Versys Comparisions. - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 11:05 AM Thread Starter
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Versys Comparisions.

I am on the fence about purchasing a Versys. So like any informed buy I have been reading countless hours of reviews on the internet and test riding as many bikes as I can. I figured I would write up a little A/B comparision that might help anyone looking at purchasing a Versys.

Last night I left work 2 hours early to test drive some bikes. A used Buell Ulysses XB12X ($8,680) a new Buell XB12XT ($12,999) and a V-Strom DL1000($9,799). Later this week I hope to ride a V-Strom DL650 and a Tiger 1050.

While I am no journalist or professional reviewer nor Valentino Rossi. I have owned many types of street bikes, dirt bikes, ATV's. I have been ridding for 28 years and even raced in the GNCC circuit. For what its worth.

First up the Buell XB12X right off the bat this thing sputtered and was hard to start. It was used and had 9k miles. One thing I noticed is that when the guy would rev it on its kick stand (revving a bike in nuetral is not the best idea) the bike started walking backward on its kick stand like 3 feet and left a 3' mark in the concrete from dragging the kick stand. Climbing on board I immediately felt comfortable. The seat was one of the best I ever sat on. The ergo's were nice near perfect, nice and upright just how liked them. The vibration of this bike was absurd. I have owned Harleys and other big push rod V-twins and this was much more pronounced. I dont want to spend alot of time talking about this bike because it was either abused or poorly maintained, or maybe Buells just fall apart after some time. Once underway, besides the sputtering engine I had alot of steering wobble and even more pronouced when braking. I can say that I am almost 100% positive that the steering head bearings were shot and the front brake was dragging. This bike was not a "good example" of a Ulysses I figured so I wrote it off as a lemon. Next up the bagged out XB12XT. It had 10 miles on it. Started right up once again the salesman rev's the engine, ones again the bike starts walking back on the kick stand dragging a 3 foot score in the concrete. I climb aboard and it has a noticably lower seat hight than the standard Uly same great comfortable layout same great seat, same teeth jarring rattle. The sales man insists that the all Buell's are rough like this if they sit for a long time without riding them. How true that is I dont know. Once underway I could tell this bike was in better shape than the used one but not by much. There was excesive poping through the airbox which was annoying (the airbox is where the gas tank is and looks like a gas tank) The popping occured during acceleration and deceleration. The was A LOT of wind buffeting, much more than the V even tough the deflectors are about the same size. While riding the bike smoothed out a lot, at speed there is much less vibration than the V. While the Uly has more ponies under the seat the bike didnt "feel" much faster than the V and it has a smooth linear powerband. The I felt the V had much better brakes than the Uly particulairly in the front. I would say that the Uly is pretty close to the V in handling however the Uly requires more work to turn at lower speeds and didt "feel" as nimble. This could be because there was 3 rather large bags attached to the Uly. I hammered the thottle several times, the front end would slightly come off the ground from first to second, not really a wheelie but I could tell there was no weight on the tire. On paper, the Uly looks much more powerful, but in the real world. They felt close. The tansmission was flawless. I mean one of the best shifting bike I ever ridden. The clutch pull was light. In the twisties these two bike would be close, if there are alot of switch backs the V would come out ahead. Oh the right mirror was spinning around from the base I had to lean it agains the fly screen. I spent an hour on the bike. But to be quite honest I knew the V was the better bike in the first 10 minutes. The Buell was smoother and less vibration once underway than the V and the Buell seat IMO was fantastic. At 1/2 the price the Uly was not even a consideration for me after I rode it.

