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Discussion Starter #1
The purpose of this post is to add to the shared knowledge of how the Versys performs at track days. I was really flogging it at the track, and ended up low-siding at about 65 mph. I came a way with very minor injuries. The Versys is a little beat up, but well on its way to being repaired and back at the track!

WHO SAYS YOU CAN'T PUT A KNEE DOWN ON A VERSYS? :goodidea:



UNFORTUNATELY I ENDED UP PUTTING MORE THAN A KNEE DOWN! (my poor handlebar) :censored:



Last weekend I took my Versys to Gateway Motorsports Park for my second weekend of track day bliss. The Versys is an absolute blast to flog around the track. This weekend I focused on getting my butt off the seat and getting a knee down so that I could carry more speed through the turns. Eventually I was able to consistently get a knee down which was pretty cool! (I'm tall at 6'3" so that helps!) I took off the peg feelers (they were halfway gone anyways) in able to get more peg clearance. Once the peg feelers were gone I found that on my best turns I was able to get a knee down without scrapping the peg/boot. Scrapping the peg felt disruptive to the flow of the turn, while touching down a knee was much smoother contact to the ground.

WELLLLL I found the limits of the Bridgestone Sport-touring 023s I was riding on. On the second to last session of the weekend I was feeling very confident and carrying a lot of speed through turns 1 and 2. Coming out of turn 2 I had her waaaay leaned over. While giving her some healthy throttle on the exit of the turn the back tire slipped out with no warning and down I was.

A couple of observations:
- Sport touring tires are probably okay for the novice class pace, but I was silly to push them as hard as I did in the intermediate group. Next track day I am going to have some Bridgestone Hypersports on the bike.
- Prior to the crash I had the Versys suspension tuned by an expert at the track. There wasn't a lot he could do. As far as sag goes we maxed out the preload on the front and rear and that was about right for my weight (195ish with gear). HOWEVER he noted that I really need a stiffer rear spring so that I can be in the mid range on the preload, instead of having it maxed out.
- We also maxed out the rebound dampening, however it was noted that it still wasn't enough for optimal performance. I am going to look into the R1 shock upgrade and potentially have work done on the front suspension as well.
- T-REX FRAME SLIDERS DID A GREAT JOB!! (SEE PIC BELOW) The only serious damage to the left side of my bike was a result of the bike flipping over when it slid into the rumble strip. On the actual low-side itself the left frame slider took all the damage.

So for a closing comment I would just recommend you upgrade your sport touring tire to track day specific tire if you are really going to be flogging your Versys at the track. I am by no means an expert on this subject, so if any of my conclusions/observations seem wrong please speak up.

T-REX FRAME SLIDERS -- JOB WELL DONE! :loveeyes:

 

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Good on ya TGoods! Fix her up and get back out there.
 

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Looking nice. Good progress since last pics. Its evident you are making an effort to shift your body.

Though it is entirely possible to exceed the BT023's at the track, and I'm not trying to talk you out of getting more sport oriented rubber as its natural progression, I have to offer another perspective.

You mentioned the "expert" at the track set up your suspension. That's great. I encourage anybody to seek the help of the more experienced. However, I have to wonder about his set up of your Versys. We are within about an inch of each other in height and 10lbs in weight, I'm 6'2" 185lbs geared. I question his set up of maxing out preload front and rear. I would be surprised if you are utilizing even 2/3 of your potential travel that way.

For me, with no preload on the shock, its already overwhelming what little rebound damping the clicker offers. With preload maxed out on the forks, I could also believe you needed more rebound damping. With no preload on the forks, I have adequate rebound damping with some to spare. Again, I'm not running any preload just to get proper sag for my weight.

I'm guessing with max preload, he was trying to set you up with a conventional sportbike sag of 35 front/30 rear, or even 30 front/25 rear. This would not be ideal for the Versys in my opinion. Before your next track visit, try setting up your sag at 45 front/40 rear, shock max rebound, forks about 3/4 full rebound.

You may have been too aggressive or hamfisted on your corner exit and spun out the rear while too leaned over. Its the sign of a good rider who takes responsibility for their mishaps. However, with maxed out springs, you may not have had as much weight transfer as you could have had. With the spring maxed with preload (or just having too heavy a spring to begin with), weight won't properly transfer to the rear to allow for traction.

Food for thought. Compare opinions and experitment. Keep it up.:thumb: (that wasn't meant to be a poke at you.)
 

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Thank's for the report on your track day Tgoods. My opinion is you pushing the V as hard as anyone on this forum espeically since you have removed the peg feelers and are going to max lean angle. There are some good points discussed in your suspension set up and because you are pushing to the max it needs to be set up spot on for you. I run the same tyres 023's on v and ninja 1000 but if i was going to push as hard as you do i would go to a full on sticky track tyre. The problem of the low slide may not be suspension or tyres but you hit the gas to hard and fast on a acute angle.

Love your track photos, you would have a lot of fun on our tight twisty roads.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Looking nice. Good progress since last pics. Its evident you are making an effort to shift your body.

