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Discussion Starter #1
I thought I'd PM, but then I thought maybe other people would be interested too, could we have some details on Gary's (DBD34) bike? Unless it's posted somewhere else and I just haven't found it... From what I can gather, it's basically got:

Tires:
- 150/70 Tourance on the rear
- 130/80 Tourance on the front

Custom bracket to raise the front fender
Fender extender
Barkbusters VPS
Aftermarket screen of some sort
Algard header guard (which from recent-ish posts does not seem to be available anymore?) with the earlier exhaust rear mount
H&B engine guards
Some sort of luggage... H&B?
 

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Gary's panniers are Tetons, Caribou topcase and a Rotopax fuel carrier.
It also looks like he has a Givi windscreen.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Cool, and in case anyone is wondering why I'm asking - for a start, it's kinda inspirational what he is doing on his Versys - especially after lots of people have told me that if I want to do "sustained offroad riding" I should sell the Versys and get an older KLE500 or a KLR650, because the Versys just wouldn't be able to do it, and if it did do it it would just be far too hard.

Gary proves that it *can* be done on a Versys. Whether or not it is the *ideal* bike is up for debate, but it's possible.

I like the Versys, it is diabolical through the twisties on the road, and realistically 95% of my "normal" riding is on the road. It is pretty much identical to a KLE500 apart from the fact that it has more power, and a 17" front wheel. I personally think it is better looking than both the KLE500 and the KLR650. I like my Versys :) In an ideal world I'd own both a Versys and a dirt bike, but in reality I can't afford the running costs of both. I have no current plans to do any hardcore dirt bike riding, I just want to go places.

So yeah, obviously the set up that Gary has works. I'm sure there are probably other set ups that work - I think Ted99uk has done some serious touring too? But yeah, I thought it would be good to know what I need to do, or can do, to my Versys to take it places :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Gary: Has the bike been for a lie down much? How has it fared? What pannier mounts do you have? The top rack looks like a H&B one? How do you find the stock foot pegs on the dirt? Did you raise your handlebars at all, or are they stock height?

So many questions, sorry :D
 

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Gary,

How do you like that givi windscreen? Do you get helmet shake when riding 2 up?

I'm perfectly content with the stock screen (upside down), execpt that when my wife is on the back I get helmet shake. (no helmet shake when solo).
 

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Gary: Has the bike been for a lie down much? How has it fared? What pannier mounts do you have? The top rack looks like a H&B one? How do you find the stock foot pegs on the dirt? Did you raise your handlebars at all, or are they stock height?

So many questions, sorry :D
My Versys has been down a dozen or more times, The Barkbusters and engine guards have saved the bike from major damage. The top rack and pannier mounts are SW-MOTECH, the quick-release system on the pannier mounts are a weak point, I've had to replace most of them with bolts. I have the stock pegs, I should have replaced them with after market pegs. I did not raise the handlebars.

Gary
 

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Gary,

How do you like that givi windscreen? Do you get helmet shake when riding 2 up?

I'm perfectly content with the stock screen (upside down), execpt that when my wife is on the back I get helmet shake. (no helmet shake when solo).
I like the GIVI, there is no helmet shake, I'm 5'8" my passenger is only 5'2".
I'm sure there would be a difference with a taller rider/passenger.

Gary
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Gary: Any preference in aftermarket pegs? I've noticed PivotPegz and a new one from SW-Motech (which look pretty fancy, but rather expensive!)

Also, how did you replace the quick release bolts with regular bolts, since the back of the holes aren't flat (to use the quick release bolts with)? Did you just flatten the hole and use bolts (thereby not being able to reverse it back to use quick release bolts)? I've got the H&B system which I think is similar if not identical to the SW-Motech ones...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Also, what tank bags are those (the ones that hang on the side)? I've never seen them for sale here before... They look like they'd protect the tank etc in the event of a lie down...?
 

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I like the Versys, it is diabolical through the twisties on the road, and realistically 95% of my "normal" riding is on the road. It is pretty much identical to a KLE500 apart from the fact that it has more power, and a 17" front wheel.
The only things a KLE500 and a Versys have in common is that both have two wheels, a twin engine and are made by Kawasaki. :D

No, really, you have to ride a KLE500 to appreciate how good the Versys is over all, but also note that a KLE500 has a full cradle frame, which indeed is a lot more appropriate for off-roading (and allows mounting a real bash plate, something the Versys does not with it's frame/engine layout). Again, it all depends on what type of "off-roading" you are planning on doing. With a real dirt bike (something a KLE500 or a KLR are not) you'll be able to ride with relative ease in places you'd struggle on a Versys. The question is do you really need that capability for your travels and is it worth giving up the Versys on-road ability for it?

