Experienced riders and Versys touring comparison? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-04-2009, 11:07 PM Thread Starter
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Experienced riders and Versys touring comparison?

I am wondering what the Versys is like compared to other bikes for touring capabilities? Especially from you guys that have ridden many different bikes for many years.

I have only been riding road bikes for two years and have actually only ridden about four different road bikes. I currently own a 08 Sprint. The Sprint is awesome and I like it in many ways but not sure if it is for me? It can tour but is more on the "sporty" side of it. Not to mention the bike is just plain beautiful! Just not sure if the posture is right for me? ( I do have 1 inch risers on it). The motor is awesome but may be a little more than I will ever use...I think?

My main concern is the power of the Versys. I have read the discussions on here but wondering what you guys that have had experience touring on bigger bikes think.

I get vibes and some numbness in the feet from the pegs on the Sprint when cruising at 80 down the slab. I just can't imagine a bike with 400 less cc than the Sprint going that fast? But like I said I am still new to the road bike thing.

I have sat on just about every bike made at the dealers and the Versys and Yamaha FZ6 are about the most comfortable to me. It is the whole power thing that has me wondering? If they made a liter version of the Versys I doubt I would even rant on about this...
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-04-2009, 11:39 PM
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Sorry I can't tell you what other bikes are like on long distances but I can assure you the Versys can haul the miles.

This summer I completed a SaddleSore 1600 with the IBA on the V. Kept right up to my two mates on a Yamaha FJ and a Suzuki GS 1150. I was never wanting any power or felt numb in the hands or feet. I do wear A-stars tech 3's and have gell grips but I tell you there was never a tingle.

Set up with a good seat pad (I made my own) the Versys can go farther than most riders can in a day. She never over heated, stopping for gas less than others and turns some heads. You'll get a lot of people telling you you're crazy for touring on the V but thats ok, I kind of agree with them. LOL.

Falling down is your bodies way of saying you just screwed up.

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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-05-2009, 12:04 AM
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It's hard to tell if it'll be powerful enough for you. It starts with your expectations, goes on to your physical build and where you ride most of the time.

The Sprint delivers about 120 HP and doesn't weigh a lot more than a Versys (~70 lbs, IIRC). I don't think it'll be stretch to say that it would feel a lot more powerful. If you live/ride in one of those really flat states where it seems motorcycling is limited to testing how fast you accelerate (or how fast you can go before they pull you over and take you away ), that may be an issue. Also, if you are a big guy, there is only so much 65 HP can do, even on a 400 lb. motorcycle.

The Versys has no problem cruising at 80 or even 90 MPH. With the right windscreen for you, it's actually rather comfy at those speeds (so I've been told, I wouldn't ride that fast in the US, of course...). It vibrates. It's different than the vibrations on other twins like the V-Stroms (because it's a parallel twin) and definitely different that the triples and inline 4's. To me, I-4's are the worst, they produce a high frequency vibration that gets really annoying on long rides, but like seats, windscreens, etc., it's a very personal thing. I've read people say the Versys vibrates too much for them to be comfortable (yet they seem to be happy on a Ulysses ), but it doesn't seem to prevent me from doing 500-700 mile days and enjoy it.

If you ride more mountain roads than flat ones, peak HP is meaningless. Torque does make a difference, so on a smaller displacement bike you have to keep the engine spinning in the right range for maximum acceleration. If you are lazy with the gearbox, it just wont accelerate as fast. A Sprint may rip your arms off from 4K on, the Versys will pick up speed at a slower pace from that engine speed. OTOH, if you keep it spinning near peak torque, it'll move along pretty smartly. Enough for me to keep the squids on sportbikes scratching their heads...

If you are set on keeping the HP at around 100, take a look at a V-Strom 1000. It has a very comfortable riding position (it's roomier than the Versys) and the power you seem to be worried about. But it also weighs more and loses some of the sharp handling that comes with smaller, lighter bikes. I still have mine, it is a very good two-up touring bike.

To settle the power question in your mind, think about the times you were at full, wide open, throttle. How many of those times were you in the upper powerband (say above 6K rpm)? How often does that happen? If you do that often, maybe you do need a more powerful bike than what is offered by a 650cc twin...

Gustavo


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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-05-2009, 12:23 AM
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Well my experience for long rides only involves three other bikes. The first was a '00 Vulcan 1500 Fi. It had the comfort, but mileage was bad in comparison to the Versys. Also since I like back roads, it was not the most nimble ride. I had it for 6 years before I sold it.

