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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I like to ride long distances, and weeklong trips are my favorite even though I haven't had that many opportunities to get away. So I've farkeled the Ninjette for touring. I also did some of my prepurchase due diligence here, so thanks to everyone who posted about their experiences. Feel free to ask questions. Here's my build.

STUFF I'D DO REGARDLESS

First up, heated grips. I'd do this without regard to touring. They extend the riding season in the North, and are useful even in the sunny South on cool morning, higher elevations, and if you get caught in the rain without waterproof gloves. Cold hands just don't respond well. I installed the Oxfords: https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/oxford-heaterz-premium-sport-heated-grips

Gotta have the leads for my Battery Tender branded battery tender. Or is the generic name for this product a trickle charger?

The best bang for the buck has been my Kuryakyn throttle boss. You can release your grip while keeping on the throttle with your palm. It really helps on longer rides, even just afternoon rides. https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/kuryakyn-universal-throttle-boss

I have but haven't installed a radiator protector. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PJD4XBS/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 It's maybe not necessary, but at only 1200 miles the radiator is already looking slightly dinged.

Late Edit: I forgot that I'd ordered up some Hotbodies Racing adjustable levers. https://www.sportbiketrackgear.com/hotbodies-racing-kawasaki-ninja-400-2018-mgp-levers-set/ I just installed them today. STG has an easy to follow installation video.

STUFF FOR LONG DISTANCES

The stock windshield was ok for lower speeds, but highway riding over long periods of time is helped by a higher touring windshield. I had a Zero Gravity tall double bubble on my N650R (they don't make tall double bubbles for every bike it seems). It still looked good after having it for 11 of the 12 years I had my Little Red Ninja. I bought their dark smoke touring windshield for Ninjette Noire. It works well at keeping the wind blast off me, possibly gains some aerodynamic advantage, and maybe even helps guide a few bugs (far from all, however) over my head. The overall black color kinda makes her look like a raven (think Poe, not Teen Titans). Maybe that's her spirit animal? https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/zero-gravity-sport-touring-windscreen-kawasaki-ninja-400-2018

Reducing chores on a trip, especially a time-limited Iron Butt ride, is essential. I transferred my Scottoiler E-System automatic chain oiler from my Little Red Ninja to Ninjette Noire. I can go more than 2000 miles before needing a refill, I can increase and decrease oiling on the move to address changing conditions like rain or dust, and it's pumped under pressure rather than gravity-fed, so temperature or elevation changes aren't an issue. https://www.twistedthrottle.com/scottoiler-esystem-electronic-chain-oiler I also ordered a dual-sided applicator for the chain, but it's on backorder. https://www.twistedthrottle.com/scottoiler-scorpion-dual-injector Even with the single-sided application, the oil does migrate to the other side of the chain. It also migrates slightly to the chain guard, the underside of the bike, and my panniers. The dual sided should allow me to reduce the amount of oil being applied, thus increasing my range between refills and hopefully reducing fling. On longer trips, I bring a small spare bottle for refills, I pack this in a heavy-duty Ziplock and haven't had a spill.

I added a couple of StompGrip strips to the sides of the gas tank. https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/stompgrip-universal-frame-rails-kit And a ProGrip tank pad. https://www.revzilla.com/dirt-bike/pro-grip-5007-tank-pad I bought them both in clear. It was a pain to get all the bubbles out against the black paint. Maybe opaque would have been easier.

LUGGAGE

My luggage transferred easily--I verified this on a test ride before buying my Ninjette. Kriega US 40 system tail bags are a kit with one 20 liter drybag, two 10 liter drybags, and a strapping system to tie them to the pillion seat and to each other. They can be attached singly or in any combination including all three at once. I can use the right sized bag for what I'm taking on the trip, and on big trips where I might be staying at one place for a day or two (Tail of the Dragon, for example) I can have just the right sized bag for what I may need for the day and leave the rest in the hotel. https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/kriega-uscombo40-drypack-system Mine has the old attachment system--it's been improved since I purchased. They also have bigger combination bags. And they have additional attachment points for things like my bike cover.

