Saturday, September 7, 2019

Project: Warthog, the process starts

In case you thought I no longer rode, only wanted to talk about photography, rest assured Riding the Horizon is front and center in my thinking as I return to the garage.

Well friends, this particular scoot has reached its conclusion...

The Sidecamper BEAST tagged both the Eastern and the Western ends of Canada, made it most of the way up the Dalton Highway in Alaska, as far as Coldfoot. 

It's not a heavy rig, but is W I D E.  Pushing a lot of air with that big nose slows it down.

Overall the Vstrom1000 is a great all-around tug for sidecar duty. Parts are readily available, reasonably priced too. The Suzuki has a reputation for reliability and durability. Might not be the sexiest machine, but it gets you home. When loaded with everything including the kitchen sink... somewhere in there, the BEAST got me there, not quickly though.

Decided the sidecamper BEAST needed a stronger tug.  Top end speed is not priority number one, but low end torque is. Studied motorcycle specs, consulted with sidecar builders, 
looking for the ideal replacement. 

In north Texas, located and acquired last week a 2011 daily rider, a Triumph Rocket 3 roadster. At 2300 cc with 146 HP and 163 of torque, there isn't much this brute cannot move. 

Meet the Warthog...

To think less than ten years ago, my initiation into sidecars was a 26 HP kick start Russian URAL . 

The stock rear wheel will accept a 245/55-16 auto tire, which sells for less than half the cost of a motorcycle rear tire and will last twice as long. The open framework will be easier to work with in mounting the subframe needed for sidecar duty. The shaft drive is easier to maintain when on the road. And the torque...     is awesome!

 On first seeing the Rocket, SO blurted out, "I thought you didn't like chrome..."  I don't. 

First order of business is to lose those heavy chrome mufflers.
Learned the big chrome mufflers block the rear axle bolt from sliding all the way out if trying to remove the rear tire. In order to remove the rear wheel, you have to remove the left muffler. That is a bad design from the factory. Eliminating the long muffler eliminates the problem.

Big chrome gone! Next remove the exhaust hanger. 

That exposes the CAT... hmmm...  it has got to go too! 
I need that space vacant for mounting the subframe for the sidecamper. 

Now you see it, now you don't... Officer, someone stole my CAT. 

That's better. Now we have a nice open space for both the sub frame and for crossing the exhaust over to the left side. Did not want the exhaust exiting on the right side near the camper tub. Space is tight between the bike and the tub plus the auto battery will be there. 

Next removed the small passenger pad to make room for a five gallon auxiliary fuel cell. The fuel cell will gravity feed into the main tank. That will give us 11.3 gallons of fuel, average 30 mpg equals 339 mile range... I hope.  Depending on headwinds... as long as it has more range than 260 miles, all is good when riding in Alaska and Canada.

Well, that's the start. Ordered a few pieces online.
1). Tuneable stubby 10"exhaust
2). 225/65-16 General Altimax RT43 auto tire 
3). Spun aluminum 5 gallon fuel cell
4). Extensions for the rear shocks 

Using extensions to raise the rear end will reduce the trail, thus lighten the steering. 
Is an inexpensive solution before having to spend big bucks on steering mods.

Now to design the subframe, identify mounting points before talking with a builder.

This is my winter project, progress will be slow as I await parts or for fabricators to make the custom subframe. Will post updates periodically.

Rode safe and far Amigos

Wrenching again, oh we're wrenching again, living the garage, busting knuckles deep in grease, on the road wrenching again ( humming along On the Road with Willie strumming the flattop).


p.s. Next spring the Vstrom1000 will be available for purchase. Anyone looking to build their own RTW rig?


  1. Wow! Nothing subtle about that tug...

    1. Yeah, sort of in your face type of ride... if you need any old tree stumps pulled, give me a call.

  2. Thought it was a Harley at first, amigo, had to go get my sunglasses so I could see through the shine. Yeah taking a muffler off to get to the rear axle is a PITA, iron piggy's set up that way, too. But I'm told there's quite a torque sacrifice in switching to short pipes (on the piggy anyway) so... I've opted for the grunt. Will just have to put up with removing an enormously heavy muffler that tends to rust itself onto the header pipe.

  3. Must have been an overcast day when I bought it, didn't notice the chrome until I got it home. Wonder if you can powder coat chrome?

    Interesting with the tunable exhausts, one can adjust for less noise more torque or for louder speed, depends on what you want. Will let you know if it works or I was sold a can of snake oil.

  4. What a tug/beast! Wow.

    When you got the GS Sidecar Rig, I wondered what would be the fate of your remaining rigs....That Triumph tug should be able to pull the camper rig without even straining! Perhaps you should consider entering it as it's own category and go for a record speed on the sand flats of Utah!

    1. The GSA/EZS is a keeper, all around town and cross country, for both short and long distance riding, but... when I want to stealth camp in the wilds, then the Warthog will be my go to rig. The KLR rig is gone. The Vstrom bike will be sold once I get everything off I need for the the new hack.

      In the back of the mind is a Key West - Prudhoe Bay run next summer with the Warthog. Tag the remaining east coast states and middle Canadian Provinces along the way.

      On the Rocket sites, much of the discussion is about wringing even more speed and power out of the already most powerful production motorcycle... when is enough too much? I remember what we were told in the muscle car days, "Speed costs, how fast do you want to spend?"

    2. well you know gearheads, they sometimes can't leave well enough alone.....I like the saying, Speed Costs...


please comment here: