KLR vs VERSYS - Kawasaki Versys Forum
General Kawasaki Versys Discussions For discussions on anything and everything related to the Kawasaki Versys.

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post #1 of 352 (permalink) Old 11-06-2008, 02:20 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy KLR vs VERSYS

I just traded in my 2008 Versys for a 2009 KLR. There is no comparison in how much better the KLR is off road than the Versys. The 17 inch front on the Versys, the suspension travel, the exhaust & muffler location does not lend itself well to anything rough or slick. The final decision to let the Verys go was a very mild logging road I tried with the Versys. Go up a hill, the MT60 tires would lose traction, and the bike was swimming back and forth "swapping" on the way up. I had both feet down like skis coming back down after thinking...this bike is simply NOT AT ALL AN OFFROAD BIKE!

I have a loop I love to take on weekends, which I was told the Versys would handle. It consists of street, highway, gravel and dirt roads. In the dry, the Versys was good, except in the looser gravel. I found it unsafe to travel at any higher speeds (like 30 mph) in loose gravel. I was particularly careful about the line I would take, looking for the harder sections.

On the same ride with the KLR, I give up alot of power and speed accelerating on the road, but off road the KLR in MUCH better. Any speed is possible on the looser gravel sections, the bike tracks better, does not wander, and feels confident, like it was made for the terrain.

I took the KLR in the pitch black of night on the mild logging road I mentioned above and it was FUN!!! I wanted to do more of it. There is a reason they call the KLR a two-wheeled Jeep! It felt unstoppable on the rough terrain, where I would seriously cringed on the Versys, the KLR would just soak up larger rocks, losse terrain and want for more.

I really want to dispel the idea the Versys is at all an off road bike. There is no way I would take it on anything but a smooth, dry forest service road. If it is wet and muddy, forget it. Kawasaki does not market the Versys as an off road bike, and they are entirely correct in this. That is why they offer the KLR/KLX series.

I was on long street ride on the Versys when I first bought it, and there were logging roads I wanted to explore, but it was very wet, and I wasn't confident in how the bike would get me back if the going got rough. Now, with the KLR I will explore any road I come across, paved or not.

I hope this helps anyone considering these machines!

Andrew

Last edited by onewizard; Today at 11:33 AM.
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post #2 of 352 (permalink) Old 11-06-2008, 11:23 AM
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off road?

wherever did u get the idea that the versys is an offroad bike?...I don't even like going on a gravel road with mine...
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post #3 of 352 (permalink) Old 11-06-2008, 03:49 PM
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In defense of andyversys I have seen many many dealers with signs on the Versys describing it as an "on/off road" or dual purpose bike. I do recall not to long ago you could also find the Vesys on the Kawasaki website listed in the dual purpose and sport menu pull down. With that siad it is pretty well known around here that it is not a capable off-road bike, maybe un-improved or hard packed road at best.
So andyversys what do you feel yopu traded off from the Versys to the KLR? I was looking at the KLR when I got the Versys but unlike yourself I didnt see much off-road in my rides. What ever the case good luck with that bike I think we all might admit if funds allowed it is endless the bikes we would want to have at our disposal.....

I never met anyone that knows I don't like them.....
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post #4 of 352 (permalink) Old 11-06-2008, 04:06 PM
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versys has street tires......just change tires !!
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post #5 of 352 (permalink) Old 11-06-2008, 04:29 PM
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yeah change tires , move muffler , move the front fender up 7 inches, and make the rad bullet-proof. EXTREME!!!!

