Versys Ride Report (2,700 mile trip)
Type of rider: Moto-tourist/Commuter/off road
Experience: 40 + years & 40 + motorcycles. Former Pro class MX racer
Versys ownership: 2008 Versys, 5 months.
This is a ride and performance report from my recent trip to Yellowstone, Beartooth highway, the Grand Tetons, Virginia City MT and Glacier park from Seattle. The Versys had about 7,500 miles on the clock at the beginning of the trip. The bike performed flawlessly on the entire trip, even at 10,947 ft. elevation at the pass on the Beartooth Highway. Power was never an issue. In deference to one of our group members, we rode at 85 mph in MT for 2 four hour sessions to "make up time" lost due to my brother's Buell Ulysses breaking down. Montana is crazy. People in sub compacts and pickups pulling camp trailers were passing us. The Versys handled it without a whimper. It was the only bike under 1,200 cc in the group of 4 bikes. The only maintenance I performed was applying "Tri-Flow" to the chain each morning. I carried about 80 lbs. on the bike including cases and bags. I weigh 180. The bike handled fine with the added weight. I bumped up the rear preload one notch (one from the highest setting) and that's all that was needed. I treated the Versys to a tank full of "snowmobile gas" (no ethanol) at a gas station in Cody Wyoming. It didn't seem to make a difference but it made me feel good putting "the real thing" in the tank. I ran 92 octane on the trip. Overall the bike was comfortable for its compact size and handled roads under construction well too, even the soft stuff. I run the stock windshield flipped and under most circumstances that would be fine except for the high winds encountered. I will get a taller windshield before the next long trip. The Corbin seat performed excellently. The yoshimura can sounded great when I could hear it (wind turbulence noise). The Wolfman Explorer tank bag is a great fit and holds all the quick access items needed. The Pelican 1550 side cases hold a lot and protect the bike. The medium sized Moto Fizz camping bag held my tent, sleeping bag, pillow and more and has side pockets that carry other small items. It's an excellent investment. The high front fender looks good in IMHO and the fender extender really helps protect the radiator. I have a 12V outlet for charging gadgets. I have a GPS mount behind the windshield (Ram mount on a fabbed plate) which is a nice convenience. I have stop, turn, tail lights mounted on the rear of the cases which add a lot of visibility/safety from the rear. They are trailer lights from etrailer.com. I can unplug the lights and remove the racks and cases in a couple of minutes which is good for rear end maintenance and local rides. I took the stock mirrors apart and applied Loc-Tite and reassembled them, then added mirror wideners to make them more useful and to add safety. All in all, for me, the Versys is a better solo adventure touring bike than my V-Strom 650 was because it doesn't drag anything in the corners and I can get my hoofs more firmly on the ground while while still enjoying excellent comfort, handling and performance. Compared to my "motard-touring" Suzuki DR650 (which I rode on a 2,500 mile trip last year), it has more power and doesn't seem to work as hard on long stretches of highway but is not as well suited to rough terrain obviously. For my intended use, I rate the Versys as a "9" stock and a "10" with an aftermarket seat and mirror wideners. All the other mods are conveniences and personalization. That's my report and those are my opinions. Thanks for checking it out.