My Old Friend: Part 5.5 – The Rebirth of an XT

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Well this is another point five update, which means it is mostly just things that have moved forward, but have not really made any progress.

Some major things that have moved forward.

First off, the Fuel Tank

Getting back into working on this, I started to spend more time again, researching what people have done, what to do, the tricks of the trade and so forth.

To my surprise,  Clarke Manufacturing had recently (within the last few months) started to manufacture the worlds first, aftermarket fuel tank for the XT225. Over 17 years after the introduction of the XT225, and 2 years after its retirement from production, a company has finally decided to take notice at the world wide popularity of this little dual sport.

After taking the time researching through posts about the quality and feedback on Adventure Rider, Thumper Talk, and my favorite XT225 resource, I made my decision I wanted to get this tank. It increases the fuel capacity from 2.3 gallons, to 4.1 gallons.  This is a significant increase in capacity, and mileage. With its real-world known fuel sipping 70+ mpg freeway speed economy, this extends the overall range of the XT225 to nearly 300 miles.

So my decision had been made, it was going to get ordered.

With originally discussed earlier in this series, I had decided to do a Desert Theme on the bike. I had finally decided on a Satin Black Frame, with Desert Khaki plastics.  The seat of the bike, would be done in a sage gray color, with the same gray used as vinyl stickers, and hard accessories.

The design looks great in my head, and I wish I had the skill that others have to be able to photoshop exactly what it is, but that is not something I am able to do. I will just have to trust my mind (which does scare me), and go with it.

Because Clarke Manufacturing is a MOD (Manufacture on Demand) company, I went to them about doing a custom color.

They offer the tank in your standard colors you see every day. Yamaha Blue, Black, White, Natural, Yellow and Orange. What I wanted though, was a desert khaki color.

I sent off an email and was happy to receive a quick reply within 30 minutes from Chris at Clarke Manufacturing, that it was absolutely possible to do it, and there was no added cost on a custom color.


So I hopped on over to Eastside Motosports in Bellevue to speak to them about ordering this tank.  I like to give my business to Eastside. They have continued to treat me fair, and so I try and give them my business whenever I can.  Like most shops, they are willing to work with you, and come to a fair deal.

Anyways, back to the ordering. Eastside was not a Clarke Dealer, however they were eager to become one. So Patrick took care of the dealership application, and my tank got ordered on Tuesday of this week, and was already looking forward to seeing my new tank in a week or two.

What surprised me came Thursday.

Thursday I get the call “Your tank is in!”.

Talk about a huge surprise! A 3 day turn around for a custom made tank!

Although Clarke is located in Molalla Oregon, I still was not expecting such a fast turn around.

As far as the tank? It is perfect. Absolutely the color I wanted. Not to light, not to dark, a perfect Desert Khaki.

Here is a picture:

Custom Tank Courtesy of Clark Manufacturing
Custom Tank Courtesy of Clark Manufacturing

I am really impressed with the tank. Not only does it seem sturdy, they include all of the hardware and bolts to get it put on the bike, as well as relocation brackets for thinks like the horn. This tank really has increased my motivation to complete this project. The team at Clarke can’t wait to see finished pictures.

Thursday, also was a good day for another reason.  I had just got off the phone with Production Plating in Mukilteo, setting up a time to drop off my frame and swing-arm later that day.

So after picking up my tank, I headed up north to drop off my frame and swing-arm. I picked out a 20% gloss, UV Stabilized Satin Black coating.

I was informed they shoot this color every other day, so the turn around should be very quick. Lets hope!

Yesterday (Friday) I finished up some other odds and ends purchases.

I woke up in the morning deciding, even though the bearings and bushings seemed fine when I pulled the swing-arm and wheels, I decided to order new sets.

After reading many positive experiences with replacing the non-sealed OEM bearings on the wheels with RBI premium Sealed Bearings, I decided to go that route. It is also much cheaper.

