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Explorer - Modifications
March 28, 2024 version

 Introduction 

 Modifications 

 Parts 

                         Alphabetical table of contents 

Battery Upgrade 
Brake Pads 
Footpeg Wideners 
Fuse 
Hand Guards   CHANGE 
Handlebar Risers 
Handlebars 
Lights 
Mirror 
Mud 
OHV Sticker Mounts 
Parking Brake 
Power Bank 
Ready Button & Brake Modes 
Rear Fender Rack 
 
Removals 
Seat   CHANGE 
Side Stand 
Tool Storage 
Tyres 
Velcro Pocket 
Water Bottle Mount 
 
 

Modifications are shown below in roughly the order I did them.

Click pictures to  supersize.


Mods

I just can't let anything remain unchanged. I always have to put my own personal touch on every moto I buy, and so it is with the Explorer.


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Removals

There is absolutely no reason to have a front number plate. I'm not racing. I would remove it when I add the LED bar, so why not take it off now?

Similarly, why have radiator shrouds when I don't have radiators. OFF they come. Including the silly metal rods that hold them out away from the frame.

Same goes for the tank shrouds. There is NO GAS TANK!

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Seat

The seat is a board. In the middle of the first long ride, I remembered that I had an unused seat pad that I had bought for a Polaris ATV about 10 years ago. I found it, in like-new condition, and whala, the board seat is covered by foam blocks that my derriere is now happy with. Cheep at half the price.

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Seat removal/reinstall

With the addition of the new higher rise handlebar and the handlebar risers, the seat will no longer stay in its raised position. I used a bungie for a while, but found that seat removal is not half-bad when I want to access the area around the battery. Fortunately, this now only happens when I want to recharge the battery.

Remove the seat hold-down butterfly bolt. Then slide the black knobs at the front of the seat together, and whoosh, off it comes. Reinstall is just as easy (careful not to crossthread the seat-hold down butterfly bolt).


Seat hold-down bolt

I don't particularly like the seat hold-down butterfly bolt. It seems to me that it could come loose and drop out, which has bothered me for five months. I found one solution. All that is needed is a way to prevent the bolt from unscrewing if it happens to come loose. The pictures tell the story.

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M6 Thumb screw $4,  6" wire keyring $5,  10" wire keyring $1 Amazon pkg.


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Screw the new bolt in and tighten it as normal. Then thread the small end of the 6" wire keyring between the rear frame loop and plastic fender. Feed the end through the hole in the bolt. Screw the two ends of the wire keyring together until tight, lottsa turns....

Yes, it's a bit tedious screwing that knurled lock piece tight, but it's worth the effort for peace of mind. If you can think up a better way, let me know.
 

PS I lost one 'ignition' key, so I installed a 10 inch wire keyring linking/tying the remaining key to a handlebar mount. Just have to remember to always turn the key off when done riding, or stopping during the day.  10" wire keyring $1.

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Handlebars

I need higher handlebars; I'm hunched over as I ride. I installed Pro Taper SE KX High handlebars. I moved the display mount to the rear handlebar clamp bolts. You can see the display unit just clears the crossbar in the pics below

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Note the GPS receiver mounted on the handlebars, which I mounted on the new handlebars and of which I will speak to later. Also note the small rear-view mirror.

If you replace the handlebars, you should take note of the small hole on the right hand side, on the bottom of the bar. This hole is for the locating pin on the throttle assembly.

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You have 3 choices:

1. Drill a hole in the new handlebar. Mount the throttle assembly as you found it beforehand.

2. Don't drill a hole. Instead remove the locating pin on the throttle assembly. You then have to align the assembly more or less correctly. We do this all the time on our ICE bikes. Snug the mounting bolts to prevent rotation, but don't bust the plastic parts when tightening the bolts.

3. Don't drill a hole. Don't remove the locating pin. Align the throttle assembly and tighten the bolts. The assembly wil be slightly cocked, but will still work. It just doesn't look good, and it will probably leak water if it rains. MEH.

About the handlebars

I've used Pro Taper SE handlebars ever since I first heard of them. On over 15 motorcycles through many years. SE means 7/8, which is the diameter of the bars. When it came time to choose a handlebar for the Explorer, I tried the one I had on hand, CR Hi. They were close, but I wanted a better fit/feel. So, I tracked down the specs for many of the Pro Tapers commonly sold and ended up with a KX High, a very close variant of the CR Hi. Installed, they were just right.

Here's a table showing the specs for 24 handlebars. Originally, they were in metric, but I added inch-conversion values. Click on the table to see a larger version.

