Tag Archive 2009 KLE650 Versys

The Versys Gets a Kickstand Plate

I’ve been riding for a while now, and had been pretty content to use whatever came to hand to place under the kickstand to prevent my motorcycle from sinking into the dirt. I’ve used plastic water bottles, soda cans, rocks, electrical cover plates and plastic kickstand pucks. But when you arrive on the spot and even have a kickstand puck in your tank bag, there is still quite a balancing act to drop it and get the kickstand over top of it. Now add in the weight of a bike fully loaded for touring, and a ten or twelve hour day of riding, and I can tell you that sometimes I nearly fell or dropped the bike while getting that support under the stand. And what about those quick roadside stops where all you want to do is get off for a minute or two?

The KLR will get you there

The KLR will get you there.

At Rocky Point Newfoundland, while on my heavily loaded KLR, I got off the bike to take a few shots…

Only to find it taking a dirt nap.
Dirt nap

Problem solved the cheap way… A kickstand plate from eBay.ca

A search with keywords such as “kawasaki versys 650 kickstand plate” brought a whole list of decent kickstand plates,  that were certainly a whole lot cheaper than those that I’d seen on other online websites, especially when you view the selection available with free shipping.

I went with gun metal grey to match the worn kickstand of the Versys.

I knew that it wouldn’ be SW-Motech or Touratech but I’m on a budget and was able to find a few styles coming in at under $12 with free shipping!

Touratech wants $59 before shipping for this model:

Touratech Kickstand Adapter

Touratech Kickstand Adapter

I placed an order for the eBay special and sat down to wait out the month or more it took to arrive from China.

It was made from a piece of aluminium with stainless steel fasteners and looked like it had just come off the CNC machine. supplied with a hex key all I had to do was use some thread lock (I’m an Ex-KLR rider remember) and it was on the bike in under ten minutes.

Pros: Price and performance is brilliant.

Cons: 5% of the time when parking on very loose soil I still needed a kickstand puck, but that was due in part to a heavily loaded touring bike on boggy earth. The Touratech model is larger and probably would have worked in all fairness, but I saved about five tanks of gas plus! 🙂

that 5%...

Parked on that 5% patch where I still needed that kickstand plate.


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The Versys Turns 50

I didn’t stop and give it a slice of cake or even sing “Happy Birthday” to it…

It turns 50!


And if that weren’t enough

My fork seals are leaking…

So you might have read the post where I describe how my fork leg is now marking it’s territory as if it were a dog checking it’s pee-mail around the neighborhood. If you did, then let’s get on with this post shall we?

