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    Hi all, new member here, my text is getting rather extremely lengthy I am noticing as I am typing, sorry in advance for that

    About 18 months ago I bought a 2000 GSX750F, as the Katana is known over here, and have been enjoying it. It currently has approximately 14500 miles on it with only two previous owners.

    My first bike was a 1988 KLR250 and I loved its light weight, flickability and upright position. Problem is I was revving it to the max most of the time to make some power and at some point I went for a very long drive on a holiday abroad and revved it to the max in sixth gear most of the time. My father had warned me to check the oil underway and I said "nah, it doesn't consume much more than a drop of oil". The driving conditions and distance were as such that on the way back I found myself with a gearbox devoid of oil.as I heard a mechanical sound. I quickly purchased oil underway but the damage had been done. I kept revving it to the max in 6th until at some point I drove downhill and went over the bike's top speed and the exhaust blew up, the pipe before the tail section blew like in a cartoon when someone would put a finger in a rifle or tank barrel and the thing would blow. Kept driving home with the same revving style, I used to be a bit silly.

    The bike had to go and I was without one for a couple of years until I simultaneously bought a 1987 KLR650 and a 1990 GPZ900R. I liked the first, the latter not so much.
    At some point I sold both and was without a bike again, though for less years. I bought a 1985 Yamaha XJ700X Maxim, the 4-cilinder 20 valve version of the original 750 for certain countries.
    I liked that one better than the GPZ, the upright position, and also it did not feel as heavy as the GPZ, though it was pretty heavy still. Didn't like it as much as the KLR though.

    Once I sold that it was perfectly clear to me that I prefer a bike that is on the lighter side, and I was willing to sacrifice power as my driving style had changed tremendously over the years.
    I was looking at KLR-type motorcycles, preferably a Suzuki DR650 if I remember correctly, as it was much lighter than most. I was interested in a 2004-model or younger, as the previous years had a cardboard gasket which was problematic and later replaced by a metal gasket in whatever location it was in. Also, I believe the ride height can be lowered from certain years on, if I remember correctly. But KLR-type motorcycles had not been imported much over here since the late eighties and so prices were very high for the few that were available, and I refuse to spend a lot of money on a bike that was much lower in price when it was sold new if I can get a 4 cylinder bike for less money that was much more expensive when new. I arrived at a Suzuki SV650 naked (more upright position than the 650S) and was looking to buy one, as I was astonished at the low weight for a 650 twin. I was considering a Gen 1 for its looks and carburetors rather than fuel injection (I am a bit retro I guess) even though the Gen 2 had improved in certain areas.

    Next problem I encountered is that I am definitely cheap. Well, not cheap in that I am reluctant to spend money, but I will unfortunately deviate from what I really want, taking bang for the buck into consideration. This is what had led me to buy the XJ700X back then, as they were cheap to buy (not much sough-after). And while the SV650 was (relatively) much cheaper than a KLR-style bike over here, I noticed that the Katana's were much cheaper even, as they had sold huge quantities back then over here and the used-market is overflowing with them.

    And so I could not bring myself to buy a SV650N since I could get Kats with fewer miles on them for less money. That is how I arrived at the Kat, not very flattering, but a true story.
    Driving it for the first time I was sold though. While heavy, it felt a lot better than the GPZ. I love the way it makes power, it does so very smoothly, no huge dips or peaks in the powerband.
    At the same time, if needed, it makes good power, and so I feel that engine-wise one can ride it like a grandma and do some spirited riding as well, the engine seems suited for both.
    I have to admit that I do the opposite these days compared to when I had the KLR250, the Kat starts making real power above 7000 RPM but I generally upshift before 5500 RPM as the engine or exhaust is really silent up to that point, I don't like noise that can be avoided.. What helped the handling is that it had Michelin Pilot Powers (the originals I believe) on it, I could not believe the tires after having put Maxxis on my XJ700X to save money.

    I have been browsing this site a lot for a while, getting myself informed mostly on sprocket setups, and have been browsing this site and many others to get myself informed on tire size and rim width. Since I rarely ride the bike over 65 mph and never over 85 mph, and I feel the bike is geared too tall when departing in first gear, I am interested in a sprocket change from 15/45 to 15/47 (I need to check first whether there is indeed a 15/45 on mine currently). Since the chain and sprockets are not worn yet, and the tires will need to be replaced later this year, I would like a tire of smaller circumference to mimic shorter gearing. Also, I wouldn't mind the slightly lower ride height that would be a consequence, as long as it is both on the front and rear.

