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ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
12/1/20 8:12 p.m.

In 2017-2019, I undertook one of my more ambitious projects to date; updating and upgrading my Suzuki DR350SE to make it a more capable and more modern lightweight dual sport. I didn't do a build thread at the time, but every time I post pictures of it, I get a minor flood of questions and requests for more information, so I figured this winter would be a good time to post a build thread.

This was a very gratifying build for me, because it really helped further my skill set and I learned a huge amount in the process. It took me from being a bolt-ons, minor customization, and minor fabrication type to being willing to re-imagine a vehicle, tackle more extensive mods, and go through every subsystem with rebuilds and improvements for my intended use. Of course by the time I was done I was looking at all my work from early in the project with a critical eye and wanting to re-do much of it!

The nickel tour: I took my almost completely-stock DR350SE and swapped an RMZ250 fork and CRF250R swingarm onto the bike. I repaired and tidied up the welds and brackets on the frame. I built new footpegs that failed miserably, and then bought some that work well. I updated the plastics, modified a rack, upgraded the kickstand, and added soft luggage attachment points. I added a fairing/windshield/lighting/dashboard upgrade. I put LEDs, reflectors, and running lights where practical. I re-loomed the stock harness along with some repairs and said upgrades, plus USB charge ports, hidden kill switch, voltmeter, heated grips, integrated trickle charger plug, and more. I built my own bar risers, upgraded the seat, brakes, and more. I replaced most everything rubber on the bike. I de-burred and powder coated almost everything I could. The powertrain remained mostly stock, save some carburetor and exhaust tweaks.

Starting point:

Result:

 

I'll be updating in installments as I dig through the archives and remember the details.

1SlowVW
1SlowVW HalfDork
12/2/20 6:39 p.m.

Cool bike, I had one with a decked head a good valve job and a few other tweaks, it was a 90+mph dirt bike that could power wheelie in 3rd. 
The suspension and kick start only were real draw backs as mine was an earlier model. Looks like you have both of those issues addressed! 
 

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
12/3/20 5:40 a.m.

Following, been reading up on the fork swap for a while.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
12/3/20 6:22 a.m.

Is that bike posted somewhere else? ADV Rider? I swear I know that bike. 

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
12/3/20 7:06 a.m.

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

There is a picture of it in my DR250 thread. 

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
12/4/20 1:20 a.m.

There are a few photos of it on the advrider.com forums, mostly in the DR350 thread and in Villain's DR350 Supermoto build thread.

A little history: I believe my grandfather started regularly commuting to work via motorcycle during WWII (to help with fuel rationing) and continued riding afterwards. My dad has always had motorcycles around and when I was a kid the time Dad made for himself was to go out riding. I guess I came by it naturally, and I learned to ride before I learned to drive. My first-ever project was a cheap non-running early-70's Honda CR125 when I was about 13 years old. Once rebuilt and running, I scared myself silly ripping around the sheep pasture on that thing.

Fast forward a few decades, and I'm in my 30's and hadn't ridden in forever. I don't know why, I suppose things got in the way like school and cars, and work, etc. I was sitting around at work at the end of the day with my best friend. Every year for years when spring came around I would suggest it might be fun to get a bike, but never seriously. He was really goading me into it this time, telling me about all the fun we would have riding together, and how he knew I was really a bike guy at heart. I humored him briefly with something like, "Well, I suppose if a cheap bike fell into my lap..." at which point a co-worker walked in from another room shaking his head and hanging up his cell phone. He said, "Man...my wife is going to KILL me! What am I going to do?" I asked what was wrong, and he said, "I've been hiding a motorcycle she doesn't know about at a friend's house. He's been bothering me about picking it up for a few weeks, and now he says he is going to put it out on the curb! I'll probably take a bath on selling it, and where am I going to find someone to dump it on quickly? I'd let it go for CHEAP!" I took this as a not-so-subtle sign from the Universe, and within a day or two the '97 DR350SE was in my possession.

