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!
Last edited by onewizard; 12-02-2016 at 10:33 AM.