What is there to not like about the V? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-06-2018, 07:36 AM Thread Starter
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What is there to not like about the V?

There are lots of great things about the V, but what about the things that are not to your liking or things you think Kawi could have done better.

I love riding my V and she is great for my riding which is typically day rides around mountain and back roads in GA, TN and NC. The occasional stretch on hwy at 75 mph is no problem either.

What I don’t like.

1) The look. I have a gen 2 and while I will not say it is ugly, it certainly is not a good looking bike. If I wanted a garage queen it certainly would not be a V.

2) Chain drive. I guess I was spoiled with the belt drive on my previous Vulcan. It takes less than 5 minutes to put my V on paddock stand and oil the chain but for some reason this bugs me, a shaft drive would be nice. Funny thing is checking tire pressure is actually more work, lining up the valve stem dragging out the compressor etc. but this does not seem to bother me as much. Pretty sure if I had owned a bike with self inflating tires in the past this too would bug me now.

3) Jerking throttle. While I have gotten use to it for the most part I still find the throttle a little jerky especially when maneuvering slowly through hairpin turns.

Emotions are interesting, when I see other pretty shiny bikes with lots of farkels on them I think wow, that would be nice. But if I stop and think about why I ride, where I ride, what it costs me and the enjoyment I get out of the V, I am perfectly satisfied with the V.

Hmm, pretty short list. I could have added a lot of other things like heated grips etc. but those would all add cost and would move the V into another price range. I wanted to focus on the V in its current class. I know a shaft drive would add a lot to the cost, so you can discount my second gripe.


What don’t you like about your V?

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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-06-2018, 08:17 AM
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What is there to not like about the V?

The 180 degree crankshaft. After riding a Yamaha FZ-07 with its super smooth crossplane parallel twin, the old-school parallel twin design in the V seems very crude in comparison.

In response to some of your criticisms, I found that painting the headlight trim black significantly changed the appearance of my gen 2 V. An automatic chain oiler has eliminated most of the chain maintenance issues for me. The jerky throttle has been tamed by getting and keeping the engine hot by installing a Thermo-Bob (as designed).

2011 V650 in Black, well accessorized.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-06-2018, 08:37 AM
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For Gen3:

1) No center stand. (I have an aftermarket one on hand waiting for me to install.)

2) On/off throttle response, which gets increasingly worse with rising ambient temperature. (I have a Booster Plug on hand waiting to be installed.)

That's it for my actual design/engineering dislikes. Other things that I've addressed that are more what I consider personal preferences are reflected in my siggy block below. Of course, most owners don't care about my #1, and many either don't notice or have acclimated to my #2, so really it's all personal preference I guess.

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 26 (permalink) Old 03-06-2018, 09:44 AM
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A really huge negative for me and belt drive is that dirt/gravel roads are off limits. One rock caught up in the belt is a show stopper and expensive and inconvenient to deal with.

All of the bikes I've owned since the mid 80's have been shafties except my KLR. An old R-90, XS750 triple, and a c-10 Connie. It's been a bit of a re-learning curve but I'm now good 2 go with a chain. Although I would still prefer a shaft. Kinda hard or impossible to change the final drive ratio with a shaft, though.
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And most of Canada too, eh?
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-06-2018, 09:57 AM
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Still on my Gen 1, would like a little less vibe, center stand would be great, seat and buffeting have been a struggle.

As for the seat, I finally settled on Seat Concepts + Airhawk... I'm good to about 150 miles, then need frequent stops. I usually only have a half day here and there to ride, so that is plenty of range.

My windshield configuration is now the old Givi 405 with Laminar Lip on the original Madstad bracket at max elevation... anything less and my helmet takes a beating.

I would also like to have ABS.

That said, I love the handling, the motor has plenty of go, the styling is 'unique', I've had zero mechanical issues, and I've enjoyed riding the little beast!

'08 Versys.. Givi rear rack, JCW trunk and E21's, Givi shield, Madstad bracket, Speedy peg and mirror brackets, lowering kit, SC Seat, R1 Shock.. other stuff. '09 KLX250 setup for singletrack. 2011 Xterra, '80 CJ-7

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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-07-2018, 12:15 PM
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What don't I like about my V650s...?

NOTHING comes to mind....


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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-07-2018, 01:19 PM
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My biggest gripe would have to be the mirrors on my 09.
Cured by a pair of ZRX mirrors.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-07-2018, 01:57 PM
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What's not to like about the V?

