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Discussion Starter #1
Thought I would post a thread about the supermoto conversion I am working on. I picked up a '97 RMX that was plated in California before all the emission standards were passed in/or around 2001 - meaning this bike is basically grandfathered into a plate. Because of this, the chances of it getting revoked are slim to none. I plan on keeping this bike for as long as possible, as it is no longer possible to register 2-strokes for street use in California unless you sneak them in - but I have heard many of these bikes get spotted eventually and have their plates revoked. With this in mind, I have started dumping money into it as it is no longer some old dirt bike, rather it is a guarantee of a street legal two stroke for as long as I can keep the frame in 1 piece . When I got it, the bike had seen a lot of action on single track trails and showed the rough use. I have been going through and making it new again piece by piece.

I actually had to completely rebuild the entire engine on the bike so the internals of the bike are brand new. I primarily ride the bike on the street so I am converting it to a supermoto setup but keeping the dirt pieces so I can switch back and forth when I hit the trails. Converting it to a Sumo has turned out to be quite a daunting task. Parts are not easy to find, plastics are rare and have few color options, etc. From my internet research I have only been able to turn up about 8 conversions, 5 of which were done in Japan to the Japanese version of the bike (which is different from the standard model in a number of ways). I have only seen information on how the conversions were done on two of them, and of course all of the aspects I need more information on and are the most difficult to figure out have limited information written on them.

Here is what I have completed so far:
Complete Engine Rebuild (bottom end including crank shaft, clutch, gears, etc.), top end, piston, head, cylinder, all new gaskets, etc.
Tuned and re-jetted
All new plastics and graphics
New tail light (the edge taillight by DRC) with arrow blinkers and low profile plate mount
New armor and bark busters (with integrated turn signals) - Zeta
New mirrors (powermadd)
New Headlight – well the stock one from my Husky SMR 510
New steering stem bearings
New Levers – Pazoma Clutch and hopefully brake (the brake lever does not fit – working this out with the vendor now – they are chinese copies of the Zeta levers)
New grips
New shift lever – IMS
New Chain – RK XW ring chain – Gold
New chain rollers
New brake pads
New Tires for Dirt wheels – D606s
New SME bar end sliders
Built some sliders with clamps and hosing for various parts of the bike

My current projects include:
- Rebuilding the front brake master cylinder
- Rebuilding a spare swingarm I bought
- Building Supermoto wheels
- Fixing the broken lower tab for the case chain guard – still unsure how to approach this
- Adding axel sliders to the swingarm (can’t go through the axels…)

Here is a picture of the bike when I bought it back in March:


Here is a somewhat recent picture of how it looks now:



Alright – onto the fun stuff: Supermoto Conversion!
So far, I have bought a spare set of hubs for the wheels (want to retain the bike’s dirt capabilities), a spare swingarm (came with the rear hub!), spare lower chain guide (same as swingarm), a 320mm EBC front brake rotor with relocation bracket, a 47t rear sprocket by pro-taper, a new rear rotor by some brand I can’t remember, new mounting hardware for rotors and sprocket, a couple of Sunstar front sprockets (11t, 13t, 14t, and 15t), and new bearings for the swingarm and hubs.

The Hubs – turns out for this bike there basically are no aftermarket hubs available so I had to get a spare set of used hubs to build the wheels on. They showed up looking heavily used and coated in Alabama and Georgia red clay mud. The front Hub was actually a complete wheel so I had to remove the spokes and rim to begin with. After that I popped the bearings out of the hubs and saw that this mud had somehow worked its way into the wheels, gotten underneath the spacers, and caked into the bearings! After removing the bearings and spacers, I clean the hubs up and degreased them to the best of my ability. They still showed the stains from the mud though so I knew I would have to get them sandblasted.


 

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Discussion Starter #2
The Swingarm – clearly had battle proven strength with tons of scrapes and scratches. After removing all the bearings and spacers I when ahead and it the really rough parts with a file, then hit the swingarm with 330 and finally 600 grit sandpaper to smooth the metal out as much as possible. I did the same process for the extra chain guide I had, along with the kickstand and kickstand mounting bracket.





I bundled it all up (including the hubs) and was off to the powder coater for sand blasting and powder coating. For the swingarm, kickstand, kickstand bracket, and lower chain guide I went with 10% gloss black powder coat. For the Hubs I went with a gold powder coat – it was a more brassy gold than I expected but I’m still happy with it.

After Powdercoat:



I had to remount the kickstand on the current swingarm as I only had one of them. I realized after completing the powder coating that I should have shortened the kickstand up. Well, I didn’t think of – so it is what it is haha.

I took the hubs down to Motostrano on Saturday to get the wheel building process started. The RMX uses non-standard hubs and spokes according to my conversations with Warp 9 – well at least an older generation that are not in current use. This means I have to get a custom set of spoke built – not that big of a deal but will make the process take longer. Unfortunately, the bearings for the hubs had not shown up yet, so I decided to chance it and took the hubs down to them anyway (the shop is a solid 45 mins away). I decided to go with some Excel rims – the widest I could feasibly go was a 4.25” x 17” rear rim and a 3.5” x 17” front – both 36 spoke. I talked to the guys at Motostrano today and the wheel builder they use said he will put the bearings in when he builds the wheels so I need to get those in the mail tomorrow.

Based on our observations, Chain rub looks like it will be an issue. So, I am trying to figure out what I can do to minimize this. My plan is to shim the sprockets (any links on how to do this and what to use would be great) and offset the rear rim on the rear hub a little bit towards the brake side of the swingarm.

Does anyone have any ideas for some type of universal chain guide that is low profile in width? Or maybe one that is offset towards the outer edge of the swingarm at its base to provide more space? It looks like I will have to lose half of my lower chain guide so I am looking for options for the top and bottom guides.

I’ll post updates as I have them!
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I'm still waiting on the rear sprocket to arrive, along with the bearing kit for the swingarm and the new mounting hardware.

I want to get a new computer figured out but I have really limited space for mounting with the Scott's dampener. Any suggestions? Would like to use a trailtech Vapor with the dash kit if possible. I'll try to add some additional pictures later that have better angles

Here is a shot of my bars/clamp/dampener area to help give you an idea of what I am working with:

Here is an old shot but it pretty much looks the same:

Any ideas on how I could mount the bracket of a vapor?

Other - Can anyone confirm if this brake lever is for an old DRZ? Zetas website says the DRZ lever should fit the RMX 250 - but, I think they have bad information there. I have the stock master cylinder and it does not want to fit in there. Has a long tab that comes of the end that runs into the wall of the master cylinder. Also - the plunger does not look like it is in the exact right place for my master cylinder...

Side by side view of levers:

Levers on top of each other to highlight differences:

this is as far as it will go into the master cylinder:


Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Some pictures to highlight upcoming clearance issues:









And for an idea of how big the wheel is inside the swingarm I used the rear wheel on my husky (same size rim and tire) along with the extra swingarm:

 

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you best bet on spacing the sprocket is using another sprocket that you machine down. i tried using regular washers and the bolts would free up super fast....even with locktight. just make sure you space the hub over or space the front sprocket.

sweet build by the way.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
you best bet on spacing the sprocket is using another sprocket that you machine down. i tried using regular washers and the bolts would free up super fast....even with locktight. just make sure you space the hub over or space the front sprocket.

sweet build by the way.
I'm literally going to need all the room I can get so if I can find a way to move the front sprocket that would be ideal! I want to keep the hub where it is and have the rim offset as much as possible, if I move the hub, I will lose the gains of offsetting the rim. It's kind of a cluster F right now - basically I know its possible to do it, I know the guy did it with the same hub, rim, and tire size, but I have no idea how he made it fit. It's going to be REAL tight in there. I'll try to get some pictures of the clearance as is, but I assume some trial and error will be involved in the process.
 

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Cool bike, for sure!

Just a word to the wise, though. I've got a garage full of Cali plated 2-strokes, and I've been playing this game for a while.

Your bike is not grandfathered into a legal registration. Just because your bike is plated - doesn't make it legal.

It's know as improper registration, and truely any cop with a badge can impound your bike on the spot. You can't even ride it home (because it was never a legal bike for the streets of Cali).

I only have one 4-stroke, so I ride 2-strokes almost every day. I've been pulled over several times, just because cops want to make sure my RZ350 is legal. (It's not because of the modified exhaust and emission equipment.) But, I usually don't have problems because the bike was originally sold as a street-legal bike in Cali.

I may not do as well if a cop checks out my Euro RZ350, RZ500, or NS400R.

Just wanted you to know the risk. I wouldn't put a truckload of money into it, just in case.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Cool bike, for sure!

Just a word to the wise, though. I've got a garage full of Cali plated 2-strokes, and I've been playing this game for a while.

Your bike is not grandfathered into a legal registration. Just because your bike is plated - doesn't make it legal.

It's know as improper registration, and truely any cop with a badge can impound your bike on the spot. You can't even ride it home (because it was never a legal bike for the streets of Cali).

