Motorcyclist Mag. Comparo '13 Versys vs. '13 BMW F800GT - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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Motorcyclist Mag. Comparo '13 Versys vs. '13 BMW F800GT

Spoiler: The BMW won, but the article gave very high marks to the V, biggest drawbacks, difference in power and the brakes. Hmm, the things we all complain about. Otherwise they still love the V.

From the Nov. '13 issue of Motorcyclist

'09 Candy Plasma Blue Versys 650 (the fastest color)
Givi DS 450 Windshield
SW motech engine guards
HT Teton Panniers
Acerbis handguards
Avon Distanzia tires
Garmin Zumo 665
dual power usb/12v plug
Givi trunk on custom mount

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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 03:54 PM
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The brakes are easy to improve with pads that provide better feedback at the lever but the front dive is always there.
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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 04:37 PM
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A 650 and an 800 not exactly "apples to apples"

2009 Blue Versys.
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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 04:51 PM
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Definitely ride one of those before you fall in love with it based on specs. The engine is a whole different animal from the Versys engine and it might not agree with you.

Also the range is much less than the Versys.

If you like the engine and can live with the range, it's probably a great bike. If not for the fuel tank capacity I'd want to demo one.
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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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Actually David, the BMW got better range than the V. I'm not planning to give up mine, but I thought it was an interesting comparison, and even the writers said it's not an apples to apples comparison. I would recommend reading the article though, it's not online yet, only in print.

'09 Candy Plasma Blue Versys 650 (the fastest color)
Givi DS 450 Windshield
SW motech engine guards
HT Teton Panniers
Acerbis handguards
Avon Distanzia tires
Garmin Zumo 665
dual power usb/12v plug
Givi trunk on custom mount

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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 05:59 PM
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In the test they claimed greater range for the F800GT? with a 15l tank?

I'm skeptical.

A friend with an F800R had a big problem with the range, and the fact that fuel capacity was less than specs. I think they traded him for a later model with slightly larger tank (that met the specs listed when he purchased), but his range was still less than the Versys.

And if you look at fuelly.com and take the most common reported mileage for each bike and multiply it by tank size, the Versys wins.

Maybe the F800GT has a bigger tank than a quick search indicated?
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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 07:35 PM
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I re-read the feature and I don't see them claiming the BMW won. They say it easily beat the Versys with mpg. (Kinda weak considering my 08 with a LeoV and PCV gets 45-50mpg, which is still over 200miles to a tank.) It graphed a higher power curve, but they pretty much said the engine is boring. My take is the Versys won and they were hesitant to come right out and say it. Price as tested was a $4500 difference with two new machines.

Last month I could have bought a 2008 with under 5000 miles for $4000. If I took $5000 of that $10000 difference, I could have the engine professionally worked and bolt on some top shelf suspension and brakes. Spend the remaining $$$ on panniers and misc. touring farkles. That would be one bad ass Versys that could hang with better bikes than the F800GT and still be under $14000.

One of my riding buddies bought the BMW this spring and he loves riding my Versys. I'm going to be rubbing this mag in his face. I think I'll tape it to his bike.
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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 09:09 PM
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I had a F800ST and is a great bike. The Engine has the same feeling of the V but with more power and explosive between 5k and red line. MPG compared with almost ANY bike is incredible. You can ride really hard on the gas and MPG doesn't change that much. On my ST best 72MPG @75mph
hard on the gas. Up to 130mph 41mpg
Upon this fuel flow I expected the F800GS to be similar. NO WAY! The gs really like swallows gas.

The GT looks even better than the ST with apparently better riding position. A great bike but not for the place I live.

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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 09:16 PM
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MitchSMA, I'm guessing those MPG numbers are for the larger Imperial Gallon. The MPGs the US people have been giving are for the smaller US gallon.

Last edited by davidg; 09-21-2013 at 09:19 PM.
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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 10:35 PM
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Anybody know the valve check/adjustment interval on the Beemer? I know what it is on the Versys.
I guess that only matters if you ride a lot/put a lot of miles on your bike...then it can become somewhat important, particularly if you take your bike to the shop for that work....
Money matters or it does not. In my experience, the Versys is damn competitive on that level, as well as others.

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post #11 of 43 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 10:38 PM
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I would rather have the BMW but I can by 2 Versys for the price of one BMW.
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post #12 of 43 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 10:50 PM
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Silly comparison. The Versys 2013 MSRP is $7,999 the F800GT ABS is $11,890 base. In the US you'll have to order it since the standard offering includes panniers and a few extra goodies. Expect a $14K base price from most dealers. A brand new Versys can be found under $7K.
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post #13 of 43 (permalink) Old 09-22-2013, 12:20 AM
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At the end of the day I have just as much fun riding my Versys as a guy riding a beemer. I just have more money for other "stuff".

