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Offline darthvader

Yamaha WR450F Amageza build
« on: October 29, 2013, 06:35:42 pm »
Last year's Amageza was a total disaster.  I totalled my bike(XR650L) on the first day, but at least I managed to get through the qualifying on the Friday unscathed.  On the Saturday, the first day of the race, about 40kms into the race, I high sided the bike and destroyed everything.  Hole in engine casing, navigation tower destroyed, twisted frame and a broken rib.  Broken ego and tail between the legs, I decided to head home and get nursed back to health by my lovely girlfriend.

So a few months back I decided to enter this year's race, the 2013 Amageza Rally.  First priorities was to get fit and build a new bike!  I made myself a deal, that if I could lose 10kgs in 2 months and get my resting heart rate at 50, I would by myself a WR450.  I was about 90% on my way reaching my goal and an almost new 2011 WR450F was advertised on Gumtree.  I decided to take the plunge :

I knew building this bike was going to be a mammoth task, so I approached my very good friend Reynard from Scorch(now Beserker) exhausts/canopies. He knew the history of my 2012 Amageza experience and he offered that I could use his workshop to race prep my bike.

As you can see, the bike was practically new, not a scratch!  Ready for the hacksaw! :

Then the shock email from Alex: "Amageza 2012 cancelled".  Aaargh, fudge! I spent about 13,000 ZAR on imported Safari tanks, many extra hours in the gym, no alcohol policy and bunny food! So I gave up, well, not really, I just dropped two gears and decided I will prepare the bike for next year's race. No rush.

The tanks arrived and I fitted them :

and from the back, sexy! :

I had the idea of fitting an oil cooler, but I managed to get in contact with the Australian Safari Legend Rod Fagotter. He said they are running the bikes stock, "you just have to ride fast enough!". The pictures below gives you the idea of the clearance behind and in front of the tank fitted :

A Jagg oil cooler will never fit in there and if it does, it will restrict the air flow, not to mention the bitch of a mission it would be routing the oil lines.  This is why most of the factory rallye bikes have the oil cooler fitted on the navigation tower, just below the headlight.

From the front :

Also, the radiator braces by PSP racing are essential, as a simple fall on the tank would pop it like a zit to the front.  This came with the bike, so no extra expense there.

The rear tank acts as a widened seat :

I really should have upgraded my seat, it caused major fatigue.  After massive liasons your bum gets so tired, then you tend to stand to fix that problem and that causes sore feet and knees.  The bike was kitted with extra wide pegs, so that helped a bit.

Routing the exhaust was a bit above my skill level(which is none), so I consulted my trusted friend Arrie from Scorch(now Beserker) exhausts/canopies to help me with this task.  It took him a good part of 15 minutes to do this!?! Crazy.  We used a picture from an Australian Safari bike with the same tank setup as a reference.  In fact, it showed us how we don't want to do it  ;D  :

Lets see how it fits along the tank :

Arrie ducking for a profile shot to see if the lines are right :

Tacked and fits perfectly, exactly like we profiled it :

Crazy routing skills! :

Very close to the fuel line, but we will make a plan later :

Exhaust with tank combination :

You'd think that the bike is almost done, but far from it!  I almost fooled myself there for a moment.  

By this time I was still in go slow mode, so I got bored with exhausts and welding, making brackets for exhausts and tanks, etc.  So I started on the navigation tower and the mounting point.  Now, I know there are other people who has done big plates along the side of the bike, for the navigation tower.  I opted for a bigger job, a clamp or mounting point on the frame.  Why? Well, I thought it is going to be much stronger and less friction on the frame.  I started stripping everything of the head :

I marked all the wiring, so I could assemble it all again, or at least reroute it without understanding the wiring(lazy).  It seems that Yamaha have a nice "square" on the head and it is actually square, I checked :

Kaalgat :

Kaalgat from the back :

Next step is to manufacture a bracket.  After a few lessons from my friend toolmaker Reynard, I started milling! This was my first time, but I had a good tutor :

The finished product.  

