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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    in general, spoked are heavier than cast.

    all the previous builds have had cast 17/19 wheels, this one has spokes in the same sizes.
    simmons1 and 11motos like this.
  2. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    geeeez, i need to get back in the shop. tied up on a job at the moment, hopefully soon.
    nickguzzi likes this.
  3. Moparman

    Moparman Adventurer

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    You have succinctly summed up my general mood for the past three years!
  4. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    pretty cool bike sitting on the lift, the operational word being sitting. i'm not all that far from done.
  5. Moparman

    Moparman Adventurer

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    One of these days we’re going to have to sit around a campfire with some bourbon so you can throw those jabs in person!
  6. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    i'm sure your moto is also very cool, but i was talking about mine...sitting on my lift. beastly mofo, it looks like it wants to go somewhere, mountainous.
    DKCJ likes this.
  7. The Loner

    The Loner n00b

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    We are waiting a long time already JD.
    We love to see your progress,hopefully you will test ride it soon and show it to all of us!
  8. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    i could ride it right now, it's just not street legal. nobody wants to get it out there more than Senor JD.
    The Loner likes this.
  9. 11motos

    11motos Feral Rider

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    Today I got a ninja 500 witn 14k Miles to see if we can do something with her.
    It needs some TLC but otherwise the engine is strong.
  10. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    there ya go, build it.
    11motos likes this.
  11. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    11motos likes this.
  12. 11motos

    11motos Feral Rider

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    @jdrocks I was wondering if you know of a good source to match front groups and possibly rear arm and shock that is more tricky.
    I know many models that can fit based on OD of top and bottom bearings given I can turn the stem on my lathe.
    I have used this in the past.... https://www.allballsracing.com/forkconversion
    But there is no substitute for some other ways of finding references, measures and/or blueprints.
    I believe both the KLR and DR650 front ends are doable. The tricky part is going to be the rear arm. ...but maybe not. I have never done that.

    Your thoughts?

    Thanks.
  13. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    various forks have been used on these builds, and swapping steering stems means that you have a wide choice. as i've said, my choice would be forks with a 48mm stanchion minimum. the work is the same, no reason not to go big.

    rear suspension, if you're up for a technical challenge, you could swap in a linked suspension to replace the direct coupled OEM arrangement. many pros/cons there, so do the research. there's only so much room below the subframe on these frames, so that's a constraint unless you modify that area.

    keep us posted, photos are good.
    The Loner likes this.
  14. 11motos

    11motos Feral Rider

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    Thanks for sharing your wisdom @jdrocks .
    I agree on the forks. I feel the dr650 are pretty strong and economical and I know how to get them to work alost like high end cartrige forks. This or the DRZ perhaps. I prefer not inverted as we do a lot loose rocks and falls. Old style are not as good but with cogent valves and upgrades they will do and eith the classic fork the tubes are more naturally protected.
    After matching the bearings and adapters any tricks to make the retrofit better or esier? I have a lathe so the stem or shims or any other needs can be custom to fit.
    But perhaps there is a way to identify what is a better/essier donor fork group for the ex500?
    The rear arm is going to be the tricky part.
    I know welding here and there is unavoidable in the future.
  15. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    so why fool around with DR650 forks? besides tuning the internals, riders upgrade the DR forks to DRZ400 forks. the fully adjustable 49mm DRZ forks are cheap and readily available, and i've always run them stock, no upgrades, expensive or not. 300mm travel, and i've used every bit of it.

    fully adjustable 48mm USD forks are found everywhere, also pretty cheap.

    then there's the visual. these bikes usually have most or all of the OEM plastic stripped off the front, now the forks are exposed, front and center. hard to sell the concept of your big bad ruggedized ADV travel bike if y'all have toothpick forks up front.

    some discussion here and there back in the thread of considerations when selecting forks/clamps.
    11motos likes this.
  16. 11motos

    11motos Feral Rider

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    Thanks!!!! you are right!
    the DRZ is a better choice. for whatever reason I made it my 2nd choice but I see the 2000-2004 49mm forks are already cartridge and the ones I want. I am trying to avoid USD because
    several preferences but 49mm tubes would do so much better.
    So that would be my 1st choice and I checked and the bottom and top bearings are the same with the only difference the top bearing OD is 52 for the DRZ and 48 for the ninja.

    SUZUKI AND KAWA Forks Bearings TOP & Model and BOTTOM Model
    Suzuki DRZ400S 2001 30 52 16 99-3521-5 30 52 16 99-3521-5
    Kawasaki EX500 Ninja 2004 30 48 12 99-3515-5 30 52 16 99-3521-5

    So all I have to do is turn the stem to reduce those 4mm difference so I can use original kawa top bearing and possibly use a bushing and/or washer and
    retread the stem for the kawa nut if needed. Things that I can easily do in the lathe.

    now the rear is going to be a bitch. Here I am checking the KLR and DR arms. Is there an easy way to find at least the most basic dimensions?

    Many thanks for the great tips. I love this forum. :rilla
  17. tkdcol

    tkdcol Been here awhile

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    Hi JD, I'm trying to work out the spring rate I need for the R1 shock. If I just put in my weight (~90kg without gear) for the Versys in the racetech calculator I get around ~18.3kg/mm suggested, but (I assume from reading the thread you are heavier than me) you are only using a 16.1kg/mm spring. Am I using the calculator wrong or what spring rate would you suggest?

    PS. I hope you get back in the ws soon
  18. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    OEM Versys spring is 16kg/mm, you do not want an 18. lots of riders have problems with the online calculator, it seems to spit out the wrong info regularly. i've always run the 16, either custom or OEM, and as you probably know the Versys spring does swap to the R1 shock with a little massaging, easy work.

    i'm way heavier than you, plus the usual travel gear. i don't want either a lighter or heavier spring, which is in line with 99% of Versys riders...ya don't see guys changing springs very often.

    i'd stay with the 16, run some miles, adjust the shock, evaluate.
    tkdcol likes this.
  19. fasteddiecopeman

    fasteddiecopeman Been here awhile

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    I weigh about 85 kgs, dressed but w/out riding gear, and my R1 shocks are 'wearing' 13.8 kg/mm Eibach springs, w/ two 'clicks' of preload.
    tkdcol likes this.
  20. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    i don't view 13.8 as viable for most riders considering a similar bike build. road bike, run whatever, these are purpose built gravel runners.