Seal Mate
The trick of shoving a bit of plastic up the works and reaming out the grit might have actually worked!  I went online and bought a couple of the “Seal Mate” products, and waited patiently for them to arrive in the mail posted up from the US… …then I got a call from my Honda dealer in Summerside that a petcock I ordered in for my 2001 Honda XR400 was in, and while I was at the parts counter, I spied a rack of the Seal Mates, for $10 each. Almost twice what they cost online before shipping, so I bought one. I’d love to tell you that I brought it home and proceeded straight to work on the bike, but it would be truthful to say instead, that I made a kick-ass Chicken Curry for dinner that night for my PEI family. (recipe available upon request)
Let me describe how I went about this wonderful task:
  1. I thought my triple tree lift was in storage… Nope, it was stuffed in the back of a shed. 
  2. It turns out that the lift was designed for sportbikes, and not wanna-be adventure bikes, or as my friend Zac likes to call bikes like the Versys, Sport Utility Bikes. (You know, sort of like the SUV’s that only ever go offroad onto the grass of the soccer pitch?) So I had to locate a couple pieces of 2×6 spruce to put under the lift for some added, er…. …lift.
  3. Remove the front axle (it had been so long since I had this axle off, that I forgot what size hex fit the front, was it 17mm or the 19mm? Either way I knew I was covered with my Motion Pro axle removing tool —which didn’t fit. ) with a 14mm 1/2 drive hex key… 
  4. Remove the front tire (and find that the lovely Michelin Pilot Road 4 or PR4 front tire was scalloping but had plenty of meat on it after just over 10,000km) 
  5. Remove both right and left brake calipers
  6. Remove fender
  7. Wedge said fender with brake calipers dangling off of it out of your way so you can now sort the fully exposed oil soused fork leg. 
  8. Clean it up. I’m going to suggest first off using a rag and some elbow grease, and perhaps some brake cleaner as well if your leg looks like mine… 
  9. Pry down the dust seal very gingerly so as not to scratch the surface and really bugger things up…
  10. Clean that up as well..
  11. RTFM
  12. Produce the Seal Mate and follow the instructions they provide, and perhaps even watch their How-to video once or twice for virtual practice. 
  13. Right, now I need to put it all back together again to compress the front end so the seals reset themselves. 10 good compressions of the front end. 
  14. If I got this right, I should see smears of fresh fork oil coating the leg, then those smears getting pushed lower and lower by a newly seated fork seal.
  15. Hallelujah! 
  16. Open the envelope your brother-in-law hands you, to find out that the two Seal Mates you ordered online are now in your possession, making you the proud owner of one seal mate, and two superfluous backups. 
  17. Realize that instead of being superfluous, the two surplus Seal Mates would make great stocking stuffers for the dirt bikers in my family… win:win:win  
And Hey Presto!!! It seems to have worked in bench testing mode! I walked away from it after compressing the front end about 15 times, and it was dry as a bone when I got back. We all know that bench testing is no substitute for the real thing…
Today I took the bike out for a fling for green peppers as tonight Chilli Con Carne was on the menu (recipe available upon request), and I took a road full of potholes and frost heaves there and back, around 20 km of fun riding… And again, the fork leg was as dry as a bone when I got back and packed it away into the garage. 
Tomorrow I’ve got to return some library books and collect some fork oil to top off what got pissed away, and I think the bike is overdue for a nice clean up. 
Anyhow, I’m packing for my first tour of the season, and I am so happy that I don’t have to spend my trip budget on new fork seals and having someone else replace them for me, although fork seals are messy, messy adventures. *sigh*
I’d love to say that I’ll order in a set of seals and the inverted fork spring compressing tool, but when I was doing all that work on the front brakes, I can see that this tour will end with a front brake pad re & re. 
It turns out that if you ride them, you have to repair them. Go figure. 
That fork oil collects even more dirt and grit, and paper towel just won’t clean off the lowers.
These things work as advertised!!!
Everytime I wheelie, I think of all the grit that might end up jammed under the seal (It doesn’t stop me though)
Yes, it is pulling out the dirt
And more dirt
Seal Mate sells them through Motion Pro
I can’t remember what this was supposed to show, but the lighting is bad so I took a duplicate. Just be a good reader and ignore this one, please? There’s a good lad/lass.
Seal Mate works, and I wanted to pass that information along should you want to try it out for  yourself. 

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The Versys Gen 1 mirrors…

I’ve a 2009 Kawasaki KLE650 Versys, known as a Gen 1 as it was the birth of the new model back in 2007, and they had a few bugs that needed to be ironed out, which included “loose mirrors”. Which will become “useless” mirrors etc.

Note the missing left hand side mirror?

Some of the bugs really irked me. Such as loose mirrors. I suppose if you fell into that rider category of “Only rides from Church to Tim Horton’s when the forest fire danger is ‘high to extreme’.” then you know nothing of my dilemma and wonder why I need to replace my mirrors on the bike. I fall into the “He probably shouldn’t be doing that. He might fall down or damage the bike. Oh my! He did fall down and damage the bike!” category of rider.