I only have one 4-stroke, so I ride 2-strokes almost every day. I've been pulled over several times, just because cops want to make sure my RZ350 is legal. (It's not because of the modified exhaust and emission equipment.) But, I usually don't have problems because the bike was originally sold as a street-legal bike in Cali.

I may not do as well if a cop checks out my Euro RZ350, RZ500, or NS400R.

Just wanted you to know the risk. I wouldn't put a truckload of money into it, just in case.
Thanks for the good information - Does it matter that it was plated back in '98 and was done so with a complete kit to make it street legal back in '98? My understanding was that if it was plated before the new emissions standards went into place, they can't revoke the plate based on it not meeting those standards. Same type of rule applies for vehicles form the 60s for example - you see those old VW Bugs and Vans driving around that are not required to meet the same standards new cars are, yet they will not revoke the plate because it was registered and plated before the standards were on the books.

Seeing that you have a lot of 2T bikes, can you confirm whether before 2001 you could legally register 2t bikes (as in not sneak bikes through) as long as you put in the leg work to make them street legal with all the DOT and vehicle code requirements met?

Really good to know - so far I have not had a single problem with getting pulled over. I think that's mostly because I ride in SF and it seems like the cops here have better things to do than check my bike for legality even though it has a plate and current reg. I have passed maybe 30-40 cops on it, and the most I get is a head turn, if that. I have even been pulled up right next to them at red lights before. :hmmm:
 

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Yep. Unfortunately, I'm positive that bike can never be legally registered in Cali.

In the past, there was never a time when that bike could have been made street legal.

What used to happen, is that a lot of employees at the DMV didn't check to see if the engine was legal. If your paperwork was in order - the bike could go through. I brought an RZ500 in directly from Canada and registered it at my local DMV. Other bikes, too.

But things have changed. Now the DMV looks up all engine numbers to make sure the bike is Cali legal. I haven't been able to register an illegal bike for a while at my local DMV.

I always take my bikes to AAA now, but if anything is out of the ordinary, then they send you to the DMV or CHP.

If ANY bike has an engine (number) that didn't originally come with the bike - the DMV can't register it without CHP inspection - another (relatively) new rule that sucks ass.

Cali is a tough place for 2-strokers. Just have to do what you gotta do.

EDIT: All this info should make you enjoy riding your bike a lot more!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
OK - Wheels are being built right now - as of yet no updates on when they will be completed. I got the classic "2 Weeks" when I last got updated on Friday of last week. BUT - I took advantage of the downtime to go dirt riding in the El Dorado National Forrest and this bike just KILLED it. So much fun! :bannana: Made me more excited than ever about getting it sumo'ed up for street riding.

here are a couple of photos from the ride:




And a youtube video of me ALMOST wrecking hahaha
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So you're still going to go through with the street/sumo conversion?
Yessir - Most of the parts were bought back in May and it's kinda hard to flip an oversized brake rotor, rear disc, hubs, swing arm, bearings, etc. for a 97 RMX. Not to mention the hubs were already dropped off to get built out and the custom spokes were being made. I'm honestly not too worried about the plate getting pulled. If it does well... that would suck, but I could still use the bike for dirt riding and sumo track days. I will only be riding in an urban area and I have never had a cop show any interest in the bike so far, even when I pull up next to them. I'll just keep my fingers crossed... :anim_peep:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I got busy this weekend in anticipation for wheels getting completed. Apparently they're not complete, as I got no call letting me know they are ready.

I pressed the replacement bearings into my newly powder coated swingarm. I made my own press out of a threaded rod, washers, nuts, and a socket.




I then pulled the wheel and the old swingarm off the bike. I took all of the white plastic parts and dyed them black using RIT dye. That includes the chainguide, disc protectors, rear brake line guides, etc. I then mounted everything back up.




Now all I need are the wheels so I can get started fitting them up.

I plan on going back to the powder coater to do some additional parts - I was thinking about doing the brake calipers. Anyone like that idea? I was thinking gold to match the hubs? Either that or the same black I used on the swingarm.

Thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Stripped off a bunch of additional parts to get powder coated last night. Dropped them off this morning before work - hopefully they can get done before Friday. I'm getting antsy for my wheels, really hope they will be ready for pickup this weekend!

Getting brake calipers apart, and getting the pistons out without air was an interesting experience. I guess I should have done the calipers first so I could have used compressed air, but without thinking about it, I got to them last, at about 1am last night, and something about turning an air compressor on that late told me my neighbors would be pissed haha. I ended up using a bike pump instead, worked well enough but took awhile and was a PITA less me tell you.

