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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    no shop time for a month, but i hope to get back in there soon.
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  2. High Octane

    High Octane Long timer

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    I’ve been spending a few weeks in Tucson for the last couple of years. My trailer isn’t big enough to haul both my sidecar rigs but if I had another V649HP I’m scheming a way to get it and the Kwack to Tucson for the winters!
  3. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    plenty of good roads down there, and if you take a V649 up the AZBDR you'll have some stories to tell.
  4. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    one of the items on the list is deciding on a shock spring for the R1 shock, so i removed the spring from the current R1, and also springs from the Versys and EX650 shocks i had on hand. i needed to refresh my memory on the free lengths, and also check the ends of the ER6 springs to see if they were uniform.

    [​IMG]

    the red springs and the silver spring in the center are all R1 springs, little variance between them, and compare very favorably with the advertised OEM free length of 179.5mm. the ID is 56mm. the common replacement spring for the R1 is listed in imperial at 2.25" x 7", so you can see that this spring dimension stuff has a few stray mm floating around. i found a owners manual reference for the spring rate at 9.48kg for the 2007/08 R1.

    the blue spring is from an EX650 and has a free length of 177mm, with the same unequal ID ends found on the Versys spring, 52 and 57mm. surprisingly, the spring has a 17.33kg rate.

    the Versys spring is on the right, and has a length of 190mm, quite a variance against the R1. i didn't go back to check what i'd written about this spring earlier, but i don't recall 10mm. sooooo, i have this 16kg spring in hand, i already know i have to clearance one end, i might as well shorten it a little and give it a try.
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  5. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    the spring was ground to 185mm, that's about as far as i thought i could take it without having very thin ends on the last wrap. it important to keep the newly ground ends flat and square, so take a look at your methodology so ya don't screw it up...don't overheat the spring during the process either.

    [​IMG]

    the small end spring ID gets clearanced almost 5mm, not too difficult. the ID of this spring was a little tighter than previous springs. it takes about 15-20 minutes with a small burr and grinding drum in the Dremel. the surface is easily smoothed to a near mirror finish.

    [​IMG]

    the OEM R1 collar is a loose fit, not a press fit, so leave a bit of room. you should be able to place it on the spring and turn by finger.

    [​IMG]
    ben2go likes this.
  6. draco_1967

    draco_1967 Been here awhile

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    I have followed this thread off and on for a few years now. Recently, I started combing through it thoroughly because I have the itch to build one of these.

    I am not having much luck perusing local ads trying to find a reasonably priced Ninja, which is not as easy as you make it look!:lol3 The only one I found that had potential (to be cheap!) the guy thought it was worth nearly book price, even though it had been sitting in his garage, disassembled and not running, for the last year after he crashed it. I am now branching out to the auction sites, but they are a bit intimidating with all the fees and shipping involved...

    I got tired of hunting down tidbits of information in all 250+ pages of the thread, so I put together a Cliff Notes version as a little reference. I wanted something I could have up in the garage or print out to glance at if(when) I get stuck. If it's OK with you, JD, I'm happy to share the "Unofficial Dirt Ninja Build Reference Guide" with the asylum here. I have a pdf file I can link to.

    ETA: The document contains mostly JD's posts about different details he's shared with building his bikes. I tried to avoid duplicating information, but I didn't edit anything. There are a few posts from others who have built Ninjas with their own flair that I thought would be helpful. It's still 43 pages, but it does have a table of contents and it's organized into different sections (frame, swing arm, engine, etc.).
    tkdcol, 2002maniac and nickguzzi like this.
  7. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    i don't know how many times i've heard guys say they can't find a cheap project/parts bike, let's just say lots. then i think about how many times i've said that these budget builds are as much about shopping as they are about building, said that lots too. all i can say is follow the formula...establish the budget, visualize the end product, know what you're looking for, know what you're buying and the target costs, be diligent, be patient, and have cash on hand for immediate purchase. yup, cash really does talk. remember, on these past couple bikes i had to source two cheap bikes for the build, not just one. i had to work the magic twice. i've had some adventures chasing down these cheap bikes, many times the people you're dealing with are not what one might call model citizens. i don't buy anything without paperwork, keep it legal. as i write this, i'm reminded of the time i left a wad of cash for payment under the seat of a derelict riding lawn mower.