My tutor measured it and I passed! Less than a 1/10th of a mm out! Nice!  The clamping will be done with some high tensile steel Allen head bolts with dual washers, a split washer and a Nyloc nut!

Over engineered enough!? :

I must admit, I was(and still am) worried about the clamp breaking off the frame when I clamp whatever needs to be clamped.  Whatever goes in between the clamps, needs to be a overly tight fit - we are talking rubber hammer tight.

Another profile picture :

Looking good, now to tack it :

Tacked and ready for the next phase :

Square, phew! :

It should do it. Side view :

Then I got the news that the Amageza Rallye is changing to the Amageza Safari and that the race is actually going to happen!  This was awesome news, so I shifted gears again.  Running around like a headless chicken I changed focus and started designing navigation equipment.  It is clear that I have ADD.  Perhaps I just like building things in stages, perhaps it gives me time to ponder about what I have done so far... I give it time to settle ;)  

Back to navigation!  First thing for me was a compass, CAP unit or CAP repeater.  I opted for a standalone z-axis tilt sensitive compass.  Normally you by a RNS, ERTF or ICO repeater, that plugs into your GPS.  This then reads the NMEA sentences and displays the heading.  For the normal guy this might be limiting, since we use our own GPS and that means that the USB port will be used for streaming the headings to the repeater, which in turn means that the GPS cannot be charged while riding.  I did not want this, so, I rolled my own!  After sourcing a serial 7segment LCD from China, I started writing code.  Implementing the "Mean Angle of Circular Quantities" and averaging a few readings, I got a beautiful compass going :

It was a bitch to implement, since the serial LCD was "serial", but it did not come with a built-in driver, only a shift register.  The datasheet... well... China... they don't care.  After a few days I eventually got them to send me some code, but it was Assembler.  I have not done Assembler in years, but after an hour or so, I ported it to C.  First flash of the microcontroller and it worked! Awesome!  Unfortunately I ran out of time and I kept popping regulators on the night before the race, so I did not fit it in the little box I sourced  >:(

I also built a GPS tracker, complete with it's own blackberry battery and SD card.  It writes a GPX file and it should have satisfied the organisers.  I even added a Nokia 5110 screen to the whole thing!  This came in well under a 1,000 ZAR :

I am working on building my own ERTF, or a least a close knockoff!  Anyway, both these projects were not done in time.  Everything work, it was just a regulator and housing issue.  Watch this space.

Still not 100% certain that I would get my bike done in time, so being human, you go at 80% of the pace - not sure if one should invest more time, just wasting more time at half the pace  :-\  My girlfriend gave me a lovely peptalk and forced me to commit to this mission again.

Back to navigation, it is a rallye after all.  With the clamp tacked, I could start profiling my tower and equipment tray.  I started with a base member :

Wood is easy to profile with, and it supports the equipment tray with all the gadgets mounted.  This way I can get on the bike and get a feel for the dimensions.  I am going to be doing a lot of jigsaw cutting, fitting, refitting and adjusting, so hardboard for the main members :

I cut a piece of 1mm aluminium at the same time for the equipment tray.  This was just to make sure that the bender I had could bend the tight angles.  I cut some holes it in, because I wanted to see how everything would look mounted.

The next step was to create a base or main member for the tower.  I used a 25mm piece of HDPE for this.  It was basically a very rough sketch on a piece of paper that I held agains the tower I had built from hard board.  I transferred the drawing to my 25mm HDPE stock.  The milling machine was my new weapon, well, I did not have time to draw parts in Solid Works and get the laser cut.  Good thing, because I made major changes towards the end.  The first rough draught of my part :

I then drew a template of the side members.  I just made it up, with no real plan, but with enough to spare space if I wanted to mount extra brackets or shit on the side :

And this is how you create identical copies :

I drilled some strong triangular spaced hole in the main member and moered it into the clamp(remember, rubber hammer) :

The next workshop tool I needed to master, was the lathe!  I decided to use nylon for the spacers between the side members of my tower.  Got some roundbar stock, decided on a width and turned a few parts.  Well, I piloted a hole first, then cut as many lengths as I needed :

Nylon is a bastard, if you are not careful, it will snap a drill bit chop chop!

