What did I install on my Versys for this riding season? Bark Buster hand guards, clip on air deflector to windscreen, Moto Werk handle bar riser (with damper) , Moto Werk mirror offsets, EK chain, Michelin Road 5 tires and a Terry Adcox seat. Zero Gravity windscreen was installed a couple of years ago.
90% of the miles put on my 650 Versys are commuting in light suburban and exurban conditions with a weekend breakfast rides (and a few day/weekend trips) thrown in for good measure. Typical riding season is 6K to 8K miles on, sadly, mostly straight roads.
The Bark Buster hand guards really helped with the cold/wet weather and does a good job keeping the bugs (and bug juice!) off my riding gloves. The Moto Werk mirror offsets really do work. Didn’t seem like the mirrors vibrated any more than before (although rubber damped handle bar risers were installed). The Moto Werk handle bar risers put the bar in a more favorable position for me (~5’11” w/32” inseam). I think the vibration is less than before but not absolutely sure (memory just isn’t that good!). The clip on wind deflector helped divert the airflow to approximately the top on the helmet visor. The deflector works best on calm days but there is a LOT of buffeting on the helmet if there are cross winds (or even strong head on winds). Bottom line, fewer, but not zero, bugs on the helmet windscreen and still lots of helmet buffeting on windy days.
The DID X chains last about one to one and a half riding seasons. Others have suggested trying other chains, so this season it will be the EK 520 SRX2. We’ll see how long this one lasts.
The best mod for this season is the seat was modified by Terry Adcox. Could not be happier with the result. For me the bucket type seat prevents the sliding forward issue of the stock and Sargent seats I previously used. The weight distribution is spread out better with the new seat. I could only get about a half hour of pain free riding on the stock set. That jumped up to about one hour on the Sargent seat. Did a four hour ride on the seat modified by Terry – other parts of me were sore but not my bottom! One thing to be aware of, even though the seat height did not change my feet are now on “tippy toes” when stopped. Was more on the balls of my feet when on the Sargent seat. I think the reason is the “side wings” on the seat prevent the leg from extending straight down. Again, for me, this is a very happy compromise I’m willing to make.
Finally, replaced the Michelin Pilot Road 4 (PR4) tires with Michelin Road 5 tires. Even though there was still tread left after ~6K miles, the rear tire was noticeably worn flat and the front tire was badly scalloped, to the point where I felt vibration coming through. The PR4’s did work exceptionally well in the wet, even when worn. When the PR4”s were new, the bike literally felt like it was on rails going through turns but now felt a little squirmy and did not inspire confidence. What a difference after the Road 5’s were installed. Been on these tires for about 300 miles. The bike now feels like it’s back on rails but it was kind of weird getting used to the new tires. As others mentioned, it almost seemed like the bike was falling into the turn. Thinking about this I came to realize the Road 5’s are completely neutral, meaning when set into a turn there is NO force trying the stand the bike up straight the bike just stays in the turn until commanded to do something different. The worn PR4’s (I think) were fighting the turn which means constant input was needed to keep the bike in a turn. After getting used to the new Road 5’s the riding is a delight, the tires really do inspire confidence. The vibration is also gone. Gas mileage seems to be the same or slightly better than the PR4’s but don’t have enough miles to establish a long term average. Haven’t been caught in the rain (yet) so no comment on that. The only slight knock is there does seem to be quite a bit of road noise coming from the front tire above 45MPH. The PR4’s sounded similar so maybe it’s just a natural frequency of bike/wheel set up.
Now need to do something about the rear shock. Lots of good ideas on this forum on what to do. Next year’s project!