V649HP-Kawasaki's new gravel runner

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by jdrocks, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    sorry to miss you up there, but i was only in Dawson half a day, then across the river.
  2. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    thanks, anyone with questions on the specifics, just ask.
  3. 4play

    4play Next?

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    Hello JD, While brushing up on Ninja's I stumbled across several Ninja road racers that were replacing the Ninja intake cam with the Versys. The duration is a bit shorter so no real surprise they were doing it for improved drive off the corners. I happen to have a Versys intake cam & since the motor is about to be on the floor anyway, I'm seriously thinking about trying it. I was going to check the valves anyway.
    I got to ride mine quite a bit Saturday & other than one crossing the Hwy wheelie for those laughing at my calico paint scheme I never saw or needed anything over 6000 rpm, so moving the torque peak down a bit seems like a good idea. Your thoughts?
  4. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    Blue Ridge Racing came out with the cam switch when the Versys spec motor was introduced a year after the ER6 motor back in about 2007 for the euro models. they still sell the cam kits.

    i haven't been tempted to do this modification, as i'm not racing , reliability is at the top of my list, and around 70hp is enough. i run stock ER6/Versys gearing too, and haven't felt the need to change that either.

    if i had a stock Versys spec motor in one of these motos, i would be looking for some horses. i can definately say that the Versys spec motor is nothing like the cop motor, i just proved it to myself after a 5000 mile run.
  5. 4play

    4play Next?

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    I'm not looking for more horsepower I'.m not racing this thing either & I'm not talking about anything that would hurt reliability (stock versys intake cam). The net effect should be to shift the torque curve lower in the RPM range. Gearing, I went with a really tall rear tire & need to compensate for that some. After Saturday's ride I'm thinking about gearing it back to where the speedo is right, 15/49 would be pretty close with the increase in tire diameter.
  6. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    i just put all those miles on the Versys spec motor, the one that was factory tuned to produce maximum torque at lower RPM in a moto that the designers thought might be used differently than the sportbike with the similar motor.

    my conclusion: big mistake. while the Versys motor is completely capable of pushing that bike down the road as tuned, i don't see a big rush to duplicate that performance.

    most, but not all, of these ER6/Versys builds are set up differently, so in my case, when i say stock gearing, it's the OEM gearing with the OEM 17" rear wheel size. 80 cruise is still 6000RPM, and the gearing is still good for the gravel i would typically run. i was reminded of another reason for not using lower gearing just last week, fuel economy. i would have been parked on the side, out of fuel, at least twice. yes, the fuel stops were that far apart, and no, i wasn't carrying extra fuel at the time. that fuel can on the back was empty.

    bone stock cop motor, no aftermarket tuners either. that's the recipe that has taken me out there and brought me back.
  7. 4play

    4play Next?

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    Good points.
  8. nononsense4857

    nononsense4857 Adventurer

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    It has been close to a year i have been to this place.

    [​IMG]

    After this there have been three instances of 650s trying to make a trip and returning mid way on the back of trucks due to "radiator fan failure".

    All three are separate instances.

    JD,
    In some of your pics, your ride is neck deep in running water.

    Have you given thought to this and put something in place as a safe guard for the radiator fan?
  9. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    great photo, where are you riding?


    i haven't seen those reports on radiator fan failure in the field. getting the fan wet certainly doesn't hurt it.

    the Versys comes with the 40mm larger radiator, compared to the early year ER6, and it's an advantage to have it. Engine Ice or similar could be used too, especially if you're on a slow road in hot weather.

    i also think some of the radiator guards in use don't permit enough air flow, and without a stand off mounting system, the radiator and fan can't be kept clean easily. fine silty mud coming through the radiator can jam the fan.

    get some full syn oil in that motor too, like M1 15-50, it helps.

    seeing the temp light come on doesn't mean it's cooked, it just means some action needs to be taken, usually finding some water and flushing the core is the fix.
  10. nononsense4857

    nononsense4857 Adventurer

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    This is the northern most part of India - Ladakh. This area borders China in the east and Pakistan west side.

    The service center made the radiator fan swap free of charge. They attributed the failure to the fan taking a hit from a stone, or some foreign object getting stuck within and causing enough damage before being thrown off or falling down. The fuse was perfectly ok in all the cases - thus taking out electrical defects as a cause.

    Once the fan failed it was a no go because most of the destinations have a treacherous route usually involving just the first two gears and a rare third gear stretch. So even with freezing temperatures outside, the temp light used to start off as soon as the journey got underway.

    Getting things changed under warranty is definitely heart warming. But the pain of getting the bike prepped to your liking and then see this happen is really frustrating. Adding fuel to fire, my friend's bike took a bad beating during the transportation back to civilization.