Not too much later I was registered for a Basic Rider Oregon class (on the school's TW200) that would get me back into it, and get me my endorsement. I picked up a used jacket off the advrider forum and got some pants, boots, and helmet new. My dad loaned me some of his spare gloves for the time being. The DR started, idled, and revved, and it came with some spare parts, so my dad came to visit and helped get the bike up and going. We cleaned and inspected the rotors, replaced the pads, and bled the brakes. We checked the tires and they looked good, and tested all the lights. We changed the oil and installed new chain and sprockets. Woohoo! I was having a blast, and I hadn't even really ridden much.

paranoid_android (Forum Forumer)
paranoid_android (Forum Forumer) UberDork
12/4/20 2:59 p.m.

Cool, another DR owner!  I'll be following too smiley

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
12/4/20 10:53 p.m.

This next few posts will likely rapidly cover a span a few years time involving minor tweaks, maintenance work, and lots of riding before we can move on to the meaty part of the build. On a fairly early ride on the bike, a longish section of high-speed slab must have been more vibrations than she had seen in a while, and I lost the float bowl's drain plug! I realized that there was a fuel leak fairly quickly and shut off the petcock before getting anything worse than a bit of gas on my boot. I needed to call for a rescue as I didn't happen to have a spare fine-pitch Mikuni carb float bowl drain plug on my person, and had given up after a while of searching back down the shoulder of the highway. I pushed to a gas station where I bought some refreshments and the jerk of an owner informed me that he had zero interest in my problems and that I was not welcome to stay or to leave the bike. I called a buddy and sat in the shade for a bit while consuming the stuff I bought at the gas station. I also called Jesse Kein at Keintech (also in my home state of Oregon) to see if he had the parts. Jesse sold me some carb upgrade parts as well, and while waiting for my ride, the pump attendant came over while his boss wasn't looking. He confirmed that the boss was indeed an shiny happy person, and offered to let me stash the bike inside the locked dumpster area for a few hours while he was still on his shift. Motorcycles seem to have the ability to bring out the worst in a small segment of jerks, and at the same time also bring out the best in a large segment of riders, former riders, future riders, and dreamers/admirers. I got back to the shop, found a spare float bowl screw, got back to the bike and reclaimed her, and got back home and prepared to do some carb work. At that point I also found this damage on the throttle cables:

I got some cables on order and got the carb parts from Keintech. I figured that "while you are in there, might as well," which lead to this:

And eventually to this:

It took quite a bit of trial-and-error fiddling, but eventually the bike got even better with the new throttle cable, rebuilt carb with new seals, new jets, and increased idle adjustment capability. A previous owner had already opened up the airbox, which at the time I took as a bonus, but in the future I wouldn't be so sure. I only mention this here to help provide a counterpoint to the mountain of marginal BST33 tuning information constantly reguritated around the internet. Those thirsty for DR350SE knowledge need only do a little Googling to find a massive amount of hack-apart-your-airbox-and-replace-all-your-jets will instantly "improve" your bike types of posts. In hindsight I think the bulk of the improvement was down to the carb clean, new seals, and the new non-broken cable. The other stuff just created more adjustment to screw things up with, and the need to keep adjusting things to keep it running just right, which may or may not be better than a reliable-as-an-anvil bike that works pretty OK all the time.

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
12/5/20 5:43 a.m.

Drs are not like a drz with a 3x3 sadly. I haven't seen one that didnt requio some serious fiddling to run even half way decent. 

 

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
12/7/20 5:08 p.m.

Now that I was neck-deep into this thing, I started haunting Craigslist and eBay for parts, and scoured the internet for information about possible upgrades that could be adapted from other bikes. I've always loved researching and parts hunting and I was really going bonkers on the DR, buying stuff that came up at a good price for spares or just in case, as well as some stuff that I might be able to adapt.

