650 Known Weak Points/Problems. - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-27-2020, 05:17 AM Thread Starter
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650 Known Weak Points/Problems.

Hey guys, further researching using the V 650 for continuing a multi year RTW adventure. One of the most important things when traveling in remote locations, especially in 3rd world countries, is reliability. I would be keen to make the bike as bulletproof as humanely possible.

I am curious as to what areas of the 650 have been an issue, or potentially a problem and what steps have you guys taken to resolve them? Example, I have seen mention of the regulator/rectifier being an area of concern?

Any advice much appreciated. Cheers.

Adventure before dementia.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-27-2020, 07:09 AM
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In the 30,000 miles I owned my 2011 Versys the only "problem" I had was difficulty shifting. Turned out to be the shift linkage was getting gummed up. Removing, cleaning, and lubing took care of it.

My Versys Travels:


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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-27-2020, 08:22 AM
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I have done quite a lot of km riding to Thailand. Cambodia and Locally the entire country. Only two failure, one is the front fork leaking in one of my Thailand ride and just recently the Sator gave way and at 60K Km. other than the mentioned failure nothing has caused me concern during riding.

Just keep the bike maintained properly and it should give trouble free service. I had a Kawasaki ZR250 , Z500 and both did run trouble free. always a kawa rider.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-27-2020, 10:16 AM
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As far as end-of-trip weaknesses, the stator is the only one I know of, and those failures are after a lot of miles. Adding a voltmeter to your panel can give you some advanced warning of the problem, at least enough to keep you from being stranded in the wilderness.

The lack of bash-plate is one potential issue, depending on how off-pavement you will be. I do not have a bash-plate, and I do go off the pavement, but not onto rugged trails solo. There are some plates available, and I would add one for your trip unless you intend to be 100% pavement.

Add a metal radiator cover. Cheap and they work.

I would not add a center stand due to complaints I've read about them hanging low etc. I use a Snap-Jack for maintenance on the road.

Get a good engine guard that protects the lower engine not just the upper areas. And replace the front turn signals with micro sized ones. The OEM signals stick out too far and hit the ground on a tip-over, which then breaks the plastic fairing they mount to. I have R&G Racing signals. They have mounting plates and load-matching resistors which make installation super easy.

The foot pegs mount to a somewhat weak plate, which can result in a footpeg breaking off in a slide. If you install the radiator guard, bash plate, and good engine guards, then the foot peg mounts are the remaining weak points.

The seat gets a lot of complaints. I have a Sargent seat and love it. Other aftermarket seats also get great reviews.

The V650 would be an outstanding choice for RTW imho. Standard parts which should be widely available.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-27-2020, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Fly-Sig View Post
As far as end-of-trip weaknesses, the stator is the only one I know of, and those failures are after a lot of miles. Adding a voltmeter to your panel can give you some advanced warning of the problem, at least enough to keep you from being stranded in the wilderness.

The lack of bash-plate is one potential issue, depending on how off-pavement you will be. I do not have a bash-plate, and I do go off the pavement, but not onto rugged trails solo. There are some plates available, and I would add one for your trip unless you intend to be 100% pavement.

Add a metal radiator cover. Cheap and they work.

I would not add a center stand due to complaints I've read about them hanging low etc. I use a Snap-Jack for maintenance on the road.

Get a good engine guard that protects the lower engine not just the upper areas. And replace the front turn signals with micro sized ones. The OEM signals stick out too far and hit the ground on a tip-over, which then breaks the plastic fairing they mount to. I have R&G Racing signals. They have mounting plates and load-matching resistors which make installation super easy.

The foot pegs mount to a somewhat weak plate, which can result in a footpeg breaking off in a slide. If you install the radiator guard, bash plate, and good engine guards, then the foot peg mounts are the remaining weak points.

The seat gets a lot of complaints. I have a Sargent seat and love it. Other aftermarket seats also get great reviews.

The V650 would be an outstanding choice for RTW imho. Standard parts which should be widely available.
Thanks mate this is exactly the sort of input I am looking for. The accessories side of things is a given. I am now over 70,000 klms riding RTW and I have put some testing into crash bars and the like I can tell you! I do like the easy availability of parts also. One of the big reasons I am planning to change bikes is the scarcity of bits, expense and difficulty in getting them with the European brands.

