Undecided Buyer - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-28-2017, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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Undecided Buyer

Hi All,

I'm 21 married, and I've owned a 1994 Honda Magna 750 since I was 16. I love that bike, it's a great light/nimble bike with plenty of power. Most of my riding lately is 2-up since my wife *loves* riding with me. We want to do some longer trips and even go cross country. My bike is great for smaller trips, but my wife gets uncomfortable after an hour so. Considering that and the fact that my bike is older than me, I'm in the market for a new-ish bike.

I'm 5'11" and ~165-170lbs and my wife is 5'3" and ~140lbs

Like I said, I *love* my magna, it has enough power for 2-up wouldn't mind a bit more, but don't need much more. It's light, has more of an upright seating position compared to other cruisers (that are more laid back), handles fairly well. So for my new bike i'd be searching for a similar set of features:

- Not too heavy
- Maybe a little more torque than my magna
- Comfortable for 2-up
- Designed for long trips
- ABS
- Hopefully under $10k
- Handles OK/decent with 2-up, enough to feel fun, but nothing crazy
- Handles great own your own so that I can rip through the canyon if I want and have a blast.

I'm not a terribly aggressive rider, but I do like to lean on the corners, but when my wife's on the back, I'm prefer to ride more conservatively, but still like to have fun.

After my initial research, the Versys seems like serious contender to meeting my needs. But i'm not totally sure since I've never owned a Sport Touring bike. I'm hoping any of you guys can help make up my mind .

Thanks!
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-29-2017, 07:44 AM
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to the forum. Lots of advice, one big one is insurance, as posted by twowheeladdict

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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-29-2017, 07:48 AM
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IMO the 650LT with the added top box would be good for a two-up situation for shorter trips. Not the easiest bike to get on and off of and probably not so good for the passenger for long distances. On the other hand you would love the bike. Good luck.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-29-2017, 08:01 AM
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Welcome!

Unfortunately, I can't help you with your decision (I'm a solo commuter).

If you get the opportunity, I would strongly suggest a test ride with your wife. Before getting the V, I was smitten with the V-Strom on paper, but a ride day at a dealership let me discover that the seating position just didn't work for me. I couldn't wait for the ride to end. A test ride of the V, however, sealed the deal. You won't really get a feel for how it will work for both of you until you take it out for a spin.
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2008 Versys (Red)
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-29-2017, 08:19 AM
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Welcome from mid-Flowriduh.

Different bikes fit different folks different ways. I have a '15 650LT. This is the second bike that I have owned over a 48 year riding career that the ergos required no changes. 5-10, 190 lbs. Try to demo one or at least sit on one to see how it fits.

The WeeStrom is a bit longer but it doesn't seem that you need the length. Wifey and I fit just fine on the Versy.

I just came off of a c-10 Connie that I put 214,xxx miles on. I sold it with 234 on it. I really like the updated, decent suspension on the V for both touring and especially the twisties, though the rear is a bit taught for off road work that gets a bit narly. This will be my retirement bike. It handles very well, has fairly quick acceleration, excellent ABS brakes, virtually no vibration, and is decent on fuel. And these are cheap. What's not to like?

You will most likely be doing some mods to it. I've done a bunch including Rostra cruise and a recently arrived Seat Concepts seat, not yet mounted. I've gotten feed back from two different pillions that the stock seat was not all that comfortable. Both were on it for less than an hour. Front seems OK for the first 3-4 hours, then things start to get a bit irritating.

I bought my '15 LT used, dealer trade in. Bike was $5500 + ttl and "fees" was 6600. It already had the MaKaw trunk, 12v outlet, and gear indicator plus a Puig shield and a Givi hugger. I've thrown about (checking to see if DW is looking over my shoulder) another grand at it in farkles. All in, less than eight large for a totally set up touring bike good for cross continent sport touring. Yeah baby.

And it's fun. Wait 'til you ride something that doesn't have thirty year old tech suspension. Mahvelous.

I do have a '98 beat up, but still quite capable KLR650 as a stable mate to this which I traveled from FL to Cali on. Probably gonna keep it. It would make an excellent Central/So America bike.

Good luck. And do check out the Wee Strom, it may work better for ya.

