87K and counting . . . - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-07-2017, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
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87K and counting . . .

I have farkled her to perfection, she has more than enough scuffs and scars to make her mine, and the reality is that, until the last year or so, nobody had made anything to make me like another bike more than I like this one. The final reality is that I'm cheap, and this one's paid for.

I have a few friends in the LD riding community, and 87K is just about broken-in in their eyes. In fact, some of them probably wonder what took me so long. (It's a 2008, purchased in 2009.) One of my most reliable mechanical assessors, who rides BMWs, had shrugged over the mileage on my bike even as his wife was convinced I needed a new one. Her BMW 1150 Rockster had about the same miles as mine, but somehow the fact that the Versys only has about half the displacement of the big Beemers has her worried.

I have kept up with the maintenance, and everyone says that the Kawi 650 twin is bullet-proof. I do basic maintenance, but fork seals are a thing of the devil, so that kind of stuff, valve checks, and steering head bearings, I leave to the Iron Pony service dept. Last time in, the mechanic said that the cam chain is getting worn. Not an emergency, he suggested having it done over the winter. Just like an older car or truck, I realize that maintenance needs are more significant as the years and miles pile up. I'm okay with that.

My BMW buddy finally expressed some concern that my bike is aging out, at 87K. His thought is that if the cam chain is going--not just the tensioners--then other important parts may be starting to wear as well, such as the cams themselves.

I'd like the opinion of some others on the forum. To be honest, I'd like to get 150K out of the bike before really retiring her. I don't know why, exactly, except that we've been through a lot together. I have other bikes in the garage I can ride if she's on an extended hiatus. But I'm wondering what some others think about higher miles on the Kawi's 650 parallel twin, and what their experience has been. Do I need to keep her to local rides, as long as I'm keeping up on all the maintenance?

I realize this post is long, so thanks for slogging through to the end.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-07-2017, 03:02 PM
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I wouldn't worry. I had a Harley bagger I put almost 95K on before I wrecked it, and I never thought it would last that long. And all I really did was change the oil and the plugs, and I had the shop do the brakes and tires. After 50K, I rarely had any scheduled maintenance done, and all was still well until something in the transmission needed to be replaced around the 94K mark. And no one can tell me that Harleys are built to last -- I know better (see "recalls").

My point is, even if the Versys gets used hard, I'm guessing it will take a licking better than you would think. Even though they're now made so that it's difficult to do your own maintenance, Japanese bikes were always made for the long haul (unlike Harleys). I think these engines will hold up well. I just took a 3100 mile trip on mine without any issues, and almost all of it was interstate and at high speeds (when I wasn't sitting in traffic on 95).

So kudos to you for all the riding you're doing, and may you hit that 150,000!

2015 650 Versys
Iron Butt Association
Injuries: 20 broken bones & 14 metal pieces
Old woman riding since 1982

The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A (wo)man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.
Mark Twain

Last edited by chrisfla1; 08-07-2017 at 03:04 PM. Reason: grammar
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-07-2017, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by mz33 View Post
I have kept up with the maintenance, and everyone says that the Kawi 650 twin is bullet-proof. I do basic maintenance, but fork seals are a thing of the devil, so that kind of stuff, valve checks, and steering head bearings, I leave to the Iron Pony service dept. Last time in, the mechanic said that the cam chain is getting worn. Not an emergency, he suggested having it done over the winter. Just like an older car or truck, I realize that maintenance needs are more significant as the years and miles pile up. I'm okay with that.


I realize this post is long, so thanks for slogging through to the end.
Too bad your mechanic didn't contact you when he was doing the valve shim check, almost 3/4 of the labour is removing and installing all the plastic and parts before the valve cover . From what I can tell the camshaft chain will be a very expensive job, as it appears the motor needs to be pulled according to the manual. 92057-0618 CHAIN,CAM,92RH 2015-134M about $60 from Partzilla

Last edited by onewizard; 08-07-2017 at 03:35 PM.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-07-2017, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by mz33 View Post
I have farkled her to perfection, she has more than enough scuffs and scars to make her mine, and the reality is that, until the last year or so, nobody had made anything to make me like another bike more than I like this one. The final reality is that I'm cheap, and this one's paid for.

I have a few friends in the LD riding community, and 87K is just about broken-in in their eyes. In fact, some of them probably wonder what took me so long. (It's a 2008, purchased in 2009.) One of my most reliable mechanical assessors, who rides BMWs, had shrugged over the mileage on my bike even as his wife was convinced I needed a new one. Her BMW 1150 Rockster had about the same miles as mine, but somehow the fact that the Versys only has about half the displacement of the big Beemers has her worried.

I have kept up with the maintenance, and everyone says that the Kawi 650 twin is bullet-proof. I do basic maintenance, but fork seals are a thing of the devil, so that kind of stuff, valve checks, and steering head bearings, I leave to the Iron Pony service dept. Last time in, the mechanic said that the cam chain is getting worn. Not an emergency, he suggested having it done over the winter. Just like an older car or truck, I realize that maintenance needs are more significant as the years and miles pile up. I'm okay with that.

