Deciding on Bikes - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-23-2018, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
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Deciding on Bikes

I have been reading everything I can on adventure bikes and I have decided this is one or the v-300 to consider. I do have a couple of questions for those that ride this bike. First, what made you decide on this bike? Second question, what mods have you had to do to make it comfortable for you. (I am 5 foot 7) for comparison because I know if your 5' your probably put lowing blocks on it. Third question if you had to do it over would you buy this bike again if not why? The next question I have for now is how expensive are the parts to repair compared to say BMW or other bikes. Finally, how often do you have problems with the bike's engine or transmission?
Thank you,
Arkridia
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-23-2018, 10:21 AM
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I am seriously tempted to buy a V-300 in addition to the V650! But it wouldn't fit in my small one car garage. The 650 is a moderately heavy bike, and it is excellent on the highway (though I hate rush hour traffic). Around town it is fine, though a lighter bike would be better around town. On twisty mountain roads the 650 is excellent. The 300 wasn't available in 2015 so it wasn't in my decision matrix. I did look at the 2 Hondas, the 500 and 700, but neither one grabbed me and the dealer was super slimy.

My mission is commuting to work on the highway, running errands around town, fun road trips, and some relatively easy off road. The 650 is a perfect match for those. The 300 would be better for dirt and maybe riding around town due to the lighter weight.

Anyhow, the mods I needed for comfort were the Sargent seat and risers on the handlebars. I am 5'10".

I would buy it again. One I didn't look at because of price was the Tiger 800. That and the smaller BMW are pretty comparable in a lot of ways to the V650, though they are more biased to riding on dirt.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-23-2018, 10:41 AM
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I bought the 15' V650 because the bike I was riding was too heavy and not usable on unimproved roads (Vulcan 1500 Classic). I still wanted to ride long distance so I bought the LT model and added the OEM top case. Also put on a taller touring type screen. I'm 5'9" with a 30" inseam (the bike had already been lowered) and I could not flat foot the bike (165 lbs) so I modified the seat for a more lower seating position. I also did the seat nose mod to delete the slide forward condition. Added a gear indicator, 12v outlet, Grip Buddies, and a throttle lock also. It's now a pretty comfortable long distance tourer. I took it on a 4500 mile ride last summer (about 3 weeks long) and it did well. Only problem was I wore out the OEM rear tire.

I can't give any impression of the V300 as I've never even sat on one. The next down size might just be a scooter or nothing.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-23-2018, 10:42 AM
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...First, what made you decide on this bike?...
I had a KLR650 AND a Bandit 1200S, had just read the article in MOTORCYCLIST (2008) where they declared the Versys as MOTY, so I took a look at one at my dealer. He walked up, handed me the keys to their 2007 'tangerine' Versys, told me to go for a LONG ride and to "wring-its-neck", which I did. I came back about an hour later, VERY impressed.

I had towed my KLR to AZ each winter since '03, then made the decision to order an '08 to pick up in September when we went down.

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...Second question, what mods have you had to do to make it comfortable for you?...
Back in '08 raising the front of the seat was a very wide-spread mod, so it was my FIRST. I also ordered a set of foot-peg lowering blocks from motowerk, and ZETA XC handguards plus H-B crash-bars (which I later changed to SW-Motech to go w/ an SW-M skid-plate), then went to Aprilia Tuono mirrors.

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...Third question if you had to do it over would you buy this bike again if not why?...
I bought a "left-over" '09 (the GREEN HORNET) in Nov '10 to import into Canada (c/w the SAME mods!!!), and when it was an insurance 'write-off' at 62,790 kms in '15, I replaced it w/ a '15 650LT (the GREEN HORNET TOO), which has 51,620 kms now. (That totals 114,410 kms, or 71,091 MILES, and added to my '08 mileage of 76,xxx miles, means I've ridden OVER 147,000 miles on Vs, so I guess you could say that I 'like' them...!

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...The next question I have for now is how expensive are the parts to repair compared to say BMW or other bikes. Finally, how often do you have problems with the bike's engine or transmission?...
WAY-Y-Y cheaper than are BMW parts, and really haven't needed many, and the 'engine and trans' have been basically problem free.

Try it, you'll LIKE it...!



