Coming from KLR650 - Versys or Harley? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-27-2014, 08:58 AM Thread Starter
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Coming from KLR650 - Versys or Harley?

I will be replacing my KLR650 with a "new" bike in the next month or two and I thought I had decided on the new 2015 Versys 650. But, again, doubt is setting in.

My KLR was my "reentry bike" and since I came from dirt bikes, it was comfortable. It will do everything; within limitations. I commute each day and tour/explore the small roads and dirt roads, and do some light touring (300-500 miles). I have never taken it off road; all I ride is roads.

The only issues I have with the KLR is the tall seat height and the single cylinder. I can only tip-toe the bike and I worry about dropping it just about every time I ride it. Plus, I would just like to have an extra cylinder or two for more road riding smoothness in the engine.

On paper, the Versys 650 with luggage, windscreen and lowering link is perfect for my needs. And the new design and improvements of the 650 are all the better. Perfect for commuting, multi cylinder and lower seat height.

Is the 650 big enough or do I need to look at the 1000 for my touring needs?
Should I consider the Triumph or Yamaha triples in the 800-900 category?
Will Speedy's lowering link fit the 2015 or should i go with a lower seat?

Or, should I just get a Harley Street Glide and be done with it?

Sorry for the long post; this is a hard decision.

Thanks for your responses and opinions.
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-27-2014, 10:24 AM
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Just sayin', I don't think you'll get too many votes for the Harley here. You'd be going from the Vibrating hands on the KLR thumper to the shaking of every body part on the Harley twin.
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-27-2014, 10:32 AM
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The Versys sounds like it will be great for your needs. It's the perfect bike for me. I do mostly city and short freeway commutes (less than 40 minutes), and she does great on weekend rides in the twisties, can handle some light dirt roads just fine stock, and even better with a few upgrades, and does great as an occasional tourer. I've done two multi-week ~3000 mile trips on my Versys loaded with camping gear. 300-500 miles is plenty doable. Lots folks use their Versys as a tourer and are quite happy with it.

Go with the Versys...

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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-27-2014, 11:45 AM
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I commute each day and tour/explore the small roads and dirt roads, and do some light touring (300-500 miles). I have never taken it off road; all I ride is roads.
No doubt about it the Versys 650 will do everything you say you want including the dirt roads you do / don't do
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-27-2014, 12:14 PM
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As a previous owner of a Street Glide here is what I can say:

Pros
Low seat
Full radio
Stable at highway speeds
Cruise control

Cons
Heavy bike to push around a parking lot
Saddle bags are not very big
Price (but it's all relative)

The Street Glide is a great bike for roads that are straight. Any curves you start to scrape the floor boards.

I'm considering the 2015 Versys 1000 once I get confirmation from Kawasaki that the gel seat option will be offered and will drop the rider approximately 50mm (1.9"). If that is the case the Versys 1000 will be at the top of my list. I'm only leaning to the 1000 over the 650 is for the fact I sometimes ride with my wife and the extra cc's and HP is always welcome -- especially with full gear in the bags and top case.

I've sorta come full circle with my larger bikes:

Yamaha FJR1300 to Buell Ulysses XT to HD Street Glide to Triumph Bonneville. Looking back and knowing how I like to ride now, I wish I would have kept the Buell. The Versys 1000 will be replacing the Bonneville.
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-27-2014, 12:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the great responses. Especially 407guy. Good points. In fact, the Bonneville was one of the bikes I was considering.

Should I be looking at the V1000 instead of the V650? Will this be overkill or ideal for the touring needs?

My plans are to buy the "new" bike for all the roads, then sell the KLR to purchase a Super Sherpa or other 250cc dirt-type bike to handle the off road needs.
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-27-2014, 01:19 PM
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did you really ask that? its like asking to get a back rub or a brick to the face?........versys all the way
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-27-2014, 01:54 PM
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My biggest beef with the Harleys is the low ground clearance and the suspension. The suspension seems to be sprung OK considering the considerable weight of the bike, but the damping is terrible, its damped way too far on the comfort end of the spectrum and gives up performance.

The low ground clearance and floorboards pretty much preclude any spirited riding in the conventional sense.

If you like cornering, go with the Versys, but it really is apples to oranges, different bikes engineered for different purposes. Are you asking this same question on a Harley forum?
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-27-2014, 02:09 PM
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Versys or Harley?