Edit to add: I have a Hepko Becker center stand mounted. It makes it a whole lot easier for the pillion to get on and off the bike.
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Yeah, if you want true ram air tuning, you better be willing to ram some air! (SiSF)

'15 KLE650LT
'99 Concours(with 234,xxx miles on it), sold
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And most of Canada too, eh?

Last edited by SteveJ; 01-29-2017 at 08:23 AM.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-29-2017, 09:10 AM
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Personally, I never liked dealing with chain maintenance while on a trip.

Unfortunately, you don't have many choices that are not cruisers if you want to avoid chain maintenance.

Sport touring bikes like the Concours and FJR have shaft drive.

The BMW 1200R bikes have shaft drive.

The BMW 800 sport touring uses a belt.

You will be dropping in power moving from the magna to the Versys, but may not notice in seat of the pants because of the final gearing.

Without modification, the vstrom is a more comfortable 2 up bike.

At 21 years old, insurance cost will probably be a huge consideration which bike you chose.

My Versys Travels:


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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-29-2017, 10:40 AM
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Nothing wrong with the Versys 650 LT (it's what I have) but it sounds like you want/need a bit more. I would check out the Versys 1000LT and the Honda 1300 CTX. Both nice looking bikes just a bit different in the looks/uses. Versys a sport touring and the CTX a semi-cruiser/touring. You won't get either under $10K new though. A used one is possible.

Test sit and ride anything that interests you. If the dealer won't allow test rides go find a different dealer. Any dealer that expects you to buy with out testing is a shylock.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-29-2017, 04:02 PM
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'08 V - BIG RED - AZ, '15 V650LT - the GREEN HORNET TOO - BC, and ('09 V - the GREEN HORNET - recently deceased..
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My Versys trip to D2D 2013, June '13

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My Versys trip to D2D 2015, June '15

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My Versys trip to D2D 2016, June '16

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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-30-2017, 01:21 AM Thread Starter
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Wow, you guys are so helpful! I never even considered insurance. I use progressive but only get comp/collision for my bike since it's not worth much. I pay $126 a year for insurance on my bike which is incredibly reasonable.

I just did a quote with Progressive entering basic information...; i'm shocked! It'd be about ~$1000+ a year for the base package. That's quite discouraging . Out of curiosity, is that because it's marked as a Sport bike? What bikes would be more insurance friendly?

EDIT:

I just did a bit more research, the versys definitely has a bit higher of insurance, but maybe $25-$50 more a month compared to less sporty bikes. So, I think i'll be able to swing that.
@twowheeladdict good point with the chain maintenance. About how many miles per clean/lube is needed? Also, roughly how many miles do the chains give you before you need to replace?
@Duffy I never heard of the 2014 CTX 1300 before. That's a neat bike; the style is kind of...well, unconventional, but if it works, it works. I didn't see any dealers/craigslist that are anywhere near me, but it might be another possible avenue for me. Looking at the specs, it likes fairly heavy. I've test driven a Triumph Thunderbird, and it definitely felt like too much bike for me and my wife.

Another question for any of you guys... What do you think about ABS? I'm a bit worried on cross country trips that i'll be hitting storms in the midwest and would really miss a feature like ABS. I try not to ride in the rain if I don't have to, and I have very little experience riding on wet ground. I've managed so far without it, but i've definitely been in some situations where i was sliding the back tire.

Last edited by ragboyjr; 01-30-2017 at 03:08 AM.
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-30-2017, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragboyjr View Post
Wow, you guys are so helpful! I never even considered insurance. I use progressive but only get comp/collision for my bike since it's not worth much. I pay $126 a year for insurance on my bike which is incredibly reasonable.

I just did a quote with Progressive entering basic information...; i'm shocked! It'd be about ~$1000+ a year for the base package. That's quite discouraging . Out of curiosity, is that because it's marked as a Sport bike? What bikes would be more insurance friendly?

EDIT:

I just did a bit more research, the versys definitely has a bit higher of insurance, but maybe $25-$50 more a month compared to less sporty bikes. So, I think i'll be able to swing that.
@twowheeladdict good point with the chain maintenance. About how many miles per clean/lube is needed? Also, roughly how many miles do the chains give you before you need to replace?
@Duffy I never heard of the 2014 CTX 1300 before. That's a neat bike; the style is kind of...well, unconventional, but if it works, it works. I didn't see any dealers/craigslist that are anywhere near me, but it might be another possible avenue for me. Looking at the specs, it likes fairly heavy. I've test driven a Triumph Thunderbird, and it definitely felt like too much bike for me and my wife.

