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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    man, i guess i should withdraw that Super Clean recommendation, or at least say something like "USE AT YOUR OWN RISK". i'm going to use up the gallon i have at 50% or less dilution, then consider whether i want any more. i used that cleaner on my rolling workbench which hadn't been cleaned in a long time, slick now.

    i wiped off the white frame in spots before loading it on the trailer. the white has clear coat, can't see that it got hurt, that frame now looks as white as Hollywood teeth. if anything, i got a better picture of all the paint touch up i need to do after flopping that poor bike here and there on West Virginia gravel "roads" this season. i hope this trip is flop free.
  2. DCrider

    DCrider Live from THE Hill

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    Good seeing you Dave. Enjoy LF, looks like you'll have good weather.
  3. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    great to see you too, my friend, i need to attend more events to stay in touch.

    watch for the write-up on my recent LF visit, it was wild.
  4. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    just back from West Virginia, bike still on the trailer, i might foam cannon the thing before taking it off...mud, dirt, dust from end to end.

    i gotta say it once again, these V649HP bikes can travel. pavement, check. gravel roads, check. damn ugly, rocky, cut up roads, check.

    kept the bike right side up for a change this season, so either my skills are gradually improving after being off the bike for a few years, or i was just really really lucky.
    glittleman and sruss67 like this.
  5. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    riding the Blue Ridge gravel in October...

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    the bike was running along really well on the gravel. the roads always look benign in the photos, when in reality, that was the only road section where you could stop for a photo. it took some real work to get to the top of this mountain. the century old fence and apple tree means that someone lived up here at one time, no remains of a dwelling visible now. there is an old but maintained cemetery not far away, but you can't get up here with a car or low ground clearance SUV, it takes a serious 4x4, the road was all cut up. i once encountered a Subaru Forrester up here parked on the side of the gravel, the people had somehow driven to the top, banging and thumping on their vehicle the whole way, and now afraid to drive out. blamed the entire ordeal on GPS routing, and tailgated me down to pavement.

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    gravel roads everywhere, but beware, some of the "gravel" roads are bank run stone with a high clay content, or just plain clay with no top dressing. y'all get caught in the rain on those roads, good luck. i felt a few rain drops on one of those roads on this recent trip, no bailout route, but nothing developed. if it had, i might not have made it back to camp.

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  6. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    base camping this season, i needed a new cooler, my old coolers just didn't cut it for multi day stays...besides keeping the food cold, that cocktail ice wouldn't last beyond 2 days. i needed some capacity in the cooler, but had no intention of paying big money for a Yeti or similar. looked around to check the pricing, read the reviews, and finally ordered a Lifetime 77. the reviews said it performed as well as the Yeti, but don't stand or sit on it. c'mon, i have a chair if i want to sit, and i don't think i have ever stood on a cooler in my life.

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    before loading up for the trip, i put 4 frozen water bottles in the cooler over night to kinda pre-cool before loading the cooler for the trip. i decided to use a layer of frozen water bottles in the bottom, then 3 zip lock bags of ice, then food/beverages. when i got back 5 days later i still had ice and frozen water bottles, about half of what i started with. i wanted to see how long it would take until all the ice was gone, but my XO inadvertently left the cooler open on day 7, experiment over. the lid latches on this cooler are the best, easy one hand operation.

    Ebay was the winner on price with free shipping, and the order was filled by Walmart, i was surprised, there was no mention of Walmart in the listing. 4 day delivery for this oversize box. the Lifetime coolers are made in the USA, unlike Yeti and most of the rest, all constructed of chineseum goobers. on the other side of the FS camp, i noticed another guy had one of these Lifetimes sitting on his truck tailgate, so either we're both wrong, or both right.


    bottom line, great price point, performs very well, and is going back to West Virginia again this week, if it snows i'm not staying.
    glittleman, NCJ and DKCJ like this.
  7. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    Wild and Wonderful West Virginia...

    note to self, don't go out there at the end of October and expect those gravel roads will be in good shape, no matter what the weather people say, those folks could be wrong.

    sloppy, wet, greasy, even the 3/4ton was sliding around some. it never did quit raining 100%, just slowed down to a mist occasionally, a bracing 40F. the blue skies forecast were still 100 miles east when i went home.

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    leaves mostly off on top of the mountains, but almost 100% on 2000' lower.

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    bike needs a wash.

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    wet camp, i need a better tarp system, but haven't finalized what the changes will be after this bad weather debacle.

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    dark, wet, cold, but i still managed to put together a big griddle of chicken fajitas, ate the whole damn works, really good.

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    got a good campfire going with a little Boy Scout helper, enjoyed myself drinking some JD on the rocks around the fire...then it rained harder and i had to retreat. they call it adventure, the smart adventurers stayed home, i had the place to myself.

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    ddlewis, JRowland, DKCJ and 1 other person like this.
  8. draco_1967

    draco_1967 Spoon!

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    Nice! I love it when the "smart" adventures stay home, no SxS traffic to worry about!
    I finally took your advice from many, many pages ago and added the UNI filters. I found some dust particles that made it past the OEM filter, and were on the intake runners. Hopefully not too many made it inside the engine. Out here in the dry west, we have a lot of fine dust that can make its way in. My buddy told me he put a K&N filter in his bike and I warned him about this issue. Hopefully he will go back to OEM or add the UNIs (or both!).