With my carb tweaked, I figured I would see what I could do about the exhaust. I found a few references to folks using Honda CRF motocross exhausts that were close-ish to fitting, and they came from Honda with a titanium headpipe and aluminum repackable muffler, versus the non-serviceable all-steel stock setup on the Suzuki. I found a likely eBay candidate for cheap and here they are side-by-side. The split between the two parts is in a slightly different place, but the total length isn't much different, and the fasteners are even in the right general vicinity:

It needed an adapter bracket for the rearmost muffler mount and some ovalizing of the holes on the header flange. Lesson number one: motocross exhausts are deafeningly-loud when compared to dual sport exhausts. It was no bueno. One five mile ride with earplugs and my ears were ringing...I couldn't hear as well for a little while afterward. I was setting off alarms on parked cars, and every pedestrian's head was whipping around to see what the hell was coming. It was awful for something used on the street...and it really didn't fit that well in the end. Lesson two: titanium and aluminum are sexy and lightweight, but not practical for me to modify in my garage as steel.

I settled on modding the stock unit for now, but I still eyed any sort of lightweight serviceable muffler with envy. I started by grinding down the gigantic weld on the inside of the head pipe, and finished it off with a wideband bung for further carb tuning (plus removeable plug for daily use) and some high-temp paint.

The other parts I scored that were total game changers were these Supermoto wheels. $500 shipped! Stock hubs laced to Warp 9 rims with Buchannan spokes, brake rotors, and Michelin Pilot Power Cup trackday tires included!

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
12/8/20 12:56 p.m.

With two wheelsets, I rode this bike EVERYWHERE over the next few years; urban and rural, paved and unpaved, valley floor and way up into the hills.

 

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
12/17/20 9:59 p.m.

My parts hunting meant that spares and upgrades started piling up. I bought a wrecked one-owner very-low-hour dirt model from a local guy who had been waiting 20 years for the buddy who wrecked his new bike and said he would fix it to come back around and fix it...and finally gave up. Kinda sad! The dirt model came with the pumper carb and a complete spare engine, so the parts value added up to more than the purchase price.

I also scored another SE frame off eBay (can be registered for street use) as well as a selection of '04-'06 RMZ250 front end parts. As my riding skills progressed (plus with sticky tires) I wanted to upgrade the suspension. I got several stock and aftermarket triple clamps, DR350 and RMZ250 to play with and starte measuring, mocking up, and pressing stems in. Aesthetically I wanted to get rid of the dated purple/yellow color combo. A custom Fisher seat from Fisher Saddlebags in Eagle Idaho helped the looks quite a lot, and the long-ride comfort even more...worth every penny! You can see the black/white seat in some of the photos above. You can also see the Cycra universal Supermoto front fender I added. It sacrificed a little bit of protection from spray, but helped the looks over the loooong schnozz of an 80's dirtbike style fender that came stock. The smaller fender also added a bit of stability at highway speed. I bought some new Cycra handguards in white to replace the black Acerbis that came with the bike, and I carefully grafted some Zeta LED turn signals into them.

 

 

 

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
12/21/20 7:06 p.m.

Now that I had my supermoto wheels for pavement fun, I decided I could go a bit more off-road aggressive on the tires for the dirt wheels, so I picked up some Michelin T63 DOT knobbies. I've always had good luck with Michelin tires for my two-wheelers, and feel they are usually worth the money.

I also got myself a present of some Giant Loop soft luggage. They are a local company specializing in lightweight soft luggage for adventuring, which seemed aligned with my sensibilities. Here is the first mock-up in the parking garage when I first got the stuff:

Another area I wanted to address was the stock headlight, which was fairly abysmal, and I also thought it would be nice to add some optional wind protection. I found both upgrades in one place with Britannia Composites. They are in BC, Canada and the reviews seemed really positive. HID lighting (at the time I ordered, these days it is LED) and a really cool style adventure fairing with customizable ABS dashboard. At the time I ordered, they were making a big push to replace their side-by-side lights model called the Lynx with a more modern-looking stacked-vertically lighting setup, but I managed to cajole them into making me one of the old style. Since then, they have brought that style back. smiley A nineties Japanese dual sport promoted with desert-racing tie-ins just wouldn't look quite right with a rally tower reminiscent of a recent KTM...I wanted something that harkened back to the Baja and Dakar bikes of the 80's and 90's. The windshield is a brilliant design that is height-adjustable on the fly with the turn of two knobs.

 

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
12/22/20 6:08 p.m.

