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Old 05-10-2008, 03:06 PM   #1
CC_Ryder
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Default Kawasaki Versys competition for BMW F800GS

(Sorry for the long post to follow , but hope it will set up a serious forum)

New member - I've been lurking for some time and have a challenge for the forum.



I currently have a 2005 KLR650 that I've been commuting and adventure touring for 1-1/2 years. I've put about 12K miles on it.

I love the bike. It has all the standard performance farkles for older model KLRs, but I still want at least another 15 -20 hp for touring. I like the suspension and handling improvements to the 2008 KLR650, but still no HP gains of consequence. The Versys has the HP, but looses the off-road component I desire due to the 17" front wheel.

Then I saw the BMW F800GS. Looks like everything in one package. HP for touring and 21" front wheel for adventure off-road use. Problem - Not available till September '08 . It's a New Model with all their inherent problems and an $11,000 BMW price tag!

Kawasaki Competition for the BMW F800GS

With the rock solid dependability and economical Kawasaki Versys and KLR650, I wondered how to combine them into an adventure touring setup that still still has some real off road ability.

Now to the point.

There are 2 possible solutions.

Kawasaki could put the Versys Powertrain in the new '08 KLR frame. Sadly,this is not likely for several years since it took 20+ years to get all the upgrades to the new KLR and it would be too expensive for the home tinkerer.

or

Put the '08 KLR650's triple trees, forks, wheel, fender and brakes on the Versys Frame.

My question to the forum is what would it take, will it fit, and how will it effect the geometry of the bike?

I have seen Photoshop mock-ups of a 19" front wheel on the Versys on the web, but can this conversion be done with off the shelf components?

Thanks for you comments

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Old 05-10-2008, 08:06 PM   #2
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys competition for BMW F800GS

The versys is actually better equipped than the 08 in terms of suspension technology. Put some dual sport tires on it and you can ride mild trails and fire roads without issues.
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Old 05-10-2008, 10:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys competition for BMW F800GS

Thanks for the well thought out and insightful suggestions.


The last time I rode a street bike with a steep head tube angle and a wide small diameter front wheel on a new gravel road or any kind of sand it was not pretty or entertaining. I floats and wallows

Neither was the abruptness felt through the bars caused by that small diameter front wheel riding over rough terrain at any speed above 25 mph because the wheel hits the obstruction.

I's more than short travel suspension causing this.

I can ride my mountain bike and have more fun on rough terrain. At least it will roll over obstacles instead of running into them.

I haven't checked , but which DP tires are available to fit the front of the Versys. What is the most aggressive tire available?

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to build a national enduro racer out of a Versys. I just want something that you can actually ride on single tracks and have fun.

I sure hoped this would get more thought and attention than what seems like a dismissive response from a site admistrator.

Last edited by CC_Ryder; 05-10-2008 at 10:18 PM.
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Old 05-10-2008, 10:48 PM   #4
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys competition for BMW F800GS

The real question is how aggressive of a tire will fit. I'm not sure how much clearance there will be with an aggressive knobby. You may be limited to something more street oriented.

Continental TKC80 is about all I can think of, and they arent an exact fit, but they should work.

You will have a difficult time finding off-road tires in 17" front
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Old 05-11-2008, 02:52 PM   #5
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys competition for BMW F800GS

The versys is a street bike. Nice bike, but not made to go offroad. The same is true of the vstrom. With determination, just about anything except a sportbike can be taken down a fireroad or gravel road. My strom is a great gravel road bike, but utterly fails when the terrain turns at all rough. The versys will be the same or worse than the strom.

If you want a bike with real offroad capability with more horsepower, KTM has what you want. I adore mine. Or you might consider putting the big bore kit in your KLR with the head work, might net you 10 horespower, which is a big improvement.
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Old 05-11-2008, 10:43 PM   #6
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys competition for BMW F800GS

I've got a guy who contacted me last week that wanted me to put a Versey engine he had into his KLR.
I haven't done a lot of homework on this yet, don't have all the parts here, but I believe the engine can be made to fit. My specialty!
We do gas to diesel conversions, but buisness has slowed a little lately.
Now as for the suspension, will the KLR suspension be enough? I don't know.
I expect his machine up here in my shop before Summer is over.
So I will document the process and share the do's and don'ts I run into.
Sorry it's not sooner, but I'm working on his time frame, not mine.
Should be interesting.

And before you start asking, he wrecked the Versey and killed the frame.


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Old 05-11-2008, 11:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys competition for BMW F800GS

Curtis, sounds fantastic!!
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Old 05-15-2008, 06:16 PM   #8
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys competition for BMW F800GS

this should be very interesting development when it gets underway Curtis!
Keep us all posted dude!
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Old 05-16-2008, 11:31 AM   #9
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys competition for BMW F800GS

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Old 05-18-2008, 03:22 PM   #10
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys competition for BMW F800GS

a couple of the post comments here bring up a question, the 1st being

The versys is actually better equipped than the 08 in terms of suspension technology

the 2nd

The last time I rode a street bike with a steep head tube angle and a wide small diameter front wheel on a new gravel road or any kind of sand it was not pretty or entertaining.

