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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    a southbound see-the-world day, backroads and gravel through two states and 550 miles, and it got a little frantic there towards the end coming down off the mountain before the sun went down.

    [​IMG]

    whoever said TKCs won't stick? yikes, kinda runnin' out of room on those lugs.

    the price on TKCs has gone up over 25% in the last few years, now when you look at the cost per mile against the Big Block, it's nearly a tossup. the main advantage of the TKC is in long range travel where it's inconvenient to run out of tire.

    i ran through some deep water crossings today and i'm not sure i would have gotten out of those without a blocky tread rear.
  2. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    had the bike up on the lift yesterday for an oil change and wipe down, always a good way to check the bike over since i have two trips coming up. i can see some changes that need to be made on some OEM assemblies on the bike that simply will not stand up to the hammering the bike gets on rough gravel and two track. i did not see these problems after the TAT, CDR, and up into the Yukon last season, it's only been after another 2000 miles of pounding on the local gravel, much rougher on average than the western and northern roads on that route.

    no changes until after the season, except that i got around to mounting the ADV plate that i had misplaced in my messy shop, now found in my much cleaner shop as of yesterday afternoon.

    [​IMG]

    almost 24,000 miles on the bike after the build, it's been out there and back.
  3. ktmklx

    ktmklx Been here awhile

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    Sooooo JD,

    Ya gonna let us know what these OEM assemblies these are? :eek1
  4. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    well, mostly all the stuff i haven't changed already. all the rat bike parts, both swapped in and fabricated, are performing well. i can always see the need for improvements, but overall, the thing is a for real beast.
  5. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    i've got about 2500 miles of trips coming up, the rear TKC on the bike will make the first trip, but not the second. time to order a tire, and i decided to try a Full Bore.

    [​IMG]

    from the right, new FB 150/70-17, Shinko 705 150/70-17, and a Tourance 130/80-17 just for comparison.

    the FB is supposed to be designed and manufactured by the same people as the Shinko, and it's pretty obvious. the tread blocks are identical except for spacing, with the Shinko having 5mm spacing in the center, while the FB has 10mm. the Tourance tread block spacing is similar to the Shinko, except fewer blocks. the photo shows the unmounted FB to be a larger diameter in the same size, but used, Shinko, and almost exactly the same as the used 130/80. the tires are spread open the same at the beads, so it will be interesting to measure it when mounted.

    a report on the FB performance to follow, plenty of gravel coming up.
  6. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    Full Bore mounted.

    [​IMG]

    this is a heavy sidewall tire, and mounts accordingly. helps to have it warmed up.

    the tire measures larger than the calculated diameter at sidewall rated inflation pressure, and approximately 18mm larger than an inflated TKC on the same wheel. it even looks bigger on the bike.
  7. ben2go

    ben2go Moto Flunky

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    Just to reaffirm,that is the 150-70?I am considering FB for my GS build.The biggest tire I know I can get in there is a 150-70 sport bike tire.I'm thinking the FB may be a no go.
  8. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    150/70-17

    if you can fit a 150/70, this tire should work unless you have NO additional room against the swingarm, for instance. the swingarm on this bike is the late model ER6 with the OEM hugger like guard, and this tire is closer to the block off plate. it will be fine unless i find myself ass deep in mud.

    the FB looks good, and is heavier in construction than the Tourance. i'll have a better idea on the performance in a week or so. i had to get away from running the TKCs on trips where i have a good handle on the gravel road conditions, good tires, but the price has jumped.
  9. ben2go

    ben2go Moto Flunky

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    The problem is the chain clearance on one side and the caliper anti rotation brace on the other side.I made a 160-60 fit on my daily rider but I have problems with the chain cutting the tire side ridge.I even botched the plastic chain guard.No hugger on my bikes.
  10. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    the 150, on average should be about .5" narrower and 1" taller, so if you can swing that increased radius, it might go.

    if close, you should look up the spec sheet on the exact tire, they're all different.
  11. ben2go

    ben2go Moto Flunky

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    The 160 on my bike is one of the narrowest available.I'll have to give the 150 a try.
  12. AnyTwoWheeler

    AnyTwoWheeler n00b

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    OK I am hooked. Going to start collecting parts for my own build. I took invintory of my parts pile and found I have a front end from a 92 YZ125 with I believe a 17mm axle and a slightly beat up DL650 front rim, also 17mm axle. My concern is the YZ forks won't be up to the task on the heavery Versus, even if built up.

    Anyone have any thoughts? Find a better front end or try to build up the old YZ forks ?

    Like most cost is a concern but I am OK with spending some if its for a good cause. :ear
  13. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    if you have a usable DL650 wheel, you've found gold in your parts bin. the DL650 wheel uses a 17mm x 40mm x 12mm bearing, so it's best mated to forks that use a 17mm axle. check your YZ forks, many from that era used a 15mm axle. if going to the trouble to fit long travel USD forks to your bike, i would be looking at forks with minimum 46mm inners, and more likely, 48mm.

    plenty of reading in a good selection of build threads on the forum, so by the time you get through those, you'll have a good handle on the issues
  14. AnyTwoWheeler

    AnyTwoWheeler n00b

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    Thanks for the info. I am missing the axle for those forks but a few websites claim the 92 was the start of the 17mm axles for the YZs. Unfortunately I don't think they are the way to go and you cemented that with your thoughts.

    The DL650 wheel is a little beat up but good enough for what I need right now.

    Been reading all night on things, just need to pick a path now. Thanks for your detailed write up, it was an awesome read!
  15. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    any questions, just ask.

    a little reminder, it's tough to find a 20x40x12 bearing to fit a DL650 wheel if you wanted forks which use a 20mm axle, and even if you did, i'm not sure how rugged it would be for use as a wheel bearing.
  16. AnyTwoWheeler

    AnyTwoWheeler n00b

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    <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> Only question right now is how to be patient trying to find a decent donor bike!


    I agree the 17mm axle is not idea but a machinist friend seems to think he can make a different bearing work if needed. We will see if I go that route or find something different.
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  17. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
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    if you use google to poke around the bike forums when researching alternatives to this bearing, you'll find plenty of discussion on machining the bearing recess to accept a different bearing/seal. been done, but it takes the right man with the right equipment for the right price.

    there was a set of used Dl1000 wheels for sale in the ADV flea recently if anyone wanted matching three spoke cast wheels in 19/17 for their build. don't know if they were sold or not.

    there are still many people who don't think cast wheels should be the choice for these bike builds, but these wheels work great if you're building a gravel runner. just home late yesterday after after a 1400 mile ride through northwest Virginia, western Maryland, and eastern West Virginia with hundreds and hundreds of miles of gravel roads, some very rough 4x4 only conditions and the V649HP ran flawlessly, cast wheels and all. slab home at 80+mph cruise, try that on a 650 thumper loaded down with gear.

    [​IMG]
  18. OHjim

    OHjim Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    404
    Location:
    KC
  19. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,612
    saw deer this trip, but it wasn't as bad as this spring when it seemed like a hundred per hour on the back roads.

    traveling a wide area like last week, it's interesting to see very different color on the deer, with deer in one area very dark charcoal gray, while deer in another area are sandy brown.
  20. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,612
    pulled the bike apart for a checkup and scheduled maintenance, like an overdue valve check.

    [​IMG]

    i'm going to need to design a new fender assembly for the rear, the OEM plastic does not hold up to a continued pounding on the gravel roads.