    keep in mind that you're looking for bikes that have to be the most crashed 650cc bikes in the history of moto travel, so there's a never ending supply of bikes and parts. take BigChuck (Charles) situation, he sourced everything he needed to get going on his build in just a matter of weeks, super cheap too.

    these are fun bikes, it's worth the effort to build one.

    sure, put up the reference guide, let's see what ya got.
    Lawman_745 likes this.
  8. OHjim

    OHjim Been here awhile

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    draco - I think one thing to consider is that JD lives in a much more populated part of the country than you. Being in KC, I run across viable candidates maybe once a year. There are close calls more often than that, but would be more $$$. Most are like what you found - way too much for what it is. With you in SLC, it may be even tougher.
  9. draco_1967

    draco_1967 Been here awhile

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    Don't get me wrong, I'm having a lot of fun planning and shopping around for this build. I'm on a tight budget, so finding the right donor bike(s) will be essential to success for me. I think the auction route will be my best bet. It will take some time, and might cost a little more than finding a bike locally, but it will be better than paying $2-3k for anything around here for a 10-year-old bike with a questionable past.

    Here is what I've put together: linky. If anyone wants the Word doc version that has the full resolution pictures, I'm happy to provide that too.
  10. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    true, i'm in the Mid-Atlantic, but at the end of the road in a county with a population of 6,000...in other words, ain't nuthin' here or close to here, i gotta go find it like everyone else.

    only once did i have an ideal bike find here locally, but the guy wouldn't take cash, just wanted to trade for a handgun. hmmmm, i didn't want to put a firearm anywhere near that dude, had to walk on the deal. when the cash is more than the cost of the gun, there's a reason he can't purchase one himself.
    onetire and OHjim like this.
  11. High Octane

    High Octane Long timer

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    Thanks
  12. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    so when are we going to see the new custom moto?
  13. High Octane

    High Octane Long timer

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    I gotta lotta shopping to do.....
  14. DELTATANGO

    DELTATANGO Motorcyclist and Dog Walk

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    Neat.
  15. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    An expert make his art look easy.
  16. ben2go

    ben2go Moto Flunky

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    Copart is a good website to keep an eye on. They sell complete write-offs. Some go cheap and it's mostly cosmetic damage. You're planning to loose the plastics anyway, I hope.
  17. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    for all you shoppers out there...once you decide to get real serious about shakin' the tree, you soon find out that there are many more trees to shake than you first thought. eventually, what you are looking for falls out and lands at your feet. be ready with the cash, the real good and real cheap stuff doesn't sit there long. snooze and looooozzzze, that's why i say a prospective builder needs to know what he's looking for, as well as what he's looking at when he finds something, y'all won't have time to research and do the hem-n-haw thang.

    remember, the asking price for bikes and parts means zip. many times you're dealing with a seller that suddenly changes direction when there's a handful of American greenbacks in play. when it comes to your money, don't give it away by paying anywhere near top dollar...you're on a budget, right?
  18. Moparman

    Moparman Adventurer

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    That’s where mine came from. Under $500 after fees and everything for a bike with under 9k miles. It had the requisite busted pieces which I wasn’t going to use in the first place. But I got it home, put a battery in it and it fired in less than a full crank of the starter and sounded like it was ready to go for a ride. Tacoed front wheel and broken left fork leg would’ve made that a little too interesting though.
    ben2go likes this.
  19. PHX_Joe

    PHX_Joe Adventurer

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    Draco_1967, really cool you putting this together... thanks, I'm sure, from a bunch that understand the effort. Second - first, really - to jdrocks for the source and inspiration. Hopefully, more episodes of 'chronicles soon, once new ride done.

    I have the forks and r1 shock, missed a couple 19 VS wheels, but started with 'my' bike, so not much to sell. But a great trip!

    Many thanks, lads. Truly.

    [/QUOTE]
    Here is what I've put together: linky. If anyone wants the Word doc version that has the full resolution pictures, I'm happy to provide that too.[/QUOTE]
  20. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    ^^^^^geeeez, all the new linkys...i can hear those nice high-end color printers at the office spitting out lots of recipe paper.

    the only thing i might add is that while it's nice to know a specific step in a specific build, it's also good to know the context, ie the thought process and evolutionary aspects of the design decisions. the cliff notes version may lose some of that.

    it's not the first time the printers have churned. another inmate went through the entire thread, deleted the foo-foo, saved the good stuff, ran it through the corporate color printer, stuck it in a 3-ring binder...then built his bike. worked for him.