Though it is entirely possible to exceed the BT023's at the track, and I'm not trying to talk you out of getting more sport oriented rubber as its natural progression, I have to offer another perspective.

You mentioned the "expert" at the track set up your suspension. That's great. I encourage anybody to seek the help of the more experienced. However, I have to wonder about his set up of your Versys. We are within about an inch of each other in height and 10lbs in weight, I'm 6'2" 185lbs geared. I question his set up of maxing out preload front and rear. I would be surprised if you are utilizing even 2/3 of your potential travel that way.

For me, with no preload on the shock, its already overwhelming what little rebound damping the clicker offers. With preload maxed out on the forks, I could also believe you needed more rebound damping. With no preload on the forks, I have adequate rebound damping with some to spare. Again, I'm not running any preload just to get proper sag for my weight.

I'm guessing with max preload, he was trying to set you up with a conventional sportbike sag of 35 front/30 rear, or even 30 front/25 rear. This would not be ideal for the Versys in my opinion. Before your next track visit, try setting up your sag at 45 front/40 rear, shock max rebound, forks about 3/4 full rebound.

You may have been too aggressive or hamfisted on your corner exit and spun out the rear while too leaned over. Its the sign of a good rider who takes responsibility for their mishaps. However, with maxed out springs, you may not have had as much weight transfer as you could have had. With the spring maxed with preload (or just having too heavy a spring to begin with), weight won't properly transfer to the rear to allow for traction.

Food for thought. Compare opinions and experitment. Keep it up.:thumb: (that wasn't meant to be a poke at you.)
Interesting perspective... So you saying because the Versys has "long travel" suspension it may not need the conventional sag requirements of a sport bike? Yes, the tuner did set my bike to the conventional sport bike sag of 35 front/30 rear I believe.

I guess the best thing to do is try some different suspension settings and see how it feels. Next time I'm at the track (looking like Aug 4th) I will try your recommendation. Also keep in mind that I am going to be on different set of tires (more grip). Let me see if I understand my physics correctly. If I run a stickier tire then I will be able to carry more speed through the turns, which would put more weight on the suspension?
 

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Versys Motard Style...

Wow, if you low slided at 65 MPH ...your Alpinestars Leathers must have been scraped up pretty good...Did you slide very far ? What model helmet, gloves,and boots? Good leather saved your skin...Man, I lowsided at 10 MPH on my KTM supermoto and slid just 10 feet...my leathers were flat spotted on the elbows and shoulders...When I push the Versys , I like to ride it like a motard...feet out, heavy countersteering inputs,and soft rear spring settings,and stiff front settings...and if you want sticky tires try Pirelli Corsa Rosso's or Michelin Pilot Powers...Our odd looking Versys is really amazing and fun to push around at speeds that can only be found at the limit ...on a track only ...of course..ha ha :teetertooter:
 

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Bummer about the bike and glad you're alright.
I agree with RR's comments on the set-up; more sag works better, the springs don't overwhelm the damping as much.
On the S-20's, I've had a set on since early May, but will be changing out this week at about 3200 (twisty) miles. I'm just about down to the wear bar on the rear, but the tires still feel superb in the corners. That's pretty rare, usually tires will start feeling wonky to me before they are on the bar.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Wow, if you low slided at 65 MPH ...your Alpinestars Leathers must have been scraped up pretty good...Did you slide very far ? What model helmet, gloves,and boots? Good leather saved your skin...Man, I lowsided at 10 MPH on my KTM supermoto and slid just 10 feet...my leathers were flat spotted on the elbows and shoulders...When I push the Versys , I like to ride it like a motard...feet out, heavy countersteering inputs,and soft rear spring settings,and stiff front settings...and if you want sticky tires try Pirelli Corsa Rosso's or Michelin Pilot Powers...Our odd looking Versys is really amazing and fun to push around at speeds that can only be found at the limit ...on a track only ...of course..ha ha :teetertooter:
Interesting! Did not even know a Versys could be ridden like that on pavement. What kind of track do you ride like that?

Roughly speaking I slide about 20-30ft. on pavement before hitting the grass.

Gear:
Alpinestars GP Plus Perforated Leather Jacket and Pants: They did their job nicely. There are rashes on the leather on the left side of the pants and jacket and a few small tears, but nothing bad enough that needs to be repaired or replaced to the best of my knowledge. I might have an expert look at them though just to make sure.
Boots: Aplinestars SMX5 - Left boot all scraped up but still completely useable.
Gloves: Held Phantoms - the stingray skin in the left palm was a little scuffed. VERY VERY NICE GLOVES
Helmet: Seven Zero Seven Vendetta 2 - Took a nice whack to the back of head. Had a headache for a few days - hopefully no permanent damage :nono: The helmet has now be retired and I am going to get the new AGV K4 EVO that got a great review from Web Bike World.
Leatt Neck Brace - A little scraped but still works fine
Body Armor - Forcefield Extreme Harness Adventure and Pro Action Shorts. Forcefield is available from Revzilla and in my opinion is VERY high quality and worth the high price. It's tough to say but I believe the Forcefield gear prevented more bruising in this crash.
Knee gears - Knox (long versions)

I AM A GEAR FREAK
 

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Sag is ride height and independent of whatever tire you have on. Sag is your springs. Sag affects how much suspension travel you have available for use.

