Test rode the new competition - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-24-2017, 08:19 AM Thread Starter
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Test rode the new competition

Last Thursday I took a 80 mile ride up to a Suzuki dealer to check out/test ride the new 2017 V-Strom 650. This one was the 650 ABS (non XT) model. With a wheelbase about 5" longer than the Versys, I was expecting it to be a bit more roomier. The reach to the bars was a bit more, but being 6'3"/36" inseam, reach wasn't an issue. My knee bend/angle wasn't noticeably greater on the Strom as the seat height is actually a bit lower (.2"). The seat doesn't have the dreaded slope like the Versys and is just a bit firmer. The dash/display is a bit busy but everything was easy to see in the bright sunlight. My ride was only about 15 miles but I was able to ride a combo of back county roads and a hop on a freeway. The windscreen was set at its lowest position and at speed, it was quite nice. Not a lot of helmet noise, a bit less than the Versys. It uses an allen wrench to adjust and could have been raised another inch. The ride was actually quite composed on the back roads over the various pavement irregularities (when I got back to the dealership, the rear shock was set at 2nd softest preload. The forks are supposed to be preload adjustable, but they don't have preload caps on top of the tubes? I weigh in about 220#). Where the Strom did shine over the Versys was on the freeway. I was able to throttle up to 80mph and keep it there for about a mile. This bike was dead smooth!. No handlebar vibes or footpeg vibes. The tach was at about 6k rpm and this thing was smoooooth. I'd expect things to get even better as the bike had only 26 miles on the odo. No gearing change would be necessary on this bike. What bike do I want? I'm going to re-ride the LT Thursday as it's been awhile since I rode one. Value wise, the LT can't be beat. In my area (southern WI), new 2016/17 LTs can be had for <$7K. Non LTs for about $800 less. With a late release, the Stroms are far fewer with only about 4 being in a 150 mile radius of my house. Their are 20+ Versys's. Suzuki doesn't have any rebates as of yet, so I'm waiting to see if that changes November 1st. I'm feeling out cost on the non XT for about $7800 + tax/title/reg. I'd still have to pony up for luggage/hand guards. On either bike, I'd need to add peg/control lowering brackets. Like the non LT, the Strom has a 1 year warranty. The Strom also has 3 level traction control. I'll have a better idea after I ride the LT again on Thursday..
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Last edited by troop; 10-24-2017 at 08:22 AM.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-24-2017, 09:45 AM
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Something you may want to consider before you decide is the 19 inch front wheel on the Vstrom. Unfortunately this severely limits the available tires you can run on the bike.

I recently sold my 2015 KTM 1190 Adventure. The 19 inch front wheel on it and the lack of available tires was a big factor in my decision to sell the bike.

Coming from a sport bike background I had been spoiled having 17 inch wheels on both ends. An abundance of available tire choices and the superior handling qualities one enjoys with a 17 inch wheel up front made the Versys an easy choice for me.

Good luck on your decision.

Cookin Wid Gas

2015 V-650 of course it's green...it's a Kazawalski.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-24-2017, 10:15 AM
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If we could only have the V-Strom running gear in the Versys chassis and bodywork.

2015 Versys 650 ABS
AMA, MSTA, Retreads

Nat'l Cycle "Sport-Touring" screen; Givi hand guards; BMW Sport Grips; Omni-Cruise throttle lock; Motowerk mirror extenders, side stand foot & highway pegs; Denali Mini Soundbomb horn; SW-Motech top rack, Quick-Lock Evo side racks, wide foot pegs & GPS shelf; Givi E-22 side cases & V-47 top case; RKA 13L Shiloh Road tank bag; Hyper-Lites; Sargent seat; Shoodaben ECU reflash; decalectomy.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-24-2017, 10:27 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by hawkerjet View Post
Something you may want to consider before you decide is the 19 inch front wheel on the Vstrom. Unfortunately this severely limits the available tires you can run on the bike.

I recently sold my 2015 KTM 1190 Adventure. The 19 inch front wheel on it and the lack of available tires was a big factor in my decision to sell the bike.

Coming from a sport bike background I had been spoiled having 17 inch wheels on both ends. An abundance of available tire choices and the superior handling qualities one enjoys with a 17 inch wheel up front made the Versys an easy choice for me.

