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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone riding dirt and gravel without 8+ pounds of skid plate hanging off the bottom? ; ) Perhaps with just a fender extender, and maybe a radiator guard?

Part of the reason I got this bike was for its relatively low weight. (And wheelies...) Done a ton of ADV type riding on my 1985 CB700SC and 1998 CB750, and definitely bashed in the headers a little bit (I like to tell myself that improved the mid-range performance ; ). But those bikes don't have big radiators, and do have very strong mufflers.

Made a DIY fender extender, and will happily add the real thing. A radiator guard would be fine also, if bit pricey. Reluctantly added 8 lb of Givi crash bars, which will definitely get some use. ; (

Anyone riding dirt/gravel without a plate???
 

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I did for a long time without any issue.
Fender extender of some form is needed almost on any bike to avoid packing the radiator with dust/dirt when it is directly behind the tire...

Avoid hopping anything that comes close to the clearance and you'll be fine.

I advanced to gnarly enough trails that I added a hepco becker one. It's a poor fit, requires a non-trivial mod to keep the access to oil drain plug and it's noisy as hell (vibrations basically amplified like it was a guitar body...).... I still cannot call it a skid plate, it's mostly a rock guard - you won't bash into it it's too flimsy for that.

I wouldn't be surprised if I remove it before the end of this summer...despite my gnarly trails bias... It's such a fuss to remove/add 8 awkward tiny 6mm bolts washers and nyloc nuts. I expect the next oil change to be the decider. Really disappointed. 馃槥
 

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I have a number of times. Mostly dirt/gravel, but some single track that is a bit adventurous.

I installed a fender extender and it has worked very well. Some basic brand off the internet, that just screwed onto the front fender. Amazingly it has stayed on without any problem despite water crossings.

A good radiator guard is imperative. It is exposed to all kinds of flying junk, including on paved roads.

The muffler sits under the engine, so it is a bash plate of sorts.... lol. It will at least prevent holing the oil pan. My opinion is a bash plate is only needed if you'll be on pretty rough surfaces. The typical dirt road should not be a problem. When it doubt, slow or stop to check out the depth of pot holes and height of obstacles before riding into them.

If you'll be on the kind of surfaces where you really need knobbies, and probably should be on a motocross bike, then yeah you need a bash plate.

The only time I've bottomed out was riding into a puddle that looked like a seep but was a bottomless hole full of water. Went into it at about 1 mph, so no damage to anything.
 

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I have the T-Rex skid plate, but mainly to protect the pipes and the otherwise very exposed oil filter. One rock thrown hard into the filter could ruin your day. I don't ride single track, but do ride a lot of gravel roads. The underslung muffler means you shouldn't be trying to roll over anything anyway.

My bike is the green one in these pictures: Seattle to Dirt Riding Near the Olympic Mountains

So you can see the skid plate doesn't help the appearance.

-dm
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for replies... Would you like to hear more. Trying to determine if bike is a keeper. If so, guess I can beat the hell out of it. Under $3,000 in it so far. Plus a ton of time. ;(

Shinko E705 tires still working extremely well. 10 turns out preload on front, 9 mm preload on cheap Ohlins (Ka 907?) in back, 32 psi F/B, and it handles like a dream without beating me up. Should do fine on dirt aired down for a much softer ride.

Have dr650 and xt225 (3 day trip on that i a couple of hours ; ) ; guess I don't need the versys to do my typical 48 hours of dirt, but sure need to be able to do 10 or 50 miles here and there.
 

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Thanks for replies... Would you like to hear more. Trying to determine if bike is a keeper. If so, guess I can beat the hell out of it. Under $3,000 in it so far. Plus a ton of time. ;(

Shinko E705 tires still working extremely well. 10 turns out preload on front, 9 mm preload on cheap Ohlins (Ka 907?) in back, 32 psi F/B, and it handles like a dream without beating me up. Should do fine on dirt aired down for a much softer ride.

Have dr650 and xt225 (3 day trip on that i a couple of hours ; ) ; guess I don't need the versys to do my typical 48 hours of dirt, but sure need to be able to do 10 or 50 miles here and there.
What size of Shinko's do you have and how do you like them? Recommend?
 

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...A good radiator guard is imperative. It is exposed to all kinds of flying junk, including on paved roads.

The muffler sits under the engine, so it is a bash plate of sorts.... lol. It will at least prevent holing the oil pan....
On my '15 I 'use' the muffler as a 'skid-plate' (as well as the SW-Motech crash-bars), while I have SW-Motech crash-bars and skid-plate on my '08. BOTH have some sort of rad-guard.
 

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182579


photo courtesy of my friend douglasgraham.

belly fairing torn away, oil filter dented. the belly fairing mounts to a bracket which, in turn, mounts to the cast lugs on the side of the oil pan. the cast oil pan is 2mm thick, which means he came within a whisker of parking the bike. gravel guard? you be the judge, it's your money, your bike.
 

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Shinko E705 tires still working extremely well.
Then you are extremely not difficult to please...
These tires are slippery and wear poorly (cupping). I've seen no difference in grip between the stinko and a road tire.
But the road tire (like a PR4) will last almost 2x as long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Then you are extremely not difficult to please...
Jeez, I wish... that would be GREAT. :)

32 PSI front and rear, I think you can see where my priorities lie. Prefer a soft ride (and grip, on and off pavement) over tire life. 30 years ago, I liked donut tires. Now, I'd much prefer a 19" or 21".

