Offroad Versys 650 Gen. 1 - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-19-2018, 02:26 AM Thread Starter
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Offroad Versys 650 Gen. 1



KX450 Front Fender
14 Front Sprocket/47 Rear Sprocket
SW Motech Skid plate
Carbon Fiber Wrap Front Fairings
TKC 80 Front tire, Shinko 805 Rear tire
Rerouted front brake Caliper loop(tends to catch on knobbies causing sudden violent stops.)


Heya, I ride my Versys in the most difficult stuff I can find in dual sport groups full of WR450's, and KTM and Husqvarna 500's.

This pushed my Versys as far into the dirt spectrum as I could take it since the stuff they were riding chewed the pieces of my bike up that needed improvement.

First thing was the skidplate. I found in rocky uneven terrain 2 problems that demanded the skid plate be installed:
1) rocky shelves will rip your muffler off every time they grab the front of it. This happened to me a few times and luckily only took a bit of hammer work and patience to get it back on. The Skid plate makes it so things don't hit the front of the muffler, while the stock muffler is robust enough to skid along its bottom and has never caused an issue in that application.

2) engine components were getting bent out of place. Headers started to collapse towards the motor, oil drain bolt was taking occasional impacts sometimes knocking it loose enough to leak. Neither of these were problems I could ignore and it was the first thing I had to do.

Next, I hated the look of the stock blue fairing. I know its a cosmetic thing but I had trouble loving my bike with those massive loud ass blue fairings. The carbon fiber wrap was an easy way to mute them a bit while giving me a more rugged stealthy look.

After that, Front fender broke it's mount after stopping me in some mud. Rode without the fender for a while but it was no fun in wet stuff. This also left the brake line that loops over the top nearly rubbing the tire requiring alteration of the brake line to prepare for knobby tires. Mounted a KX450 Front Fender to the bottom of a the triple clamp and extended the front brake line to go up over the fender and clamp as well.

Finally we got to the tires. I replaced the slicks that were on it with TKC80 front, which is in my opinion the best front tire in the dual sport business. The rear tire was a bit of a toss up, with the Shinko 805 exceeding all other tires in performance at the cost of half the tread life of a Hydenau k60 or TKC80 Rear. So I went with the 805 Big Blocks because the softer compound makes it really nice on the road and off road I needed all the push I can get.

Pleasantly, I found these tires allowed me tractor through loose terrain even uphill. They were so good at low speed traction that I decided I wanted more low rpm power and the ability to idle without creeping up to 20 mph in slow technical terrain. Made the decision to go down to 14T front sprocket down from the 15t stock. Since lowering the the front 1 tooth would add a half inch to the chain, I went up 1 tooth on the rear so the chain length would remain unchanged. That gave me an 8.7% reduction in speed and 8.7% increased torque. This made idling around in first gear an absolute joy and removed the need to use speed to get up unruly hill climbs.


So whats next? I'm going to saw the fork protectors off the old mudguard(which was already carbon fiber wrapped,) and re-attach the fork protectors only. And thats my finished off road Versys(Maybe a Barnett Clutch)

Before adding front fender and moving brake line:


How it looked when I got it:

Last edited by David P; 08-19-2018 at 03:54 PM.
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-19-2018, 10:50 AM
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-19-2018, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the welcome. I signed up using the 1 click facebook button and don't believe I can change my username(which is the only conflict I could find in the intro guidelines.)

I did leave out some other stuff, I live halfway between Austin and San Antonio in Texas. Don't really have any other hobbies as I have 3 children in my charge I take care of during the day, and I work overnight. The few remaining hours are taken up off road riding.

The problem with owning a Versys is if you want to replace it with noticeable improvement, you either need a Ninja 1000 or a Husqvarna 501.
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-19-2018, 04:22 PM
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2009 Blue Versys.
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-19-2018, 05:33 PM
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-19-2018, 08:18 PM
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welcome to the nut house, bike looks really nice only thing i would change would be replace the front brake lines and get rid of the cross over hose and just run duel braided lines down from the master cylinder

yes im a guy.
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-19-2018, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by silviefox View Post
welcome to the nut house, bike looks really nice only thing i would change would be replace the front brake lines and get rid of the cross over hose and just run duel braided lines down from the master cylinder

Agreed. You won't believe the improvement in braking from that one simple upgrade.

That is the coolest looking Versys I think I've ever seen, despite the unfortunate looks of the era.

2016 KLZ1000GBFAL
No mods yet
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-19-2018, 11:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silviefox View Post
welcome to the nut house, bike looks really nice only thing i would change would be replace the front brake lines and get rid of the cross over hose and just run duel braided lines down from the master cylinder
Quote:
Originally Posted by silviefox View Post
welcome to the nut house, bike looks really nice only thing i would change would be replace the front brake lines and get rid of the cross over hose and just run duel braided lines down from the master cylinder
thanks for the compliment.

I was going to do the 2 from the chamber upgrade, you can just take the bottom bolt out of the right double line caliper and use it up by the brake cylinder since it will fit 2 and move the brake cylinder bolt down to the right side.

I ended up hanging with the current version for 2 reasons- 1. FX450 front fender was a little long and catching too much heat from the exhaust pipes so the current setup helps keep it snug down and away once bolted on, and 2. I took the brake line off an out of commission suzuki and it happened to fit just fine for that purpose. I'll certainly trim the fender and replace dual steel like you mentioned when the lines need replacing though.

The problem with owning a Versys is if you want to replace it with noticeable improvement, you either need a Ninja 1000 or a Husqvarna 501.
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-19-2018, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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Agreed. You won't believe the improvement in braking from that one simple upgrade.