    I weigh only 165 pounds and would only take passengers with me that do not exceed my own weight, so I am not concerned by putting on tires of lower weight rating. From a legal point of view, that is fine over here, it is illegal to lower the speed rating of tires. While I love riding in the twisties, there are none close to where I live and so I have this flat band in the center of the rear tire, and so I believe a dual compound for the rear would be preferable. I would be very interested in the new Michelin Road 6 (as I do not avoid rain) but since I would like to lower the rear wile lowering the front, and I was considering a 120/65 front and 160/60 rear but these don't come in 65. I have still not fully ruled out a 120/60 and 150/60 setup but I am concerned the ride would be harsh (less cushioning effect in the tires). For 120/65 and 160/60 I can get Pilot Power 2ct (they don't have regular Pilot Power in 65) over here with a Pilot Road 2, the grooves look the same.

    Problem is I notice that due to the nature of the roads over here (no twisties) and the fact I don't seem to dare to lean over much with heavier bikes, I am not using the sides at all, rather large chicken strips. And even between the center band that I do use and the chicken strips, there is an area that is lightly used. And so putting a 160 on a 4.5 rim would not be a good idea in my situation, it seems. Sure, the harder center of the Road 2 would compensate, but I have been considering to put a 140/70 on the rear with a 120/65 up front, Mitas Sport Force+, the 140/70 comes in the right speed rating. Rather soft compound and no dual compound, but they are so cheap that who cares if I have to replace them sooner than a Road 2 or 6. Also, they are less pointy than Pilot Powers I believe, and combined with the 140/70 being stretched over the 4.5 rim would result in a larger contact patch when upright, where I am most of the time, examining the wear of the current PP. With the GPZ I also had huge chicken strips, though I noticed the previous owner had put one size wider on the rear, I later changed it to the original size.

    Anyway, while 4.5 rim is within the acceptable rim range according to the Mitas catalogue and I therefore probably should not worry, it is hard to find information on forums of 140/70/17 on 4.5 rims, even on the SV forums where they have the same size rim. Most people want to go wider, though it is often admitted the 160 is already slightly pinched on the SV rim, depending on the brand. Personally I don't like the looks of the 150 on the Kat, I believe I would like the looks of a 160 better, but I am willing to get a shitty looking 140 if it helps me with the bald spot in the center. From a money and environmental waste point of view, I am not looking forward to get to the point where the 150 needs to be replaced because it is bald in the center, yet I have only used up a small portion of the tire, and 20% of the tire (on the extremities) is literally completely brand new (unused). Anyway, those that had done it (140 on 4.5 rim) seem happy with it, but not that much info out there, especially not on post Kats. I believe more recent years of the DRZ400SM came stock with 140/70 on 4.5, earlier years had the tire on a 4.25, in some cases, so it would seem fine. Also, the KLX250SF came with 130/70 on 4 inch stock (I am not considering 130, just making a point of tire & rim width). I am just talking width here, I realize the weight rating would be lower than that of the stock 150/70 and I am fine with that.

    Last but not least, I have been hearing a certain sound for several months (I only ride once a week), at lower revs in all gears I believe. It sounds a bit like a worn homokinetic (that is what it is called over here) on cars, but it is not heard in corners like in cars, and also it seems to come from below me (center of bike), rather than from below/front or below/back (the axles of the wheels).
    Not sure if it could have to do with the chain / sprockets. Sometimes the sound isn't there, that is what is strange as well. Clack clack clack, only in a certain rev rang, though I could be mistaken. Tightening up the chain slack did not seem to have an effect.
    I wonder whether upshifting early at 5000 / 5500 RPM has cause damaged. Regardless, I believe it would be better for the bike if I upshifted a bit later, and I believe shorter gearing by way of sprocket and tire mods would invite me to do just that.

    Anyway, thanks for reading, and sorry for the length, I did not intend that, but it happened. I don't have friends that ride motorcycles, so perhaps that is why I opened up unexpectedly.
    Last edited by trvza; 04-03-2022, 12:11 PM.

  • #2
    Welcome to KatRiders. Most of the people that used to be on here are now in the KatRiders group on Facebook, and mainly just use this site as an information library. Tons of great knowledge about the Katanas and old GSXRs in the tech sections, but if you can't find an answer to a question, join the Facebook group, and someone there can steer you to the answer either by linking you back to the correct thread on here, or simply answering for you over there.
    Last edited by Psycho1; 04-13-2022, 09:48 PM.
    John,
    '05 GSXR750, '86 FZX700 Fazer, wifes bike '02 R6
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    • #3
      Thank you, much appreciated, was unaware of this migration

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      • #4
        Wow what a journey! You have certainly developed a style suited to your riding. Congrats on the Katana, i hope you continue to enjoy it!

