Versys and ER-6n - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-03-2009, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
 
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Versys and ER-6n

Hey guys, new to the forum and am a newbie. I went to my first motorcycle dealership today to check out the versys and they didn't have one!

They did have an ER-6n and I sat on it, and it really seemed to be a good fit for me. I also sat on a Ninja 250 they had, but I preferred the ER-6n's seating position.

It seems like one of the main differences between the Versys and the ER-6n is the suspension. How would these suspension differences affect the ride characteristics of each bike?

Any other pertinent comparative info would be welcome as well (or a comparison to the ninja 650 as well).

FYI, I plan on taking the MSF course in mid-July and will be getting a bike after that. I still have not ruled out a dual sport bike (probably supermoto type). I'm still in "research mode", but this forum has been helpful so far. I'm 47, 6-1, 34 inseam, so I don't think I would have a problem with taller bikes.

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-03-2009, 12:06 PM
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You won't have a problem flatfooting the V with a 34 inch inseam, however, be aware that the learing curve will be steep. The Versys, Ninja 650 and ER-6n all share the same basic powerplant and the throttle response is fairly quick. Given your size, my suggestion would be to consider a used KLR650....it's a lot more user friendly for a new rider, and if you buy it a good price (and take care of it), you should be able to sell it a year or two later for not much less than you paid for it originally. Remember, you're looking for your first bike, not your last one....
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-03-2009, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by MN_Smurf View Post
You won't have a problem flatfooting the V with a 34 inch inseam, however, be aware that the learing curve will be steep. The Versys, Ninja 650 and ER-6n all share the same basic powerplant and the throttle response is fairly quick. Given your size, my suggestion would be to consider a used KLR650....it's a lot more user friendly for a new rider, and if you buy it a good price (and take care of it), you should be able to sell it a year or two later for not much less than you paid for it originally. Remember, you're looking for your first bike, not your last one....
Thanks, MN, point taken on the throttle response.

If I do get a dual sport, I'd probably stay away from the 650. A lighter dual sport bike seems more fun. (I did ride dirt bikes as a kid-yamaha mini enduro, remember those?), but that was one summer when I was 12...a very long time ago, and I haven't ridden since then, so I still consider myself a newbie. I've never driven a road bike.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-03-2009, 01:07 PM
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Supermotos are extremely fun. Something like a Yamaha WR250X would be lovely as a first bike. Then again it all depends of what you plan to do with it, if youre gonna do lots of highway driving then its not a very good bike. The Versys might be a little too fast as a first bike but if you're careful and take it easy you should be OK.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-03-2009, 01:07 PM
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I disagree with the V not been a friendly first bike. The V is my first bike. Although I was intimidated when I first rode it and made a couple of embarrasing (not costly) mistakes. It only took a couple of hours on the saddle to learn how to handle it. The reason why I did not go out and buy something else was 1. financial and 2.as a newbie I am still looking for what I really want. The V, been is an excellent all around bike it does most of what I do most of the time well at a convenient price point. That gives me the chance to keep the bike around long enough to get a decent return on my investment. That is to me the definiton of a good first bike.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-03-2009, 03:41 PM
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rpjr, here is my take on who the Versys is a good bike for.

1. First time riders. Lets face it its a cheap bike, both to buy and run. There are cheaper bikes, but the Versys is hardly expensive. As a first time rider you may discover that its not as fun as it sounded, and then it will be an expensive coat hanger in the garage that your wife nags you about; but at least its only a $6-7K coat hanger not a $12K one! So if you don't love it you wont have wasted a lot of money. Also for first time riders it has many personalities; Many people have visions of doing one kind of riding, but as they progress in their riding skills they find they prefer other things. With the Versys you don't have to worry about having bought a bike that does not match your riding style, it will do pretty much what ever you ask of it. The performance is great, but not scary great. Lets face it you will get burned in a straight line by any crotch rocket, competent riders on any race replica will kick your ass in the twisties. Any big touring bike will be better able to take you to far off distant lands. But by a racer and discover you like touring and your screwed. Buy a tourer and discover that trips to Starbucks are more your speed and you'll soon get tried of muscling it around parking lots. The only area that the Versys is not easily adapted for is dirt. I know several forum members will disagree (and have the photos to prove it), but the lack of a 19" front means there are no competent dual sport tires readily available. So if you really think dirt is in your future look at a V-Strom; not as capable in the twisties, but it does have a 19" front.

2. Old Farts. Look at the average age of the buyers of the Versys and you will see that by and large we are over 40. So why so many old farts? Because the Versys really does do it all. We've ridden race replicas, we know what a pain in the ass and wrists they are on a long ride. We've had our big touring bikes and we know what it feels like to try and pick up a 650+ pound beast in the Starbucks parking lot. We've had a KLR and are tired of getting passed by Geo Metros on the freeway. We have lived and learned.