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Tyres

I installed Shinko SR241 tires on the front (2.75-19) and rear (3.50-18). I stuffed the tires with Mr Wolf's Mousse Balls. I used these tires on my X Bike. They are exactly what I need for riding the terrain here in Central Colorado. Rocky, dirt, and rocks. Mousse

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The tire clearance is about as small as I would ever want.

The new tire assemblies are both larger and heavier than the stock tire assemblies.

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  Tire height is in mm
  from ground to axle center line.

The larger rear diameter results in an odometer error, but 3.2% difference is small enough that you may disregard it. I use a GPSr to track mileage, so this is not a problem for me.

I think the heavier tires are much more concerning. Weight takes power to move it, and power is in short supply with the stock battery. Nothing to be done about it - the tires are what I need to even start riding.

When you replace the rear tire, check the chain slack and adjust as needed. The manual calls for 5-10mm. That''s very little, compared to an ICE bike. When I adjusted my slack to spec, I noticed a drop in noise from the rear end.....


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Brake Pads

While riding one day, and applying brakes at all the places my ICE bike would use engine braking, it occurred to me that brake pads are gonna be at the top of my consumables list. On my X Bike, I migrated to Shimano brake pads which use radiator fins to dissipate heat. I think these would be just the ticket for my Explorer.

While trying to track down a compatible Shimano set, I ordered a Talaria set that looked like the stock Explorer pads.

Both sets arrived the same day, and here they are compared to the stock used Explorer Pads.

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Shimano pads mounted on the rear.

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Side Stand

After thinking about it, I decided to restore the side stand sensor wire to its original condition.
My fear of getting stranded with a dead bike if I damaged the sensor wire is not well founded.


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Handlebar Risers

I installed a set of handlebar risers to get the handlebars up to a more comfortable level. My back thanked me.

These are Outlaw Universal Bar Risers I bought on Amazon in 2015, gathering dust on a shelf. They raise the bars 1 1/8". I didn't like the socket head bolts that came in the package and substituted some Honda flange bolts. I slipped the display off of its mount to make installation easier.

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Although I was delighted with the 30mm handlebar risers, I wanted just a bit more. I searched on Amazon and found - Xitomer 7/8'' Motorcycle ATV Dirt Bike HandleBar Risers Without Clamps, 40mm, black $25.
Also available in sizes: 20mm and 30mm

After mounting and a ride, the fit is now exactly what I wanted. I have short arms, and getting a good fit is essential to my riding comfort.

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Velcro Pocket

I was looking at the wiring to see if there was a source of 12 volts to power my GPS receivers mounted on the handle bars. I unwrapped some black stretchy tape from the wiring bundle to inspect all the wiring. I noticed several wires were connected to white connectors which were hanging in the breeze unterminated. I suspect these dead-end circuits might be related to street-legal equipment that is not used on the Explorer, but probably is used on some models of the RFN, the Explorer parent.

I did not find any 12 volt wiring, so I rewrapped the wiring. As the wiring proceeds up towards the steering stem, the wires were no longer wrapped in tape, and they are free to rub against the metal frame as they pass through a hole and then expand in different directions onto the handlebars.

The possibility of the wires grounding out on the metal frame and causing electrical problems was disturbing, so I implemented a solution.

I mounted some velcro on the frame pocket below the steering stem. The velcro is about 3 inches wide in a 6 inch long strip. It is sticky on one side and fuzzy on the other side. This piece of velcro prevents the wires from rubbing against the frame. Not shown in the picture is a short strip of hook-sided velcro facing down towards the fuzzy side and securing the wiring in a bundle.

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The black markings on the battery-retainer assembly are meant to mark the positions of the cylinders which hold the assemble together. The markings help me get the assembly back into it's original orientation. Unfortunately I was off 1/16 of an inch and had to reposition the parts to get a secure hold-down on the battery cover.


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Fuse

Here is a further look down the re-wrapped wiring bundle. Sano.

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Note the exposed red and red/white wires and a plastic piece tucked behind the wrapped bundle. The plastic piece is a fuse holder, which housed a 10 amp / 250 volt glass fuse and a spare floating around inside, unmounted. The fused circuit powers the display unit on the handlebars, and I measured about 1.2 volts when I got the fuse holder open. Strange that the fuse is so over-sized.... Stranger still is the free-floating spare, which can easily come into contact with the exposed connecters of the mounted fuse. If the connected fuse blows, the free-floating fuse is right there to re-bridge the circuit, and possibly blow also. Last strange detail - glass fuses which can shatter when bouncing against one another when I ride over rocks with gay abandon.