Up next a brand new V-strom DL1000 it had .5 miles on it. Climbing on board (and after a 45 min ride) it is apparent the seat, pegs, bars, basically the overall ergo's are much more comfy than the Versys, not night and day difference but it is apparent. I was REALLY looking forward to this bike. I just knew that once I rode this one, I would choose it over the Versys. More power, more comfortable seat, bigger fairing, some off road ability, surely this bike will dissuade me from the Versys right? Once underway I had mega wind buffeting, like more than riding a naked bike. I know the factory windshield is adjustable and I think it was in the lowest position but, wow it got annoying instantly. I round my first corner, and notice this thing handles well and is quite nibble underway. By my second stop sign I can tell the Strom's brakes are much better than the Versys and have more "positive" feel. The Versys brakes really lack initial bite to me but once you get on them they do a great job at stopping, but the whole time I rode the Strom the front and rear both felt better. I also have to give the nod in favor of the Stroms suspension, it is noticably smoother and more comfortable than the Versys. And then there is the engine, more power, 90 degree twin has to be way smoother than the little parallel on the Versys right? WRONG. What the hell? I am one of those guys that always belive you can never have enough engine. Until now. The Strom does produce more power, I did a roll on wheelie in first gear with it. But the bike does'nt "feel" faster. While I am sure it will accellerate faster than the Versys, they "feel" the same, and at 75mph the DL1000 is less taxed than the Versys. I am sure the DL1000 vs the V in a 60-100mph roll on the DL would easily win but the 0-60 and around town I dont think I could "feel" the difference. Both have a very linear power powband the DL comes on much sooner, but the Versys feels better revving more. But the big gripe for me was all the engine vibration. I mean this thing was so bad that it was making my hands numb. The V had an annoying vibration but nothing like the DL. The DL1000 not only made the annoying vibration in the bars but also in the seat. The engine was not nearly as smooth as the V and always under acceleration felt like it was chugging no matter what gear or what RPM. I can really say that I am shocked that the one big thing that made me want a Vstrom 1000 over the Versys was the engine. I am disappointed. The transmission was also notchy, not smooth, the V does not have a perfect tranny either but IMO better than the DL. The clutch pull was harder and caused arm pump after a while. I the lever was quite high on the bike and I think angleing it down would help. Everyone raves how the WeeStrom 650 is a better bike than the 1000 and has a smoother engine. I will have to see for myself, but I can belive the hype after riding the 1000. My 1700cc air cooled pushrod Vtwin was smoother than this higher tech V-twin mill.
In short the Versys IMO has a better stock wind protection, better motor, and while the ungangly Stom is suprisingly agile, its no match for the corning abilities of the V. The Strom had a better seat (the 2nd best stock seat I ever on) and ergos. The strom also had better brakes and perhaps better suspension. I say perhaps because while the suspension is softer and much more comfy over bumps and on the superslab, the stiffer suspenders on the Versys help make it the road carver that it is. I think a new seat and lower pegs on the V could make it as comfortable as the Strom. Between these two its a close choice but once I factor in the vibes and the price difference the Versys clearly wins. I think if anyone thinking of buying a Ulysses rides a Vstrom 1000, the desision would be made for them in a second. The Strom is superior to the Uly.

If the weather cooperates tonight I will to Lincoln (50 miles away) and the dealer there said they will have a Versys and a Vstrom 650L ready for me to ride so I can do a side by side comparision. I bought 6 bikes from this dealer since 2004 so they know I am a serious buyer. I will have to see if the Wee is better than the Vee and for 2k less. I may go to the Triumph dealer over lunch to try the Tiger. But he wants MSRP for the Tiger and it is a demo with 800 miles. That alone makes me not want to buy it, but maybe if I like it I would be in the market for a used one.

Anyway this is just my opinions and 2 cents. I apologize for grammar and typo's Im sure they are in there.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 12:41 PM
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Ducati Multistrada. 1000DS if you plan on riding two-up all the time, and the Multistrada 620 if you don't. I own one and have been happy. After riding a wee-strom and going to the Multistrada 620, it was like the difference between a Camero, and a Ferrari F430.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 12:57 PM
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Hey great write up. After 13,000 miles on my V this summer I am still very happy. Wish for a better seat and the option of knobbies, but other than that its suits me oh so well.