That is the coolest looking Versys I think I've ever seen, despite the unfortunate looks of the era.
Thanks so much, means alot to me. I felt I bought the ugliest bike on the used lot when I got it, but I was well researched in power to weight ratios, top speeds, weight, etc. and knew what I was getting and decided to buy with my head instead of heart. Now it finally looks like what I wanted to buy and I can't think of a bike I'd rather have. I blow dirt bikes out of the water on the street and can get through and climb anything they can... Just don't get any air, lol.

I was featured in a motoVlogger video not too long ago during which I break my front fender and climb a few hills. I'll post it below!

The problem with owning a Versys is if you want to replace it with noticeable improvement, you either need a Ninja 1000 or a Husqvarna 501.
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-19-2018, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
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This was before knobby tires(on slicks in video,) KX450 front fender, and 14/47 sprockets. Only performance mod on it at this point was a skid plate.

Now I hit all those hills easy peezy.

Last edited by David P; 08-20-2018 at 12:10 AM.
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 07:14 AM
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 08:27 AM
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https://youtu.be/jgP3MpNoDko

This was before knobby tires(on slicks in video,) KX450 front fender, and 14/47 sprockets. Only performance mod on it at this point was a skid plate.

Now I hit all those hills easy peezy.
80% rider, 20% bike, some people just have the skill , some never have the skill. I can say I rode off road with my 1984 XL250R and then the DRZ400S, I would call my skill set for off road as low, just never had the exposure , conditions or desire.
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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
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Look for a PM from me
Heya I can't message back because I'm still 15 posts away, but just making it David P. would be fine.

The problem with owning a Versys is if you want to replace it with noticeable improvement, you either need a Ninja 1000 or a Husqvarna 501.
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 04:36 PM
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Heya I can't message back because I'm still 15 posts away, but just making it David P. would be fine.
I will fire off a work order, expect to get a message from admin. . FYI not the post count but the 48 hours.
I pulled a work order, hold your breath
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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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80% rider, 20% bike, some people just have the skill , some never have the skill. I can say I rode off road with my 1984 XL250R and then the DRZ400S, I would call my skill set for off road as low, just never had the exposure , conditions or desire.
I think the Versys is alot better offroad than anyone gives it credit for. It's "in-set" seating position is great for climbs because your weight can stay on the rear tire but still stay low enough that the bike won't come up on the incline. In my experience on technical terrain, it may not be as capable as full on dirt bikes- but the 17" wheels combine with the low seat height to make it extremely forgiving as it lets both of my feet down flat at any moment. Add a quality skid plate and the clearance will suddenly "feel" endless, stock it has the clerance to clear large curbs and most climbs without issue.

What really makes it shine in hill climbs though is that 1st gear will go 30mph without issue- which is about as fast as you'd want to go in that situation. And anywhere in first gear, the 650 twin motor has an absolute ocean of power, allowing you to handle any portion at the speed you want rather than where a more traditional offride bike would want the engine in a happy place to keep lugging along. Lowering the sprockets made it so the tire will slowly spin on dirt instead of killing the engine at idle.

The forgiving aspect of it though, with its low center of gravity, low seat(compared to true dirt bikes,) lets you try extremely gnarly terrain without punishing you for it. Come to sudden rock-induced stop on a KLR, you're probably going over. Same spot on a Versys you just foot down and readjust. So what I'm saying is, give it a try and you'll be surprised how safe it feels out on the trail.
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The problem with owning a Versys is if you want to replace it with noticeable improvement, you either need a Ninja 1000 or a Husqvarna 501.
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post #16 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 07:38 PM
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Kool lookin skooter. I would recommend some Seal Savers or Fork Skins to protect the fork seals. also, 2 sets of wheels.... that way I can save the TKCs for when I need them. Ninja wheels fit & are cheap & plentiful (compared to other bikes). some of the rotors are different though.

if I'm answering your question I assume the basic points have been addressed, such as: did you do a compression test? is it still on fire?
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post #17 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 11:04 PM Thread Starter
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Kool lookin skooter. I would recommend some Seal Savers or Fork Skins to protect the fork seals. also, 2 sets of wheels.... that way I can save the TKCs for when I need them. Ninja wheels fit & are cheap & plentiful (compared to other bikes). some of the rotors are different though.
In my lengthy introductory essay, I included my intention to saw the fork protectors off the stock mudguard and re-attach them :-D


I don't use my versys to commute, I don't have the freedom to do long trips on it- so I get to ignore things like chain and tire wear in my criteria. It's a toy and I've made it as rowdy as possible. It's on street manners were not noticeably changed from slicks compared to the TKC 80 front aside from a low hum at low speed. Give 'em a try! lol.

The problem with owning a Versys is if you want to replace it with noticeable improvement, you either need a Ninja 1000 or a Husqvarna 501.
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post #18 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-21-2018, 01:06 PM
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In my lengthy introductory essay, I included my intention to saw the fork protectors off the stock mudguard and re-attach them :-D....
"SEAL SAVERS" will protect a LOT better than do the 'protectors' on the OEM front fender!



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post #19 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-22-2018, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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The Gen 1. Mud gaurd's fork protectors actually got half way around the fork as you can see in the last picture.

Still it wouldn't be a bad idea to stick some seal savers behind there.

The problem with owning a Versys is if you want to replace it with noticeable improvement, you either need a Ninja 1000 or a Husqvarna 501.
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post #20 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-23-2018, 08:11 AM
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I see admin followed through fairly quickly You might want to start a new thread under 650 performance , with all your mods along with photos. I can copy any relevant posts in this thread to the new one.
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