My panniers are also drybags and fit high on the bike's sides so they do not need any additional bracing. When I bought them they were sold as Ortliebs, but now they are under the Touratech brand. https://touratech-usa.com/Store/Touratech-Waterproof-MOTO-Speed-Bags These are easier to get into than the Kreigas when everything is packed up together, so I use them for things I'll need on the ride like extra layers or H2O while using the tailbags for stuff needed in the hotel room. I also added 3M clear protective strips where the panniers touched my Little Red Ninja, I'll be doing that for the Ninjette as well.

I tested, one could say, the waterproofing when riding through variable rain on the interstates for about 4 hours on one trip. Everything stayed completely dry.

I've added a non-waterproof tailbag to my collection. I bought the Nelson-Rigg commuter light tailbag just for ease of use while running errands around town or on short rides. https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/nelson-rigg-commuter-lite-tail-bag Unlike my drybags which require several straps to be loosened or unlatched and then latched and retightened, it's just a quick zip to stow something.

I have an Oxford magnetic tankbag with a GPS holder. The exact one seems to be out of production, but this is similar: https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/oxford-m4r-tank-n-tailer-magnetic-tank-bag?rrec=true It holds lots of stuff, including my lucky tire plug kit, which seems to ward off punctures just by being carried, and I'll still be lucky to have it with me if I do get a puncture. My GPS is a refurbished Magellan which I bought on Amazon at a low enough price that I won't whine too much if it disappears. The screen could be brighter.

ELECTRONICS

I added the Kawi cigarette lighter power plug. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HKGJ464/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 My GPS has that sort of plug, and I already owned a cigarette to USB adapter, so I decided to skip the aftermarket USB sockets. But it does seem to be unnecessarily pricy.

I also have but haven't installed a Denali Compact Soundbomb air horn. The Ninjette's polite little beep just isn't enough, so I decided to go all out. https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/denali-soundbomb-compact-air-horn-and-wiring-kit?rrec=true

One additional detail--with three ring leads being added to the battery posts, I needed longer terminal screws to make it work. I had bought longer screws for my old bike, and remembered to swap them out when I de-accessorized the Little Red Ninja before selling her. The longer screws worked just fine on the Ninjette's battery. Most full service hardware stores will have the correct size screws in stainless steel.

JUST FOR FUN

And the one decal I added so far is this for the right-hand mirror: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AR9G6XO/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I'm tending to be a fan of minimalist decoration, so my IBA plate backer was transferred and I need to get new Deal's Gap dragon stickers next time I'm there, but that's likely it for appearances.

I also did the garage door opener DIY installation. This project is somewhat easy even for the mechanically reclined such as myself. Take a spare GDO remote, open the casing and remove the circuit board. There will be a push button on the board with 4 soldered points. Two are for power, and the other two just for physically attaching the button to the board. Now bend a piece of short wire in a U shape and play connect the dots to see which points operate the GDO--those are the ones to solder two short and flexible wires on the back of the circuit board. Then drill a hole in the casing to let the wires out and reassemble the remote. Next, drill a hole in your pride and joy for the push button and install. Mine is on the right side inner fairing where it's easy to reach while riding up my driveway. Wire from the button to a dry place under your seat and attach the GDO remote. I took the extra precaution of wrapping the remote in plastic wrap for more water resistance and also cushioning for the remote. Some people online have gone further and hooked the remote up to their bike's battery, but I figure I can easily just change the battery in the remote on the bike as easily as I can for the remote in the car.

FUTURE PLANS

Time will tell whether I want to get a cushier seat, suspension upgrades, tail tidy or an aftermarket slip-on exhaust. Riding season in Wisconsin is getting near the end, and I'll have all winter to obsess and over-think these things.

The femme fatale of an unwritten Raymond Chandler novel, Ninjette Noire, is just about ready to hoon around the continent with me. Up first will be for her to earn the IBA label I've attached to her license plate. I know the IBA says it was my achievement, but Ninjette says she doesn't feel right wearing it when she hasn't actually completed an IBA certificate herself. And then I want to return to the Tail of the Dragon. I expect that Ninjette will have great fun on all of the wonderful twisty riding roads in the area. I also want to ride to Glacier National Park's Going to the Sun Road and to ride the Overseas Highway. And a British friend wants to ride the Pacific Coast Highway someday, he'll fly in and rent a bike and I'll meet him.
 