My gripes are really minimal.

1-would it kill Kawasaki to just include the 12V accessory plug, relay, and gear indicator, instead of squeezing customers for an additional $300.00?!?

2-been said before, how about a centerstand included too?!?

3-while there are a few choices for "crash protection" for the 2015 & up, none seem to offer the kind of bottom end protection that is easily found for the first two generations of V. Every one I look at that seems to offer good protection for the fairing seems sorely lacking in protection for the lower side cases.

4-what's up with the cooling system?!? Easily fixed with a Thermo-Bob, and also there are palpable fueling benefits to the TB too! Hands down the best (of the very few) mods I've done so far!!!

That said, none of these points stopped me from buying my 2015, or were serious to make me seriously look at another similar model, so I guess I'm just blowin' smoke😬
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-07-2018, 04:30 PM
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With my green butt experience with the Versys (964 miles after 3 weeks) is the seat! Like just about every stock motorcycle I've owned those seats are THE FIRST mod to get!

But so far, my 2018 Versys has actually made me think SERIOUSLY about selling my one true love...my CTX!!! That's how much I love this bike!
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-07-2018, 11:32 PM
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What don't I like on my 2009.

Vibration, this is the issue that has kept me from spending money on the bike other than routine maintenance, I don't intend to keep this bike for too much longer, the vibration is just becoming a deal breaker. I get to look forward to hand surgery in the next couple of years thanks to the vibration of this bike.

Lack of power, at 5000+ ft this is a slow bike, it is fine for riding around town and will cruise at 80mph down the highway, but doesn't have great passing power, and in windy conditions might not even be able to maintain 80mph on the highway, upside is the wind doesn't blow it around that much.

What I'm indifferent about.

Styling, it's a quirky looking bike, it looks awful in certain color combinations (red with silver comes to mind), the green and black of mine is probably the best looking color combo IMHO. I don't have to look at it while I'm riding it.

Chain drive, I don't expect shaft drive on a bike at this price point, chain maintenance on it isn't bad and overall it is an easy bike to maintain ... except for getting to the air filter.

Engine sound, 180 degree twins sound pretty meh, just saves me money by not wanting to put an aftermarket pipe on it haha.

Brakes, they stop the bike, that is about all I can say about them.

Throttle response, I've managed to adjust out most of the on/off jerkiness between setting the throttle free play on the tight side and just getting used to it.

What I like about it.

Handling, this bike handles amazingly, will easily keep up with super sports in the twisty sections (but doesn't have the power to keep up when the road opens up a bit more), you think and this bike leans over.

Operating cost, parts are cheap, it is easy to work on (except for the air filter), overall a cheap bike to own and rock solid reliable.
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-08-2018, 12:54 AM
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A center stand would have completed the bike- Gen 1.

nothing else bother me...i adapt myself to what is within my control. Judging a product on an opinion or general opinion, my question is - what happen to your very own opinion of the product.

Hope i didn't confuse anyone..
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-08-2018, 01:43 PM
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Just to offer a counter point to a few of the previously posted gripes......

Kickstand - while a kickstand would be nice, paying for one as well as the extra weight and reduced ground clearance would not be. I actually prefer working on the bike with a pit stand vs a bike with a kick stand. Pit stands are comparatively cheap and easy to use. Bottom line not a significant negative when you compare the pos and neg of each.

Vibration - compared to what? Sure some bikes have less vibration but most bikes don't. It is certainly not a big issue compared to say a FJ-09 or BMW 1000XR that make your hands hurt. I've owned two Versys and have never been bothered by the Vibration. If vibration is excessive I would suggest a throttle body sync and or examining how you drive the bike and where you hold gears for extended periods.

Brakes - there is a very significant improvement to be had by adding steel braided brake lines and stiffening up the front suspension adjustment a little. The OEM brake calipers, pads and rotors are identical to what you would find in all other bikes in this price range as well as those slightly more expensive. Often the longer travel suspension, which will compress under hard braking, gets blamed for poor braking by those not used to riding a taller bike like the Versys.

12V accessory plug, USB accessory plug - these cost not much more than the cost of a cup of coffee on eBay and are a 15min install. You may need to drill a 1 1/8 inch hole in dash (standard accessory hole size) if you do not have a pop out hole.