Lovin every minute of it!
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post #14 of 43 (permalink) Old 09-22-2013, 02:36 AM
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My V cost me 10k out the door. A friend of mine just paid 20k for her new 800GT
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post #15 of 43 (permalink) Old 09-22-2013, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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the price comparison is a big part of the article, they fully loaded a Versys and still had a couple thousand leftover before hitting the base price of the beemer.

'09 Candy Plasma Blue Versys 650 (the fastest color)
Givi DS 450 Windshield
SW motech engine guards
HT Teton Panniers
Acerbis handguards
Avon Distanzia tires
Garmin Zumo 665
dual power usb/12v plug
Givi trunk on custom mount

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post #16 of 43 (permalink) Old 09-22-2013, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidg View Post
MitchSMA, I'm guessing those MPG numbers are for the larger Imperial Gallon. The MPGs the US people have been giving are for the smaller US gallon.
Well David. You do the math. Here are the numbers we use around here.
At 120kmh 3.8 liters per 100km
Hard at the gas up to 200kmh (sporty riding) 5.7 liters per 100km
Average flow normal riding 4.2 liters/100km.
For a 800 that's impressive.
Agree with all off you about the cost of the beemer vs. the V.

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post #17 of 43 (permalink) Old 09-23-2013, 09:32 AM
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Question

Seeing as how you're all into figures, what mileage would the Beemer have to achieve to make up the difference in price b4 you'd get equal gas/petrol payments if the V was to do 20k miles in a 4year ownership period???
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post #18 of 43 (permalink) Old 09-23-2013, 10:13 AM
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Got my issue Saturday and was a bit surprised to see that. I always thought those beemers were beautiful and had very good performance but the price of admission/maintenance are a bit off putting. Cycle World did say they are a best buy in used bikes but I'm still hesitant about one.

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post #19 of 43 (permalink) Old 09-23-2013, 11:29 AM
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Apparently, Marc Cook, the author of the article, wanted to comment on this thread. He just posted in the new members area to get enough posts to comment.
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post #20 of 43 (permalink) Old 09-23-2013, 01:30 PM
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I can't say I agree with the OP's contention that the Beemer won. Re-read the whole piece, the last two paragraphs in particular, and I don't see how one could conclude that the F800GT came out on top. I think it would be easier to argue the converse.

I saw the white Versys at the NYC bike show, likely the same unit as the one from the story, and I agree about the comical width of the bags. I'm guessing that the mounts supplied for this bike were universal and not Versys-specific, because I have the same bags mounted on Givi brackets on my '08, and the brackets make use of the bags' shape and fill that wide open space I saw on that white bike in NYC.

One topic that doesn't get discussed in this story about tourers -- and should have been discussed -- is something serious touring riders (I place myself in that group) care much about: reliability. When I stuff the bags and head off for distant places, I want to trust that my bike will get me there. I trust my Versys. It's taken me to Quebec, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and all over New England. I'm sitting here trying to think of when it's let me down and all I come up with is one cool morning the Dual-Star heated grips I installed 5 seasons ago didn't work. That evening I replaced the fuse. I solved my dash buzz with some weather stripping around the gauge cluster. That about covers it.

Spend time on this forum and you realize that Versys riders don't piss and moan about their bikes breaking. Spend some time on the BMW F-bike forums and you won't walk away that same feeling. Also, read practically any published review of an F800 and you'll find a reference to vibration.

For a touring bike, the Achilles heel on the F800ST, in my view, is the drive belt. Lose the belt on that BMW and you'll be stranded. Depending on how far you've ridden, it may be days as you wait for a belt and then you'll need a BMW shop to replace it. If the chain on the Versys breaks, practically any motorcycle shop can sell you a new one and install it in short order.

Is the Beemer more refined and sophisticated than the Versys? I think it is. Is it a better touring bike? That's not the same question and the answer depends on your priorities. I just got back from a long weekend touring eastern Connecticut and central Massachusetts on the Versys. Two weekends ago I toured Down East Maine on the Versys. Had a blast both times on a bike I can load down with camping gear, fill with gas and go ride down whatever road I point it, trusting that it will get me where I'm going.

One bike not currently made (but in the works, I'd wager) that would probably beat either one of the bikes tested would be a Yamaha FJR based on the new 847cc triple. It would clean the V's clock and eat the F's lunch with factory-integrated touring features and a price somewhere in between the V and F. That would be veeeery interesting.


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