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Thanks for taking the time to pass on your extensive touring set up knowledge champ. I do a bit of credit card touring myself, just three or four days max travelling light with no saddle bags.
I used to do the whole camping thing and it is enjoyable, but it's a lot of weighty gear to cart around. Back then I was riding bigger bikes though.
The Ninja has a good tank range which I find is really important here. One of my riding companions has a Yammie MT-09 which has the same 14 liter tank as our bikes and it's a real PITA stopping for him all the time to fill up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thanks, Kiwi Rider.

Wow, I just looked at this again and it's a dense read. I had considered separate posts, but thought that it may make a more comprehensive thread in one location. And the search function will cause it to show up if someone is looking at one of the things that are mentioned. I put in some headings and did a little reorganizing. I hope that helps.

I invite anyone to add their touring or long-distance mods here to benefit anyone researching touring mods. I've learned a lot about the 400 here when I was researching my next bike. And I remember how helpful it was to go online to a bike-specific site for my Little Red Ninja and learn from the experience of others so that I'd have the right tools and information when I started riding. We're all here to help each other out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I should have explained this part better:

I also did the garage door opener DIY installation. This project is somewhat easy even for the mechanically reclined such as myself. Take a spare GDO remote, open the casing and remove the circuit board. There will be a push button on the board with 4 soldered points. Two are for power, and the other two just for physically attaching the button to the board. Now bend a piece of short wire in a U shape and play connect the dots to see which points operate the GDO--those are the ones to solder two short and flexible wires on the back of the circuit board. Then drill a hole in the casing to let the wires out and reassemble the remote. Next, drill a hole in your pride and joy for the water proof push button available at Amazon and install. Mine is on the bike's left side inner fairing where it's easy to reach while riding up my driveway. Wire from the button to a dry place under your seat and attach the GDO remote. I took the extra precaution of wrapping the remote in plastic wrap for more water resistance and also cushioning for the remote. Some people online have gone further and hooked the remote up to their bike's battery, but I figure I can easily just change the battery in the remote on the bike as easily as I can for the remote in the car.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'd like to update the Scottoiler reference in case someone is researching. I've added their Scorpion dual sided oil emitter about 300 miles ago, and it's been working very well.

https://www.scottoiler.com/us/scorpion-dual-injector/

Their instructions were unnecessarily difficult to study because they seem to be trying to do it all with pictures only and no words. I suspect this is due to an international market for their products instead of fundamental illiteracy in their marketing department. But a practical eye toward the product and it's fittings resolved my issues and it installed easily.

In practice, I kept the drip frequency setting the same as I had with the single-sided standard emitter, and the chain is plenty wet. I'm going to clean the chain guard & such of excess oil fling and reduce the drip frequency (from every 60 seconds to every 90 seconds) and then see if the chain is still wet enough and if fling is reduced. If it looks like I can reduce further, I'll experiment again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I also installed the Denali Compact Soundbomb air horn and it's plug-n-play wiring lit, only to have it not work. I'd bought from Revzilla, and called them hoping for some installation help as everything I could think of for troubleshooting didn't work. But they instead offered to take it back for a full refund. I decided to give up on this idea for the time being.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
And I installed an Arrow Pro-Race slip on, with a review at the Arrow thread under exhausts. It's not too loud for urban riding, it looks good, and doesn't interfere with my right heel like the stock can did.
 
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I'd like to update the Scottoiler reference in case someone is researching. I've added their Scorpion dual sided oil emitter about 300 miles ago, and it's been working very well.
I've been talking back and forth with another rider about his Scottoiler system. Just as a note for you, after numerous installs on different bikes, he's found synthetic ATF works well as a replacement for the unit's oil, at a reasonable cost.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've been talking back and forth with another rider about his Scottoiler system. Just as a note for you, after numerous installs on different bikes, he's found synthetic ATF works well as a replacement for the unit's oil, at a reasonable cost.
Synthetic ATF, hadn't thought of that. I would wonder whether it might fling off too easily. Does your friend have to increase the drip rate more than with the Scottoiler blue or red?

One of the good things about the Scottoiler e-system is that they are easy to transfer to your next bike. I'm not so sure about transferring a v-system as a tube will likely need replacing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My disappointment is the fuel tank size. Would like to have 500+ km range.
I agree. But we do get good mileage to make up for the disappointing tank size. My plan would be to research gas stations before traveling in areas where fueling might be an issue, such as Nevada's Loneliest Highway or the Northern Rockies. I imagine that some of the scenic areas I'd like to see in Canada may have similar issues, especially in the west and north.
 