    This latest version of the V649 is pretty sweet!
  9. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    i did say the gravel roads were in rough shape, i thought i broke the wheel chock coming out, but when i went back to look at the photos, i broke it going in.

    after going in...note break, for some reason i didn't notice it in all the rain and mud.

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    stopped for a slice of apple pie in Monterey, checked the straps, i must be freakin' blind.

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    when i got home, pre-wash inspection, hard not to notice now. these chocks are nice, but not designed for those roads. i'll evaluate a beefy repair, or swap in a spare chock with some reinforcement.

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    JagLite likes this.
  10. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    not just the west, that fine road dust is everywhere. you're smart to add the pod filters, i don't leave home without them. OEM or aftermarket primary filter, there's no substitute for the pods. also easy and inexpensive.

    that's for the props on the bike, it's a runner for sure. i had to take a wrench to everything on the front end before this trip, all the fasteners were loose despite nylocs, plus two broken welds. goes to show where the bike has been this season. i'm still riding, so i'll take it all apart this winter for a fix. i want to make a few changes too.
    DKCJ likes this.
  11. wcohl

    wcohl Been here awhile

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    I've been using Pingel removable wheels chocks for years. They've held up for both dirt and street bikes on paved and unpaved roads.

    They make both fixed and removable.
  12. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    i bought 3 wheel chocks for $10 each, two wheel lock type and a fixed mount Pingel. i like the locking style better, so i think i'll work on strengthening one of those. got some ideas on how i want to do it.
  13. ddlewis

    ddlewis Long timer

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    I broke off another footpeg mount yesterday. Talking about that cast aluminum piece, on the left holds the footpeg and is part of the shift linkage and on the right same with rear brake. This is at least the third one in my 7 years with these bikes.

    Is there a better piece out there than OE? I see you can buy knock-offs for quarter Kaw price on ebay, can you or anybody vouch for those. Looks like you can get L+R for $70 but I need to be able to stand on them with confidence. I think it is beyond my fab abilility to make something.
  14. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    hey Danny @ddlewis, gotta ask...how are you breaking these brackets? do you have folding ends on both shifter and brake? i've broken two on the shifter side, once in a 40-50mph wreck, and the other when the bike took an improbable nose dive off an elevated lift table. i'm betting i've had these bikes on the ground more often than you, but with the Motech armor and folding ends, the brackets have held up better than expected for over 10 years. i've been thinking about fabbing steel brackets, it's still on the list, but not at the top.

    the chineseum Ebay brackets are a different configuration than the OEM, and i can't comment on their merits, if any. no one has come into this thread and reported using them. same with the Versys forum.

    i saw Chuck a couple weeks ago, he said you're still runnin' hard on that V649 bike. he was on his new 1250, heck of a bike for sure, but i can't see him taking it where the V649s go. at the least, it would take him a week to get all the mud off and back to looking like new. we were laughing about our last ride, only 10 years ago, Eddie A was leading and we got ourselves into a crazy predicament. Micky and Jeremy were there too.
  15. Salsa

    Salsa Long timer

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    I made my wheel chocks out of rebar.

    Don
  16. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    that will work, but i've got some other materials on hand.
  17. ddlewis

    ddlewis Long timer

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    :muutt Couple few lowsides and once I came too close to a stump. I think, and seems we may have discussed this and you agreed, that part of the problem is the lowering blocks. they create extra leverage on pegs that makes them less quick to fold and more likely to snap. I'd really hate to give those up though, would rather find a more robust footpeg solution. Guess I'll just buy another kawasaki part and not guinea pig the chineseum ones

    Yeah good ol Chuck! Mr Kracken. I talked to him today, he's trying to get something going weekend after next but Im booked.

    One upside is how good I'm getting at roadside footpeg wiring. that's 4 zip ties, a piece of a Glen Youngkin sign and wire from a miss utility flag.

    footpeg.jpg
  18. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    @ddlewis i can see right off the bat that my V649 has the advantage as far as footrest bracket longevity goes...

    those lowering blocks are a hazard, exactly the problem you mention. besides shearing the OEM bracket, the lowering block can shear itself. i had the exact same block as on your bike that was sheared in half at the bolt. it came with a box of Versys hardware, i regret tossing it out without a photo.

    folding shifter and brake, if you're not equipped to do the work, your RVA buddies are, it's easy. the lengths of each can be set up for your preferences during the swap.

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    lastly, i added additional protection at the bottom of the Motech bars. these help protect the engine covers, but also add protection to the brackets since they help the bike slide, not dig in when ya flop the bike. mine have lost some paint this season on those lower sections, but no damage. i also extended the top corners to protect the radiator, but if i were to choose one over the other, it would be the added protection to covers and brackets.

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    JagLite and ddlewis like this.
  19. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    i go through gloves like crazy, all kinds of gloves, and price doesn't necessarily correlate to longevity...it does with nitrile though.

    i've tried a dozen different types and brands with very limited results, and often the gloves couldn't even get through a short job. some would fail trying to get them on my hands.

    then i tried the Venom Steel nitrile, for sure not the least expensive, but their performance was much better than others. i could sometimes even re-use them depending on the job, never with the other gloves. i have pretty big hands, and the "ONE SIZE FITS MOST" label has proven true.

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    glittleman and JagLite like this.
  20. ddlewis

    ddlewis Long timer

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    What pegs do you got here jd and did they mount right up or take custom hardware or other finagling?