V649HP-Kawasaki's new gravel runner

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

  1. fredgreen

    fredgreen Proud Canoodian

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    755
    Location:
    Maritime Canoodia
    That's a cool looking gas bag, where's it from.....of course I send Shirley first, if you want it done right, send a Shirley to do it. It you don't send C-stain.....just kidding, C-stain did exceptionally well in the woods with his big Vee.
  2. donny662

    donny662 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    394
    Location:
    Michigan
    So, do you prefer the TKCs to the Kenda Big Blocks? Why?
  3. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,586
    there ya go. looks like you're having too much fun on those KLRs to ride those cruisers any more.


    fuel bladder is from JustGasTanks, an ADV vendor. australian made, they are sometimes out of stock. i thought about using one last year, but they didn't have any and weren't sure when they would get more.
  4. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,586
    i haven't run through a set of the Big Blocks yet, but early reports suggest that i won't be seeing the same miles that i know i can get out of the TKCs. the Big Blocks currently on the bike will have too many miles to start a trip with, so i'll start with a zero mile set of TKCs and end up going through three rears and two fronts.

    with the Kendas, i'd use at least another rear, and maybe another front. that would be seven tires, and the logistics would be a nightmare.
  5. yokesman

    yokesman Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    550
    JD,
    could use some directions on your bike procurement procedures, here in CAL we have a very small field to pick from due to the emissions requirements on newer bikes and all seem to require a business license of sort leaving with having to pay buyers and flyers fees to the tune of 50% of the total , for a $1000 motorcycle.
  6. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,586

    i can't speak to any issues specific to california, but builder bikes are out there for those willing to spend some time looking. it took me months of poking around on the internet to find the right bike for the right price. the height of the riding season usually isn't the best time to search. i've said it before, but you have to be diligent, know what you're looking for, know what you're looking at when you find it, and have cash in hand to make the deal...generally no second chances on a cheap bike.

    in my case on this last build, i had a titled Versys frame located, so i was looking for a really cheap parts bike. i found two bikes, either could have been built as a rat Ninja, and both would have been excellent for that purpose with extra parts that could be sold.

    early in the thread was a photo of the parts bike i bought for the V649HP build, and is a good example of what's out there.

    [​IMG]

    2008, less than 1000 miles, cracked generator cover and no battery so i couldn't hear it run, some scrapes, and missing a few parts. purchase price was $750. i wish i would have offered $500, the kid might have taken it, but i knew that the parts i didn't intend to use were worth more than $750 so i didn't feel too bad.

    i made the simple repairs to the engine, it started right up, and ran like it had 1000 miles on it...perfect. now i had the frame and the entire engine assembly including all the miscellaneous parts that are common to both Versys and Ninja. at this point, i'm effectively out of pocket only $400 and well on my way towards meeting my $1500 turnkey build budget.

    i shopped all the rest of the parts i wanted to the point i was satisfied that that the purchase price was in the cheap category. once again, it's surprising what's out there. some of those cheap used parts can barely be told from new. the parts came from all over, including the UK.

    an old photo that has been up before, but if you were standing beside this bike i honestly think you could agree...this is a lot of bike for $1500.

    [​IMG]

    then there's riding it.


    so about two weeks after buying the parts bike, i got to thinking about that other bike. i could buy that one for the same price, but the seller had seriously pissed me off. now i'm thinking i should mend that fence and buy that bike too. it only had 3000 miles and the parts alone were worth way more than $750. first i better check around and see if i still find a listing, nope, no longer a for sale listing. what i did find was another listing that was actually an inquiry by a guy trying to find the same seller and bike. someone else had seen the bike listing but had not acted. there's a lesson in there.
  7. Ednukey

    Ednukey Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    40
    Hah!

    May I go so far as to say great minds think alike? Those AUS made bladders were waaaay too much coin -- for me.

    I'll give you a report once it starts getting used, which will be somewhere in BC.

    The bike looks great.

    Attached Files:

    • gas.jpg
      gas.jpg
      File size:
      114.9 KB
      Views:
      2,645
  8. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,586

    so true. from one great mind to another, those steel S hooks on the bungee make me nervous. there must be a better way.

    by all means, i'd like a report.
  9. dentvet

    dentvet Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,375
    Location:
    hunt country virginia

    Thats a great deal there.

    I had a weird feeling on the last bike i bought. i didn't nitpick the bike or criticise any part of the deal, nor did i lowball
    (if there is such a thing as lowball) I simply asked what's the lowest you'd take for it? He spoke and i accepted.

    I felt a liitle bad driving home because i know the guy could probably use the money and a couple hundred bucks wouldn't have made a big difference to me.

    I guess it might be arrogant/presumptuous for me to feel sorry for somebody who seemed happy to sell his bike.
  10. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,586
    i had been watching the listing for the parts bike for about six weeks. the ad would be one place, disappear, then reappear another place, but i knew it had to be the same bike. the price was out of my range at first, but was gradually coming down, and i decided i better look at it.

    the bike was stored outside, and snow was in the forecast...a solid week of snow. he said i was the first person to even call about the bike, much less come by to look. took him about a nano second to accept my offer.

