Monday, 25 August 2014

My DR350 SEW 1998

I bought a DR 350 before I went to the States to ride the TAT, now I'm back home, the XT is somewhere on the ocean floating merrily back to the UK, so my attention has turned to the little DR that has been sitting in my front room waiting for some attention.

DR350 SEW 1998

This bike had been neglected in a garage for a number of years, it was ridden as a learner bike by a young kid a few years ago, then thrashed around the fields of the farm the family lived on in the Peak District, then left in the garage as far as we can tell.

When I bought it the guy was selling up a few of his bikes as he had 26 in his shed & he wanted to free up some space... (Yes I did say 26!!). I rode it for a quick 2 miles when I bought it, first impressions were, strong solid engine, tatty little thing needs some TLC, it had broken levers, a knackered clutch cable, bald tyres & shite brakes. All fixable things though, the frame has rust patches all over it, the front manifold pipe was corroded & the bike just looks its age & a bit forlorn & unloved... we'll soon get that sorted though... It has a recorded mileage of 6200 miles, I guess you never know with these older bikes whether they've done more or not. I offered him £750 & after a discussion with his wife he agreed, so we paid him there & then & loaded the bike into the van, where it has now sat for the last 2 months leaking fuel onto the floor!

For me I have a rebuild project in mind for this bike, first though the basics, sort it out so it runs sweetly & I can go play on the local fells for the remainder of the summer until I head back to the Antarctic for another stint of work.

So far I've replaced the levers with OEM parts, put a clutch cable on it, changed the oil & filter, put in an OEM air filter, removed the rear rack frame & re-bolted the under seat frame as it was missing loads of the original bolts. I've also added a little tail bag for some tools so I can do basic repairs should something break whilst I'm out playing in the local mud & rocks.

Next up is new rubber, that'll come in the form of a Midas 110/90-18 on the rear, the standard wheel apparently is a 17 inch one but for some reason there is an 18 inch one on this bike. The front is a Metzler MC5 on a 80/100-21 rim, fitting these is the job for tomorrow morning as they have just been delivered.

After a few changes the bike is looking a bit more like a dirt bike!!
I'm struggling to find a decent bash plate for this bike, all the manufacturers who made them seem to have stopped, run out or just unlisted these bikes. The stock one is OK but the oil pipes are open to damage from the rocks we have around here, the rear of the engine is also open & the engine side casings are a definite for a hole without some kind of cover, so I'll keep looking for the time being but I might just get one made at the local garage or try to adapt a DR600 one that my brother in law has in his garage. We'll see...
Sept 2014 - Bashplate update:  still haven't found a replacement, but the existing one seems to be doing a good job too so not sure I'll bother until its properly winter time... The DR650 one doesn't fit at all...

The header pipe is available in the UK in stainless steel at £130.00, that's pretty expensive but if its the only choice I can find then that'll be it. It seems after a bit more time on the internet that Keintech in the US produce one too at $129, I'd have to add import tax etc so not sure it'll be any cheaper & the last one I've found is at Predator Motorsport which is £108.00 plus postage.

I found a site that makes luggage racks for these bikes too, Manracks, not sure I'll add one of these but its good to know that somewhere exists where I can get one.

I reckon it might be a good idea to replace a few O rings on this baby too, the only place I've found that sells the entire set is a US site, This Ole Tractor - Gregory Bender, he seems to do a lot with Moto Guzzi bits too but there is also a set of all the O rings on the DR for $8.50, can't go wrong with that really.. Thanks guys...

As I've surfed the net more on this bike, I've found a few dedicated blogs, with plenty of useful info so here are the links for these...
Joergs DR350
Dirt Rider Mag 
Nath - trip to Russia
ADV Rider - Tiny War Machine DR rebuild write up
ADV Rider - DisTech's DR350 rebuild

I've had to rebuild the carb, a few of the O rings had perished, this is why it was leaking fuel, so I replaced them & gave the whole thing a good blow out with an airgun, I also added an inline fuel filter after draining the fuel tank & finding lots of bits in it. I do have a larger tank for the bike, it needs to be resprayed dark grey to match it in, so that is a wet day job, in the meantime the bike has a 90 mile range on it's original tank, which is OK when I'm riding with Gaz but it's a pain when I'm out with Lucy who has a 200 mile range on her little XR!!

I've recently replaced the front brake line with a HEL product, this seems pretty well made, the only comment I would say is that the banjo's need to be facing opposing directions as with the way they are at the moment fitting them puts a twist into the line which means it doesn't sit flat to the fork stanchion.

Next major job is to rebuild the front forks, I want a new set of progressive fork springs in there, fresh oil goes without saying & to replace the rubber gaiters as the current ones are pretty brittle & they got tore at a visit to Drumclog on some wire that was across a track... nasty stuff!! In an deal world I'd like to have the finish on the alloy redone, but I suspect that'll be another job for future days!!

DR350 Fork Service Info

Gaz & I have pencilled in a night next week to get all this done ready for our little blast up & over Gatesgarth Pass in the Lakes, a permit only route & pretty tough!!

The fork service was fairly straight forward, the manual has all the information you need, even though it's a manual for an older model. It appears the forks are the same throughout the model range. It took us about 2 hours with all our faffing. We also put on some aftermarket fork boots, although they fit, they are not as neat as the originals, which is a shame. They also needed some holes in the back to allow the air to flow so they didn't pop off the end of the forks legs...

The DR at home in the mud!!