Not another Bonnie desert sled project 🏜🏍 - Triumph Forum: Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
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2015 Scrambler - Not another desert sled project 🏜🏍

How stupid and unpractical, why would you want a motorcycle for sand dunes and off road when you live in a rainy British capital 20 miles away from any wildlife let alone a dry desert? You think you're some sort of Steve McQueen or something? Plus the Bonneville is heavy, unresponsive and underpowered, why not just get a proper off road bike.

Not sure why, maybe the pure idiocy of the idea seemed appealing at the time, but three weeks ago I set a date to take the only bike I have to the Sahara, and well I have until the end of the month to turn a stock 2015 Triumph Scrambler into a "sled".

The bike in question on the date I picked it up from the dealer a year and a half ago.

Not another Bonnie desert sled project 🏜🏍-img_2972.jpg

One previous owner, like new, only done 2.5K miles and totally unmodified, apart from those Oxford heated grips (nice in the winter on the motorway) but ugly as sin. So over the last year and a half I've been making a list in my head of things to change, but never had the time or money to do it (sound familiar?). Now that I had a deadline in place, there was no chance to back out. I live in London and space is limited, I have a garage, but it's about 6 miles way from my house. I should also say that at the time of starting this I didn't have any tools, practically zero mechanical experience and workshop space or contacts. I have a day job, so can only tinker on the weekends, and in the evenings with a torch (if it's not raining, and it rains quite a lot).

I think the most important thing to any project is making a tight list of parts you need. It's very easy to buy a shiny thing on an impulse when you see it online or in a shop, but if it's not on the list you probably don't "need" it. Also writing things down into a notepad or your phone means you can really plan and think through your build before committing to it financially, easily modifying or removing items. Even with that you end up with unwanted parts, and nobody likes returning or reselling those on eBay at a loss.

As I mentioned, I didn't have any tools. Some spanners but that's it, so it had to all be purchased at a $$$. My advice would be, buy the most expensive tools you can afford. Buy cheap and you'll buy twice, three times. Can you justify the triple price on that spanner? Yes you can. If you're going to use it again and again and again for the next 10 - 20 years you don't want shoddy tools. So I did go overboard perhaps, but decided for myself that Facom do the largest range of tools any person would ever need and their quality and engineering in the tools is superb. I bought a 1/2 socket set and drive, 1/4 socket set, various pliers, vernier calipers, grease and a couple other things.

Not another Bonnie desert sled project 🏜🏍-img_6265.jpg

Not another Bonnie desert sled project 🏜🏍-img_6261.jpg

32mm socket! Yeah baby, look at it! Anyway, that's it. This is my base of tools I worked out I would need for most jobs, and any tool I didn't have for a new job would be purchased and added to the toolbox. This way in the end I would have a full set of tools one would need to disassemble and entire bike.

more coming...

Last edited by edd_.e; 04-10-2019 at 12:31 PM.
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post #2 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 02:23 PM
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How about publishing your wish list? I had a 2010 Scrambler. I havenít been to the Sahara but I do live in the Nevada desert. Tires make a huge difference off road. The higher center of gravity makes lofting the front easier but makes the bike fall easier too!
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post #3 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 02:54 PM
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@ edd.e......are you serious!!!


Edit..... Are you fookin serious???

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post #4 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mike-tt special View Post
@ edd.e......are you serious!!!


Edit..... Are you fookin serious???
Haha I should probably clarify that I’m not going alone and the location is in Morocco
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post #5 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanFromVegas View Post
How about publishing your wish list? I had a 2010 Scrambler. I havenít been to the Sahara but I do live in the Nevada desert. Tires make a huge difference off road. The higher center of gravity makes lofting the front easier but makes the bike fall easier too!
Here is the list in its current state

Not another Bonnie desert sled project 🏜🏍-screenshot-2019-04-10-at-23.02.11.jpg
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post #6 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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Exhaust

Exhaust, exhaust, exhaust what an ugly little thing. It's also very quiet (dangerous). Like many, I'm at the belief that if you can't be seen you can at least be heard which is safer. And oh my days is it heavy. So ok, I didn't decide to replace the entire exhaust system, but swap the silencers and wrap the whole thing in exhaust wrap.

Not another Bonnie desert sled project 🏜🏍-screenshot-2019-04-10-at-23.24.12.jpg

Off and with pea shooter pipes from a VW (saw this on youtube and only cost £20/$25 on eBay) slide right in with some new silencer seals.