My BMW buddy finally expressed some concern that my bike is aging out, at 87K. His thought is that if the cam chain is going--not just the tensioners--then other important parts may be starting to wear as well, such as the cams themselves.

I'd like the opinion of some others on the forum. To be honest, I'd like to get 150K out of the bike before really retiring her. I don't know why, exactly, except that we've been through a lot together. I have other bikes in the garage I can ride if she's on an extended hiatus. But I'm wondering what some others think about higher miles on the Kawi's 650 parallel twin, and what their experience has been. Do I need to keep her to local rides, as long as I'm keeping up on all the maintenance?

I realize this post is long, so thanks for slogging through to the end.
I envy you for two reasons first keeping a bike that long and second putting that much miles on one bike-I know their are a few on this forum who have done the same-hats off to them too-I can't do that not cars or bikes a year or two they must go-only lawnmowers stick around till their dust-26 years on my last push Snapper-and 7 years on the push Honda I have now still like new

Deep in Cajun Country
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-08-2017, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by mz33 View Post
I have a few friends in the LD riding community, and 87K is just about broken-in in their eyes.
Today's Japanese bikes area easily able to go well over 100k miles (even 200k miles) if properly maintained. I've got a friend who is big into LD riding (has particpated in several Iron Butt 11day/11k mile rallies) that has a 97 Honda ST1100. He has over 300k miles on it and still uses it.


Quote:
My BMW buddy finally expressed some concern that my bike is aging out, at 87K. His thought is that if the cam chain is going--not just the tensioners--then other important parts may be starting to wear as well, such as the cams themselves.
Don't mean to ruffle any feathers, but your probability of making 150k miles on your Versys without spending a significant amount money is a lot higher than than BMW owners. If you want to get a feel for the reliability issues that BMW's have experienced over the last 15+ years, just log on to any BMW forum and start reading. Here's a reliability ranking of MC brands from consumer reports that highlights this:

https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/...ycle/index.htm


.

2016 Versys 650 LT, Orange


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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-08-2017, 11:04 PM
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I have never heard of a cam shaft chain wearing out or breaking. Timing belts do though. The rubber timing belt in my VW Golf is good for 160K km/96K miles, a timing chain constantly bathed in oil and never exposed to dirt should last forever or longer than the other components in the engine IMO. If there is play it is due to a cam chain tensioner being loose. This has to be reset every time it is removed.
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Last edited by twowheels; 08-08-2017 at 11:07 PM.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-09-2017, 12:19 AM
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I have never heard of a cam shaft chain wearing out or breaking. Timing belts do though. The rubber timing belt in my VW Golf is good for 160K km/96K miles, a timing chain constantly bathed in oil and never exposed to dirt should last forever or longer than the other components in the engine IMO. If there is play it is due to a cam chain tensioner being loose. This has to be reset every time it is removed.
Thankfully we don't have the issues that the suzukis do with their overactive cam chain tensioners(?).

I think I'll make it to 100k on the V.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-09-2017, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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Too bad your mechanic didn't contact you when he was doing the valve shim check, almost 3/4 of the labour is removing and installing all the plastic and parts before the valve cover . From what I can tell the camshaft chain will be a very expensive job, as it appears the motor needs to be pulled according to the manual. 92057-0618 CHAIN,CAM,92RH 2015-134M about $60 from Partzilla
Oh, he did, but my Colorado trip was already being delayed by one day while waiting for the steering head bearings to arrive, and I didn't want to chance it. He said it could well wait until winter, or I could even just wait until I heard strange noises (uh . . .no!). I'll send off the seat to Russell Day Long over the winter as well.

Yeah, it's labor-intensive, and I am not comfortable with pulling my bike that deeply apart. Space is at a premium in our garage, but I also don't relish trying to bring the poor thing in to the mechanic in pieces if I get in over my head.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-09-2017, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
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Don't mean to ruffle any feathers, but your probability of making 150k miles on your Versys without spending a significant amount money is a lot higher than than BMW owners. If you want to get a feel for the reliability issues that BMW's have experienced over the last 15+ years, just log on to any BMW forum and start reading. .
Heh, heh. I have several BMW friends, and none of them would argue with you (much.) But dayum! they sure love their bikes, and keep trying to get me to drink the Kool-aid. I sip. Ride demos and try friends' bikes at every opportunity. When my bike's exhaust rusted out, I priced how much it would cost to replace the parts if it were a similarly-sized BMW (F650). While it was $800 to replace the header/muffler for stock Versys, it would have been $800 just for the header of an F650.* I remember that every time I am tempted, keep my hands far from the checkbook, and run away.


* Ended up with $400 SS header/muffler from Delkovic, even better.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-09-2017, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by twowheels View Post
I have never heard of a cam shaft chain wearing out or breaking. Timing belts do though. The rubber timing belt in my VW Golf is good for 160K km/96K miles, a timing chain constantly bathed in oil and never exposed to dirt should last forever or longer than the other components in the engine IMO. If there is play it is due to a cam chain tensioner being loose. This has to be reset every time it is removed.
Hmm. Good to know. I may be wrong, but I don't think it was the tensioner. I'll keep it in mind when the time comes. Thanks!!
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