Two identical side members finished :

...and it was ready for first test assembly :

The other side mounted; we are getting somewhere :

Another view :

All the parts mounted, but it looked like a tortoise in heat! mmm... I will check this later with the rest of the stuff taped to the tower.

Tortoise in heat :

mmm, lets worry about it later :

To create some rigidity, I needed to add squares or triangles in this design.  The navigation tray needed to be mounted on something strong and the requirement was that this part should be fairly crash proof. I decided to use aluminium for this part and started the manufacturing process.  I took a block of stock aluminium, drilled 3 holes(so I can adjust height) and a gutter for a piece of round bar that the navigation tray will eventually swivel on :

It was a bit on the heavy side, so I made it a bit lighter :

I used the lathe to turn a piece of round bar with about 2mm extra on the diameter of the clamps that came with the roadbook :

Welded it together :

Check if we are still ok with widths, etc. :

Next up was the navigation tray.  Took a piece of 3mm aluminium sheet and replicated a tray on my first 1mm template :

Perfect! :

I clamped it all together :

...taped it all up :

... and yes, it does not look right. Shit! OK, so I did some research, looked at factory rally bikes, just to get a feeling for how far forward this tortoise head of mine can be.  I opened Gimp(linux photoshop) and got working.

MUCH better :

Luckily I gave the main member enough room for the whole thing to move back.

I then did a preliminary fitting of the navigation equipment on the tray :

The g-clamp still in place, as I wanted as little holes as possible in the 10mm HDPE sides :

It is starting to look like a rally bike!  The tower moved back, with all the nav equipment mounted :

Front view :

The main member was too long(mind the pun), so I had to take the tip off :

With everthing disassembled, I decided to add another supporting bolt through the whole tower :

The new finished unit with all the main parts :

.... to be continued ....
« Last Edit: October 30, 2013, 09:53:30 am by darthvader »

Offline zetman

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Re: Yamaha WR450F Amageza build
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2013, 07:20:06 pm »
DUDE Dis befok like die build report  :lamer: :ricky:
Hou die Tyres op die Grondpad...

Offline Dwerg

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Re: Yamaha WR450F Amageza build
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2013, 07:51:02 pm »
Awesome. Sien uit na die res
Previous: KTM 690R, 790ADV, 640ADV, 950ADV, 250XCW BMW F650GS Single, F650GS Twin, F800GS, G450X, R50/2 Honda CRF450X, CRF230 x 2, VFR400 NC30, Z50 Mini Trail Yamaha BWS100 x 2, LB80 Chappy

Offline the_BOBNOB

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Re: Yamaha WR450F Amageza build
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2013, 08:08:11 pm »
brilliant stuff

Offline BigRED

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Re: Yamaha WR450F Amageza build
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2013, 08:35:11 pm »
Wow awesome, can't wait the rest  :ricky:

Offline darthvader

Re: Yamaha WR450F Amageza build
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2013, 08:39:53 pm »

Offline DeeCeeBee

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Re: Yamaha WR450F Amageza build
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2013, 08:44:43 pm »
Respect!! Can't wait for more.
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Offline Vance

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Re: Yamaha WR450F Amageza build
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2013, 08:45:50 pm »
Wens ek het jou skills. Mooi gedoen. Hou ons op hoogte!
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Offline Bossiekop

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Re: Yamaha WR450F Amageza build
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2013, 08:57:20 pm »
Definitief Ingeskryf..... :thumleft:  :thumleft:

Offline darthvader

Re: Yamaha WR450F Amageza build
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2013, 09:10:44 pm »
With everything assembled it looks strong to me :

Mounted back on the bike :

Drilled the final holes for the navigation tray swivel and mounted it all up :

Added some Hyde hand guards to the setup :

It is not a bad product, but you get better.

