V649HP-Kawasaki's new gravel runner

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

  1. pjm204

    pjm204 Long timer

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    I know my YZ450 front end was nothing more than conversion bearings, however the turning radius so quite reduced. Takes awhile to turn around on the trail.

    Its not easy to find 08+ KLR forks cheap, and I'm not sure I'd want to pay a lot for sub-par forks just to save a little time.
  2. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    the restricted turning radius is a recurring theme with the USD fork setups, not the case with the conventional KLR or DRZ forks.
  3. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    way back on page one of this thread, i proposed a turnkey budget of $1200 for this build. this is the most representative photo of the build, but the question remains..."how does the bike match up with the original budget?"

    [​IMG]

    i kept fairly good records, and also got some good prices on the excess parts i sold.

    the V649HP bike in the photo cost $540, including panniers and mounts, but excluding tires and parts i reused from previous bikes, such as the engine guards, hand guards, headlight, and signals. i did not put a price on any small parts shop fabricated from scrap, or include a number for labor. bottom line, if tires and an estimated price for the reused parts are added to the total, the bike came in on budget, maybe a little under.

    not too bad, but the $1200 cost was twice what i anticipated lately before i added up all the numbers. the cost of ownership for this bike is negligible in both an absolute sense, and in comparison to other newer bikes of the same relative size and type.

    so far, this budget build has carried me safely on 17,000 miles of adventure.
  4. pjm204

    pjm204 Long timer

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    It hasn't been a big issue and the forks are so good that I think it makes up for this. I'm also very happy with the R1 shock compared to the stock ninja shock. I'm still dialing it in though, I've bottomed the tire out into the underseat quite a few times.

    Bike looks great btw!
  5. dhr

    dhr Explorer of suburbs

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    That is all true, I should not call any project easy until I try to do it myself.

    Not sure if I am going to try and build a Ninja 650 dirt special yet. I would enjoy the project but not sure how the end motorcycle would fit into my needs. Also need to get a deal on a Ninja 650 first :D
  6. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    that's it, the right bike at the right price is the underpinning of the whole project.
  7. DataDaddy

    DataDaddy @ the new dad thing Super Moderator

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    back a'ridin...
    :bow

    :tb

    Thanks for taking the time to document all of this.
    A project like this looks it would scratch some of the itches I miss from my KLR. Also, looks more practical to my world than a 950SE :deal (the only bike I saw as a suitable KLR replacement... :norton)


  8. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    if you liked your KLR, you'll love one of these, although the V649 rat with this suspension is taller than a KLR.

    just think, the out of pocket cost for this specific bike was the same as a couple sceduled services on a big KTM, or one major service on a new 12GSA.
  9. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    a final, and i do mean final, word on Kenda Big Blocks. go ahead, mount those heavy wall chunky tread tires on the bike, snap a photo, smile, and enjoy the moment...'cause that's the very last second you will like these tires.

    heck, they did look kinda cool, but i didn't know at the time that they were made out of black Cheez Whiz. no, i don't want to give Cheez Whiz a bad name, the tire compound would have been much better if it really was made from cheese in a can. if i had been in the Kenda marketing department, i would have suggested the product engineers blend in a bunch of bacon grease with their Big Block tire compound formula. that way, everyone behind you would enjoy a sniff of that good ol' hot bacon smell as the tires quickly melted away...anyway, that's my product review, i cut it short before i got carried away.

    i demounted the 19" Big Block front and replaced it with a used TKC before i head for the mountains, the BB looked so cupped and nasty i wasn't sure it would get me there and back.

    [​IMG]

    TKC front, Kenda back. the Kenda has a thousand miles less than the TKC in the photo, and the TKC will run to 8-9,000, maybe a few miles more. the Kenda first cost is less than the TKC, but is obviously not a good buy.

    The rear Kenda is coming off next, no more Cheez Whiz.
  10. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    riding a combination of the Blue Ridge Trail and the Trans West Virginia Trail from Front Royal, VA to White Sulphur Springs, WV over the weekend, it's the back way south. heavy rain saturday afternoon, and the gravel roads were silty or muddy depending on how much gravel surface was present. man, it was really wet out there.

    on some of the last gravel southbound, the sun had come out, the air temp went up, and i could hear the cooling fan starting to cycle on and off. that sound means one thing, the radiator is clogged with two days of mud.

