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June 18th, 2017, 05:51 PM   #1
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From: Arizona, Montana

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My 2014 FE 350 dual sport capable?

I want to modify my FE 350 to be more of a dual sport/mini- ADV bike. Here in Montana we have unlimited fire roads and jeep trails but you have to do some pavement to get there. I do not want to have to throw the bike in the truck to get to the trails and fire roads. I want to make some changes that will get me on a two lane highway at 65 mph ( gearing), more gas, better seat, and some tires that are more like a Mitas E07. My friend has a DRZ 400 that he takes almost everywhere. I know this is not an Interstate bike but I want to be able to run it at 60-65 with lower RPM's. Any suggestions on sprocket sizes? I have ordered the Acerbis4.1 gallon tank and will probably get a good Seat Concepts seat or if there are others that I can look at let me know.. I am short on inseam.

Gearing? ( current is 48 rear 12 front ( I think) Bike was not stock when I bought it so I don't know what stock is/was in 2014??

Tank bag?

Side bags?

Tires?

I bought this bike a year ago as a "leftover" it has hardly been ridden and it won't unless I make this into a bike that can be more of a dual sport bike.

Anybody else go down this road?

Thanks in advance. Trying to keep the "Berg" legacy alive !!
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June 19th, 2017, 01:17 AM   #2
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I think you'll be fine! - If it's at least roughly the motor platform I think it is, then you'll be fine. The modern KTM family is quite stout. And they ride well. Anything the DRZ can do, you can do - with less weight, better suspension (), more gears in the box, better handling, better brakes, and more reliability I'll hazard to say. (I know because I own and love a DRZ The suspension can be greatly improved but they're stuck with the weight and 5 speed box.)

Try this for gearing: Gearing Commander: Motorcycle Speed, RPM, Chain & Sprockets Calculator ... Just guesstimate the RPM and freeway speed and have a go at gearingcommander until you find a combo that looks good. Or you can just calculate the ratios in a simple way. At freeway speeds, what RPM are you roughly now do you think? Or conversely, at a reasonable RPM, what MPH/KPH does she sit today? - You can go tall on these. All you want to do is keep the lowest gears crawly enough for your purpose.

The 6th gear you have compared to the DRZ is a real blessing. (At least I think the 350 also has 6 gears, rite?) If it has similar ratios as the 570 box, then it counts as exactly an extra gear on top, or below. Depends on the sprocket ratio.

Mitas tires have worked very well for me. I'm also interested in the "trials hybrid" stuff. What sort of terrain do you have? The most difficult off-road stuff? Much mud? Rockier?

Re. the seat / height: A lower seat is good! There are some reasons to lower the bike a little bit with other methods: The footpegs tend to be up high on these bikes, so they're a little aggressive on the knees (if you have sensitive knees - no problem if you don't). This effect is increased by lowering the seat. Then the lowered seats sometimes can be a little bit bowl shaped, which after a certain point stops being beneficial and turns annoying (it's kind of good when the seat pushes you forward, but can be bad if it pushes you back). Then finally a lower center of gravity is always beneficial. These bikes have such long travel suspensions that they can be pushed down on the suspension quite easily. One thing you certainly want to do is to drop the bike down on the preload in the rear and the forks in the yoke in the front - so that it handles well (comparatively lower rear = heavier steering, comparatively higher rear = flightier steering). (In general set your sag!! And feel free to mess with the sag within reason!) ... Then if you want to go lower, then internal suspension lowering is much easier and/or cheaper than most people think. At least on my bikes it's just a quiestion of cutting plastic pipe to the correct length and putting it inside the suspension. I'm not that mechanically great but I'd be able to pull it off at home.

Hope this isn't too much info I hope to present leads that may or may not be interesting to follow.
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June 19th, 2017, 01:17 AM   #3
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I think you'll be fine! - If it's at least roughly the motor platform I think it is, then you'll be fine. The modern KTM family is quite stout. And they ride well. Anything the DRZ can do, you can do - with less weight, better suspension (), more gears in the box, better handling, better brakes, and more reliability I'll hazard to say. (I know because I own and love a DRZ The suspension can be greatly improved but they're stuck with the weight and 5 speed box.)

Try this for gearing: Gearing Commander: Motorcycle Speed, RPM, Chain & Sprockets Calculator ... Just guesstimate the RPM and freeway speed and have a go at gearingcommander until you find a combo that looks good. Or you can just calculate the ratios in a simple way. At freeway speeds, what RPM are you roughly now do you think? Or conversely, at a reasonable RPM, what MPH/KPH does she sit today? - You can go tall on these. All you want to do is keep the lowest gears crawly enough for your purpose.

The 6th gear you have compared to the DRZ is a real blessing. (At least I think the 350 also has 6 gears, rite?) If it has similar ratios as the 570 box, then it counts as exactly an extra gear on top, or below. Depends on the sprocket ratio.

Mitas tires have worked very well for me. I'm also interested in the "trials hybrid" stuff. What sort of terrain do you have? The most difficult off-road stuff? Much mud? Rockier?

