Versys as first bike? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-26-2009, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Versys as first bike?

Hey V peoples,

First of all, hello, my name is Sanz and I am from NC. I've been a member for a while but have been a reader rather than writer since I don't actually own a bike.

I have never ridden a motorcycle but have dreamed of it for some time now, and I'm pretty sure the V is the one that I want. Versatility, comfort, enough power to have fun but not kill me within a week of buying it.

Anyway, I am taking the MSF course this spring, but I probly wont buy a bike for another year or two since I'm going to be nomadic once I graduate from college this may. I guess I am looking for some input as to what yall think about the V as a first bike. I know a 650 is pushing it, but I figure if I take the MSF course and be smart, I can handle it. Should I go for it once I am ready to start riding or start out with something tamer?

Good to meet you all, I have been enjoying your threads for some time now and you all seem like nice people and good riders.

Peace!
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post #2 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-26-2009, 08:04 PM
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The Versys would be a good first bike for you IF you feel comfortable on it & it fits you. A 650 is not too much bike. We have a few members who bought the Versys as a first bike (if memory serves).

Taking an MSF course is a great way to start, but I'm not sure it would be good to take the course, then wait so long to buy a bike. I think it would be better to take the course around the time you buy the bike so the info is fresh in your mind. Of course, the final decision comes down to you.

If you're graduating this May, sounds to me like the Versys would be a great way to start your nomadic life style!



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post #3 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-26-2009, 08:55 PM
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I don't agree with Bear. I always counsel people to start with a small dual purpose bike. I don't know why so many people want to skip this first very fun step. You will gain much more skill and confidence on a smaller bike than starting with "the bike of your dreams". You won't mind dropping the little bike, and indeed won't be as likely to do so since it will be a much lighter machine. The power won't throw you for a loop, and you'll be able to take it off road where you will learn even more about motorcycle dynamics. Make no mistake, riding a motorcycle is a skill which takes a long time to master and starting small is always the way to go. There, how's that for an in-your-face opinion?
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post #4 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-26-2009, 09:26 PM
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IMHO, I would take the course and ask the instructor what starter bike would work for your skill level. He/ She will be able to assess your abilities way better than we can.
While the V might be a good starter bike a new V is going to be heartbreaking to drop ( usually all low speed in driveway, stop sign etc.) A decent 250, Honda, Yamaha, like the ones used in the MSF course would be a good way to go...
Books help too...Anything by David Hough

I wish you luck on your riding career and welcome aboard...

If I new what I was doing, I wouldn't still be working
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post #5 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-26-2009, 10:01 PM
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Last year I did my first post as a beginner rider:

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlesleblanc View Post
I am a beginner.

I never rode a bike until last autumn when I decided to take lessons.

I purchased the Versys as my first bike just two days after I got my temporary license and I can say that it has been an excellent choice for me.

Some things that really helped my get accustomed to the bike as a beginner:

Smooth progressive brakes
Good low end torque
Very lightweight
Very good handling.

I put some Kawasaki (Givi) side case on it and I am ready for some serious touring this summer
I also purchased a rear stand for maintenance (chain)

I am glad that I did not purchased a 250cc bike.

http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2369#post2369



So how was my first season as a beginner... last summer I rode 10000 miles including a 1700milles 4 day solo trip. The Versys was forgiving at first allowed me to progress and then it allowed me to enjoy riding

At 400 pounds, it is not as light as a beginner bike but still much lighter than most bikes. The engine is very smooth and has great range.

If I would have purchased a beginner bike, I would not have been able to ride as much and would probably have wasted my riding season

Now I am planning new exiting rides with my bike for next season. With the Hard cases and the large windshield, it becomes a very capable tourer.

Instead of purchasing a beginner bike, I decided to purchase an intelligent bike. Best thing is that I don't have to start looking for a replacement bike this year... (but the Triumph Sprint ST sure looks nice)

Charles Leblanc
2007 Versys
Givi Windshield and side case
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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post #6 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-26-2009, 10:05 PM
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I was one that got a Versys as my first bike a couple days after the MSF course. Only rode a dirt bike once or twice in high school like 15 years prior. Most people I talked to said "you need to get a 250cc first", for most of the reasons stated above.

