V650 mk3 vs. FJ09 - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-09-2019, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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V650 mk3 vs. FJ09

Hi there,

Iím torn between these 2 bikes! Current ride is an FZ6.

Iíd love to hear from those who have ridden both, pros/cons, and your reasons for going for the V650.

Thanks,
Dave
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-09-2019, 11:47 PM
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I've test ridden the FJ. But only a 2015 model. The motor is the jewel of that bike. Great power from that triple. The fit and finish in my opinion was not that great. The Versys just felt better at highway speeds, and comparable in the twisties. Both the ergo's and wind management were better on the Versys for my body. What sealed the deal for me. The Versys was a much better value proposition at the time of the purchase. My Bike came very well equipped with all the accessories i wanted, with exception of a centerstand. Thats coming off an FJR and seriously considering the two machines. I'm very pleased with my decision. The Versys is a great bang for the buck. But if the FJ speaks to you and fits your riding demands. Then by all means, go for it! Whatever makes you happy. Good luck. Yamaha makes great machines.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-10-2019, 09:30 AM
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I bought a new FZ09 in 2014 and put 24k miles on it in 2 years.

The FJ09 is the same bike with some mods. Longer swing arm, half fairing and windscreen being the major differences.

The diamond in the package is the fantastic 3 cylinder motor. The downside is the suspension and geometry. I spent $2000 on suspension upgrades on my FZ09 and it still did not handle as well as my Versys 650.

The Versys has about an inch more suspension travel than the Yamaha and the difference is quite noticeable with a much plusher ride. The Yamaha is pretty stiff and will beat you up on bumpy roads.

If you are an adrenaline junkie, requiring arm stretching horsepower to be happy, get the FJ. If you want a bike that is very comfortable, has good wind protection, gets great gas milage (I average around 55 mpg) has a range of around 250 miles, handles like a dream, and is a total hoot to ride, go with the Versys.

Cookin Wid Gas

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-10-2019, 10:29 AM
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The new FJ-09 reportedly has better suspension. Even the FZ was improved, compared to few years ago, and I hear the faired variants were damped more, making them less pogo-y than the old naked version.

The 2014 FZ-09 is probably not a great comparison for a 2019 FJ-09, suspension wise. Apparently the GT version even has fully adjustable forks.

2015 Versys 650

Last edited by _Big_Mac_; 02-10-2019 at 10:33 AM.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-10-2019, 11:05 AM
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Unfortunately I haven't been on a FJ09 but I do currently own a 2006 FZ6 and a 2015 V650. If you like the top end of the FZ you'll be disappointed in the Versys. Where the FZ6 shines is in the 6k+ rpm range and esp above 8k. BTW 8200 rpm is 100mph There just isn't that punch with the Kawi. I find my normal range is 4k - 6k rpm. The Versys sits higher and has a higher CoG. Comfort-wise for me the Versys wins hands down. The I4 on the FZ is really smooth where the V650 has more vibration. The triple in the FJ09 has very linear power. Wind protection the Versys win hands down. If you think the throttle is snappy with the FZ6 it's got nothing on the Versys, very quick on/off, 1st gear can be difficult at times but it's fixable either with Shoodaben reprogramming and/or 16T front sprocket. It's not unmanageable but it's not optimal. Lots of aftermarket support for V650 and of course we have the best forum!
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-10-2019, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
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Great feedback folks, thanks.

Iím not a speed junkie. I got the FZ6 as the ergos just fealt ďrightĒ. I donít thrash it and rarely have the need to go above 7k rpm as itís used for my daily 25 mile commute. Iíve averaged 58 mpg over the last 13 years! I also like the fact it has 5.1 gal tank.

Funny thing is, I really wanted the 650 Ninja when it came out in 2006 but is was so small and cramped compared to the FZ6. Now here I am some 13 years later contemplating itís cousin!

From what Iíve read, value wise the Versys is hard to beat, and for me, 3 big considerations are comfort, mpg, and tank range. I still need to test ride both bikes, but on paper, iím Definitely leaning towards the Versys.

