What should I buy first? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-09-2019, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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What should I buy first?

Hello, Just bought a '18 V650 LT and as I am still deployed will have to wait a couple months to return back to the States. In the mean time I am getting my riding "stuff" purchased so that helmet, jacket, boots, and gloves will also be waiting for me when I return home...
My question to all of you seasoned riders is: what is the best first "essential" (either performance or comfort) add-on to the bike that you made or wished you had bought earlier?
Thank you.
K

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-09-2019, 01:13 PM
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My suggestion is to get crash protection first, then farkle up.

I'm still waiting to find the money for crash bars on mine.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-09-2019, 01:53 PM
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First things I add to most bikes are mirror extenders and a louder horn. Both are fairly cheap and easy to do, and all bikes seem to need them. I'd say don't worry about performance or comfort items until you've ridden the bike a few times, but watch the thread on ECU re-flashing for when a version for the 2018 model becomes available. Having mine (I have a 2015) done was the best money I've spent on this bike. Oh, and "thanks" from a veteran.

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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 16 (permalink) Old 05-09-2019, 02:42 PM
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Sargent seat if you plan on doing any real miles on it.
You can thank me later.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-09-2019, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuchi View Post
Hello, Just bought a '18 V650 LT and as I am still deployed will have to wait a couple months to return back to the States. In the mean time I am getting my riding "stuff" purchased so that helmet, jacket, boots, and gloves will also be waiting for me when I return home...
My question to all of you seasoned riders is: what is the best first "essential" (either performance or comfort) add-on to the bike that you made or wished you had bought earlier?
Thank you.
K
  • First, download the service manual from this site (free), PM me if you need a link. If you have never used a service manual before it is what the included owners manual should be and provides guidance for every maintenance task. You can also buy a hard copy on eBay for ~$50.
  • #1 MOD everyone should have - Crash bars. Every bike will decide to lay on its side sooner or later and this happens more frequently with taller bikes like the Versys. When it happens, and it will, more frequently if you are a novice rider, shorter or riding on dirt or gravel roads, you'll really wish you had crash bars. They will also save the bike and perhaps your foot in a minor slide or tip over. See YouTube video of Versys crashing in the Alps with SW-Motech bars - they save the bike. They will pay for themselves eventually with prevented damage and repairs. Any weight they add is imperceptible as well as it is placed low on the bike. Every bike should have these IMHO.
  • Heated grips if you ride in cooler weather
  • Aux (spot pattern driving lights) lights if you ride a lot at night in rural areas without street lights or in areas the sun sets at 4:30pm , otherwise don't bother.
  • My unsolicited advice is Ride the bike for a while before considering an aftermarket seat as this will depend a lot on the individual, how they ride and other factors and many people may not benefit from this upgrade depending on their physique and how they ride. I find the stock seat just fine in my case but am not on the bike frequently for 8 hours a day either.
  • Try on lots of helmets before buying. Don't buy a helmet without trying it on first! The effectiveness of the venting in a FF helmet is very important. Helmets need to fit relatively tight to work. Read up lots on helmet fit, there is a lot to learn. Check out www.webbikeworld.com. Your individual head shape has a lot to do with what brand/model fits best. Figure out if you are a (wide head, intermediate oval or long oval head shape). A DOT safety rating means nothing, instead, look for an ECE or Snell rated helmet which will have a DOT rating by default. ECE rated helmets are lighter than Snell rated helmets but Snell 2015/2020 rated helmets offer slightly more protection and are the only ones allowed for track use in the US and Canada. A tinted visor is better than an internal drop-down tinted visor, in most cases, and can be easily swapped. Dark glasses under a clear visor suck. Suggest buying an extra tinted visor with whatever helmet you buy as you'll appreciate it on a sunny day.
  • You will also require (8mm size, 10mm on 2014 and earlier bikes) swingarm spools and a rear spool lift stand to perform any maintenance task on the bike as well as a metric socket set. See stickyed threads on tools. Spools are very, very cheap on eBay) and a rear spool stand. I would suggest the mid-price point for one. The really cheap ones bend easily. Pit Bull stands are the best but perhaps overpriced and overbuilt for the casual rider. Venom is a good compromise and a cheaper alternative. Harbor Freight(US) or Princess Auto (CDN) also have a cheap one, perhaps others can recommend other options.
  • For gear there are lots of good alternatives. I would check out videos from FortNine and Revzilla on YouTube. Suggest posting threads for soliciting recommendations. What gear works best will depend on where you ride and how much you ride and want to spend. I would recommend anything by Klim(Gortex) if you have a large budget and want the best but there are lots of great and cheaper alternatives. For instance, Firstgear Kilimanjaro is a good cheap Klim alternative for a Klim like all weather vented breathable shell. IMO, supply your own insulated jacket liner, it will be better than anything jacket manufacture includes. Olympia Airglide is a quality mesh jacket alternative if you want something for hotter climates and the waterproof/windproof liner works over or under the jacket and is separate from the insulated jacket. Hi Vis gear will allow you to ride on a military base without a separate Hi-Vis vest and statistically makes you slightly less likely to collide with a car. Also, enough people wear it now it is no longer considered geeky to wear Hi Vis gear
  • I have broken my wrist on a bike and have learned the hard way, look for gloves with slippery super fabric or plastic palm sliders and some sort of wrist protection. Hopefully, you will never need it. Most of the abrasion protection in a jacket comes from the armour underneath the pressure points (elbow, shoulder, back) and is sufficient for most slides to completely protect your upper body from abrasion injuries. The majority of serious injuries incurred by motorcyclists are to less astute riders that ride without a helmet and protective jacket and gloves.
  • Read or watch videos on Twist of the Wrist and other riding topics. Take a riding course to learn about counter steer (essential to turn at higher speeds), tank grip and rear brake drag/clutch slip (essential to low-speed maneuvering). Continually practice your emergency braking, swerving/avoidance skills, and tight U-turns (<18ft) in a vacant parking lot.
  • A 12V socket to plug in a tire pump or USB converter is helpful. They are really cheap on eBay (Bikemaster also make one, avoid the grossly overpriced Kawasaki one) and mount in a standard size hole you drill in the dash. You need a USB 3 plug or adapter to charge a cell phone, a 1 amp model will not do the job.
  • RAM Mount X-Grip make an excellent cell phone holder for GPS use. You need the ball mount (Part# RAM-B-367U) for the Versys. A helmet Bluetooth headset is also helpful when using a phone or GPS.

