My First Tour What Worked and What Didn't
I just got back off of a 5 day tour that took me from the flat lands of New Orleans to the twisties of NC, VA, and TN. For a frame of reference, I have done similar tours on a Wee-Strom, DR650, Burgman 650, GSX650F, and an FJR1300. With all the other bikes but the GSX, I had what I would describe as an issue. I had no issues with the Versys. It simply worked!
On the slab at an indicated 78-80 (actual 73-75) I averaged mid-40's for fuel economy. I had hoped for a little better, but that's not bad. I can do a 200 mile run fairly confidently with a bit of room for error. The vibrations that people speak of when they speak of an 09 Versys are there, but they are not an issue for me. They are neither intrusive nor fatiguing. The mirrors are blurry, but useful as they are. I rode down a gravel road getting to my cabin and the bike did fine where it was hard packed. There was some loose gravel in places. It got a little busy there, but not as bad as my street bikes would have. It's just slightly less competent in that kind of stuff than the Wee-Strom. That's the basics, now I'll do a mod by mod review.
MRA Vario Touring Screen. It worked OK for me. I may try to improve on it. Most of the trip I was able to adjust it where I would get clean air to the upper part of the helmet. When in traffic though, the turbulence would cause a bit of buffeting that made the tip of my nose itch. Oddly, that has always been the barometer for me. I should note that I am 5'11" and sit tall in the saddle. I tinkered a little bit by ducking and changing my lean and was able to find either a quiet spot or clean air. I think this is a me issue rather than a product issue. The screen worked, just not as well as I would have liked.
My Powerlet 12V power plug worked as intended. It's well built, easy to instal and easy to use.
I already had a Garmin Zumo. While I have had it for several years, I haven't used it that much. It died on me during the trip. It stopped responding to my touch. A fellow rider quipped that it must be related to my girlfriend. I'll send it back to the factory for the $100 refurbish.
The Kaoko Throttle Lock is expensive at $120, but that sucker works fabulously. Much better and much simpler than the Vista I had on another bike. When used in conjunction with a Cramp Buster, it was a blessing on long slab stretches. My wrists are prone to fatigue and with this set up, I was able to relax either wrist at any given time. I will never be without a Kaoko on a bike unless I have electronic cruise control.
My Givi 45L top Case and E21 side cases swallowed more than enough gear for the trip. If I need more storage, a waterproof bag bungied to the passenger seat will do the trick.
My T-Rex frame sliders were also worth every penny. I don't know that they will offer the crash protection that crash bars will, but I am confident they will help, but at 69 bucks with a simple install, they are much more economical. They were great for an alternative footrest on long stretches on the slab. I rode with my feet up there for as much as 20 minutes at a time.
I have said it elsewhere on this forum. The Seat Concepts seat is the way to go on this bike. Even after paying to have a local upholsterer build the seat for me, it came in about half the price of the competition and the nice thing is, I was only without my seat for a half of a day. Most stretches on the slab were about 150 miles. At the end of those stretches I was ready for a little gas, water and a butt break. Most other stock saddles found me squirming at or before the 100 mile mark. I should note too, that I hadn't ridden in a year and a half, so my butt wasn't in touring condition.
After the Seat Concepts install, I found myself further from the bars. This is due to the added height and the dish of the seat pulling me further away. I added a SW Motech bar riser and it did the trick. At 69 bucks it's inexpensive and easy to install.
The GSX650F is the best budget sport tourer made. Better on the slab than the Versys. It is smooth, planted and free from buffeting. It is faster and gets better fuel economy. It is a heavier bike though and the Versys is just so much easier to manage in the twisties. I am happy with my choice especially from a value perspective.