You’ve searched the web, watched moody videos, and discovered that your street tires don’t like wet grass. You’ve decided you need a scrambler motorcycle — but how do you tweak your bike for fun, with a little extra style? Here, we will focus on the best value mods that balance cost with performance. Your goal is a powerful scrambler motorcycle that is easy to repair and build using materials that can proudly bear the scars of your adventures. After all, if you build something too spectacular to perfect, you’ll miss out on half the fun. The Speedtractor T-61 Catalina Special offers all the mods you need to get through the dirt and sweaty activity. Most are reverse engineered by the factories or owners to make them capable of going off the beaten track — and hopefully back again. It doesn’t matter if you have a pair of big Euros, a light vintage single, or a UJM that is more of a boat anchor than a fire plane. Let’s exploit the ‘spirit of scrambler’ and complete it.Choose your bike. In 2011, Hammarhead Jack Pine got people to sit up and realize that a modified road bike could run well in the dirt. It places the Triumph alongside the Kawasaki W650/W800 as a competitor in the large capacity scrambler segment. The Honda CB and CL 400cc are off to a good start and a few builders have shown that even Suzuki’s large single Savage can work. The BMW airheads, while not cheap, make for a beautiful finished product. At the really light end, check out Honda’s single and twin CBs in anything 90cc and up. (Choose models with tubular frames on pressed steel.) There’s also the Honda GB250, Suzuki’s Grasstracker/Volty/TU250, and if you have access to domestic Japanese models, the Kawasaki TR250. The TR250 offers a nice frame and engine, period proportions and lots of aftermarket parts. They prioritize torque over terminal power, have a simpler image, and less heavy cylinders project out from the hub shaft. That said, we drove with a couple of brave souls that converted the Suzuki GS quartet to dirt usage — so don’t let us tell you it can’t be done!Starting line. As Charlie Trelogan mentioned in his tutorial on building a cafe racer, you need a few visual lines running across the bike, as shown above. Get those lines right and your finished ride will look seamless and quick. Even when it is standing still. For a quick follow-up to the scrambler vibe, try switching the gas tank to something smaller or slimmer than a hunched cafe racer tank. The aim is to create visual bulk and create purposeful proportions. Keep in mind that there’s a good chance you’ll update it from time to time, so please don’t have a luggage rack on the crate. Bring the headlights back closer to the fork in less time. Get a mini gauge that can hug and shorten the saddle by a few inches. Together, these mods are starting to feel like a bike that has been stripped of everything unnecessary, while still being legal. work together. You want to avoid having your eyes search and the machine looking like its back is broken. Create your suspend mod before addressing these lines. The extra two inches of rear travel can upset even the best arranged plans.Rims and Rubber. The chunky rubber fitting will change your on-road driving experience. There is no way around it. On the flip side, wet grass and loose surfaces are now your friends — and you can enjoy a little rolling around, too. The wheels and tires you choose will help you determine the machine’s style and handling. The spokes fit the bill on all but the rarest of occasions, and we prefer alloy rims over steel. But other than that, we’re philistines when it comes to worrying about gyroscope effects or stiffness, sorry. Either will help smooth out the rough, without sacrificing the original road bike image of your scrambler. At the back, the 18-inch size is our favorite but the 17 size is fine too. Skip this step and you won’t be the first to learn that they don’t spin once they’re firmly in place. Extending or extending the rear swingarm isn’t a big deal, but often exceeds the average garage builder with do-it-yourself tools. On lighter machines, the trial tire will give off a fat feel that, if worn quickly, is enjoyable. While the ’80s Continental TKC (above) delivers good results for larger beasts. If your heart is on the rear pair — and why not, they’re alluring — then you’ll be looking for a 19-inch front rim and an 18 or 17-inch rear rim. handling characteristics and limits of new rubber on the road, especially if you are used to modern road tires. Remember that sometimes you’ll need to use a slightly lower pressure than the tires on the road. And if you’re on a rear tire that has a directional groove in the front (yes, we’re at fault too), be sure to shift the rotation to allow for braking force.Engine performance. Unlike a cafe racer, you don’t automatically enter the hunt for raw top level power. However, aftermarket carbs can give you more responsiveness and improve useful horsepower. Keihin FCRs (above) are our pick, especially on singles, but we recommend moderation in bore sizes — to keep feed rates high for responsiveness from better bottom. It may not be as pretty as a set of alloy or K&N water intake funnels hanging in the breeze, but when you pass a friend is trying to scrape mud from the folds of their contact filter. You will thank yourself. You’ll just need to work a little harder on your design to keep the box looking good. If you’re really worried, slide into a free-flowing filter element. Tall tubes are the hallmark of a true scrambler, although not all have them. They are also a ticket to the Burns Unit for you (or your passengers) if they are not routed and covered properly. Position them to complement the tank/seat/frame line for added impact and factory feel. End them at the rear shocks of going straight across the street to hit that desert sleigh vibe (and hearing loss). Or run them longer with internal baffles or CL-style mufflers for class.
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