Building Your Own Sport Touring Motorcycle
Turn your sport bike into a sport touring motorcycle with some creativity and a little fabrication. Such as the case with my KTM SuperDuke, she is hell-on-wheels but lacked the functionality needed for multi-day trips across the western United States. There are compromises you must make with yourself when purchasing a new motorcycle as there are few “all around” best bikes to own and each rider has their own particular flair.
This problem was solved with the help of a local bike builder and custom fabricator for just a few hundred dollars allowing me to put the “sport” back into sport touring.
The biggest issue I faced was location of baggage as the SuperDuke features dual under seat exhaust pipes that were sure to burn a hole through anything hanging over the rear pillion. To alleviate the heat problem the most significant change was purchasing a high quality set of aftermarket pipes to replace the steel ones. This drastically reduced the temperature and the ability for the pipes to retain heat, which plays an important role when idle in traffic.
I recommend that you start with a generic luggage set and fabricate a rack around the way they fit your bike. I bought a set of Nelson Rigg bags on clearance and ordered the heat shields from the factory to fit the model I purchased. The special fabric used would allow the bags to rub on the pipes without turning me into a fireball rolling down the highway from excessive wear as the bags shifted under load in a hard corner.
The next key is ensuring an even distribution of the load. Tying into the subframe will allow a setup that can be removed from most sport bikes with a few bolts with out any major alterations to structural integrity. When you do your fit test allow enough space for the passage of air while riding to keep both the pipes and your belongings cool.
The only regret I have was not installing a few knobs for a bungee net or attachment points to lash additional gear when not running full bags. With a natural fit I believe it adds a bit of flair to the street fighter look KTM was after.
If we did everything right the first time we wouldn’t have an excuse to pull it back apart to tinker on them right?