Versys 650 handling idiosyncrasy - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-01-2016, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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Versys 650 handling idiosyncrasy

I've noticed moving around on the seat the large change it makes in handling and ride. Anyone else notice this?

In particular when I move right up against the tank, on the the narrow part of the seat, ride quality improves. It feels like I am on the center pivot point between the front and rear tires and I no longer get jounced as much by the rear wheel over bumps. Also perhaps because of the greater weight on the front tire, steering feel improves in cornering and I can use my knees more easily to push on the tank. The only downside to this is the comfortable, broad, section of the seat is several inches rear ward. Most of us are not going to want to sit in this position for long periods of time, like highway riding. Maybe I am just starting to become more aware of something many of you are already aware of?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-02-2016, 11:46 AM
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Slide forward to "load" the front tire for aggressive cornering, rearward to "unload" it in dirt, sand, gravel. Mid-point for cruzin...!
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-02-2016, 12:35 PM
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What about if you have a lowering kit? Does that change the dynamics, or have they already been neutralized with the proper fork and shock adjustments?

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-02-2016, 12:48 PM
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That is what I loved about my Terry Adcox Flat Seat.

I slide up on the tank, my knees were down and grabbing the sides and it was a blast in the twisties.

I slide back on the wide part of the seat and have a relaxing cruise.

I slide further back in the seat to tuck in, or loft the front end.

My Versys Travels:


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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-02-2016, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by rayj View Post
What about if you have a lowering kit? Does that change the dynamics, or have they already been neutralized with the proper fork and shock adjustments?
I have an '09V and installed the lowering kit. Also lowered the front to match as recommended. It made me feel more confident than before with being able to touch the ground at a stop that my riding actually improved when cornering. Perception is reality I guess.

Before, I would feel like the bike was top heavy and literally felt like it would want to fall into the corner at a faster rate than I was comfortable with. Now I feel like I have more control.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-02-2016, 02:00 PM
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I just took the basic riding course a couple weeks ago. They taught the farther up/closer to the tank you are the better the bike handles at lower speeds, something to do with reducing the impact of the rear suspension by moving your weight closer to the front pivot point and the front/back balance point of the bike.

Not sure how much of that explanation is true, but I did find it helpful doing the cones and figure 8's at 3-4km/h
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-13-2016, 03:35 AM
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In sport riding classes they usually teach you to sit pretty far back. When your groin is against the tank, your knees can't really lock to it that well (the tank sort of pushes your legs apart like a wedge and you end up using your thighs instead of knees). You also can't easily slide off to the side, the outside knee would stop touching the side of the tank - try it out some day.

However, sitting way up front has some upsides.
Long story short - yes, the couple of inches of travel you have on your seat can make a world of a difference on handling, on almost any bike.

When riding fast, I tend to sit far back for better knee lockdown and the ability to slide to sides, but I lean forward to keep the center of gravity where it was before. The Versys has a pretty short seat so that menas moving back until I touch the passenger's seat. That's what you'll see most common on sport bikes. Conversely, you might notice on light bikes with hardcore sit-up ergonomics (enduro, supermoto) that riders sit very near the tank. They maintain the CoG near the front wheel that way instead of leaning. However you'll also notice that they don't slide to sides in corners, they stick their inside leg into the turn. The tanks are shaped differently, usually very thin, so they can lock into them even while sitting so close. I'm sceptical about trying to emulate that position on the Versys, it seems to me the shapes and ergonomics wouldn't favour it. I've been wrong before though

Riding off-road is an entirely different matter.

2015 Versys 650

Last edited by _Big_Mac_; 06-15-2016 at 08:04 AM.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-13-2016, 05:17 AM
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Agreed, Big Mac. Sitting back off the tank allows better side to side movement for aggressive cornering, so you can open up the inside hip/knee and lock the outside leg against the tank. The intstuctors at YCRS (Yamaha Champion Riding School) use this same technique on the "sit-up" bikes they teach on, namely the Yamaha FZ1. So I'd say the riding style doesn't change from a sportbike to a more upright bike.
Depends on the situation, too, I suppose. I don't "hang off" in corners on the street like I do on the track. I do shift my weight inside a bit, though, and drop my head towards the inside of the corner.
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