Technical Tip

2012 Dual Sport Conversion - By David Gronlund


A year ago I found myself in unknown territory, a father of twin boys. After planning the near future with my boys I realized the only person benefitting from having 2 motorcycles in the garage is me. So I offloaded my trusty ole dual sport 2003 WR450 for a down payment on a 4 seat UTV that the whole family could enjoy.

Almost a day later I realized I cannot live without a dual sport bike, you never know I might happen into a dual sport ride unexpectedly and not have time to cancel. So I started researching how to make my 2012 KX450 race bike into a transformable dual sport ride. I was surfing through the web one day and came across a write up of the USA ISDE team. Destry Abbott’s bike, a 2012 KX450, is street legal. I didn’t realize that was a rule of the ISDE. Destry is local and so is his mechanic Jonathan Wiesman, also owner of TBT Racing, so I gave Johnny a call. He told me I was in luck, he’s currently building Destry a dual sport bike also and he would be happy to do my bike. Well I have always been my own mechanic and did a 5 year tour of duty as an electrician so I figured with some guidance I could pull this off myself. He informed me that he is going to start building wiring harnesses for the KX and selling them. He will do full dual sport kits or just the harness. What a perfect opportunity for me to get my bike dialed in and to help out a local entrepreneur. So here it is my how to dual sport guide line. Heaven help us all!

First off you cannot run anything but LED lights on the stock KX electrical system. If you want high power HID or even normal incandescent lights then you must run a separate battery system or rewind the stator. Good luck with that though, I could not find anyone that would rewind a KX stator to power lights or anyone that sells a larger stator. I’m really not sure why. I have even emailed and called most places without one response.

There isn’t much needed to make a bike street legal in Arizona. You’re required to have a headlight, tail light (with a brake light), license plate light (yah OK), horn, and a rear view mirror.

There is a variety of LED systems available, some pricy and some not as pricy. I went with the Polisport LED headlight from Mountain ATV, an Acerbis LED tail light (with an LED brake light) and license plate holder assembly, a Tusk brake light switch and cheesy fold away handle bar mirror from Rocky Mountain ATV, a bicycle horn from Walmart, and the key to it all the wiring harness from TBT Racing.

The wiring harness came with bullet connectors for all the connections but I decided I would put a single quick release plug for the headlight so I could easily and quickly transform the bike back into the racing machine it was breed to be. So I went down to Radio Shack and picked up some connectors. The harness was very well put together and had all the loose ends of the wires clearly marked to where they need to hook up, headlight, tail light, brake light switch, headlight switch, and power leads to tie into the stock wiring harness. The hard part, surprisingly, was finding a switch for the headlight. I know I didn’t want to do anything on the handlebar, my bars are already crowded enough so I put the switch on the headlight assembly. That will also help de-clutter when removing the assembly for race mode. The challenge was finding a good looking functional 3 position switch (double pole double throw to also power the tail light) since the Polisport headlight has a high and low beam.

After removing the tank, seat, side panels, front number plate, and shrouds I looked for the best routing for the harness. I picked a routing away from the exhaust and any pinch points that could damage the wiring. It’s pretty safe to say that the existing wiring on the bike is in a safe spot so for the most part I ran the harness along with the existing stuff. The toughest part is finding a route for the wiring to get back to the tail light. I found a nice little passage that need to be opened up a little with a Dremel behind the shock on the right side of the subframe into the air box.  I then zip tied the harness tight so that there would be no movement and no chance to get damaged during riding and maintenance. It was important to me that the bike can be easily and quickly switched back and forth from dual sport to race mode but in no way do I want the wires or connectors to be free bouncing around to get damaged or open to the elements when the lights are unplugged. I can also place dummy plugs in the connectors when the lights are disconnected. I simply bought another set of connectors, removed the wire connections and filled the empty cavities with silicone to block mud, water, and dirt from accumulating while I go on to win the race. To take it to the next level I went ahead and pulled all the wire connectors from the plugs and on top of crimping the wires into the connectors I also added some solder to the joints so they cannot work loose over time. Also when re-installing the connectors into the plugs I added silicone into any and all cavities to hold back the moisture from corroding the connections before covering all joints with tape or heat shrink. I tied the harness into the stock KX wiring harness as instructed by TBT by soldering it in and covering the joints with heat shrink and tape.

As mentioned before I made sure that the bike can be transformed easily from race to dual sport. The rear fender with tail light can easily be swapped out for a race version less lighting. I added bullet connectors in the air box for quick disassembly. The headlight is attached to the fork legs with rubber straps and come off easily, just unplug the headlight and tie back the plug. Also on the 2012 KX the only place to put the brake light switch is on the rear brake caliper. The rear master cylinder is tucked to close in the frame and the hand guards block the front master cylinder. So I added bullet connectors to the brake light switch back near the swingarm pivot point under the fuel injection throttle body for easily disconnection during maintenance.

The only thing left is to put the bike back together and enjoy the night! OH YAH, go get your street tags, insurance, and be safe!

Bill of Materials:
Rocky Mountain ATV ( Just happens to be an AMRA Sponsor!):
Polisport LED headlight $109.99
Acerbis LED tail light Assembly $29.99
Tusk Brake Light Switch $13.99
Tusk Fold away LH handle bar mirror $8.99

Local bicycle shop or box store:
Bicycle handle bar mount horn $6.96

TBT Racing wiring harness $90.00

Zipties $5.97
Heat Shrink $6.99
Headlight switch $3.59
Silicone sealer $10.00
Various plugs: (4X $2.49, male and female): $9.96
Various Electrical Connections: $10.00

Total: $306.43

Not required but highly recommended:
Rekluse Core EXP, $899.00
Kick Stand, Pro Moto Billet: $149.95



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