Touring on a Versys - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 10:50 AM Thread Starter
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Touring on a Versys

I have been really looking at getting a Versys. Reading up on forums etc.I am really looking for feedback with people who have toured or gone on long distance trips with the Versys and share your experiences and advice.

What I am instrested in is light touring duty with this bike, fill up between fill up riding. This will be the 3rd bike in my garage so the niche this bike will hopefully fill will be a medium distance tourer 300-500 miles a day. Also hooligan play bike.

I will likely add a taller windscreen, bags, and probably a Corbin seat.

I will be riding mainly 1 up, seldomly 2 up with my daughter (100lbs) and will be carrying 300-400lbs with gear and riders.

I have ridden a Versys on a 30 mile test drive at the dealer and I am impressed, not amazed but very impressed for the money! The only gripes I had with it in my test drive was, the mirrors were buzy, the vibrations on the handle bars was a little excessive, and the bike quite a bit low on power for my taste but still has a sweet linear delivery.
Im on the fence between a Vstrom or a Versys. The Versys looks feels and handles great.
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post #2 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 11:04 AM
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I like my Versys, I have ridden the Wee strom and like it also. I ride 250 to 400 mile day rides and get along well with it.

I have a 16 tooth front sprocket on the front, which slows the engine down some , and makes a more relaxed ride imo. I can travel at 75 to 80 at 5700 rpm all day, and it is very smooth at that speed. I get 50 to 55 mpg all the time.

Probably can't go wrong with either bike, the Wee is a little larger bike, the Versys is a little more nimble. Both have about the same power, the Wee is a smoother engine as far as buzziness is concerned. I don't have any problem with the small vibes the Versys puts out.

I am assuming you are talking about the 650 strom and not the 1000. I have no experience with the 1000.

If you think the Versys is down on power, you should probably go with a larger bike right from the start. Most of us think the Versys has great power, but if your other bikes are big bikes you might not be satisfied with 62 hp and 40 some pounds of torque.

The stroms have a few quirks, just like any bike, as does the Versys. For whatever it's worth though, I am very happy with the Versys and would certainly recommend it to others.

I have a big windshield, corbin seat, and Trax panniers on mine. I am using distanzia tire on the front, and Tourance on the rear. I does a great job on gravel roads, and handles twisties with the best of them.

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post #3 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 11:44 AM
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I did two 750 mile days on mine. Worked like a dream and did 85 mph cruising no sweat. I've raised the front of the seat 9/16", mirror extenders and footpeg lowering (1.3") from Speedy. And a Vista Cruise Universal - don't leave home without it!
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post #4 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 11:44 AM
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I like my Versys, I have ridden the Wee strom and like it also. I ride 250 to 400 mile day rides and get along well with it.

I have a 16 tooth front sprocket on the front, which slows the engine down some , and makes a more relaxed ride imo. I can travel at 75 to 80 at 5700 rpm all day, and it is very smooth at that speed. I get 50 to 55 mpg all the time.

Probably can't go wrong with either bike, the Wee is a little larger bike, the Versys is a little more nimble. Both have about the same power, the Wee is a smoother engine as far as buzziness is concerned. I don't have any problem with the small vibes the Versys puts out.

I am assuming you are talking about the 650 strom and not the 1000. I have no experience with the 1000.

If you think the Versys is down on power, you should probably go with a larger bike right from the start. Most of us think the Versys has great power, but if your other bikes are big bikes you might not be satisfied with 62 hp and 40 some pounds of torque.

The stroms have a few quirks, just like any bike, as does the Versys. For whatever it's worth though, I am very happy with the Versys and would certainly recommend it to others.

I have a big windshield, corbin seat, and Trax panniers on mine. I am using distanzia tire on the front, and Tourance on the rear. I does a great job on gravel roads, and handles twisties with the best of them.
+1 on everything you said!

I do quite a bit of "light touring" one up and this bike is comfortable for 200 - 400 mile days. I did 500 miles one day, no big issues with that.

I have a Vario Screen to which I added the stock windshield, this made the V much better for longer days at speed. I also have the corbin seat, 16 tooth front sprocket, a Rapid Transit Recon Tank bag and the Kawasaki (Givi) hard cases. I often cruise at 75 - 85 mph with no problems. I LOVE this bike in the twisties!! Oh, and I have a vista cruise universal installed, which really helps right hand fatique on longer trips, and the Speedy peg lowering kit (I'm 6'2").