It should come standard with a rear hugger to keep the crap flung up by the rear wheel off the bike and shock but these are only $65 on the aftermarket and a 10min install.

Every bike ever made should come standard with tip over protection for the fairing and other delicate parts, either crash bars or sliders, the Versys included. Why leave this to the aftermarket?

I would like to see the Versys with a triple and about 100HP, a slipper clutch, radially mounted brakes, aluminum frame, and maybe an Ohlins suspension option. Maybe make a Versys based on the 900 4. Basically a Versys with the size and weight of the 650 but the power of the 1000.

Last edited by twowheels; 03-08-2018 at 02:59 PM.
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-08-2018, 09:07 PM
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i really like my Versys for the most part. The most bothersome attribute to me is the motor, this is in comparison to my 2012 Ninja 650. Same motor, I just like how the Ninja performs, it doesnít require as much shifting around town and is more responsive at lower revs. I also prefer the throttle response of my Ninja, itís much more lively. If I didnít own the Ninja these things probably wouldnít stick out as much, if at all.

Seat is too high.
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-08-2018, 11:10 PM
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I have 2016 Versys 650 ABS since Spt. 2016, 8.6k miles on it. My dislikes are:

1. The seat. Tilt toward the tank... So you often find yourself hugging the tank with your balls. I know about $15 fix from this forum but I don't want to get my seat higher. It's not like huge problem, but still. And the seat cover is pretty easy to scratch. I have it scratched by some part of my boot wich I once dragged over the seat. Looks pretty ugly now.

2. Lights. Even though I already got used to it, lights definitely need an upgrade for night riding. I'd prefer to be able to use both of them at the same time in the low beam and high beam. Not one for low and one for high. One light looks ugly.

3. Stock tires. I won't elaborate on this since it's well known.

4. Stock windshield. It's not that extremely bad.. but Givi Airflow gives so noticable difference, I just keep on forgetting that there was a stock windshield earlier.

5. No preinstalled 12V socket and gear indicator. Period.

6. Engine sound... even with aftermarket exhausts. I'm still using stock but I saw videos on youtube. Just not a fan.

Overall the bike is amazing and I think it's best bang for a buck. My first bike and I think I made very good choice when I bought Versys 650, yep I'm looking to upgrade it... but I'm totaly fine to keep it for 3 years in total.

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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-09-2018, 08:54 AM
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'09, first bike, about 200 and change miles in.

1) Kick Stand - everyone comments on the center stand, but my gripe on stands is that I can't put the kickstand down without running my leg into the footpeg, taking my foot off the kickstand, coming around in front of or folding the peg up from the side, and then putting it down the rest of the way.

2) Vibration - at highway speeds, it's not the best. And this is coming from dirbikes. Don't really mind it anywhere except for the handlebars though, so it's not terrible. Going to try dropping down 3 teeth in the rear, and if that doesn't take care of it then I'll look into some anti-vibration risers, or possibly go to some dirt bars where there's some more anti-vibe options.

3) Buffeting - since I do a lot of highway miles, I figured a more upright bike with a windscreen would be a great choice, but oh boy. In-helmet noise, even with Surefire EP-7's, is just brutal past 55mph. Found out it's nicer standing on the pegs at 60mph than it is sitting down. I'll be experimenting with the windscreen later, but don't have high hopes for it. In it's stock setup and position though, it's just brutal. Having a gopro stuck on the side sure doesn't help either...

Other than that, I haven't really found much I dislike on it. I haven't had a comfort issue with the seat yet, nor have I found a great need for a center stand. That may change after I do my first chain maintenance here shortly, but for the cost of an aftermarket setup, I'll just get a paddock stand instead, since I haven't yet found a need for one out and about.
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post #16 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-09-2018, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 09Greeny View Post
'09, first bike, about 200 and change miles in.

1) Kick Stand - everyone comments on the center stand, but my gripe on stands is that I can't put the kickstand down without running my leg into the footpeg, taking my foot off the kickstand, coming around in front of or folding the peg up from the side, and then putting it down the rest of the way....
After a few more miles you won't even notice this "problem".

(I used to hit the front of my lower-leg against the footpeg, but that stopped as I got used to the Versys.)

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post #17 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-09-2018, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by fasteddiecopeman View Post
After a few more miles you won't even notice this "problem".