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Great writeup Baxter! I'll be referring to this often as I prepare for a tour here on Vancouver island. If you could critique what I've listed below, I'd appreciate it :)

Here's a list of gear and tools I currently have:

1. Gear-I have all the gear from head to toe. I just purchased a touring boot (Radon drystar from alpinestars) as well as some rain gear (Rev it rain pants and cyclone jacket)

2. Luggage: I'll be purchasing a 10 and 20L drypack from Kriega. I'll probably add a tank bag as well.

3. Tools: Just the toolkit underneath the seat, as well as a tire pressure gauge. What other tools would you suggest I carry?

And lastly, how are you finding the sport touring windscreen? I'm at 5'9, and the stock windscreen doesn't really help much on the highway (I effectively have to be in a full tuck position to deflect most of the wind).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Great writeup Baxter! I'll be referring to this often as I prepare for a tour here on Vancouver island. If you could critique what I've listed below, I'd appreciate it :)

Here's a list of gear and tools I currently have:

1. Gear-I have all the gear from head to toe. I just purchased a touring boot (Radon drystar from alpinestars) as well as some rain gear (Rev it rain pants and cyclone jacket)

2. Luggage: I'll be purchasing a 10 and 20L drypack from Kriega. I'll probably add a tank bag as well.

3. Tools: Just the toolkit underneath the seat, as well as a tire pressure gauge. What other tools would you suggest I carry?

And lastly, how are you finding the sport touring windscreen? I'm at 5'9, and the stock windscreen doesn't really help much on the highway (I effectively have to be in a full tuck position to deflect most of the wind).
Vancouver Island--hmm, rain. 🌧 I wonder if there's good cell/mobile coverage? I suspect a lot of the need for a full service toolkit has gone away due to cell phones.

1. I have a short Alpinestars boot that might otherwise be similar to the Alpinestars Radon Drystar. I've liked it: comfy and has held up well. I've also Frog Togs brand rain gear, which lived up to the hype and can add a useful layer on top of a summer jacket. I haven't owned anything from Rev-It, but I think they have a good reputation. And if their products are good enough for a world adventurer like Itchyboots, they're probably better than you or I would need. Do you have waterproof gloves? Wet hands at speed can become very cold even in summertime temps, so this would be a good investment. I've had to use my heated grips in a southern US summer rain because I hadn't brought my waterproof gloves.

2. I've liked the Kriegas, but there's a thread indicating that the new attachment style might be a little difficult for initial fitment. See Has anyone installed kriega drypack? Kriega and some others sell tank adaptors to put a drybag on the tank. But I've been satisfied with weather resistant tank bags because the tank bag isn't getting hit with rain at highway wind speeds (can't be called truly waterproof if it has a zipper). Just check for zippers with an overlapping flap so that rain won't get in when you're stopped. I have a Oxford magnetic tank bag with a built in holder for a GPS. It's worked well around town and the local highways. I've only used it on one "day trip" so far, but that was appx 770 miles when I rode from my old home to my new one. It didn't fall off!

3. I always carry a small flashlight with a magnetic base and fold out stand in my tank bag (bought it from a big-box store), it might come in handy for a roadside repair or as a roadside marker light. Also a tire plug kit--I've never needed it but there would be no substitute if the need arose. On longer trips I add a small generic type of Swiss Army knife and a generic Leatherman multi-tool with a plyers and some zip-ties, a multi-screwdriver gadget with some relevant hex sizes and sockets, and some all-temp electric tape. I should probably roll off some duct tape to carry along as well.

Remember,

16944


4. I've liked my Zero Gravity touring screen. I'm 5"7.5", most of the windblast goes up and over, and what's there is "clean" in the sense of not being turbulent. I've tested this at speeds I don't need to specify, lets just say it works at high speed highways. ;) Unfortunately, I bought Ninjette Noire in the fall just before COVID, and my riding on the new bike has been limited to just a few hours at a time. This windscreen has been comfy at speed, but I can't yet declare it to be all-day comfy only because I haven't actually ridden with it for all day.