The second was an '08 KLR. Very nimble, I had a Corbin saddle and panniers on it, but it was a gutless wonder on the interstate highways going up mountains. The six gallon tank was great as long as I kept it below 70mph. As for the back roads, it was great as long as you kept the RPM's around 5000.

The third was a DL1000 I borrowed from a friend for a weekend. Roomy with plenty of power and good on comfort as well as back road riding. If you come from a sport bike to it, and like the power and acceleration, the DL isn't as good, but I came from the direction of cruisers and dual sports and like the motor just fine. I'll probably end up buying a good used one down the road to complement the Versys. This is saying a lot from me as I've hated Suzuki for years. (bad experience with their dirt bikes reliability)

Then, the Versys. It is more nimble than all the above bikes. The mileage is great if you keep it between 4500 and 5000 RPM's. I hover around 60mpg even with my fat butt and gear. The comfort isn't as good as the DL for long trips, but acceptable. However in the twisty tight stuff the Versys will make you forget all about that. I've not done too many long trips with it, but so far the experience has been good. The most I've done in one day is 754 miles and was not sore and able to ride fine the next day.

In short, I've not regretted buying the Versys once, I've had mine longer than some here on the forum as I bought mine the end of Sept '07.

Maloy






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'74 Honda CL360

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'08 Versys (lost in head on collision 07-05-2010)
'86 Honda XL500 (wrecked RIP)
'08 KLR650
'00 Vulcan Classic Fi 1500cc
'06 Kymco 250cc scooter
'93 Honda VLX 600cc
'85 Honda XL500
'85 Honda Rebel 250cc

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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-05-2009, 07:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poweranger View Post
I am wondering what the Versys is like compared to other bikes for touring capabilities? Especially from you guys that have ridden many different bikes for many years.

I have only been riding road bikes for two years and have actually only ridden about four different road bikes. I currently own a 08 Sprint. The Sprint is awesome and I like it in many ways but not sure if it is for me? It can tour but is more on the "sporty" side of it. Not to mention the bike is just plain beautiful! Just not sure if the posture is right for me? ( I do have 1 inch risers on it). The motor is awesome but may be a little more than I will ever use...I think?

My main concern is the power of the Versys. I have read the discussions on here but wondering what you guys that have had experience touring on bigger bikes think.

I get vibes and some numbness in the feet from the pegs on the Sprint when cruising at 80 down the slab. I just can't imagine a bike with 400 less cc than the Sprint going that fast? But like I said I am still new to the road bike thing.

I have sat on just about every bike made at the dealers and the Versys and Yamaha FZ6 are about the most comfortable to me. It is the whole power thing that has me wondering? If they made a liter version of the Versys I doubt I would even rant on about this...
Welll I think some of your preconceptions may change. First i rode my Versys to Colorado from Pa. this year so a long trip is fresh in my mind.power,dude I could travel at 75mph all day and did do it crossing Kansas,and the engine had plenty left.You forget the bike doesn't weigh much.There is a misconception in the big wide world that you need massive HP on a motorcycle,its BS>
Second,backround on me,I'm 51,been riding on the street since 1975,I have a few miles under me and have visited by motorcycle most of the lower 48 and A good deal of Canada and select areas of Mexico.i have owned these sport-touring motorcycles, 2 Vfr's,One Triumph trophy,one Ducati ST 2,One Concours,also 3 heavy weight touring motorcycles.And a S**t load of sport/naked bikes
The versys is as comfortable(with a taller winshield) as most or them,it gets great mileage so it has long legs.Its light weight makes it out handel all but the Ducati.
lastly
I once owned a Kawasaki 440 LTD,it had a Vetter fairing and bags,I consider it my first sport -tourer,I crossed the USA 3 times on that bike,One up, it had more than enough power even by todays standards.Ride a Versys,(take time to set up the suspension if you can for you.You can ride it like a 250.Ride it like a 600 or ride it like a bigger bore twin.It rocks

AMA EAA STN
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-05-2009, 07:52 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustavo View Post
.

To settle the power question in your mind, think about the times you were at full, wide open, throttle. How many of those times were you in the upper powerband (say above 6K rpm)? How often does that happen? If you do that often, maybe you do need a more powerful bike than what is offered by a 650cc twin...

Gustavo
Hardly ever, I think you summed it up right there Gustavo.