PS good luck on your deployment. Welcome to the Versys Club. I'm on my second Versys. Sure a BMW 1200 GS would be nice but the Versys 650 is hard to beat price/performance ratio in the all-rounder class plus the BMW is 2X more while being only slightly better.

The advantage of a site like this is there are 100 people with the exact same bike who all have had some experience with it already. This way you can learn from others mistakes without repeating them

Last edited by twowheels; 05-09-2019 at 07:09 PM.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-09-2019, 07:24 PM
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Rear rack and a SealLine dry bag.
Hiway pegs.

It's a great distance bike.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-09-2019, 08:03 PM
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Come back home safely and ride your bike first and then decide what is best for your ride.

Don,t regret after purchase.

Wishing you a safe return.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-09-2019, 08:46 PM
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When you're considering seats, take a look at those by Terry Adcock. Way better and cheaper than Sargent or other makes. Probably the best mod that I did on my bike.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 06:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuchi View Post
... what is the best first "essential"
1) Cramp buster + throttle lock.
After a few years, you are not going to ride much with an inflamed right wrist that hurts every minute. Buy it in alu, not the plastic crap that is sure to break (don't ask how I know).

2) tire puncture fixing kit (in the seat all the time)+ pressure gauge. There should be space for a mini 12v compressor too. If you don't think this is comfort, then push your bike a few blocks to convince yourself.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
1) Cramp buster + throttle lock.
After a few years, you are not going to ride much with an inflamed right wrist that hurts every minute. Buy it in alu, not the plastic crap that is sure to break (don't ask how I know).
Are you recommending a cramp buster, a throttle lock, or both?
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 12:37 PM
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Are you recommending a cramp buster, a throttle lock, or both?
Throttle lock in alu (I use the gocruise2) AND cramp buster (usually plastic is fine, many clones which are fine). The lock is only good for highway, the buster is for all the other moments.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 04:08 PM
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First things I add to most bikes are mirror extenders and a louder horn....
I didn't put mirror-extenders onto my Gen 3 ('15 V650) as they are wide enough stock, tho' I DID have them on my '09 and DO on my '08, which NEEDED them!

AMEN on the louder horn.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 05:10 PM
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I hit enough pickup mirrors when lane splitting that the last thing I need is extenders.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 05:14 PM
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Throttle lock in alu (I use the gocruise2) AND cramp buster (usually plastic is fine, many clones which are fine). The lock is only good for highway, the buster is for all the other moments.
I'm not sure why it never occurred to me to use both at the same time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthernCruizer View Post
Sargent seat if you plan on doing any real miles on it.
You can thank me later.
I do love my Sargent seat. I have honestly never been uncomfortable in that saddle seemingly no matter how long I ride. I never really liked the feel of the stock seat and I definitely did not enjoy the Corbin seat on the 650, but I tried neither for any extensive amount of time.

Last edited by leftbrain99; 05-10-2019 at 05:16 PM.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 05:31 PM
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You asked for "first essential".
And we all know you will soon ask what to buy next...

So, if we are going to list just any upgrade/addon, then after my original first 2 above, I would add:

Other essential, good value/purpose:

3) adjustable windshield (height and tilt) tall enough to catch fog/mist but just below eyes when raised. Also optimized airflow or visibility at will. ~250-400$
4) tail rack/platform (diy) ~20$
5) spare H7 bulb and spare fuses (always in the seat) ~50$

for serious offroad riders:
6) crash bars/ engine guards and shorter stalk turn signals. ~200-400$
7) cleated pegs (DL650 pegs with some DIY) ~30$

Then non-essential ideas for compulsive buyers (prices won't matter right?!), still with some purpose...:

- motorcycle gps (waterproof and shock resistant, not a phone which should be on you btw, should you get ejected)
- in-dash voltmeter/temperature meter
- seal savers fork sleeves (off road)
- folding mirrors (off road)
- tank pads (if plastidip is not enough for you)
- spools for the rear stand (better than a pair of bolts...)
- side stand enlarger (off road)
- toes saver chain guard
- 2-way pager alarm system
- usb charger
- louder horn (sorry, that denali soundbomb did ok in city but still not enough on highway)
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post #16 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the ideas and suggestions. I know comfort is a personal thing, so stuff like seats and windshields will wait until I have a chance to ride her. I have heard several comments regarding "crash bars" as a good starting point and I definitely have them on my short list of things.

Thanks once again,

K
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