My brain obviously works differently than others.

First, I'm the type of guy that when I buy something, I've learned "new" works best for me (many MANY stories here).

Second, after the MSF course, I knew I had a lot of learning to do (and still do). It ingrained the logic into me that "everything's out to kill you" (i.e. the 100% awareness of everything around you 100% of the time indoctrination) and that even keeps me subconsciously fully alert.

Third, anything that I invest in I have a higher sense of taking care of. One of the fears was "yup, one day I'll drop my bike, but not today". I know I'll do it at some point, but again, am 100% aware which helps prevent it.

Fourth, I did not want to buy a 250, learn on it until I outgrew it (which as it turns out, I do believe that would have happened mid-way through the 3rd month of riding). I wanted a bike I could grow into. So, I have had no unmet expectations by skipping what most would consider a "starter 250 bike". I do believe the 650 was a great fit.

Finally, I went into it with much research. I asked questions, shopped around, listened to people, asked myself "what can I handle?" and made myself come to terms with many statements: 1) I will drop it someday. Am I okay with that? 2) I will be ATGATT and I'm fine with that. 3) I will probably have many close calls. 4) I could die if I don't do this right (and could also die if I was right).

Enough blabbing for me. That's just how I approached it. Working well so far!
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post #7 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-27-2009, 11:26 AM
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I agree with those that say pick up a smaller 250cc-500cc used bike, drive the heck out of it for a few months, and then move up. I did this with a 500cc Vulcan (owned 8 months) and actually made a profit on the bike as bikes this size will always be in demand.

You likely didn't make the first car you owned after your drivers licence the one that you dreamed about. Why not take 6 months with a starter, a bike that causes you little stress if dropped, and then buy what you really want.
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post #8 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-27-2009, 06:08 PM
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My advice is to buy a bike as soon as possible and not waste a couple of years of not riding! I have to agree with the majority but can't knock the minority. Get a dual sport or smaller bike you can beat up first. My first bike was a klr and it was awesome! It'll ride on the streets or highways and even better it will step right off of them. I am lucky and have several hundred acres of land behind my apartments that is open to ride on, most of it flat with good dirt roads. I learned more riding a few hundred miles on that than I would have learned in 20,000 miles on the pavement. You can take more manageable risks on the dirt and you have the added bonus of the absence of "soccer moms in suburbans on cell phones". I live in suburbia if you can't tell. It has enough power to get you going but I can't imagine it jumping out from under anyone with half a brain. What ever you do be safe and have fun.
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post #9 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-27-2009, 07:43 PM
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Advice?

I'm not sure I've really got any advice for you...just a testamonial.

I rode a motercycle (street bike, but only rode off-road on my uncles' farm) about 35 years ago. I took the MSF beginner's course last March, and bought my first ever motorcycle (the Versys of course!) on tax day! I couldn't be happier. I ride my bike as a commuter mostly, with occasional trips into the Hill Country of South Texas.

Will this be my last motorcycle ever? Probably not. Is it my dream bike? No. Is it a good bike to learn on? I think so, but like any other learning experience it depends more on the learner than the equipment.

Which ever bike you end up with, enjoy the ride and take it at your own pace.

Monte
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post #10 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-27-2009, 07:56 PM
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I agree a KLR can be a good starter bike but it's very tall. I bought a used one to learn on and it had the lowering kit installed with the scooped seat. After I got more confident I put the factory seat back on. That seemed to be perfect for me and I'm 5' 11". On the advice of a dealer I bought an old 800 cruiser before I bought the KLR and I just hated it. A bike like a KLR or Versys has a riding posture similar to a normal pedal bike and seems more natural. With a cruiser your arms and legs are in front of you. I felt like my butt was dragging on the pavement. I sold the cruiser at a loss. Then I followed my instincts and bought the KLR. I sold it for a profit.
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post #11 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-27-2009, 09:30 PM
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New Versys and the MSF course got me started. I love it! Sure, I had to replace a clutch lever, and I have a couple small scratches on the Versys, but it is sturdy enough. And I have really been enjoying it.