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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-23-2018, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Arkridia View Post
First, what made you decide on this bike? Second question, what mods have you had to do to make it comfortable for you. (I am 5 foot 7) for comparison because I know if your 5' your probably put lowing blocks on it. Third question if you had to do it over would you buy this bike again if not why? The next question I have for now is how expensive are the parts to repair compared to say BMW or other bikes. Finally, how often do you have problems with the bike's engine or transmission?
Thank you,
Arkridia
The V650 had the size engine I wanted, had OEM hard luggage because I'm too lazy to search for luggage, allows a riding posture (I'm 5-7 with 32" inseam) suitable for long days in the saddle, has good wind protection, large capacity fuel tank. Plus I liked the looks. I added a Givi windscreen for cold weather, Oxford heated grips, centerstand, Denali horn, radiator guard, frame sliders, RAM mount for phone, 12V outlet, gear indicator, Kaoka throttle control, and pig tail for battery tender. I would not hesitate to buy this bike again. I can't comment on parts prices as I've no knowledge of BMW parts. I have very low miles so far on the bike, so no engine or transmission issues at this time. FWIW.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-23-2018, 09:39 PM Thread Starter
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I actually found one that comes spring I am test riding. I think they are asking to much for a 2015 but I hope that they may come down on the price it has only 2000 miles on it but it is the color I like. I know some say color is not important but I do not like black bikes they are to hard to see at night. I am going to continue reading other reviews I also have to start looking for real motorcycle gear not what the cruisers wear. I will ask about that in another section.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-24-2018, 05:41 AM
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If I were 5'7" I would have stayed with the Ninja 650.

I chose the Ninja 650 back in '07 because it was the first with the low slung exhaust instead of the big can muffler on the side of the bike.

The bike was physically a little small for me so when the Versys came out in '08 I knew I would own one eventually. Bought my '11 in April 2011.

I put 15,000 miles on the Ninja in 4 years, and 30,000 miles on the Versys in 4 years.

I never considered the Versys an adventure bike and still don't. It is a more spacious street bike that kinda has an adventure bike look.

The Versys X-300 definitely fits in the adventure bike arena with the spoked rims and larger front wheel.

My Versys Travels:


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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-24-2018, 06:44 AM
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If I were 5'7" I would have stayed with the Ninja 650.
Currently I have a 2012 Ninja 650 and a 2016 Versys. I really like how the motor in the Ninja 650 makes power better than the Versys and the throttle response seems crisper. If the Ninja came with integrated luggage like the V-LT I think I would have picked it over the Versys.

-------

I chose my Versys because I wanted a mid-size touring bike, there were a few other contenders, FJ-09 (really didn't like how it looked and was more expensive than the Versys), BMW F800GT (too many negative reviews from other riders who have owned/tested one), Honda Interceptor (not comfortable for long rides). The other attributes that appealed to me about the Versys, comfortable, long range fuel tank, great handling and I think it's really good looking.

As far as comfort mods there aren't really any that I've done except for heated grips, the stock Versys is okay for me. I am considering replacing the seat and windscreen but haven't yet. Other general mods are a 12 volt socket, fender extender, gps mount. Will be adding crash bars this Spring and maybe a center stand.

If I were in the same place at the same time when I bought my Versys last Spring I would probably do it again. The one bike that could sway me could have been a BMW R1200R with hard luggage but that is very expensive. If I were buying right now I would probably lean towards the updated Yamaha Tracer GT.

I don't have a lot of experience with parts pricing on my Versys or even my Ninja, they've been rock solid reliable.

Good luck with your bike purchase.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-24-2018, 12:14 PM
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I recently down sized from liter and bigger bikes. My last bike prior to the V-650 was a KTM 1190 Adventure.

I must say the V-650 in probably the most fun bike I have ever owned.

It is comfortable for all day riding. Wonderful handling, light and flickable yet stable at high speeds.

55 mpg is what I usually see and combine this with it's generous 5.5 gal tank, I can ride 250 miles and still have a gallon in the tank.

Pretty hard to go wrong with the nifty Versys 650.

Not to mention the engine is pretty much bullet proof.

What more could you ask for.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-24-2018, 12:37 PM
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Wonderful handling, light and flickable yet stable at high speeds.
Out of all the Versys virtues this is why I love riding it.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-24-2018, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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How stable are they on the highway, do they stay stable even with semi passing you? I was wanted to stay around 6,000 for one seeing I can buy a new left over NC700 for 5,000, but I have not been able to find one with low miles in that price range. I do have a friend in another state looking and he is not able to either do the versys hold their value better?
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-24-2018, 03:15 PM
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How stable are they on the highway, do they stay stable even with semi passing you?

For me it's rock solid on the interstate. I've read that the V's with top boxes are a bit more of a handful in those conditions but I can't confirm that with personal experience.


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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-25-2018, 07:58 AM
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How stable are they on the highway, do they stay stable even with semi passing you? I was wanted to stay around 6,000 for one seeing I can buy a new left over NC700 for 5,000, but I have not been able to find one with low miles in that price range. I do have a friend in another state looking and he is not able to either do the versys hold their value better?
I moved to the Versys from a Kawi Vulcan 900 cruiser. The versys has more power, more clearance (a lot), less vibration and feels more stable on the hiway. The 900 weighs 150 lbs more but the versys is a better hiway bike. The 900 got buzzy over 65 mph, where I can ride the Versys at 75 mph without issue.

