V on gravel - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 04:02 AM Thread Starter
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V on gravel

I am looking into replacing my cruiser. It is great for my back and forth to work commute but a couple times a year, I like to just go where ever the front wheel is facing for a few days. This often puts me in places where my cruiser isn't happy but I'm to stubborn to turn around. I'm not talking off road or dirt tracks, just some seldom traveled gravel roads--although I did wind up on a 10 mile stretch of Arkansas that when I got to the other end, there was a prominent sign saying 4x4 vehicles only. (Let's just say it involved a lot of whimpering and a lot of 1st gear and a short section that was like driving down a stair case--I wouldn't choose to do it again.) A lot of folks are pushing me towards the V Strom which seems to fit the bill ok but since 99.8% of my riding is blacktop, I'm wondering if the V might fit the ticket better.

As far as my experience, I ride like a 6 year old school girl for the most part. Just enjoy getting out and putting along. I always ride solo but would like to be able to carry some camping gear. I eventually want to make some long trips to visit various national parks and such (have a thing about listening to loons but they don't frequent Missouri.)

My current ride is a 650 and it has more than enough power for me but gets uncomfortable at around 250 to 300 miles in a day. My usual commute is 50 miles round trip, 40 of that 65 mph divided highway, the remaining in town and out in the country where I live.

I've sat on both bikes but haven't ridden either yet. Truthfully, my first choice would be an F650GS from BMW but just can't see spending that much money on a bike.

I'd specifically like to know about how much range you get out of a tank of gas and are there decent upgrades available for things like the footpegs and extra light. Does it have a big enough battery to add fog lights, heated gear, gps, etc. And how does it handle gravel roads.

Thanks for any input.
Robert
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 04:49 AM
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Welcome to the site!

I purchased my '10 Versys in April and currently have 1350 miles. It's been the best bike I have owned so far. Range is well over 200 miles on a tank unless you are doing over 100MPH all day. I ride on my gravel driveway everytime I leave my house but it's only for about 100 feet or so. I have taken the bike places I shouldn't have and it did just fine. The trick is being able to flat foot the bike while it is stopped. It has a 31" seat height which is probably taller than your cruiser. The tendency for it to tip over is greatest when you are trying to move it around in tight spaces. I am 5'11" with a 32" inseam and have no problem with this. I used to own an '04 Wee Strom back in 2005 and it was much more top heavy while doing this. I took it off road once into a low water crossing across a river and it did OK but was more of a chore than I liked. The Versys feels like it could do this better so with the right tires, I would think gravel would be no problem but I can't say so for sure . . . yet. For long distance riding, you will probably want to get a better seat, lower the foot pegs, add some crash guards just in case you do drop it, add some highway pegs to the crash guards, get a much needed taller windshield, change the rear sprocket to a 44 tooth for better freeway performance and this also corrects the slight speedometer error. There are some improvements between the '10 and older models so be prepared to pay extra if you want a '10. I got mine for just under $7200 OTD here in Texas but last I heard they are sold out all over the US. The older models can be found for much less but they have more vibration issues and have a slightly different looking headlight plus a few other things, but owners here with those models swear by them and insist they can make the bike comfortable. The Versys is very capable for what you want to do so look for one now and take a test ride if you can.

I plan to buy one of these ASAP: http://www.calsci.com/motorcycleinfo/Versysprod.html

Below is a place I had no trouble taking my Versys to. I just took my time doing it.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 04:57 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks. Is that bike black? I've never seen anything other than red, green and blue. Black would be my #1 choice.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 05:20 AM
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The V has got enough space for mod to suit your taste. Its all about building the bike to your needs and the V allows you just that.
See some ride in the members ride page and you will get some picture what this bike is capable off.

Meanwhile and all the best.

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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 05:50 AM
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There are quite a few members on here that use the V extensively on gravel. Black is the only color in the states for 2010. Red was 2008 and green/blue was 2009. As for carrying gear there are several great threads on here from people that do waht you like to do. Check this one out and this one.

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Sounds like a challenge to me!

Now I have four!
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 07:22 AM
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If you really ride like a 6 year old school girl, I'd do an MSF course, for sure! I would avoid gravel until then.

Bike? Try a KLR. It sounds like you'd like it a LOT more. It does light commutes well. It's not a freeway bike unless you're a masochist (but WILL do it), and will pretty much go anywhere you'd like to go. Loves gravel. Bulletproof. Arguably the best all round bike you can buy. Tons of farkles, cases, adventure tour stuff and the best part is it's the most inexpensive dual sport you can buy.

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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 08:35 AM
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if you haven't seen this thread, it's worth a look. i'd be one of the people steering you towards a v-strom, for the same reasons i mention in that thread.

as for water crossings... the versys has it's own handicaps, with the 17" front and low-mounted exhaust. hitting unseen obstacles with the smaller wheel will have a greater effect on the ability to remain upright and you'd do well to check depth before crossing to keep water out that can (don't close that throttle).

