I asked my wife to write down some of her thoughts on the Versys. I'd like to suggest all the other riders who carry passengers to have them do the same. It would be neat to hear the view from the back.
Here is what she wrote:
View From The Back
I began riding motorcycles when my husband did, as a passenger on his Kawasaki 440. We didn't have kids then, and we rode as often as we wanted, wearing whatever we wanted. I loved the feeling of sitting on the back, holding on to him, wind blowing in my hair wearing flip flops, shorts and a tank top. I didn't give much thought to safety gear, other than my helmet which was not full-face, or to comfort. The bike was what it was and I had never experienced anything else.
When he gained more experience and moved on to the Triumph Thunderbird, I had gained more experience as a passenger. We had a Corbin seat and backrest, and I got a modular helmet. I wore jeans and tennis shoes and a jacket.
While we owned the Triumph, we had our first child. Riding time for me was limited after that. (I'm a nice wife, though, and made sure he got out often!) When I was pregnant with our 2nd and 3rd children (twins) my husband called with the dream deal - the Versys. He'd been drooling over the Versys for a long time, and found the perfect deal. I was hesitant, for I was not a believer in the Versys in the beginning. I loved the Triumph and that style of bike. The V seemed too sporty, too crotch-rocket-ish, and too tall. I was only half way into my pregnancy, looking at a long time of not being able to ride so it just didn't make sense to hang on to the Triumph for me; so he sold it and got the V. Impending doom hanging over his head (2 year old plus twins!), he rode as much and often as he could those first few months. He was in love.
By the time I got to ride, his enthusiasm about the bike had gotten to me a little and I didn't think it was so bad. The first ride, I was pleasantly surprised. The bike is tall, which, is great for him - he's 6'5" - but I didn't think would be good for me - I'm 5'2". Because of the height of the bike, the seat position, how tall he is, and how short I am it actually works out perfectly! I fit right behind him comfortably, and my helmet comes up to about the middle of his. The hand holds for the passenger felt a bit awkward to me at first, but I have gotten used to them and really enjoy the position of them. I have gotten used to hanging on there, and bracing myself appropriately when we're stopping. It's even nice to hang on to them while also sliding a bit of my hand under my arse to provide some relief on a longer stretch of the ride. The seat is not large, but neither is my rear end. It's surprisingly comfortable, but after about 45 min. to an hour my tail bone starts to hurt and I need to get off the bike for a few. We don't have a back rest, but we do have a trunk. I try not to lean too much on that, though, because we aren't sure just how much it would take if being used for a backrest. There is more room than I thought there would be on the bike, so I don't feel like I have to lean on it. The trunk is really handy - especially for the woman passenger, you can fit a bunch of stuff in it! The bike rides smooth, and is a lot of fun - much more enjoyable than I thought it would be.
We have also gotten wise about the way we ride since getting the Versys. I have an Olympia Airglide II jacket, Icon Super Duty II boots and Icon 29er gloves and a full-face helmet. While shopping for the boots and jacket, I have to admit, I was not jazzed. I told my husband - these are practical, and I get that, but they are not cool. After using them a few times, I am glad to have them. The gloves make holding on to the hand holds so much easier and more comfortable. The jacket armor actually fits properly - I was worried being so short that the armor would not match up to my elbows, etc., but it does. And the boots are much more comfortable and feel much more secure and safer than tennis shoes, and certainly flip flops! It took me awhile to get used to the full-face helmet, but I do like it now. The airflow in the jacket and gloves is awesome -- we tested it in 100+ degree heat and once we got going, I felt great. And suited all up, I have to say, I think it does look pretty cool.
If you ride with a regular passenger, their comfort and safety is an important consideration. If you want that regular passenger to share your passion about the bike and understand your desire to be out riding it while she stays home with your three little ones, the Versys is not a bad bike to have. : )