Bike Build

1984 CR500R Rally Bike Build

After a successful 2010 Mexican 1000 Rally (1987 Ford Bronco), our team came up with the brilliant idea to give the 2011 Rally a shot, but this time on a bike.  We wanted something light, something unique, and something with balls!  A Big bore “finner” seemed the logical choice…  Hard to start, terrible gas mileage 245 lbs, and 58 horses - stock.

The initial  build started with 1 “very hammered” CR5 that I purchased off a good friend for 300.00 and  a couple of baseball cards .  Here’s a picture I pulled off the internet – it looked similar (actually, ours was MUCH worse). 

Seemed like a pretty good deal at the time… 

So after bringing the bike home (to June Lake, CA) I promptly took her for a spin!    “Impressive” isn’t the word that came to mind.  She had a light switch for a powerband, and  a non functioning  rear brake -  not a good combo.  Fun, but sketchy.  After  multiple high speed passes, and nearly killing myself in the process,  I started the disassembly process of the old MXer. 

It didn’t take too long before the bike was in pieces, and I got a good look at what a fine mess I actually had.

Frame: “Slightly” bent.

Subfame:  Broken (stick welded) in several areas. 

Rear brakes: No

Clutch basket:  Blown apart (but somehow still functioning)

piston:  Sloppy  

Front wheel:  Cracked in half

Swingarm:  Cracked in 2 places. 

Lots of other stuff: I won’t bore you with details 

 Needless to say, I wasn't too impressed with what I had, so I immediately started looking for another 1984 CR500R - hoping for something a little better to work with.  What I should have done was start looking for an XR, but I ignored all thoughts of reason and went for the two-smoker.   

After months of trolling around through Craigslist, I found it. 

The ad said something like: “ Runs great, needs some TLC.  First 600 takes it.”  So me and the girlfriend jumped in the truck and headed over the Sierra Nevada Mtn Range to the beautiful city of “Los Banos, CA.” 

I think that means “the toilet” in Spanish.  HA! 

It was love at first site (not really), so I handed the “gentleman” the 600 bucks, and loaded her up for the long drive back home.   Arriving home, it was painfully obvious that this bike was in about the same shape as the first one (a little better actually):  Like bike #1, the subframe was busted up beyond belief, it was missing the air box, air filter, and silencer.  The swingarm was cracked at the prolink… and some other things were Fu@%ed about it as well.  

The good news was that the topend was new, the clutch basket was in great condition, and the frame was nice and straight! 

So the plan was set:  Bottom end from bike 1, and the top end from bike 2.  Frame from  Bike 2, and subframe from 1 & 2.  Clutch from bike 2, and brake components from bike 2…  etc, etc.  You get the picture.

Frame and subframe: primed and painted (rattle canned it).   She’ll eventually be powder coated (after the race, and after I’m finished welding on her).  The plan was to carry additional fuel on the subframe, so it goes without saying that it needed some “extra beef.”  Tubing from one subframe was added to the other.

In my humble opinion, The 1984 CR500 had terrible ergonomics.  The stock bars were far too low, and standing on this beast was extremely uncomfortable. Taller bars and bar risers were necessary.  These Aluminum triple clamps and 2” risers should do the trick!  Twinwall Bars and Cycra Pro-Bends were added as well.  

Starting to resemble a motorbike!

The stock pegs were skinny, so I welded on some WC peg wideners. 


 Long hours in the shop were starting to take it’s toll on some of the "bike builders," and what we needed was some good ole fashion hockey games and booze to break up the monotony.  “Weird,” the team A-hole, likes to dress up in hockey attire and drink his tequila with pickle juice…?  

I guess that’s how they do it in Minnesota…

Clarke Manufacturing came on board with an extremely generous sponsorship.  A 3.5 gallon fuel tank should help in getting us to LaPaz.

Baja Designs also came through with a generous sponsorship as well…  A 1.5 gallon side panel fueltank (Made for a KTM), and a lith-ion powered HID (capable of powering the HID for 3.5 hours).   

Unlike the SCORE “Baja 1000”, the NORRA “Mexican 1000” is broken up into 3 consecutive days.  If you keep a good pace, you should always finish during daylight hours.  But Baja has a nasty way of ruining your perfectly laid out race plan - so we thought it was a good idea to add a race light. 

Here’s a closer look at how we made the KTM side panel fuel tank work on the CR5. The 1.5 gal Baja Designs Side Panel Tank has three mounting points.  This picture shows the double sheer mount was added to the top of the subframe

The tank also came with a mounting bracket for the KTM – we decided use this bracket, and lined  up with the seat bolt on the Honda…  Nice custom fit!

Lucky for us, the 3rd mounting point happened to fall right on the subframe – all that was needed was a small tube welded to the lower section of the subframe.