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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    these forks are KYB, both Kawasaki and Yamaha used these in various iterations. watched the youtube stuff, it all looks pretty normal, you take them apart for seals and oil anyway. time to get the workbench cleaned off.

    what weight oil did you use with your rebuild?
  2. Moparman

    Moparman Adventurer

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    They're not bad to work on. Just keep everything organized, and CLEAN! I rebuilt two sets of basically those same forks a few years ago for a couple of YZ 250's. If it were me, I'd get a set of the RaceTech Gold Valves for them since you'll already have them apart. They made a significant improvement on the dirt bikes.
  3. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    hey the Moparman returns, a thinking man is always welcome in here.

    forks are off the bike, seals just got delivered, i'm ready to open those suckers up.
  4. NorthernTraveler

    NorthernTraveler Long time Adventurer

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    I think they mostly use 5wt now.
    That's what I used in both the DRZ400 forks (Showa 49mm conventional cartridge) and the'98 RM250 forks (Showa twin chamber 49mm conventional).

    These late model MX forks have really big valving pistons, to the Race Tech's are less necessary.

    The key, as always, is good shim stacks for what you want to do.

    Some of the dual sport bikes still have small valve bodies, this is where the Race Tech's really help.
  5. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    just curious, i've got 10W on hand, so i'll give it a try. the oil that came out looked like 10.

    looking at the spacer situation, doesn't appear like there's much to it unless i'm missing something.
  6. Moparman

    Moparman Adventurer

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    I've used 5wt in the ones I rebuilt and re-valved, but without doing a back to back comparison I doubt the difference in performance with 10wt would be discernable; especially if you're leaving the stock valving in there.
  7. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    these forks look all OEM for valving, not sure of the spring rate, but i would guess OEM also. adjusters set to hard top and bottom, air pressure in the upper chambers, the guy had it setup to fall off a freakin' cliff.

    still fiddling with the spacers, then they go back together. helps to have all those inexpensive fork service tools on hand, but i didn't have any, still no problem.
  8. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    KX450 forks off the bike...

    [​IMG]

    i remember saying way back there somewhere that these forks are big...320mm of exposed tube.

    [​IMG]

    forks get serviced and lowered, both easy operations once off the bike. the damper rod gets a spacer, didn't have aluminum in the right ID/OD, but i did have brass that was correct. the spacers were cut 50mm, chamfered in and out, but since the damper rod has a centering taper that gets covered, the effective difference is 60mm.

    [​IMG]

    the spring was cut 5mm less than the spacer length. care was taken to make sure both sets of spacers/springs matched. springs and spacers could be ordered, but this is a budget bike, and the custom springs and spacers would have cost way more than the forks themselves. ain't goin' to be racing anyway.

    [​IMG]

    shortened and serviced, ready to go back on the bike. the work turned out to be easy, no big deal. i didn't have the right 8-point cap wrench, hex driver, fork seal driver, or damper rod retainer...and it was still easy. the lowered fork length variance between left and right is 1 mm.

    [​IMG]
    sruss67, Yella DR and LJC like this.
  9. Moparman

    Moparman Adventurer

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    Great job JD! I knew with your ingenuity you’d have no problem getting them done; correct tools or not!
  10. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    yeah, no correct tools used...see photo.

    cool 49mm Motion Pro 8-point cap wrench/damper rod retainer, it was supposed to be fast shipped, but arrived 2 days after the forks were back on the bike. the 8-point caps are often seen all boogered when guys use all kinds of weird methodology to get them off. the flats on an 8-point are shorter than a 6-point, making them tougher to grab, takes a little finesse to avoid any damage. the slotted shop built retainer is on the left in the photo.

    the 14mm hex drive with the tag arrived with the cap wrench, too late, this is used on the lower valve assembly. the other 14mm hex drive is the one i found when i put the new hex drive in the tool box. the 14mm hex bolt with jam nuts is the shop tool that disassembled/assembled the forks, worked fine.

    the 3M Scotch Super 33 electrical tape is both the protection for the sharp fork bushing recess edges, and the seal driver, huh? i do have a set of Motion Pro seal cups for fork ends, but don't like using them. i rather wipe down the bushing area with brake clean, then tape, it's very thin and doesn't stress the seals. i've procrastinated over buying a set of seal drivers, but never got around to it, i'ved used electrical tape instead, works for all sizes. again, clean up the area, then wrap a nice neat roll of tape square to the tube to a depth of 5-6mm, that's your driver, go ahead and seat the seal. it's another method that's easy on the seals.