Not saying the 900 was not good, it is a great little cruiser and I really miss the maintenance free belt drive. But for me the Versys is a great all around bike that can also do gravel and dirt roads a belt drive cruiser canít.
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-25-2018, 10:03 AM
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[QUOTE=hawkerjet;1497361] Wonderful handling, light and flickable yet stable at high speeds./QUOTE]

I agree, but I find the V less "flickable" than the Ninja 650 I once owned. I'm sure it's operator error that's the problem. I have adjusted the suspension to account for my weight and I hope when I replace the stock tires the cornering improves. I am able to ride the same curves in my area at higher speeds and with greater confidence on my little R3. Perhaps that's to be expected?
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-25-2018, 10:34 AM
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How stable are they on the highway, do they stay stable even with semi passing you?...
I have done MANY very long trips on my 3 V 650s. Back in '08 I posted that I felt the Versys was the BEST handling bike I'd ever ridden, and now, 10 years and about 156,000 miles later, I would say it AGAIN.

The ONLY time I've noticed "movement" while passing a semi, was while riding in VERY strong winds from the side the semi was on.

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post #16 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-25-2018, 11:27 AM
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[quote=GDP RIDER;1497657]
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Originally Posted by hawkerjet View Post
Wonderful handling, light and flickable yet stable at high speeds./QUOTE]

I agree, but I find the V less "flickable" than the Ninja 650 I once owned. I'm sure it's operator error that's the problem.
My Ninja 650 is far more flickable, specifically side to side transitions than the Versys. Where the Versys shines is how confidence inspiring it is to take into a turn. I have been on very few bikes where I feel so planted going through a turn. It took me some time to get comfortable on the Ninja.


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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-25-2018, 12:46 PM
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While the handling on the Versys is very good I must say the finest handling bike I have ever ridden is the KTM 1290 Super Duke R.

The WP suspension is spot on right out of the box. And the power of that big V-twin is intoxicating. It's right up there with the Aprilla RSV4 Factory model.

Guess it should be with a 20k plus price tag.

That being said I am totally satisfied with my little green budget V-650 I picked up for just $4200. The seller gave me 2 helmets and a nice leather jacket with it.

I sold all 3 on craigslist for a total of $165 bringing the price of the V down near 4k.

How cool is that.
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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-25-2018, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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If I were 5'7" I would have stayed with the Ninja 650.

I chose the Ninja 650 back in '07 because it was the first with the low slung exhaust instead of the big can muffler on the side of the bike.

The bike was physically a little small for me so when the Versys came out in '08 I knew I would own one eventually. Bought my '11 in April 2011.

I put 15,000 miles on the Ninja in 4 years, and 30,000 miles on the Versys in 4 years.

I never considered the Versys an adventure bike and still don't. It is a more spacious street bike that kinda has an adventure bike look.

The Versys X-300 definitely fits in the adventure bike arena with the spoked rims and larger front wheel.

From what I understand that the ninja makes you lean over the gas tank if I am wrong please inform me I am open to all bikes but I must sit up straight.
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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-25-2018, 07:17 PM
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From what I understand that the ninja makes you lean over the gas tank if I am wrong please inform me I am open to all bikes but I must sit up straight.
The 1, 2 and 3rd generation Ninja 650ís have upright bars so you are not leaning over the tank like a true sports bike. The current generation is more aggressive but still not full on sports bike. My biggest comfort issue with my Ninja is the pegs are high and back which is bothersome on multi day rides. Suggest sitting on one and try it out.


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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twowheeladdict View Post
If I were 5'7" I would have stayed with the Ninja 650.

I chose the Ninja 650 back in '07 because it was the first with the low slung exhaust instead of the big can muffler on the side of the bike.

The bike was physically a little small for me so when the Versys came out in '08 I knew I would own one eventually. Bought my '11 in April 2011.

I put 15,000 miles on the Ninja in 4 years, and 30,000 miles on the Versys in 4 years.

I never considered the Versys an adventure bike and still don't. It is a more spacious street bike that kinda has an adventure bike look.

The Versys X-300 definitely fits in the adventure bike arena with the spoked rims and larger front wheel.

From what I understand that the ninja makes you lean over the gas tank if I am wrong please inform me I am open to all bikes but I must sit up straight.
I added 1 inch risers for $35 That got the body position close to the Versys. My legs were cramped on long rides even with a peg lowering kit.

My Versys Travels:


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