Good luck on your decision.
Yup.. I am aware of that and the 19" front actually appeals to me. I had some Pirelli Scorpion Trail II tires on a prior KLR and they are wonderful tires and they have them in the Strom size. I actually put a 19" front wheel kit on the KLR and it was a wonderful transformation from the OEM 21" front. The bike will be ridden long distances and while not exclusively off road, the 19" front would be a plus for the occasional encountered gravel road. The Strom actually handled quite well despite the 19" front/5" longer wheelbase over the Versys. Neither bike will be used the same as the FZ . After I read the lower article, I sent in a email to the riding editor regarding some questions about the bikes. Expecting to hear nothing, I actually had a reply w/in 24 hours. As much as he likes the Versys, he was quite emphatic given my height/inseam that I'd be much better served with the Strom. He really liked it that much. I'll know more this weekend..
http://ridermagazine.com/2017/09/14/...omparo-review/
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Last edited by troop; 10-24-2017 at 10:34 AM.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-24-2017, 10:36 AM
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I test rode a number of comparable bikes when I down-sized, A 650 Wee, a NC700 Honda, a 650GS BMW and the 650 Versys and 650 KLR. The Wee was just too tall and top heavy (+ a friend who had one didn't have any good comments), the BMW was nice but way to pricy for a 650, the KLR was too much of a dirt bike and not enough highway bike. That just left the Honda and the Versys. It was real close.........it came down to the Versys having an almost unlimited RPM range and the Honda being rev limited to 6500 rpm. It was necessary to short-shift the Honda all the time. Also while traveling (a bag strapped to the back seat) it would be necessary to unload the bag every time fuel was needed. The price points were almost the same.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-24-2017, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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The last Strom I rode prior to this 2017, was several years ago, a gen 2. It's been awhile (2 years) since my last ride on a gen 3 Versys. Haven't actually ridden a gen 3 LT. Adding luggage to the Strom will add another $600 but it'll be nice stuff and rapid release brackets. Exciting stuff ahead ..
https://www.motostorm.it/en/accessor...key-cases.html
https://www.motostorm.it/en/accessor...r33-garda.html
https://www.ebay.com/i/282699471304?chn=ps&dispItem=1
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-24-2017, 12:50 PM
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...Also while traveling (a bag strapped to the back seat) it would be necessary to unload the bag every time fuel was needed. The price points were almost the same.
I 'test-rode' the Honda a few years back, and as I do lots of longer trips, the gas-fill UNDER the seat made it a NO-GO, as it'd be a buggar to carry camping gear!

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-24-2017, 04:03 PM
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I 'test-rode' the Honda a few years back, and as I do lots of longer trips, the gas-fill UNDER the seat made it a NO-GO, as it'd be a buggar to carry camping gear!

I don't know why Honda didn't do the same thing as BMW did and put the gas fill point on the side.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-24-2017, 05:33 PM
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I don't see any competition for the Versys 650. All the similar bikes are tame by comparison until Yamaha brings a Tenere 700 to the states.

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-24-2017, 11:24 PM
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Being I have had 2 Wee's one NC700 and one Versys I can say they all have their good and not so good-the Versys will out handle the other two hands down-the NC's clam to fame is a low cruising RPM and high MPG-but over all the DL650 I liked the best-out of the box a lot more comfy-best transmission in the business- but is it worth so much more than the Versys-always wanted to try a Versys since it came out- glad I waited for a gen3-but Suzuki is so proud of their bikes I don't think there will be a third-next bike will be smaller and lighter like the CB500X I had

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-25-2017, 07:49 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah .. Figuring the up charge from the LT > V-Strom with adding luggage/hand guards will be about $1200.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-25-2017, 09:17 AM
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When I was looking I considered the Wee XT and the Versys. As nice as the Wee is, the XT package at the time was roughly $2-3000.00 more than the Versys. 10 grand for a Suzuki 650 with side bags and spoke rims?!? Bought the Versys and never looked back. I like the P-twin engine better anyway. I have often wondered how many Wee XTs they sold at that price point?
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-26-2017, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
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Ok.. I had the chance on a sunny 50* day yesterday to take a 2017 LT out for a test ride. Luckily, I was able to do this with decent fresh impressions of the new Strom still in my mind.
1.) At freeway speeds (75+ mph), the Wee is a bit smoother with little/no vibes coming thru the pegs/bars. The LT had some small vibes but certainly nothing I'd consider bad. Both are quite smoother at those speeds than my FZ-09.
2.) Windscreen protection about a wash. Zuke might be a touch calmer at faster speeds. LT far easier to adjust.
3.) The Wee is more stable on the freeway and I'd attribute this to the 5" longer wheelbase. That said, I thought the LT was more flickable.
4.) The wee had a smoother shifting transmission, noticeably smoother.
5.) The Wee has an edge in acceleration having a touch more oomph.
6.) The seating triangle of the shorter LT actually felt better to me. The bars are closer and I like that. My knees actually felt better on the LT too. I'd be in no hurry to purchase peg lowering kits, even with a 36" inseam. The slight seat slope was noticeable, with the Wee being flatter. I think the $2 washer riser mod would make a nice difference.
7.) The Wee has a more informative display but I thought the LT was easier to read.
8.) Both rode very nicely at what level suspension the dealerships had them set at.
9.) I like the sportier appearance of the LT, but also the more adventure type look of the Wee.