First corrective action was to buy some ceramic fuses to replace the glass ones. Ace Hardware to the rescue. I stuck with the 10 amp / 250 volts spec. Meh.

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Stock glass on the left, replacement on the right.

Next action (not shown now) was to extend the wiring to get the fuse holder out from under the battery, which goes in right over this area. If the fuse blows and I want to use the display, I gotta try a field repair and the fuse holder has to be non-tools accessible.


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Hand Guards

I bought some carbon fiber hand guards for my X Bike, but never got around to installing them. I installed the hand guards on my Explorer; they are a good fit.

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The hand guards are not really carbon fiber, but a very light plastic with a CF-like finish/look.

UPDATE

The faux carbon-fiber hand guards did not survive a tip-over on a recent ride. So I went looking for a replacement. Found the Acerbis 2205320001 Rally Profile Black Handguard with Universal Mount on Amazon. (red also available)
- Constructed of molded polypropylene; NO inner aluminum bar
- Includes X-Rally universal mounting kit

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The Acerbis hand guards are all plastic, but a much better quality than the faux carbon-fiber hand guards.

The mounting kit for the handlebars has 2 sets of handlebar spacers. These allow installation of the hand guards on standard and Fat bars.

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As I began the hand guard installation, I encountered a minor problem. The inboard mount ended up positioned at the gentle curve of my handlebars and neither of the two handlebar spacers fit. After much fiddling, I found that there was a pretty good fit if I used just one spacer instead of two.

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The hand guards are sold through Amazon by RMATV/MC, so if Amazon runs out, try RMATV/MC directly. About $52.


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Power Bank

The GPS receivers I have mounted on my handlebars can run on their internal batteries. However, they will run at a reduced screen brightness, and this is not acceptable to me. I need a USB power port for external power and full screen brightness.

During the wiring update (above), I looked through all the wiring for a 5 or 12 volt source and never found any. Looking elsewhere, I discovered the POIYTL Power Bank, a 50000mAh 22.5W Fast Charging Portable Charger on Amazon. This unit has 3 USB outputs and is just right for my needs. 50000mAh is 50 Ah and the unit shows the current charge in a status display. I did a trial run with the Power Bank in a waist pouch, and the GPS receivers operated successfully at full power and full screen brightness. The only thing left to do was find somewhere to store the Power Bank on the Explorer. In the empty pocket under the seat, of course.

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I am using Sorbothane (a vibration damping material) to form a bed for the Power Bank to lie on. Sorbothane is used under the hose clamps to protect the Power Banks external surface from scratches. The zip-tie is for back-up until I verify the hose clamps don't get loose or fall off.

I am able to recharge the Power Bank while it's mounted herein.


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Tool Storage

I'm carrying the minimum number of tools that I can. Here is an old, but still excellent, set of Motion Pro tools plus a Park Tool. I have a few spares also: fuses, seat butterfly bolt and what-not. I put them all into a sturdy waistband pouch.

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I hid the pouch under the seat. I got rid of the blue foam. Did not like the orange stretchy cord; used a heavy duty shoe lace.


UPDATE. I did not like the way I mounted the pouch under the seat. Too hard to get to when in a hurry to effect repairs. I removed the heavy duty shoe lace completely. I used zip-ties for securing the seat cover.

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I mounted a small Kydex panel with screws to create a pocket for the tool pouch.

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To secure the pouch, I used wide straps that wrap around the Kydex panel and the tool pouch. Easy to disengage when needed and easy to reinstall when finished.

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Mirror

By chance, on a recent visit to my local WalMart, I discovered a very cheap but usable mirror for my Explorer.
Concord Stretchable Hook & Loop Quick Attach Bicycle Handlebar Mirror $6.96

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I snagged one and a spare. The mirror really wouldn't do for street riding - too small. But just right for the places I'll ride my Explorer.

Walmart link


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Water Bottle Mount

Using the same water bottle mount that is on my ICE bikes, I attached this one to the heavy duty mount on the left rear of the bike. I had to elongate one of the mounting holes on the bottle mount to match the bike hole spacing; easy peasy.

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This might not be the final location for the water bottle mount; it hangs out there just a bit. Hmmm.

Aesthetics won out. Much better location and looks good too.

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Topeak Modula Java Bottle Cage about $15 on Amazon.


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Parking Brake

On my last ride, I stopped to take some pictures, and as I dismounted, my Explorer began to roll backwards down the gentle incline. I managed to find a rock to stop the rolling, and took the pictures. On my way home, I thought about the rolling situation, and concluded that I needed a parking brake. Here's v1.

