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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
2015 Scrambler - Not another desert sled project 馃彍馃弽

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.

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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.

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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...
 

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How about publishing your wish list? I had a 2010 Scrambler. I haven鈥檛 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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Discussion Starter #5
How about publishing your wish list? I had a 2010 Scrambler. I haven鈥檛 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

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
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.

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

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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.

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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 拢30/$40 for this stuff and it said high quality, and of course a word on the internet is one to be trusted.

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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.

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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.

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Discussion Starter #7
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).

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New vs old

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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.

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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

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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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Discussion Starter #9
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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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 .
 

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All exhaust paint that I have used requires careful "curing " to set properly , fit on bike then not get it too hot or it can start to peel and flake . I found best result by oven baking does mean the exhaust has to be in small enough pieces to fit in the oven or a large oven .
 

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Discussion Starter #13
All exhaust paint that I have used requires careful "curing " to set properly , fit on bike then not get it too hot or it can start to peel and flake . I found best result by oven baking does mean the exhaust has to be in small enough pieces to fit in the oven or a large oven .
Oh I see, I used a can of E-Tech XHT rated to 650C and there was no instruction regarding pre-curing in a lower heat. Also this exhaust too big to fit in an over haha. Used this on a car engine block before and didn鈥檛 have any flakes, just spray on, let it dry for an hour and start the engine. Job done.
 

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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.

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.

View attachment 639082

some regard stiffer front springs that get rid of that "wooly feeling" as an improvement for road handling, but for off-road/ poor quality road riding the more compliant OE fork springs that soak up the bumps are usually more desirable.....

edd.e i have serious concerns that you know what you are doing, and what you are letting yourself in for attempting what you say??? .......even if it is with a group of other riders and some kind of back-up.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
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.

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.

View attachment 639082

some regard stiffer front springs that get rid of that "wooly feeling" as an improvement for road handling, but for off-road/ poor quality road riding the more compliant OE fork springs that soak up the bumps are usually more desirable.....

edd.e i have serious concerns that you know what you are doing, and what you are letting yourself in for attempting what you say??? .......even if it is with a group of other riders and some kind of back-up.
Going to test ride over the weekend. The OE springs would stick slightly at full compression so hardly did well at absorbing.
 

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How about publishing your wish list? I had a 2010 Scrambler. I haven鈥檛 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!


Fellow las vegan!


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Looks like a great project! If you want an extra pair of hands (though similarly experienced as yourself!) then give me a shout, I'm just over in Hither Green and am doing similar mods to my T100.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Suspension (UPDATED)

So after a little off-road test over the weekend it's clear that the YSS front springs are wayy too stiff. I also ordered the progressive version, but the company sent me linear ones even though the description said otherwise. Apparently YSS have stopped doing them, thus they have kindly accepted to give me a full refund even though I've already used them in the bike for a couple of weeks and no longer had the box. Parts supplier.... you da real MVP

So I've ordered some Wilbers Promoto springs which absorb the bumps far better. Although they are about 3cm longer than the OEM, so I'll see if I cut the fork tube spacers later.

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Bicycle cable housing has come in handy as a little hook tool.

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
6000 mile service

So as my bike has done around 5500 miles (not too sure exactly as my motogadget speedo broke), and by the time I'm back from the trip it will be more like 7K I thought it would be sensible to do it's first proper service. I must say thank you to the trusty Haynes manual on this for an easy checklist.

Oil change, done. Swapped the filter to a K&N (haven't had any leaking issues unlike some report).

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Air filter swapped to a Simota Performance one.

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Spark plugs changed even though nothing was really wrong with them, just really rusted away with the water sitting in that dip at the top of the engine head.

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Brakes bled, cables checked, chain cleaned and re-tightened. And oh, this is a big one new tyres! Old ones were running close to illegal anyway so this counts as a service job, but also needed something bit more beefy for the off-road. The tyres were changed by a tyre shop. The ones in question are the Conti TKC80's

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Because most of these jobs are done after work, basically in the dark, I've been needing a trusty bright light to turn night into day. This is what I've been using - the Makita DML806 and couldn't recommend it more. If you're like me and don't have a garage or do have one and no power source this thing lights up a whole room and runs for hours from the standard Makita 18V.

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Discussion Starter #20
Looks like a great project! If you want an extra pair of hands (though similarly experienced as yourself!) then give me a shout, I'm just over in Hither Green and am doing similar mods to my T100.
Oh nice one, I'm just in East Dulwich. Are you after any parts or have any parts you're looking to swap/sell? Yeah man come by and say hi
 
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