Riding Update 2015 650 - Kawasaki Versys Forum
 
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-01-2015, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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Riding Update 2015 650

Just a quick update on the new 650V.

I'm currently on a 4 week trip in Tasmania (Oz). Have a quick look at a map. The longest straight piece of road in Tassie couldn't be more than 500 metres. Biking heaven! But had to drone down 600km of freeway to get there from Sydney. I bought the bike as an all rounder road bike. I have a DR650 as a dual sport. The V will do many tours. I'm retired, got the time for it and plan to do so before the body falls in a heap.

So, impressions.

Firstly, I find it extremely comfortable. I've raised the screen abt 1.5 inches and the airflow is now over my head. The seat is very comfortable with a couple of 300km stretches without a stop. Vibration is a complete non-issue. Sure, you can feel a slight tingle in the bars but it is not intrusive and only time it is noticeable is when you actually think about it.

I am finding I fill up with gas about every 400 - 450 km. This still gives me some safety before pushing. The gas gauge starts to yell at me when it still has over 5 litres remaining in the tank. Most I have put into the tank so far is a bit over 18 litres. Dunno whether it really does hold 21 litres. I do not intend to find out that it really only holds 20 litres.

The handling is now good, but with a few quirks. Firstly, I changed the tyres early in this trip. The standard Sportmax did not instill any confidence. They got swapped for a set of Pilot Road 4's. Much more betterer. I am extremely impressed with their wet road performance. My recommendation is that, if you can, talk your dealer into swapping the tyres from the get-go.

The other handling quirk is a function of the suspension. The longer than normal travel means it sits up very dramatically if brakes are applied mid corner. Don't do this! Get braking done and dusted before the corner and everything is fine. Flip side of this is that the suspension just eats bumps in the road. This is what I was after in buying the bike - I'm getting too old to have my spine pummeled into submission on every ride.

I've added suspension preload at both ends (lots) and harder damping at the front. Its now good with the load I am currently carrying. Will revert to close to stock when riding solo without luggage. The suspension is good enough that I won't bother upgrading it, something I have done with many of my other bikes. The bike actually feels better with a bit of a load on it. The suspension actually works rather than bouncing me around.

I found I had to lower the screen to lowest setting in the rain. Not doing so means the visor on my helmet does not clear water properly and it fogged up extremely quickly. Low screen mitigates both these effects.

A riding mate had a decent ride on the bike. His opinion was that it was a far better road bike than his 650 VStrom. He's now looking at a trade. His other comment was that the Versys was very similar to ride to a Ducati Multistrada, with which he has some experience, but much cheaper.

This bike is definitely a keeper. The more I ride it, the more I like it. It now has 5,000km on it with another couple of thousand before I get home. Not bad for a 6 week old bike.

We still don't have genuine panniers available in Oz. I've fitted a set of Andy Strapz expedition panniers to the bike. These things are tuff! Chances are I will never bother with the hard panniers.

Regarding discussion on this forum of earlier Vs versus the 2015:
I did not really consider the earlier Versys. It had nothing to do with looks but everything to do with practicality. The 2015 has a much better fairing and screen, something I really appreciate. I had an ER6 some time ago. Great on short rides, but a pain on longer rides due to vibration. The rubber mounted engine is brilliant. It has a slightly larger gas tank, and repositioned footpegs for extra comfort. Both important to me.

I wouldn't even consider a Yammie FJ-09. Just doesn't suit me and the type of riding I do. I did test ride a VStrom, BMW GS700 and Tiger 800 before choosing the Versys. It suits my body shape (really short limbs - both arms and legs. Former puts too much weight on my wrists on most bikes) and my needs.

Hope this helps people trying to make a decision.

Bruce Campbell
Australia

Last edited by bc6805; 03-01-2015 at 07:55 PM.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-01-2015, 08:07 PM
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Great write up, thanks. Looking forward to breaking mine in soon.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-01-2015, 08:54 PM
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Agree! Great write-up, Bruce!

2015 Versys 1000 LT

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-01-2015, 10:47 PM
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I've added suspension preload at both ends (lots)
Did you add the preload based on sag measurements?
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-02-2015, 11:47 AM
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Nice initial review. Any chance you took pictures during your ride?

- Ian Thomas
2013 Versys
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-02-2015, 02:39 PM
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Nice initial review. Any chance you took pictures during your ride?
Wouldn't that be a tad dangerous?
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-02-2015, 07:50 PM
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Just a quick update on the new 650V.


