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  #1  
Old 9 Aug 2012
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The Versys Thread

I have added to my Kawasaki stable with a Versys Tourer.



The Tourer gets the MRA Vario screen, handguards, a gel tank pad and panniers which are marked Kawasaki but are Givi Monokey.

An odd issue is that Kawasaki will not let you buy a top box with the panniers, it is either or, not both. But you can get the three boxes elsewhere, such as Givi. It is supposedly down to weight, but that seems a bit odd. It was not a deal killer for me and I am happy with my Weise Expander tail bag secured under the seat with the strap and bungees. There is hardly any space under the seat anyway.

I got the bike after touring a lot on the KLE500 and finding it underpowered and uncomfortable. But I am keeping the KLE500 for the winter and off road where it really excels. The Versys will be on road only, with the odd dirt track, but nothing more. I have seen film of a Versys with a sump guard being ridden properly off road over rocks and jumps, but the low exhaust means that is not really its best environment.

MotoUSA Project Bike: Kawasaki Versys Part 3 - YouTube

One nod to going off road is the Motowerk Flat Foot (the oily smudges are from giving it a good going over with ACF50)



though since the first time I parked the bike and left it for a while I found the side stand had sunk into the tarmac, it will be useful all of the time. There is no provision for a centre stand due to the exhaust.

I cannot wait to get some proper miles on the clock. It is an odd mix of bike. Tall sports tourer with a bit of off road and commuting thrown in. It certainly is not a direct replacement for the KLE500, bit they nicely complement each other.
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Old 10 Aug 2012
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With panniers and tail bag.



Thats 105 litres of capacity between the three.
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  #3  
Old 24 Aug 2012
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And another one

Me too!
I have just got one for the road riding - I've no intention of going off road with it; mine has a similar spec to yours but with the topbox and not the panniers - I like the (very) low exhaust which means I can just throw some soft luggage over the pillion seat, easily.


Your thread title is a bit misleading in that there is also a Kawasaki versys 1000cc but, hey, I knew what you meant.
There isn't much discussion of this KLE 650 in here but, never mind, a "best kept secret" maybe?

ps I've just found one of those earlier threads that you might enjoy reading
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...ng-guide-64799
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Last edited by Walkabout; 24 Aug 2012 at 18:55. Reason: ps added
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  #4  
Old 24 Aug 2012
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Hurrah! Another owner owner!

Mine just went in for its 600 mile service, £112. I have now got engine guards, a fender extender and a tool tube fitted. I am trying out a bumbag4bikers

3um3ags43ikers

which is a pad filled with buckwheat like a bean bag. It certainly dampens the vibrations and so far so good.

I can now use more revs and will have a proper tour soon.

I am disappointed with the finish as there are marks where my heel rests on the frame and I did have my pannier key with the ignition key and it has left marks too.
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  #5  
Old 24 Aug 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Throttled View Post
Hurrah! Another owner owner!


I am disappointed with the finish as there are marks where my heel rests on the frame and I did have my pannier key with the ignition key and it has left marks too.
"They all do that sir".
Actually, most bikes do especially in the way you describe at the headstock - caused by the dangling keys.
It all adds to the street cred?

As an after-thought, I have been reading back into the thread below, which gives a pretty good review about riding the wee Versys (since there is now a big versys with the 1000cc inline 4 engine!!) with full luggage and a pillion.
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...i-versys-53856
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Last edited by Walkabout; 27 Aug 2012 at 16:41. Reason: after-thought added
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  #6  
Old 27 Oct 2012
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Kle650caf

The Versys KLE650CAF (non ABS) - a road bike.
Just for clarity, I'm referring here to the second version that has been on sale most recently, specifically a 2010 bike. Reputedly, these have a less vibey engine compared with the first version, being mounted differently.