Nothing wrong with starting small, either. I think there is more than one right answer.

Take the course, take safety seriously, buy your gear first (!) and be open to good deals on something you can enjoy, without having to have a certain size or kind of bike to start. You know what is obviously not appropriate. That was my approach, worked out great. But I think now I would like to play in the dirt...

Chuck
2008 Kawasaki Versys
New rider (Sep. '08)
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post #12 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-27-2009, 09:47 PM
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Versys was the first motorcycle I've owned personally, only rode before as a teen some 15 years ago on some old clunkers and a friend's older Ninja 250 more recently. I took the MSF back in summer '06 and didn't get the V until last fall. I definitely consider myself a new rider still at this point.

I was definitely a fan of the standards which are not so popular over here and kept on waiting to try to find something I would really like, and the Versys is exactly the bike I've been waiting for.

It definitely has a lot of power but I don't feel like it is too much for a responsible new rider. I also commute on the bike now and it sees a lot of highway, so I didn't want to be farting around on a straining Ninja 250. The bike has fantastic pickup, you can let it bog all the way down and still have the get up and go, great for traffic. Sits up real nice and high with truck-like visibility. Extremely well balanced, great suspension, light, great seating position, comfortable. It may not be my "dream bike" (let's face it, it's a fairly budget conscious machine) but I really can say it's the best value in a new bike you're going to find.

I understand the warnings on going with lower-power bikes but especially here in Houston you've got to be able to get on it if you want to survive around here, so I'm very glad to have a bike with some power.
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post #13 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-27-2009, 09:52 PM
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I have to vote for a 250 as a much better way to go. I had the KLR 250 for 3 years and 10k miles. Now have the Versys and am looking at going to a Yamaha WR250X. The V is big and heavy, especially when it is slideways or if you use it for slipping over curbs/lawns/medians/gravel type places.

A lot of people like the big bikes, but I find myself riding about 1/3 of the miles as I did on a smaller bike because it is less fun to drive. SO, that means you have to do what you think is right.

Paul
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post #14 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-27-2009, 10:27 PM
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Sanz, you're wearing the wrong shade of blue, but I won't hold that against you! I would strongly suggest going to a motorcycle store to actually sit on the V before you decide to purchase it. The only one in the area that I've seen the V in is Kawasaki Suzuki of Durham, off of Hwy 70 (www.kawasakisuzukidurham.com). The V is a TALL bike, and it's pretty heavy compared to the bikes you'll ride in the MSF class. Assuming you're taking it at Durham Tech, I would strongly suggest getting a ride on the DR200 dual-sport bikes that are available. It'll give you an idea of whether you like the upright seating position of the V and they're easy to handle. I personally took the advice of getting a smaller, cheaper used dualsport bike to start off with (I have a Honda NX250) for several reasons. They are cheaper to insure, the gas mileage is a LOT better and most importantly, they are easier to handle, maneuver and also prevent from dropping. Owning the smaller, lighter dualsport has helped me quickly learn not to turn the handlebars when you're braking to a stop. Its relatively light weight means that I can recover when I made those mistakes. Had I bought a V as my first bike, I would definitely have dropped it already. Another reason to buy a smaller bike is to ensure that you don't have too much power available to you. While one may argue that you can easily restrain yourself on a more powerful bike, there may be instances where you panic, and accidentally twisting the throttle on a bike with lots of grunt could potentially lead to a not-so-pleasant situation. Whatever you decide to do, though, welcome to motorcycling. It's a truly liberating experience, and with the right approach, preparation and mindset, can be a safe mode of transportation.
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post #15 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-28-2009, 06:46 AM
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The Versys is not only a Great starter bike but it's one you won't Out Grow easily. I learned to ride on a 19976 Honda 750 K . The Honda was much heavior than the Versys. These days of Hard to find Money I would recommend a Versys as a First Bike, I own a 2008 V and it shares space in my shed with my BMW R1200RT. Really the Versys is a great Bike that can probally handle anything you ask of it. Am setting my "V" up as a Touring Bike and I have no reservations it'll handle the task. Botton line is save alot of money by buying the right bike to being with and for my Monet that's the Versys. Good Idea taking the safety course.
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post #16 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-28-2009, 08:20 AM
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I learned on a bike similar to versysred's . Yamaha XS750 with cafe bars. I had ridden a few other bikes here and there, but the XS was the first one I owned and rode a bunch. It cost me a grand. During the course of my learning I tipped it over about 3 or 4 times (at a standstill every time). It's a tank of a bike (525 lbs dry) and sustained absolutely no visible damage from any of the tipovers.

