Versys vs Ninja as a sports bike - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-22-2013, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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Versys vs Ninja as a sports bike

So I am old and kinda fat. I have a Concours C10 that is the same. That's my tourer. Looking at a second bike. Have been around here for a while and love the versys. Rode one following a better rider and was very impressed in the upper revs so I think the motor will do for me.

I am not looking for the V to do it all. I am looking for a low priced (obviously) sporty bike to bomb twisties on a budget. All things being equal, is the versys a better choice than the ninja 650 for a 240 lbs rider sport riding in tight turns?

Of course the ergos are better. I'm wondering if the same ergos will actually be a little quicker around tight turns - I assume from what I've read the suspension is more suited to me too. Any experiences with both?

Style or appearance means nothing to me. It's about the ride.

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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-22-2013, 06:46 PM
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I ride with a group of sport bikers. The Versys will do everything that I need to do within my riding skills. I am always at the rear, but usually in site of the group. We did a large group ride in the Summer and there was another Versys rider in the group and he was in the front third of the group. I like the upright style of the Versys over sports bikes.
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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-22-2013, 07:19 PM
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I owned a Ninja 650 for 4 years and then moved to the Versys in '11. The versys is like riding a supermoto compared to the Ninja 650. The Versys has more grunt down low, better suspension, and a blast on the backroads. Definitely would choose the Versys over the Ninja unless you want to pick up young ladies at hooters.

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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-22-2013, 07:49 PM
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I'm 6'4" and 230lbs and have never found the V to be lacking in the twisties.




Quite a few of my sport bike riding friends are constantly surprised how well the V does on both sweepers and the tight turns like US 129.
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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-22-2013, 08:01 PM
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I would love to just weight 240lbs..I'm at 300lbs and love the twisty stuff on the Versys

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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-22-2013, 08:48 PM
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IMO, the Versys DOES everything the Ninja does (somethings even better) except one thing. That thing is look sportier. If you're not really interested in looks or styling there is really no reason to look at the Ninja instead of the Versys.
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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-22-2013, 09:26 PM
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The Ninja is faster. At least my Gen 1 model was. The Versys engine has a lower compression ratio and different cams. I might have read that later model Ninjas have been detuned a bit too?

I had a gen 1 Ninja for over 3 years and the Versys for almost 2, with over 57k miles between them. I enjoy the Versys more.

Try both and see which you prefer? Or just buy the Versys.
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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-23-2013, 03:43 AM
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Originally Posted by davidg View Post
The Ninja is faster. At least my Gen 1 model was. The Versys engine has a lower compression ratio and different cams. I might have read that later model Ninjas have been detuned a bit too?

I had a gen 1 Ninja for over 3 years and the Versys for almost 2, with over 57k miles between them. I enjoy the Versys more.

Try both and see which you prefer? Or just buy the Versys.
Looks is a matter of taste.

But facts: I'm not as big as you (5'11"/220lbs) and I had an ER6N 2011 (basically a naked Ninja 650) which i rode 32k kilometers on in a year. It is only faster at the top end (duh), but meaning in the low revs and out of the lights the Versys has it over the ER6N/F 650. Definitely torque-ier in the lower rpms, and more responsive for that. But yes the V tops out around 160-170km/h, whereas I have pushed the ER6N to around 185 easy, and others say it will do 200 without too much fuss (185kph here in Bali I ran out of road...).

But the Versys definitely is more fun, and handles better than the Ninja - which is a bit counterintuitive as the center of gravity is higher, but I guess other factors come into play.. I lowsided the ER6N twice (one a combination rider error and sand on the bend, the second diesel fuel spilt on a tight curve). Honestly in the twisties I am much happier (and faster) on the versys, and long trips are much better. The extra 10cm travel on the forks also can be a boon when you hit rough roads you don't know on a long trip. Plus you get damping adjustment AND preload adjustment on the rear. (Er6N only had preload). It's not fancy but better than the ninja, naked or not,as long as you're off the long straight highway.

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
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Last edited by tropicalbikey; 11-23-2013 at 03:50 AM.
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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-23-2013, 06:53 AM
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I sold a 99 Concours to get my 09 Versys. Nothing wrong with the Connie, just wanted something smaller and lighter. So far I can't think of anything the Versys won't do that the Concours would do. I haven't ridden anything as much fun since I sold my 71 Bonnie.
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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-23-2013, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by davidg View Post
The Ninja is faster. At least my Gen 1 model was. The Versys engine has a lower compression ratio and different cams. I might have read that later model Ninjas have been detuned a bit too?

I had a gen 1 Ninja for over 3 years and the Versys for almost 2, with over 57k miles between them. I enjoy the Versys more.

Try both and see which you prefer? Or just buy the Versys.
I agree with tropicalbikey. The Versys is faster off the line and the Ninja has more top end. The Versys is more streetable and a blast in the tight stuff. The Versys is also more comfortable for touring. Even with a Spencer seat on the Ninja I could not tolerate a 400 mile day.

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post #11 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-23-2013, 09:03 AM
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I came from a 12' ZX6R and can't believe how well the V handles. And sooooo much more forgiving and comfortable.
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post #12 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-23-2013, 12:54 PM
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post #13 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-23-2013, 04:46 PM
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I agree with tropicalbikey. The Versys is faster off the line and the Ninja has more top end. The Versys is more streetable and a blast in the tight stuff. The Versys is also more comfortable for touring. Even with a Spencer seat on the Ninja I could not tolerate a 400 mile day.
You're talking about quickness. Magazines got high 11 second 1/4 mile drag times on the Ninja, high 12s for the Versys. It may be possible to pull on an EX650 off the line and it may not. The Ninja is lower and easier to launch hard. If you do pull ahead off the line, you aren't staying ahead long. The .9 second difference in drag times is huge for bikes of similar weight with nearly the same engine.

