Bugout Dual-Sport Motorcycle

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makings06
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Bugout Dual-Sport Motorcycle

Post by makings06 » Wed Feb 05, 2014 8:40 pm

Here the last 3 or so months I have been doing some research on a nice bug out motorcycle that was just as capable on road as it was off road. I have ridden bikes since I was old enough to pull start a Briggs and Stratton (yes my first bike was a mini bike with a lawn mower engine). Anyway, I love the speed, acceleration, peppyness, and lightweight of the modern 4 stroke motorcross bikes. Plus having to mix gas complicates things in a bug out scenario.

I will share the research that I found that led me to my ultimate decision. First off, I knew that I wanted to go with a Japanese bike. The reason being, Jap bikes are very common which means there are more parts around which are easy to get. Also, they are pretty decently priced for the quality that you get. Also, that's what I have the most experience with as well. I have nothing against European bikes, its just they are more expensive and you can't tear the thing apart, rebuild it, and put it back together as fast as a Jap bike either.

The problem with most dual sport motorcycles (dual sport=street bike and dirt bike morphed into one) is that they really aren't made for intense off road use. The two most popular Japanese dual sports are the Kawasaki KLR 650 and the Honda XR 650. I think they are both great bikes, but they are just way too bulky and heavy to be taking too far off the road. I wanted something that could match the top end ability of those, but yet be smaller and lighter.

I chose a Honda 450x. For those of you that know anything about the Honda 450s, you know that these are some mean powerful bikes. The 450R, the motorcross version, tops out at around 90 and that is governed, there is still a little juice left. Pretty insane that a bike only weighing 242lbs (with a full tank of gas) has a motor that is almost 60 horse. Anyway, these 450x are the same bike with headlight, taillights, turn signals, and all that stuff plus an electric starter which adds a little weight. This is basically the version that people race at Baja, which Honda has had lots of success at over the years.

One hurdle that I did have to tackle though, Kansas will not tag a dirt bike and they consider the 450x a dirt bike. I'm not sure how things work in other parts of the state but here in the northwest it took a lot of time to figure out a way around this. The problem is that on the title of most bikes, dual-sport or dirt, it says "off road use only." The bikes like the KLR, XR, and Suzuki's DR are made to be mostly ran on the road. So you can tag them, but because those other bikes are considered strictly "off road only" bikes, good luck getting a court house to tag it. From my research, even if you have headlights, street tires, turn signals, etc. they still will not tag an "off road use only" title.

There is a way around this, and that is to purchase the bike from a state that it can be tagged AND make sure that it has already been tagged in that state. I bought my 2005 450x from an Oklahoma dealership a few weeks ago. Not only had it been tagged, but it had been tricked out just the way I wanted it. License plate kit, turn signals, a luggage rack, skid plate, re-enforced radiator mounts, and aftermarket clutch that allows the bike not to die while in gear. This comes in handy if you are shot in the arm and can only operate the bike with one hand.

Anyway, the title no longer says "off road use only" so when I got into the court house, they don't know it is a dirt bike. Also remember that with an out of state vehicle, you have to get the State Troopers or LEO agency to verify your VIN number. This costs $20 or less.

I am very happy with my bike. Made a 90 or so mile journey with it the other day and had no problem maintaining 80 (yes it will do 80 comfortably). My plans for the bike, I am hoping to get it hydrodipped camo because it is bright red now and just too loud! Also, it only has a 2 gallon tank which I would like to switch out for a 6.6 gallon tank. I might look into a little quieter exhaust as well.

Just thought I would share my experience with tagging a dirt bike. Like I said, there is a chance that they enforce the law differently in other parts of the state but this has been my experience here.

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Blackthorn-USA
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Re: Bugout Dual-Sport Motorcycle

Post by Blackthorn-USA » Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:30 pm

Congrats on the new ride! Good information too. A good hydrodip or spraybomb and some saddlebags and you'll be set. Looks like a beast!
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makings06
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Re: Bugout Dual-Sport Motorcycle

Post by makings06 » Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:14 am

Thank you! Update, got the VIN verified by the state trooper since it was an out of state purchase. There was a box for off road use only and one for highway use and he checked the latter. I guess this confirms the theory of buying a dirt bike out of state that has ALREADY been tagged in that state to get it tagged in KS.

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makings06
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Location: Badlands of Kansas

Re: Bugout Dual-Sport Motorcycle

Post by makings06 » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:01 pm

I have big plans for this bike this spring. Thought I would share them all with you guys.

As it turns out, it is not a good idea to race the girlfriend home from the next town over and sustain a high rev and speed for more than a few miles. So now, the bike is getting a complete rebuild. And while its all tore down, I figure it is the perfect time to build it up the way I want.

First going to install a 450R motocross cam which should free up some ponies. Next I'm going to go with a full aftermarket exhaust that is slightly quieter than stock, but will improve the power band through the whole RPM curve. I'm going to go with a bigger 3.4 gallon tank (6.6 is just too big and bulky making the bike less nimble) that should give me a range of about 200 miles. I'm replacing the stator for a higher output stator. That way I can actually use the headlight at night and see where I am going. I also am going to replace the sprockets and make it higher geared so that I can sustain 75-80 if I have to without blowing it up again. This will kill some of the low end power, but it shouldn't be too bad since I had a hard time to begin with keeping the front wheel on the ground through 2nd. Put on some passenger footpegs, hand guards, and when its ready to be put back together, I am going to get it hydro dipped in multicam camo.

I'll be sure to share some pictures when it is done. Then its on to building my dream bugout truck.

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