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Discussion in 'Japanese polycylindered adventure bikes' started by shyam334, Nov 8, 2016.
That was from the Kawasaki US website.
I do not think I will be able to catch up to you Ken. I have to spend too much time working which means less time riding.
FYI there is an idle speed adjuster. The adjuster is a knob at the end of a short flexible cable on the left side of the engine. The knob is large enough to be turned even with a gloved hand. The knob is accessible by reaching just below the left, lower side cover as described in the Owner's Manual:
Ah Ha! ... The old "RTFM" solution.
Thanks for the reminder. Now I just have to try to find the manual. ... or I can print out your post. That's probably a whole lot quicker.
Looked at a used 390 Adventure last week. Didn't ride it but it is tempting. I am however not sure it would be $2k better/more fun than my VX. Anyone here done a comparison ride between the two ? Taking the VX in this week for a valve check. I will be stripping it down to save some $.
The X300 is fairly capable off road if you fit more suitable tyres & run lower pressures, provided you keep within its limits. I’ve taken mine on some fairly knarly trails & my off-road buddy has been surprised that whilst I did not keep up with him I was not far behind. It handles most ground, but is poor in mud due to the steering/wheel geometry.
My longer travel front suspension does help, will be even better when the rear shock is replaced.
It will out handle any trail bike or large adventure bike on twisty tarmac !
If I could just get a descent seat for it. I had a tumble on a green lane last month that would not have been an issue if my hand had not landed on slick wet grass. It slid as if on ice to full extension then popped my shoulder out.
So I had to get a buddy to ride it home, he liked the ride but not the numb bum after 1hour & he is much lighter than me. This was with a seat concepts tall seat foam & cover, which is the 4th iteration of seat foam/cover for me. It has too much front slope even with my raised frontend. Next will be to fit a spate VFR800 foam into the seat & restore a small step to flatten it out.
As far as poke is concerned it’s a pretty gutsy motor for what it is, but I have a 315 & 335cc development in progress ! I test rode a Guzzi V85 TT a few weeks back, feels great on road & has enough capability for gentle tracks, an interesting bike, with lots of character.
I have used the VX on gravel roads and it handles those very well. The seat is not great but I find a small sheep skin helps a lot (doesn't look that great though). I am just curious how the two would directly compare on gravel for example. The 390 does have a shorter wheelbase by about 1 inch, this can make a difference. We should know about the 400 unicorn in the next month.
I watched this video when it first came out and did not care for the presentation. I do appreciate seeing opinions from other countries for perspective and seeing their countryside.
Kmahow2, If I were riding on a stock seat, my butt would be hurting after an hour or so also. So I got a Mad Dog seat cover from Amazon ( about $20), and put my 20 year old sheep skin over it. With this set up I have done some 20 hour day trips with out any issues, mostly riding straight thru gas stop to gas stop. If you can't get a Mad Dog cover in the UK, just use an extra half inch of foam under the sheep skin.
If your looking for more power, get a yoshimura slip on muffler and a power Commander and get it tuned, this set up will give you about 10% more hp. and torque across all of your rpm range. Probably about the same power increase as the big bore and It should be a lot cheaper, and easier to install.
So...nobody here has any real life experience riding the 390 Adventure ? to do a comparison to the VX ?
As I'm approaching the second service interval (6000 kms), I'm curious to know how much maintenance everyone here does themselves? As someone brand new to motorcycles and who has a copy of the service manual, I'm eager to try most of it myself but don't want to bite off more than I can chew.
Which tasks would you say are particularly difficult on this motorcycle, and which ones have a high risk of causing damage if not done correctly?
Largely depends on what mechanical skills you have. If you can change oil in your car you can on your Versys. Just have to stand on your head while balancing bike upright to see sight glass behind brake pedal. Adjusting chain not hard but need a torque wrench and supply of cotter pins. Some things get a bit more difficult. Replacing spark plugs requires removing gas tank.
Start with easy stuff and work up. Lots of good advice and support right here.
Changing oil: there are safer, smarter alternatives to checking the oil level than the rather precarious method you described.
1. Use your centerstand.
2. You cheaped out and didn't buy one? Get a friend or your partner to balance the bike.
Unless you're extremely strong and ham-fisted, or anal about precision bolt tighteming, you don't need a torque wrench to do chain adjustment. I've been doing my own chain adjustment and sprocket replacement since 1965 and I've never had a problem.