Since I bought the forks for the upgrade used, I figured I would tear them down to replace bushings, seals, o-rings, copper washers, and fork oil. Used motocross stuff is cheap if you are shopping in the roughly decade-old age bracket, and parts are still pretty well available. The catch is that most of it is *well* used, so I shopped around to find some that weren't too beat up, and planned to overhaul as a precaution. I used almost everything from the front end of the '04-'06 Suzuki RMZ250, same bike as the Kawasaki KX250F ('04-'05 for certain, unsure on '06 interchange.) I pressed the DR350 steering stem into the RMZ triples, and used the RMZ front wheel, axle, hub spacers, brake rotor, and brake caliper. I used the DR350 brake lever/master cylinder (the perch has a mirror mount, unlike the dirt bike parts.) The fork is a little taller, is waaaay beefier, and has slightly more travel than the stock DR setup. Part of my intentions for the bike at this point included the possibility of still switching wheelsets, and there is absolutely berkeley all for aftermarket front brake upgrades for the DR350, but there is decent aftermarket for most Japanese motocross bikes, so I could just buy RMZ250 supermoto parts...or so went the plan. More on this later...in the meantime we need to continue with catching up on the timeline of past modifications.

Draining the old oil.

Putting the parts out in order as I take them out helps make sure I put it back together correctly.

Side by side with the stock fork for comparison.

 

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
12/22/20 7:27 p.m.

Interested in fork details, been on my list for a while. 

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
1/12/21 7:49 p.m.

Here's some details on the fork swap I did. If I had it to do over again, I would investigate possibly slightly easier swaps that would net a similar gain by using '99 DR350 cartridge forks or Suzuki RM forks instead of the Suzuki/Kawasaki joint-venture RMZ forks that I used.


As I mentioned before, the forks I got for cheap, so I was interested in making them work even if it took some modification. Here's a comparison by the numbers.

2004-2006 RMZ250
48mm Upside Down Kayaba: 20mm axle diameter, 25mm triple clamp offset, lost my notes, but from memory, either 32mm or 34mm axle offset, 300mm travel, 55.9mm upper clamp diameter, 59.1mm lower clamp diameter, brake caliper bolt spacing 102mm between hole centers

1997 DR350SE
43mm Conventional Showa: 15mm axle diameter, 20mm triple clamp offset, ~38mm axle offset, 280mm travel, 43mm upper clamp diameter, 43mm lower clamp diameter, brake caliper bolt spacing 78mm between hole centers

The key takeaways are that the total offset (triple clamp plus axle offset) between the two are very close which means little change to the handling. The RMZ forks are a little longer, with slightly longer travel, but with sag adjustments plus adjustment of the fork height within the triple clamp, totally doable. The axle measurements and fork measurements meant that it was going to be a full front-end swap of wheel, forks, triples, and brakes.

I found some useful information at HScarborough's DR350 Fun Build on advrider.com and Kezza's DR650 RMZ fork upgrade also on advrider.com.

Thankfully, the DR350 stem and the RMZ250 stem have the same diameter at the lower triple clamp, so I was able to press a DR assembly apart and press the stem into the RMZ lower triple. NOTE: the DR350 stem has a roll pin retaining it that must be drilled out before pressing. I used a 20-ton hydraulic press along with a propane torch for heating the aluminum triple clamp and put the stems in the freezer before reinstalling. This is not a job you are going to accomplish with a bench vise or a sledge and a scrap of 2x4!

At this point in the project, I went through several revisions of triple clamp setup, but I'll stick to high points. I started with the stock RMZ triples, which had a couple minor problems: the upper triple clamp bolts were on the back, which isn't a good location for a triple-clamp-mounted handguard mount (which I was set on using at the time) and didn't offer much adjustability for handlebar position without going to aftermarket risers. So I went to an aftermarket Pro Taper triple clamp, which features upper bolts on the front outside, great for a handguard mount, a nice rubber mount with adjustable durometers for rider preference, adjustable position (but not adjustable height...more on that in a bit!) as well as sexy machined/anodized looks and stiffer structure (in theory.) The next hurdle was that the Pro Taper lower triple clamp has cinch bolts on the backside, which were fouling the oversize tank, so I ended up going with a stock Suzuki lower clamp plus the Pro Taper upper clamp.

