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Two up touring on a 600?

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  • Two up touring on a 600?

    I have a 91 600 Kat that I am hoping to tour(ish) with. Winter is coming on, and I will be putting new tires and rebuilding carbs.

    Total rider weight will be about 300lbs. I *can* change out suspension parts, mod, build luggage racks, whatever.

    How would a 600 work for this? Planning on R6 rear shock at a min., new fork springs possibly.

    Recommended mods?

    I am debating modding the 600, dropping in 750, or taking 2 bikes. Initially rides would be 1.5-3 hours each way to motel or something(minimal luggage), later could be multi day, possibly backpack style camping(more luggage). Thoughts?

  • #2
    I've done 12 hour days on my 600.
    0 mods, long days are doable even 2 up. I was around 350lbs total weight for those. While doable, it's not the greatest. Suspension wallowed, braking suffered, (longer distance and extra fork dive), taking off from a stop the engine felt like it struggled a bit, and I'd get sore all over.

    Mods I have made now where 2 up all day is practible and significantly more comfy (and all day solo is legit comfy)

    Suspension: very important - night and day difference. Struggled to control the bike in twisties with the extra weight in OEM setup. After mods, almost 0 difference between 1 and 2 up

    1) Swapped to a rebuild revalved resprung 98+ 750 shock (98+ 750 or an 1100 are the only rebuidable ones)
    R6 will drop the rear, I think 3/4" if you don't want that, don't get it. You can also swap in a bandit 1200 shock, this will raise the rear. Both affect handling differently. Whichever way you go, norwest suspension is run by a member here TMod (Terry). He used to work for racetech. Go through him or racetech for a kat 750 shock, Terry for anything else. He can shim the shock so the height difference is minimal, he can explain the differences, advise which is better, and do great work.

    2) Racetech gold valve emulators and springs correct for my weight (not the 2up weight, I'm ~220 so the stiffest spring they had is for 200+)

    Comfort mods:
    3) Swapped to 750 triple tree - ~3/4" rise
    4) Corbin saddle

    Mods that help other ways:
    5) SS braided brake lines and good HH pads. Way better braking. Braking on an old stock system while riding 2 up is doable, but man what a difference.
    6) 5 ignition advancer from Holeshot - moves the torque curve a bit so a little more low end oomph. 4k to 7k noticable
    7) A/F screws adjusted to 2.5 turns out. Better idle to 3000 pull. Only minor noticable. Better cold start up though.

    Mods I haven't done yet but want to:
    Jet kit - smoother, teeny bit more power.
    1127 engine - fuck tons more power. Sitting 15 feet from me, just need the time to install it...
    Hard cases. Don't need 'em for shirt trips, but would love to do some overnighters..

    1,2 and 5 should be done if you want to safely ride 2 up. Everything else is comfort, or performance (1 2 and 5 are also awesome for performance btw)

    Only luggage I currently have is a tank bag. Backpacks suck for anything over 30 mins for me, shoulders/neck hurt like hell. Over an hour and the low back joins in.

    Suspension mods will run about 600, brake lines 75 (look up G&J on here) pads...60? Corbin saddle new without backrest 400, 700 with, I used eBay to get used parts for the 750 triple tree, total cost including new (same length) cables was ~200, ignition advancer 60, A/F adjustment = free, jet kit 120, larger engine + carbs will probably cost close to a grand. Soft luggage bags can be as low as 50, hard bags as high as 1k.

    So you can spend a lot of $ to get it where you sound like you want it. I've spent more on mods than I did the bike itself. 0 regrets. I turned all wrenches myself (other than the shock work) so I know the bike very well. There are many like it. But this one is mine
    1998 Katana 750
    1992 Katana 1100
    2006 Ninja 250

    2006 Katana 600 RIP - 130k miles


    • #3
      I had seen a couple of your posts on here. Would like to use 600 at least for now.

      Kind of planning on fabbing a long adapter to keep stock ride height with R6 shock.

      Cant spend too much, but thinking $500 or so in parts. Sounds like suspension is biggest part of problem, and most costly.
      Last edited by Any Cal.; 09-19-2016, 01:29 AM.


      • #4
        I'd definitel start there. New correct springs for up front will be ~$120. Whatever shock you end up getting, even if you dont rebuild/revalve it, I'd suggest at least getting the correct spring out on it, probably a little over $100. Whatever you get will likely still be too soft for your weight Alone without a passenger.

        There's a post (I think it's even stickied in the suspension section) about using the R6 shock in case you haven't found it yet, it'll be worth a read.

        Edit: link:
        Last edited by shpielers; 09-19-2016, 10:27 AM.
        1998 Katana 750
        1992 Katana 1100
        2006 Ninja 250

        2006 Katana 600 RIP - 130k miles


        • #5
          Well, R6 shock is coming. I am planning on building a link, possible adjustable, to keep my ride height. Will see what happens when I have all parts in hand. Probably change fork springs before rear spring, as they will be farther from optimal.

          Would really like to find a good resource on tuning damper rod forks, would play with mine this winter.


          • #6
            If you upgrade the fork springs, install emulators and get rid of the useless adjuster knob. Much better upgrade. The R6 schlock can be respring with a better spring also.
            "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to upset you when I called you stupid. I thought you already knew..."
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            • #7
              Don't really have any resoucres for tuning them. With the kats, preload is really all you can adjust. The damper knob does less than Jack. No difference noticable between max and min. If you want to get the preload set correctly, look up what I believe is called static sag. There's a couple measurements you take, some basic math, and voila.
              1998 Katana 750
              1992 Katana 1100
              2006 Ninja 250

              2006 Katana 600 RIP - 130k miles


              • #8
                Don't overlook good tires with proper pressure. A good set of tires like the PR4's running 36psi front/42psi rear will make the bike handle nicely when riding 2up. Also you might want to add a little extra padding to the rear seat for the passengers comfort. I made a cheap backrest when I had my 90 600 that simply slid over the rear grab bar for the wife to lean against. With stock suspension we put in 425 mile days regularly and comfortably 2up, with a few 500 mile days that weren't a problem for me, but pushed her comfort limits on the back lol.
                '05 GSXR750, '86 FZX700 Fazer, wifes bike '02 R6


                • #9
                  Great tips.

                  Bought Bridgestone Battleaxe touring tires and mounted them last fall, but haven't ridden on them yet. Definitely a lot grippier than the oooold tires that were on it.

                  Also got an R6 shock and started an adjustable mount for it. It should let me change the ride height at will from stock height to about +1.5-2". Figure it may be handy for longer trips, and keep me from have to lower the front also when the shock goes in. Need a tap and die for the mount, and should be able to put it all together.

                  Fixed the leaking fuel petcock today, so hopefully not too long before I get the rest done. Kind of want to build a little back rest like you mention, especially since I haven't been able to buy a grab bar that fits.