Finally got my first ride on the Versys today ! - Kawasaki Versys Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-14-2015, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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Finally got my first ride on the Versys today !

Well, got my riding safety class done over the weekend. Then got my endorsement from the DMV yesterday. And it's rained sheets with gratuitous lightning until 2 PM this afternoon. But I caught a break and decided to sneak in a cruise around town as more storms were moving in.

Not counting the weekend time on a bike in a giant parking lot, this is the first time I've been on a road bike in 25 years.

You don't know fear on a Versys until you ride out of your buddies garage and then ride his quarter mile deep gravel driveway. Dang this bike is tall! And I have long legs.

Got out on the road and putted in to town. I didn't ride it hard but I didn't honor that ridiculous initial break-in RPM either. Just moved the RPM's around a bunch, switching gears if I was at steady speed for any time.

After whining about teetering in the gravel, I love how tall this bike is! If my eye caught something ahead that I noticed, I was able to sit up and look across cars. Awesome visibility.

Second thing I noticed is that the bike is really nimble. Not twitchy, but effortless moving around, changing lines, etc. It doesn't ride like a 450+ pound bike.

Meandered through town giving everyone the "check out this bike" parade wave. A Gixxer actually made a U-turn to run back and look at it. He had that WTH look in his eyes. Back through town and then ran both roads along the river. I so missed this.

Came around a soft curve and spotted my first serious road hazard. A flippin truck tire casing. Hey wait a minute. The casing is moving ! And low and behold I saw the biggest snapping turtle crossing the road. It was way bigger than a 55 gallon drum lid. I slowed traffic to a crawl and then to a stop to let the dude get across. At that size, he had to be older than dirt.

And then the clouds rolled in and the lightning started and my ride was cut off just when it was starting to get really good. I'll do rain on a bike. I don't do lightning.

My driving awareness today stank to high heaven. I was probably paying a little too much attention to what the bike was doing. I wasn't checking my mirrors often enough and caught myself twice day dreaming and or with target fixation.

I had no problem going on danger watch at intersections though. I just mentally prepared to die at every one. My head was spinning like Linda Blair.
No close calls or anything, other than one woman that looked me dead in the eye and still pulled in to my lane close enough to make grab some brake and ditch a gear.

I'm hoping that my lack of mental acuity was associated with just the first ride.

Oh, and here's something I learned when I drove home in my truck. It doesn't lean worth a crap in the turns ! I actually caught myself LEANING in turns. Made me literally laugh out load.

I love this bike. We are fitten" to get tight, as we say in East Tennesee. I have a couple of nits to pick but all are correctable.

LIKES

This bike is tall. Scanning/visual sight is fantastic. It doesn't feel tall from a response perspective. The couple of mild leans I did were very predictable.
Ive ridden tall bikes in the past and I found them to be unnerving. Not the Versys. Once rolling, pure awesomeness.

Ergonomics are amazing! Comfy as can be. Two adjustments and it will be perfect for me.

I like the throttle response and I haven't even jumped on it hard. I had a couple aggressive starts in to traffic and blew by the posted speed limits before realizing it. I had to watch my speed.

The MRA Vario visor is the bomb. Enough wind to move air through my jacket, pants and helmet. Felt very minor buffeting at 47 mph or so, only on the top two inches of my helmet. I'm 5'11".Once I jump on the highway, we will see how it goes, but personally, I'm keeping the Vario.

TWEAKS

The brakes feel a little soft for my taste. Some of this is likely perception, doing emergency braking drills much of Sunday a GW250. And I read someplace that ABS systems can feel a little softer than conventional. Now the rear brake lever is something Im going to have to adjust, correct or alter. That thing has more throw than a Stair Stepper. I felt like I was kick-starting the bike when engaging the rear brake.

Handlebars need to come toward me a quarter to half inch. Not sure if the bend will allow me to rotate then enough but we shall see.

Suspension is shockingly stiff for stock. When I sit on the bike, the rear doesn't settle more than 1/4 inch. No way this is set for a 150 pound person. I'm 185 when I'm not stuffing bacon in my face. I'll check suspension settings tomorrow. If I can't sort it easily, I'll find a suspension guru to sort me out. I don't want to ride a couch, but right now I can count the number of grains of rice that I run over.

Don't let the above fool you. I am upside down over this bike. It is even better than I thought it was going to be and I haven't even broke 50 miles on it.