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
2/13/21 6:59 p.m.

Another note on pressing the DR stem into the RMZ lower triple: the RMZ triple clamp is thinner at the point the stem presses through, or it allows the stem to recess further into the stem than the stock triple clamp. The result is that the bearings sit too high on the stem. Without machining or spacing the stem downward slightly, the bearings won't have a surface to sit on once installed in the frame, and it won't be possible to get a satisfactory steering head bearing adjustment. I know some folks have included a spacer on top of the lip on the very bottom of the stem, and below the lower triple, but since I have a lathe, I turned mine down slightly. The machined surface used to end at the red arrow.

This picture shows the completed combo assembly on the right next to the original DR350 lower triple just to the left, and you can see the similar overall architecture in the lower triples. Don't mind the undoubtedly lead-filled paint flakes that fall from the roof of my rental workshop when people move around upstairs! laugh

And here is a front view of the completed assembly with stock DR350 lower seal and bearing installed.

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/20/21 10:53 p.m.

Here's a mockup of the new front fork, triples, plus the fairing. Just add some dreadlocks and I could go as Predator for Halloween. I did some careful exacto knife work to fit Zeta brand LED integrated turn signals into the Cycra hand guards:

 

The aftermarket upper triple clamp had several great features: light, stiff, adjustable riser positions, and rubber mounted risers for comfort/vibration damping. The only issue was the slight diameter difference between the DR350 stem I pressed into the RMZ triples and the original RMZ stem. I took care of the discrepancy with a spacer. In my case, I ended up finding a bicycle headset spacer in the misc. spacers drawer at the bicycle shop I manage. Should you lack such facilities and yet still want to replicate this setup, it should be doable with a lathe, a few bucks at a local machine shop, some careful digging/measuring, plus some filing as needed with plumbing parts at your local hardware store, or maybe even with shim stock???

Now that I had the forks mocked up, I started refining the setup, and was still going crazy playing around with upper triple clamps, hardware, and hand guard mounts. I wanted the handguards mounted the the upper triple for sturdiness and cleanliness, but I also needed the hardware in the correct orientation to clear the fairing and the oversized fuel tank, as well as getting the correct offset, clamp diameter, etc. There were a few different variations and mis-steps along the way:

 

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/20/21 11:07 p.m.

Around this timeframe was the peak of my love affair with this bike. I was riding it everywhere, year-round. There was nothing we couldn't go together! And in case anyone is confused, at this point I had three DR350 chassis, and was riding the original bike, and doing work on the planned upgrades on another frame.

Here's a photo I snapped that encapsulates this timeframe nicely. For the start of a ride, I rode across town to my favorite moto-themed coffee shop (we have multiple in town) and ran into a kindred air-coolled-four-stroke spirit on a Honda XR. We had a nice chat over coffee, and I went up the hill to tackle some twisties while he headed another direction.

My small-bore Suzuki collection at this point in time. It was a wonderful time in my motorcycling life:

Here I am in the late-late autumn, stopped for a breather and some refreshment after working out both the bike and myself on the twisties of Skyline:

 

Unbeknownst to me, things were about to change, and the goalposts were going to start moving.

 

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/20/21 11:21 p.m.

Sometime not too long after the previous post, my best friend, co-worker, and riding buddy undertook a big upgrade to a new Husqvarna 701:

He feels the need to make a point of being as emotionless as possible when asked to pose for a photo! laugh

We were tearing up the backroads and dirt roads, and having a ball. Here we are, stopped to hydrate in the midst of summer, on a paved/unpaved route out to the coast:

And here we are atop Bald Peak taking in the view:

You might have deduced from the photos that neither of us is a small individual. I'm 6'2" and not exactly svelte, and he is taller than me by a bit and also not a beanpole. When out on a ride with two bike weighing the same, and both of us bigger guys, but mine has 30-32hp, and his has 68-70hp...well....surpriseangrycryingblush

Here we are, stopped for some thai food on the way back into town after another adventure. I was getting envious of the power, getting a bit tired of working so hard to keep up, and starting to look at other dual sports and supermotos that would get as close to the Husky 701 performance envelope as possible within my budget. At this point, I knew that whatever next bike I got would need both wheelsets, and would serve as a dualsport/supermoto depending on the day. A DR650 is too heavy and down on power, a KTM 690 is too expensive and too orange, and my browser search history is dominated by Aprilia SXV/RXV searches around this timeframe.

