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I always marvel at the look on the faces of ADV bike owners when you first put them on a proper dirt bike of around 250cc. Having never ridden anything other than overweight behemoths with humongous alloy luggage along the tamest of gravel trails they smile wider than kids in a lolly shop.
 

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Eli, go for it, you only live once. Don’t grow old kicking yourself in the ass for not doing this. That being said, much physical conditioning and dirt instruction/practice essential.
Go with your lighter weight T100. “Less is more” off road. I would suggest you mount a quality oil cooler with gravel shield just below the jugs so as to not block any air flow. Along with doing the job it’s designed for, you’ll pick up an additional 1/2 quart of oil from filling oil cooler & armored lines. “More is more” in this case.
You might consider new wiring harness, fresh coils, points, condensers & plug wires for the race. You can’t really troubleshoot electronic ignitions in the dirt - when they are dead, they are dead. Extremely rare for both points circuits to die. Chances are you would always be able to limp along on one lung.
Start a blog from race prep through finish line. With a good editor, director & producer, you could make enough scratch to cover your race expenses!
 

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Hi Eli,
more in common with these poor chaps
If you eventually decide against using your T100C, note the punishment those Army bikes took? While available new, batches of used British armed forced bikes are sold off regularly ...

oil cooler
If you've read Jupiter's Travels, you'll know whether Ted fitted or desired an oil cooler. If neither, I advise against, the pump doesn't circulate the oil fast enough for it to be a coolant, so it spends a relatively long time in the tank. Also, if you haven't already, you'll be adding a proper oil filter, which will give both extra capacity and heat radiation area.

Risking stating the obvious, the automotive canister-type filter probably isn't a good idea, because of where it has to be mounted.

Tricor Andy's mounts beside the vertical frame tube behind the engine, in the space in front of the battery; takes Triumph/BSA triple elements.

Or @DMadigan Dave does an even-smaller filter container, that takes (iirc) a Honda dirtbike element.

Replacement triple or Honda elements are more compact than the automotive type, saving spares space on the support truck?

Hth.

Regards,
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Eli, go for it, you only live once. Don’t grow old kicking yourself in the ass for not doing this. That being said, much physical conditioning and dirt instruction/practice essential.
Go with your lighter weight T100. “Less is more” off road. I would suggest you mount a quality oil cooler with gravel shield just below the jugs so as to not block any air flow. Along with doing the job it’s designed for, you’ll pick up an additional 1/2 quart of oil from filling oil cooler & armored lines. “More is more” in this case.
You might consider new wiring harness, fresh coils, points, condensers & plug wires for the race. You can’t really troubleshoot electronic ignitions in the dirt - when they are dead, they are dead. Extremely rare for both points circuits to die. Chances are you would always be able to limp along on one lung.
Start a blog from race prep through finish line. With a good editor, director & producer, you could make enough scratch to cover your race expenses!
Thanks! I plan to document the project, I've been looking for inspiration to get my camera out. I've got a 1st gen Fuji X100 that has been through the wars with me. I don't think anything I do will be scratch worthy but I'll try!

If I take my current bike, it's got a new loom, coils and plug wires already but I wouldn't feel comfortable taking it without going over the engine internals. And if I wait until next winter before stripping and rebuilding it, the Norton should be on the road so I won't be bikeless.

It won't all be sand but for the really loose stuff it's got to be comfortable having the n*ts revved off of it from what I've read about desert riding.

In the new (old) bike candidates, here's another contender: https://www.leboncoin.fr/motos/1810008842.htm

The price would need to be haggled down but it's been on sale for a few months at least and no import costs etc (5.5% duty plus VAT and fees now for importing classic bikes from the UK). Has had new valves and some minor engine work done. And it has crash bars (they don't look that sturdy though)

Which brings onto my next question: bearing in mind that it's not a race, more of a slog over rough terrain and through sand, what would additional equipment would be desirable?

Crash bars?
Stock forks? If not, which type?
Fork brace
Oil cooler as mentioned by @4trumpets
Off road tyres
Desert air box + filter
Sump guard/bash plate
Uprated rear shocks with longer travel
What about gearing? Keep standard?
 

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I wouldn’t advise off road tyres just trail type tyres. And gearing shouldn’t need to be lowered.
It would be great to do this trip on your T100 C but it and you will take a pounding.
Have been round the areas of Morocco your trip is going a few times and think the amount of deep sand you will be riding though will be very little, most of the time it is rocky almost moonlike with a few sections through or along dry river beds (wadis). they will for sure do a route around erg chebbi that will be the most sand you will ride through .
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Hi Eli,

If you eventually decide against using your T100C, note the punishment those Army bikes took? While available new, batches of used British armed forced bikes are sold off regularly ...


If you've read Jupiter's Travels, you'll know whether Ted fitted or desired an oil cooler. If neither, I advise against, the pump doesn't circulate the oil fast enough for it to be a coolant, so it spends a relatively long time in the tank. Also, if you haven't already, you'll be adding a proper oil filter, which will give both extra capacity and heat radiation area.

Risking stating the obvious, the automotive canister-type filter probably isn't a good idea, because of where it has to be mounted.