BTW... I'm writing this while sitting on the ground at the intersection of 3 single track trails, Mendocino National Forest, right before bed. Yamaha xt225 has been a champ, slow but sure. Versys will never come here, but just maybe to the nearby dirt roads. Maybe. Gnarly! :) (My CB750 did ride those roads.... )
 

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Guess I MUST be "easy-to-please" too. Since I started using SHINKO E-705 tires on BOTH my current V650s, I just replace them w/ ANOTHER when they wear out, and I LOVE them.

(y)(y)

:cool:
 

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i'm not easy to please...

Versys on gravel in Maine 30 miles below the border, stopped by a locked gate at mile 7 of a 75 mile gravel route. i found a ride around only 10 miles below Quebec, and continued, some damn tough logging roads in there.

Shinko tires on the bike, 170/60-17 and 120/70-19. i've used up plenty of sets of these tires, and the cost per mile on these tires is relatively low in comparison to others available. i mount my own tires, so the cost/mile is my benchmark. durable, good manners, price point cost. i'll buy them again. the 170/60 and 120/70 tire combo has been run on OEM Versys 17" wheels.

 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
i'm not easy to please...Versys on gravel in Maine....
I bet the Versys is a pretty good choice for the Northeat US. Not a ton of off-pavement (except in Maine), but tons of bumpy paved twisties.

I tried a very cool street bike recently for 6 months. 2002 sv650n. Sport touring tires. :) Was really fun to ride...for about 20 minutes. Replaced with 2012 V 3 months ago. Upright, wide bars, fairly soft ride. Much better.
 

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I bet the Versys is a pretty good choice for the Northeast US...
i was just passing through those Maine logging roads as part of a 7,000 mile trip. i've had a Versys on tens of thousands of miles of gravel in the US and Canada. yeah, there's a Motech gravel guard under the bike in the photo.

bottom line, if you want your Versys to go more places, then you set it up with that in mind.

great choice on your 2012.
 

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Fasteddie, so, no skid plate on the 2015 then... but still lots of off-pavement riding?
I don't know about "lots of off-pavement riding" LATELY, but I've done a fair bit. When I ride dirt I AVOID stuff I used to ride - rocky trails where your "skid-plate" is bouncing off boulders. The "Dempster Highway" in Canada's N is about as gnarly as I want to see, tho' I PROBABLY won't ride at again (just turned 78 last week).

P6222213 by Ed Copeman, on Flickr

P6212179 by Ed Copeman, on Flickr

P6222260 by Ed Copeman, on Flickr

PROBABLY my 'moment' was riding on the AZBDR w/ jdrocks a few years back, when we were in a "rock-field" w/ some boulders showing a foot or so ABOVE the "trail", this a bit S and E of Flagstaff, and I realized that IF I hit one beside the skid-plate I'd end up w/ a hole in my engine OR a shattered leg/ ankle. Had two of those (one EACH!) way-back-when, and didn't 'much' enjoy them THEN, so I DON'T want another....

PA290918 by Ed Copeman, on Flickr

PA290920 by Ed Copeman, on Flickr
 

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I don't know about "lots of off-pavement riding" LATELY, but I've done a fair bit. When I ride dirt I AVOID stuff I used to ride - rocky trails where your "skid-plate" is bouncing off boulders. The "Dempster Highway" in Canada's N is about as gnarly as I want to see, tho' I PROBABLY won't ride at again (just turned 78 last week).

P6222213 by Ed Copeman, on Flickr

P6212179 by Ed Copeman, on Flickr

P6222260 by Ed Copeman, on Flickr

PROBABLY my 'moment' was riding on the AZBDR w/ jdrocks a few years back, when we were in a "rock-field" w/ some boulders showing a foot or so ABOVE the "trail", this a bit S and E of Flagstaff, and I realized that IF I hit one beside the skid-plate I'd end up w/ a hole in my engine OR a shattered leg/ ankle. Had two of those (one EACH!) way-back-when, and didn't 'much' enjoy them THEN, so I DON'T want another....

PA290918 by Ed Copeman, on Flickr

PA290920 by Ed Copeman, on Flickr
Happy birthday there Mr. Fast Eddie! What's your secret (to us young guns) to keeping on the bike all these years?
 

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12 pack per day of Labatt Blue Light, he'll deny it, but don't believe him.
TYPICAL 'Murican response!


In Canada we refer to THAT STUFF as "TRAINING BEER", so I won't even put it into my fridge....

(n)(n)(n)

:rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
78! Very impressive. And inspirational.

One of the reasons I keep my Yamaha xt225 is, the older I get, the more appropriate it is. 267 lb wet weight and super low seat height combined with super high ground clearance. Great around town and in technical dirt, but boring on faster dirt, and not well suited to the vast distances and high altitude power loss the desert.

Now, the dr650... lowered, it's lower than a Versys with 150/70 on the back, 367 lb wet, and all it needs for heavy farkles is a plastic gas tank, 3 lb skid plate, and some eBay bark busters. And definitely some carb work. If you like the 1st Gen KLR, you will love the dr650... But it will fall on your leg.

Okay! Sorry for the sermon. But both of these bikes are great compliments to the Versys.
 
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