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Parking brake is off; the strap is pushed inboard and hanging free. I subsequently shortened the tail so it wouldn't be blowing around and distracting me.

 

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I pull the lever to the desired firmness, then tighten the strap and lock it. Parking brake is on.


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Rear Fender Rack

Gotta have a rear rack to carry extra gear on looong rides.

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OHV Sticker Mounts

I added two OHV sticker mounts to the forks - makes getting the forks off easier.

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Two pieces of  Kydex  (5" wide x 4 1/2" high x 1/16" thick), heat, bend/shape, drill holes, and 4 zip ties. Easy Peasy.


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Battery Upgrade

I bought a new more powerful battery to increase the range to 50 miles of woods riding (hopefully). The stock battery is 74V35Ah and the new battery is 74V58Ah, for a 66% increase Ah (amp hours).

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  New on the left, stock on the right.

The new battery is heavier and slightly larger than the original Beta Explorer battery, which requires a different method of installing the battery in the bike.

Instead of lowering the bottom leading edge of the battery onto the rubber bumpers at the forward end of the battery compartment, I must now lower the battery into the cavity while keeping it level. Once it clears the seat mounts, I push the battery towards the front of the cavity until it rests on the rubber bumpers. At this point, I lower the rear of the battery until the rear end rests on the frame brackets. I push the battery vigorously/firmly towards the front of the bike, then push the rear down until it thumps into place.

Removal is the reverse, more or less.

Battery sizes (mm) and weight (lbs)
Designation Source width height length weight    Ah
74V35Ah 2024 Explorer

160

195

360

33

35  

74V43Ah 2024 RFN

160

196

362

41

+23%

74V58Ah Aftermarket

161

196

362

46

+66%

 

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  New charger; very heavy duty.

The battery, charger, and shipping (from China) came to about $3.1K. Shipping took 30 days.

If you're interested in buying one of these, check with Motoclops in Monument, CO.


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Lights

I need a headlight in case I get caught out late and daylight starts fading away.

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I need a taillight so following riders can see me as they draw near in tight woods riding.
They won't be able to hear me as before, will they?

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Footpeg Wideners

I suffer from instep fatigue when I ride for longer than about 5 hours. I use ortho inserts in my riding boots, but that doesn't completely solve the problem. Some time ago, I discovered that larger footpegs provided a great deal of relief. I added Works Connection footpeg wideners to the stock Explorer footpegs. See   CRF250F Footpeg Wideners  for details.

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The footpegs are much better. However, the stock footpegs are so narrow, front-to-back, that I decided to install a set of modified CRF250X footpegs which are larger all round to start with. Here's the setup before welding.

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Hold on, stop the wagon. Motoclops has what looks to be a better solution. Bolt-on and ride, no welding necessary.

Compared to the stock and the stock-widened footpegs:
These footpegs are wider front-to-back AND side-to-side
They fold back and up further
They don't rattle
They are lighter - 137 g to 183 g
AND they just look cooler.

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80 bux, all in; price + tax + shipping.



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Ready Button & Brake Modes

I have disconnected the front and rear brake sensor wires from the controller and added a "Ready Button" on the handlebar.

About Brake Modes

Brake Mode 1 - Freewheel, no motor brake
Brake Mode 2 - Motor brake with energy regeneration (default mode when the key is turned on)

Because the brake sensor wires no longer tell the controller that a braking event is happening, there is no motor cut-off and regen burst when I apply one or both brakes. I can apply one or both brakes and roll the throttle on or off, and there will be no abrupt jerk in the power delivery. This is equivalent to Brake Mode 1. I don't have to do anything to set this.

I do have to press the Ready Button (for about 3 seconds) after I turn the key on. This action simulates pulling a brake lever and tells the controller to set 'Ready" status so the throttle will be live and the bike will move as desired.

A subsequent ride proved the mod works as designed. It's so nice to have a smooth throttle when braking.

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Mud

The thing with these e-bikes is narrow, skinny frames, and minimal plastic. With a narrow rear fender, mud has a good chance of coating your back side.

With a compact motor/controller bay and gaps in the coverage, mud can find its way around the motor and to the controller and lower chassis wiring.

To partially meet this mudfest, I added 1 inch wide rear fender flares (red Kydex) and widened the shock protector (heat gun and 2-board-press).

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Shock protector.

Mud v2

I'll be looking at a few motor/controller baffles and shields soon.



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Swingarm Modifications

Someday, I may try something like this:

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SwingArm Modifications   <-- click-it


Click pictures to  supersize.

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