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/30/21 12:41 a.m.

I was still all-in on building a heavily-upgraded DR that would stand up to the best of them, or so I thought. Here's the frame I decided to work with. Ugly farmer welds on the battery box bracket; I had to wonder, how on earth did this need repairing in the past?

Sorry for the imperfect focus, but worth noting here is that one of two relay mounting tabs, the upper one in the top half of the crescent-shaped plate, is completely broken off. Also note the surface rust on many parts of the frame.

Once i started looking closely, this frame looked to be much more of a Friday-afternoon frame than a Monday/Tuesday frame. Porosity, spatter, slag, inclusions, you name it, it was on a weld somewhere on this bike. My other frame (the complete one I was riding) had nicer overall weld quality, and/or much more finish work put into it at the factory, but not nicer enough to undergo swapping all the parts across.

Another view of spatter and surface rust.

What I was working to capture here is some bending in all the brackets on this side of the rear subframe. The exhaust, side panel, and passenger footpeg brackets are all slightly bent. At this point, my past self is shouting loudly to my future self that if a bike has one broken and repaired, and one just plain ol' broken bracket on the left side, and a trio of slightly bent brackets on the right side...CHECK FRAME ALIGNMENT *before* proceeding!

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/30/21 12:55 a.m.

I knew that I wanted solid mounting points for my Giant Loop soft luggage, and preferably some that held the straps in a position where chafing on visible plastics or trim would be minimal. You can buy little brackets to bolt to the frame to do this, but that involves spending money on a small part, and making sure you have somewhere appropriate to bolt it to. I decided to crank out a batch of loops to weld directly to the frame in exactly the right spot.

I needed a slew of little loops, and I wanted them to look tidy and consistent. I selected some solid steel round stock as my material, and set about making a tool from hard-ish-looking bits scrounged from the scrap metal which I could use to crank the loops out in the press.

Production line in full swing.

Most of them are bent on both ends to weld to a flat surface. Consistency looks acceptable, given that I totally eyeballed the lengths, and cut them by hand with a cutoff wheel. I can always grind the ends to a matched length.

A few of them are bent on one end only, designed to fit into a corner.

Now it gets really exciting, and we are one step closer to cutting/grinding/welding on the frame! I'll make sure I have denim and boots on, get my beard groomed, find a domestic beer, and we can cue the inevitable custom-bike-build shower-of-sparks montage! laugh

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/30/21 1:25 a.m.

This exhaust bracket is typically held on by two captive nuts. The frame I was working with only had one of the two (remember what hindsight/the voice of experience said about checking alignment on frames with lots of broken brackets?) tabs intact, and the other had a wee crack forming. I cleaned it back a bit, and bolted the corresponding exhaust mount to the intact tab, welded a nut to a washer, and threaded that assembly onto the other tab, planning to use the mount as a bracket to ensure correct spacing while welding.

Et voila! Still gotta reinforce that crack on the other tab.

Mounts for the tank bag straps installed. I put a bolt into the dipstick/oil fill hole so as not to damage the threads.

Rear bag loop installed. These were tricky, trying to weld thin round stock to thin sheet brackets, as well as thicker-wall round tubing. My welding improved a fair bit through the course of working on this project.

Rear bag brackets on the other side, one to correspond to the one above (perhaps got a little too hot in my welding learning curve) and two further forward for the rear of the tank bag. You can also see the repaired exhaust mount in between the two.

Fabricated a replacement relay tab for the one which broke off, complete with captive nuts, and welded it on. The factory version was a T-shaped bracket made from flat sheet, welded to the recessed crescent-shaped sheet, bent outwards to provide a standoff. I decided to skip the fiddly double-90-degree-sheet-stock-bend of the factory original part, and just made the two threaded tabs needed, and drilled a hole to plug weld onto the protruding fame tube, which put things at the correct height, and very close to the correct depth and was easier and stronger. I cleaned up the torn edge of the remainder of the stock tab on the crescent-shaped sheet.