Iíll update once Iíve made a decision.
Dave
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-10-2019, 11:52 AM
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You'll take a hit in the mpg dept if you're getting 58. I only avg. 41, but I'm on the low side. Not sure if it's the tall windscreen and top case that contributes to that. I recently went to a 16 tooth front sprocket for better hwy cruising rpms as it's also my commuter for 30mi each way. Not enough data yet to see if I've gained anything.
Good luck with your decision!
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-10-2019, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by davec719 View Post
Great feedback folks, thanks.

Iím not a speed junkie. I got the FZ6 as the ergos just fealt ďrightĒ. I donít thrash it and rarely have the need to go above 7k rpm as itís used for my daily 25 mile commute. Iíve averaged 58 mpg over the last 13 years! I also like the fact it has 5.1 gal tank.

Funny thing is, I really wanted the 650 Ninja when it came out in 2006 but is was so small and cramped compared to the FZ6. Now here I am some 13 years later contemplating itís cousin!

From what Iíve read, value wise the Versys is hard to beat, and for me, 3 big considerations are comfort, mpg, and tank range. I still need to test ride both bikes, but on paper, iím Definitely leaning towards the Versys.

Iíll update once Iíve made a decision.
Dave
I used to have an FZ6 09' and it averaged around 40mpg, the versys however gives me around 47mpg. What I hated the most about the fz06 is its exhaust design, it generated so much heat in the summer that it really bothered me.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-10-2019, 01:37 PM
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@ Dave, I rode bikes both back to back in 2015. It was a hard decision initially. The FJ's features are KILLER on paper. Even did up a spreadsheet and the whole nine yards (Lol). I also downloaded the owner's manual for both bikes before deciding. I obviously went with the Gen 3 V650. Here's a link to a write-up I did on both from years ago:

https://www.kawasakiversys.com/forum...de-report.html

Here are some random current/additional thoughts that ((very personally)) further sold me on the Versys:

* Higher max load (463 total for V vs. 395-397 total for FJ --- reinforced V subframe allows for cases, top box AND passenger --- FJ subframe only allows either cases or top box and passenger, but not all 3 --- Rode Big Bend with my wife who's approx. 105 lbs. and the loaded cases; the V performed flawlessly at what was a somewhat spirited pace)

* Larger fuel tank (5.5 vs. 4.8 on the FJ)

* Tuned to run on 87 octane fuel (Per owner's manual the FJ "has been designed to use premium unleaded gasoline" --- calling for 91 octane or higher)

* Less engine cylinders (inline 2 vs. FJ's inline 3 = less spark plugs, less engine oil, less valve job time for me to consider in terms of DIY maintenance)

* Twin cylinder (vs. the FJ's triple --- personal preference but I love that twin sock-you-in-the gut grunt I feel from stoplight to stop sign, and on corner exit at speed; NOTHING else like it!! --- having test ridden 81 different motorcycles in the past 6 years, I don't make that statement lightly)

* Better fuel economy

* Better wind protection (it simply punches a better hole in the wind plus to me, the FJ looks ROUGH with the larger windscreen :-/ )

* More planted at higher speeds (FJ got flighty on me when I got "up there")

* Good vibration management (despite the natural occurrence for this with the V's config & 180 degree firing order, I became more annoyed with the FJ's foot peg buzz. Weird! Ymmv, but I feel Kawi did a great job dialing that stuff out --- especially compared to previous generations)

* Narrower rear tire (160 vs the FJ's 180 = easier for me to toss and flick the V all around anywhere --- incl. light unpaved roads --- also cheaper to replace)

* 2 year warranty on the V650LT (vs. 1 year on the FJ --- which didn't come with cases --- needed those sooner than the FJs center stand)

* Less tech (not minimalizing the FJ's awesome tech features, but for my frugal a** it's just less to worry about troubleshooting out in the field --- ABS on the V is certainly welcome though)

Lastly and FWIW, the introduction of the Tracer 900GT doesn't change my views. For me, the foot pegs are still set back too far for my comfort tastes and the engine and tech drags out more DIY maintenance for me and implies a higher cost of ownership. Don't know if they've reinforced the subframe for a higher max load capacity though. It's still an incredible street ADV/ST though. It just doesn't meet my criteria personally.


