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2008 Kawasaki Versys 650
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Hey Folks,

Hope you all are healthy and well this holiday season. I've got a couple of unrelated questions for you today!
First question is about this high idle that I've noticed occasionally when I come to a stop (less than a quarter of the time, I'd say). Normally my versys idles slightly above 1000 rpm but on these occasions, it is as if my throttle hasn't quite rolled back to its neutral position, the tach reads like 2000 rpm. I've jostled the throttled, intentionally rolled it in either direction to try and change the revs I was seeing but that did nothing. I've engaged my breaks, played a little with the clutch also nothing. Occasionally when it is idling high like this it will correct itself, drop back down to the normal 1k or so but I can't seem to figure out any trigger as to why the bike occasionally idles high at these stops or how to fix it. I've fiddled a little bit with both the throttle cable as well as the bolt fastening the grip (92150-1604) but those didn't do anything. Any ideas?

Second question, the bike came with some lovely Oxford heated grips. However, the clutch side lever is a little sticky. It is easy for me to imagine never even noticing the stickiness - as I'm always wearing gloves when my fingers are wrapped around them - but one of my roommates wanted to pose on the bike and she was not in gloves. Wondering if anyone else has run into this issue? Any fixes? At the end of the day it's not a huge deal, not super sticky, but I thought I'd ask.

Third Q for you: This winter I'll be commuting to work (~8 minute ride, one way) in the Oregon rain. I've already noticed the wet cycle smell, haha (better than wet dog, imho), but am wondering whether you guys have any advice vis a vis daily damp outings. I feel like the underside of my bike has gotten dirtier, leaf and road debris sticking to stuff. I assume that comes up with the water when it is flung up by the wheels and is nicely pasted to the underside of my ride as the water evaporates. Hoping it isn't to blame on me recently cleaning and lubing my chain. (Wondering if that lube is sticky and greasy and helping the dirt stick to stuff as its flung around the bike - I thought I did a good job drying off the chain, it wasn't dripping or anything but I noticed the inside of my back wheel is grosser than the front and I'm not sure what to make of that). On the whole - would love to hear what you think about taking good care of a motorcycle that sees rain/mist/fog often (also any waterproof gear recs for this lady would be much appreciated but like that could be a whole different post I think, haha).

Anyways, I look forward to hearing what y'all think. Please do have a good holiday season, stay safe and warm at home. I'll be here, drinking some eggnog with extra rum.

Cheers,
Hannah

Ps. Fourth bonus question - in the future should I partition my questions into separate posts? Easier for me to write em' in bulk but I realize it is a little wordy and does not necessarily lead to the quickest reference for people who might be searching for answers in the future.
 

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Ps. Fourth bonus question - in the future should I partition my questions into separate posts?
nope, you're doing just fine, ask away. Senor Fast will be along shortly to advise you that every one of the issues you mention will be cured by the liberal application of WD40, really, i'm being serious here. get a big can with the fold-up straw, spray down everything on your list, WD40 is your friend for these small problems on your list, double so in the wet.

commuting in wet weather, gear up to make sure you're comfortable and dry, don't worry about the bike. the bike is like a Labrador Retriever, could care less about getting wet, won't miss a beat.
 

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If you don't have one already, get a front fender extender. Here is an example of what I am referring to. R&G Fender Extender for Kawasaki Versys 650 / LT Versys 1000 LT & Versys SE LT+

It used to be that an erratic idle was due to a vacuum leak but with today's FI systems and various sensors it could just mean that you need to clean your intake. A dose of seafoam in the tank every once in a while helps clean the fuel system and some intake cleaner for the MAS and butterflies on the intake.

The oils from our skin is not good for rubber parts. I never touch my bikes without gloves on.

Riding in the rain means keeping water off your chain. WD-40 works great for that.

I forgot to mention a rear tire hugger. It will keep some road crap off the swingarm pivot area.
 

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Hi Hannah, a few thoughts that might help with the idle problem.

First, idle should be set to ~1300-1350 RPM, so if you are around 1000, just adjust it up a tick using the idle adjustment screw on the right side of the bike.