Re. the seat / height: A lower seat is good! There are some reasons to lower the bike a little bit with other methods: The footpegs tend to be up high on these bikes, so they're a little aggressive on the knees (if you have sensitive knees - no problem if you don't). This effect is increased by lowering the seat. Then the lowered seats sometimes can be a little bit bowl shaped, which after a certain point stops being beneficial and turns annoying (it's kind of good when the seat pushes you forward, but can be bad if it pushes you back). Then finally a lower center of gravity is always beneficial. These bikes have such long travel suspensions that they can be pushed down on the suspension quite easily. One thing you certainly want to do is to drop the bike down on the preload in the rear and the forks in the yoke in the front - so that it handles well (comparatively lower rear = heavier steering, comparatively higher rear = flightier steering). (In general set your sag!! And feel free to mess with the sag within reason!) ... Then if you want to go lower, then internal suspension lowering is much easier and/or cheaper than most people think. At least on my bikes it's just a quiestion of cutting plastic pipe to the correct length and putting it inside the suspension. I'm not that mechanically great but I'd be able to pull it off at home.

Hope this isn't too much info I hope to present leads that may or may not be interesting to follow.
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June 19th, 2017, 04:15 AM   #4
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Sure it is.
If my 250 smoker does 500+ km one way, with only a bigger tank, your 350 is gonna be better at it...
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June 19th, 2017, 06:49 AM   #5
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Thanks for the thorough response..

Originally Posted by tourist View Post
I think you'll be fine! - If it's at least roughly the motor platform I think it is, then you'll be fine. The modern KTM family is quite stout. And they ride well. Anything the DRZ can do, you can do - with less weight, better suspension (), more gears in the box, better handling, better brakes, and more reliability I'll hazard to say. (I know because I own and love a DRZ The suspension can be greatly improved but they're stuck with the weight and 5 speed box.)

Try this for gearing: Gearing Commander: Motorcycle Speed, RPM, Chain & Sprockets Calculator ... Just guesstimate the RPM and freeway speed and have a go at gearingcommander until you find a combo that looks good. Or you can just calculate the ratios in a simple way. At freeway speeds, what RPM are you roughly now do you think? Or conversely, at a reasonable RPM, what MPH/KPH does she sit today? - You can go tall on these. All you want to do is keep the lowest gears crawly enough for your purpose.

The 6th gear you have compared to the DRZ is a real blessing. (At least I think the 350 also has 6 gears, rite?) If it has similar ratios as the 570 box, then it counts as exactly an extra gear on top, or below. Depends on the sprocket ratio.

Mitas tires have worked very well for me. I'm also interested in the "trials hybrid" stuff. What sort of terrain do you have? The most difficult off-road stuff? Much mud? Rockier?

Re. the seat / height: A lower seat is good! There are some reasons to lower the bike a little bit with other methods: The footpegs tend to be up high on these bikes, so they're a little aggressive on the knees (if you have sensitive knees - no problem if you don't). This effect is increased by lowering the seat. Then the lowered seats sometimes can be a little bit bowl shaped, which after a certain point stops being beneficial and turns annoying (it's kind of good when the seat pushes you forward, but can be bad if it pushes you back). Then finally a lower center of gravity is always beneficial. These bikes have such long travel suspensions that they can be pushed down on the suspension quite easily. One thing you certainly want to do is to drop the bike down on the preload in the rear and the forks in the yoke in the front - so that it handles well (comparatively lower rear = heavier steering, comparatively higher rear = flightier steering). (In general set your sag!! And feel free to mess with the sag within reason!) ... Then if you want to go lower, then internal suspension lowering is much easier and/or cheaper than most people think. At least on my bikes it's just a quiestion of cutting plastic pipe to the correct length and putting it inside the suspension. I'm not that mechanically great but I'd be able to pull it off at home.

Hope this isn't too much info I hope to present leads that may or may not be interesting to follow.

Great information. Thanks.

Hard to determine RPM on the FE 350 as there is no tach which is a bummer. The clock has a ton of info but no tachometer. I am guessing the bike is turning about 7000-8000 rpm at 60 mph now with a 13/48 sprocket set up. I am going to go up to a 14 in front and see where that gets me then go from there.

The suspension was set up for my 5'7" 170 lb frame when I bought it new as a leftover 2014 bike. I did have it properly lowered one inch with the forks slid down in the triple tree and the rear shock shimmed. As far as seat height goes that is my next challenge. I have the stock seat and a OEM lower seat. The lower seat is better for getting my feet on the ground but is a torture rack after half an hour or so. I may bite the bullet and get a custom seat and deal with the fact that it will be taller.

New gas tank ( Acerbic 4.1 gal ) goes on this week so that takes care of that. The Dunlop knobies that came with it are not going to be good on the pavement so I either just wear them out and replace with a more 50/50 tire or do it now. My friend has a Mefo tire that is more "trials like" on his KTM 350. ( same bike).

Time to do some more research but thanks for the input.
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June 19th, 2017, 08:54 AM   #6
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You can guesstimate by trying to hit the rev limiter Probably best to not do that in tallest gear. 'Specially if you have a way to record your speed with a GPS. Then you have a point of reference. This might be an overthought way to do things for some but just right for me
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