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V649HP-Kawasaki's new gravel runner

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

  1. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
    This ought to be a cool build to watch.

    :lurk

    --mark
    #21
  2. SamM

    SamM Jeep Overlander

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    West Virginia
    jdrocks,
    I'd be tempted to cut the entire subframe of the Versys frame and use a durtbike subframe.

    The 649HP must be the Ninja (cop motor) huh? :wink: I've been lurking on the Ninja and Versys forums and looking at the various engine upgrades. The Ninja guys are using the Versys cams to get more power from the Ninja engines. Can't remember if it's the intake or exhaust cams they prefer but apparently that's the hot ticket. Custom grinds will be available soon. Part of the plan for my bike is off-road use. I like my power in the midrange as opposed to the topend. I don't ride much up there anymore! The mid-range is more important to me. I have a few tricks that I would like to tryout, to lighten the bike more. Cutting more from the frame and subframe and I believe there are a few other things that can be removed. Getting it down to a 300 to 320lb wet weight, empty tank (thanks Lukas) :thumb with the '08 Versys engine is my goal. The Versys engine weighs 6lbs more than the KLR engine. It's unlikely that I'll be able to get it down that far but it's nice to set goals.

    Again, looking forward to your build!

    SamM
    #22
  3. BRE

    BRE Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
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    821
    With that V in the title I thought you might be building a Vulcan! LOL. :roflI'll be watching, should be good.
    #23
  4. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,768

    wouldn't know about that. i fix my own junk.
    #24
  5. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    Jul 6, 2007
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    hey mark, might be a cool build but i don't think it will outrun your new Tiger.
    #25
  6. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    Maybe not, but you're going to have a lot more fun building it this winter than I will wondering if my new Tiger is going to make it across the pond in time for my big trip in May.

    --mark
    #26
  7. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
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    don't need a dirtbike subframe, it's a gravel runner and that frame will work just fine. the ninja and versys subframes are slightly different, and i wanted the versys for this build.

    the 649HP is what i call the cop motor. it doesn't need anything for this build although it can be run up to 80hp pretty easy. the bike with this engine already has a "go directly to jail" cruise speed and is white knuckle fast on the gravel. the 649HP makes more HP and torque than the versys engine and the curves are about perfect for a combination of gravel and street with stock gearing. impressive throttle response, and depending on your riding style, this alone can save your ass as it did on the Trans Taiga.

    I was riding comfortably at 50 and downshifted to 5th for a little compression braking as I rapidly approached a sweeping left hand curve. There was moderate banking here with deep gravel thrown up the banking and covering the whole west bound lane. I dropped down and picked a line on the upper track in the east bound side, ran over a patch of marbles, drifted a little lower, and rode right into a deep sand hole saturated by the recent rain.

    The front wheel dropped into the hole and the bars were nearly ripped from my hands. I was on the gas instantly, the front end lifted, the rear end came around left, and I roared up out of that sand like I was attached to a bungee cord. Now I’m crossed up right, shooting up the banking at a shallow angle, and in real trouble. My entire world was inside a little circle centered on the bike where the action was going by in high def clarity. Everything outside that circle was a complete blur.

    Off the gas a fraction of a second, the bike straightened up, but I’m in the marbles on top of the banking and about to run off the road. Stab the shifter into 4th without the clutch, lean left, and now the rear is coming around right in a spray of loose gravel. I can’t believe I’m up. Still at 40 going down the banking at an angle, now I’m going to run off into the trees at the inside of the curve, not in control yet. I muscled the bike back around right, stabbed the shifter again, and on the gas in 3rd when I find another sand hole down low. The bike snapped upright and instead of another lowside, I almost highside. I wanted to be going right and ended up coming around left, still on the gas, that engine was howling. I was moving too fast to catch the upper east bound track, but landed in the hard lower track, upright, straight, and coasting. My heart had stopped beating. I had forgotten how to breathe. My throat felt like sandpaper, I know I was yelling something on that roller coaster, don’t ask me exactly what. It was all over in some very long seconds.