Another question for any of you guys... What do you think about ABS? I'm a bit worried on cross country trips that i'll be hitting storms in the midwest and would really miss a feature like ABS. I try not to ride in the rain if I don't have to, and I have very little experience riding on wet ground. I've managed so far without it, but i've definitely been in some situations where i was sliding the back tire.
The manual call for cleaning and lubing the chain about every 500 miles. On a trip that usually equates to every evening as soon as the riding is done because you want to do it on a warm chain. How many miles a chain lasts is very dependent on maintenance and riding conditions. My OEM chain lasted 15,000 miles, but was well worn. The quality replacement was still fine at 30,000 miles when I traded off the Versys.

ABS is definitely a plus and a great feature to have in a bike. If it is available on a bike I am considering, I will always chose to have it. Only two of my current 5 road bikes have ABS, but the two that do are my touring bikes.

Japanese Cruisers are generally going to be the cheapest to insure. Unless you have a lot of money in the bank and are paying cash for the sub-$10,000 bike, you are going to have to have full coverage insurance.

If you are not into cruisers, or a V-twin, you might want to check out the standards. Honda CB1100, Triumph Bonneville, Triumph Tiger 800 with cast wheels.

The CTX 1300 is a sporty bike with cruiser ergonomics. Honda also makes a 700cc version of the bike as well if you think the 1300 would be too much for you. 2016 Honda CTX700 - Motorcycle USA. It has a chain though where the 1300 has the shaft.

My Versys Travels:


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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-30-2017, 08:34 AM
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-30-2017, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragboyjr View Post
Wow, you guys are so helpful! I never even considered insurance. I use progressive but only get comp/collision for my bike since it's not worth much. I pay $126 a year for insurance on my bike which is incredibly reasonable.

I just did a quote with Progressive entering basic information...; i'm shocked! It'd be about ~$1000+ a year for the base package. That's quite discouraging . Out of curiosity, is that because it's marked as a Sport bike? What bikes would be more insurance friendly?

EDIT:

I just did a bit more research, the versys definitely has a bit higher of insurance, but maybe $25-$50 more a month compared to less sporty bikes. So, I think i'll be able to swing that.
@twowheeladdict good point with the chain maintenance. About how many miles per clean/lube is needed? Also, roughly how many miles do the chains give you before you need to replace?
@Duffy I never heard of the 2014 CTX 1300 before. That's a neat bike; the style is kind of...well, unconventional, but if it works, it works. I didn't see any dealers/craigslist that are anywhere near me, but it might be another possible avenue for me. Looking at the specs, it likes fairly heavy. I've test driven a Triumph Thunderbird, and it definitely felt like too much bike for me and my wife.

Another question for any of you guys... What do you think about ABS? I'm a bit worried on cross country trips that i'll be hitting storms in the midwest and would really miss a feature like ABS. I try not to ride in the rain if I don't have to, and I have very little experience riding on wet ground. I've managed so far without it, but i've definitely been in some situations where i was sliding the back tire.

I'll toss in my two cents and suggest the Honda CTX700 as being a bike worthy of consideration. It's my spouse's current "first to go to" bike (she has more than one) and, although it's not perfect, we both like it quite a bit.

We looked at the CTX1300 but, by comparison, it's much heavier and doesn't fit either of us well. The CTX700 is a 670cc parallel twin (half of a Honda Fit engine if you believe the pundits) with a relatively low saddle, which is to say lower than the Versys but not a butt-dragger like most cruisers. And even though is sports "forward foot controls" it's surprisingly comfortable and that includes day-long rides. It isn't a pavement scorcher but, on the positive side, it manages amazingly good fuel mileage - in the upper 50 to lower 60s mpg - and it's comfortable. And because it isn't a sport bike the insurance doesn't take your breath away. Caveat inserted here: we're between 40 and 50 years older than you.