ICO and roadbook switch mounted :

RB switch(also from Chris @ Desert Lizard) :

« Last Edit: October 29, 2013, 09:11:38 pm by darthvader »

Offline darthvader

Re: Yamaha WR450F Amageza build
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2013, 09:38:17 pm »
The light/indicator/hooter switch was a bit of a problem.  There was just no space for it after I mounted the ICO and RB switches, so I relocated the whole unit to the navigation tray :

I also added 2 waterproof panel pushbuttons.  They had no clear function, but they proved to come in handy later!  The box on the top right was for my digital compass(CAP repeater).  I am still pissed off that I did not make an greater effort in finishing that project.  I would not have gotten lost on the first day if I had that!

I was running out of time and the quality of my workmanship and general creativity plunged a bit.  I neede to refit the original bikini fairing and headlight cluster, so these brackets were born :

However, I did strengthen them with a crossbar and 2 small triangles in the initial bends.  They did survive a MOERSE crash on stage 3!  So they are good :)  The only thing I do not like about them, is that it is fairly difficult to create a new part in the field or bivouac.  Anyway, I digress.

Flimsy :

But remember, I did add the crossbar  :-\

Next up! Electrics! I relocated the ignition switch to a really cool spot :

I even shortened the one nylon bus, so that the switch's space could fill the gap, but unfortunately there was just too much wiring and I had to relocate it again.

Before I could do the wiring, I had to take everything off again.  By now I could take the tower off, unplug everything just short of 5 minutes!  Building your own bike is not just satisfying, but it gives you so much confidence in case something goes wrong on race day/night.  You know every weak point and skim point!

Ah, where was I, taking everything off to do the final weld :

I had to remove forks, bearings, seats and anything close to that head and heat it up, up to who knows how many degrees(checked it with temp gun, cannot remember).  I was very tense at this stage, but Reynard has welded MANY bike frames, swingarms, prosthetic legs before.  It was quite a difficult weld to do, as there was a moerse big gap that had to be filled... it did not seem to bother Reynard much *shrug*  I can weld aluminium when everything is clean, flush and hot.  If you need serious aluminium or stainless steel welding to do, I highly recommend him!

Partially assembled(check the crossbar between the 2 fairing brackets) :

I found a Scott steering damper on Gumtree for R2000 bucks.  This really saved my ass multiple times in the race.  I have never ridden with one before, but I knew how to change it for the terrain.  It works!  I had to lengthen the bracket and re-slotted the part that bolts to the frame(painted it black) :
« Last Edit: October 29, 2013, 09:40:35 pm by darthvader »

Offline Orangejuicepony

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Re: Yamaha WR450F Amageza build
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2013, 09:57:12 pm »

Offline darthvader

Re: Yamaha WR450F Amageza build
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2013, 09:58:38 pm »
ADD kicked in again.  Not really, I just wanted to hear the bike's engine and before I finished up the electrics, I decided to focus on the exhaust and fuel lines for a few hours.  First up, a bracket to hang the exhaust from the rear tank :

Then, to fix the exhaust mid way to the frame, I turned a small stainless spacer, tapped it M8 and made a diagonal cut.  This I would weld to the exhaust and then a bolt through the frame would pull it nice and tight :

It was such a nice little part, before I had to cut it :(

Welded to the exhaust :

Bolted to the frame :

The fuel lines was not that hard to route.  There are two lines coming from the rear tank and one from the front.  So I drilled two entry holes in the airbox and one exit hole that will go to the carburettor.  I joined the rear lines with a T-piece and then rear and front supplies with another 2piece to the carbs.