In a world full of people, only some want to ride. Isn't that crazy?
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 10:04 AM
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As for the range, I get over 200 miles before the fuel indicator warning starts flashing. According to manual, this means I have 9/10 of a gallon left. I have found that to be very accurate in my experience. my round trip commute is about 60 miles a day. I have had it flashing when I arrived to work and made it home without filling up. whether your butt can handle a trip longer then 250 to 300 miles in one day will remain to be seen. I have a stock and can easily handle about 200, but typically not in a straight shot. As for the upgrades, I have the Givi V35 luggage and the Givi windscreen. neither of which made a bit of difference in the mileage of the bike.

Although it looks it and some members have done it, it is my opinion that the bike is not really meant for off-roading. (factory stocked) However, some of the guys on this forum have transformed their bikes to go off road and I am sure their opinions may differ. But under normal circumstances and with the right tires, it should handle the gravel just fine. I have not really had the opportunity to go off road or on to a gravel road.

I have not added any electrical devices, but this forum has many threads relating to that subject and more. If it can be done to the V, you will find it here. There are also many members that are happy to help with just about any question.

I looked at the BMW and some other bikes in this category- you just can't beat the V if you want the biggest bang for your buck. With all my upgrades, my total investment in the bike did not exceed $7,500.00 (including tax and license)
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 10:24 AM
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Horsepower, you are preaching to the quire, I come from a cruiser too, The V is just an amazing bike, I am having so much fun, but don't take it from me, check out some of the threads here and take a look where people had taken their V's.

Amazing BANG for your buck. I couldn't be happier with my switch.

F.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 12:36 PM
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Hi Horsepower,

The choice between a V-Strom and a Versys a difficult one, I think. The V-Strom would be a good choice even if you are doing 99% blacktop.

The Versys is a great choice but I consider it a bit more 'sporty' than the V-Strom. With your cruiser background I suspect you won't really notice the difference between the two but you will probably feel more at home on the V-Strom.

To me the V-Strom is <I>slightly</I> more utlitarian/off-road than the Versys. That probably won't make any difference to you, though it does give you more off-road options later if you choose to pursue that path. Aside from that, I think the seating position and the seat itself will fit your background better than the Versys.

Both have decent amounts of aftermarket parts, though the V-Strom has been in the market longer than the Versys. You will be able to add all kinds of electrical devices to either -- they both can handle it from what I've seen (and done). They both have multiple options for luggage and the like, though the V-Strom stuff tends to be more "adventure" styled.

In the end you have to go with your "gut" feeling on which one you like better. Sitting on them helps, but try to find some used ones at a dealer or private seller that will let you take them out for a spin. Good luck & happy hunting!

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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 02:36 PM
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I've had the V on many gravel roads with no problems as long as the gravel isn't too deep and loose. Heck my Goldwing has seen its share of gravel roads also, usually 2-up and pulling a trailer.
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimJim View Post
Heck my Goldwing has seen its share of gravel roads also, usually 2-up and pulling a trailer.
exactly, which doesn't say much for the versys. sure, it can handle a gravel road (keyword: road) but so can anything.



any *serious* offroading would require heroics or some extreme modifications.

In a world full of people, only some want to ride. Isn't that crazy?
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 04:45 PM
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How far can you go on a Versys? What kind of terrain can it handle? Check this thread: http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums...ead.php?t=5141
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 05:30 PM
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The 650GS is a very particular bike, I think. It's truly a dual sport, whereas the V is "all pavement." You get to interpret that, but I think you could easily find a quality used Beemer for what you'd spend on a new V. Parts are a real bugger on the Bmw, but I guess you get to decide how much off-pavement riding you really do. The right tires would def help the V.

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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 05:32 PM
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The versys handles gravel roads just fine. Well...depends on how fast you want to go.

Besides, why buy a bike specifically for something you'll only do twice a year. But it for its main intended purpose.

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post #16 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the info. Just got to work and read the cited threads later when all the suits go home. Maybe 6-year-old school girl is a bit of an exaggeration, I'm just not a thrill seeker. Have taken the MSF course and want to take the second one as well.

Are the foot pegs such that you can stand when on gravel like on the Strom. That is my main problem with my cruiser on gravel.

That road pictured above is about what I am talking about.
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post #17 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 09:02 PM
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horsepower,
I've ridden a lot of gravel roads with my Versys, no problem at all. I'm still using the stock foot pegs, for me they work well.

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post #18 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 09:04 PM
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Are the foot pegs such that you can stand when on gravel like on the Strom. That is my main problem with my cruiser on gravel.

That road pictured above is about what I am talking about.

Yes they are. In fact that road led to a small incline...one where cars either needed a running start or all wheel drive. I had to make my passenger get off and walk while I rode up fishtailing and standing. I was pretty nervous doing it but the versys went right up even with the street tires. Although not something I would particularly want to do again.
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post #19 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 09:13 PM
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This bike eats gravel roads for lunch. I stand on the pegs a ton. On washboard I set the throttle lock stand on the pegs put some weight on the bars and let er rip!!
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post #20 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 09:21 PM
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Had some recent flooding down my gravel drive recently.



Rode the V for the worst of the ruts for fun standing on the pegs, no problem at all, was having as much fun as I used to have when was a lad around river beds on my old TS 185.



Will admit it is not deep gravel but the rear only slipped around a little


Sorry for no picture of the V in photo but was in the truck today.
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