One time, as I picked it up off the ground, extremely pissed at myself for the error in judgment that left my machine on its side, I thought to myself, "No need to be pissed...this is why you bought a 1000 dollar bike for your first bike".

Look at it this way: in the course of your learning you're going to knock your bike over. Would you rather scratch up a cheap bike that only hurts your pride when it tips over or a 5000-7000 dollar machine that's going to hit your wallet too?

I'd be willing to bet that most everyone with a motorcycle has had it on it's side while they were learning. (please no flames from those of you out there that haven't! I know there aren't many of you!)

_______________________________________
Garrett of Nottingham....NH that is.
1978 Yamaha XS 750 Cafe style
2008 Versys
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post #17 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-28-2009, 10:00 AM
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Cool

Well Sanz...Gotta say maybe my ol school 250 starter bike brain might need to be reformatted. Was out on my V last night pondering your question. The V has great handling, power is not overwhelming and progressive, sits up high so you can see the bonehead cagers well, great ergonomics, no bad habits. As I was cruising around last night in the back of my grey matter was thinking "damn, this bike is easy to have fun on". Wish I could say that about some girls I used to know ...Sh*t, go for it brother. Get the V, engine guards, the knowledge from the msf, take it slow and have a great time.

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post #18 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-28-2009, 01:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the input folks. I think I will ponder it for a while and see how natural it comes for me when I take the MSF course. I am over 6 foot so I think the height will be beneficial for me, and I'd like to think I have the restraint to keep the power from getting away from me... but it would be pretty painful to drop a pristine V in the first week.

Anyways, I appreciate the warm welcome and the good advice. Hopefully I can post pics of my new bike, whatever it may be, before too long

Peace!
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post #19 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-28-2009, 02:52 PM
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You know, I think a lot of us dropped our Versys(es??) in the first few weeks. Mine was dropped twice in the first month. And this is not my first bike, so that throws that argument out the window. Sometimes sh*t happens. Me personally, I say worry less about dropping it & more about riding it.

The thing about starting smaller is, the bikes are usually smaller, meaning uncomfortable for us taller folks. This is why I said earlier, I think the Versys would be a great first bike if it fit you. I think it will fit you well, being tall. You might look into Speedy's foot peg lowering blocks, but other than that, the seat height will be good.

As far as the power goes, this bike is fun at 'regular people' speeds. You don't have to ride it wide open all the time. I think you'll be fine here too. Plus, you wont out grow it so fast that you regret buying it, wanting something else.

So there you have it, I have decided for you...


Anyway, good luck to you!



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post #20 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-28-2009, 04:24 PM
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In my area, riding lessons are mandatory in order to get your motorcycle permit.

One of my friend had just started riding and told me:

"You should give it a try, you are going to love it"

So I did, I took lessons and hated it . We were riding some beginner bikes (250cc custom) and they were no fun at all.

I decided to finish the course anyways. At the end, they had us try out different bikes like a Ninja 250 and an and old RM-250. I did not care much for the Ninja but the RM was not too bad, at least the riding position was ok.

After that we got to try the Buell Blast on the road. The bike was barely ok but the riding experience was nice.

When I got my license, I decided to purchase a bike and try the riding experience.

After only two days of riding, I was already finding the Versys to be easier than the Blast, almost as light, engine more flexible, transmission is easier for a beginner.

My point is that I did not care for any of bikes that I tried so far and there is no way that I would still be riding if my first bike had been a beginner bike.

BTW my friend is riding a 2007 HD Sportster 1200XL... but we are still friends

Charles Leblanc
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