Second, you mention that sometimes the problem corrects itself, i.e. idle drops from 2000 RPM back down to the normal ~1000 RPM at a stop. But does the opposite ever happen? Say you warm up the bike and let it idle for 5 or 10 minutes, will idle ever surge up to ~2000 RPM without you touching anything?

Could just be the throttle cable getting caught somewhere. Try tracing the throttle cable routing to see if anything looks suspect. And check the throttle grip free play to see if it's in spec at 2-3mm.

As for rain, all this is probably obvious, but make sure you are comfortable with the way your tires perform in wet conditions, be more cautious than usual when cornering, and watch out for wet leaves/patches of mud! And yes, lubricate the chain more often when the bike is getting wet.
 

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TIMES 2 on setting your idle MUCH higher...! The manual calls for about 1,300, but I suggest THAT is the minimum - I run BOTH of mine around 1,500 - keeps your battery charging.

Good luck!

(BTW to add to what "jdrocks" posted for you - WD40 is MUCH less expensive when you buy it a gallon at a time like I do.)

DSC01371 by Ed Copeman, on Flickr

:cool:
 

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Ditto on checking your idle is set to 1350-ish.

Second, my 2015 V650 every once in a while will rev up shortly after starting. There doesn't seem to be a way to kick it down. If I turn off the engine and restart it, it is fine. Or if I ride away it seems to cure itself after a very short while. I have never figured out what it is that causes it. For me it is once every 50 starts approximately. Only when cold. So, some oddball thing not worth worrying about unless it is doing it a lot to you.

Your chain needs lots of protection from the wet. I live in a very dry area, and still I find rust on my chain if I ride in the rain and don't take care of it right away. Regular chain lubes will protect it pretty well. Normally I am not a proponent of WD40 as chain lube, but it is a handy way to add some protection if you are frequently riding in the rain. I would use some kind of regular lube, and then after a wet ride hit the rollers with WD 40 to get all the water out of the insides.

Look up how a modern roller chain is constructed. Some parts have permanent lube sealed in, but not the rollers. Riding in the wet means water will get under the rollers. That's what the WD40 does a good job of curing. A waxier regular lube on the rest of the chain can keep the water off (such as the side plates). It is really hard to get a good lube under those rollers.
 

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I don't know about your idle issue, but living near Seattle I will comment that you will need to clean your chain a lot if you ride all winter. Or at least spray it down with 10W-40 frequently, as previously suggested. I can actually hear it when my chain needs cleaning, it changes the sound of the bike. I'd also suggest good fog lights if you don't already have them, and make sure your tires have lots of tread also. I had a couple of scary moments on my 650 last July 3rd, riding on the North Cascade Hwy I got into unexpectedly hard rain, and twice the back end started to slide out on me in corners, despite going 5 mph below the speed limit. In both cases it caused me to stand the bike up and cross the center line, but fortunately there was no immediate traffic heading the other way. I immediately replaced my tires after that. The rear (Shinko 805) still had plenty of tread left, but the siping was gone and I believe that was the culprit.
 

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Hi Hannah,
About the Oxford heated grips, I'm very surprised by what you describe.

I use it since 2015 on my old XT600, and never had this issue with "sticky rubber".
I can only imagine that the grip has been "cleaned" with some aggressive solvent (?), like gasoline or brake cleaner.
It' easy to replace (tip: use an air compressor to push some air between the handle bar and the grip).
But I don't know if Oxford sell spare parts...

About driving in winter,
The worst situation for the bike is salted road... A long time ago, my 500 KLE greatly suffered with this in Paris.
There is a spray called "Scottoiler FS 365" made for this. I won't say it's perfect or better than WD40.

Hope this help
See you later
Emmanuel
 

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Scottoiler makes a constant chain luber. It is a small tank of oil that slowly drips oil onto the chain. I've never had one but have read a number of very good reviews from real world bike owners. For commuting in a wet climate it could be a good answer to keeping the chain coated with oil.
 

