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Discussion Starter #1
I'd really like to explore the possibility of putting a 21" front wheel on my '09 Versys. Anyone know if there is a suitable fork replacement I could get from a boneyard? I ride lots of gravel and a 21" wheel would be a big improvement.
 

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I'm feelin ya brother ... Might I suggest that you try a couple cheap alternatives before you take the plunge ... the cheapest way to a more stable front end is simply a over size tire ... I would suggest a 120x90/17 Shinko 705 ... you will have to raise the front fender ... and cable tie the cross over brake line to the underside of fender ... also to improve the front forks ... go to http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9959 and read what I did

The next step ... which is what I also did is ... transplant a DL1000 Vstrom front wheel to the versys... it is a 19 inch diameter and even stabilizes the front end even more ... yet still keeps the nimbleness of the Versys the we all love ... the Versys is not a dirt bike ... however it can be made into a great Adventure tourer based on the info I just gave you ...
 

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Hi Freewheeler, i'm interested installing the shinko 705ds. I have couple of questions. First as this is a tube type, i assume you installed it with a tube right? And second, my dealer told me that tube type tires mounted on tubeless wheel does not stick properly. What are your observations so far about that?
Thx!
 

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Hi Freewheeler, i'm interested installing the shinko 705ds. I have couple of questions. First as this is a tube type, i assume you installed it with a tube right? And second, my dealer told me that tube type tires mounted on tubeless wheel does not stick properly. What are your observations so far about that?
Thx!
705's can be run with ... or without tubes ... I run mine without ... being that I have tubless rims ... Great tire ... inexpensive ... decent milege ... works well on both pavment and on dirt and gravel ... THe new radials are even better ... only negative that I have found is ... being that they have so much tread ... they are heavy ... it hurts your top end speed ... also can require alot of weight to balance ... for me it's all about 0-100 mph ... so I don't much care past that ... I also use Dyna beads for balancing ... which solves the balance problem also ...
 

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21" wheel on the versys can be done very easily, or with some machining, depending on the forks you want to use. the rear spoked wheel to match is also another consideration. then there's the rear suspension and overall bike geometry.

the best compromise and by far the easiest is to just run a 19" front. discussion and recipe here-

http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5480&page=8

a real good performer with TKCs, and although not a dirt bike, it will eat up those gravel roads. plus, you keep the tubeless tires and stock double disc calipers (with the strom rotors), an advantage.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the info, fellas! I'm currently running Pirelli MT60's and they do much better than stock but I would like to tame the front end some more. Thought maybe someone would tell me a KLR front end would be an easy bolt-on and it all was a piece of cake. I'll talk to a guy at a boneyard and see what he knows.

Jdrocks' bike looks like it does what I want mine to do. I'll see how many ways there are to get there.
The Shinko's aren't quite as aggressive as I want. Actually, it would be a whole lot simpler if I could just get a 17" tire with the tread on it that I want. :(
 

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Thought maybe someone would tell me a KLR front end would be an easy bolt-on and it all was a piece of cake.
ok, using a KLR front is easy...a piece of cake.

not really the best way to go 21", but by far the easiest if you're determined to put that wheel on there.

i think there's discussion about that too somewhere in that ER6C thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'll look into WP forks. Shouldn't I be able to just find the proper length USD tubes of the same 50mm outside diameter to slip into the stock triple clamps? Can I just slip them 2' higher in the clamps? The bike would still be level, so the geometry should be pretty much the same, right?

I'm new to all this, so maybe I'm just being stupid. This is one of those times when I wish I had grown up racing dirt bikes instead of learning about electronics. :eek:
 

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most USD forks are configured similar to the showa forks on the versys. the versys outer is 50mm at the top clamp and 52mm at the bottom clamp. because the length of the lower 52mm clamp surface is short, there is limited vertical adjustment. so the other issue besides the diameter of the outer surfaces is whether the centers of the surfaces are the same (or close). i am not aware of any longer travel USD fork set that is a direct replacement for the versys forks in the stock clamps.

that doesn't mean that you can't mount other USD forks. you will just have to go through the common practice of trading clamps, stem and bearings, with the required machine work. not that difficult, but then you will have to deal with the other issues mentioned.

the fork swap is actually easier with conventional forks, and there are some good candidates out there. plenty of clamping surface to adjust the front end.
 

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21" wheel

Looking at the parts diagram, it seems that a kx250f supermoto set of forks will bolt right up to the versys, and even fit into the versys triple clamps and give you about 9" of travel instead of 6". Then you might be able to put on a 21" wheel from the 250, but you would lose the double discs, unless the hub is also machined to take them.
 

