Tweaking my Versys

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - General Discussion Forum' started by DavidFL, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Something to pass the time between trips, amuse myself, & perhaps give a few guys a chuckle.....(each to their own)...

    Bought 15th August 2012, 2nd hand with 21,400 kms.
    6 months on it now has 41,670 kms on the clock.

    The bike started off like this


    The first extras were the Givi E21 side boxes




    to end up looking like this


    looking terrifically black, which does not appeal to me or IMHO look good in photos.

    So next up was some white plastic


    plus Motech rack & soft bag on the back.


    still not colourful enough for photos it was time to add some stickers


    plus super duper loud 5-tone horns from Vietnam


    Then I decided that the side boxes were mounted a little too far forward , so had them mounted a little (too) further back.

    I actually want to move them forward a bit now.
    And none of this experimenting is a problem in Chiang Mai / Thailand, just pop along to your local bike engineering shop (Somchit's - Dang Glong Pratu) & its generally done on the spot & cheaply.
    You couldn't do this in the west without it costing you an arm & a leg!

    But back to the bling, I like some colour on my bikes to enhance the photos



    it's not just a black blob in the photo.
    You need a bit of colour



    a colourful bike pulls in the kids


    and the chics


    a backwards spill / slide in the mud-clay on Doi Phukha brought me down & broke off the end of the front brake lever.


    new trick folding / flick up levers went on next



    these levers feel so good in your hands, that I wonder how I ever rode the AT for 320,000 kms with standard levers, although I only went down once with the AT.
    They are highly recommended.

    I've had two rubbish Thai DID chains on the bike

    one was on there when I got the bike, wore out, & then I tried a 2nd Thai DID (because that's all I could get on the day) which only lasted 6,000 kms = 2 months.

    But of importance was how quickly the chains literally seized up & "fell apart."
    Both times I was in Nan coming back to Chiang Mai. I checked the chain in the morning in Nan & it looked ok - plenty of play & the Scott Oiler working.
    The first time when I got back to Cnx the chain was as tight as a piano wire. Links seized & O-rings missing - all in a few hundred kms; & I just thought it was a hooked sprocket, never bothering to look at the chain as I never ever imagine a chain could shit itself so quickly!
    Two months later, the same, leaving Nan in the morning I thought oops this chain too looks as if it could on the way out. Better take it easy on the way home. 100 kms down the road in Phrae I stopped for an inspection & sure enough some links had already seized up & some O-rings were missing. Unbelievable I thought. Shocked - twice now! Fortunately in Phrae I was able to source a 2,000 baht EK chain get it put on & carry on home to Cnx. The EK seemed to be quite ok, but I ordered in an RK chain from Japan to be safe & not get caught out again.

    I've had Pirelli Scorpion Trails, Michelin Pilot 3s & now Avon Distanzia tyres on the bike.

    I try to get all my tyres from Cockpit Sai Neua, on R108, past the airport & just after Tesco Lotus.
    Their service is first class, plus they will balance your wheels for you at the same time.
    Plus free aircon, coffee . TV & wifi while you wait.
    I've been highly impressed with the Pirellis on the AT & the Versys - excellent mileage, road holding, feel in the dry & WET.
    BUT you can never get them when you need them - appalling importer service!
    So I thought give the Pilot3s a go, why? Because my plan was to ride the Versys on the asphalt. However after just one short dirt excursion on easy gravel I felt as if I was just riding on marbles. No thanks.
    Back to Cockpit & asked for some other tyres.
    Avon Distanzias were available & 1,500 baht cheaper than unavailable Scorpions.

    Right now the Avons are only 1,000 kms old, but I do like them - lots of feel, road holding, good cornering & quick steering. Plus no complaints on any loose surface. How long they last & go in the wet remains to be seen.
    Just a note on the Pilot3s, I thought around town they felt very neutral with little feeling, however the faster & harder you went the better they felt & performed. But the extra performance only seems to kick in at approx 115kph+ & for me most of my riding in the mountains is not at that speed. You just need to ride faster & harder to really get the most value out of the Pilot3s.
    The Pikot3s will go back on at the start of the wet season & a big thanks go to Cockpit for holding the tyres in their shop for me. Cant ever complain about their service!