I have owned mine for just over 2 months and put in nearly 3500 miles, all on the highway – this is not an off road bike! Yes, it's not a vast mileage but enough to make a judgement about the Versys. So what I am saying here is simply my experience of riding this bike for quite a short time but over a few miles.
Most of the miles have been one up with luggage by the way, but I have carried a pillion a few times, with no significant luggage fitted on those occasions.
The bike is shod with Michelin road pilot 3s which have a load of grip; very likely far more than this bike needs.


Comfort:
The handbook says the ground clearance is 7 inches; this seems really good on the face of it, but the bike is a road bike i.e. it doesn't actually need this amount of clearance for road use and it does mean that the seat is quite high. Lots of information/reports about the Versys have pointed out the under-slung exhaust collection box which is just forward of the back wheel – this may be why the ground clearance is so high.
Sure, the bike does have a high ground clearance for a road bike, but, as a consequence, the foot pegs are a bit too high, for me anyway. I certainly expected them to be lower and more comfortable in that important dimension between seat and foot pegs which determines the amount of bend in the knees – a big contributing factor to all day riding comfort and putting in the distance.
Everything else about the bike e.g. the stretch to the handle bars and the saddle are fine for me when putting in 300+ miles per day (but then so was the F650GS when doing 500+ mile days).
The overall riding position feels “high” because of the high seat position and the wide spread of the handle bars; it is quite possible to stand on the pegs while riding thereby easing the knees!
My pillion says that the rear part of the saddle is very comfortable.


Range:
The fuel tank is quoted as 19 litres capacity and it certainly can return about 250 miles between fill ups; the fuel warning starts to flash when there is about a gallon (UK gallon, i.e. about 4.5 litres) remaining. So, you can easily push this on a bit with the knowledge that it is not going to run out of fuel for some time – I have got to within about 2 litres remaining before refuelling (based on brimming the tank), hence the 250 mile range.
I have got up to a best of 69 MPG from this bike with 65 MPG easily returned when the throttle was used a bit more liberally and down to a lowest return of 63 MPG when running on 10% ethanol mixture ( French fuel that claimed to be 95 RON – before I saw the 10% sign it was in the tank!).




Suspension:
They come with preload and rebound adjustment on both the shock absorber and the front forks. Nevertheless, I have fiddled with all of these adjustments but I still consider the ride to be worse than other bikes I have owned (most recently ridden has been a F650GS which had a much softer suspension). The Versys seems to be harsh and my pillion has made the same comment, feeling every bump in the highway. Now I have everything, front and back, adjusted to the softest settings but it is disappointing for the quality of ride on anything but very smooth surfaces. Also, the forks are upside down in design (I've never owned one of these designs before) and I expected more from this suspension arrangement.
As a comment, as with most Hondas, the competitive pricing of the Versys may be achieved by economising in the suspension.


Engine:
The quoted horsepower is not a lot for a parallel twin 650cc, but that is OK for me, riding one up. The riding experience is about more than outright HP and it gives the impression of a decent amount of torque which is what I would expect from any twin cylinder. I have found the bike more than OK for one up riding, including with luggage fitted, but a bit breathless for carrying two people who more or less equate to the maximum all-up weight recommendation of Kawasaki.
I guess this means that the engine is doing pretty much what it was designed for, so, overall I consider this to be a good engine with good performance coupled with good fuel economy. It has more vibration than I expected after reading the reports comparing this version with the first, but I probably expected too much and I shouldn't have done after owning V twins.


Finish:
Yep, the plasticky bits are a matter of taste I suppose, but the polished alloy bits do mark easily and those marks can be just about anywhere that something touches the bike, including the matt paint on the fuel tank.
Sure, this doesn't matter one bit for an off road bike but this is a bike that is designed for the road and competing with other bikes that, arguably, have a more robust finish.




I guess that will do, for now.

Footnote regarding the engine: at an indicated 70 MPH (the legal speed in the UK for the motorway) the bike is pulling about 5500 revs, but it feels a bit high for that cruising speed. The engine is not "strained" at those revs, but it does feel like a higher engine revolution than I am used to.
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Last edited by Walkabout; 31 May 2013 at 10:04. Reason: engine footnote added
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  #7  
Old 27 Oct 2012
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Excellent review Walkabout.