Seriously consider the Norton seat. It's probably worth a suspension upgrade for street riding purposes. There's a lot of reviews and comments here, just use the search function and a ton of stuff will show up.

Don't forget to take some pics and do a write up in the Ride Report section, Vancouver Island should be a great place to take a MC trip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Scottoiler update!

My E-System Scottoiler has a control panel with an LCD screen. New problem started yesterday. Between home and Oshkosh at the start of the ride, the screen sometimes blinked for a moment. I was concerned that there might have been a fault with the wiring, and that it would fail on my trip. But when the screen blinked back on, it was always showing the correct settings, etc., and past experience was that if the power had cut out even momentarily the settings would have been lost. So not that. And even though the blinking became longer periods of a blank screen, the info was correctly updated when it came back on--that is; time, ambient temp, the accelerometer, and (eventually) even the reservoir dropped as expected. So the mechanism and governing electronics were still ok, and the chain continued to look lubricated throughout the night. But by the latter part of the day the screen completely quit working. No backlight at night either.

I bought it in 2014 and transferred it from the Little Red Ninja to Ninjette Noire. While I'd hope it would have lasted longer, it's not exactly irking me as being an unreasonable situation given the length of time. I've emailed the company asking whether it might be repairable, or of the solution is to replace the control unit or the whole gadget. It might just be a power line going into the screen has a stress crack. I dunno. But if so, then perhaps a person who can replace or repair phone screens could fix it?

I'm hoping to hear back by tomorrow. But does anybody have a suggestion?
 
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I don't know how you are with electronics, wild guess here. I've sometimes had success with re-heating cold solder joints
🐉
Curious.... what do you use for lube in this device?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I don't know how you are with electronics, wild guess here. I've sometimes had success with re-heating cold solder joints
🐉
Curious.... what do you use for lube in this device?
I've just been using the Scottoiler lube. The E-System has a pump--not gravity fed--so I use their cold temp formula because I used to live in North Dakota. They also have a hot temp formula that doesn't get too thin in warmer climates, but it can become too thick for a gravity fed unit in cold temps. I don't need to worry about it because of the pump in the E-System, but I figured the cold formula might still be better when riding at the freezing point.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Great writeup Baxter! I'll be referring to this often as I prepare for a tour here on Vancouver island. If you could critique what I've listed below, I'd appreciate it :)

***

And lastly, how are you finding the sport touring windscreen? I'm at 5'9, and the stock windscreen doesn't really help much on the highway (I effectively have to be in a full tuck position to deflect most of the wind).
@mrtoastywaffle here's an update on the ZG touring screen. I've now been on a mostly all-day ride across Wisconsin and an over 1000 mile Iron Butt ride now, and the screen has worked great for me. I didn't feel fatigued from wind blast.
 

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@mrtoastywaffle here's an update on the ZG touring screen. I've now been on a mostly all-day ride across Wisconsin and an over 1000 mile Iron Butt ride now, and the screen has worked great for me. I didn't feel fatigued from wind blast.
@Baxter, that's awesome to hear! Gotta get myself one now. How long did it take to complete the saddle sore 1000? I'm looking to complete one someday, but I need to build the stamina first (I've done a couple 400Km rides, but 1600Km in 24hours, that sounds like torture :eek:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
@Baxter, that's awesome to hear! Gotta get myself one now. How long did it take to complete the saddle sore 1000? I'm looking to complete one someday, but I need to build the stamina first (I've done a couple 400Km rides, but 1600Km in 24hours, that sounds like torture :eek:)
I dawdled and took about 20 hours total. I think the least I've done a SS1K was in 18 hours, but a person who's riding high speed highways, minimizes stops, and keeps a very close eye on the clock when stopping can probably get it done even quicker.

My first SS1K took a little over 22 hours, and I was physically and mentally shattered. My second was much better only because I was better prepared. But the main improvement I've had this time was getting in shape. I've been riding my bicycle or doing a treadmill or spin cycle almost every day for over a year. I've lost 15 lbs. (almost 7 kilos) during that time and the docs allowed me to quit taking blood pressure meds. As a result, I felt good the whole trip and I think that I could have kept going.

You can do it. Take advantage of the tips and tricks posted at the IBA's website. But be safe and be prepared to get a hotel room if you become overly fatigued. It's far better to try again later than to crash.
 
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