Here is a picture of all the parts at the powder coater this morning. I noticed I left a bolt on the brake lever when I got there (DOH!) and I could not, for the life of me, get the clutch rod out of the clutch cover. It has a plastic seal so they are going to give me a call and let me know if they can bake it with it or not. If not, I'll have them bead blast it and I'll polish it for the time being.

Going with a 10% gloss black on everything except the brake lever. Going same gold as hubs on that to have it stand out and give the bike a smidgen of color on the engine.

 

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Yep. Unfortunately, I'm positive that bike can never be legally registered in Cali.

In the past, there was never a time when that bike could have been made street legal.

What used to happen, is that a lot of employees at the DMV didn't check to see if the engine was legal. If your paperwork was in order - the bike could go through. I brought an RZ500 in directly from Canada and registered it at my local DMV. Other bikes, too.

But things have changed. Now the DMV looks up all engine numbers to make sure the bike is Cali legal. I haven't been able to register an illegal bike for a while at my local DMV.

I always take my bikes to AAA now, but if anything is out of the ordinary, then they send you to the DMV or CHP.

If ANY bike has an engine (number) that didn't originally come with the bike - the DMV can't register it without CHP inspection - another (relatively) new rule that sucks ass.

Cali is a tough place for 2-strokers. Just have to do what you gotta do.

EDIT: All this info should make you enjoy riding your bike a lot more!!!
What is the difference between a 2 stroke and a 4 stroke never meant to see the road? Neither were ever sold in CA let alone the US as a street legal bike.

I have a 99 WR400 that was plated in 99. As long as it was made legal via lights, mirrors, signals etc it could be plated. And can in fact still plate anything older than a 2002. I know of a CRF450 and a WR400 done recently.

Also my WR400 was re-ended (barely), I allowed the insurance to salvage the bike out so I could get money to buy my sumo wheels. (still ride the "bent" dirt wheel :D) The engine case's on the motor had been replaced by the previous owner, I have the receipt. CHP had to do an inspection on the bike and passed it with out any questions and gave it a new engine number

So what is the difference between a 2 stoke never meant for the road and a 4 stroke never meant for the road. The issue as far as I know is simply emissions standards, the older stuff can still be plated with correct paper work.
 

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What is the difference between a 2 stroke and a 4 stroke never meant to see the road? Neither were ever sold in CA let alone the US as a street legal bike.

I have a 99 WR400 that was plated in 99. As long as it was made legal via lights, mirrors, signals etc it could be plated. And can in fact still plate anything older than a 2002. I know of a CRF450 and a WR400 done recently.

Also my WR400 was re-ended (barely), I allowed the insurance to salvage the bike out so I could get money to buy my sumo wheels. (still ride the "bent" dirt wheel :D) The engine case's on the motor had been replaced by the previous owner, I have the receipt. CHP had to do an inspection on the bike and passed it with out any questions and gave it a new engine number

So what is the difference between a 2 stoke never meant for the road and a 4 stroke never meant for the road. The issue as far as I know is simply emissions standards, the older stuff can still be plated with correct paper work.
Mmmm wrong. There's been plenty of 2 stroke motorcycles that were ca plated. I had one.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
While it may be possible to plate older 4-stroke bikes legally, I am pretty sure it is now impossible to "legally" plate a 2-stroke bike in California now, even if it is older than a 2001/2002 production year. I can't back that up with anything other than what I read while researching street legal 2-strokes in CA though. The 2-strokes that have been tagged since then have been snuck through the system in a variety of ways - for example inept DMV employees doing the inspection, etc. The danger of doing this is that the "mistake" may surface and your plate will get revoked. I have read a few stories of this happening within a few years of getting the plate. I specifically bought a bike that was registered before the 2001 "cutoff" because I understood these vehicles to be grandfathered in - much like any other older vehicle. Another member disagreed with that above, but I am unconvinced by his arguments as of right now, as well formulated as they were.

What is the difference between a 2 stroke and a 4 stroke never meant to see the road? Neither were ever sold in CA let alone the US as a street legal bike.

I have a 99 WR400 that was plated in 99. As long as it was made legal via lights, mirrors, signals etc it could be plated. And can in fact still plate anything older than a 2002. I know of a CRF450 and a WR400 done recently.

Also my WR400 was re-ended (barely), I allowed the insurance to salvage the bike out so I could get money to buy my sumo wheels. (still ride the "bent" dirt wheel :D) The engine case's on the motor had been replaced by the previous owner, I have the receipt. CHP had to do an inspection on the bike and passed it with out any questions and gave it a new engine number

So what is the difference between a 2 stoke never meant for the road and a 4 stroke never meant for the road. The issue as far as I know is simply emissions standards, the older stuff can still be plated with correct paper work.
 
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