    Right now it appears that the best way to mitigate this problem is to have a spare fan and the experience to do the fan swap.

    JD and the rest of the 650 riders,
    Can you check if there is any factory protection for the fan? Some forums say that there is some sort of mesh protecting it from the rear side. Some clarity regarding this would be very welcome.
  11. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    you got the bike prepped, now you're the adventurer dude, good job. i don't know of a fan protection kit, but i doubt you need one. i would mark down that stone in the fan shroud as bad luck. as i said, you do need to keep checking the radiator core for mud, a clogged core will cause the temp light to come on faster than a bad fan. if mud gets into the fan assembly, it will not operate.

    safe travels on your trips.
  12. Roadracer_Al

    Roadracer_Al louder, louder, louder!

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    Indeed, too bad to miss you, JD.

    Speaking of overheating problems, my wife's '09 Versys had the radiator cap go bad just before Osoyus, the Canadian border crossing in Eastern Washington. The internets to the rescue, found a part number for an automotive replacement available at NAPA.
  13. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    yeah, i missed some riders at D2D, but i needed to get down the road. i'll catch up with you somewhere out there, that's always the plan.

    i hadn't thought about carrying a spare radiator cap, i have an extra or two in the shop. my radiator problems have all been mud clogged cores, nearly unavoidable on long runs over muddy roads. if you've used a standoff guard, mud can be carefully removed from the face of the core, then flushed with whatever water is available...ditch water, for instance.
  14. 4play

    4play Next?

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    My temp light came on today on a long but fairly mild climb. It was in the high 90's outside but something seemed off. I went ahead & topped the hill & down the other side thinking it would cool quickly & the light stayed on. I shut it down & looked things over it all looked good, no fluid loss> I fired it back up, light off for now went a few miles & it came back on the FI light came on as well. I remembered reading about this & sure enough there was a small pebble stuck in the fan. I dislodged the pebble, replaced the blown fuse & rode 200 more miles today. I wasn't riding in anyone's roost, so I'm assuming it came from my front tire & over the top of the radiator.
  15. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    that makes two jammed fan housings, but with completely different front ends. our Indian friend is 17"/low fender, you're 21"/high fender, and only the event in common. i've run both 17"/low fender and 19"/low fender over 12K plus miles on gravel, no fan problems. i like the low fender because it does a better job of keeping the crap off the bike, but then again, maybe i've been lucky.




    i'm working on a pass from the XO and if it comes through, the V649 is hoppin' the border again.
  16. 4play

    4play Next?

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    I was studying the radiator fan last night & now believe the offending rock came from underneath. A low fender would certainly help, but for now I tie wrapped a piece of hardware cloth from the bottom of the radiator guard to the engine just above the header flange. KTM low fenders are kinda pricey, maybe I can find a take off..
  17. MTrider16

    MTrider16 Ridin' in MT

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    Low fender? do you mean the huggers, like BMW F800GS. There are a number of people taking those off and replacing them with high fenders. You might find one cheap if you troll the GSpot forum.

    David
  18. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    posers wanting the dirt bike look on their 800? speaking of which, i just got a PM inquiry on F800 aftermarket suspension mods, maybe i should send him to you for the scoop.

    i've had a steady rate of inquiries about various aspects of the V649 build all season so far, to the point where a search on Ebay for a DL1000 wheel has "DRZ400 forks" listed under "Related Search".

    beginning a prep on the V649 this weekend for another cross border trip starting later this month. i was riding around the neighborhood this evening on my bike, the memory of that recent 5000 mile ride to Anchoirage on a mostly stock Versys still fresh. let's just say that the two bikes are the same in name only.
  19. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    if you run around on gravel long enough with that high fender bike, the front of that engine assembly will look like it has been sandblasted, or worse, stones leaving small nicks on the engine cases. the water pump housing and outlet are down there too. lots of gravel coming off that front tire.
  20. MTrider16

    MTrider16 Ridin' in MT

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    One F8GS rider has had the cross over brake line catch his front tire when the hugger broke. Some impressive Go-pro footage. But yeah, I think most of the changes are for looks.

    Not sure I'm a good source for the suspension mods, although I'm happier now than when I first paid the bill. I still can't keep up with Marc Coma, but maybe I haven't bought all the right mods yet. Someone suggested changing the nut that attaches the handlebars to the seat. :evil :D

    I don't know where I would send people for advice on F8GS suspension. Ohlins seems pretty good out of the box for a total Noob. I couldn't tell you what an experienced rider could do with it. My opinion of the technical knowledge of the people that frequent the GSpot is pretty low.

    Your advice is modifying the google search engine, I guess you are the celebrity now. lol Better keep your running iron out of sight, wouldn't want you to get framed for rustling. :D

    -David