Great write-up!!!! Thank you very much! Now I'm wishing my own bank account had the funds in it RIGHT NOW to order a kit. :)
A few questions... given 29k miles on your bike, did you replace the head bolts? I'm guessing you did NOT replace the timing chain? I have 25k on mine and figure I'll have closer to 30k before I open it up for my 790 kit, and had been planning on replacing those parts as a precaution. I wonder how necessary it is. I know on car motors, it's considered standard practice to replace the head bolts whenever you remove them.
'Course I'm also (tentatively) planning to pull my motor and split the case and check out the transmission, replace all the bearings, and consider the billet 3rd gear if I can spare another $500. I'll have to wait and see how yours holds up. :)
Anyway, great job, and we sure do appreciate the write-up and photos!
'12 Suzuki V-Strom DL650
'96 Suzuki DR650
'10 Kawasaki KLX351S #320
'01 Yamaha FZ1