is the geometry that much different? if not, i would be satisfied with a 21" or 19" wheel on this bike and some dot knobs, im not an enduro guy anymore, ran old school bikes with 19" wheels, dual shocks and half the suspension available today. would seem the versys would be way better than my old dt400 yam, or am i wrong about this?
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Old 05-24-2008, 08:01 PM   #11
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys competition for BMW F800GS

Hi Curtis. Mike here. You and I had this conversation in junction a couple of months ago. I will stay abrest of any work you may post, and see if I can get mine up to you later. Good Luck in your future endeavors. Mike
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Old 05-25-2008, 12:45 PM   #12
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys competition for BMW F800GS

Quote:
Originally Posted by metlcutr55 View Post
would seem the versys would be way better than my old dt400 yam, or am i wrong about this?
serious question here, any input old timers?
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Old 05-29-2008, 09:29 PM   #13
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys competition for BMW F800GS

The original thought of putting the 2008 KLR Triple Trees / Front end on the Versys was not for the suspension characteristics.

It was for the correct hub spacing for the KLR 21" wheel/hub and Brake components.

The question about it fitting on the Versys is due to the Head tube angle on the Versys is 23 deg. The KLR is 29 Deg, I think, which brings the center of the wheel much closer to the Engine on the Versys.

Of course, the larger diameter wheel moves the tread of the tire around 2" closer to the Engine already depending on tire profile.

Once you get the KLR Spoked Hub & Brake components on the Versys, you can put a 19" rim if there is not enough clearance for the 21" rim.

any thoughts on this is appreciated.


Curits -Keep us updated on your progress squeezing the Versys Engine in the '08 Chassis
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Old 07-14-2008, 10:20 AM   #14
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys competition for BMW F800GS

Hey all.

I did find one online source that listed the The Versy Rake at 23 degrees but most list Rake/Trail as25°/4.3 in. Keep in mind if you raise the front by putting a larger wheel on it or by lengthening the front suspension you will increase the rake.

I have a project going that might interest you guys. Too much info to post here so I'll just post a link to my report. https://www.removed.com/forums/showth...ht=kind+versys
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Old 08-12-2008, 03:27 PM   #15
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys competition for BMW F800GS

I have a new developement.......Over the weekend I realized that the '08 KLR forks are 41mm, they will fit right in the triples of my Ninja. I have some on the way along with caliper, master, and axle. I'm still going to use the Vstrom 19" front wheel. Initial measurements are very promising. Details to follow.......
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Old 12-21-2008, 07:52 PM   #16
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys competition for BMW F800GS

bump for a great project, check his link!
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Old 12-22-2008, 03:19 PM   #17
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys competition for BMW F800GS

This type of conversion has been in-work for some time. A gent named tel7 on that 'other' site started the process, then mysteriously fell off the face of the earth a year ago. He was pretty far along; look here:
https://********.com/forums/index.php/topic,5678.0.html

I rode into a BMW dealership last month, and looked hard and long at the F650GS. IT was NOT one of 'those' bikes which makes me instinctively reach for my checkbook, if ya know what I mean. I honestly think a Versys- powered KLR would. KHI really missed the boat here. Ya gotta wonder what those guys are thinkin' in Japan......


Glenn: If cross referencing is verbotin, I apologize. The issue is just SO germane.
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Old 12-24-2008, 01:16 PM   #18
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys competition for BMW F800GS

I've been thinking the same thing for some time. Marry a KLR to an engine out of a wrecked Ninja 650 or one of the Vulcan 650 twins that they made for a couple of years. I may have to start taking measurements to see if it would fit.
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Last edited by likebikes; 12-24-2008 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 01-03-2009, 02:32 PM   #19
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys competition for BMW F800GS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jdcooper View Post
This type of conversion has been in-work for some time. A gent named tel7 on that 'other' site started the process, then mysteriously fell off the face of the earth a year ago. He was pretty far along; look here:
https://********.com/forums/index.php/topic,5678.0.html

I rode into a BMW dealership last month, and looked hard and long at the F650GS. IT was NOT one of 'those' bikes which makes me instinctively reach for my checkbook, if ya know what I mean. I honestly think a Versys- powered KLR would. KHI really missed the boat here. Ya gotta wonder what those guys are thinkin' in Japan......


Glenn: If cross referencing is verbotin, I apologize. The issue is just SO germane.
I'll tell ya what "they" were thinking.......PRICE! The KLR650 is famous not just for its abilities but its value. If "they" jacked the price up $750-$1000 for the addition of the twin sales may not be as brisk. Not that the engine upgrade would'nt be AWESOME but an msrp of $5100 vs $7000 might scare off some buyers.
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Old 01-06-2009, 09:25 PM   #20
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys competition for BMW F800GS

A year ago or so, I attended a Kawasaki focus group on the Concours 1400. During the course of that meeting, I mentioned that I had traded my 08 KLR for the Versys.

The excitement the Kawasaki engineers showed in my decision to trade was amazing. They were so interested , they invited me back to the KLR focus group the next night, for which they paid me $150 bucks.

I talked to the only engineer who could speak english, and we talked for probably an hour just me and him.

He was the engineer who designed the twin engine for the Versys.

Long story short, Kawasaki is very, very dedicated to keeping their prices as low as they can. He said if they can figure a way to keep the costs down, the Versys engine will be the choice for the KLR.

All that to say, that Kawasaki is aware that people want the Versys engine in the KLR
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