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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have been reading this blog for the last couple days (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=594395) , as well as the thread on this forum about going down to Azul argentina.

These guys are doing the trans canadian trial, and are on GS800's (maybe even larger 1200s) and a KTM. From where I am in the blog the trail is slick mud at times but mostly very bumpy gravel roads, and seldom slabs of pavement. No one is jumping anything or trying to hurdle boulders here, so that is why I am even considering using the versys for this adventure. (please take a look at the link above and check out the roads/trails before just blindly saying that that the versys is NOT an enduro bike)

Here are my questions:
  • What is the ground clearance for the KTM or the GS800/1200?
  • What are some undeniable reasons that my Versys (properly equipped) could NOT do this trip?
  • What do the GS800/1200 and/or KTM weigh?
My thoughts right now are that, if these guys can do it with heavier bikes that have near to the same ground clearance and same size gas tank. Then with a couple years a diligent farkling I could make this happen.

I mean, they still got stuck in several places and I am sure that would happen with any bike, but if they can make it through that stuff with theirs, I dont see why mine wouldnt make it as well.
:feedback:
 

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It's hard to tell what the final route would be, but my thoughts are:

1. the Versys suspension is stiff enough, I think I'd be overwhelmed after a few days riding some of the terrain I saw.

2. the low muffler placement on the Versys would make water crossings and clearance a big issue at times.

That said, I'll look forward to reading your ride report should you choose to undertake this route. :D
 

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If I would have seen a v-strom in those pictures I would say go for it. However those are some pretty advanced trails for big bikes and all the bikes I saw had knobbies on wire wheels (stronger).
So you would have to go with a wire wheels and a 19" front setup. Woody's does that for about $2k. Then you would need to do something to make the suspension better off road. That could take a few hundred dollars on used parts or up to about $3k or so for quality used stuff. Then you would need all the right protection for the bike (skid plate, crash bars, hand gaurds, etc.) and luggage, which would be another $1k-$2k.
So if you did all this then you would wind up with something like this and then I would say you could do that trip.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
yea... i am just trying to piece together a to-do list for myself to be able to do something like that. I know the whole arguement of, "why didnt you just get a veestrom or a gs 650?" but I also have seen plenty of people with much less capable bikes do much more.

I think when you read the whole thread you realize that 80% of what they are doing is not that bad and that they only took pictures of the worst terrain, which they all got stuck in anyways. The video is a good representation of the typical terrain.

So my to-do list is as follows:
  • change oil to thicker weight to slow down the fork
  • fabricate an underbelly skid plate (i am a proficient welder/fabricator)
  • raise front fender
  • install or fabricate crash guards for engine
  • put on dual sport tires
  • side hard cases and rear case
  • have brake pad extras as well as a number of other spare parts I would need
  • bark busters hand guards
  • givi windscreen
  • headlight guard & aux running lights
  • 12v aux cig lighter
I am sure I can think of other things but I think it is totally manageable with the right sense of knowing when to get off and when to charge at it.
 

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yea... i am just trying to piece together a to-do list for myself to be able to do something like that. I know the whole arguement of, "why didnt you just get a veestrom or a gs 650?" but I also have seen plenty of people with much less capable bikes do much more.

How about 'why don't you pick a slightly easier route?' argument?
I would say that even f800gs and 990Adv are wrong bikes for those roads. Too heavy, too big, too expensive and complicated (to fix).

Short answer to your question is: Versys is wrong bike for this.
Can it be done?
Of course. :)


If you haven't already, take a peak at how Jdrocks prepares his motorcycles for hard and long travel on un-paved roads all within tight budget. He's on his third one.
http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5480

Or ti can be done like this:
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showpost.php?p=15808568&postcount=3310



If you like ride reports I'd recommend a few from this guy:

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=533442
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=463661
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=602168

I promisse you you'll learn a lot about preparing and executing sort of trips you are interested in.
I certainly did.


Cheers.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ivan you are definitely right about the easier route, i guess what I meant to get across was that for the most part the stuff that they were traversing looks fine for the versys.

Also like you said, I am taking long trips in steps... my plans are:

  1. philly-harrisburg-allentown-philly (5-6 hrs) check
  2. philly - DC - philly (5 hours) check
  3. philly - niagara falls (9 hrs & another 9 back) within the month
  4. philly to roanoke, va -ashville NC- columbus georgia (17 hrs each way(total 34 hrs)) this summer
  5. trip around the great lakes (2 weeks) next year
  6. trip on the trans canadian trail (1 month) 2 years
  7. trip down to argentina (God only knows lol) who knows:usa:
yea so, within the next couple years...hopefully I will have some good ride reports :goodluck:
 

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What I would do with your list items:

So my to-do list is as follows:
  • change oil to thicker weight to slow down the fork - I would replace them
  • fabricate an underbelly skid plate (i am a proficient welder/fabricator) The SWMOTECH one would work
  • raise front fender Definitely, would need it for the 19" laced wheel anyway.
  • install or fabricate crash guards for engine - SWM again
  • put on dual sport tires - yes, and the Excel wheel conversion
  • side hard cases and rear case - lots of choices there
  • have brake pad extras as well as a number of other spare parts I would need - probly would not need brake pads, but yes, a clutch cable, tools, wire-ties, in-field fix-it stuff.

    For this trip I would be looking at the conversion indyunlimited(sp) did. You're about five grand for suspension and wheels. Otherwise I would not attempt it. The bike is not setup for that terrain.

