First all-day ride (a review) - Kawasaki Versys Forum
 
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-09-2010, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up First all-day ride (a review)

Well, I finally had the chance to take Blue Belle out on our first full-day ride - a 350-mile round trip up to and along God's (and FDR's) gift to motorcyclists, the Blue Ridge Parkway. Not only did it give me a chance to complete the 1000-mile break-in, but it was a great opportunity to figure out what I'll need to do to make her a great tourer.

Pluses:

Power - there's plenty of it when needed, and all across the revs. Enough that i'm glad I didn't have this bike when I was 25, because I might have easily outrun my (lack of) common sense.

Economy - with a good mixture of back roads, interstate and Parkway, mileage was in the upper 50s, on 87 octane. I expect this will even improve over time, and since this is my primary year-round transportation, it's important to me.

Handling - superb, especially on the twists going up to and coming down off the Parkway. The V just went where I asked it to, no questions, with hardly any braking required.

Room for improvement:

Wind - the stock V doesn't have much wind protection, especially compared with the Scarabeo 500GT I rode previously. It's OK for this hot, muggy summer, but will be an issue from October onwards. A bigger windscreen and hand guards will take care of this.

Seating - since I lowered the bike, it's fairly cramped, so Speedy will be getting more of my business! Crash bars with highway pegs may come later. Once the legroom is sorted out, I'll be better able to assess the actual seat; 'perma-wedgie' is what currently comes to mind.

Vibration - this is the big one; I'm not used to this degree of buzzing, both in my hands and feet. What makes it more difficult is that the strongest vibrations are right around 4500 rpm, which translates to 65 mph in 6th - right where I want to be on back roads! I'm changing the rear sprocket to a 43T this weekend, which should move the mega shakes to a different speed. But I need to find a way to reduce the vibes before I can really enjoy 400-500 mile days (which I do fairly often).


All in all, though, I'm a happy camper. The Versys is, above all, an excellent value; even with the necessary farkling, it's a way better deal than anything else in its class. There are ways to readily take care of any deficiencies, and the positives easily more than compensate. I look forward to many long and beautiful adventures together…

Mark Hirschhorn
Durham NC
09 Versys "Blue Belle' - the aerodynamic blue color...
Way too much of Speedy's stuff...
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CalSci windscreen / Emgo MkII mirrors / 43T rear / EB 12v outlet
Givi E52 top case / V35 side cases / Vista Cruise
Oxford Hothands / Cramp Buster
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-10-2010, 09:13 AM
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nice ride report.


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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-10-2010, 11:34 AM
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Well, I finally had the chance ...
All in all, though, I'm a happy camper. The Versys is, above all, an excellent value; even with the necessary farkling, it's a way better deal than anything else in its class. There are ways to readily take care of any deficiencies, and the positives easily more than compensate. I look forward to many long and beautiful adventures together…
Wish you all the best and

Ride safe and be safe.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-10-2010, 12:07 PM
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Good report. I envy your easy access to the Blue Ridge Pkw., but not the V, or any MC being ones principal mode fof transportation in the winter. Good luck and let us know about your farcle chioces.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-10-2010, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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I envy your easy access to the Blue Ridge Pkw., but not the V, or any MC being ones principal mode of transportation in the winter. Good luck and let us know about your farkle chioces.
One of the nicest things about the NC Triangle area (there are many) is easy accessibility both to the mountains (3-4 hours, depending on what part you want to visit) and the coast (again, 2-4 hours, depending). Lots of great roads of every variety; I've written about several of them at motorcycleroads.us - a wonderful riding reference, if you're not familiar with it.

As far as winter goes, it's really my choice - I have a truck, but prefer not to use it unless absolutely necessary. There are only 1-2 weeks in the year when we have ice and/or snow, and the lowest temps we get are in the upper teens. I have a short commute (5-6 miles) as well. Up to this point, I haven't needed heated gear, since the Scarabeo provided such good protection. This may well change this year; the windscreen and hand guards will help, and I'll just have to see if those are enough. If not, what else is the Holiday Farkle Fund (tm) good for?

Thanks again for your comments!

Mark Hirschhorn
Durham NC
09 Versys "Blue Belle' - the aerodynamic blue color...
Way too much of Speedy's stuff...
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CalSci windscreen / Emgo MkII mirrors / 43T rear / EB 12v outlet
Givi E52 top case / V35 side cases / Vista Cruise
Oxford Hothands / Cramp Buster
Powermadd handguards / mirror extenders


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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-10-2010, 06:53 PM
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Must be nice to be so close to so many great roads. And you sure have the right bike. I found the tall Cee Baily screen gives good protection. The Barkbusters help too. i went to the 43 tooth sprocket and am glad I did.
I have found that the more goodies you put on the bike the less vibes. I also think the bike gets smoother with some miles on it too. Just finished a seven day 2800 mile trip and found the V quite smooth.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-10-2010, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
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Must be nice to be so close to so many great roads. And you sure have the right bike. I found the tall Cee Baily screen gives good protection. The Barkbusters help too. i went to the 43 tooth sprocket and am glad I did.
I have found that the more goodies you put on the bike the less vibes. I also think the bike gets smoother with some miles on it too. Just finished a seven day 2800 mile trip and found the V quite smooth.
Great info; thanks! It sounds like we have some very similar ideas as to how to set up the V. I've been considering a few possibilities for the windscreen, but I'll give the CB another look. Not that I need to rationalize more goodies, but...

