Explorer - Modifications
Alphabetical table of contents
Water Bottle Mount
Modifications are shown below in roughly the order I did them.
Click pictures to supersize.
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.
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!
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.
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).
I need higher handlebars; I'm hunched over as I ride. I installed Pro Taper SE KX Hi 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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.....
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.
Shimano pads mounted on the rear.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here is a further look down the re-wrapped wiring bundle. Sano.
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.
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.
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.
The hand guards are not really carbon fiber, but a very light plastic with a CF-like finish/look.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I mounted a small Kydex panel with screws to create a pocket for the tool pouch.
To secure the pouch, I used a wide strap that wraps around the Kydex panel and the tool pouch. Easy to disengage when needed and easy to reinstall when finished.
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
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.
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.
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.
Topeak Modula Java Bottle Cage about $15 on Amazon.
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.
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.
I pull the lever to the desired firmness, then tighten the strap and lock it. Parking brake is on.
Recent ride with all the mods on board....