Hope this info helps and I wish you all the best whichever mount you decide to go with. We are more spoiled than ever with options! ;-)
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Last edited by Streethawk; 02-10-2019 at 02:18 PM.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-10-2019, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by davec719 View Post
...I got the FZ6 as the ergos just fealt “right”. I don’t thrash it and rarely have the need to go above 7k rpm as it’s used for my daily 25 mile commute. I’ve averaged 58 mpg over the last 13 years! I also like the fact it has 5.1 gal tank....
The Gen 3 V650s hold 5.5 USg, so I can personally go 300 miles on a tank IF NECESSARY and that's w/ a RESERVE!

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-10-2019, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Streethawk, thanks for the link, itís very informative.

Dave
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-14-2019, 09:00 AM
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From what Iíve read, value wise the Versys is hard to beat, and for me, 3 big considerations are comfort, mpg, and tank range.
Dave
If those are your three main considerations then I believe the Versys wins out easily.

I have not taken a ride on the new Tracer but I had three opportunities to ride the FJ09, I liked it a bit more each time but it always felt a bit off to me. I didn't like the very wide bars, or the cheapish luggage, and parts seemed cheap in places. I did like the power and especially liked the centerstand. I finally chose the Versys because it just feels better, handles better and has great range. Plus the Versys looks way better than the FJ09, the Tracer has improved it's looks a bit and if it were available when I was shopping I may have made a different decision.

Good luck with your decision.


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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-14-2019, 09:28 AM
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The new FJ-09 reportedly has better suspension. Even the FZ was improved, compared to few years ago, and I hear the faired variants were damped more, making them less pogo-y than the old naked version.

The 2014 FZ-09 is probably not a great comparison for a 2019 FJ-09, suspension wise. Apparently the GT version even has fully adjustable forks.
You are correct about subsequent models having suspension upgrades. The point I was making was after adding top shelf suspension upgrades (Penske shock and AK-20 fork cartridges) the FZ still did not handle as well as the V-650.

The 2019 fZ09 dimensions regarding wheel base, front end trail and rake remain unchanged.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-14-2019, 11:53 AM
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If those are your three main considerations then I believe the Versys wins out easily.

I have not taken a ride on the new Tracer but I had three opportunities to ride the FJ09, I liked it a bit more each time but it always felt a bit off to me. I didn't like the very wide bars, or the cheapish luggage, and parts seemed cheap in places. I did like the power and especially liked the centerstand. I finally chose the Versys because it just feels better, handles better and has great range. Plus the Versys looks way better than the FJ09, the Tracer has improved it's looks a bit and if it were available when I was shopping I may have made a different decision.

Good luck with your decision.
Went w/ a buddy to a Yamaha shop yesterday, and looked at the Tracer 900 (two models, one loaded, one basic). I'm not tremendously impressed w/ the bags on my '15 650LT, but I have to say that THEY look better (more substantial) than the ones on the Tracer, but overall the two Tracers looked PDG.

Be nice to get a ride on one.


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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-14-2019, 10:34 PM
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Went w/ a buddy to a Yamaha shop yesterday, and looked at the Tracer 900 (two models, one loaded, one basic). I'm not tremendously impressed w/ the bags on my '15 650LT, but I have to say that THEY look better (more substantial) than the ones on the Tracer, but overall the two Tracers looked PDG.

Be nice to get a ride on one.

I rode one on demo days in the fall. Strong motor with smooth power delivery. Liked the extra bells and whistles but did not like the ergonomics at all. The rider pegs are way too far back. Handling and ride is ok, but the Versys is better. Getting back on my Versys back to back made me feel even more impressed with my bike.

After doing the Shodebeen ECU upgrade which gave my 2016 a much smoother power delivery I’m not interested in the Tracer anymore.
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Last edited by fasteddiecopeman; 02-15-2019 at 12:04 PM.
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