So there you have my take. I think the Versys is the best bike I have owned by a long shot. There are much faster bikes, there are much bigger bikes, there are better handling bikes, there are better bikes to take on the Rubicon; but there is not a better quick, agile, long suspension travel, lightweight tourer on the planet.

Steve

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Last edited by lonerockz; 06-03-2009 at 03:45 PM.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-03-2009, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
 
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lonerockz,

Thanks for your post. You mentioned the long suspension travel. How does this make the bike ride? Will it make it better over bumps, like a dirt bike? Does the long suspension travel ever make the bike feel "wallowy" (I know that's not a word)--perhaps bounce up and down too much?

If anyone knows, how does the suspension on this bike feel over different surfaces and in corners, as opposed to the ER-6n or Ninja 650r?

Thanks!
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-04-2009, 08:24 AM
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Lonerokz I'm with you on your opinion. I'm 64 and have been down all those roads and I agree that the Versys fits everything into one package. It's not the fastest and it's certainly not the slowest, it's reasonably comfortabe for a hundred miles or so, get good gas mileage, relatively easy to work, good in the twisties, and all around fun.

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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-04-2009, 09:46 AM
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The long suspension travel is... well odd to be honest. To me what it does is make the bike feel kind of like a pendulum. It has a lot of weight down low with the exhaust and engine, and then a lot of weight up high (ie You). So what I notice is that if you move around, small movements have great impact. But with all that weight down low it feels really stable at speed. It also has a short wheel base and steep front rake, making it very responsive to steering input. Where I have really noticed this is in the twisties. I have a good buddy that rides an ST1100. I go through a curve and feel like I'm hardly leaning over, I look in my mirrors at him and its like he's scraping pegs. The ER-6n and Ninja 650R are almost identical bikes, but no one seems to rave about the handling as much as the Versys, I think the suspension and height have a lot to do with that. I have not ridden either, so I cant tell you the difference.

Getting the suspension dialed in is important. If you don't have it set correctly it is either too harsh, or does not feel fully planted in the corners. There are lots of adjustments, which if you don't know what your doing (like me) it can take a while to get it dialed in. When it is dialed in it almost feels too good; might make you attempt things you should not.

The other impact is if you have short stubby legs like me you drop it in parking lots. On the plus side if you ride in commuter traffic you are up really high. I can see over the top of small SUVs. Was next to a SamrtCar the other day and felt I could take it out if need be!

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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-04-2009, 10:25 AM
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RPJR I would have to echo the comments of previous posters. I've been on street bikes since 83 (KZ1000) and have done fast, scary, cruise, dragrace and have finally landed at this. I like a bike I can commute back and forth to work on that won't wear me out in the traffic and I can blast by any idiot on the cell phone, texting or whatever plus...big plus, I can see over the top of traffic and scope out whats going on ahead easily. I also like to take an aggressive paced ride up through the back road twisties and air the V out on the straights. I'm 43 and when I still want to get crazy on the full moon I pull out my ZRX1100 and scare myself. The Versys satisfies my every riding whim and with the rode conditions down here the suspension travel really helps out and does not hinder the cornering ability at all IMHO. The thing I really liked about the Versys was that it let me dictate to it how I wanted to ride and enjoy instead of some bikes I've been on that were pigeon holed into a specific RPM range that they were happy. Go for it Dood!
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-04-2009, 10:42 AM
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I think lonerockz has covered my thoughts fairly well. I would agree that the Versys is a decent beginner bike while still having enough to keep people interested for awhile.

My 2 cents on the V suspension and comparisons vs. the ER6N and Ninja 650 is that the only truly significant difference is riding position; buy what you are comfortable on. The long travel Versys suspension isn't wallowy; it's fairly stiff. I bought the Versys over the others mentioned because I like the upright, standard riding position it offers. Other small differences are styling and the reinforcement for luggage and/or passengers.

I don't think you could go wrong with any of the ones mentioned; it's about personal taste and fitment IMO. As far as the perfect 1st bike, it really depends on the individual.

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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-04-2009, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by lonerockz View Post
2. Old Farts. Look at the average age of the buyers of the Versys and you will see that by and large we are over 40. So why so many old farts? Because the Versys really does do it all. We've ridden race replicas, we know what a pain in the ass and wrists they are on a long ride. We've had our big touring bikes and we know what it feels like to try and pick up a 650+ pound beast in the Starbucks parking lot. We've had a KLR and are tired of getting passed by Geo Metros on the freeway. We have lived and learned.
Although this is true for some people, ANY bike that is not a c rocket you will find this age group makes up by far the greatest sales. When 40(or about) hits, guys have more time, money, midlife crissis hits, kids are old enough to leave at home, divorce, etc...And lets not forget that HUGE age group called the baby boomers.