As far as which is faster, it's easily the Ninja. It's still pulling at the point where the Versys speedometer has started creeping up slowly. That's my own comparison with stock gearing on both. A lot of Versys owners go to taller gearing, and maybe that helps as I think you're past the power peak at that point.

The Versys pulls plenty hard at US legal speeds though, and has enough power to pass on 2-lanes. Though the Ninja is better at that.

I don't want to go back, as I prefer the Versys for most things. But not everyone will.

FWIW I did a 563 mile day on the stock Ninja seat, and it didn't bother me.

OTOH on day 4 of a moto trip I once found myself sitting on the Ninja's pillion seat or standing regularly because I'd had all of the rider seat I could take.

I like the stock Versys seat much more. On this forum though it seems like a lot of riders aren't happy with it.
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post #14 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-23-2013, 05:19 PM
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The 08' Versys is at 12.4 and the 12' 650r is 12.26 according to sportrider: http://www.sportrider.com/performanc.../kawasaki.html
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post #15 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-23-2013, 05:56 PM
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I'm sure the difference is in the test rider more than anything. The fact is neither of these bikes is about outright acceleration or the numbers as absolutes. Pick the one that floats your boat more, they'll both work for sport riding and better than a C10 for that purpose (and, actually, I am currently liking my versys a lot more for utility use than the 97 C10 I had).
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post #16 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-23-2013, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by davidg View Post
You're talking about quickness. Magazines got high 11 second 1/4 mile drag times on the Ninja, high 12s for the Versys. It may be possible to pull on an EX650 off the line and it may not. The Ninja is lower and easier to launch hard. If you do pull ahead off the line, you aren't staying ahead long. The .9 second difference in drag times is huge for bikes of similar weight with nearly the same engine.

As far as which is faster, it's easily the Ninja. It's still pulling at the point where the Versys speedometer has started creeping up slowly. That's my own comparison with stock gearing on both. A lot of Versys owners go to taller gearing, and maybe that helps as I think you're past the power peak at that point.

The Versys pulls plenty hard at US legal speeds though, and has enough power to pass on 2-lanes. Though the Ninja is better at that.
I don't race, and my experience on the street is different than yours. The fun factor on the '11 Versys is double the fun factor on the '07 Ninja IMO.

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post #17 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-23-2013, 06:33 PM
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The 08' Versys is at 12.4 and the 12' 650r is 12.26 according to sportrider: http://www.sportrider.com/performanc.../kawasaki.html
Interesting. The fasted number I'd seen for the Versys was 12.8, which was slower than I'd expected. My Ninja was a 1st gen and those got in the 11s for at least two magazines. What I read was probably true about the Ninja engine getting detuned in later years.

When I got my Versys, I was surprised at the difference in acceleration. I wasn't comparing off the line performance, and I really don't know how that compares. I think I most noticed it at highway or freeway speeds.
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post #18 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-23-2013, 06:41 PM
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I'm one of the Kawasaki escort riders for demos around the country and have logged many miles on both of them over the years.
Back in '08 when the Versys came out we were at the Mid Ohio Vintage Days and the six of us escorts got private use of the track for an hour and a half to play with our bikes. I came home and bought a Versys!
The Versys cost a little more than the 650R, that's due to better suspension parts and an aluminum swingarm.
Living at the foot of Deals Gap has given me the opportunity to surprise many sportbike riders on the mountain.
Both are great bikes, the Versys just fits me better.
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post #19 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-23-2013, 06:42 PM
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You're talking about quickness. Magazines got high 11 second 1/4 mile drag times on the Ninja, high 12s for the Versys. It may be possible to pull on an EX650 off the line and it may not. The Ninja is lower and easier to launch hard. If you do pull ahead off the line, you aren't staying ahead long. The .9 second difference in drag times is huge for bikes of similar weight with nearly the same engine.

As far as which is faster, it's easily the Ninja. It's still pulling at the point where the Versys speedometer has started creeping up slowly. That's my own comparison with stock gearing on both. A lot of Versys owners go to taller gearing, and maybe that helps as I think you're past the power peak at that point.
You're talking about a drag race. How often do you do THAT? For around town or out on the twisties, for ME at least, the Versys has more power where I need it. Not a LOT, but more. The trade off is at full throttle, revving to the redline, the Ninja can take the Versys (just barely), I can live with that. If someone wants bragging rights about which bike is faster in the 1/4 mile, they shouldn't be looking at either one of these bikes anyway.
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post #20 of 41 (permalink) Old 11-23-2013, 08:17 PM
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It's not about drag racing for me, I was just backing up my original point: that the ninja (gen1 at least) was faster than the gen 2 versys.

When I first got my Versys I was surprised at how much less acceleration it had and at first a little disappointed I didn't keep the Ninja and do an engine swap. I'm fine with it now.

I mentioned the Versys was slower, and people were disagreeing. I can only go by my own experience with gen1 ninja & gen 2 versys. Apparently newer ninjas are detuned as well, and based on the newer times someone posted, it looks like the acceleration difference is small.

Another surprising thing was the Ninja braking felt better too, at least until I upgraded the Versys pads. As far as I know the braking components were the same (other than the tires). A magazine I saw also gave the Versys longer stopping distances. Possibly a combination of increased height, and worse OEM rubber.

Last edited by davidg; 11-23-2013 at 08:58 PM.
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