And despite the overall weight, the engine is canted forward dramatically which places the center of gravity lower to the ground. Once moving the bike feels several hundred pounds lighter than it is. We mounted the taller factory windscreen, hard cases and rear rack (to which we strap a First Gear tail trunk) and use a tank bag for quick access stuff. That offers a good amount of carrying capacity for our needs.

Ours is the partially faired model with manual gearbox and no ABS primarily because to get ABS (at least with the 2014 model) you had to accept the flappy paddle semi-automatic gearbox and it's not what she wanted.

Reviews in the motorcycle magazines have been, for the most part, quite favorable with the common observation being that Honda didn't quite know what they wanted the bike to be. Is it a cruiser or naked bike or a touring machine? As it happens, the answer is yes.

And to give you an idea of where we're coming from (at the risk of being accused of bragging) in addition to the CTX 700, this is what else we ride at present: 2008 Versys, 1993 BMW K75S, 2015 Suzuki TU250X, and 2015 Can Am Spyder RT-S.

Hope this might be of some assistance. When the dust settles, there is no perfect bike; it's a matter of what suits your needs best without breaking the bank.

Arion

"Plan? Plan! There ain't no plan."
Pig Killer, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

Last edited by Arion; 01-30-2017 at 10:59 AM.
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-30-2017, 11:43 AM
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No perfect bike is CORRECT...............it's all a matter of what fits your needs at the time. Test sit, research and test ride. Looking is half the fun of getting a new bike. I spent almost 3 years looking.

When I started to think that I needed to replace the Vulcan 1500 (I'm getting old and the Vulcan was HEAVY at almost 900 lbs) I started looking at all sorts of bikes. The key part of the search was touring capable. That had me dropping to 1000-1300 cc bikes. That's where I ran across the ST 1300 and it's sibling the CTX1300. Still too heavy so I dropped to 750-900 cc's. Found that there aren't many of them (reasonably priced) that make good touring bikes. Finally dropped to 650 cc's. Rode quite a few of them; Honda NC700X, Versys 650, and Suzuki V-Strom. The BMW GS650 is a nice bike also but out of my price range. Rode all of them several times and decided on the Versys............Honda NC700X was a close second. The Versys was just a bit MORE bike for about the same money.

Good luck and enjoy the hunt..........it's a ball.
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-30-2017, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all for the great input.

At this point, I need to ride one. The closest demo day is in late march/april for the Versys, so hopefully something shows up sooner before the new years deals go away.
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-31-2017, 06:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragboyjr View Post
Thanks all for the great input.

At this point, I need to ride one. The closest demo day is in late march/april for the Versys, so hopefully something shows up sooner before the new years deals go away.
As a experienced rider I would suggest posting your rough location, someone may be willing to work something out as to a ride, may involve some PM's.
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post #16 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-31-2017, 11:32 AM
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'08 V - BIG RED - AZ, '15 V650LT - the GREEN HORNET TOO - BC, and ('09 V - the GREEN HORNET - recently deceased..
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My Versys trip to D2D 2013, June '13

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My Versys trip to D2D 2015, June '15

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My Versys trip to D2D 2016, June '16

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post #17 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-31-2017, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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onewizard I live near Chico, CA.
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post #18 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-31-2017, 02:33 PM
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Since you are in Chico, call "G" at Roseville Yamaha-Kawasaki and mention that Bob Bowman sent you. He'll get you a test ride, and they also will "wheel and deal" there as they are a large volume dealer. Worth the hour drive.

And of course, they also have Yamaha's to check out.
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post #19 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-31-2017, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
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Since you are in Chico, call "G" at Roseville Yamaha-Kawasaki and mention that Bob Bowman sent you. He'll get you a test ride, and they also will "wheel and deal" there as they are a large volume dealer. Worth the hour drive.

And of course, they also have Yamaha's to check out.
I don't know if I spoke to "G" specifically, but when I called they said that they are out of demo bikes. And they'll be getting demo bikes in late march/april or so.
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post #20 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-31-2017, 03:04 PM
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G is the sales manager. Just checked inventory. Sold out of 2016's. No 2017's currently available in Roseville.

Check with Good Times in Sacramento. They appear to have a couple of 2016 LT models in stock and on sale.

Also in Sacramento is PCP Powersports, they have a couple of 2017's in stock.

These three dealers are all strong dealers and compete with each other on price and they will all give test rides (if they have bikes!)
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