OEM Non-Sealed Cost: 18.95 per bearing
RBI Premium Sealed Cost on Ebay: 4.45 per bearing, free shipping.

So, although the wheel hubs take a total of 5 between the front and the back, I went ahead and ordered 10, just to have the spares.

I also purchased a Swing-arm bearing and bushing kit from another Ebay Store.  The cost was much lower than anywhere else I could find, and the store had great feedback. This item also had free shipping!

Next up on the list, I called up ProCycle out of Springfield, Or.

They had 2 items for my Carburetor that I really need for it.

First item, is a carb side choke.

The XT225 has a dash mounted chock pull, that has a cable that goes down to the carb.

To me, this is really an unneeded cable, and just one extra thing that causes problems.  Especially on my bike, being so old, the actual pull stop is worn down, so you need to hold the choke open by hand.  This will clean up the dash, and make my life easier.

The other item I ordered from them, was a Jet Kit, that has all of the popular main and pilot jet sizes for the XT.

My next stop, was actually back at Eastside Motosports to order a UNI Air Filter for it.

Last night, while still reading posts on different forums, I remembered I had forgot to order 1 other item.

The XT225, the year I got mine, had Yellow Shock Boots. These are extremely old now, and just ugly. Yellow wouldn’t go with the bike anyways.

So again, I hopped on to my favorite resources, checked to see what people are buying. Come to find out, everyone gets theirs from Ebay from a certain online store.

OEM Cost = 78 bucks… A PIECE. What a absolute ripoff.

Cost on Ebay Store for Aftermarket… 12 dollars a pair!

So I ordered up a set of black. I was going to order 2 sets, and realized that if I really needed another set down the road, I could order it any time.  I’ll probably end up ordering a spare set before that time though. Who knows!

Now that I had time to sit down, go over what I needed to order, make sure I had everything, I now had time to start visualizing the project again.

This project, will come with its share of fabrication.

Because I am replacing the front headlight assembly, I loose the framework for the dash and signals as well.

After some thought, and running some ideas in my head, I decided on a couple things.

First off, I decided to ditch the stock Dash, and instead, I’m going to get myself a TrailTech Vapor digital dash.  My main reason is not that it is an updated piece of technology, but I really like the thought of having Oil Temp.  This will end up being my next purchase.

After deciding what I was doing with that, I then moved on to designing the front brackets to hold the new headlight assembly, blinkers and dash.

After some quick sketches, I came to the conclusion that I really was going to need to get myself a Rotary Table to make things easier on the Milling Machine.

So, off to Harbor Freights Website I went, looked up their largest Rotary Table (8″) and clicked “Purchase”.

I’m having that shipped directly down to Oregon, since that is where the Milling Machine is anyway.

Back to design of the brackets, I came up with a couple simple designs for the front. After some thought last night when I went to bed, laying there looking at the dark ceiling, I decide that I am going to make some revisions to my design.

Originally I had designed it to be solid for the blinker mounts. I am using the Modern Generic Yamaha Front and Rear Blinkers, and I figured maybe I should build folding mounts. That way they can be brought in, when on the trail.  So I’ve started to sketch out that design as well.

My next piece I started to design, was the rear rack.

I’ve come up with a design, that has removable support racks for saddle bags and an elevated rear rack, so that a flat 2 gallon spare fuel tank can be placed under it.

I still need to put some thought into this. Right now, 2 gallons may be to much, maybe if I do a 1 gallon container. We’ll see.

The last thing I thought about, and how to proceed with fabricating, is a new skid plate and engine guards.  This is something I will have to spend a lot of time just getting creative with, as the design of the XT is unique, as in the skid plate is actually what connects the upper frame, to the lower back frame. There is no lower hoop frame support on the XT like what is found commonly on other off-road bikes.

Other than that, that is my “minor” updates.

Hopefully I’ll get this sketches put into digital, and then can share them.

Until Next Time!

Home > Projects > The Bikes > My Old Friend: The Rebirth of an XT > Part 5.5

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