I'll sneak a mini ride here and there until Friday. On Friday, I'm riding SOMEWHERE........ANYWHERE !

2014 Versys 650 in glorious Kawasaki Green

Last edited by Zoomie; 07-14-2015 at 09:22 PM.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-14-2015, 09:02 PM
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Glad you enjoyed the ride, but my Versys weighs 454 pounds.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-14-2015, 09:12 PM Thread Starter
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Glad you enjoyed the ride, but my Versys weighs 454 pounds.
See? I told you it didn't feel like a 550 pound bike.

2014 Versys 650 in glorious Kawasaki Green
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-14-2015, 09:55 PM
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-14-2015, 10:05 PM
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Have fun and enjoy it. Just remember that having your license does not mean you know everything now. Just be careful and keep learning.

08' Versys
Givi racks with V35 sides, and V46 Top-case, Garmin Zumo 450 GPS, Powermadd Handguards, Motowerks GPS Mount, Peg Lowering kit, Flat Foot, Arrow Exhaust, Adjustable Levers, GIPro Gear Indicator, Oxford Heated Grips
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-14-2015, 11:07 PM
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and enjoy your ride..Just don't push the limits..ATGATT and be safe.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-15-2015, 12:24 AM
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Mine quite likely closing in on 500 pounds...

Hey, great write up. I don't know the 2014, but on the older ones some of us have squeezed some more out of the front brakes by switching to braided stainless lines, I just did mine as well. I never minded the brakes, it was just on my list to do as I put my bike back together, as I needed long lines to accommodate a tire/fender mod.

Heck, I thought the KLR's brakes were swell. I don't stop much...

Or I try to plan ahead.

The tall bike syndrome- once your rollin, it does not matter much. I think it has been an advantage, the Versys and a KLR sit high in traffic, I have had very few close calls that really stained my shorts as a result of the rider being more visible as you sit rather high.

I am sure just me. Ride safe buddy! :goodluck
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-15-2015, 05:57 AM Thread Starter
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While I am still short a pair of true road boots, I was in full gear yesterday. In spite of it being hot and humid, the mesh gear offers respectable air movement.

I'm 52 and extremely chill. I have zero desire to ride over my head. You wont see me on The Snake or Deals Gap this weekend.

2014 Versys 650 in glorious Kawasaki Green
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-15-2015, 10:38 AM
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Ah, the joy of riding.

I love the part about the snapping turtle; being on the back of a bike just makes you appreciate the world around you a little bit more.

Heightening your awareness to 110% in intersections is very smart, I've been hit twice by left turning vehicles that "didn't see me"(DC city traffic)... and having the right of way doesn't mean much on a motorcycle, so just slow down a little and watch everyone.

Congrats on the bike, learn something new every time you ride and you'll have many happy years.

2008 Versys 650

Been riding 8 or 9 years, and have owned 8 or 9 bikes; its an addiction I can't quit...
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-15-2015, 02:15 PM
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Funny you mention the length of the throw on the rear brake lever. Mine is the same way, and I like it that way. To me, it allows me to get to the rear brake when necessary, but not "stab" it and lock the thing up (I don't have ABS). I've thought about adjusting it, but just can't bring myself to do it.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-15-2015, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by adurbin View Post
Funny you mention the length of the throw on the rear brake lever. Mine is the same way, and I like it that way. To me, it allows me to get to the rear brake when necessary, but not "stab" it and lock the thing up (I don't have ABS). I've thought about adjusting it, but just can't bring myself to do it.
I think the smartest thing for me to do is just ride the bike as is for few hundred miles before changing anything. If it's still an irritant then, I can tweak to my liking.

Some of this could be associated with riding the Suzuki all weekend at my class.

2014 Versys 650 in glorious Kawasaki Green
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-15-2015, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Zoomie View Post
...The brakes feel a little soft for my taste. Some of this is likely perception, doing emergency braking drills much of Sunday a GW250. And I read someplace that ABS systems can feel a little softer than conventional. Now the rear brake lever is something Im going to have to adjust, correct or alter. That thing has more throw than a Stair Stepper. I felt like I was kick-starting the bike when engaging the rear brake....
Don't forget that you have to "BREAK-IN" your brakes, just like the rest of your V. Go EASY on them at first so they don't "glaze"....

Ed
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-15-2015, 06:37 PM Thread Starter
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Don't forget that you have to "BREAK-IN" your brakes, just like the rest of your V. Go EASY on them at first so they don't "glaze"....
Roger that.

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