I have managed as low as 50.86mpg with my short commutes and about town, which is still not bad.

As for the pegs, I lowered them with this kit

Lowering Foot Pegs Blocks

and since then no knee pain at all.
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  #8  
Old 20 Nov 2012
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Thanks for that link; the lowering system looks like a good bit of kit and well made.

Ride magazine runs tests of fuel economy for a wide range of bikes over a standardised route under what they say is standardised riding.
The Versys lies 12th in their chart with a MPG figure of 56.7 MPG.

The best, by the way, is the KTM Duke 690 with 78.2 MPG which is hard to explain for a fairly-high-state-of-tune bike.
(The BMW single cyl models come close behind alongside the Honda NC700X).
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Old 4 Dec 2012
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I had the local Blacksmith weld the Kawasaki top box carrier to the pannier frames.
20K later not had any issues nor signs of stress fractures/fatigue
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Old 5 Dec 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Borderraider View Post
I had the local Blacksmith weld the Kawasaki top box carrier to the pannier frames.
20K later not had any issues nor signs of stress fractures/fatigue
Nice job so long as it doesn't interfere, too much, with removing the pannier frames (on the occasions when you really don't want them fitted).

I would think that Kawasaki is most concerned for the sub-frame when riding two up with the luggage for two people (they would certainly be if they saw what my wife thinks should be fitted into panniers etc!).
My guess is that you were riding solo for most of those 20K miles??
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Old 5 Dec 2012
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Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post
Nice job so long as it doesn't interfere, too much, with removing the pannier frames (on the occasions when you really don't want them fitted).

I would think that Kawasaki is most concerned for the sub-frame when riding two up with the luggage for two people (they would certainly be if they saw what my wife thinks should be fitted into panniers etc!).
My guess is that you were riding solo for most of those 20K miles??
Panniers frames stay on so not a problem for us.
Yes, the Versys is only ever ridden solo- it's my wife's Bike although I've borrowed it for a few European trips.
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Old 15 Mar 2013
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I got a 2012 Versys last weekend! I owned a 2008 model for few years until we moved for a year and a half to Brazil, where I got an er 6n.

Now, back in LondonV I am absolutely delighted to have another versys. I loved my previous one. I broke my heart having to sell it!

I am just getting the seat scooped out at the moment and waiting for my lowering link from the US.
I can ride the bike as it stands but I am really on my tip toes (I'm only 1.63m or 5 foot 4? sth like that!) ...

Big trip to Romania planned in the summer! I can't wait. And as it has been mentioned, with the exhaust under the belly I can just throw a couple of soft panniers over and go!

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Old 15 Mar 2013
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hello
only in french, sorry, but went to Mongolia and is in south america nowadays
maxautourdumonde | vagabondagesautourdumonde
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enjoy the pictures
cheers
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Old 18 Mar 2013
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Originally Posted by yvestt39 View Post
hello
only in french, sorry, but went to Mongolia and is in south america nowadays
maxautourdumonde | vagabondagesautourdumonde
Maxime Barat
enjoy the pictures
cheers
Quite impressive. I never thought the Versys could do so much. My main concern would still be the exhaust under the belly. HE did not seem to have any issues with it but it would worry me a lot! In any cases most "pistes" are doable with any bike. I did quiet few trails in Brazil with my then er 6n, taking it easy and with road tyres....
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Old 19 Mar 2013
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Originally Posted by maria41 View Post
Quite impressive. I never thought the Versys could do so much. My main concern would still be the exhaust under the belly. HE did not seem to have any issues with it but it would worry me a lot! In any cases most "pistes" are doable with any bike. I did quiet few trails in Brazil with my then er 6n, taking it easy and with road tyres....
I presume no threat of rain since the front mudguard was removed. The exhaust maybe low down, but it appears robust and my main concern would be flooding. Not a problem is the desert!

Great blog.
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