Sunday, August 9, 2015

Da'mit 2.0 gets worked over

Time to set Da'mu the Gold Wing aside and finish getting the Kawasaki KLR650 Da'mit ready for South America.

Last time we had her out, this is what Da'mit 2.0 looked like.

Several very knowledgable people commented that the two gas cans in front of the SC wheel would be too much weight too far forward. I tested their thinking and they were right.  Need to reconfigure the sidecar layout.

While at the USCA Sidecar Rally in South Dakota in June, gathered several ideas for mods. One was to install a PVC Tool Tube and aluminum mud guard in front of the engine, down low.  Tools, tire irons and other heavy long objects will be carried down there. I cut it long enough so that it sticks out and will also serve as a highway peg so I can stretch the left leg. 

Next is to upgrade from the small Kawasaki factory battery to a larger battery by relocating it to the sidecar. 

Since a new base layout is needed to relocate the gas cans, will also include a place to mount the new  battery.  First we strip everything off the sidecar frame.

Here is the old base #1 removed,  showing the shape.

Here is new base #2, 3/4" treated plywood with the new layout. With the new configuration, weight is more balanced on the SC frame. 

 While the stain was drying, removed the old battery. Using heavy duty wires from a set of jumper cables connected to the old battery wires, ran it to the sidecar frame. Here you can see the red jumper cable wires  going thru a hole in the bottom of the old battery box. Will use the old box space to store an air compressor for emergency inflating of tires.

Is hard to see with the protective wrap, but there are three heavy duty wires coming from the bike., two red and one black. The black is negative and the reds positive. One of the red wires is to feed the auxiliary fuse block that powers all the add ons: iPhone, GPS, electric jacket, air compressor, etc. The other red goes to the bike starter.

Now what to put the new battery in? Decided an Army ammo box would be durable, weather and waterproof. The original battery had a 220 CCA (Cold Cranking Amps, how batteries are rated), the new lithium battery has 400 CCA. Plus it is about a third of the weight of the Old battery.

Drilled a hole in the from of the box for a 90 degree connection to feed the wires up through and into the box. Then sealed this entry point so water doesn't get in.

To keep the new battery from bouncing around and vibrating, packed red foam around it. All finished, wired up, ready to close. Must have done something right as the KLR fired right up when I touched the starter button.

On to the gas cans. This time the cans will be located one in front and the other behind the SC wheel to balance the weight. Eyebolts will be installed in order to secure the cans while riding and a bicycle cable to lock them on when parked for the night. 

Now for a few mods to the toolbox itself. A section of discarded aluminum ramp was adapted and mounted to be used for a luggage rack on the front lid.  Footman loops were added on the sides as tie downs.

The raw plywood board on the left lid is a base to spread the weight load of the new spare tire. 
But first to paint the board to seal it.

Here is the spare tire/wheel ala URAL mounted and secured. One of the features of the URAL sidecar rig was having a fully mount rear tire ready to go when needed. It is easier and quicker to swap out rear wheels than trying to repair a flat tire on the side of the road in the rain. Since we will be carrying replacement tires anyways, why not have one ready to go. 

Once reassembled, here is what Da'mit 2.0 looks like. Better balanced now with a fews new features.
The white disk on the spare tire covers the rear brake rotor from rain and damage.
Besides bungee cords holding the gas cans in tight, at night will threaded a steel cable through the hoops and padlocked.

Test rode Da'mit twenty miles to visit John Klein. John is the expert welder in Hockley I call upon to fab up anything I need for my bikes.  Whenever the ultralight aircraft people need critical repairs to their aluminum frames, they come see John. He is the best in the area for welding all types of metal.

In his youth, John rode an old Harley across the United States, working when he could in order to buy enough gas and food to get to the next town. He is a midwesterner like myself.

Replaced the cheap LED lights on the toolbox for a better pair. Here she is again after the workover. Maybe change her name to Da'mit 2.2. 

Next week I take her to the mountains of northern New Mexico for a shakedown run on some national forest trails. What will break, see what works and find out what needs changing...

Ride safe my friends,


  1. WOW! What a beauty! Looks great! I hope the test run will be a success.

    1. Thank you, am back from NM, now to write up a report.

  2. Here's hoping you don't find major issues during the "shakedown run". Good looking rig, quite jealous of your forthcoming South American adventure but looking forward to the pics. I guess there wasn't enough room to put the gas cans front to back, alongside the sidecar wheel's fender?

    1. Dam'it performed better than expected. report coming soon.

      Thought about placing gas cans longitudinal, but then is best to keep at least part of the can's weight over a sidecar frame member.

  3. Really nice looking rig. What are the new LED lights? Fog, driving, flood?

    I kike faving the mounted spare tire.

    1. "kike faving" = "am liking"

      Auto-correct weirdness

    2. Thanks, took the RIGID LED lights from the GoldWing and put on the KLR. One spot and one driving. With the HID upgrade on the Wing, the LEDs were no longer needed.


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