... only you can answer that.

I teach a motorcycle safety course a handful of weekends a year and I get asked "what kind of motorcycle should I get?" at least 10 times a weekend.

Yes Jeephoto, I know your not a student with zero experience, so I think you can figure this out on your own, but thought I would share my experiences answering this question.

I often break the ice on the first classroom day by asking "Who already has a bike? What kind of bike do you want?" Invariably, 95% of the time people want Harleys. I always ask why they want one, and the answer is usually "Because I like the style" or "My friends have one." We have what they call "graduated licencing" in this province, where you can get your class D licence that allows you to ride a bike less than 500ccs, and an A licence that permits the use of bikes over 500ccs. Our course offers bikes of both classes. For the class D we have a bunch of dual sport bikes (TWs, XTs, DRs, and a few CBR 125s), and we have Marauder 650 cruisers as our Class A bikes. We spend days buzzing around the parking lot, running slaloms, figure eights and emergency braking, etc. on our Class D bikes. I must say, as an instructor it is a wonderful thing bringing a student with absolutely no knowledge of what a clutch is, all the way to watching the grin on their faces during high speed counter steering. By the end of day two, I have a whole new group of friends and fellow motorcyclist. I have a passion for carving a turn on a motorcycle, and I preach heavily the importance of counter-steering and mastering the perfect turn.

On the final day we introduce the 650 cruiser to the students. One by one they all have their shot taking the "Big" bike through all the turns and slaloms. All the grins disappear. "Why is this bike so hard to turn?" "It is so uncomfortable having you feet out in front of you like that." "How come we can't grip the tank with our knees like you showed us?" "When I come to a stop, I can't keep this thing from falling over." (That is a good one) "I find this bike too long and it is preventing me from doing the 10 foot slalom." So as an instructor, I have to go over with them why this cruiser handles the way it does. It has its pegs sticking way out in front preventing you from standing when presented with an obstacle on the road, because of the style. The forks are longer, preventing you from turning quickly and preventing you from proper slow speed slalom steering, because of the style. Its heavy because it has a massive lump of and engine and 50 pounds of chrome pipes, because of the sound... and the style. Many puzzled faces.

To add to that, there is a section of the program where we talk about clothing. We talk about the importance of "High Vis" gear, and CE armour. We often bring in some of our own gear, followed by stories of our own close calls. In most cases, this equipment is in stark contrast to the black plastic pope hats with the skulls painted on the side, that many of them not 4 days prior, intended to wear. In the end, over half of the students that said they want Harleys, now don't. I ask them, and I will ask everybody reading this today, just as I ask the students, "What is the purpose of a cruiser?" "What is it designed to do?" The legitimate answer is: "It is all about the style." I respect that. I get it. But, my personal mission is to bring the joy of riding a motorcycle to as many people as I can. I drill them with stories of ripping through the woods on a dual sport bike. Or wearing the sides of tires, carving turns along places like the Cabot Trail. Or, mounting a set of panniers, duffel bags, camping gear and everything else required to explore the world the best way possible, on a motorcycle.

Just doing my part.
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-27-2014, 05:07 PM
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Versys or Harley?

... only you can answer that.

I teach a motorcycle safety course a handful of weekends a year and I get asked "what kind of motorcycle should I get?" at least 10 times a weekend.

Yes Jeephoto, I know your not a student with zero experience, so I think you can figure this out on your own, but thought I would share my experiences answering this question.

I often break the ice on the first classroom day by asking "Who already has a bike? What kind of bike do you want?" Invariably, 95% of the time people want Harleys. I always ask why they want one, and the answer is usually "Because I like the style" or "My friends have one." We have what they call "graduated licencing" in this province, where you can get your class D licence that allows you to ride a bike less than 500ccs, and an A licence that permits the use of bikes over 500ccs. Our course offers bikes of both classes. For the class D we have a bunch of dual sport bikes (TWs, XTs, DRs, and a few CBR 125s), and we have Marauder 650 cruisers as our Class A bikes. We spend days buzzing around the parking lot, running slaloms, figure eights and emergency braking, etc. on our Class D bikes. I must say, as an instructor it is a wonderful thing bringing a student with absolutely no knowledge of what a clutch is, all the way to watching the grin on their faces during high speed counter steering. By the end of day two, I have a whole new group of friends and fellow motorcyclist. I have a passion for carving a turn on a motorcycle, and I preach heavily the importance of counter-steering and mastering the perfect turn.