The other handling quirk is a function of the suspension. The longer than normal travel means it sits up very dramatically if brakes are applied mid corner. Don't do this! Get braking done and dusted before the corner and everything is fine. Flip side of this is that the suspension just eats bumps in the road. This is what I was after in buying the bike - I'm getting too old to have my spine pummeled into submission on every ride.
Actually, that's more a tire thing than a suspension thing. In general, the Versys 650 is perfectly happy turning on the brakes, assuming you've applied them gradually. I have noticed that the Michelin PR4s are a bit "fussy" on some bikes, and that might be what you're seeing here.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-03-2015, 07:02 AM
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Comparing the 650 to a mutistrada is like comparing my Pontiac Solstice to a Chevy Corvette. Sure the seating arrangement and cornering ability is similar, but the power difference is night and day.

Otherwise, great write up. Enjoy your ride!

My Versys Travels:


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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-03-2015, 11:28 PM
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G'day Bruce, are you American? Not knocking it just curious from your selection of words. I have a 2012 Versys with PR4's and have not had the problem of the bike standing up from applying brakes mid corner. Of course your braking should be done before the corner but we all get caught out from time to time.
Just curious how do you know the 2015 fairing is better have you ridden a previous model? Other than that a great write up. I have just returned from a 2 week 5000 km trip to the Super Bikes at Phillip Island, GOR, Grampians, Snowy Mountains (Vic and NSW). Got home about 2 hours ago. Enjoy your V.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-04-2015, 09:22 AM
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Thanks for taking time out from your trip to post this review to the forum, Bruce. I'm glad to hear you're enjoying the bike so much. The fact that you also test rode some of the more upscale competition and chose the Versys is illuminating, though as you say, needs differ and bike fit is pretty personal. Post a pic when you get a chance, and enjoy the rest of the trip!
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-09-2015, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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Did you add the preload based on sag measurements?
No. Didn't get that organised before I left home. I set the headlight height so that it lit the road instead of trees. Then set the preload with luggage on so that the headlight again lit the road. Very scientific!

I'm not too worried about ultimate handling so long as it doesn't wallow or bottom out the suspension.

Bruce.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-09-2015, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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Actually, that's more a tire thing than a suspension thing. In general, the Versys 650 is perfectly happy turning on the brakes, assuming you've applied them gradually. I have noticed that the Michelin PR4s are a bit "fussy" on some bikes, and that might be what you're seeing here.
Strangely, my mechanic is an M. Cook, but he lives in Sydney, Oz.

To get back to your observation: You may well be correct. I can't say I remember the bike sitting up with the original tyres on it. I have had bikes in the past that were very tyre sensitive. I've also had bikes that sat up due to fork springs that were too soft.

Maybe we should keep an eye on this, see if anyone else experiences similar things and what tyres were used.

Bruce.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-09-2015, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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G'day Bruce, are you American? Not knocking it just curious from your selection of words. I have a 2012 Versys with PR4's and have not had the problem of the bike standing up from applying brakes mid corner. Of course your braking should be done before the corner but we all get caught out from time to time.
Just curious how do you know the 2015 fairing is better have you ridden a previous model? Other than that a great write up. I have just returned from a 2 week 5000 km trip to the Super Bikes at Phillip Island, GOR, Grampians, Snowy Mountains (Vic and NSW). Got home about 2 hours ago. Enjoy your V.
Maverick, yes I'm true blue. Used funny spellings so the OS people understand what I'm talking about.

The jury is out whether the standing up when applying brakes mid corner is the nature of the beast, the tyres or too soft fork springs. To be honest, I probably won't bother chasing this down. I know it does it, I can make allowances and generally its not an issue. Its just something I noticed when doing stupid things with the bike whilst getting used to it.

I was also at Philip Island. Caught the ferry to Tassie immediately afterwards. Still here. Catch the ferry back in 7 days time.

Bruce
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-11-2015, 12:23 PM
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FWIW - I regularly 'trail-brake' while turning, and neither of my V's "stand-up" when braking while cornering. I've used / using regular tires, Tourance, and knobbies, but both have R1 shocks....

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-16-2015, 09:21 PM
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This bike is definitely a keeper. The more I ride it, the more I like it. It now has 5,000km on it with another couple of thousand before I get home. Not bad for a 6 week old bike.
My 2015 V650 was purchased in December 2014 and has about 2000 miles on it now. I thoroughly agree, the more I ride it the more I like it. I'm not sure if it's the bike being broke in, or me being broke in to the bike. Whatever it is I'm feeling better and better about my purchase.

I've been looking at bikes with more power, but I was out the other day on an empty stretch of highway and get her up to 100 mph in no time at all...who needs more power than this on the street? Also, that Multistrada is way cool, but that's a lot of pennies for power I will rarely be able to use.
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post #16 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-18-2015, 07:17 AM
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Great ride update Bruce. This definitely helped narrow down my list. Safe travels
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