Join Date: May 2018
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Two months in now
Some thoughts on my new Versys. Had it two months now and put over 3k miles on it so far.
My riding background isn't extensive, but not super substantial, started in the 90's with a rebel 250, then a dual sport kawi (think it was a 600? I forget lol) then I had a mid 80's GPZ750. Then we got pregnant. Sold my GPZ (loved that bike) and didn't ride for 12 years.
Then 2 months ago I got my 2018 Versys 650LT. I got it originally as a commuter bike. I live in Colorado Springs, but my office is in Denver. Without traffic it's a 45-50 minute commute (doing the speed limit). 16mpg in my F150 was getting pretty old lol.
I rode it easy the first 600 miles and then got it's first service done. I liked it, it was comfortable and had enough power for me. I was thinking though, why didn't I get a sportier bike that sits upright like an fz09 or something? I think I had been comparing it to the rush of my old gpz. My problem I found out was my lack of bikes or riding experience in the last 12 years to compare it to.
Then I joined a facebook riding group. They have all kinds of riders, but I seemed to be the only adv bike out of 300 members. I went on a few big rides with like 30+ people. While I met and liked quite a few of them, those big rides are a pass for me. Too many people too many varying skill levels of riding.
Just when I was thinking of leaving the group I got an invite to another much smaller group who uses that one to recruit non-retarded riders. They were almost all sport bike riders, with a few cruisers thrown in
I started riding with them, smaller 2 or 3 to 10 person rides with people who really knew how to ride. That's when I started really putting all the miles on my bike and learning to love it for what it is.
My riding buddies almost all ride sport bikes or super sport bikes. Some of them have cruisers as well, but I'm still the only adv bike rider. After miles and miles of riding with them, I must say I am super impressed with the versys.
Highway riding - While I can't go near as fast as my buddies, I can go plenty fast enough. With me on it (6' tall 220lbs) and on a flat stretch of road I can hit 120, not the 150+ a lot of them can go, but it's enough to keep them in my sights and not fall too far behind. Where it really shines though is comfort and gas mileage. They all need two tanks of gas to my one and they need to stop to stretch while I can just keep going without discomfort. I get jealous talk about those 2 things a lot lol.
Where my bike really shines with these guys is in the mountain twisties. Sure, they go fast in a straight line, but the versys seems to handle just as well, if not a tiny bit better, than their sport bikes out in the tight twisties. I go into corners faster than them, and the low range torque gets me out faster usually too. I can keep up just fine and haven't felt like I'm pushing the limits of my bike at all really. Keeping it in a gear where I can stay between 5k and 8k RPMs and going to town, I feel this bike is where it belongs. It is at home in the mountains.
Dirt - I haven't been on one dirt road, and probably won't. I love this bike, and it is an adv bike, but I have street tires on it and it just seems like it's a bit too top heavy to be super effective in the dirt. I grew up riding dirt bikes when I was a kid though, and had a dual sport for a while as an adult, so I don't think this would hold up to the performance I was used to off road.
During all of this I keep thinking about what I would do to make this bike better.
First thing I have done is added a phone mount with a built in charger, just ran the mounts cable under fairings straight to the battery (it has an in line fuse). Easier than adding the relay and doing the stock port and a non charging mount and works great. I'm never going to leave my phone on it for weeks at a time charging so I don't need to worry about battery life on my bike.
I am getting some LED lights in the next few days as well. The two that mount on the front sides like fog lamps, not sure what they are called lol. And a light bar for underneath the headlights. One of the people from my riding group is selling the whole set to me for $30, can't beat that.
My only real complaint is the quietness of the bike. I can't hear it when I'm riding with other people, and by myself the wind and music in my helmet can drown it out. While some consider this a good thing, I like to hear the motor, especially in the twisties, so I don't have to use feel and looking down at my tach while I'm trying to watch where I'm going. I may get a mild exhaust system for it. I don't want it super loud, but louder than it is now.
Also, this is the first bike I have ever had with a gear indicator, how did I ever ride without one for so long?!?!??!?