Mark Hirschhorn
Durham NC
09 Versys "Blue Belle' - the aerodynamic blue color...
Way too much of Speedy's stuff...
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CalSci windscreen / Emgo MkII mirrors / 43T rear / EB 12v outlet
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-10-2010, 09:02 PM
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The vibrations did get better on mine with miles and some dampening to the cowl and speedo with the foam tape. I seldom feel any vibrations, approaching 14K miles now.
Welcome and sounds like you have the perfect motorcycle for where you live, as do I.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-10-2010, 09:07 PM
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I should mention that I tried a Cal Sci and found that I still got a lot of buffeting around the shoulders. The CB is a little wider at the top and makes a big difference for me.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-11-2010, 07:52 AM Thread Starter
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I should mention that I tried a Cal Sci and found that I still got a lot of buffeting around the shoulders. The CB is a little wider at the top and makes a big difference for me.
Did you go with the standard or Euro style? The Euro might allow for a taller screen that I can still see over.

Mark Hirschhorn
Durham NC
09 Versys "Blue Belle' - the aerodynamic blue color...
Way too much of Speedy's stuff...
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CalSci windscreen / Emgo MkII mirrors / 43T rear / EB 12v outlet
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-11-2010, 07:54 AM Thread Starter
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The vibrations did get better on mine with miles and some dampening to the cowl and speedo with the foam tape. I seldom feel any vibrations, approaching 14K miles now.
That's good to know. I'm not sure how resonance in the cowl would affect the vibrations in my feet, but it's another aspect to consider. Thanks!

Mark Hirschhorn
Durham NC
09 Versys "Blue Belle' - the aerodynamic blue color...
Way too much of Speedy's stuff...
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-11-2010, 09:43 PM
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I got the standard cut screen. At 5' 9" I can see over the top just fine.

Last edited by dwr302; 08-11-2010 at 09:45 PM.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-11-2010, 10:48 PM
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That's good to know. I'm not sure how resonance in the cowl would affect the vibrations in my feet, but it's another aspect to consider. Thanks!
I read about the vibrating foot pegs all over... I don't get it. Mine are a little buzz-ish... but nothing I could even note as a con, per se.

Maybe the lowering pegs helped a lot (I can't recall!)
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-18-2010, 08:52 PM
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Sounds like it gets colder here (West Central Arkansas) than North Carolina.
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One of the nicest things about the NC Triangle area (there are many) is easy accessibility both to the mountains (3-4 hours, depending on what part you want to visit) and the coast (again, 2-4 hours, depending). Lots of great roads of every variety; I've written about several of them at motorcycleroads.us - a wonderful riding reference, if you're not familiar with it.

As far as winter goes, it's really my choice - I have a truck, but prefer not to use it unless absolutely necessary. There are only 1-2 weeks in the year when we have ice and/or snow, and the lowest temps we get are in the upper teens. I have a short commute (5-6 miles) as well. Up to this point, I haven't needed heated gear, since the Scarabeo provided such good protection. This may well change this year; the windscreen and hand guards will help, and I'll just have to see if those are enough. If not, what else is the Holiday Farkle Fund (tm) good for?

Thanks again for your comments!

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10 Kawasaki 650 Versys
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-18-2010, 08:58 PM
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I got the standard cut screen. At 5' 9" I can see over the top just fine.
Your inseam will relate more to the buffeting. I am 5'9" with 32" inseam. I have a 10 Versys and trying to decide on a winter screen. Cal Sci is telling me I need their medium size screen.

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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-18-2010, 09:07 PM
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You might try some Grip Puppies for the hand grips. I've been using them for years on my bikes. I think they help with vibration, and they make the grips a little bigger for my bear paws.

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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-19-2010, 08:14 PM
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Yep, the Grip Puppies are a must have. Plus you can put grip warmers between the Puppies and the stock grips for an easy install.


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Last edited by dwr302; 08-19-2010 at 08:40 PM.
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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-19-2010, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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Yep, the Grip Puppies are a must have. Plus you can put grip warmers between the Puppies and the stock grips for an easy install.
I got the Puppies, which have helped somewhat. Nice to know that you can add heaters as well.

Also, after some dithering, I went with the CalSci windscreen, which arrived earlier today. So far so good; the wind is now well up to the top of my helmet, and just touches the edges of my (fairly narrow) shoulders. No buffeting, although the sound in my helmet has changed somewhat, and I can still see over the top, even in the topmost mounting position. I t certainly makes higher speed riding more comfortable, and the fact that Mark puts a cleaning kit in with the screen is a thoughtful addition..

A couple more items (riser and power outlet) and I'll be ready for the first decent tour. Everyone's contributions here on the forum has made things much, much easier than would have been possible otherwise. , , and did I say...

Mark Hirschhorn
Durham NC
09 Versys "Blue Belle' - the aerodynamic blue color...
Way too much of Speedy's stuff...
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Givi E52 top case / V35 side cases / Vista Cruise
Oxford Hothands / Cramp Buster
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