Versys Ride Report (2,700 mile trip) - Kawasaki Versys Forum
 
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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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.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 01:52 PM
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Cool. I have taken the Versys on a couple of 1000+ mile rides and in fact I am leaving next week for a 4 day, 2000 mile ride from NY up into Nova Scotia and back via all back roads.

It makes a very nice light touring rig for sure.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 02:18 PM
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sounds like a great time, I only dream of doing a ride like this and others Ive read about here on the forum. I too am a retired pro MX racer at the local level not national. Huge difference! Could win at the local level and barley qualify for a moto at the national level.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 03:03 PM
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Cool report - really enjoyed your review. Can't say I was suprised by your conclusion.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 03:38 PM
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That was a great trip! The V is really proving itself. Looks like you packed well too. Thanks for the report. I hope to go back that way myself someday.
Question: Are those the 35L or 34L Caribou?

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 04:48 PM
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Wow, what an incredible adventure! I've never been to Glacier, Grand Tetons and Yellowstone but have always wanted to go. Must have been a blast seeing everything on the bike.

Glad the V performed well, although I must give you props, I wouldn't be able to do that with the stock windscreen. I've got a Givi and can barely take 4 hours on the bike. If I were to do something like that I'd even want to add the madstad too.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 05:01 PM
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We used to live not too far from Edmonds. I highly recommend everyone take a trip to Glacier. It is truly a breathtaking place. The wife and I spent our honeymoon there.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 06:40 PM
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That sounds like an awesome trip :-)

Thanks for reporting in.

2008 Versys
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 07:09 PM
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Thanks for the write-up, loved reading it
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 07:24 PM
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Sounds like a great ride!



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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 10:03 PM
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Awesome trip and report! Thanks for posting it!

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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 11:15 PM
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Awesome trip and report! Thanks for posting it!
+10.

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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 11:17 PM
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seems like you had an exciting trip. No wonder haven't heard from you in a while.

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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-23-2010, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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The cases are Pelican 1550s. Caribou buys them from Pelican but i don't know how the 1550 cu in converts to litres.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-23-2010, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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Those were the stock tires. I replaced the rear with a Dunlop 607 on day 6 of the 8 day trip. I didn't know how worn they really were. I didn't get the bike new. I will be replacing the tires on both ends with Avon Distanzas as they come in the correct sizes and will be good rain tires for Seattle. They have pretty large blocks with wide spacing but I don't use the last half inch on the side of the tire anyway as I'm not a knee dragger. The stock tires were ok for the highway but are now worn to the point of replacement. I think the usable life for the rear is about 9K under normal use. Front tires can usually go longer. hope that helps.
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post #16 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-23-2010, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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It was an awesome trip. Saw so much natural beauty it was like input overload. Great people places and scenery. If I had to choose only one of the places for a destination it would be Glacier Park. It was breath taking. Mountain goats and big horn sheep walk right by you. Lots of photo ops.
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post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-23-2010, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
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An interesting side note: We encountered 105 degrees on the first two days and as low as 40 degrees in Montana and on the Beartooth Highway and even colder when you add wind chill. No rain. I will be posting reports on riding gear that worked well also.
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post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-24-2010, 12:44 PM
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Nice set up! I'd love details on that high front fender set up. I like what it adds to the looks of the bike, and you said it worked well correct?

Thanks in advance.

09 Versys In Go-Fast Green
Acerbis Pro Pack Handguards
Ogio Tailbag
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Vortex 44T Sprocket
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post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-24-2010, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Aleeoop View Post
The cases are Pelican 1550s. Caribou buys them from Pelican but i don't know how the 1550 cu in converts to litres.
=35 litres ea.
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