Tricor Andy's mounts beside the vertical frame tube behind the engine, in the space in front of the battery; takes Triumph/BSA triple elements.
Thanks for the pointers. I've fitted a Norton type one so it's in quite a vulnerable spot.

I don't think Ted Simon made any modifications to his bike (P spec t100) apart from the crash bars.

I wouldn’t advise off road tyres just trail type tyres. And gearing shouldn’t need to be lowered.
It would be great to do this trip on your T100 C but it and you will take a pounding.
Have been round the areas of Morocco your trip is going a few times and think the amount of deep sand you will be riding though will be very little, most of the time it is rocky almost moonlike with a few sections through or along dry river beds (wadis). they will for sure do a route around erg chebbi that will be the most sand you will ride through .
Thanks. Great photos! I've found a video of one of the previous editions, it's a bit long but very helpful for me

 

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The oil cooler is not really going to do much on a Triumph twin. Oil flow is not a fast rate so the engine itself will get very hot in hot climate. The oil tank is the cooler on these air cooled bikes. I removed the cooler on my T120r as the engine oil was always luke warm no matter how fast or long i rode the bike. After removing the cooler, the oil was at 52C maximum in the tank. Some modern engines are regarded as air/oil cooled and have a large oil flow which the Triumph twin does not have. The modern oils will take much higher temperatures than the mineral oil of the 1960s so will not deteriorate if getting a high temp.
 

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Also if you can …do something with those footrests. On unit 500’s if you come off the left footrest smashes the primary chain case. Maybe some engine protection bars and folding footrests ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #56 ·
Also if you can …do something with those footrests. On unit 500’s if you come off the left footrest smashes the primary chain case. Maybe some engine protection bars and folding footrests ?
The rubber folds up and the whole assembly also swivels upwards on the mounts. But yes, crash bars are a good idea.

The more I think about it, the more I'm tempted to use my current bike. If I have time in January I'll take it apart so I know what I have to work with. That would give me a couple of months to get it running again then a year of tweaking before the big day.
 

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Hi Eli,
https://www.leboncoin.fr/motos/1810008842.htm
it has crash bars (they don't look that sturdy though)
Mmmm ... depends ... at least one version of that front loop is very thick-wall tubing; very heavy though ...

First couple of years I had my T160, it had "Tower" front crashbars - this company majored on lightweight bars because the loop was braced by another tube past the engine, attached to a 3/8" bolt connecting a rear engine plate to the frame. I have first-hand experience of their efficacy - I rear-ended a nearly-new Toyota with the drive-side one, broker advised the car was nearly a write-off ... :sneaky:

Year or so later, I was dispatching in London, had fitted Tower 'bars to the CB400 twin I used for work. Guy pulled out in front of me as I was jumping the lights at Hangar Lane, I jammed on the brakes, it was wet, bike slid upright sideways into the car, did both offside wings and doors, the front offside 'bar was not quite still parallel to the nearside (no sarcasm in that last statement) ...

When I was building my T100, I made the front and lower engine mountings to the frame 1/2" longer than standard and added a 1/4" spacer each side, I've been futzing (as @GrandPaulZ puts it :sneaky:) with tubes to try and replicate at least the Tower CB400 front 'bars principles, around my Triumphs' crankcases. Down the road a bit, we can exchange detailed photos. and sketches?

Sump guard/bash plate
Imho, definitely.

Desert air box + filter
Mmmm ... note the space available between standard carb. position, frame tube behind it, oil tank to one side and sidepanel to the other?

Stock forks? If not, which type?
Fork brace
Uprated rear shocks with longer travel
If you're fitting longer rear shocks, you need similarly-longer forks or you'll steepen the steering head angle. (n) Japanese trail-bike forks?

Oil cooler as mentioned by @4trumpets
Oil cooler as mentioned by @rambo Geoff and me?

What about gearing? Keep standard?
Could be decided when you start practising? Bear in mind, while you have a choice of wide- or standard ratio 'box, 18-, 19-, 20-tooth gearbox sprocket, you only have a choice of 43 and 46-tooth rears (assuming you don't intend to fit a comical rear wheel?).

Does your bike have a a Quickly Detachable rear hub/brake? If not, consider one?

If you look at the parts book "CHAINCASE AND CHAINS" pages, note part 37 "Crankcase protector". If your bike has one already, the stud pokes through a 1/4" ID hole in the drive-side crankcase above the gearbox sprocket and is secured with a nut (and washer?) on top of the crankcase.

Otoh, if your bike doesn't have one, consider buying one now as they're currently available; even if you end up not using your T100, it's a useful part to have fitted.

It's a steel strip that follows the curve of the crankcase casting:-

. If you use a 19-tooth gearbox sprocket, the strip is close enough to the chain to prevent a worn one climbing on to the tips of the sprocket teeth and jamming between the sprocket and crankcase, (y) which often buggers the crankcase terminally.