I've added many other "farkles", but they don't really add to the light touring capabilities, so no need to list.

I'm on my second set of tires, and about to replace the rear again, the current set are the Bridgestone BTO21's. Already have about 2k more miles on the rear than I got with the stock Dunlop.

I considered replacing the V with a bigger bike, but over time have to admit that the V really is versatile, and cheaper to maintain/operate. I can jump on it to run errands in town, have a lot of fun in the twisties, or go on longer trips, "loaded up". It does it all!!

regards, Bob
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post #5 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 12:58 PM
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I'm curious what the other two bikes in your garage are if you think the V is underpowered. And how big you are...

It is a small bike, even as far as 650's go. Very quick, but maybe not "powerful."

Personally, I find it much more suited for twisty commuting and riding around town, backroads, etc, than I would for touring. I'm sure it does it well enough, but I would rather have a V-Strom for that. Bigger, longer wheelbase, 19" front tire, roomier more comfortable seat, smoother all around. More suited to long hauls IMHO...

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post #6 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 01:03 PM
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Your first impressions are spot on. Its buzzy as hell up top, low on power (for a 650 twin) and the mirrors are useless above 3500 rpm. The seat is absolutely the worst seat I have sat on in 30+ years of motorcycling. I like my Versys but I would steer you towards the V-Strom if its a consideration.

The Versys is a blast to ride and can do all things you want it to do but its not spectacular at anything. Its just a great all around fun to ride bike but I couldnít imagine doing 500+ mile days on one. The fatigue level because of he noise and vibes would be excruciating.

ST1300, Versys, SV650S

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post #7 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 01:18 PM
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I've done a fair amount of light touring on my V this year with camping, cabin and motel destinations. I've done a few 400 mile days with no problems. V35 sidebags and an E52 top case carry my stuff. It's not as smooth, powerful or refined as my ST1300, but it's also 300 pounds lighter. Fun machine for back roads and exploring, for sure.


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post #8 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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I'm curious what the other two bikes in your garage are if you think the V is underpowered. And how big you are...
Im 285lbs.
My two other bikes are a Road Star Warrior (well used to be, totally custom now). 81.2hp and 115.6 ftlbs. Also a XR650L, I am sure the V will smoke the XR on the street but the Warrior is noticble quicker and faster.

As far as street bikes I also owned a 00' CBR600, 04' Bandit 1200s, 05' Hayabusa 1200 and 5 others but these bike are the ones that make the V seem underpowered.

Like I said I feels a little under powered to me but not so much as to not have a grin on my face. When I test drove it it was the most fun I have had on a street bike in a LONG time. I really loved the flickability and cornering ability of this bike. I loved the suspension (stiff) and the brakes even though the initial bite was rather weak but once you pull ethe lever it stops really well. If I was looking for seer steepd and power the V wouldnt be on my list.
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post #9 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so far for the replies everyone I am really leaning toward the Versys or the DL1000. The DL morso because of the extra power and the long distance comfort, but I cant get the V out of my mind. It was such a joy to ride (minus the vibes in the handlebars). I dont think the Vstrom is a great looking bike but unlike 99% of people out there I dont think it is ugly. The Verys I love, the look the feel the ergonomics, if it came in 1000cc Id but it in a hearbeat. I think it is fair to say that regardless of the Versys or Vstrom neither bike will be getting you laid. But just might be the funnist thing with your clothes on.
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post #10 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 02:30 PM
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Im 285lbs.
My two other bikes are a Road Star Warrior (well used to be, totally custom now). 81.2hp and 115.6 ftlbs. Also a XR650L, I am sure the V will smoke the XR on the street but the Warrior is noticble quicker and faster.

As far as street bikes I also owned a 00' CBR600, 04' Bandit 1200s, 05' Hayabusa 1200 and 5 others but these bike are the ones that make the V seem underpowered.

Like I said I feels a little under powered to me but not so much as to not have a grin on my face. When I test drove it it was the most fun I have had on a street bike in a LONG time. I really loved the flickability and cornering ability of this bike. I loved the suspension (stiff) and the brakes even though the initial bite was rather weak but once you pull ethe lever it stops really well. If I was looking for seer steepd and power the V wouldnt be on my list.
Hayabusa, that explains it. You better look at the Triumph Tiger!