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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-04-2009, 11:15 AM
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Hey rpjr,

Nice thread with imho great responses. I'm another 40 something rider who has owned a bunch of bikes over the years. Most were dirt bikes/enduros and in the last 4 years I have taken a strong liking to street bikes. I do not own a Versy, however, I did own it's cousin the 650R ninja. With that pleasant experience there is no doubt in my mind I would like the Versys. This is based on practicality, cost, fuel economy, ergonomics, and what I realistically use my bikes for 95% of the time; commuting to work 40 miles rt, buzzing around on the weekends with loops usually less than 200 miles.

Unfortunately it took me a long time and many bikes to come to the above conclusion! There is no perfect bike, with the exception of owning multiple purpose built bikes. That of course leads to other issues. In the mean time I'll be plodding along on a non-handling, heavy but fuel efficient 1200 Sportster It's all good.

Bikes are fun so enjoy the research process, buy one and go ride it!
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-04-2009, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
 
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Guys:

Thanks for the great responses. Exactly the type of info I was looking for. I just wish I didn't have to wait until mid July to take the MSF class!

I plan on visiting a different dealership this weekend; hopefully they'll have a Versys I can check out. Thanks again, everyone.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-07-2009, 02:24 PM
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The Versys is a user friendly bike, and does everything well, kinda like a swiss army knife. It goes real fast when you want it to, is comfortable enough for long blasts, and is adaptable to almost any kinda riding one might want to do. Touring? Slap a taller windshield on it and some bags. Aggressive riding? Does this well right out of the box, and there are lots of go-fast sound better parts for it. Commuting? 60 mpg is easy if you behave. And it is not intimidating if you just take your time and respect the throttle.
Its suspension is adjustable front and rear for riding on rougher back/gravel or B-roads. It also has an upside down front fork with longer travel to allow slow curb jumping or obstacle/dry ditch cilmbing. Try that on a ninja and you will rip off the fairings. The ninja is slightly faster, more corner capable, and more useful in track day outings if this is your thing. However, it does not deal nearly as well with long trips or added baggage, and it is sparse for wind protection. The ER-6 is a compromise between the 2. It has bare minimum wind protection, no fancy fork and limited adjustments on the suspension, but shares the slightly faster 650R motor. Its also cheaper to buy than the other two. The ER-6 is what I wanted, but after checking out all three models, the Versys won me over. The Versys also is much more "finished" than the other 2. You could be happy right off the showroom floor with its great guages and unique look, or flavour it with whatever goodies you want to make it perfect for you. The other two bikes are also great, but less customisable or versatile than the Versys.

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post #16 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-07-2009, 02:37 PM
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Agree with most of the above coments. I had the 650 R and was a great bike but more for a younger rider who enjoys the bent over position. Less wind protection and stiffer ride. Highway bumps felt harsh. Seat really sucked. Versys is so much better ride and a more upright positon. Like many above i have had about all the spectrum of bikes and traded a 1600 cruiser for the Versys. Is much more fun and a just plain good all round bike. Fun in the curves. Little power difference but more usable power band for my type of ride. Love this bike. Great bunch of guys here also. 61 yrs young.

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post #17 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 02:14 AM
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I test drove the er6-n before the versys and at 6 foot 4 i looked absolutley riddiculas,
I took some photos and will try and post them soon so if your a big boy try both takes some pics.
I read somewhere in a review, anyone over 6 foot will look like a giraffe riding a monkey
on the er6n and i agree, I think its the flat seat but i just looked like a giant on it
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post #18 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 08:29 PM
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Lonerockz, good post. Im looking at getting a Versys for myself. I wasnt sure what to get between the er6-n, gladius or versys. Im 6-1, 230, and after reading all your posts people, im thinking ill fit way better on the versys. Just hope they have something other than that blue color, i liked that green one alot.
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post #19 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-11-2009, 04:30 AM
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As a relatively new rider (only 5K miles under my belt) I have come to love the handling and comfort of the Versys. I had never ridden a motorcycle befor last summer and my purchase of the Versys. As a new rider, if you respect the bike, and use common sense, you will quickly gain confidence and skill riding this bike. The best part is you won't get bored with it as you get better as a rider. Will I get a bigger touring oriented bike in the future? Don't know. Depends on how much touring with the wife we do. For now the Versys fits all of my riding needs, especially the fun parts.


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post #20 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-11-2009, 07:46 PM
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this is a really great thread. My wife and I just completed the MSF course 3 weeks ago and I have to say it was money well spent. I've been restoring a 1980 Honda CB750c and my wife is on the lookout for something she can ride. Though she can ride the cb750, the height and weight is a bit too much for her to be comfortable so she's been looking at other bikes. In helping her research, I've realized that I can't really share a bike with her because it would need to have the suspension setup for the rider and though we both have 30 inch inseams, I'm 5'10" 215lbs and she's 5'0" 115 lbs so she'll likely need her own bike. Need to take a look at the suzuki tu250, it looks promising for her. I'm still holding out for my Green Versys, but so far, I've bonded with the cb750 after all the work I've done to bring her back to life.
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