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Old 07-03-2014, 08:31 PM   #1
4play OP
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Ninja 500 twin in an XR650L Frame?

I just picked up a pretty nice XR650L frame very reasonable just planning to replace the engine. I started thinking about a 500 Ninja swap. Has anyone done any measuring to see what it would take or know of any conversions?

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Old 07-03-2014, 08:42 PM   #2
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There was a well done 650 ptwin powered XR650L that sold on EBay a while back.
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:48 PM   #3
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hmmm, any pics?
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Old 07-03-2014, 09:24 PM   #4
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hmmm, any pics?
nope, but it looked like the same type of effort as the KLR swap.
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Old 07-04-2014, 07:16 PM   #5
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There was a well done 650 ptwin powered XR650L that sold on EBay a while back.
I would recommend a modern 650 if you're going the parallel twin route. ~Same size and weight, better power, EFI, efficient, cheap, and easy to find. Ninja's are better than the Versysessesesess IMO.

I did a KLR twin swap a couple years ago. All these big single frames are so basic you're not limited by a lot if you don't mind hacking up a little bit of the cradle.

Go for it - post lots of pics!
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:11 AM   #6
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I think there may be a lot of potential with this.

I am trying to do this, my RallyTwin copy, or homage to what the Webers did. I have not made much progress for weeks, and am really stymied by the fact that the 500 Ninja engine has such a deep sump. With the frame I started with, I have to place the engine very low relative to the swingarm pivot to get the countershaft and swingarm pivot aligned to the point that the sump is below the range of travel. I'll have to limit a couple inches of travel from the suspension at both ends to keep the sump from intersecting the ground at full compression. It looks like to me, from looking at the pic, that the swingarm pivot is much higher in the frame on the XR650L frame than the WR/YZ 400/426 frames. That'd make a HUGE difference.

I hate to admit it, but I need to mostly start over if one of these 650L frames would be better. If you don't mind, I need to know some measurements off that frame, from which I can determine if this issue will be a problem for such a swap.

I need you get the bike frame on a lift, with the wheels dangling in the air such that the axle centers are equidistant from the floor. Measure the distance from the floor to the axle centers. Then, measure the distance from the floor to the swingarm pivot. Finally, what is the distance from the floor to the bottom of the frame? From those measurements, I'll be able to determine for both of us if this sump-depth issue is really a problem for this frame. If its not, you and I may end up doing concurrent builds around an XR650L frame.
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:12 AM   #7
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IMHO, if you're going to the trouble of doing an engine swap, you might try something closer to home: XR650R motor.

Yep. Ninja/Versys 650 motors have a similar deep sump.

One problem is an extended drain tube, but that can easily be cut off, shortened and welded back on. I also believe the sump pan can be shortened quite a bit, too. You might run into oil volume problems if you don't add some back somewhere.

Someone was speculating on the internet about the possibility of CNC fabricating a new sump pan which would incorporate bash plate mounting points.

TonyMorr and others have recently been looking into a Ninja 300 motor in a dual sport chassis. Paging TonyMorr to the white courtesy phone. I don't know if he has run into technical problems, or schedule problems, but I haven't seen much progress on his build in quite a while.

OH, and Oregon is right: sometimes, it is just easier to design a frame to achieve your goals, and build it from scratch. If you start with a titled steering stem, and "customize" from there, you should be good to go.
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Old 07-05-2014, 12:40 PM   #8
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I've built (rather finished what Dentvet started) a mutant Ninja.



So I'm familiar with the 650's, I was under the impression the 500 engines were a bit smaller/lighter. I was also thinking about keeping it simple with no EFI sub tank/fuel pump & easier air cleaner routing with a backbone style frame. I'm a very dirt oriented rider, the Rio builds interested me & would probably be a better fit for me than the Thinja was.
The XRL is a better platform than a KLR IMHO for offroad abuse.

I've owned & loved an XR650R, wouldn't want to build a worse XRR.

I really only brought this home because it was too cheap to leave behind.

Anyone have a Ninja donor bike to push me over the edge?
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Old 07-05-2014, 03:10 PM   #9
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I was also thinking about keeping it simple with no EFI sub tank/fuel pump & easier air cleaner routing with a backbone style frame. I'm a very dirt oriented rider, the Rio builds interested me...
I'd be interesting in the actual numbers regarding the weight of the 650/500. Power to weight, the 650 is almost certainly better, which is what's important to me at the end of the day. That being said, I'm not a big dirt rider.

If I were looking for low weight for more off road, I'd go for a hopped up big single in a lighter chassis... basically a stock KTM 690 enduro or plated XRR, which you already have experience with. If that's what you want, find a stock 650L motor, put her in and sell the Honda and just buy what you really want.

I'm not sure how different an offroad Thinja is from a Ninja powered 650L in the end. Do you still have the blue Thinja pictured? What don't you like - just too heavy?
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Old 07-05-2014, 03:58 PM   #10
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I sold the Ninja because I only ride slab when I have to connect a trail or to get home when a ride runs long & I'm still 150 miles from home.



It would have been excellent for someone who liked to ride more pavement like John, the current owner. My favorite bike at the moment is my Yamaha WR306R, it'll cruise 70 all day without hurting it or me & can handle some of the snottiest single track in AZ. For some rides that run late & find me 3hrs away from home, the power & cruising ability of the 650twin would be really nice.
Unless I stumble across a Ninja donor cheap, I'll likely just put it together with a smiled on XR650L engine.
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Old 07-05-2014, 04:39 PM   #11
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Yep. Ninja/Versys 650 motors have a similar deep sump.

One problem is an extended drain tube, but that can easily be cut off, shortened and welded back on.
huh...where ya been? i run this one on mine, a 10 minute swap.

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Old 07-05-2014, 05:41 PM   #12
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115 lbs for the 500 twin, reportedly and unverified. Doesn't say if that's with or w/o oil, carbs, etc.

http://advrider.com/forums/showpost....8&postcount=26

Quote:
The EX500 engine is 115 pounds (from a 20 year old memory, so I may be off a little).

Krasniewski screwed with this post 07-05-2014 at 05:49 PM
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Old 07-05-2014, 05:43 PM   #13
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Can you mention what that is off of for the audience. I'm sure it's buried in your build somewhere... Decreased oil capacity any?


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huh...where ya been? i run this one on mine, a 10 minute swap.
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:05 PM   #14
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115 lbs for the 500 twin, reportedly and unverified. Doesn't say if that's with or w/o oil, carbs, etc.

http://advrider.com/forums/showpost....8&postcount=26
I found 126 for the 650R & 102 for the original single.

I did a little measuring & the Ptwin would require similar fabrication to the KLR/Rio. Doable, but I'm not sure it's really worth the effort over freshening up a used single.

If I still had all of these parts in my shop, I'd give it a go ;)

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Old 07-05-2014, 07:20 PM   #15
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I did a Cromag version Rio-type KLRE knockoff, and liked the result a lot over even the 685 kit it replaced, but the biggest improvement wasn't really power, it was a smoother, longer, rev range and more importantly, a sixth gear. It was all worth it in the end, but I think you have to really know what the end result will be and want that.

You already know the time and effort requirements to do this - sounds like a hot single is what you need.
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