    24 hours later, 10" of snow. 20" on the week. yeah, the kid was happy to see it go. i was his one, only, and last chance. there was no regret registered on his face, only relief. he got the cash and i got a darn good parts bike.
  11. Airman Jack

    Airman Jack Faster! Lower! Faster!

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    129
    Location:
    Kingston, Ontario
    Hey are you concerned at all about your exhaust getting beat up by rocks or other low-hanging trail fruits?
  12. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,586
    nope, this is a gravel runner, not a single tracker. purpose built just for gravel roads.

    600 mile test run today, plenty of gravel. i'll tell ya all about it....
  13. Dastard

    Dastard Just another guy

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    597
    Location:
    wherever I am told to be

    :ear

    Followed all your previous threads, here and on the versys forum. Can't wait to piggy back on your latest adventure.
  14. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,586
    well then, ya better hang on 'cause this thing is a BEAST.

    i read in other threads about DS riders trying to tune the very last zephyr of disturbed air out of their windscreen. no buffeting allowed.

    in contrast, this bike has no windscreen, no fairing either. that little red thing on the front is to protect the gauges. at 85mph, the bike and rider are about as aerodynamic as the cardboard box your new double door refrigerator came packed in. ride this bike, the air is beating on you with a club. very old school, very visceral. gotta love it.
  15. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,586
    600 mile test run yesterday. i had been riding the bike locally, but i needed to get it out on the I system for an extended speed run and then onto gravel roads for at least 100 miles. i wanted to verify overall performance, and make sure there were no handling quirks. with the suspension changes, the bike geometry and ride height had been altered. if there was a problem, i needed to find out now, not later.

    off to West Virginia to ride gravel in the George Washington and Monongahela forests. if you're anywhere close and haven't ridden the WV back roads, i recommend it. you can ride all day and see very little paved surface.

    [​IMG]


    i had been riding without my AirHawk, but for 600 miles i put it on the seat. now i can just barely get the toes of those size 14s down. the bike is tall, and with my very upright riding position setup, my view from the seat is over the roofline of all but the biggest SUVs.

    i could not find any problems with stability, cornering, tracking, or handling in general. i thought the bike rode beautifully on both pavement and gravel. I system speeds up to 85, with cruise at indicated 80, GPS actual 77. on this unfaired bike i got 38MPG at 80, and was glad i had the larger Versys tank. limped in on the last leg with the fuel light on and .3 gal in the tank.

    the new suspension was great especially on the gravel, and is a major leap forward in the evolution of the rat builds. i have the forks set for about 7" of travel, maybe 10" overall, with no interference issues. i could get more out of them, but i don't like a mushy front end. likewise, the R1 shock is also a vast improvement. i have not maxed out all the adjustments that could be made on the shock.

    dirt bike riders know what it's like to mount a fresh set of knobby tires, then go out for a ride. this is not a dirtbike, but riding gravel with a fresh set of Big Blocks is similar...and man, is it fun. you would not want to be riding behind this bike, gravel flying everywhere off that rear tire. coming up off those corners and gassing that cop motor, lordy, ya better be hangin' on.

    i love the big Fastway footpegs mated to the Versys brackets. my boots stay planted on the Fastways, and the Versys bracket position makes it easy to stand on the pegs. the new shifter and brake pedal got a workout too, glad i made those changes.

    i hadn't done a field test of my new model 44 LED auxiliary lights, but yesterday i switched them on at dusk. i thought i had them aimed a little low, but then i noticed that i was starting to see the guardrail reflectors light up about a half mile ahead. hmmmm. it got darker and the big reflective highway signs would light up like fireworks. hmmmm. then it got full on dark, but lit up big time in front of the bike. hmmmmmm, these things are freakin' bright, but it was when an oncoming car pulled off on the shoulder just to get out of the way that i realized how bright they must be from the other direction. might have to install a different switch.

    i'm very pleased with the bike, and had a ball riding it. big, rangy, edgy, kinda old school riding experience on this unfaired bike. not for everyone, but it works for me.

    now i need to finish some prep work.
  16. fredgreen

    fredgreen Proud Canoodian

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    755
    Location:
    Maritime Canoodia
    nice to see all your hard work pay off for ya....keep the rubber side down-Fred
  17. sanjoh

    sanjoh Purveyor of Light

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,400
    Location:
    Mountains of Central Florida:)
    38 mpg:cry

    R u towin a trailer:D

    What sprockets are you using?

    Seams a bit on the high side for consumption. The sweet spot for my rat is 75mph, loaded I usually get 51mpg.

    Keep in mind the odo can be inaccurate because it uses the countershaft for measurement.
  18. freewheeler

    freewheeler Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Oddometer:
    112
    I agree ... I just ran to Americade with (3) 1800 goldwings ... 326 miles one way ... doing between 80 and 90 on the thruway ( using the GPS as a speedo ) and got 50mpg going east ... with the wind ... came back the next day ... running basically the same speeds .. going into the wind ... got 46mpg ... snorkels pulled ... running a two bros exhaust ... also bumped the throttle position sensor per Invaders testing ... by the way ... I have run my Versys out of fuel and coasted into the pumps ... stuffing the tank ... I was able to put in 5.6 US gal ... This info is for people needing to push the envelop
  19. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,586
    thanks, that rubber side down is at the top of the list.
  20. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,586

    yup, got my Airstream on the hitch. sleeps six.