But my snipping aside, your recommendation of starting within your comfort level and working up from there is excellent advice.
Valve check/adjustment takes some pretty serious skill.
Sorry. Oil check was tongue in Cheek. Recent discussion on it in forum with claims of how easy it is. I do long for a dip stick. My Triumph is worse because with sidecar I can’t get my head down there. Had to get a mirror.
Having worked much of my career supervising maintenance, I am a believer in torque wrenches. It is common for mechanics to think they are accurate without one but I never met one who could demonstrate it. Many are surprised to find out how far off they are. The number one cause of mechanical failure is looseness. Over torque can cause it as easy as under torque. If adjusting on road one does what one has to do. If adjusting in garage no good excuse not to use one.
Yes, I would love a dipstick.
I understand what you're saying. But loosening is not something I've ever had to worry about. That's what the cotter pin in the rear axle nut is for. Same thing for that folding washer thingy (can't remember what the proper name is) on the countershaft.
I have, and use, a torque wrench (I have two, actually). But I've never bothered for the rear axle or countershaft. In fact, for loosening worries at the countershaft on the VX300 I have the opposite problem. I snug it up reasonably well, but I'm now 73 and getting kinda puny in the muscle department. Even so, on the VX300 it typically takes a good long breaker bar, or an impact wrench, to get the damn thing loose the next time. Self-tightening countershaft nuts: the bane of shade tree mechanics.
I use a torque wrench on everything that has a torque specification. The only exception is if I have to make adjustments, or perform repairs or maintenance away from my shop tools. Torque wrench ensures everything is as tight as it should but not over-torqued. I've worked on lots of bikes over the years and have spend way far too many hours fixing the mistakes of ham-fisted DIY mechanics who didn't believe in the necessity torque wrenches. In fact, just a few weeks ago one of my sons had his vintage Honda CB400 blow up on him because the previous owner over-torqued a head bolt.
FYI the countershaft nut the keeps the drive sprocket on Versys-X 300 does not self-tighten because the assembly has a lock washer (i.e., you bend one side of the washer over a flat of the nut) that prevents it from either self-tightening or from coming loose. In any case, it is a PITA to loosen a nut on the end of a rotating assembly when that nut is torqued to >90 ft-lb.
One common myth about torque is that its only function is to keep stuff from falling off the bike. And sometimes that is the case. But more often than not fastener torque serves other important functions. For example, the torque on an axle nut on a motorcycle holds the wheel and axle on the machine AND it correctly aligns the inner and outer races of the wheel bearings. If the torque on the nut is insufficient then the races may be misaligned thereby slightly increasing rolling resistance and shortening the life of the bearings.
Yes, this is all good advice. In order to learn you need to get out of your comfort zone but, at least at first, I would not wander too far out of your comfort zone. I might add that your learning will be accelerated and your learning curve flattened if you can find someone with considerable skill and experience fixing and repairing motorcycles who might be willing to serve as an informal mentor to you. Another suggestion is to buy a cheap motorcycle that (maybe) runs that you can take apart and then put back together.
Some easy stuff that every motorcyclist should know how to do:
- Change the oil
- Adjust chain slack and rear wheel alignment
- Adjust clutch lever free play, throttle cable free play (there's 2 cables), and rear brake pedal free play.
- Change brake pads (no need to buy new pads but just remove the old pads, clean them with a little brake cleaner, and then reinstall them. Edit - clarification, in order to learn you do not need to buy new brake pads.)
- Adjust the position of the gear shift lever.
- Adjust the rotational angle of the handlebars
- Change signal light, brake light, license plate light bulbs (no need to buy new parts but simply just remove and reinstall the old parts, assuming they work. Edit - clarification: In order to learn you do not need to buy new bulbs but, obviously, if a bulb burns out you'll need to buy a replacement.)
