V649HP-Kawasaki's new gravel runner

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

  1. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,054

    you can run 17" TKCs 150/70 and 130/80, but you're better off with the 19" front for the gravel. i did run the 130/80 TKC on the front for thousands of miles of gravel and it does pretty darn good. here's one of the old bikes with a 130/80-17 TKC front parked at the gas pumps in Deadhorse.

    [​IMG]

    the 19" does better.

    the 17/17 wheel choice is fine for the SM setup, and i run the 150/70 and 130/80 Tourances when i have those wheels on the bike. there's a 130/80 Tourance on the bike in the photo shown in post #94.
    AmbientMoto and Bloodmouse like this.
  2. sanjoh

    sanjoh Purveyor of Light

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,919
    Location:
    ADVmonster, CFL, WNC
    Your pic must be after you went moose hunting?

    WTF is that on your pillion:huh
  3. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,054
    caribou steaks. i wanted to strap the rack across the bars, but i couldn't see where the hell i was going.
  4. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,054
    need a swingarm for the build, versys frame so a versys swingarm, right. nope. i've had a versys swingarm kickin' around the shop since the first ninja build, thought i would use it on the ninja frame, bolts right in. i just never warmed up to that thing, a little lighter than the ninja swingarm, but it just looks so damn clunky.

    besides, this is the mix and match rat bike world, so i'll put a ninja swingarm on the versys frame.

    [​IMG]

    this is the 09 and up 650R swingarm, a slightly different design and a little beefier than the 06-08 swingarms. bolts right into the versys frame, perfect fit. the added benefit of the newer swingarm is that they come with a blockoff plate below the shock mount and a factory hugger. keeps gravel and mud from coming forward and collecting on top of the silencer.

    took awhile to find one at the right price, but worth the wait. by the looks of the rubber chain protector, the bike it came off had to be near new.
  5. tragerbon

    tragerbon 2019 KLX 250

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    286
    Location:
    Texas
    I like the swingarm idea...I found one for a great price and picked it up. I don't really care for the versys one sided looking swingarm and at one point was thinking about adding a little extra length to it to compensate for longer aftermarket forks and added strength.

    I am still waiting for more info on the two machined parts : )
  6. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,054
    the ninja swingarm looks much better, and is plenty strong also. the 06-08 held up fine under the pounding of those two trips up north, so even that version is strong enough. when i decided to build on the versys frame, i knew i would never use that aluminum versys thing. i should sell it. the versys swingarm is strong enough though, never heard of any problems with it.
  7. DreadPirateKermit

    DreadPirateKermit Ribit.

    Joined:
    May 31, 2002
    Oddometer:
    371
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    Great thread JD! I wandered over and read the one on the Versys forum as well. :D That wasted a few evenings in front of the boob-tube! I've never ridden one of the Kawasaki vert-twins (I'm a 'strom kinda guy) but I have to admit to being K-curious. :shog I think if I had ran across your Ninja/19" front wheel build thread before I picked up my current biggie Vee, I'd have been tempted to go that way.

    Maybe next time. :lol3
  8. sanjoh

    sanjoh Purveyor of Light

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,919
    Location:
    ADVmonster, CFL, WNC
    I've heard it's a lot lighter, did you put em on a scale?

    NOW your going to worry about looking clunky:brow

    I'm about to put the versys swingarm on the dirt ninja for the weight savings and according to more than one race team additional stiffness.
  9. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,054
    that 19" wheel mod is what really makes these rat ninja/versys bikes go.

    when you put these naked rat bikes next to the v and wee stroms, the suzy bikes look huge in comparison.
  10. MTrider16

    MTrider16 Ridin' in MT

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,870
    Location:
    Eastern Montana
    Ha!, I found where your hiding at. :lol3 Like he said above, you're worried about looking clunky all of a sudden?

    I'm going to have to look up that WSJ article now. Looks like NG is getting serious. When are you converting your rat bikes to run on CH4? :wink: I play with the stuff a little.

    David
  11. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,054
    sorry, those versys things just ain't pretty. if i'm gonna dance, it's gotta be with something better lookin' than that.

    somebody said a 3# difference, so if i skip lunch tomorrow, i can make that up. besides, i'm not racing.
  12. MTrider16

    MTrider16 Ridin' in MT

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,870
    Location:
    Eastern Montana
    Found an article. 4.5 bcf sounds interesting. Looks like BP has the Denali Project, and EM is calling their project Alaska Pipeline. Both are going to follow the Alcan from Fairbanks through the Northern Rockies. That road is going to get a pounding during construction.

