Just a few thoughts about how the Versys is the height of Vertical Twin evolution.
I'm a "Twin" guy! Never have owned a bike with more than 2 cylinders and by now probably never will. Rode BMW's for years but always liked the vertical twin arrangement.
My first V-Twin was a 1967 Triumph Trophy 500 that I bought used in 1973. It wasn't in the greatest shape but fun to ride and handled great compared to what was available at the time. Paid $750.00 for it. Had a single carb and drum brakes and of course make me walk more than a couple times. Weird electrical issues common on Brit bikes then. Compared with what we have available today it was a very crude and simple engineered bike. But we didn't know any better back then!
My second V-Twin was a 1979 Yamaha 650 that I bought new in 1980. The bike had been around for about 10 years at this point and had a good rep for reliability etc. It wasn't slow but not very fast either. But unlike the Triumph it never leaked oil or made me walk either. I had a set of fiberglass saddlebags on it and a windshield. It was my cheap Sport-Tourer! Went to Sturgis on it in 1981 with my Harley buddies who couldn't stop bitching about me being on a "Jap" bike! On the way there we stopped for breakfast in a small town in South Dakota and one of the guy's who was riding a H-D Sportster mentioned how his motor was sounding "funny". Real "funny", It blew up about 5 miles down the rode and I had a strap with me and towed him back to town behind my "Jap" bike! HA!
I'll never let him forget that either!
Traded my 650 Yamaha in 1983 for a 1980 BMW R-100RT. At the time that was the state-of-the-art Sport-Tourer. I loved that bike and rode it for 19 years from Key West, FL to Fairbanks, AK and lots of places in between. It didn't have a V-Twin motor but it was a great bike and I loved it!
My third and last V-Twin is of course my 2008 Versys!
My how they have brought this engine/bike design along! Dual overhead cams, 4 valves per cylinder, fuel injected, liquid cooled, counter-balanced engine...
Inverted forks and single shock swing arm result in a great handling frame design and the dual front, single disc rear brakes are just right for me.
It's like the Kawasaki engineer's designed it just for how I ride and what I like.
Unlike my older bikes just about all bikes today are as reliable as a car. And no fuel shut-off's or chokes, just turn the key on and hit the button. Also just keep clean oil and filter in it and lube and check the chain once in a while and that's about it for service. I've never ridden faster and safer too with the Versys. I'm becoming more of a minimalist as I've gotten older and this bike is all I'll ever need I think. I love to get on it and hate to get off.
I'm so glad I had the chance to be around this long to see how bikes have improved so much as shown by this great bike. Thanks Kawasaki!