After many gravel roads and potholes, wheelies etc, I found that my left hand mirror began to move more easily. I’d hit a really bad pothole, or come down too heavy on the front end, and it would swing around backwards at me. A casual glance at these mirrors leads you to think that they are really strong and robust…

That rubber covers a multitude of sins…
The mirror shaft is about 12mm in diameter, and uses a 10mm threaded bolt to mount to the handle bar brackets, yet the designers of this have cleverly camouflaged their mistakes under a couple of layers. 
First you will need to slide the rubber cover up to expose a curious sight, 
I bet you don’t have a wrench this big in the set you bought on sale…
So why would you use a nut that ships with PRE-ROUNDED corners much larger than the average 17mm or 19mm wrench that ships with an average combination wrench set?! Right, so if you are like me, or my friend WIllie, out comes the trusty old adjustable wrench and you are able to find that in order to tighten the mirror, you need to separate these two. The Silver Cone (Part A) needs to be removed from the Black Base (Part B), then using a thin walled 10mm socket, you need to tighten a nylock nut on the end of the mirror that uses friction to hold the mirror in place. You do this by hand without the aid of a vice, and think you might want to use some of the blue medium strength thread locker on all the parts so you won’t be back into this on Friday after work. Note that I would not be able to do this roadside with the stock kit as it lacks the tools necessary. 
2014 saw me tighten the mirror too much with the nylock nut, and I managed to snap off the end of the mirror, but by the grace of God there was enough thread left behind that I was able to reuse the nut with some washers, and get through the rest of the season.
Fast forward to 2015, and now the left hand mirror is wobbling when I’m on rough pavement, so I’m constantly correcting it before lane changes. I’m now much safer as any to the left has to be cleared with the mirror and a should check first, as the mirror is often no longer showing a view to the side and rear of the bike. A last ditch attempt to fill Part A (The Silver Cone of Concealment) with JB Weld epoxy, tighten the bugger and let that goop set for 24 hours, saw me once again snap the end of the mirror off, but this time it was done, and I rode the last couple of weeks of the season without a left hand mirror.
It’s dead, Jim!
I happily forgot all about it until a few weeks ago when I took the bike out, after which this starving student ordered in the cheapest replacement pair I could find that would pass a vehicle inspection coming up in July when I renew the registration. China had the answer, and I got my package…
Julie Andrews and the Sound of Music – Brown paper packages tied up with string… These are a few of my favourite things…

Are you old enough to even remember that song? 😀

 I was a bit nervous that the mirrors would mount properly as while I researched, I heard mention of left and right handed threads etc., but I’m happy to report on my Generation 1 Versys, the thread is 10mm on both sides, and the normal right handed thread we all know and love. Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey.

They aren’t made of cheese, but they are pretty cheesy. 

 These mirrors are made of cast white metal, and frankly I don’t think they will last more than a couple of years, but for $37 Cdn shipped, I can live with that. I want something functional that will pass an MVI later this year.

I still can’t believe how robust the upper is compared to the final 8mm connection.
Who came up with this and couldn’t see a problem developing later on?
Not perfect, but they work.
Job done, time to blog, err, Ride!

And that is that, although I do have a couple of suggestions for the designers…

  • If you have a 12mm shaft, try to stick to within a couple mm of the connecting bolt. Just saying.
  • Nylock nuts on a mirror? Come on. If you can’t even touch that the nut with the bike onboard tools, then it needs to be rethought. 
  • Next time I’d rather you focus on vibration damping if you are going to invent something fancy and useless
  • Run any designs past your old man first and get his go-ahead before sneaking them onto  the completed project. If you cannot find an old man, one will be provided for you. 

I’ll come back and update this if they survive… 😀

Update: 2016-04-22 The mirrors are pointing at the ground and have horrible vertical adjustment. I’m going to have to rotate the mount on the bars in order to get a better view of the road behind. That may effect the attitude of the brake and clutch levers. Perhaps I’ll simply loosen the handle bar and rotate that until fixed? 

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