    Mackenzie goes from Inuvik southeast. Another field entirely.

    I think the shale gas in Texas and the northeast is going to slow these projects a little, like the article states.

    David
  13. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,054
    yup, clunky.

    now since you're from montana, i can get your opinion. a cowboy would drop dead before he would be seen riding an ugly horse. right?

    thought so, case closed.


    the WSJ story was more than a couple column inches. the partners in that deal had 750 million already spent on the preliminary work when they shelved it the first time. i happened to be in the NWT in 2007 and talked to some of the Deh Cho First Nation people about it. they were demanding 50% of the revenue that came through the pipeline at the time, take it or leave it. they must have changed their minds.

    these rat bikes could use a little rocket fuel. got some of that?
  14. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,054
    that's the one.
  15. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,054
    here are the swingarms for comparison. the swingarms are interchangeable across the model years for both bikes as far as i know. besides the mounts, the lengths are identical on the centerlines of the swingarm bolt and axle bolt. Versys is aluminum, 650R (ER6F) is steel. obviously different in design and appearance, the Versys arm is 2#-14oz lighter on my scale.

    [​IMG]

    the sport bike crowd were early into this game, and the versys swingarm swap on the 650R was popular for those upgrading a street bike or prepping a track bike. the upgrade continued on the bike by swapping in a 5" cast rear for 180/55 rubber and then swapping in the entire 636 front end for the fully adjustable usd forks, bigger brakes, and low bars. all the swap parts could be found pretty cheap, besides the swingarm.

    the versys swingarm was (and is) pretty scarce on the used market and there were a few shops that were buying all the OEM parts and putting together the assembly for resale. takes a special tool to install the swingarm bearings.
  16. Ednukey

    Ednukey Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    40
    Howdy jdrocks,

    I'm curious, what ninja model year is radiator you plan on using? Or, are you planning on using a V rad?

    I believe it was 2009 that they essentially put the V radiator into the ninja, since it has something on the order of 40% more cooling capacity. I know it was longer than the previous model - which would affect your ability to mount the older ninja rad to the V frame, without welding some custom tabs.

    As always, great ideas and work.
  17. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,054
    welcome, hope you put the books down for a holiday break!

    i knew about the radiator sizes, but would like to use the one that's on the parts bike. i left the stock versys radiator mounting tabs on the frame, and i might be able to fab an adapter bracket for the smaller radiator. the 650R radiator is adequate, i only had the temp light come on once when the core was clogged with that silty chloride mud on the Dalton...you remember that stuff, i'm sure. even then, the bike didn't really overheat, just got a little warm.

    that road was wet and muddy most of the way up and back, and the radiator got clogged up even when protected by the guard. shame on me for not checking it earlier.
  18. MTrider16

    MTrider16 Ridin' in MT

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,870
    Location:
    Eastern Montana
    Yep, right you are. :rofl


    Usually the natives around here shoot for the sky on the first offer. After a little discussion, the price becomes more reasonable. They still get more per mile than the normal landowner, so I don't think it is a bad thing.

    These proposals seem to go on again and off again all the time. NG is predicted to be steady or down unless there is more demand. Lots of shale gas, and off-gas from oil production. I think the northern roads are safe for awhile.

    Sorry, no rocket fuel here.

    David
  19. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,054
    ok, i'll take that as gospel.

    a final note on the 09 and up 650R swingarms. these arms use a completely different axle assembly than the 06-08. both use pull adjusters, as opposed to the versys push style adjuster, but the 09+ is configured for the heavier section of this swingarm leg, uses heavy side plates keyed to the cast adjuster instead of just flat washers, and a 25mm longer axle. other than spacers, nothing is interchangeable. so if you intend to use the newer style swingarm, be sure to get the whole works.

    [​IMG]
  20. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,054
    the two first nations groups i spoke with in that area were the Deh Cho and Gwich'in. Deh Cho east of the Nahanni range and Gwich'in to the west. both sitting on top of a treasure chest of natural resources located on their ancestral lands. the revenue stream that will come from developing these resources will make every man, woman, and child wealthy by most standards. the old ways are fast disappearing even now.