. If you use an 18-tooth sprocket, even if there's enough space for a worn chain to climb on to the tips of the sprocket teeth, the strip will prevent a jammed chain damaging the crankcase. (y)

Similarly, look at the rear sprockets of Hondas (and possibly other Japanese bikes?); you'll see a thin circular piece of metal rivetted to the sprocket just outside the chain. If a worn chain hops off the sprocket, it lands on the circular piece of metal instead of becoming tangled in sprocket mounting bolt heads, etc. (y) (damhikt :rolleyes:). Consider rescuing two or three of these from discarded worn sprockets, drilling and bolting them to your bike's rear brake or sprocket and spares?

Hth.

Regards,
 

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Thanks! I plan to document the project, I've been looking for inspiration to get my camera out. I've got a 1st gen Fuji X100 that has been through the wars with me. I don't think anything I do will be scratch worthy but I'll try!

If I take my current bike, it's got a new loom, coils and plug wires already but I wouldn't feel comfortable taking it without going over the engine internals. And if I wait until next winter before stripping and rebuilding it, the Norton should be on the road so I won't be bikeless.

It won't all be sand but for the really loose stuff it's got to be comfortable having the n*ts revved off of it from what I've read about desert riding.

In the new (old) bike candidates, here's another contender: https://www.leboncoin.fr/motos/1810008842.htm

The price would need to be haggled down but it's been on sale for a few months at least and no import costs etc (5.5% duty plus VAT and fees now for importing classic bikes from the UK). Has had new valves and some minor engine work done. And it has crash bars (they don't look that sturdy though)

Which brings onto my next question: bearing in mind that it's not a race, more of a slog over rough terrain and through sand, what would additional equipment would be desirable?

Crash bars?
Stock forks? If not, which type?
Fork brace
Oil cooler as mentioned by @4trumpets
Off road tyres
Desert air box + filter
Sump guard/bash plate
Uprated rear shocks with longer travel
What about gearing? Keep standard?
Eli,
Crash bars add weight & could get in the way through cluttered terrain. Duct tape spare brake & clutch levers with correct wrench to handlebar for quick replacement as might be needed. Sturdy aluminum skid plate good idea.
Just talk to real vintage motorcycle racers who actually ride in hot climates about the straight story on oil coolers. Cheers
 

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Hi Eli, A few thoughts. There is a difference in racing & very hard riding & just covering same route in a thoughtful & more conservative manner. Racing & fast riding simply punishes man & machine. A fall at 15 or 20 miles per hour is very different than 40 or 50. A dip or bump at 20 you may handle fine. 40 miles an hour a broken collarbone or much worse.

You can ride for years on the street without falling. Of road things happen that will put you on the ground. It is part of off road riding.

Studies in USA have shown riders that cut their teeth off road have much fewer crashes & collisions than riders without off road skills. It will make you a better rider. Off road is very different & very much fun. Many ways to get hurt, but if you ride with cautions attitude, keep at safe speed for conditions, don’t get caught up in the crowd &. Start riding over your head.

Truth be told the unavoidable falls tend to tear up the bike & sheet metal.

500 or 650 doesn’t matter.
Build motor for good lower rpm power, utter reliability. What fuel? Low compression may be advisable.

Watching video that is similar to desert sled terrain. Single carb 650 was king until the light weight motocross type bikes arrived.

Very carefully study the Triumph International 6 days trials bike prep. That meticulous prep is what you need.
The desert sleds look like thrown together beat up pieces of junk. The crashes made them look rough & junky. Make no mistake the winning bikes were impeccably prepared. Nothing was left to chance.

Of course old Triumphs can cover 800-1000 miles of this terrain without issues. Properly prepared most bikes would have no problem.

I rode My ‘70 TR6C in similar conditions on occasion. Normal off road single track & hill climbs all the time. Very easy to ride. Suspension is basically short travel. You cannot ride fast over rough ground with sophisticated long travel suspension. You will get hurt & break parts.

Don’t overlook TR7RV Tiger. Fit high pipes with heat shields. 7.4 pistons.

Wider skid plate helps protect pegs, shifter. Study winning desert sleds. Of course you’ll need lights. Other than air filter servicing, a properly assembled & broken in motor should cover 1000 miles without issues. For shake down rides do a few 3-4 300 mile days in a row.

Be gentle on the motor no reason to rev it silly or lug it.
Gearing? Very important & alway compromise. How fast must you ride on pavement? Gear high enough to not over rev. But maybe more importantly low enough to never bog it. Keeping motor always spinning freely at mid RPM is key to not over heating even in very hot weather like 110f.
18T front is maybe ok. Desert sleds tended to be lower, but seldom had asphalt road sections.

If you do your homework, build bike for terrain, impeccable assembly, you’ll have the ride of your life!! Plus a very fun to ride spare bike. Keep it street legal.

We do long rides mostly pavement 800-1200 miles. All the well assembled bikes finish no problems. Occasional flat tires, but very few of those.

If at all possible build the bike & have fun!!
Don
 

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Two places you don’t want to end up in Morocco…… hospital or jail.
In a group of bikers there are going to be some that show off there motorcross skills ,whether it is real or imagined !!
Don’t ride faster than you can see. On those open planes what appears flat can have deep ruts or small wadis across that are difficult to spot !
 
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