        My 1999 600Kat is my first motorcycle. Way cheaper and accessible to me than some nice cars that i like.

        I'll be honest, in Victoria where I'm at, we have "Beach Drive", where all sorts of classic cars, bikes, sporty things, sunday drivers etc love to cruise. That being said the speed limit is 30-40km/hr. The ocean views and busy pedestrian walkways make it low and slow speed. Therefore i totally granny shift. I couldn't imaging "regularly" shifting at 5000RPM or more! I try to keep the rpm to 3-4000RPM when i am on a pretty flat road cruising. There is no bogging whatsoever. In the service manual posted on here you can see the powerband torque band numbers. Basically 4000+ comes alive with more power. But more power is more fuel. I really dont think, so long as you aren't bogging/flooding fuel deposits, or stalling out, there's anything wrong with shifting "early"

        My car redline is 6500 on a 2000cc. My Kat is 11000 on a 600cc. My car will cruise and accelerate okay at about 2000rpm, so i've essentially doubled that with my less than torquey Katana.

        Also because i want to save fuel money. More RPM is more air per minute, more air needs more fuel. Trying to get 5litres per 100km "as advertised" I know that would be much tougher if i rode in a rev range with more airflow.

        Being my first motorcycle, there is totally enough power for me for a while. When i twist the throttle it pulls fine, even up a hill as long as I'm above 3000RPM

        Cheers!
        Last edited by RoXtarLeo7; 04-17-2022, 10:54 PM.

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        • #5
          Hi, thank you for your reply!!!

          Had the bike on the center stand today and had the rear wheel rotate while the engine was idling in first gear. I noticed the chain was jumping up and down a lot.
          I noticed some stuck links, that were not in their regular position but angled. Cleaned the chain thoroughly and lubricated it even more thoroughly. No more stuck links, less jumping.
          I notice the chain slack is very different depending on where I test it. So test at a certain location, moved the wheel around, test again, etc. The difference in vertical chain travel is substantial depending on where I do it. At least, I think it is substantial. Makes me wonder whether I should replace the chain when I replace the tires. Chain and cogs do not seems worn at all though.
          However, I test-drove it in the street in 1st and 2nd gear and still noticed the clacking-sound. I'll have to look into it further. It definitely comes from the center of the bike (in terms of front/rear), so around where the front cog would be.

          At least my tire question got answered, whether 140/70 would be a good idea for me. I had checked whether the front tire was stock and it is, but apparently I had not checked the rear.
          Instead of the stock 150/70 there is a 160/60 there. Explains why the speedo is more off than they already tend to be with stock tires, as the circumference of a 160/60 is quite a bit less.
          Anyway, looking at how the 160 fits the rim and the (rather large) motorcycle, 140/70 is out of the question for me. And I am concerned 150/60 would be a bit too harsh for my taste (bump resistance). The 160 does explain the large chicken strips, especially considering it is a Pilot Power which are considered to be rather pointy.
          .I should have checked rather than assumed the rear tire size
          The good news is I no longer have to look into which brand/model/size tires I am going to get. Because what I really really really wanted were Continental Trail Attack 3, but the only option would be 120/70 and 160/60 (they don't have 120/65 in TA3, and in terms of available sizes only some of them are W-rated which I need for it to be legal over here, hence the 120/70 and 160/60 or 170/60 would be the only options but 170 would be pushing it for the 4.5 rim and then there is the matter of unsprung weight as well) in which case the rear would be lowered by 9mm while the front would remain stock which would alter geometry and I didn't want to go there. But now that I have discovered there is already a 160/60 on there and the geometry does not bother me, I can for it

          The TA3 is a 90%/10% on road / off road tire, more rounded than the pointy PP, better in the wet than the TA2, the wear is supposed to be rather good, and it is known to be non-harsh. I always felt the rear was a bit harsh, the 60 rating would explain that, and I could look into the suspension settings a bit more, so a tire that is less harsh with bumps in the road would be nice. And since I come from the KLR background, I do like to sin on the Kat from time to time on unpaved roads. Just a bit! I may have to soften the suspension a bit, front and rear, not much experience with that.
          There is a 25 minute Bikebandit review on Youtube and I believe they would be nice for me. The dual-sport grooves in the tires would look a bit uncommon on a Kat LOL.

          For a first motorcycle there is definitely nothing wrong with your 600, especially if fuel economy is a consideration.

          Best regards!!!

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