On the final day we introduce the 650 cruiser to the students. One by one they all have their shot taking the "Big" bike through all the turns and slaloms. All the grins disappear. "Why is this bike so hard to turn?" "It is so uncomfortable having you feet out in front of you like that." "How come we can't grip the tank with our knees like you showed us?" "When I come to a stop, I can't keep this thing from falling over." (That is a good one) "I find this bike too long and it is preventing me from doing the 10 foot slalom." So as an instructor, I have to go over with them why this cruiser handles the way it does. It has its pegs sticking way out in front preventing you from standing when presented with an obstacle on the road, because of the style. The forks are longer, preventing you from turning quickly and preventing you from proper slow speed slalom steering, because of the style. Its heavy because it has a massive lump of and engine and 50 pounds of chrome pipes, because of the sound... and the style. Many puzzled faces.

To add to that, there is a section of the program where we talk about clothing. We talk about the importance of "High Vis" gear, and CE armour. We often bring in some of our own gear, followed by stories of our own close calls. In most cases, this equipment is in stark contrast to the black plastic pope hats with the skulls painted on the side, that many of them not 4 days prior, intended to wear. In the end, over half of the students that said they want Harleys, now don't. I ask them, and I will ask everybody reading this today, just as I ask the students, "What is the purpose of a cruiser?" "What is it designed to do?" The legitimate answer is: "It is all about the style." I respect that. I get it. But, my personal mission is to bring the joy of riding a motorcycle to as many people as I can. I drill them with stories of ripping through the woods on a dual sport bike. Or wearing the sides of tires, carving turns along places like the Cabot Trail. Or, mounting a set of panniers, duffel bags, camping gear and everything else required to explore the world the best way possible, on a motorcycle.

Just doing my part.

Really interesting !!!

+1


LOP
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-27-2014, 05:08 PM
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did you really ask that? its like asking to get a back rub or a brick to the face?........versys all the way


LOP
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-27-2014, 07:30 PM
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I would choose Indian over HD.

Have you looked at the Ninja 650 and 1000?

You won't need to buy a lowering link or seat with them.

My Versys Travels:


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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-27-2014, 07:44 PM
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As far as the 650 vs the 1000:

I've done a coupe of 3,000 mile trips on the 650. With only secondary roads, 350 - 450 mile days the 650 is more than I have ever wanted.

But if I was going to travel using interstate, I would seriously look at the 1000.

Still, from your description of what you want and coming from the KLR I think you will love the V650.

And welcome BTW!

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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-27-2014, 09:03 PM
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Coming off the KLR you will be very happy with a Versys. The Thumpers are impressive machines but can not match the 2 cylinder bikes.

If you plan on touring with bags and hours in the saddle get the 1000. If you're day trippin' the 650 will have a fun factor that the 1000 might lack.

Don't get a Harley.
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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-28-2014, 06:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeephoto View Post
I will be replacing my KLR650 with a "new" bike in the next month or two and I thought I had decided on the new 2015 Versys 650. But, again, doubt is setting in.

My KLR was my "reentry bike" and since I came from dirt bikes, it was comfortable. It will do everything; within limitations. I commute each day and tour/explore the small roads and dirt roads, and do some light touring (300-500 miles). I have never taken it off road; all I ride is roads.

The only issues I have with the KLR is the tall seat height and the single cylinder. I can only tip-toe the bike and I worry about dropping it just about every time I ride it. Plus, I would just like to have an extra cylinder or two for more road riding smoothness in the engine.

On paper, the Versys 650 with luggage, windscreen and lowering link is perfect for my needs. And the new design and improvements of the 650 are all the better. Perfect for commuting, multi cylinder and lower seat height.

Is the 650 big enough or do I need to look at the 1000 for my touring needs?
yes the 650 twin blows away the KLR its has plently of power
Should I consider the Triumph or Yamaha triples in the 800-900 category?
Will Speedy's lowering link fit the 2015 or should i go with a lower seat?
you could get both if its required, i would go the lowering link because you also drop the forks to lower the bike over all.

Or, should I just get a Harley Street Glide and be done with it?
[B]if you like Harleys why not complety different bike and feel to Versys[/B]

Sorry for the long post; this is a hard decision.