Thanks for all the replies. I have been to the dealers sitting on different bikes and the Versys just seems well balanced and light weight. I sat on a DL1000 also and it felt huge. I know my Sprint is heavier than the V but it seems the weight is top heavy. The V fells like it has a lower center of gravity. Or maybe just the wider bars make it feel more stable? BTY, I am 6' 195lbs.

Cuff, You settled my questions about ever doing a IBA SS on one. Thanks.

I am thinking a Versys would compliment the Sprint in the garage!
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-05-2009, 09:40 AM
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i came from a bmw 1150rt..sold it to buy the V...the V was great out of the box but i've made quit a few changes to it to suit my needs and comfort level....i just got back from a ride down the BRP .. 2 1/2 of travel 735 miles..the bike performed flawlessly whether it be on the twisties or the freeway...this bike lends itself very well to modifications to suit the individual..never regretted selling my RT
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-05-2009, 11:25 AM
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I've had about a dozen bikes.

Most recently Yamaha Virago 1100, HD FXDL, Valkyrie, Honda ST 1300, KLR650 and now the Versys.

The Versys is by far the best. Comfortable for all day touring, good mpg two up or hammering it one up. Least amount of heat off the engine on hot days. Cruises all day around 80mph with no problems. Plus what the others said, its an excellent all round machine. I have over 20k miles on mine, with zero problems, still using the same chain and sprockets!

It will even do some off road, logging/forest stuff as well, not so good in sand, well not with me on the back anyway.

Machog


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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-05-2009, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by poweranger View Post
Hardly ever, I think you summed it up right there Gustavo.

Cuff, You settled my questions about ever doing a IBA SS on one. Thanks.

I am thinking a Versys would compliment the Sprint in the garage!
Here is the route we took on the SS1600. Notice not one stretch of straight road.http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sour...,19.665527&z=6

Falling down is your bodies way of saying you just screwed up.

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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-05-2009, 01:21 PM
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Mac,

Hell with the wrong tires a lot of dual sports don't do so well in sand. The OEM Dunlops on a KLR is one example! I bet you couldn't wait to change yours when you had it.

Unfortunately I'm again looking for another dual sport. My KLR was just too damn heavy to pick up after falling down off road. I'm sort of like an impending train wreck riding off road. It's not if it will happen, it is when?

Maloy





Quote:
Originally Posted by Machog View Post
I've had about a dozen bikes.

Most recently Yamaha Virago 1100, HD FXDL, Valkyrie, Honda ST 1300, KLR650 and now the Versys.

The Versys is by far the best. Comfortable for all day touring, good mpg two up or hammering it one up. Least amount of heat off the engine on hot days. Cruises all day around 80mph with no problems. Plus what the others said, its an excellent all round machine. I have over 20k miles on mine, with zero problems, still using the same chain and sprockets!

It will even do some off road, logging/forest stuff as well, not so good in sand, well not with me on the back anyway.

Machog

Bikes owned
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'74 Honda CL360

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'08 Versys (lost in head on collision 07-05-2010)
'86 Honda XL500 (wrecked RIP)
'08 KLR650
'00 Vulcan Classic Fi 1500cc
'06 Kymco 250cc scooter
'93 Honda VLX 600cc
'85 Honda XL500
'85 Honda Rebel 250cc
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-05-2009, 01:31 PM
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I'm sitting here scratching my head wondering why you don't get a Tiger?????????

2007 Versys Black, V35 Bags, H&B Bars, Skidmarx Hugger.Fender Ex., Avon Distanzia, Braided Lines, Hella 65W bulbs Arrow Can, DNA Air filter, GIVI tall screen (for winter), PCIII, Baldwin Saddle. **SOLD**

2011 KTM SM-T. Crash bars, E55 Top Box, Fender extender front and rear.
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-05-2009, 01:36 PM
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My wife, and I just came back from a week long ride in the smokies. She rode the Versys, and I rode the FJR, no problems with the Versys keeping up in the "twisties", or on I75 at 70-85 mph. We had the factory hard bags on it, a tail bag, a Mike's touring windshiels with a madstand bracket, and stock gearing.

That went so well, I just came back from buying a 09 Versys for myself, so I won't be riding hers all of the time !!!! 100% one of, if not my favorite bike.....and i've been riding over 40 years !!!

'15 DL1000
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-05-2009, 01:51 PM
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Jnor,

http://www.rideohio.org/showthread.p...ed=1#post95269


HA! You bought one of the slow blue ones!