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Second question, the bike came with some lovely Oxford heated grips. However, the clutch side lever is a little sticky. It is easy for me to imagine never even noticing the stickiness - as I'm always wearing gloves when my fingers are wrapped around them - but one of my roommates wanted to pose on the bike and she was not in gloves. Wondering if anyone else has run into this issue? Any fixes? At the end of the day it's not a huge deal, not super sticky, but I thought I'd ask.
Its not that easy to replace a heated grip because the the power feed cable is integrated into the rubber. I guess you could splice the cable or rewire it if you wanted to replace the grip. Does Oxford sell just a grip replacement? My Oxford grips were getting wore down rubber nobs so I wrapped them with tennis racquet grip..
181340
 

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The high idle probably has to do with a sticky throttle cable, for which WD-40 would definitely help. Since you mentioned 2000RPM which is the same as the fast idle when cold it could also be because if an incorrect coolant temperature reading. There is a cam which rotates to hold the throttle valve slightly open when cold. You can check its position when normal and when this problem occurs.

For the heated grips I guess the easiest thing to do would be to put some grips on top of the already present ones.Grip puppies are generally highly recommended (never used them myself).

For the rain what's more important than the 8min commute is whether the moto will be parked in the rain.
Ensure that the rubber seal on the filler cap is in good condition especially if its over 5 years old.(Should be cheap and easy to replace). Any time you do open up any connections it's good to give them some di-electric grease to prevent moisture causing corrosion. Especially the switch gear on the handle bar.
A regular squirt of WD into all the key holes, and switch gear will help.

For the chain I personally recommend stickier greasy lubes like good old multi purpose grease or Motul's chain paste. This forms a better layer to prevent moisture from reaching the chain and causing rust.

Hope at least some of this is useful.
 

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Hey Folks,


First question is about this high idle that I've noticed occasionally when I come to a stop (less than a quarter of the time, I'd say).

As noted, use the screw adjuster on RHS of bike...it will get you back to normal idle speed

Third Q for you: This winter I'll be commuting to work

As noted, rear hugger will help a lot. Also worth sprayint the bike with WD40 or ACF-50 Anti-Corrosion Lubricant Compound. Type into Amazon...it comes right up. Really good but not cheap.

Don't use WD40 on the chain. The internet is divided on this but a litte experiment helped me. Soak a rubber band in WD40 and leave for 2 days in an old can. It will come apart in your hands. WD40 does not like rubber.
 

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I bought a used gen ll Versys 650 that came with Oxford heated grips... they wern't just sticky
they were gooey.

I hated the hideous things, so I removed them (and all associated buttons and wiring)
and fitted nice thin aftermarket grips. In the immortal words of Ludwig Meis van de Rohe:
"Less is more".

The upside of the warmth of the grips is far less than the downsides for me... Living in the part of
Australia that I do, the ambient air temperature very rarely goes below freezing.

Having said that, if you are not riding long distances in extremely cold weather,
good warm gloves are a better option than the thick Oxford heated grips and
all associated buttons, boxes, wiring and gooey crap that goes with those horrors imho.
Not to mention the large extra current draw from the alternator and regulator-rectifier which
are operating at close to their limits without the heated grips... stator and reg-rectifier failures are common
on our Versys 650s as it is.

Thinner grips are more ergonomic... which is supported by the GP
and WSB racing crews using smaller diameter grips.

And even though the Phillip Island GP circuit is on the
Southern Ocean (Next continent South is Antarctica) those
guys don't use heated grips for the 27 laps of the 4+ kilometre
circuit... = 120km... (75miles). LOL

As for your unstable idle speed... how many kilometres has your air cleaner done since it was re/new/ed?

If you ride on salted roads, thoroughly wash your bike with plenty of "Wash and Wax" or blue "Truck Wash" as
often as you possibly can. Salt is a corrosive SOB... also oil your chain often with diff oil... cheap, sticky and
helps keep corrosion at bay.

Lastly sweet heart, the format and syntax of your post made for a good read...don't change a thing.(y)

Warm regards,

Alan.

