My XScrambleR sets off in a month for Morocco and, bar some luggage, is ready to go. Don’t think I’ve ever had a bike ready so far in advance.
Using some left-over or unused components, I fitted a Tuturo Chain oiler which I still think is the simplest and most effective way of getting this messy but necessary job done. It is, of course, especially handy on bikes without a centre stand where hand oiling the chain is a particular faff.
For luggage I’m going to use some simple Kriega Duo 36 Throwovers again, as I did last year on the KLX in Baja. The great thing with the XSR’s underpipe is that it’s right out of the way of luggage but bags still need something to stop them swinging into the wheel and chain. In the spirit of the Chouinard RURP, I’ve come up with RURTS (Realised Ultimate Reality Throwover Stay) an ultra-minimal side rack. The weight is taken over the saddle; the slim stays help locate the bags. If their reality ultimately turns out to be too realised, another stay from pillion pegs to the rear flashers will fix that. I’m sure they sell broomsticks in Morocco.
Once the holes were drilled the RURTS were another 10-minute roadside job, but lacking anywhere better than the kerb to work, I weakened and got my LBS to do the rest of the heavy jobs.
The new wheel on the front has raised the bike 30mm, and the fork preloaders may help it stay that way. I was looking for a way to achieve a bit less than that on the back – partly with a taller tyre and partly with a longer shock.
The OE shock is basic; it’s fine for very normal riding but only has preload rings. They are found used on ebay in their zillions. I preloaded it on the first run, but found it lacked any rebound damping to control it.
The OE shock is 310mm long. I was looking for a shock with rebound damping that started at that length but had extendability. Looking at the usual suspects, only the Wilbers 640 Blueline could be specified with that feature for a reasonable £512. All it is is a chunky thread and nut at the bottom of the shock below the red rebound knob, and which can be unscrewed (lengthened) to a pre-set point then locked out. Rocket science it is not, but you need to remember that 10mm on the near-horizontal shock adds up to more in actual seat height. Pythagoras will know exactly how much, but when my Wilbers arrived I maxed it out and sent it to the shop.
Doing it this way makes the shock/bike more sellable later, as it can be wound back down to the standard 310mm XSR height. In fact this whole XSR build, including front wheel swap, is fully reversible. No one need every know.
For once in my suspension history, I’m going to endeavour to set the static sag before I leave. It’s a bit tricky alone, but there are instructions on how to do it all over the web. I dare say it will need some tweaking on the road as it beds in, and I’ll sure miss the Hydraulic Preload Adjuster of my previous Hyperpros, but there we are. As it is, C-spanners keep Elastoplast in business and come free with the shock.
I could have tried something new from my do-it-all category, like a Mefo Super Explorer, but only Heidenau K60 Scouts came in a range of sizes which sort of included the XSR; a still ridiculously fat 170/60 17 72T was delivered for £97 from Germany, and a 100/90H-19 Catspaw (not Scout) from the UK for £61. Looking at it now, the rear looks a bit lower profile than I’d prefer, but there was no 170/80 in 17. The nearest K60 was 150/70 17, but as I was dropping from OE 180 width, 150 (over an inch slimmer) looked too much of a change for the rim size. Best of all, these retain the tubelessness (which reminds me, need to get some Slime in).
Actually, I think I need to address that stunted sidestand now the bike sits at least an inch higher. I could drill a hole through the foot and bolt on a block of wood or HPDE. How shit would that look? Good news is used MT-07 stands go on ebay from 20 quid. Weldy-mate Jon might be persuaded to hypnotise it and make it grow an inch, and while it’s out slap on an 5mm sandplate underneath; it will look like it was made that way and ought to have the strength to take a lifted wheel if I have tyre troubles.
Other than that, my LBS fitted some Oxford Hot Grips for me (£50 ebay). This is the first time I’ve actually bought a set; usually they’ve come with the bikes I’ve bought. and for UK commuters are a no-brainer. Along with my screen, my Barks and my Powerlet jacket, I simply cannot wait for the December ride back across Spain.