    I never stopped. If I hadn'’t been dazed, I might have. At a quarter mile I was fidgeting around in the seat trying to get comfortable again, and at the half mile mark I was back in 6th and rollin'’ west at 50. There was nothing else to do. I had been riding at a deliberate pace, not slow, but not nutso fast either. I couldn'’t think of anything to change. Being in 5th sure helped me power out of that first hole, and not for the first time, but 4th gear was the one that saved my ass. From that curve forward, I thought of 4th as my “get me the fuck outta here” gear, and would need it again on the gravel ahead.

    i don't see a need to lighten the frame, there's hardly anything there to start with and the bike can be subjected to a real beating on the gravel. the engine will stay in it's ultra reliable stock configuration. i don't need more HP, but i don't want less either.
    #27
    TNWillie likes this.
  8. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    a friend suggested i call it a VGS, but that kinda sounded like an STD.
    #28
  9. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    hadn't thought about that delivery time frame. contingency plan?
    #29
    Dougzone likes this.
  10. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    V-Strom. I really hope the Tiger arrives in time, though, as we'll have a few long semi-slab days on this trip for which the Tiger's extra 30hp would come in handy.

    --mark
    #30
  11. SamM

    SamM Jeep Overlander

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    I don't need Ninja power in my KLR. It already does pretty good with 33hp. My reasoning for the KLE engine swap is touring and fuel economy. It won't change my riding style. Getting the weight down is very important though. I like light bikes.

    I guess it all depends on where you live and ride. We have to many curves and switchbacks to ride fast on gravelroads here. Come around a curve at 50 and you'll be a permanent hood ornament on some good ole boy's F-150. Most of our gravelroads are really dirtroads, as nobody has put gravel on them in years. Too many cars, trucks and atvs.

    Same with streetriding. Too many curves, cows and deer for 9/10ths riding. Besides, I'm getting too old for that. I've survived 40+ years of riding by been conservative. Not going to stop now. You young guys can do all the racing on your Ninjas. :D

    Good luck with the build.

    SamM
    #31
  12. badguy

    badguy Susan

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    This should be interesting :D

    I have a few buddies with 2nd gen SV650s...what do you need to know?
    #32
  13. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    my preference for the 649HP is nothing about a specific speed on a specific road, it's about having something big happen, like right freakin' now, when you crack those throttle bodies open. horsepower is like a $100 bill in your pocket...ya don't have to spend it, but when the chips are down and ya might need it, man, it's in there.

    damn, i get the senior citizen discount everywhere and now i find out i'm young. must be those big horsepower pills i wash down with all that bourbon.

    ninjas? those were the old ones...got the V with a cop motor now.
    #33
  14. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    thanks. PM on the way.
    #34
  15. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    been collecting a few parts for this build and still need a few things. sometimes it takes a little while to complete the inventory if you're going to stick with the budget, ya can't just go out and buy the first thing you see. it needs to be cheap. sometimes a budget build is as much about shopping as it is about building.

    got enough to get started anyway.

    [​IMG]
    #35
  16. devo2002

    devo2002 Long timer

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    I was going to comment on your last monstrosity lastnight but now I find you are doing it all over again?? Bravo!!! :clap

    You've inspired me to try and make my girls Ninja 250 some kind of DS, it's quite fugly but can only get better!

    [​IMG]
    #36
  17. A_Vasiliev

    A_Vasiliev Red, white and blue.

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    IDK about "dual sport", but you can take off the fairing, put some more comfortable bars on it, some slightly more dirt-friendly tires, and you should be good to go.
    #37
  18. devo2002

    devo2002 Long timer

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    Yeah, I guess by DS I mean the hour I would have to ride to get to a trail :lol3

    And JD, I forgot to ask, I looked through your threads and couldn't find a pic of a skid plate, did you ever get that sorted out?
    #38
  19. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    Huh. I wonder how hard it would be to shoehorn the EX250 motor into, say, a KLX250 frame...

    --mark
    #39
  20. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

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    Before you go to all that trouble weight it, you might find that its power/weight isn't so hot. In any event, an XR650R is almost certainly lighter, better handling and more tractable than an EX250S powered KLX250 would be.
    #40