Click on image for a closer look at good grips.
181367
181368
 

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Dear cthwaites,

Re your post, #13 in this thread:

I think you'l find rubber bands are latex and "O" rings are nitrile...
ie resistant to hydrocarbons like WD40 and other oils.

Having said that, WD40 is too thin (lacks viscosity) to be used as a chain lubricant.
And having said that, WD40 cleans the chain and displaces water... both positives
of course.
 

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No problem with my EK X ring chain and WD40. The solvent that could eat rubber evaporates quickly anyways after you spray it on, dissolving the grit and leaving a thin layer of paraffin wax sealer. Actually now I mostly use Teflon spray, same concept. Just spray it after each day ride, self cleaning and lube. Rubber bands are a poor example, sweat would probably make them fall apart .
 

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Having said that, WD40 is too thin (lacks viscosity) to be used as a chain lubricant.
The OEM chain on BIG RED, my '08 'MADE-IN-JAPAN' V650, gave me OVER 52,000 MILES lubed ONLY w/ WD40, so I do NOT agree w/ your statement. The chain was subsequently checked by an engineer (Bill Watson of "THERMOBOB" fame), and was STILL W/IN limits. So I disagree w/ your POST. :cool:
 

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The OEM chain on BIG RED, my '08 'MADE-IN-JAPAN' V650, gave me OVER 52,000 MILES lubed ONLY w/ WD40, so I do NOT agree w/ your statement. The chain was subsequently checked by an engineer (Bill Watson of "THERMOBOB" fame), and was STILL W/IN limits. So I disagree w/ your POST. :cool:
Crikey!

One needs to know how long the OEM chain on BIG RED, your '08 'MADE-IN-JAPAN' V650
would last being cleaned (with diesel fuel) and not being otherwise lubricated, would last.
Possibly if it was cleaned with Diesel and lubed with 90/140 diff oil it would last longer?

I suppose a constant flow of WD40 to the chain would provide
substantial lubrication ... how often and how much WD40 did you apply to the chain...
a couple of spoons full every ride?

How does a liquid with a similar viscosity to water (I guess as it is used as a penetrant)
as it flows almost like water,
stay between the roller and its axis for extended periods?

I do believe what you say, but I have to wonder about
the circumstances Eddie.
 

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Chain lube is like engine oil when it comes to opinions:). The fact that there are so many differing opinions and they all seem to be equally (or nearly so) successful tells me more about modern chain and sprocket design and materials than it does about which maintenance method is best.
I say, stick with what works for you, as long as you do it consistently you'll probably be successful. Personally, I use wax (dupont) every 400 miles, and clean, lube and check the slack every 600 miles. Works for me, though I'm tempted to try WD40 as it might have less messy buildup behind the output shaft cover.
In my (much) younger days, I worked as a maintenance machinist for a large factory. We had literally hundreds of chain drives in service under some fairly severe conditions. Speeds ranged from just a few RPM to something approaching what our bikes are doing. Those chains and sprockets would last an astonishingly long time with minimal to no lubrication. Keep in mind these industrial chains were not sealed and were often in abrasive environments.
I'm not suggesting we can safely ignore chain maintenance and I am fairly anal about it myself, but I also don't worry about it much, as I'm confident routine maintenance of almost any sort will be fine.
 
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I have found that riding in inclement weather and off road will ruin a V650 chain and sprockets in about 20k km. Typically stiff links and stretching. This despite continuous lubrication with 75w90 synthetic gear oil, using an onboard oiler, and regular cleaning with WD40. The life of the chain is only effected by its quality, as the higher the quality ($$$) the longer it lasts, measured in a couple thousand km increments. Yes, the chain alignment is perfect and the slack is set slightly more than spec.

In my experienced opinion, a 520 chain and its seals are too weak for longevity on a V650 in less than perfect conditions, regardless of the lube used. I’m currently running a DID 520 ZVM-X Nickel plated chain on new JT sprockets in the hopes they will last longer. A chain rated for a 1200cc bike. I have also fabricated a splash shield to keep most of the road spray and dirt coming off the tire from the chain. Time will tell, but I expect to be disappointed and will consider converting to a 530 chain and sprockets in the future.
 
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