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post #11 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 03:39 PM
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Mines forsale...$6500, fully loaded and ready to tour!
Give me a call, or send an email if you want pictures and more details...I have a listing in the for sale category.... 3200 miles
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post #12 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 04:48 PM
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I did a few long trips on mine,

I did a few modification on the bike to improve it's touring potential.

I installed a set of V35 Givi side case and a Givi windshield. (IMO Mikeshield looks more efficient but it wasn't available at that time)
I installed a Throttlemeister throttle lock.
I installed a Magellan Crossover GPS with a Motowerk GPS mount and a 12V marine cigarette lighter
Finally (almost ashamed of this one) a beaded seat cover

400 miles days are comfortable as long as you wear a Full face helmet.

If I am riding solo, usually start looking for gas at around 175 miles but I ran it over 200 miles on numerous occasions.

I am running my V with regular gas (87 octane).

In my area the police are really starting to give speeding ticket so the power is becoming less of an issue and the bike has a great mileage that kinda makes up for it.


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post #13 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 05:02 PM
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Just got back from a 3 week 3,500 mile vacation on my Versys. There were a few 400+mile days in there, and one delightful day on the Dragon. I was on the stock seat with the stock windscreen. Not exactly quiet and comfortable, but the noise is manageable with earplugs and the seat is better than the torture device my 600 Bandit came with. My biggest complaint is with the brakes, which aren't working quite right on my bike.
We didn't do any camping, so that was gear I didn't have to take this time. I loaded up soft luggage because I still haven't purchased the hard stuff yet. The Versys didn't seem to mind the extra weight at all.
I'd have to say I like the suzuki 650 V-twin engine better than the Versys parallel twin, and either of the V-stroms would be a better bike if you plan on doing a lot of off road riding. That said, the vibrations on my Versys settle down around 5,000rpm's and the mirrors are useful there. On a nice tight twisty road the Versys has no equals as one heck of a playful little touring machine.
If you need the power, go for a Tiger or maybe a Ulysses. I personally never felt like I needed any more that what the Versys has on tap. If you want to spend some significant time off pavement I'd go with one of the Stroms. If you want to go travelling across the country tearing up the twisties, get the Versys.

Back Off! I'm Already Riding Way Beyond My Abilities.


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post #14 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 08:48 PM
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Thanks so far for the replies everyone I am really leaning toward the Versys or the DL1000. The DL morso because of the extra power and the long distance comfort, but I cant get the V out of my mind. It was such a joy to ride (minus the vibes in the handlebars). I dont think the Vstrom is a great looking bike but unlike 99% of people out there I dont think it is ugly. The Verys I love, the look the feel the ergonomics, if it came in 1000cc Id but it in a hearbeat. I think it is fair to say that regardless of the Versys or Vstrom neither bike will be getting you laid. But just might be the funnist thing with your clothes on.
Having owned a Vstrom 1000 before the Versy, I can tell you the Versy is smoother, more comfortable, handles better, and doesn't have any of the nagging issues the Vstrom is known for: F.I. issues that can never be completely resolved, rear cush rubbers wear fast, buffeting, very sensitive (and scary) to crosswinds, ect. These issues are beat to death on the forums. Yes, it has more power than the Versy but it is not usable: Heavy knocking and pinging and a horrible vibration on hard acceleration took all the fun out of it. Still, I really liked my Vstrom, made many multi-day long distance trips and put 35K+ miles on it but I absolutely love my Versy! It will take me wherever I want to go.

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post #15 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 09:24 PM
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If power is a question for the ninja 650 engine and you still want to go cheap. All you need to do is add a full-pipe and a PCIII and you will have a totally different bike. Well as far as power out put. It will still be cheaper then most.
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post #16 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 10:44 PM
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I've ridden a DL650 for about a 100 miles.The ministrom may be more comfortable touring ,smoother ride,less engine vibration, and more relaxed at high cruising speed.For me the Versys is more exciting everywhere else.The Versys will leave a 650 strom behind when the road tightens up.I have not heard good things about the DL1000.But the DL650 is a proven bike and has a loyal ownership.Strom is stronger at touring,Versys better hooligan,both bikes great machines.I did 500 miles on my Versys and it wasn't bad,I plan on doing a lot more.

