I've had my V for five summers now, and I still like it. But I was wondering...
Has anyone here ever ridden the both the Ninja 650 and the V for any length of time? Please comment on the differences you've found. I'm thinking down the road to my next purchase, and I'm thinking that I might like a little more forward lean, more wind protection and less helmet buffeting. I ride solo only. Can hard side bags be mounted on the Ninja?
My girlfriend bought an 09 650r at the same time I bought my V. I thoroughly enjoy riding hers as well. More top end and less buffeting from the wind but I find the low end far superior and the comfort is sooooo much better. I feel like the V feels more responsive in the useable rpm range. You don't get power as quickly so it feels like I'm constantly revving the bike. She has soft bags on hers and they fit without the sag I have with my soft bags. Everyone seems to think her bike is way cooler than mine but that's ok. Everyone either hates or loves the V. If you're looking for a sportier bike I'd looks at the zx6r or something along those lines. There isn't much of a difference other than the height imho. The bars are still pretty upright for a sportbike and I'm not exaxtly a fan of the bars being inbetween sport or touring.
I had an '06 Ninja 650. I bought it for the looks, handling, reliability, and excellent mpg. I rode it for three years, but despite some minor modifications, could never get my 6'1" frame that comfortable on the bike. I bought a ventura rack system and bags to sport-tour with, and felt that this was an excellent large-capacity pack for this bike. However, I'd been reading and hearing about the Versys', umm, versatility, and bought an '08 in August of last year. With a custom seat and some other mods, the Versys fits and suits me far better than the 650r ever did... almost all the strengths, and few of the weaknesses for MY purposes. I miss the 9-11K pull of the Ninja's engine, and feel that maybe the 650r was more fun to ride on "perfect" blacktop, but the V is far more enjoyable, on far more roads than the "sportier" bike ever was. I put more miles on the Versys in one year than I did on the Ninja in three! That's my $.02.
Friend has a 2013 650r I have the 2011 Versys. I rode his bike for at least 2-300km. It offers great handling (as does the Versys), posture is not too extreme, but too compact for my 6'1". The seat height is great if you're a beginner or vertically challenged and it doesnt have a crazy slop like the V. Also felt the injection for some reason on the 650r was a bit more "on-off". Power-wise, I can't say the difference is THAT noticeable. First time we switched bikes I felt his pulled a bit more and he felt the Versys pulled a bit more, just depends at what RPM you are when you open the throttle. On the quarter mile the Ninja is 1/10sec faster. The 650r has a few extra ponies mostly at the top. On the versys you usually don't reach the rev limiter cause the juice runs out before you do, as for the Ninja it begs you to stretch gears. Also depending on windscreen and configuration, the Ninja offers better wind protection and less buffeting.
Both are great bikes, but I wouldnt change the V for the 650r.
The Versys has great wind protection available but you need to invest in an after market windshield to get it.
Crash bars and hand guards installed on the Versys will make it nearly indestructible compared to the much more fragile 650R.
Versys has heavier build upside down forks that are adjustable for preload and rebound damping. The rear shock of the Versys is adjustable for rebound damping and preload. On the 650R there are conventional forks used that have no adjustments and the rear shock is only adjustable for preload. The Versys uses a larger aluminum swing arm while the 650R uses a smaller steel swing arm.
I owned a 07 Ninja 650 for a full season, then downsized to a 250 for the wife. After the wife quit riding I got the V.
The one big difference is the seating position. I can do all day on the V, where as the Ninja had a 6 hour limit before I was spent. The V to me feels like I'm riding a horse and I love seeing over minivans. As for the performance the 2 engines are so close it's hard to tell. As far as the handling is concerned, I never like how the Ninja was setup suspension wise and as a result, never scrap pegs on her. I have with the V & the suspension mods. She falls ever so nicely into corners fully loaded or with just me. For my money, I'd pick the V. I’m looking forward to another 20,000km season next year.
Honda CBR125R Sold
Kawasaki Ninja 650R Sold
Yamaha Zuma 50 Sold
Kawasaki Ninja250R Sold
Kawasaki Versys Current Bike
Hard bags on a Ninja650R? Yes except for US 2012 models--those would require new tail plastics or a drill.
On the Versys I often sit back up against the seat hump which gives me more forward lean. If you don't already do that, try and see if that's enough? I think I've read of people lowering the Versys bars or switching to clip-ons. Raising the seat (adding foam) might help too?
I put 16.5k miles on 1st gen Ninja 650R, with stock seat and windscreen. Some of the time was with 3 loaded hard bags, and I've spent all day in the saddle a few times.
I've put 18.7k miles on a 2nd gen Versys. Also stock seat and windscreen. I've only used side cases on the Versys though--no top case.
I feel the wind more on the Versys. But the bike itself doesn't get blown around as much. To be fair on most windy days on the Ninja I had a top case mounted. Anyway I prefer the Versys on windy days.
The Ninja is definitely quicker. And the Versys is more comfortable. The Versys also has a much greater fuel tank range--though I got slightly better fuel economy from the Ninja. Overall I prefer the Versys, but I'm sure I'd love to have a 2013 Ninja 650R too.
I put 15,000 miles on my Ninja 650 before trading it for the Versys. With the stock handlebars the upper body riding position is similar, maybe a little more forward lean with the Ninja. The leg position is definitely tighter on the ninja. Wind protection is better around the legs, but a touring screen is necessary for more upper body wind protection.
Definitely can put hard luggage on the Ninja and it looks more integrated than on the Versys.
The reviewers liked the V a lot more when I bought my '09 for all the reasons mentioned above. The newer Ninjas (2012 forward) have a different frame and swingarm, and the crossover pipe on the exhaust that we have on the V so the engine has better mid-range. If you planned on re-doing the suspension anyway, I think it could be a sweet bike.