Frijole 833 NORRA Mexican 1000 Project Update: Test Day 1

Somebody’s got to do it. Thankfully we have Otto, who wasn’t afraid to be the first to crash the bike.


I think we all had this insidious doubt in the back of our brain-housing groups that whispered “Physics, man, this thing is just too heavy and it’s gonna suck no matter how hard you try…” Testing the bike out in Barstow at the infamous Hodge Road loop proved otherwise and the morale of our happy band of wannabe racers breathed a heavy sigh of relief. Don’t get me wrong, this Sportster is a pig for sure–518lbs (wet) in stock trim, the Frijole is now down to a svelte 475lbs (wet) now. That weight makes it a different animal off-road for sure, but thankfully it’s still a very capable animal.

“Physics, man, this thing is just too heavy
and it’s gonna suck no matter how hard you try…”

If you watch the video you can see it bucking in the rear, and the ergonomics aren’t perfect. We knew this going in but wanted to test anyway. The first version of the forks built by Race Tech were just too low, and the longer springs we had custom-wound were too tall (our fault). So we tested with the Race Tech set-up. The forks work great but we need to get that front end up a couple inches and buy a couple more inches of travel. Once that is corrected, the rear can be fine-tuned. The Elka shocks are fantastic and allow for tons of adjustment.

Sometimes I hate the desert. Then it throws a couple days of this at me and I’m into it again…


Nothing that we built broke in the 75 miles of testing, and we’ve got a few ideas that will make it tougher, so we’re already starting on those. Once the forks are rebuilt and top shock mounts are fabricated to capture both sides of the shock bolts, we’ll do some quick local testing to sort the exact gearing and then it’ll be back to the desert. Thanks to everyone who’s pitched in on this project, and for all the questions and suggestions from readers of this blog and our social.

-Bill

You ever take it off any sweet jumps? Yeah, Otto did. Barely. 


Whether it’s a BMX bike or a stupid Sportster, Moeller gets after it!


Westy is our ringer. This old former three-wheeler is gonna have a blast in Baja.


I’m the fattest and oldest, but feel like I’ll be able to hold my own.
Note the Fox V-1 visor bolts right up to our Lane Splitter helmet. 
Hmmm…


  • Bobby Rhodes

    Looking good! Is this bike for a particular race or event?

    • Biltwell

      Thanks Bobby. We are building this bike to compete (well, finish) in the NORRA Mexican 1000. http://www.norra.com

  • Gern Blanston

    looks like a ton of fun! cool project bike! great choice for background song on the video! should be a cool event and will be fun to see how you guys do!

  • Jon Pearson

    nice, but hey @BiltwellInc:disqus next one, fade the music and let us hear it… gotta sound cool on the dirt, aye

    • Biltwell

      Ha, good point. It sounded pretty anemic with too many discs in the Suoertrapp. We’ve got it opened up and tuned as well as lower gearing, so the next round of testing (Monday) should sound better and we will share it for sure