Maloy

Bikes owned
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'74 Honda CL360

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'08 Versys (lost in head on collision 07-05-2010)
'86 Honda XL500 (wrecked RIP)
'08 KLR650
'00 Vulcan Classic Fi 1500cc
'06 Kymco 250cc scooter
'93 Honda VLX 600cc
'85 Honda XL500
'85 Honda Rebel 250cc
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-05-2009, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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I'm sitting here scratching my head wondering why you don't get a Tiger?????????
The Tiger was my first choice. I rode it and the Sprint. The Sprint just felt better. I should have test rode a bunch more bikes (Versys, V-Strom, Uly, ect) before I jumped at the deal on the Sprint.
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-06-2009, 12:18 AM
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I did a great lakes challenge. 2450 miles in 65 hours. I will do a BBG (1500miles in 24 hours) this fall.

So it can do a few long rides.

Oh and that's with a stock seat.

Steve

IBA #37625 (Earned in 98 Awarded in 2009... Yeah I'm a little lazy sometimes...)


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post #16 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-08-2009, 03:58 PM
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The other bikes I have had or spent long days on are ST1300, Concours 1000, F650GS, CBR600F4i. If I had a short one or two day trip (depending on weather) the Versys would get the nod over these bikes (except maybe the ST1300). If the trip was 1000s of miles and multiple days I would take my ST1300 but wouldn’t hesitate to take the Versys if it were not an option.

Of those bikes the old Concours 1000 had the best weather protection for two up (ST1300 better for one up), the F650GS was probably a strong second if not tied for comfort with the ST1300 and Versys. Old Concours was the most uncomfortable (stock) than anything I have ever ridden. The ST1300 is by far he most powerful as well as smoother than a babies but at any RPM. Power isn’t always about WFO, its about not having to down shift to pass or having enough power down low to lug the motor for less vibes and better MPG. All the bikes get around 50 MPG by the way unless you flog them then the CBR drops to 39! Surprising thing about the ST1300 is once its underway it feels MAYBE 100lbs heavier than the Versys. The old Concours 1000 felt like a M1 Abrams on the other hand.

I plan to ride my Versys to Alaska some day. A ride I would NEVER take my ST on.

ST1300, Versys, SV650S
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post #17 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-09-2009, 08:52 PM
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I plan to ride my Versys to Alaska some day.
A very good choice. Those roads up there? This Versys would eat them up. Trust me.

IMO

The Versys makes a great light touring bike. I should have had it a year ago for my trip north to the Arctic. I just got back from a 6600 mile out west wander and the V did great. I did farkle it for about $1500 tho.

I am on my third rear tire in 11000 miles.
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post #18 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-10-2009, 10:36 AM
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I had a KLR and loved it, then got involved with IBA rides and rallies, and decided I needed a K1200LT. After over 100,000 miles on the LT I'm returning to a 650 (Versys) and love it. It does everything I need it to without the excess. You may need to gain experience with a bike that has excess to appreciate a bike that offers "just enough". I'm working on a few changes to make the bike better for touring (seat, windshield, bar position) but I just returned from a 16 day cross country trip (spectating at the IBR) with zero problems*.
My wife liked riding on the LT better though so if your plans involve a lot of two-up riding the Versys is lacking in passenger comfort.

*I forgot about one touring hazard I never encountered before. While crossing the Dakotas I was hitting swarms of grasshoppers. They splattered everywhere and became lodged between the gas tank and fairing panels. These tasty treats attracted many yellow jackets during my stops. The yellow jackets even crawled into the gap between the tank and panels. Towards the end of my trip I saw one bee that didn't get out in time. It was dead but its stinger still looked dangerous.


"Veni, Vidi, Velcro"-- I came, I saw, I stuck around.

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post #19 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-10-2009, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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Pmdean650, I do not plan on doing any two up touring. So not a problem for me.

It seems a lot of you guys that have had larger touring bikes are going back down to the smaller 650 Versys. That says a lot about this bike to me.
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post #20 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-10-2009, 06:35 PM
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I also had an 07 Triumph Sprint ST with ABS. I was very worried regarding the power of the V. Switching from a 1050 triple to a 650 twin was what I was most concerned about. I sold the Sprint and have not missed it at all. The V has plenty of power and the bike is a blast to ride. Its also more comfortable, gets better gas mileage and will do 80mph on the slab all day long. I do recommend adding a 43t rear sprocket among other things. Buy the V you wont regret it.
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