Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Province of Ontario, Canada
I've ridden both. Could not get used to the Honda engine. It has a very low redline at 6K, so you need to short shift. In comparison you can wind the Versys motor up to 10K and if your lazy don't need to shift as much. The Versys motor has a very linear torque curve but the powerband only starts at 4.5K where the Honda motor is approaching the red line. The Honda motor behaves more like a HD V twin but without the gobs of torque. It also has a LOT less power when it comes to seat of the pants feel. Try winding out both bikes when you test ride them. It does however have a very low center of gravity which should be reassuring to shorter people and newer riders. Also love the tank storage. The Honda would be a great city commuter but as others have said, the Versys is more fun to ride on a twisty secondary road. I suspect the Versys is also the better light tourer, highway bike, simply because of the increased power and better wind protection.
The Versys has a more legible dash.
As for modifications there are lots of good suggestions on this site, but I would save yourself ~$500 and stick to the stock exhaust. The exhaust is at the bottom of the bike so any weight savings will be imperceptible and I have not seen an aftermarket exhaust for the Versys that looks as good as the stock exhaust. Performance differences are simply not that noticeable, so it all really comes down to sound. Personally I'm happy with the stock sound.
Things you may want to consider are a good tank bag, to match the honda for storage and perhaps a lockable top box for the rear and maybe heated grips (not the Kawi ones though).
Last edited by twowheels; 03-18-2016 at 05:48 AM.