Honda XRV Forum banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

62 Posts
Discussion Starter #1

Uploaded with

The below one was taken a while ago, I have since cut the rear mudguard extender right back.

Part 2. of the story of my tall transalp.. on Hosier Lane - Melbourne/alane1.jpg

OK, I have to confess I like mad max movies, and I like the idea of bikes from a dystopian future. I like survival bikes.

It’s worth pointing out that I’ve always hated polishing or cleaning my bikes, I’d far rather ride them than clean them. My motto is

“chrome won’t get you home”

So with that in mind I set about converting my tall alp into a mad max 2 style survival bike. 20010- 2012/transalpphotosfromphone057.jpg

Where my last article finished up last time was with my bike looking like this, with twin headlights already on, wired in and working. I'd kept the original dashboard so that could compare the accuracy of the trailtech vapor handlebar mounted speedo. The speedo function of the vapor is accurate, it keeps pace with the actual road speed changing, so I was happy with the speedo function. The rev-counter function was an utter nightmare to set up, and is only accurate when the revs are steady, just sitting on a highway at the speed limit. I use the clock function, and I zero one of the distance recorders when I fuel up. I have kept the original radiator fan wiring installed and installed the trailtech water temp guage but I honsetly wish I hadn’t bothered with that either. Plus, adding insult to injury the supplied mounting handlebar clamp was useless with a cushion on the brace bar of my renthals, so I had some mounting brackets machined up. I don’t recommend the vapor but I do have some spares of those mounting brackets for sale, in polished silver aluminium….

It ended up looking like this, I made up a bank of LEDs for warning lights. I know LEDs look cool and trick and bling high tech but they’re a pain in the arse. They are sensitive to the direction of current (d’oh, that’s why it’s a diode), they blow without warning, and you can’t tell if its blown or not, they are quite dim in sunlight (so is a bulb though), and after they blow they are hard to replace, out with the soldering iron. Advice: if you must retro fit LEDs where you used to have bulbs fit a resistor to the feed wire. More advice: don’t bother, stick to bulbs. That metal housing the LEDS sit in is the foot from a old pedestal fan. I now have a black fan with white feet salvaged from an older fan, so I could make this. in back lane/Transalpinbacklane004.jpg

The original bike had lots and lots of wiring hidden in the fairing. The entire loom came into the fairing, and then sent a load of wires on multiplugs to the handlebar switches, a load more to the ignition key switch (there's an immobiliser there too), and shedloads more into the back of the instrument dashboard for the gauges and the warning lights. Plus, when I fitted the headlamps 10 months ago I added extra wires and 2 relays, and then there's the wires to operate the vapor computer. So when I took dashboard and it's home made housing off I was confronted with this waterfall of spaghetti. front lights/Nathalieshouse001.jpg

I took several photos a s a record of "what was connected to what" front lights/Nathalieshouse007.jpg

There was no room to hide this under the petrol tank, there’s the airbox, radiators, fans and stuff all there. I wanted to keep this bike as close to Honda’s intention as much as I could. It might look different, but I have learned that the way Honda makes it is usually the most reliable way to keep it. I could relocate the electrics farther back to under the seat, but I want that space for storage.

I went to my local high street electronics shop, they have enclosure boxes of various sizes. Not wanting to replace one big ugly box with another big ugly box I chose one smaller than the lights.

To get the wires in you drill holes in the box, and fit a component known as a "gland". Stop sniggering at the back. Feed wires through the gland, tighten it up, and it forms a seal around your wires so water can't get into your box (stop sniggering again!) front lights/Nathalieshouse009.jpg

The theory was "I'll just identify each male & female pair of multiplugs, chop off each multiplug, chop off any surplus wiring, feed each into the box, and fit a new multipug.

So I cut the old headlamp bracket and welded new bits onto it. Then realsied it wouldn’t work, cut bits off and welded new bits on.

It took f'kn ages, several nights of trying to measuring, cutting off multiplugs, feeding wires in, and to reduce the volume of multiplug, instead of 2 x 6pin multiplugs I'd combine them both into a single 12 pin.

Night after night after work I did this from about 6pm to 1 or 2 am. My girlfriend starts work early in a hospital, we live together but didn't see each other for a week.

However, after several nights I realised that the box just wasn't going to be big enough, I'd need a 2nd one. It took a lot of thinking and mocking up different options. In the end I decided a smaller box between the lights was the way to go. the lighting circuitry is pretty much a separate standalone set of wires and relays, so I split that out to go into the 2nd box.

Problem is I just didn't want a massive box, and I wanted it to all look one cohesive design, that these boxes and lights were all meant to be in the same place, with minimal gaps between them, and looking suitably industrial and purposeful.

I settled on using a smaller box, between the headlights. I had this plastic box left over from another project. I bought the equivalent one in metal, and had to re-make the light bracket to bring the headlights themselves forward by about 25mm. front lights/Nathalieshouse011.jpg in back lane/Transalpinbacklane003.jpg

More drilling, filing and fitting of glands ensued. And painting. Remember kids, when painting alloy, always use an etch primer, or your righteous ratbike will have lots of shiny shiny aluminium poking through the matt black....

The glands actually take up a lot of room in the box, I thought I had misjudged it and would need more space, though I had a flash if inspiration at 1am "replace your relays with micro relays". With a combination of space saving micro relays and piggyback spade connectors I was "back in the game".

Another problem is having live wires crammed into a metal box, they earth out and I blew a farkin shedload of fuses. Sometimes with spectacular spark displays.

It is a serious squeeze in both of my electrics boxes, but I even managed to squeeze in a red flashing LED wired in to my secret antitheft device to be a deterrent to the undesirables.

A few people have asked about the seat. For foam I used “recon foam” it’s the firmest grade of foam so ideal for bike seats, it doesn’t deflate. I couldn’t source any in Australia so after 2 months I gave up and ordered it from the UK. Cost was 8 pounds for the foam and 50 pounds for shipping. But worth it, I’ve used it before and now I wont accept anything less. I also bought a 19mm deep gel pad for wheelchair users to prevent pressure sores. That’s a cheap way of buying lots of gel. You can cut that to shape as long as you seal the cut with tape. So its gel, on top of recon foam (you shape the foam with an electric carving knife, then wrap it in thisk plastic to waterproof it). The cover is black vinyl for covering outdoor furniture. I folded it and stapled it to the seat base so there’s no cuts, so waterproof.

I made the rear rack. The a great thing about ratbikes and survival bikes is that your repairs just have to be strong. So I didn’t use a tube bender, it isn’t perfectly square, but it has never needed repairs and can carry a case of 24 beers easily.

It’s my only bike, so I commute on it, tour on it, go off road (but don’t try to keep with the KTMs) it does the lot. I went out into the Australian desert with a Mad Max fan group and we got up to mischief (on closed roads, of course). I love the way that most people don’t understand it. They know sports bikes, they know Harleys, but they see this and just don’t get it. Nice to keep people guessing.

62 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
If anybody wants advice on removing fairing, installing a trailtech vapor computer, raising the bars or the seat, just ask.

I really don't expect anyone else to build a mad max bike though....

And thanks Tony (Lutin), you did me a favour which has really helped me out, thanks mate.

70 Posts
Bike look great Chris, if still a little small with you on it.

Surprised you couldn't get recon foam in Oz (also called chip foam) I work for a foam company and deal with the stuff all the time, it comes in different weights right up to 12lbs which is like concrete.

My 87 Transalp is a rat bike in as much as I don't care how beaten up it looks as long as it all works and all modifications are practical at the least cost.

1 - 4 of 4 Posts