    The rest is just standard riding fare.
  • bark busters hand guards
  • givi windscreen
  • headlight guard & aux running lights
  • 12v aux cig lighter
>snip
You might browse the thread over there called "25,000 Miles with Luke and Nick". Good anecdote for proper bikes. They shipped their KTM690E and F800GS to Cape Horn and are taking 5 months to travel to Norway. Good read anyway.

Based on that thread I would choose the bimmer over the katoom. Sure wouldn't be a versys, that's for sure.
 

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A couple of things come to mind......Suspension - as others have mentioned, you would be much better served with a suspension set up like jdrocks for two reasons. One, the added clearance, and two, the additional suspension travel! You would want to spring that suspension for the total weight of rider and added bags, equipment, clothing, etc.

The other main concern is the underbelly. Those bikes have a frame that goes under the motor.......the V does not. Engine protection/structure and the underbelly exhaust are concerns.

Lastly, it would be difficult on 17" tires and wheels. The wire wheel upgrade seems like a necessity.

All of that being said, if you stick to your plan and are working your way up to that kind of road, you will learn long before you head south if you have the bike set up to "git 'er done" or not.......

It would be an epic life adventure, good on you for having the desire! :clap:
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
i dont mean to continue to push this subject, but a couple of pages later i see this on the thread.

http://64.136.20.22/2871898_l.jpg
http://64.136.20.22/2871893_l.jpg
http://64.136.20.22/2871886_l.jpg
http://64.136.20.22/2871906_l.jpg
http://i271.photobucket.com/albums/jj125/allriding/IMGP0004Large-1.jpg
http://64.136.20.22/2871964_l.jpg

no super expensive suspension mods, from what i can tell...no major mods at all other than dual sport tires.

My point is to say that i think this specific trail that I am talking about is much more do-able on the versys than some people on here might think. The original pioneers say over and over that they only took pictures of the hard stuff, and were too busy having fun on 70% of the trip on dirt/gravel roads.

I am proficient with a welder and I think that if i wanted to do this, including the river crossings. I would just make a bashguard/bellypan skid plate and I would reroute the exhaust (slipon style) up the side near the back.

I think with careful research and a good idea of when to get off instead of blasting it, I could totally do this.
 

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I've been on several dual sport rides with my DRZ in the Ozarks with large groups (20+ riders) and inevitably someone shows up with a big BMW or KTM with no knobbies. This causes the whole group to go much slower for the whole trip and we always have to stop at all the technical sections to help the big bikes through. I would not go down those trails in advrider link without knobbies. Could you do it without carnage? Maybe if you get lucky, but probably not.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
yea knobbies or very aggressive dual sport tire are a definite.

I am thinking about trying a 130/80-17 in the front, this would fit when i raise the front fender and it would help out with that whole small front wheel problem. Maybe a 150/70-17 for the rear as well. The extra rubber could help with absorbing more shock and would also give me a little over 1 inch more clearance.

these are all just ideas at this point and I am trying to hone them into realities...so i appreciate all this feedback guys!

thanks
 

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i dont mean to continue to push this subject, but a couple of pages later i see this on the thread.

http://64.136.20.22/2871898_l.jpg
http://64.136.20.22/2871893_l.jpg
http://64.136.20.22/2871886_l.jpg
http://64.136.20.22/2871906_l.jpg
http://i271.photobucket.com/albums/jj125/allriding/IMGP0004Large-1.jpg
http://64.136.20.22/2871964_l.jpg

no super expensive suspension mods, from what i can tell...no major mods at all other than dual sport tires.

My point is to say that i think this specific trail that I am talking about is much more do-able on the versys than some people on here might think. The original pioneers say over and over that they only took pictures of the hard stuff, and were too busy having fun on 70% of the trip on dirt/gravel roads.

I am proficient with a welder and I think that if i wanted to do this, including the river crossings. I would just make a bashguard/bellypan skid plate and I would reroute the exhaust (slipon style) up the side near the back.

I think with careful research and a good idea of when to get off instead of blasting it, I could totally do this.
Well if those photos are representative of the kind of riding this trail ride will consist of, then you should have no problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
yea... i am gonna go for it.

What i have gathered is that with the right preparation and planning, this whole trail is "do-able" on my versys. The armoring of the underbelly, and the larger knobby tires should help.... but i think that diligent planning will be my best tools on this trip.

Now all you guys have to do is sell me all your cool stuff and I will be ready! lol :eek:penarms:
 

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Have you guys seen the movie "One Crazy Ride". Watch that and you won't think you need a special dual sport bike to go off-road. What you have to be prepared for is the difficulties of riding a street bike off-road. Slap some knobbies on it maybe a skid plate and go for it....yes you might get stuck more but I bet the bike would make it if the rider can. Your own stamina and perseverance is what will determine the outcome.

All that said I wouldn't do it on my Versys...I like my bike to much to beat it up that bad.
 

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Seem's to me the right answer is the KLR for this kind of ride. Dirt cheap, know weak points with good aftermarket fixes for those weak points, and a fair dealer network. Its just not a flashy bike ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I have the Versys as my efficient daily commuter (bout 60 miles/day) and weekend warrior sport touring machine. I am just dreaming out loud and seeing what is possible.

The versys is great for my every day needs in that it is very manuverable, great on gas, starts right up, has a windshield, and can have luggage.

I dont have the resources to get a niche specific bike for everything I want to do, so i got a versys that can do a little bit of everything. I am not trying to win any awards, just tryin to have some adventure on some dirt/gravel trails.
 
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