Thanks for your responses and opinions.
go with your gut i reckon

Last edited by ggg; 10-28-2014 at 06:23 AM.
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post #16 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-28-2014, 06:50 AM
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Is the 650 big enough or do I need to look at the 1000 for my touring needs?
- A 1000 cc bike would probably be better but the 650 is perfectly adequate for light touring. I rode my Versy from NY to CA and it worked perfectly fine.

Should I consider the Triumph or Yamaha triples in the 800-900 category?
- Absolutely, I considered a number of other bikes including the V-Strom before settling on a Versys.

Or, should I just get a Harley Street Glide and be done with it?
- The Street Glide is a completely different bike than the Versys. For touring, the Street Glide is going to be much more comfortable. However, it will cost 3 times more, weighs almost twice as much, and provides a very different riding style.


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post #17 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-28-2014, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeephoto View Post
I will be replacing my KLR650 with a "new" bike in the next month or two and I thought I had decided on the new 2015 Versys 650. But, again, doubt is setting in.

My KLR was my "reentry bike" and since I came from dirt bikes, it was comfortable. It will do everything; within limitations. I commute each day and tour/explore the small roads and dirt roads, and do some light touring (300-500 miles). I have never taken it off road; all I ride is roads.

The only issues I have with the KLR is the tall seat height and the single cylinder. I can only tip-toe the bike and I worry about dropping it just about every time I ride it. Plus, I would just like to have an extra cylinder or two for more road riding smoothness in the engine.

On paper, the Versys 650 with luggage, windscreen and lowering link is perfect for my needs. And the new design and improvements of the 650 are all the better. Perfect for commuting, multi cylinder and lower seat height.

Is the 650 big enough or do I need to look at the 1000 for my touring needs?
Should I consider the Triumph or Yamaha triples in the 800-900 category?
Will Speedy's lowering link fit the 2015 or should i go with a lower seat?

Or, should I just get a Harley Street Glide and be done with it?

Sorry for the long post; this is a hard decision.

Thanks for your responses and opinions.
A Street Glide and Versys are apples and oranges. The Versys will be a lot more agile and fun to ride though IMO at a fraction of the price.

The only advantage of going with a 2014 or 2015 is ABS which is a big advantage if you ride in the rain or have an oh **** moment in traffic and have to hit the brakes hard.

As for power there is more than enough for a single rider and fully loaded bags to cruise at illegal speeds all day and have lots of passing power.

A few well chosen accessories will make this bike a lot better such as SW-Motech engine bars, a touring wind shield, heated grips and luggage. Best to shop for these in the after market rather than the dealer as you will find more selection. There are a ton of after market parts made for this bike.

I currently have the lowering kit on my bike and am thinking of removing it. I have a 32 inch inseam. I prefer the feel of the bike with the extra height. The lowering kit removes 1 inch. A lower seat will remove another inch.

Contact me if you wish to buy my lowering kit.
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post #18 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-28-2014, 08:54 AM
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...I currently have the lowering kit on my bike and am thinking of removing it. I have a 32 inch inseam. I prefer the feel of the bike with the extra height. The lowering kit removes 1 inch. A lower seat will remove another inch.

Contact me if you wish to buy my lowering kit.
I am interested in the lowering link for the V. I thought that the lowering link lowers the rear of the bike 1.75" not 1". Do you have a different make of link than what's commonly shown on our Forum?

[BTW - I know that Progressive sells a shock that will lower the rear by 1", for about $370 on sale]
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post #19 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-28-2014, 09:47 AM
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Dont fret about the 650 on the highway. It has more than enough juice to do that all day long. Know that the 1000 will give up a lot of the flickability and fun factor that the 650 has
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post #20 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-28-2014, 11:07 AM
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Dont fret about the 650 on the highway. It has more than enough juice to do that all day long. Know that the 1000 will give up a lot of the flickability and fun factor that the 650 has
id have to agree 1000% 650 can blast highway all day (and fly past packs of HDs ) and hell even lil old 145lbs 6'2" me can dead lift both the front and rear if needed as well as ride on and off road (with street tires) with no problem. the 1000 just means you can shift gears less and haul slightly more stuff but also but more fuel , higher maintenance , harder to pick up, higher insurance, and higher price tag.....
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