Adventure before dementia.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-28-2020, 07:06 AM
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That stator gets way WAY too much attention; it is likely no worse than other bikes.
We read so much about it here only because too many members talk about it, because there is nothing else to talk about!
I mean, when the next popular topics of 'issues' is the vehicle down sensor or high idle rpm, you know you hit rock bottom and the well is dry!

Follow maintenance schedule items (perhaps no more than 2x the interval), i.e. oil and filter, air filter, cable lube, chain and sprockets, valve checks, forks, brakes, wheel bearings.

FYI: there are NO "bash/skid plates" for versys, only rock guards. They will not take the bike's weight on impact. But they are still reasonably useful compared to the plastic default.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-28-2020, 08:38 AM
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The charging system on the Versys is similar to many other motorcycle systems We (this forum) are lucky to have a member who did the research and can tell us why they fail and give us a modification to help prevent it from happening. I went through several sators on my Vulcan 750 The first one lasted over 50,000 miles, the cheap replacements only a few thousand each. Now I know why.

Enjoy your trip.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-28-2020, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rider_Dave View Post
...Example, I have seen mention of the regulator/rectifier being an area of concern?....
I would suggest replacing the OEM shunt stator w/ a series stator. (MORE info coming further in THIS reply.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fly-Sig View Post
As far as end-of-trip weaknesses, the stator is the only one I know of, and those failures are after a lot of miles. Adding a voltmeter to your panel can give you some advanced warning of the problem, at least enough to keep you from being stranded in the wilderness....
My first stator failure was on my '09 at 52,243 kms [32,463 miles]. I first replaced the stator, and then w/ help from onewizard I replaced the OEM regulator w/ a COMPUFIRE R/R at 53,917 kms [33,502 miles]. Can't say how long THAT repair lasted, as I had a low-side crash that wrote the bike off at 62,790 kms [39,016 miles].

Then I had a stator failure on my '08 in AZ, AFTER I had installed a POLARIS R/R, so, obviously the damage had already occurred to my stator before then. (For info on that stator you can try SEARCH as I don't have records for the '08 here in BC.) When the stator 'died', I was able to travel about 12 to 15 miles to the point where the voltage was lowering to the point where the engine would have STOPPED, because I was able to turn my headlight OFF, a mod suggested by onewizard, that allowed me to travel THAT FAR!

On my '15 V650 I replaced its OEM R/R w/ a POLARIS R/R at 28,589 kms [17,764 miles], and THUS FAR everything is working FINE.

I SUGGEST THAT YOU THINK HARD ABOUT THIS ISSUE IF YOU HOPE TO FINISH ALL THE RIDES YOU START!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dddd View Post
That stator gets way WAY too much attention; it is likely no worse than other bikes.
We read so much about it here only because too many members talk about it, because there is nothing else to talk about!....
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-03-2020, 11:57 AM
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I have a hard time with the stator "issue" being a model specific thing. motorcycle charging systems across the board are much less robust than that of cars. I've owned bikes both modern and vintage alike and charging system issues are one of the most common issues overall and are hand down the most common electrical issue. so to me saying the charging system is a model specific issue to the versys is kind of silly. lets also bear in mind this is the same engine thats in the ninja 650 as well as the vulcan S.

the stock seat is also a common complaint. one that I shared, god I hated that stock seat. bought a seat concepts seat and never looked back. the bike being a little bit buzzy is another common complaint, this issue I believe was mostly been dealt with on the gen-3 bikes as a lot more things are now rubber mounted.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-04-2020, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by frozenhawaiian View Post
I have a hard time with the stator "issue" being a model specific thing. motorcycle charging systems across the board are much less robust than that of cars. I've owned bikes both modern and vintage alike and charging system issues are one of the most common issues overall and are hand down the most common electrical issue. so to me saying the charging system is a model specific issue to the versys is kind of silly. lets also bear in mind this is the same engine thats in the ninja 650 as well as the vulcan S.

the stock seat is also a common complaint. one that I shared, god I hated that stock seat. bought a seat concepts seat and never looked back. the bike being a little bit buzzy is another common complaint, this issue I believe was mostly been dealt with on the gen-3 bikes as a lot more things are now rubber mounted.
I generally have to modify stock seats to relieve tailbone pressure. It's something that has plagued me for years. I have yest to even sit on a Versys so time will tell. Thanks for the feedback.

Adventure before dementia.
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