    Next step was a bit more bling, & a bit over the top some of you are saying.

    a new cover

    the seat has not yet bothered me enough to warrant repacking, so it was only a new cover.
    650 baht at Sompong's on Chotana Road.

    the colour was supposed to be a dark navy blue to march the dark blue stickers on the bike, but this colour was as close as we could get.
    A bit too bright perhaps..

    but for me it's better than dull black.

    and today was perhaps the last little colour tweak

    replace the black plastic belly pans with white stickered ones

    I let the sticker guy please himself what he did.
    It's not quite how I would do it, but go with the flow is the easiest way.

    The MarkII version will be better.

    You all take care & enjoy your rides now, whatever bike & colour you have - it doesn't matter just so long as you ride - big or small, fast or slow, on / off-road, but always with fresh air & a smile on your is good, especially motorcycle touring in Thailand!
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  3. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer

    Well thought out upgrades. I really like those levers! By the looks of it, I would say the Versys can now be deemed the "AT Lite".
  4. tehsk30

    tehsk30 Ol'Timer

    Nice colors...very vibrant...:)
  5. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Definitely much more photogenic than the all-black original!

    My favorite thing about your bike are those amazing Vietnamese air horns! I'm going to have to ask VietHorse if he can mail me a set!

  6. tehsk30

    tehsk30 Ol'Timer

    do u have a photo of the viet air horns?
  7. bsacbob

    bsacbob Ol'Timer

    Have you tried messing with the rear sprocket, i was having lots of vibration on mine and decided to change to a 44 rear, after riding my mates Versys with a 40 i quickly made the change, a huge improvement although the speedo's about 10km out but the GPS picks it up correctly.
  8. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    You can see the Vietnamese air horns in David's pictures:
    They are quite loud make an indescribable warbling sound- definitely will catch the attention of anyone within earshot!
  9. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Moderator Staff Member

    Make that two sets Tony :)

    When riding with David last weekend.. Amazing how people and animals get out the way..

    Also have the levers as well.. Much nicer feel than the original.

  10. tehsk30

    tehsk30 Ol'Timer

    any idea where can i get a set of those....looks nice....mine still the original woody wood pecker tweet...or more like tweety bird...:)
  11. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    I got my horns from Flamingo Travel. The brand is Seoul Electronic, but I cant turn them up with a google search.
    The previous set I had on the Africa Twin were Samji brand, also obtained via Flamingo Travel in Hanoi.
    You can see them here on this website

    go for it guys!
    Absolutely brilliant.
  12. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    No, not really interested in changing the sprockets / gearing yet. The engine pulls fine - totally smooth linear power delivery - & cruising at 125kph is a nice @ 6,000 revs; & that feels just about right to me.
  13. tehsk30

    tehsk30 Ol'Timer

    Thks David.will b checking out on samjihorn. Also one more thing to ask if u don't mind.the clutch lever looks n useful in case the bike topples over. Where do u get those? M not using those as I have a pair or zeta hand guards and proved its worthiness in Khao sok national park when my bike topples over. Also the hb engine guards does it job well.the lever comes in handy n the colors are nice.
  14. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Levers came from Piston Shop in Chiang Mai.
    But just google "folding motorcycle levers."
    Here's the 1st website that comes up
  15. tehsk30

    tehsk30 Ol'Timer

    Thks again...
  16. yychow0812

    yychow0812 Ol'Timer

    I've dropped my bike a couple of times (alright, 3 to be exact) and no damage whatsoever to levers (Ascerbis hand guards). Admittedly, all the drops were pretty much 0 kmh drops but aren't handguards supposed to protect the levers? Apart from aesthetics, what other advantage of changing from the stock levers?
  17. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Last edited: May 26, 2016
  18. yychow0812

    yychow0812 Ol'Timer

    David, you mentioned that the Versys has a twitchy front end / steering. Did you consider putting on a steering damper? I've ordered one from my supplier (I think it costs about Thb 16,000) so wondering if this is something that will help?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 26, 2016
  19. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah Ive been thinking about, but have not heard any reports yet on how well it works / much it improves the handling; but I think that a new rear shock will come first.
  20. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer

    I installed a GPR stablizer on the FZ1 after a few close calls. Works great but I see no P/N for the Versys as of yet. This Taiwan sourced kit looks pretty decent for $185US (5500 baht).
  21. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    The Tiger Rally 2012
    Last edited: May 30, 2016
  22. Franz

    Franz Ol'Timer

    Looking good David although me sees it as a 'nostalgia' colour copy of the old AT 555555555555.
    As for an unstable front-end just try to look up a forkbridge, bought one in the US for the DR650 as she also had an unstable frontend, after installing she was rock steady. Haven't had a look at the Versette yet but there should be the possibility to install such one tailormade stabiliser.
  23. Franz

    Franz Ol'Timer

    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2016
  24. saxonator

    saxonator Ol'Timer

    Wow, David why didn't you give me your bike for proper paint job? The mismatching colors hurt my eyes more, then my bum after a bad off-road ride. If you need a colorful bike ask for Rudi, remember my AT with the hundred paint jobs? Haha...take care
  25. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Finally fitted the Nitron Rear shock

    The final price ex Malaysia: RM2,660 = approx 25,700 Thai baht.

    The Trail Tech Striker gauge is also fitted, but appears to be faulty

    I will buy & fit another one. I like the temperature gauge & voltmeter to monitor what is going on.

    The Avon Distanzia tyres that I liked so much only lasted 10,500 kms.


    Last trip in Laos just completed, I checked my tyres before I left & considered there was a third left - ok for a 2,000 kms run through southern Laos, so I thought.
    But it seemed as if the last third wears out a lot faster & I needed a new rear tyre to get back to Cnx.

    In Savannakhet I noticed what looked like a nail in the rear tyre, popped into a car tyre shop & asked them to pull it out to be safe & they said NO its not leaking. You can go 400 kms to Vientiane. NO I insisted pull it out. So they did - & - WHOOSH out came the air & down it went immediately.

    The culprit.


    The tyre lasted to Vte & in Udon Thani I got a new Scorpion trail rear from the Kawasaki dealer.
    Back in Chiang Mai I popped along to Cockpit & swapped back to the set of Michelin Pilot 3s I had stored.


    these will do me for the wet season & then it is back to the Pirelli Scorpion Trails.
    I've since decided that Pilot 3s are not what you need for touring North Thai & Laos, where you often get kms of greasy road works.
    IMHO Pilot 3s suck on any dirt, let alone snot. You guys in Bkk can ride with them, but not me up here.
    Pirelli Scorpions or Avon Disatanzias are the way to go.
    The Avons are approx 1500 baht cheaper than the Pirellis but the rear only lasts 10,500 kms as opposed to 15,000 + for the Pirelli Scorpons.
    The only problem with Pirelli is stock / supply.They are nearly always out of stock, which is very disappointing - poor importer service - especially considering the scores of Versys that must be on the road.

    My Versys now has 51,200 kms on the clock; & Ive done 30,000 kms in the first 12 months on the bike.
    Its economical to run & does the job, but I can see the need for another bike in 2 more years.

    Stay tuned.
  26. bsacbob

    bsacbob Ol'Timer

    Have you tried Pirelli MT60 RS Corsa's David the are terrific, i had a set of Pirelli Trails fitted when i got my Versys and switched them after 4k KM thier stuck in the Pirelli shop in CR for sale if anyone's interested.

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