(I used to hit the front of my lower-leg against the footpeg, but that stopped as I got used to the Versys.)
I'm sure I'll get used to it eventually, I'd probably get used to the vibration as well. But if I manage to find a solution, I'm still going to jump for it.
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post #18 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-09-2018, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 09Greeny View Post
'09, first bike, about 200 and change miles in.

1) Kick Stand - everyone comments on the center stand, but my gripe on stands is that I can't put the kickstand down without running my leg into the footpeg, taking my foot off the kickstand, coming around in front of or folding the peg up from the side, and then putting it down the rest of the way.

2) Vibration - at highway speeds, it's not the best. And this is coming from dirbikes. Don't really mind it anywhere except for the handlebars though, so it's not terrible. Going to try dropping down 3 teeth in the rear, and if that doesn't take care of it then I'll look into some anti-vibration risers, or possibly go to some dirt bars where there's some more anti-vibe options.

3) Buffeting - since I do a lot of highway miles, I figured a more upright bike with a windscreen would be a great choice, but oh boy. In-helmet noise, even with Surefire EP-7's, is just brutal past 55mph. Found out it's nicer standing on the pegs at 60mph than it is sitting down. I'll be experimenting with the windscreen later, but don't have high hopes for it. In it's stock setup and position though, it's just brutal. Having a gopro stuck on the side sure doesn't help either...

Other than that, I haven't really found much I dislike on it. I haven't had a comfort issue with the seat yet, nor have I found a great need for a center stand. That may change after I do my first chain maintenance here shortly, but for the cost of an aftermarket setup, I'll just get a paddock stand instead, since I haven't yet found a need for one out and about.
Going with taller gearing is only really an option for sea level dwellers, I live at 6000ft and that motor needs all the help it can get up here, dropping 3 teeth in the rear would kill what performance it does have up here. Altitude is particularly brutal on the older Versys motors as they are open loop so have basically no ability for the EFI to adjust for elevation.

As for comparing vibration. I have no idea how bad the vibration is on the FJ-09, I do know that the S1000XR is notorious for a bad buzz at certain RPMs. Compared to other bikes I've owned and ridden it is on the bad side. The Suzuki Bandit I had previously was quite a bit smoother, the Honda CX500 I had prior to that was worse. I would put it around the same vibration level as a twin cam Harley, it is smoother than a sportster, but not by a whole lot. For comparison, the FZ-07 and Honda CB500s are butter smooth.
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post #19 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-09-2018, 09:03 PM
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Gen 3 owner here. Yes, it would be better if it made 90 BHP. If it did then I wouldn't be able to ride 270 miles without refueling which is a drawback. Sixty -something is enough, but 90 would be really nice. 30-40 lbs lighter wouldn't hurt either.

Comparison of Gen 2 to Gen 3, the Gen 3 is really an improvement. Not a giant gap but the brakes, suspension, vibs and fuel economy all seem to be better. All that said, I will look at the new Yamaha Tracer if and when I replace the "ghost". I'm sure if I do I'll miss the Versys but not the seat.
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post #20 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-09-2018, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by mrvwbug View Post
Going with taller gearing is only really an option for sea level dwellers, I live at 6000ft and that motor needs all the help it can get up here, dropping 3 teeth in the rear would kill what performance it does have up here. Altitude is particularly brutal on the older Versys motors as they are open loop so have basically no ability for the EFI to adjust for elevation.

As for comparing vibration. I have no idea how bad the vibration is on the FJ-09, I do know that the S1000XR is notorious for a bad buzz at certain RPMs. Compared to other bikes I've owned and ridden it is on the bad side. The Suzuki Bandit I had previously was quite a bit smoother, the Honda CX500 I had prior to that was worse. I would put it around the same vibration level as a twin cam Harley, it is smoother than a sportster, but not by a whole lot. For comparison, the FZ-07 and Honda CB500s are butter smooth.
Thankfully, I live in Texas, at only 607ft elevation. Honestly, as a first bike, the engine has surprisingly more pull than I was expecting. I find myself constantly short-shifting the hell out of this bike and only occasionally passing 4-5k. This may be in part to my being used to much smaller bikes, or simply the bike's noise (yoshi pipe).

As for vibration, I'm coming from 2 XR100's, a 97 WR250, and an 83/88 TT/XT600. I was honestly expecting a twint o be a bit smoother than a single, but, I guess not. If the sprocket change doesn't fix it, then I'll just be sure to get anti-vibration bars/risers, I wouldn't mind having the grips a little higher and closer anyways.
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