Entry(right) and exit(left) on the left hand side of the bike(joining rears with T-piece) :

Entry rear left :

Entry rear right :

Exit left :

T-piece joining front and rear fuel lines to the carb :

Luckly my eye caught this one.  I made two extended tabs that would protect the fuel tank from the nasty shrouds of the radiator.  The ones Safari provided were real crap :

To fix the fuel line issue on the right, I used some fibreglass wrapping to shield the exhaust :

... to be continued ...
« Last Edit: October 29, 2013, 10:03:37 pm by darthvader »

Offline darthvader

Re: Yamaha WR450F Amageza build
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2013, 10:20:00 pm »
A week before the race I realised that I have not spent one second thinking about my suspension.  So I phone my friend Chris @ Desert Lizard again.  We had a Skype session that evening, planning the weight on the rear suspension and he went scouting for a new rear coil.  I did not have time to phone around, so Chris helped me out.  The next day, my super stiff coil was delivered.  Happy days!

Apparently you can remove the coil without doing this :

I did the setup myself, for the first time by the book.  In the race, the bike bottomed out exactly twice!  Saying that, a swiss exercise ball would have bottomed out on those 2 occasions.  Silly speed, not enough flight ;)

I was really not looking forward finalising the electrics, so I fitted a new Michellin Desert in front :

and rear :

It took me an embarrassing 37 minutes to remove the rear and fit a new one!  I was not looking forward getting punctures in the Richtersveld!  I got some of that green goo you squirt in your tyre - it works!  Not one puncture and a nasty snakebite that it actually closed!?

This bike was starting to look bitchin! :

But is/was it all bark an no bite?

.... to be continued ....
« Last Edit: October 29, 2013, 10:31:46 pm by darthvader »

Offline Yami Super 10

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Re: Yamaha WR450F Amageza build
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2013, 10:30:15 pm »
Nice one!!

As a aircraft/helicopter engineer I can commend you on your skills :thumleft:

Electrical and even welding :deal:

Keep it coming! Might even get you to do some mods on my WR450 :pot:
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Offline darthvader

Re: Yamaha WR450F Amageza build
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2013, 10:46:35 pm »
Almost done.  I was really running out of time and steam.  It was late one night and I saw a piece of flexible clear plastic in my "stock box".  This is really shit, it was skew, not symmetrical, but I was not going to redo it :

Measuring last year's success, I was going to destroy it on the first day anyway!  It just needed to deflect most of the rocks and sand.

I realised the seat was not bolted in and I was struggling to get it to hook on the tank.  I took of the seat and saw that I forgot to make a little bracket for the tank, so this was born :

Workmanship out the window :p  The little kink is for the loom, otherwise it would chafe against the bracket and short out. I rounded the edges on the sides and surface of the bracket,... just in case.

Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: Yamaha WR450F Amageza build
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2013, 10:52:14 pm »
Bliksem!! I said it before and I'll say it again: You are an artist, bru. This is a really, REALLY good WR build. Keep it coming.

Neil :paw:
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Offline YamaV

Re: Yamaha WR450F Amageza build
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2013, 10:55:09 pm »
 :drif: Really good stuff, well done!

Offline alanB

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Re: Yamaha WR450F Amageza build
« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2013, 10:56:23 pm »
Nice one!!

As a aircraft/helicopter engineer I can commend you on your skills :thumleft:

Electrical and even welding :deal:

+100  :thumleft:

Really great development skills, really interesting thread.

Love to hear more about your electronics development!
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Offline darthvader

Re: Yamaha WR450F Amageza build
« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2013, 10:58:37 pm »
I dreaded the final wiring effort.  I knew this was not going to be easy getting all that crap in between my navigation tower's side members.  

So I took off the headlight :

and started planning the wiring f-up.  Before I forget, check the 2 stainless brackets that the headlight is resting on.  I cannot even remember when I did this, I must have been sleep-bike-building.  I was totally exhausted going into this race, which only put more stress on the situation.

OK, wiring! I relocated the ignition switch and that bought me a whole lot of space :

I jammed everthing in there and used a cable tie and that ribbon wrapping plastic to hold everything in place :

I wired the headlights to the two switches.  I knew they would come in handy.  Don't ask me why.  All I can say is that I thought I knew something about auto electrics... I don't, but this is a area I am going to become a master in.  A new Krog will be born!