My impression is that not many people ride their adventure bikes off pavement. Unless you live in a remote rural area there are just not that many dirt roads around anymore, at least ones that go anywhere and are longer than a 1/2 mile.
A poor man's Tenere? After all the mods it probably will cost as much if not more than an S 10 and you will still be missing the throttle by wire, the abs, the traction control, the throttle electornic controls, comfortable seat, and most important the rear shaft. If you long for an S 10 buy one if not be happy with one of the most versatile mid weight (or light tourer) motorcycles in the market.
Should I say that a stock Versys with a decent set of tires can cover 90% of the terrain that the S10 do.
New 2012 super tenere's are going for a little over 12K. New Versys are going for over 6K. (These are buy it now ebay prices from dealers - real world prices) Both no bags.
SO if Kaw added 2K their cost to upgrade both suspensions, rims, add a few other "adventure" things, a "poor man's tenere" would go for just over 8K real world price - still 4K less. Near a vstrom price but should be more dual roadlike. A lot like that silver bike pictured above.
With the Er6 dead in the US and X bikes all the rage, that 650 motor could be used for the ninja, versys standard (both on 17in rims), and a versys X with beefier suspension and appropriate rims. Different front suspensions on all three, different rear suspension and rims for the X bike. Most won't get past the Starbucks anyway ...
The KLR suspension ain't much. My '08 KLR had racetech springs and GVEs in the front end and a Cogent Moab shock out back. Switched bikes with a friend and he was amazed at the improvement.
My replacement for the Versys will have a driveshaft. A lot easier to change the differential fluid when you change the oil than to have to lube and inspect the chain ever 500 miles or sooner if you ride in the rain or off road.
With the growing popularity of Adventure bikes I am amazed Kawasaki has not entered that arena. All the magazines say that Adventure bikes is the fastest growing area.
I haven't test ridden a Super Tenere, but the bike fits me well from showroom test fits. I like the Tiger Explorer, but it feel a little large for me.
I like the power and suspension of the Versys. You can not compare it to a thumper. It is over 100lbs. Lighter than the Super Tenere . . . And less than half the price. Used Versys are bargains . . . Which make having a $2K set of spoked 19" X 17" wheels possible. They are much more forgiving over the bumps etc.
2009 Blue Versys, 2007 950 SuperMoto, 2006 950 Adventure