Working to make it my Streetfighter
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post #6 of 352 (permalink) Old 11-06-2008, 04:31 PM
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I've been in "Tank slappers" with my KLR with no one else around and probably would have been Coyote food if I would have dumped it on a regular old Gravel road! Be careful no matter what you are riding when you are out alone. I still have the KLR and will sell it when the market comes back up in the Spring for bikes. They are a great bike, but, don't have anybody to ride with offroad and have had too many close calls by myself. KLR is also an amazing Pack Mule and sounds good with a Pipe on it as well. You can drive the Harley guys nuts when you're sitting at a Stop light and your single makes their "Potatoe, Potatoe" look like Mashed Potatoes unless they have at least a Stage II kit in them for more than you paid for your Bike and Pipe! Happy exploring!
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post #7 of 352 (permalink) Old 11-06-2008, 05:32 PM
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yeah change tires , move muffler , move the front fender up 7 inches, and make the rad bullet-proof. EXTREME!!!!
Mmmmm...........seems like a lot of changes to ride a dirt road...i cain't believe anyone would buy a versys for serious off road use.
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post #8 of 352 (permalink) Old 11-06-2008, 06:56 PM
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Actually, I've seen quite a few people insinuate that the Versys is capable of mild off road work, but I've always maintained it's a pavement only machine AFAIK. I have a KLR for true dual sporting and if the trails get too tight, I'll take my CRF250X or KTM 200XC which are night and day more capable in the dirt than even the KLR. Right tool for the right job and all that.

2 cents,
Dave

2008 Versys, 2008 ZX6R, 2006 EX500, 2002 KLR650
2010 KTM 300XCW, 2007 KTM 200XC, 2006 KTM 200 XC,
2004 CRF250X, 2002 CRF150
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post #9 of 352 (permalink) Old 11-06-2008, 07:44 PM
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way too many changes, this bike is great the way it is. I only take it does a few gravel road to get to the campsites.

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post #10 of 352 (permalink) Old 11-06-2008, 08:01 PM
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I have never considered it an off-road bike either.

Kawasaki has (or had) it listed as Dual-sport on their website, but then in the detailed description, described the dual-sports as touring and commuting, plus weekend warrior.

Then the MC mag writers added to the confusion, because they think ANY bike with more than about 4 inches of fork travel MUST be a dual-sport.


The Versys is simple. It is a street sportbike. The added 1-1.5 inches of suspension travel make it more comfortable on poorly maintained PAVED roads. It also allows for better two up riding, and loading it down with luggage.

Put a set of really good sport tires on this bike, and you understand why I say its a sportbike. It handles fantastic!

If anything else, its an overgrown super-moto.
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post #11 of 352 (permalink) Old 11-06-2008, 11:31 PM
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To be or not to be!

I have changed my tires on the versy's to the pirrelli scorpion syncs. They have a tread pattern that is condusive for riding off road as well as all year on the streets. I can now say that I enjoy gravel on the V. I can take it on a mild trail coming off a fire road but only if I have explored it before and know what I am in for. As far as the V being an offroad machine. NO sport tourer yes. I can hit any fire road I have ever been on and be comfortable. I have been riding a few years now and experience plays a big part.
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post #12 of 352 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 12:30 AM
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I have 12,000 miles on my V and ride it in the dirt 25% of the time with street tires on it. If you come to a muddy spot in the road you do have to put your feet down though. Other than that I fly in the dirt. I live in a rural area and we have as many dirt roads as hardtop roads. I've been riding since I was 6 and I'm 47 now. Almost all of that time was spent dirt riding and riding on the blacktop is actually more scary to me. If I had dirt bike tires on my V I could take it anywhere as long as I had enough clearance below the bike.
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post #13 of 352 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 02:08 AM
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Th Versys can not do what a KLR or a GS does, it is simply not the same type of machine. It cannot, easily, traverese completely offroad or on very narrow trails. That being said, the Versys can do dirt roads. It can get you to your camp site. It can get you through gravel, and mud. I would recommend getting more DS geared tires though as the stocks are not at all made for dirt.


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post #14 of 352 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 09:30 AM
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I don't know... I've had a KLR... With the same tires on the V it could go almost everywhere the KLR can...