Damping controls the spring compression and rebound speed, which in turn affects your tire's ability to maintain a connection with the road.

Except in extreme situations, which your Versys is really not designed to deal with (its not a race bike by design), your spring rate and sag will be the same regardless of what tire compound or design you run.

Suspension is valved to work best in its mid stroke. Sag is that setup that has your springs compressed in a position to allow access to that mid stroke.

Think about your Versys fork travel; 150mm. Setting up sag at 35mm is only 1/4 of that travel. That puts you a loooooong way out from the mid stroke doesn't it. Same for your shock.

Tires are your first form of suspension. They absorb the bumps first, before the surface irregularity ever reaches your forks. If you aren't allowing your forks and shock access to their damping sweet spot, the tires have to do even more work. This doesn't allow the tire to mush and conform to the surface texture properly, which is how it gets its traction (Consider why you crashed). (Neither does proper pressure.)

We set sag using the preload adjusters. Lets say your shock has a ramp style preload adjuster with 9 ramps. If you are using 7 ramps to get sag, get a heavier rate spring. If you are using 1 or 0 ramps and are not in sag range, get a lighter rate spring. Same concept for your forks.

With your sag set you ride. Ride quality from there is adjusted with damping either with external clickers or internal valving, or both. Handling is further fine tuned with geometry like fork height, shock length, tire profiles.

Personally, I think you were set up out of the Versys operating range.

This should be stuff to get you thinking. Read and listen and ask questions. PM me if you wish.:thumb:
 

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Kart Track...Tight and Twisty...

Interesting! Did not even know a Versys could be ridden like that on pavement. What kind of track do you ride like that?

Roughly speaking I slide about 20-30ft. on pavement before hitting the grass.

Gear:
Alpinestars GP Plus Perforated Leather Jacket and Pants: They did their job nicely. There are rashes on the leather on the left side of the pants and jacket and a few small tears, but nothing bad enough that needs to be repaired or replaced to the best of my knowledge. I might have an expert look at them though just to make sure.
Boots: Aplinestars SMX5 - Left boot all scraped up but still completely useable.
Gloves: Held Phantoms - the stingray skin in the left palm was a little scuffed. VERY VERY NICE GLOVES
Helmet: Seven Zero Seven Vendetta 2 - Took a nice whack to the back of head. Had a headache for a few days - hopefully no permanent damage :nono: The helmet has now be retired and I am going to get the new AGV K4 EVO that got a great review from Web Bike World.
Leatt Neck Brace - A little scraped but still works fine
Body Armor - Forcefield Extreme Harness Adventure and Pro Action Shorts. Forcefield is available from Revzilla and in my opinion is VERY high quality and worth the high price. It's tough to say but I believe the Forcefield gear prevented more bruising in this crash.
Knee gears - Knox (long versions)

I AM A GEAR FREAK
Yeah , small go kart tracks with much lower speeds...a little less intimidating..for fun track days that you just practice heavy braking and trail braking to the apex ...then blast up to around 60 mph on the short straights...:yeahsmile: Thank you sir for listing your impressive and safety gear...I am going to look for a Leatt Neck Brace next week and some Forcefield stuff....:thumb: the Seven Zero Seven Helmet is NOT a Race Helmet...you stand a chance of bad things happening if the helmet is Polycarbonate...plastic can fail at big impacts...some use a blend of materials to make the shell stronger ...Shoei ? Thanks Tgoods for sharing ...Revzilla rocks...
 

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Yeah , small go kart tracks with much lower speeds...a little less intimidating..for fun track days that you just practice heavy braking and trail braking to the apex ...then blast up to around 60 mph on the short straights...:yeahsmile: Thank you sir for listing your impressive and safety gear...I am going to look for a Leatt Neck Brace next week and some Forcefield stuff....:thumb: the Seven Zero Seven Helmet is NOT a Race Helmet...you stand a chance of bad things happening if the helmet is Polycarbonate...plastic can fail at big impacts...some use a blend of materials to make the shell stronger ...Shoei ? Thanks Tgoods for sharing ...Revzilla rocks...

http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14432
 

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When you say maxed rebound dampening, is that a full hard or a full soft?
 

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Rebound is not hard or soft.

Damping is suspension speed. Damping is regulating how fast the spring is allowed absorb or release its energy.

The sooner you begin relating compression and rebound to velocity, the sooner you will find suspension clarity. It doesn't help that components and manuals come labelled hard and soft.

When he says his rebound was maxed out on his fork, he means the needle was screwed all the way in and fork extension was regulated to as slow as possible. (That would be low speed rebound regulated to as slow as possible with the valving he currently has installed. High speed rebound is changed with internal valving.)

Increases in preload or spring rates often come with a need to increase rebound resistance. (This is not always true, as I've increased preload to help overcome some slow valving. Other geometry adjustments are then made to compensate, typically fork height.)
 
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