 

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/26/21 11:50 p.m.

Thanks to my height, I wanted to investigate the option of lowered foot pegs for two reasons: comfort on longer rides, and greater ease of riding off-road standing. Bringing the bars up some helped, but I felt like a couple more inches would be ideal, which would mean really long custom cables and really tall bar risers, plus a slightly odd riding position while seated. Before putting a bunch of work into building something custom, or splashing out the cash for an aftermarket low foot peg option, I decided to do a simple proof of concept on the running purple-framed bike I was riding. Here's the stock right DR350SE foot peg. which is rubber-mounted, unlike the hard-mounted DR350 dirt-model pegs. As with most pegs, the assembly is two parts, a mounting bracket, and the foot peg which attaches to the bracket on a pin, and can swivel upwards against a spring around that attachment pin.

And here's the left in stock configuration.

I grabbed some small bits of hefty plate out of the scrap heap at the shop, and even found some that had a couple holes/slots in the right place already...yay!

This kind of setup hangs pretty low for offroad riding and obviously isn't a permanent solution, but it is an easy way to essentially move the mounting points for the pegs downward a couple inches to see how it feels.

And here's the other side with another bracket.

I remounted the stock pegs lower. All I needed other than the plates was a second set of bolts and four nuts (the stock setup has internal threads in the frame. I also lowered the brake pedal and shifter a corresponding amount. Great success! The bike was quite a bit more comfortable.

The plan from here was to build a custom bracket portion of the peg assembly that would put the stock foot peg at the lowered location when bolted to the stock attachment point on the frame. Not only is the DR350 frame asymmetrical in two planes in this area, but the design of both peg brackets is different, with different spacing on the mounting holes. Designing and executing a lowered set of pegs that would end up the right place was really making my brain hurt. I tried a few experiments with cutting apart stock brackets with the idea of lowering them and then re-welding, but they are cast iron, and the dimensions are such that a simple single cut and re-welding isn't possible, and even if it were, it would obstruct the hole necessary for the mounting bolts. Modifying stock brackets was looking quite a bit more difficult than fabricating new.

My secondary vision with this design was to help with the difficulty of making symmetrical lowered mounting brackets. Since the proof of concept worked, I could build what the Bad Obsession Motorsports guys call a "negative jig thingy" that would pick up the top surface of the impromptu lowered pegs, and then extend over to be mounted to a fixed and repeatable point on the main frame on the purple-framed bike. This would allow me to attach the jig to the blue frame, clamp the foot peg to the jig, and then start building a custom foot peg mounting bracket between the lowered peg and the stock mounting point on the frame. More to come on this front later....

The other upgrade at this time on the purple-framed bike was a custom taillight mount and brighter LED taillight with optional braking pulsing flash. Here's the old taillight (with upgraded LED bulb) for an idea of brightness:

And the new one from approximately the same angle for comparison:

I bent and welded up a lightweight custom tubular taillight/license plate bracket out of tiny steel tubing (roughly the diameter of a pencil) which was pretty sweet. So sweet, in fact, that I removed it from the bike before sale and still have it hanging on a shelf somewhere for my next DR project. wink

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/27/21 8:16 p.m.

I wanted to keep the function of the stock warning lights, and it seemed the easiest way to do so was to incorporate the stock setup into my new dash. Thankfully (??) Suzuki's design for the stock instruments is prone to cracking/breaking with the whole arrangement mounted by some integrated plastic ears, so I was able to source a "useless" "broken" unit for cheap, and cut out what I needed.

I also discovered that if I angled things just right, I could squeak the entire frame into my neighbor's sand blaster! I couldn't necessarily reach every part, but it was very helpful for getting the rust and paint off, and really seeing what I was working with. Pity I didn't figure it out sooner, but better late than never! It also helps with making sure that you get the fairest pricing when taking the frame for powder coat later if they can see that they don't have lots of blasting time to quote for...laugh

 

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