2007 Versys, 2003 Magna, 2000 VTR1000
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post #15 of 352 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 11:50 AM
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With all due respect, there are widely divergent opinions on what "off road" means and I'm not picking on anybody in particular but I've raced off road for 10 years and I've ridden for 35 years and I guarantee you that there are a great many places that you'll never take a Versys no matter what tires you put on it! From my perspective the V is a pavement only machine 'cause I have a KLR for dirt roads and mild trails but I'll concede that it could be adequate on dirt roads with the right tires.....but it'll never be a KLR in the dirt and the KLR will never be a real off road bike either. I don't consider the V to be truly off road capable.......according to my definition of "off road" but that doesn't mean you can't do it.

Dave

2008 Versys, 2008 ZX6R, 2006 EX500, 2002 KLR650
2010 KTM 300XCW, 2007 KTM 200XC, 2006 KTM 200 XC,
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post #16 of 352 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 01:29 PM
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Congrats on finding the bike the suits you best. That is what motorcycling is all about - enjoying the ride.

I gave up a BMW for my Versys and I'm sure there were some out there thinking I gave up the best bike on the road. Not for me is wasn't. For me it's the Versys - I do 90% street riding with a required capacity to do dirt roads. I need an adventure type motorcycle and that is what I've made my Versys into. I now have the bike I've always wanted and enjoy it more every day.

Enjoy those roads with your new friend and don't look back, the Versys just wasn't your ride.
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post #17 of 352 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 02:08 PM
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Congrats on finding the bike the suits you best. That is what motorcycling is all about - enjoying the ride.

I gave up a BMW for my Versys and I'm sure there were some out there thinking I gave up the best bike on the road. Not for me is wasn't. For me it's the Versys - I do 90% street riding with a required capacity to do dirt roads. I need an adventure type motorcycle and that is what I've made my Versys into. I now have the bike I've always wanted and enjoy it more every day.

Enjoy those roads with your new friend and don't look back, the Versys just wasn't your ride.
Well stated. On the flip side, I seriously thought of just using the KLR that I already owned for street duty as well as dualsporting, but it just didn't offer quite enough performance on the road; I'm VERY happy with the V for street riding/commuting.

Dave

2008 Versys, 2008 ZX6R, 2006 EX500, 2002 KLR650
2010 KTM 300XCW, 2007 KTM 200XC, 2006 KTM 200 XC,
2004 CRF250X, 2002 CRF150
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post #18 of 352 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 05:28 PM
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Well stated. On the flip side, I seriously thought of just using the KLR that I already owned for street duty as well as dualsporting, but it just didn't offer quite enough performance on the road; I'm VERY happy with the V for street riding/commuting.

Dave
Dave - you are just one of those lucky guys that have one of everything.

If I bought a second bike - my spouse would blow a gasket.
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post #19 of 352 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 05:39 PM
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I started riding two months or so ago, and I want to be able to cruise 50-100 miles to state forests, spend a lot of the day exploring on gravel forest roads, and cruise home, enjoying all this. Also, commute and dash about on country roads. My dog and I scouted out a nearby 3 mile, curvy, hard packed gravel road in the Subaru, and after I put on the H-B crash bars, I tried it on the V (stock tires). After the first turn I felt O.K., I kept it down to about 30 MPH, but could still divert enough attention to enjoy the fall colors and nearby creek. I enjoyed it enough, that I'll probably do it again this weekend, unless it rains, then I'll have a different learning experience in the High School parking lot. I don't know much, but it just felt like with appropriate tires and a little experience, my plans will work out very well with the Versys. Good starter bike, in my experience.

Chuck
2008 Kawasaki Versys
New rider (Sep. '08)
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post #20 of 352 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 07:14 PM
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Dave - you are just one of those lucky guys that have one of everything.

If I bought a second bike - my spouse would blow a gasket.
Well, my spouse has three bikes of her own so I'm just sorta trying to keep up!

She actually went to the California Superbike School in Las Vegas last weekend and took a two day track course; now she wants to trade her '06 EX500 on a new ZX6.


Cheers,
Dave

2008 Versys, 2008 ZX6R, 2006 EX500, 2002 KLR650
2010 KTM 300XCW, 2007 KTM 200XC, 2006 KTM 200 XC,
2004 CRF250X, 2002 CRF150
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