Not another Bonnie desert sled project 🏜🏍-img_6286.jpg

And so the pain of exhaust wrapping begun. If you've never done this before, like me, don't a) wear short sleeves and sit on a couch in your living room, and b) start wrapping at 11PM thinking it will be quick.

Exhaust wrap is really nasty stuff, if I read up about it enough before hand I probably would not have done it in the first place. This shiny cloth is part fibreglass so glass shards go everywhere, on your floor, in your couch, in your underwear, not to mention that when you wet the thing to stretch over your pipes the paint rubs off after a while and that goes on your couch, your floor... you get the picture.

Not another Bonnie desert sled project 🏜🏍-img_6288.jpg

So after a couple of wraps and unwraps I managed to cover the exhaust. There is a good video Delboy's Garage does on this explaining how to wrap properly, if you haven't seen his videos I urge you watch them on YouTube. As you can see what started as a black wrap wasn't black anymore, my gloves absorbed all the paint from it when I was stretching it wet. Now before you assume the cloth was some FisherPrice jobby, I paid £30/$40 for this stuff and it said high quality, and of course a word on the internet is one to be trusted.

Not another Bonnie desert sled project 🏜🏍-img_6292.jpg

Anyway, I had some left over high temperature spray paint which I covered the exhaust with. By the way this is recommended anyway to stop the ends fraying, effectively gluing all the loose bits of cloth strands with paint.

Not another Bonnie desert sled project 🏜🏍-img_6293.jpg

Here it is fitted. Took some wiggling around to get it back in, those bolts around the manifold aren't easy to get to. Make sure to put new copper gaskets in! I can't say I'm thrilled with the result, I like the ratty raw look of it and I swear, maybe this is just me imagining it, the bike felt more responsive like it gained a horsepower or two, but I must just be naive.

Not another Bonnie desert sled project 🏜🏍-img_6303.jpg

Last edited by edd_.e; 04-10-2019 at 08:03 PM.
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post #7 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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Suspension

So this one is a no-brainer. What is the first thing everyone suggest you upgrade on a Bonneville when you decide to mod it? No, not trade in for a Speed Triple, upgrade the suspension! That's right, so although the choice was easy on what to do, it wasn't easy on how to do it.

There is a sea of choice and prices ranging from an xbox game to a holiday in the Caribbean, so it really makes you do the research that your money is well spent and what price range you want to be in on. I think I spent about two weeks of research, watching videos and reading forums before I settled on a pair of YSS Eco Line Twins in the Scrambler 360mm size. They seem reasonably priced, provide the level of adjustment I needed and weren't piggyback's (looks over functionality on this one, keep the classic looking classic).

Not another Bonnie desert sled project 🏜🏍-img_6266.jpg

New vs old

Not another Bonnie desert sled project 🏜🏍-img_6278.jpg

As I was at it, also swapped the front springs out for YSS ones. Couldn't have been an easier changeover that dramatically changed it to a stiffer front end without that wooly play in suspension when you halt to a stop.

Not another Bonnie desert sled project 🏜🏍-img_6343.jpg

Rear shocks on, bolts torqued up and marked and bike feels miles more responsive. It's so good in fact the only way I can describe it is like eating cheese sandwiches all your life thinking you have it set, but then discovering ham, lettuce and tomato, just a different ball game. OK, it might be late, I'm tired and probably hungry, but you get the point, hopefully? Spend the money on suspension it's worth it.

Oh, and also I bought a Dirty Pro Tools scissor jack to do this *added to toolbox

Not another Bonnie desert sled project 🏜🏍-img_6282.jpg
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post #8 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 09:04 PM
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God I hope you dont have a white sofa! And if you do I hope you dont have a wife.
Cant wait to see you transform the bike.
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post #9 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-11-2019, 03:20 AM Thread Starter
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God I hope you dont have a white sofa! And if you do I hope you dont have a wife.
Cant wait to see you transform the bike.
Sofa is beige and no wife (maybe having beige as your interior design choices makes one non-marriage material).
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post #10 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-11-2019, 03:46 AM
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Pretty obvious the no wife bit when you did the wrap late at night on the sofa ! I find it easier to bake exhaust paint in the oven before putting it on the bike .

Last edited by Hedgepig; 04-11-2019 at 03:48 AM. Reason: addition
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