So this might be a tad premature as I have not yet secured a bike as of today, but I have a line on a 07 Ninja that was crashed hard and I'm hoping for a steal on it.
Many guys have pioneered the Ninja/Versys dual sport conversion so I don't want to pretend that I'm covering new ground. I do plan on some key differences which I will outline below.
First off I think the 650 Ninja motor is the perfect candidate for a lightweight ADV bike and JDrocks has been riding his around North America so it obviously works. I called this project Full Circle because I had bought a 07 Ninja a few years ago to do a similar conversion and it turned out the bike was stolen and I lost the bike and the money. Lesson learned. I then bought a FZ1 and turned that into a monster. Have 20k miles on that conversion and it runs great (rode it last night brrrr). But it was too big and heavy to be a lightweight. I adapted it more to be a tourer/weekend terrorizing machine for spirited runs.
I always wanted another lightweight bike to correct my heavy hand with the FZ1 build so I started looking around for a 600 class bike. Lo and behold I had a CBR600 in my garage collecting dust so I built that up too. Yes, I am technically still building it, but I do have a few hundred miles on it and all indications are go that it's a keeper. Needs some jetting fine tuning.
In assembling the parts build for the CBR, I bought a full sumo setup including forks, shock, radial brake and wheels. I also have it currently wearing dirt gear.
The plan for the Ninja is to have it be the primary dirt ADV bike, install the radial forks and shock on the CBR along with the sumo wheels and have a dedicated bike for each.
It'll save a substantial sum as many of you know the high end suspension and wheels acounts for a majority of the cost in these builds.
So what's going to be different in this build? A lot.
Here's my recipe for the build.
2007 Ninja 650
KTM WP 48 forks and triple
KTM RFS swingarm
KTM PDS shock
Custom aluminum gas tank up front (the bike is damaged and tank no salvageable really) I plan to lose a little volume to move the seat up.
Custom subframe with a couple gallons under the seat. Integrated pannier mounts. Most likely the subframe will be aluminum like the CBR.
Rally fairing with twin HIDs and twin LED for high. Carbon dash, stock gauges
Plus other stuff I haven't thought of.
The ninja motor and frame is a great chassis to start with but so far no one has adapted a dual sport swingarm and rear wheel. The front suspension is relatively easy to adapt but the rear involves removal of the stock subframe and some heavy fab work to mount the KTM shock. I've done this twice now on both my bikes and feel it gives a much more balanced ride. You get full dirt bike travel to match the front, the aluminum swingarm is much lighter, the KTM shock is excellent to start with and so far has performed excellent in both my bikes (no linkage to engineer). Plus all the braking components and wheels are easy to buy no need to adapt.
the key to making this an easy conversion is the fact that the swingarm does not bolt through the motor. When I originally was going to do this build I had purchased a KTM 950 swingarm and measured and it would have fit with 1/4" to spare. I don't believe I'll need a swingarm that heavy to cope with the weight.
I'm shooting for 360 lbs for this build. There's a lot to be gained by lower weight, bike handles much better, easier to muscle around, components can be lighter etc. My CBR weighs 364# and that's full of fuel ready to ride. Hopefully the Ninja motor is lighter by 10 lbs or so than the 4 cyl CBR motor because the builds will be almost identical in terms of build components the main difference is that I plan on running a traditional tank in addition to the subframe tank, plus the fairing and lights will add back on. So I think it's doable, takes hard work to lose weight as you build but I think I can do it. Either way it will be a fun project.
Now if I don't get the bike, someone else needs to run with this