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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 12:59 PM
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Very odd, I have spent time on several 1000cc Suzuki V-Twins and they were all as smooth as in inline at speed. Our SV650 is 1000x smoother than the Versys at speed. Maybe my Versys is just one of those that vibrates like crazy above 4000 rpm?

A Duc mulit? LOL I will ride an unattractive bike but that is where I would put my foot down. That is one fugly motorcycle.

ST1300, Versys, SV650S
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 01:11 PM
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This forum is amazing in that there are so many that have had comparable bikes
and prefer the V in most ways. Guess all those road tests and reviews were right!

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Element View Post
This forum is amazing in that there are so many that have had comparable bikes
and prefer the V in most ways. Guess all those road tests and reviews were right!
Well, it is a VERSYS forum...

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

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 02:40 PM
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Thanks for taking the time to let us know your thoughts on these bikes.


2008 Versys, 2008 ZX6R, 2006 EX500, 2002 KLR650
2010 KTM 300XCW, 2007 KTM 200XC, 2006 KTM 200 XC,
2004 CRF250X, 2002 CRF150
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 05:52 PM
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I assume youíve ridden a Versys too right?? What did you think of it??

My first bike was a ďWeeĒ (650) V-Strom. I just sold it and got a Versys, Iím no where near as experienced as you with motorcycles but Iíll offer my thoughts anyway so feel free to take them for what theyíre worth.

I just got my V and Iíve only got around 100 miles on it so weíre really talking initial impressions here.

The 650 (Wee) is really the bike to have if youíre going with a V-Strom. The 1000 (Vee) offers a little more power, a finicky motor, more weight, etc. for more money. People seem to love the Wee but love/hate the Vee.

The Wee-Stroms power seems a lot less linear to me than the Versys. It starts comeing on around 5k and goes to 9k or so, if youíre just puttering around town, shifting at 6k or whatever then you donít have a lot of grunt upon shifting into gear. The V surprises me with it willingness to get going right from the bottom. The V-twin is a very smooth motor with a good sound to it, much better than the V on both counts. The V ďfeelsĒ faster to me, and it wants to go fast, when I look at the speedo Iím constantly going faster than Iíd like to be going, Wee was the opposite. On paper the Wee is probably faster.

Iím glad you get to try a V and a Wee side by side, I tried them both at my dealer too. The Wee feels like a tank next to the V. I swear the V takes up like 2 feet less space in my garage, not that much Iím sure but It seems that way. I donít carry a passenger or luggage so Iím really liking the shorter length, the Wee would be a better tourer I suppose but the V is a lot of fun.

Wind protectionÖ Ödidnít realize how bad the Wee was until I got the V. I had a Madstad bracket on the Wee which helped some but Iím loving the V. Iíd rather have clean air hitting me at the top of the chest than the buffeting problem with the Wee. Iíll still experiment with the V but so far itís a much better place to start than the Wee.

I still like the Wee. My dealer is about 25 miles over a pretty tame canyon. On my ride over to trade the Wee I was hoping that I was making a good decision. On the way back I was sure that he V is the right bike for meÖ Öof course youíll have to decide if itís the right one for you. Just having clean air was worth the trade for me, made the ride so much more enjoyable. Of course thereís windshields and what not for the Wee so I suppose itís an issue that could be fixed.

So far my main grip with the V is the mirrors. They offer a great view of my shoulders and, If I contort myself just right I can see very blurry objects somewhere to the rear. Iím hoping to fix this soon.

Anyway, thatís about it, let us know what you think of the Wee and Iíd like to here youíre thoughts on the V as well.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 06:20 PM
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I also own a Vstrom 650 before and now a Versys.

I like the Versys much better... More agile, more power down low RPM, slightly better suspension.

Vstrom is good if you ride a lot of long distance. It is big compare to Versys.

They both get about the same MPG.

If I have a chance to buy both bikes again... I will still go with Versys.