    [​IMG]

    i would have liked to get a photo of my seal driver, but my hands were too greasy to use the camera.
  11. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    out running around on the local gravel this morning, just a taste, only 20 miles. i wanted to try out the new suspension setup before putting the bike on the trailer and driving out to West Virginia to base camp in the middle of some real gravel. shouldn't be a big surprise, bike runs great, similar to the previous bikes, but i'm giving this one the edge. dismantle the forks, add a spacer to shorten them, cut down the springs to effectively increase the spring rate, new seals/dust covers, new oil, reset the clickers to factory spec, reinstall raised an additional 5mm in the clamps. the forks now perform better than new installed on this rat bike.

    i wish i had stopped to take photos of the oil that came out of the forks. the right fork oil looked like chocolate brown sludge, probably 15W. the left side held half the spec volume of watery green oil, probably 5W. no wonder the forks didn't feel quite right. i had a couple quarts of brand name 10W fork oil on hand, but used full synthetic ATF instead.
  12. mentolio

    mentolio King of the island of unwanted toys...

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    Isn’t it amazing how changing your spring rate and a nice rebuild makes the forks feel like a whole (new) different animal?
  13. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    exactly, i should have been into these forks 4 months ago. two aspects, one was rebuilding the forks, the other was reducing seat height. worked out great on both.
  14. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    front wheel bearing failure on the V649 during the last day of riding on this recent trip to West Virginia.

    no idea what happened, bike goes on the lift later today for the R/R of the bearings, hopefully i'll be able to identify a cause. the last time i had a wheel bearing fail was 50 years ago on a race bike.
  15. Moparman

    Moparman Adventurer

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    Wow. Hope it wasn't a catastrophic failure! What brand bearing was it?
  16. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    don't know the manufacturer, but when i look at the ProCycle site i see both SKF and All Balls available for their custom order wheel sets. the wheel assemblies were ordered loaded, complete with 705s, and cost some real big $$$$$. the wheels and tires looked new when i bought them, no scratches, no wear. i don't have access to the build sheet, but maybe i can find some identification when i pull everything apart. the bearings completely fell apart, ya couldn't advance an inch. pretty inconvenient, but the overall situation could have been a lot worse.
    JagLite likes this.
  17. Moparman

    Moparman Adventurer

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    That definitely could've gone south in a hurry. Glad to hear you didn't end up hurt!

    I made a change in the motorcycle stable at my place recently. I had already decided it was time for the cruiser to go to make room for something more my style, and I came across an opportunity to buy a "dream" bike I'd always wanted that I couldn't pass up. So this followed me home a couple weekends ago... 2014 Multistrada 1200 - Small.jpg

    I'll probably need to find another set of wheels and tires and possibly some additional protection parts before I'd call it "gravel ready", but it's one heck of a road bike and everything I'd hoped it would be for that purpose! I don't know how "trail" worthy I consider the Pirelli Scorpion Trail tires it has on it currently, however I haven't had them off the pavement at all yet to have any feel for how they'd do.

    Attached Files:

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  18. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    i don't know about the protection and tires, but i'd probably have that thing upside down in about 5 minutes.

    great lookin' bike.
  19. Yella DR

    Yella DR It'll be fine they said Supporter

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    Warp9? They warranty everything.
  20. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    this is a set of wheels built by ProCycle on DR650 hubs that cost more than the Warp9 in the same sizes. i bought them used, and the seller had these like new wheels collecting dust in the corner of the garage for a number of years when he sold them. i'm guessing no warranty coverage. they seemed bullet proof until Saturday afternoon.