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Im not referring to the motocross bike. I'm referring to the supermoto 250f with the 41mm forks. The mx version has 12" travel, the supermoto has 9". The part numbers for the supermoto fork legs are the same as for the versys, so I assume just the dampers and springs are different. At least that's what it shows on bikebandit.com
 

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I think it not so much that a larger wheel is needed but the fork needs to be stifer for the big hits. This morning on the way to work I went off road with my V for the first time, deep gravle and I just moto'ed through it when I came back to the road there was about a 4 inch bump and I slowed for it but it hit pretty hard and at first I thought I bottomed the tire against the rim but it was the fork that bottomed.
Seems jdrocks has a proven set up with the 17" wheel bigger tire and the front fender moved up for mud clearance. that's the set up I would go for along with getting the fork to be plush on the small bumps and firmer for the big hits. (pot holes) the bike will handle fire roads better with the 17, the 21 will suck on the road and if you try and push higher speeds that you may be used to with the 17 you will be in for a rude experience. You will want to look into a larger rotor upgrade if going to a single rotor to get more stopping power, another thing you'll be sacrificing.Think of the V a big super moto bike. That's what the Versys seem more like to me anyway.:thumb:
 

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if you're going to run gravel at a decent speed, get used to bottoming the forks. tough to avoid since this is not a long travel fork set, and i don't think the problem can be adjusted out. i've bottomed the shock too. if you saw (and heard) me on the move on a pot holed road you'd probably laugh. i'm on and off the gas constantly to keep the front end light and avoid dropping the front wheel into a hole.

front tire/wheel selection preference is largely determined on how you use the bike. there are plenty of forum members running a larger tire on the 17" wheel with the raised fender, and at least two forum members running 21" wheels on rat ninjas, which means it will also work with the versys. i'm using both 17" and 19" front wheels depending on what i'm doing. there are most likely others now using the 19" also.

i'll be running the 19" up north with a TKC on roads that are a typical combination of gravel and paved for a northern or western trip. 2000 miles gravel, 5500 miles paved, and the paved parts can be in rough shape. that's where the 19" shines. you get to run a larger wheel with a decent dual sport tire that has good road manners, keep the tubeless, keep the brakes, keep the handling, keep the 80 cruise.

if your route was all paved, you would do just fine with something else.

i haven't seen anyone run a 130/80 TKC on their versys, or maybe i just missed the photo.

rain, sleet, snow, and a very muddy Dalton. from the fuel stop at Coldfoot. i was glad i had those tires mounted.

 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the replies, guys! My biggest reason for abandoning the 17" wheel is to get a much larger selection of tires to be fitted. My MT60's are very nice but not great for gravel roads. And that appears to be the most unpaved-aggressive tire out there for a 17" unless you mount a rear tire on the front. I do not want to do that.

A 21" wheel would give me access to all kinds of aggressive treads, but I am open to going with a 19" wheel if it comes with a more suitable fork than the stocker. (The left tube is just along for the ride it seems.)

I'll investigate the 250f SM forks in my spare time, but please keep those ideas coming. It's too bad Kawasaki doesn't make a gravel road bike to my liking. The KLR comes close but is short one cylinder and one rotor for those times on pavement.

Loving my Versys, by the way.
 

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Dr AT: "Ron (the owner) did all the modifications and I didn't really quiz him much on it. Everything is custom built and he's usually only interested in doing once of specials rather than churing out more of the same. Suffice to say the forks are out of a husky enduro bike, the shock has been built by joining an MX shock body to the standard shaft, about 20 Kg of "junk" has been removed, and I can't keep up with him down hills (I'm riding a 640 adv)."


 

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JD

I investigated the use of different forks on the Versys about 2 years ago when I was considering buying one. I bought an SV1000s instead and 2 months later crashed and broke a bunch of bones. Almost back together now, just a little wound care on a hole that won't close, so I am looking again.

I got my inspiration from reading your posts way back then. I posted my belief on the 250sf fork back then, but got no response, so I figured there was no interest, but if you go to bikebandit.com and compare parts diagrams and numbers, I think they are a match and would give longer travel and maybe different damping.

Love the Kapuskasing bike above. Now Kawasaki should make a option wheel and suspension kit like that.
 

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JD
I posted my belief on the 250sf fork back then, but got no response, so I figured there was no interest, but if you go to bikebandit.com and compare parts diagrams and numbers, I think they are a match and would give longer travel and maybe different damping.
ok, you're jogging the memory now. i did find what i thought was that model at a dealer near my grandkids when i went for a visit. for some reason, i didn't think they would work, and the best i recall was that the outers were larger than the 50/52 versys clamps. i might not have been looking at the right bike. even the salesman didn't know one from the next.

good luck with the healing. if you're researching your new ride, you'll be back 100% soon.
 
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