If you are going to work on motorcycles you need tools: A standard mechanics tool set (with metric components like most have these days), a set of T-handle metric Allen key, 2 torque wrenches (20-250 in-lbs and 20-100 ft-lbs), and #1 and #2 JIS screwdrivers (or a set of JIS bits with standard 1/4" hex shanks that work in the "multi-screwdriver" most of us have). The JIS screwdrivers are for the screws on Japanese motorcycles that look like Philips but are not Philips. That is, if you look at the head of a screw on a Japanese motorcycle it looks like a Philips but it has a small indented dot -- the dot indicates it is JIS. You can use a Philips screwdriver in a JIS screw but it will cam out with very little torque applied to it and when it does so it will trash the head. A JIS screwdriver will hold firm with much more torque applied, and you can use a JIS screwdriver in a Philips screw head. If you can afford it, get the Vessel Megadora JIS screwdrivers because they have a built-in impact driver, and they are well made. For better explanation of JIS vs Philips, see https://www.motorcycle.com/ask-mo-anything/difference-between-japanese-jis-phillips.html)
A few more tips:
- Before you commence working on your bike, place a clean old towel over the tank. Over the years I have chipped a number of tanks (including my current Versys-X 300 because I got a bit careless with a tool and touched the tank with it. Lacquer is brittle and is easily chipped by even a light tap with a wrench (or whatever)
- If you do not have the right tool(s) for the job then don't do the job until you get the right tools.
- Before you work with anything involving gasoline or other flammable substances disconnect the NEGATIVE battery terminal.
- Before starting any procedure, read from the manual the steps for that procedure from beginning to end. Then read them again. And then read them a third time while rehearsing and talking yourself through each step of the procedure with no tools in hand and while making notes of what actions you should take before starting the procedure: "Let's see now ...Step 1 -- Remove the bolts at the rear of the fuel tank ... okay I am going to need a 12 mm socket, extension and drive for that (note: now get those tools and place them nearby); Step 2 -- raise the rear of the fuel tank slightly and secure it on blocks so you can slide a few fingers underneath the tank .. okay the tank looks like it might lift about 1-2" (note: find some small bits of plywood or something that would hold the tank up in the 1-2" range and set them nearby); Step 3 -- reach under the tank and disconnect the fuel line quick connection which will release a small amount of fuel (note: locate some rags to put under fuel line before disconnecting); Step 4 - remove the fuel tank .. okay, the fuel tank could be heavy and it could be tricky to carry with fuel sloshing around inside, and I need a place to put it where it will not be damaged and where it does not pose an explosion hazard. (note: prepare a place where you can safely store the fuel tank once it has been removed and make sure the path from the motorcycle to that place is free of anything you might trip over). Oh ... c*** ... I think I was supposed to disconnect the battery first when working with stuff that explodes! I better make that Step 0!" Now, for some people this "talking yourself through the procedure sounds silly and/or pointless but it does help your brain remember the steps of the procedure and I cannot tell you how many times I have done this only to discover during my rehearsal that I had overlooked something important that may have had a negative effect on the outcome of the procedure.
- Don't use your torque wrenches as breaker bars because that will break the calibration and the only way you will find out is when you try to torque something to specification only to have it shear off or strip because the torque wrench is broken!
- If you borrow tools from a mate, treat those tools with respect and return them promptly because if you do not you may find that your mate is no longer willing to lend you his (or her) tools. And when you return them, throw in a few cold beers or a half-dozen donuts as a token of appreciation.
- If you find a fastener is really, really stuck then try to get help from a more experienced person before proceeding. There are techniques for removing remove stuck fasteners but if you do not know those techniques then you may end up with a damaged fastener and/or costly damage to the machine.
Wow, and I've been accused of being overly analytical and detail oriented! Can't recall how many times I've got the reaction: "Too much information!"
Seriously though, that was great, and guaranteed to be the most useful answer to the question that will be provided. GoodOnYa!
This weekend I was supposed to head back down again to the Shawnee State Forest area, in southern Ohio. Great bunch of gravel (and paved) roads down there.
Anyway, I have an acquaintance who lives down there, who rides a 2017 VX-300. He's been all over on that thing, big dude but the "little" green Versys serves him well.
So it turns out he also has a couple buddies that ride VX-300s too, another green one (2017?), and a dark gray I think.
Wishing I could've made it 'cause amongst that pack, I'm sure I would've gotten to ride one finally.
There is still hope...
I’ve been riding in Shawnee too. Great roads and scenery. I met a guy down there who said he has a green one.
I’m trying to get back there before the fall colors disappear.