Current bike
09 Kawasaki Versys

Previous bikes
07 Suzuki GSXR 1000
07 Yamaha FZ1
06 Harley Davidson Softail Deuce
06 BMW K1200 GT
05 Suzuki Vstrom 650
01 Yamaha Vstar 650
90 Yamaha FZR 600
7x Yamaha Enduro 125
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-20-2009, 01:11 PM
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Interesting observations, HH. I had similar thoughts re V-Strom vs. Uly. The Uly seems like a great bike on paper (and based on owners' reviews) but it didn't work for me.

If I read it correctly, the V-Strom you rode was brand new. I'm sure you are aware that the engine is still far from being ready to give you its best. Also, it sounds like the whomever setup that bike didn't do a very good job. The engine on the V-Strom is smoother than the Versys throughout the rev range, unless you are lugging it, then it will complain a little. The bike you rode sounds typical for "no dealer setup". When I bought mine (back in the dark ages) we had about half of the list subscribers complain about the engine and half of us that didn't know what they were talking about. After a while (and digging through the TL files) we figured out the engine is very sensitive to correct throttle body synchronization. It's a result of having a high revving, large capacity V-Twin with relatively large TB and lean fueling to meet emissions requirements. If you ride a V-Strom/SV/TL that is properly setup, you'll see what I mean. It's a different bike. The good news is that the TBS is trivial to do - I can check mine in less than a minute and adjust it in less than 5 (if needed). But this only makes the improperly setup bikes some dealers let out of their shops even less excusable. Keep that in mind when choosing where to buy and service your bike.

The gearing on the V-Strom is just the opposite of the Versys. While the Versys works better with taller the stock gearing, the V-Strom comes with gearing that is so tall it makes 6th gear usable only at very high speeds. Changing the front of rear sprockets to give it shorter gearing makes it more useable and even faster still when accelerating. Speaking of which, I own both bikes, the V-Strom 1000 is significantly faster in the acceleration dept and it becomes an even larger gap the more loaded these bikes are. Having said that, I think that unless you are in the habit of drag racing people on the street or attempting suicidal passes on mountain roads, the Versys accelerates fast enough.

I really like riding the Versys, it's a lot of fun (I'm sure you've read that a lot on this forum, so no need to add too much about that). But, I also like riding the V-Strom, so much so that I still have it 2 years after I got the Versys. Which one would be preferred as an only bike would depend on the riding you do/plan to do.


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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-20-2009, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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The words lugging the engine is excatly how it felt but I would be in 4th or 5th and accelerating @5-6k. So I was not lugging the motor but it sure felt like that. I also got alot of the new bike, "burning smells" when I would stop. I would hope that the notchy shifting and the engine would smooth out over time. I am sure that I rode all of the bikes harder than you should on break in but nothing to crazy since if I wasnt going to buy it, I didnt want the next guy buying a bike that I beat the piss out of for the first 30-40 miles.

One think for sure with that Vee, is that the handle bar vibration left my arms/hands numb, and it vibed at any speed/RPM.
The Versys only seemed to vibe on me at highway/insterstate speeds, it wasnt not enough to be bothersome for the short time I rode it but it made itself noticable and could potentially be annoying for long distance.

It has been raining here so I didnt get to ride the Versys again or A/B it with a WeeStrom. I am tempted to go to another dealer and ride the Versys again, I feel bad to keep riding all these new bikes at the same dealer and walking out not buying. Especially because I return with dead bugs all over the windscreens etc.
I just bought too many bikes and ATV's without riding them only to find out a month later it is not what I want. I dont want to go done that path again.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 10:29 AM
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I know what you mean; I'll never buy a bike without riding it first.

Luckily (like you), I've purchased many new bikes from the same dealer and have no problem obtaining a test ride.................mind you, I didn't ask to take out the RC8 to see what the answer would be!


2008 Versys, 2008 ZX6R, 2006 EX500, 2002 KLR650
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