Keep in mind that most of Gary's excellent adventure was on roads - sometimes they were not paved - but that's not what you'll find some people refer to as off-road, especially in the context of riding some of the lighter, single cylinder, dual sports.

Gustavo
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Gustavo: Yes, I've ridden a KLE500 - I did an Adventure Riding course on one. Well, until I fried the clutch doing the slow ride exercise and had to share a DR650 with my dad for the rest of the course... And yes, while it's a different bike to the Versys, it really wasn't as bad as I expected it to be. It was actually quite good. Nowhere near as good as the Versys, but certainly quite good.

And yes, aware that I'll be struggling a lot more with the Versys (or KLE500 or KLR for that matter) than with a *proper* dirt bike, but I guess that's the sacrifice of having more luggage capacity, more comfort etc etc. While the DR650 is a "dual sport" bike, it seems a lot more "dirt bike"-ish to me than the KLE500 was, and was a lot easier to do the course with than the KLE500 was. Uncomfortable long distance and crap on the bitumen though. I've never ridden anything more dirt-worthy than a DR650, but I'm told it's even easier again with a *proper* dirt bike.

After riding the DR650, I don't think I could own one as my primary bike. The KLE500, probably. But they don't make one anymore, and the Versys is so much nicer. Without having ridden one, I'm guessing the KLR650 would probably be the closest thing to it, except I don't like the thumper. The Versys engine is just awesome. I'm guessing the KLR650 would be more similar to the DR650? Except it has a real seat. My dad pillioned me on the DR650, and it was hell. I think the rear pegs on that bike are really just for show, it really wasn't designed for a pillion...

I don't really know what sort of riding I'll be doing in the future yet, but I suspect it would be more like what Gary is doing, rather than single-trail or Paris-Dakar sort of craziness.

Darn it, if only Kawasaki made the KLE500, just the way it was, but with the Versys engine :D
 

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Gary: Any preference in aftermarket pegs? I've noticed PivotPegz and a new one from SW-Motech (which look pretty fancy, but rather expensive!)

Also, how did you replace the quick release bolts with regular bolts, since the back of the holes aren't flat (to use the quick release bolts with)? Did you just flatten the hole and use bolts (thereby not being able to reverse it back to use quick release bolts)? I've got the H&B system which I think is similar if not identical to the SW-Motech ones...
demuire
The only aftermarket pegs I've seen are on his site. I just punched the bolts through on on pannier mounts, under normal riding conditions the quick release system would be fine. Those are Aerostich tank panniers http://www.aerostich.com/review/product/list/id/3487/category/92/ I did not like the mounting system so I had them sewed onto the base of the tank bag, they do help protect (depending what you have in them) the tank in a fall over. Gustavo is correct, this is road trip with some rough roads thrown in. Check out my photo album on this site, there are some photos of the top rack and mounts.

Gary
 

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Versys mods needed.

.
So yeah, obviously the set up that Gary has works. I'm sure there are probably other set ups that work - I think Ted99uk has done some serious touring too? But yeah, I thought it would be good to know what I need to do, or can do, to my Versys to take it places :)
The one thing I believe must be done to do the sort of touring Gary and myself have done on a Versys is to sort the suspension, both ends and get some real compliance into it. The stock suspension would, I believe, shake the bike to bits on the sort of roads and tracks I rode.
Ted99UK.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
How much softer did you make it? How much did it affect the handling of the bike on the road? What did you tell the suspension guy?
 

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Quite a bit softer shock spring but standard fork springs. The fork damping was changed to less compression and more rebound. Amazing difference. The shock was much less compression but similar rebound.
I am not a knee-scraper but I reckon it handles MUCH better on the road if there are any bumps, even small ones. When the road is smooth it is me that is the limit not the bike and I have never noticed it wallowing.
Experienced riders who have bounced the front always reckon it is way too soft and will wallow, but so far no-one else has ridden it. I want to do a Cadwell Park (UK) track day because it is a very twisty circuit and not a high speed one. Then I will know how it handles.
Overall though, in my opinion, the compromise is overwhelmingly successfull compared to standard.
Why sports-bikes have usually been rock-hard is a mystery to me, but I notice increasingly the bike magazines are praising new bikes with a compliant ride which gives more comfort and better handling on bumpy roads. Maybe the time is coming for better suspension on ordinary bikes.
The mods I have made to my Versys would have cost Kawasaki NOTHING.
Ted.
 
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