Motorcycle News - The Frijole 883: Biltwell’s heavyweight Harley race bike
The guys who run Biltwell have petrol coursing through their veins, and the stable of daily riders in the Temecula parking lot is eclectic. It mostly leans toward Big Twins, but several of the crew have a dirt bike in their quiver. It’s often an XR400 or a TT500—or in the case of main man Bill Bryant, both.
To Bill’s amazement, everyone said, Hell yes! And so we have Frijole (Spanish for ‘Bean’), the world’s most improbable rally raider.
“Since it’s a five-day rally, we built (or bought) back-ups of practically everything; wheelsets, foot controls, bars, shocks, the swingarm, you name it,” says Bill. “We even bought a donor bike one week before the race and pulled its engine for backup.”
“Wet and unladen, she weighs in at 475 pounds [215 kilos]—50 lighter than stock,” says Bill. “But on race day, she’s equipped with Lowrance navigation, a backup iPad, a road book, miscellaneous rider aids, safety and recovery equipment, tools, spare parts, extra fuel and EXFIL tank and side bags.
During development and testing, Bill and his crew tried hard to replicate the terrain they’d encounter on Baja’s rugged sand washes and rutted farm roads. “For such a heavy bike that was never intended for this kind of use, Frijole 883 was surprisingly capable,” says Bill.
“But we opted for reliability and serviceability over pure performance.” The three other riders on Biltwell’s four-man team agreed to run the Sportster under its threshold, with the goal of just finishing the race.
The race prep was smart rather than flashy. Case in point: in the stock location, a Sportster foot shifter hangs out in the open. So the crew welded an XR400 steel shift lever to a Harley clevis and mounted it backwards, so it shifts GP style—one up, four down.
Essentially a centrifugal clutch, it allows you to come to a complete stop without pulling in the clutch lever. “This eliminated lots of anxiety over stalling when things got rough or out of control.”
Cannon Racecraft custom wound the springs and Precision Concepts lowered and re-valved the forks to Africa Twin specs. Gigacycle Garage made a custom top tree and steering stem to mate the fork to the stock frame and work with the GPR stabilizer.
A single set of 17-inch-long Elka Stage-5 shocks lasted the whole race, even the one directly behind the Frijole 883’s custom SuperTrapp exhaust.
German-built Huenersdorff fuel cans and modified mounts on each side provided an extra 1.2 gallons of fuel, and on two really long stretches, the crew added a third canister in the EXFIL-11 tank bag.
The Sportster is now enjoying a well-earned rest in the Biltwell showroom. “It smells like rotten fish and stale beer from fetid water crossings and the finish line celebration,” says Bill. “But it gives everyone who looks at it a big smile.”
And that includes us, too. More of this madness, please.
via Bike EXIF http://www.bikeexif.com
July 6, 2018 at 12:09PM