I have some pondering to do. Gonna certainly wait a week and see if Suzuki comes out with some rebate $$ on the 2017. $$ wise, the LT has it all over the Wee. If I would be using this bike as an only bike for multiple trips a year, the Wee would be my choice. I also have my H-D bagger, so the LT could double better as both a lightweight tourer and play bike. I am also a Kawasaki fan as I have owned 8 new Kawasaki's and all have been extremely reliable. I have only owned one other new Suzuki and that was in 1976! This said, are their any differences between a 2015 LT and 2017 LT other than the gear shift indicator in the display? A new 2015 can be had for about $1.2k less than a 2017. Not concerned about resale value as they're both new and they'll both depreciate...
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Last edited by troop; 10-27-2017 at 11:47 AM.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-26-2017, 12:16 PM
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Unless something has changed lately you can buy an extra four years of factory warranty on the V for a total of six years of coverage. It cost me just over $400 from a dealer in Tx. I bought it over the phone. BTW, unlimited miles. Don't know about availability in other countries.

It's already almost paid for itself as I had a warped front brake disc at 32k miles.

I plan on at least 100k miles by the time warranty is up. vroom vroom

Yeah, if you want true ram air tuning, you better be willing to ram some air! (SteveinSunnyFlorida)

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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-26-2017, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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Nope... Nothing changed. Both Kawasaki (GTPP) and Suzuki (SEP) have 4 yr extendable programs available for around $400. The LT does come standard with the two year while the Strom/standard Versys have one year.
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post #16 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-26-2017, 05:44 PM
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I looked at the new Wee3's when I was shopping for a bike a few months ago, but they were too new to find any deals on them and no way in hell was I paying 8k+ for a V-Strom 650 after you see how quickly they depreciate. Plus there were only a few places that even had one around here (South-east WI). There were several Wee2's I found for good prices, but I thought the redesign in 2012 was fugly. I actually liked the 1st generation ones better, but wanted the updates in the 2nd gen.

In the end, I found a great deal on a perfect, low-miles '14 Versys and decided I'd probably appreciate the better handling. Some newer Versys' were in the running, but the price difference swayed me. Plus I like the unique looks of the 2nd gen Versys. The new ones look nice, but they DO look a little generic and 'me-too'-ish.

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post #17 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-17-2017, 11:25 PM
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I am actually waiting until I can get a test ride on the upcoming Tracer 900 GT, it has literally every update I was hoping for on the FJ-09. I am probably between that and finding a used 3rd gen FJR, I test rode a 2015 FJR and it was like riding a very comfy ballistic missile with cruise control, definitely a heavy girl though. The flaws the article mentioned on that 3rd gen V are the same ones I experience on my 1st gen V, namely the vibes (1st gens are even more vibey), the harsh ride, lousy seat and having to fight the bike past a certain lean angle. If Kawi ever decides to put cruise on the Connie I would probably give that a good hard look too, I'm in good enough shape that the weight doesn't bother me much (the FJR reminds you that she's a big girl every time you come to a stop, but it isn't any worse than most Harleys). H2 SX might be a consideration too if I feel like spending 20 grand on a bike.
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post #18 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-18-2017, 10:35 AM
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I am actually waiting until I can get a test ride on the upcoming Tracer 900 GT, it has literally every update I was hoping for on the FJ-09. I am probably between that and finding a used 3rd gen FJR, I test rode a 2015 FJR and it was like riding a very comfy ballistic missile with cruise control, definitely a heavy girl though. The flaws the article mentioned on that 3rd gen V are the same ones I experience on my 1st gen V, namely the vibes (1st gens are even more vibey), the harsh ride, lousy seat and having to fight the bike past a certain lean angle. If Kawi ever decides to put cruise on the Connie I would probably give that a good hard look too, I'm in good enough shape that the weight doesn't bother me much (the FJR reminds you that she's a big girl every time you come to a stop, but it isn't any worse than most Harleys). H2 SX might be a consideration too if I feel like spending 20 grand on a bike.
I had a 2012 Connie 14 and a 2014 FZ09. Both are great bikes.

The Connie is a great open road touring bike. It likes to eat tires especially if you push it in the corners.

FZ09 motor is a jewel and in that FJ updated chassis and suspension would be a great bike.

After owning all those big bad fire breathers I have to say I am really enjoying the simplicity of my little 2 cylinder V-650.

No multitude of bells and whistles to cornfuse an old guy and super cheap to operate. The perfect retirement bike for this SSI guy.

Cookin Wid Gas

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post #19 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-18-2017, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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I'm wondering if Yamaha will price the Tracer GT out of the market? A lot of nice features, but 20L saddlebags is not one of them. Betting $12k range..
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post #20 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-19-2017, 09:40 PM
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I'm wondering if Yamaha will price the Tracer GT out of the market? A lot of nice features, but 20L saddlebags is not one of them. Betting $12k range..
The saddlebags are included in the GT, plus cruise control, and heated grips. 12k would be a hell of a deal for that bike. A FJ-09 with bags was a hair under 11k.
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