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    the temp warning light wasn't on, but the fan noise is a reminder to flush the mud out of the radiator at the next stop. if the temp light comes on, ya better find a creek and start sloshing water on that radiator to get the worst of it off. it's surprising how much mud comes out of there, i've seen my wife pot a plant with less dirt.

    my radiator guard is a standoff design, the theory being that it better protects the radiator if hit with something big, but also it tends to stop the mud in front of the face of the radiator. once mud starts accumulating on the core, the buildup accelerates.
  11. Sasquatch2112

    Sasquatch2112 scatology expert

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    Sweet looking bike. Everytime I see it I :tb.
  12. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    thanks, word has it that this bike has been to some of those places that a certain Russell Day Long seat equipped GS wants to go.

    ...the V649HP ain't called a gravel runner fur nothin'.
  13. MTrider16

    MTrider16 Ridin' in MT

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    Interesting observation, would a louver style guard maybe direct the mud away from the radiator? Something for me to ponder while I wander.

    -David
  14. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    i thought about louvers, but it's a tricky little design problem. you need to have a good size free area for air flow, but not a guard surface that will collect even more mud. the louvers would also prevent an easy flush of the core, something you might have to do on the side of the road.

    i did want the guard fabbed from heavy enough material to resist impact from a good size rock, road debris, or whatever. that's where a screen mounted against the face of the radiator just won't cut it. my guard is 3mm anodized aluminum plate with a 15mm standoff mounting system. so far, so good in some rough conditions.


    how's everything out Montana way...besides roping, herding, branding, rodeos...ya know, all that cowboy stuff?
  15. MTrider16

    MTrider16 Ridin' in MT

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    I'm trying not to hack out a lung, while keeping all the balls in the air so I can head to Moab in about 3 weeks. On the whole not bad, had some rain which cheered everyone up, no flooding. Lots of oil plays keeping folks jumping. Natural gas is so cheep you can't give it away which is a problem for the corperate heads, and pink slips are in the making to keep the budgets balanced, hopefully this will just be a small adjustment. Some folks in DC need to get their heads out of thier asses... Anyway, its tolerable out here, just got to remind myself to stick my head out of the trenches once in awhile to enjoy the beauty.

    -David
  16. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    hey, nice change of scenery.

    a branch of my family has mineral rights on a half section in eastern montana since 1935. it sits on one of the active formations according to the brief investigation i did years back. i doubt anyone has gone by that property for 60 years or more to see if anything is going on there, could be a dozen well heads for all they know.
  17. marguyo

    marguyo Adventurer

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  18. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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  19. marguyo

    marguyo Adventurer

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    i use a warp9, 5.25x17 super motard wheel the sproket is bolted direct with adaptor on the heart of whell is more easy for fit and more direct anser to trottle ,same at a dirt bike

    firts test 500 km on atv trail ,bike run good and only little bit front susp. are smoot after small ajust is very ok

    warp 9 is very good rim ,the owner kick rear wheel on a stone (10 in !!) and the tire are cut on the side ,cut heavy duty tube (a v cut 1 in longer) and no domage on rim ,
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    [​IMG]



    after repair on trail i broke my left peg after a jump :( ,repair with 1 1/4 in dia of hood and fix with ty rap and tridon tube collard 8 hrs of trip at 28 deg c !! very hot weather to run today go to pool 34 deg c .......no good to my


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  20. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    it's probably good that you guys have some snow, otherwise the bikes wouldn't make it through a season. after all that snow and cold, now it's too hot, c'mon man. no leaves on the trees, still spring up there.

    interesting trail fix on the footrest mount. time to fab some steel mounts, you need some Fastways too.

    i've hit lots of rocks, but never cut a tire like that. i used to carry tubes, but quit...now i better rethink that again. i do carry an adjustable shop fabbed trail stand, very handy to have along.

    i like being able to mount your fuel cans on the pannier racks, looks like about 12L. consider an aluminum enclosure for the cans in case you flop the bike.

    so you built bike #3, what's next?