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post #17 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-18-2009, 07:12 AM
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I use the Versys mainly for commuting, but have done several tours on it, the last being a 2200 mile 3 day ride. The Versys handled it well, as well as a Strom would for sure. The Strom will be smoother, no way to beat a 90 degree v twin, and the DL1000 will make more power.

But the Versys handles very well, is very light, gets great fuel economy and is rather comfortable. The power of the Versys is fine for normal everyday riding, it will double just about any posted speed limit or pretty damn close and the way it makes its power and the stock gearing makes it a great street bike....meaning there is a lot of power in the mid range, pretty much where the gearing keeps it, so it is always on the bubble and ready to go.

I have and do own more powerful motorcycles, but the Versys, on the street, when you are riding on the street and not trying to be a squid, even when loaded with three bags full of crap, will out accelerate any car and will more than hold its own against most bikes when scraping.
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post #18 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-18-2009, 08:27 AM
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If power is a question for the ninja 650 engine and you still want to go cheap. All you need to do is add a full-pipe and a PCIII and you will have a totally different bike. Well as far as power out put. It will still be cheaper then most.
- Have you measured the increase in power? How much more horsepower and torque? At what rpm? What did it cost, including dyno tuning? Was there any change in mpg?
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post #19 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-18-2009, 09:00 AM
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Why would you want to measure the increase in power? So you would just know the numbers or perhaps bragging rights? If you can feel the change by touch and feel whats the point of numbers and a chart? Thatís just a gear head and or racer thing and if that floats your boat then go for it. But it also = $. We are mostly talking about a fun bike here not a high performance rig. The bike comes restricted everybody knows that and to gain access to more power means eliminating all the EPA crap. The stock pipe alone is most likely robbing you of a good 6 to 8 HP, maybe more. Cost is going to be what ever your willing to spend. Buy brand new or do search on the net for the best deal or buy used. Dyno tuning? Why unless youíre going to race whatís the point when you can just set the map yourself or plug in what they suggest. In the past the maps that come with the unit have been perfect with the exception of a CBR I had for track days that had some top end work and required a dyno to set the bike up. Again we are not talking about a tricked out race engine. If your just going for letting the engine perform to its best stock abilities then your MPG wonít change. If your going deep like bore and stroke to really get a high performance engine then your MPG goes down. The questions was the engine seemed to be down on power and my suggestion was to just allow the stock motor run at peak performance. I think the bike is fine as is, if I wanted more I'd buy a nice full pipe and put a PCIII on and be done with it.

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post #20 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-18-2009, 09:31 AM
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Why would you want to measure the increase in power? So you would just know the numbers or perhaps bragging rights? If you can feel the change by touch and feel whats the point of numbers and a chart? Thatís just a gear head and or racer thing and if that floats your boat then go for it. But it also = $. We are mostly talking about a fun bike here not a high performance rig. The bike comes restricted everybody knows that and to gain access to more power means eliminating all the EPA crap. The stock pipe alone is most likely robbing you of a good 6 to 8 HP, maybe more. Cost is going to be what ever your willing to spend. Buy brand new or do search on the net for the best deal or buy used. Dyno tuning? Why unless youíre going to race whatís the point when you can just set the map yourself or plug in what they suggest. In the past the maps that come with the unit have been perfect with the exception of a CBR I had for track days that had some top end work and required a dyno to set the bike up. Again we are not talking about a tricked out race engine. If your just going for letting the engine perform to its best stock abilities then your MPG wonít change. If your going deep like bore and stroke to really get a high performance engine then your MPG goes down. The questions was the engine seemed to be down on power and my suggestion was to just allow the stock motor run at peak performance. I think the bike is fine as is, if I wanted more I'd buy a nice full pipe and put a PCIII on and be done with it.
Graham - your heart is in the right place my friend. Being helpful is what this Forum is all about, and I appreciate your opinions.

My thought is - Why spend the money if you don't know if there will be any gains? I suspect that the V's stock intake and exhaust is so close to optimal that there is no more power/driveability to be gained via new pipes and injection programing. I checked with the Power Commander people, and they agreed with me, that there is really nothing measurable to be gained, because Kawasaki got things right on this one.

And, yes, I admit it, I am a gearhead, and I can't help it.
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