Yet Another DIY Top Rack - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-22-2016, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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Yet Another DIY Top Rack

I've had my Versys for a few months now, and I've wanted to put a rack and top case on it since day one. The problem I've had, is that I never could get myself to spend over $150 for something that I knew I could do with the tools at my disposal (high school wood shop teacher).

This week, I finally got started! I took the stock grab handles off and measured the distances between the mounting bolts. With that information, I jumped on CAD and drew it up!

I wanted this system to be simple. Something that I could cutout, add some bends to, and bolt on with minimum fabrication. Here's what I came up with.





I'm going to add some bends to get the actual rack portion up higher over the light and more level over the back of the bike.

I teach in a school that has a laser cutter and a CNC router (hence the 1/4 plywood prototype), but no CNC plasma cutter or water jet. I do have friends in the area that have them though.

I'll keep you all posted as this project comes together in the next few weeks/months.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-23-2016, 05:57 AM
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I would not leave such long slots in the platorm because it limits the amount of tying position and weakens the structure.
Perhaps leave a center backbone parallel to the edges.

I would definitely NOT have these wide edges ready to slice in your leg when it falls over you...
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-23-2016, 08:43 AM Thread Starter
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Very good points. This is why prototypes are useful!

I made the sides stick out that far because I was afraid that I wouldn't have enough clearance over the plastic on the tail. After bolting it on, I have plenty of clearance, so I can afford to bring it in towards the seat so I don't have that overhang on the sides.

The slots in the platform were drawn that way because I like even spacing, and it was simple to draw. I'll refine it a bit.

Thanks for the feedback.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-23-2016, 10:23 AM
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My wife is a big fan of the grab rails............it wouldn't be too difficult to re-incorporate grab rails on your rack. Looking good, I like DIY myself but with no cad available so it's all done the old fashioned way. Good luck.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-23-2016, 10:27 AM Thread Starter
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My wife is a big fan of the grab rails............it wouldn't be too difficult to re-incorporate grab rails on your rack. Looking good, I like DIY myself but with no cad available so it's all done the old fashioned way. Good luck.


My wife isn't a huge fan of riding with me for whatever reason, so the grab rails weren't a necessity. Also, none of my previous bikes had grab rails for her, and she never complained!
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-23-2016, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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Here's the second one with the modifications. Still may go a bit narrower on the front side.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-23-2016, 02:24 PM
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Keep the information on the templates. When you get done, there might be a a market for a few more racks after we see the finished product.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-23-2016, 04:28 PM
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Looks nice so far. How much weight do you planning on putting on it? Speaking from experience it is VERY EASY overloading the rear rack and with yours extended out quite a ways in the back it won't take much to bend it.


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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-23-2016, 04:34 PM
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My wife isn't a huge fan of riding with me for whatever reason, so the grab rails weren't a necessity. Also, none of my previous bikes had grab rails for her, and she never complained!
Mine doesn't ride much either but she will insist on "comfort" when she does ride.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-23-2016, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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Looks nice so far. How much weight do you planning on putting on it? Speaking from experience it is VERY EASY overloading the rear rack and with yours extended out quite a ways in the back it won't take much to bend it.


It won't be extended as far back after I add the bends to elevate and level the platform out above the taillight.

As far as the weight, I'm not looking to load it down too much. I've got a few ideas to reinforce it if needed as well.
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-22-2016, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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The metals teacher had some 1/4 aluminum sitting around and we went to a conference where the host school (also my Alma Mater) let us borrow their CNC Plasma cutter.

The plasma cutter didn't do a great job on the cut, but it did good enough to prove that my mount points were accurate. I added some bends on our ships brake to finish the look.

This mock up has just a bit of flex when I push down on the top, but still feels pretty solid. The jury is still out on if I need to reinforce the rack or not.

The final product will be cut on another schools water jet, and the bends will have just a bit more angle to them.
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-23-2016, 07:20 AM
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since you can bend, and because I cannot tolerate this "blade" waiting to cut a leg...
what if you cut your bolting tabs outward, and bent the rack to have the arms vertical, like this:

Last edited by dddd; 10-23-2016 at 07:27 AM.
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-23-2016, 10:58 AM Thread Starter
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since you can bend, and because I cannot tolerate this "blade" waiting to cut a leg...
what if you cut your bolting tabs outward, and bent the rack to have the arms vertical, like this:


I really do appreciate your input to make this safer, but I honestly believe that in the event of a get off, the rack slicing my leg would be the least of my worries. If it was steel with a serrated edge, I might be worried. But this will be a blunt piece of aluminum with no burrs or other sharp edges on it.

My first design would have been a disaster, and I have you to thank for making me change it to the safer shape that I have now.

In my research, other racks have a similar amount of "overhang" over the rear cladding. Yes, they do have a bit of "rise" similar to the stock grab bars, but they stick out over the edge a very similar amount.

Your design modification would reduce that risk, and would make the rack stronger overall, definitely. But the brake that I have access to wouldn't be capable of bending the aluminum that sharply, and also wouldn't be able to do complex bends that are that close to each other. It would also not allow me to add my "rise and level" bends that I have now.

My goal was to make this as simple as possible, with the tools that I easily had access to, with no fabrication needed after it's cut and bent. I think this design accomplishes that goal!
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-23-2016, 12:36 PM
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Depending on the co$t (I'm a 'poor" Canuck......), I might get one from you, then sell the Kawasaki trunk mount I'm using now on my Gen 3. Please contact me when you're production ready.

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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-24-2016, 11:13 AM
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If your intention is to use this as a "rack" and not a "top box" attachment point it should work fine. I don't think a flat piece of aluminum (without some kind of added support) would be strong enough to support a top box and cargo though. Just my .02's.....
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post #16 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-24-2016, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
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If your intention is to use this as a "rack" and not a "top box" attachment point it should work fine. I don't think a flat piece of aluminum (without some kind of added support) would be strong enough to support a top box and cargo though. Just my .02's.....
That's what I need it for....

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post #17 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-24-2016, 04:30 PM
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Bends add strength but aren't the only way to go. A rod or square stock welded to the under side of the rack will do the same thing.

What's wrong with the OEM one you have?
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post #18 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-25-2016, 11:03 PM
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...What's wrong with the OEM one you have?
Nothing. It just is more complex than I would like, so I would look at the one he showed pics of.

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post #19 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-26-2016, 10:48 AM
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Nothing. It just is more complex than I would like, so I would look at the one he showed pics of.
Simplicity eh.............I couldn't believe all the parts involved in putting the OEM rack together and on my bike (2015 LT). The base mount for the top box is actually a "slider" (it allows side movement of about 3/4").
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post #20 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-26-2016, 10:54 AM Thread Starter
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If your intention is to use this as a "rack" and not a "top box" attachment point it should work fine. I don't think a flat piece of aluminum (without some kind of added support) would be strong enough to support a top box and cargo though. Just my .02's.....


Was walking through the garage with a case of Dr. Pepper the other day and sat it on the rack out of curiosity. Flexed significantly less than I thought it would! Might still want to reinforce it a bit, but I was surprised with how it held up.
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