum up what I have done to the bike to prepare it for the rally this year and also to take the opportunity to show it off for all you petrol heads out there.

KTM 530 EXC SixDays Rally Lite Edition
The bike is a KTM 530 EXC SixDays 2010 with about 55hrs on it. My goal has been to build a "rally lite" bike just as I did last year. That is, I try to do as little modifications as possible and I try to keep the bike as light and slim as I can by not putting on to much stuff on it. Rather taking things away to keep the weight down. The reasons for building a lite version are mainly these:

140/80 Michelin Desert is
one wide tire...
  • Keep everything you do as simple as possible. The less complicated the less chance it will break and the easier it will be to repair in the field.
  • Every custom part you put on must be field tested before the rally. And by field testing I mean a lot of tough riding not just riding down a dirt road for a while. Preferably you should do a race with the part on your bike before you can trust it.
  • If you build your own parts instead of buying parts of a well known brand you need to test it even more.
  • The more stuff you put on, the more stuff that can break. And things do break. The most effective way to prevent something from breaking is not to put it on.

The non-standard components on chassis and engine are:
  • Rebuilt front suspension (springs, shims)
  • Rebuilt rear suspension (springs, bladder)
  • Cylinder head ported
  • Carburator (jets, etc) adjusted on bench
  • Akrapovic exhaust
A degreased chain will last longer in the desert
All these mods were made by the previous owner and since the bike has done one previous rally I consider these mods to be well tested.

Here is a list of the preparations I have done to the bike just before this rally:

New plastic and decals just
for good looks
  • New wheel bearings
  • New grips (soft to reduce vibrations)
  • New motor oil and oil filter
  • New gear box oil
  • New fork oil (thicker)
  • Checked and greased steering head bearings
  • New brake fluid
  • Checked all electric wiring for wear and function
  • Mounted electric wiring for the roadbook holder
  • Mounted navigaton tower
  • Mounted roadbook holder (MD with backlight and remote)
  • Mounted GPS mount (I'm using a Garmin Foretrex 201)
  • Mounted remote control for the trip computer
  • New (dry) chain and sprockets
  • New Michelin Desert tires and Michelin Desert mousse (front, rear and second rear wheel)
  • Cleaned the carburetor
  • Changed cooling fluid to Engine Ice
  • Mounted large 13L tank
  • Mounted rear fender bag
  • Put thread lock on pretty much every single bolt on the bike
  • Checked brake pads (they were almost new so I didn't change them)
  • New plastic and new decals (absolutely no function, just for good looks :)
  • Charged the battery
  • Mounted custom skidplate with water tank
Aluminum skidplate with water tank
Apart from that I have pretty much checked everything else on the bike for wear and function. Spokes, handlebar controls, gas wire etc. Every part of the bike needs to be in mint condition if  you want it to run smoothly through an eight day race without any major problems.

Roadbook holder, GPS, trip computer and remote controls
As per usual when preparing a bike for a race, most of the work is not visible so you will not get any credit for it from someone who doesn't understand how much work that goes into something like this. But thats just how it is. :)

Now its only two days left before I'm leaving for Spain and I can't wait to get on the bike and head out to the dunes!

Spare levers strapped to the skidplate
Both front and rear suspension has been modified
Ready to jump over those Sahara dunes!

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