Hiway travel and wind - Kawasaki Versys Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-06-2010, 07:21 AM Thread Starter
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Hiway travel and wind

Most discussions on the subject of air revolve around how it relates to the rider. However from the perspective of someone who sometimes does big mile touring, non big slab as much as possible, just as important is how the bike handles moderate to high side and front quartering winds. Such winds can be quite tiring, the bike heeled over or just general feeling of fighting it.

I've been riding big sport tourers for years, Gpz now ZZR1200 and the difference between those to bikes is night and day. I once rode the Gpz for a day and a half across Nebraska to the foothills of the Rockies with a strong wind out of the southwest. The bike heeled over half the time and I wore out the right side of the front tire. The ZZR is unaffected by most all such conditions.

Of course the little Versys isn't going to approach that performance but I wonder if anyone has any opinions on its relative performance in highway slogs in windy conditions. Preferably on a V with side cases. Especially from anyone with experience with larger sport touring machines.

If only the wind was always at our backs. In which case it's hard to keep the ZZR under 100. The thing is too big and too fast and am in love with the idea of a smaller bike that can handle rougher gravel roads. I'm probably going to end up with a V but wonder how much of a compromise I am going to make.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-06-2010, 07:53 AM
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Having owned both the ST1300 & Goldwing, I'll take the Versys any day. I found that the sheer area of the fairings caused excessive force during highway touring that would wear me out. The weight of the larger machines helped for directional purposes but also caused problems in stability with changes in wind such as 18 wheeler interaction.

This is my 2nd Versys as I sold my first one when I bought the 2009 Goldwing. I learned that this was a big mistake for me and sold the wing and bought another 2009 Versys. The ability of the Versys to fill many slots is uncanny.

I can put the bike on 80 and run with the big boys all day (with a few mods for comfort, (risers, grips, possible seat mods or another seat, etc.) ) and then I can run the mountains in Colorado with confidence I have not found in any other bike I have felt more confidence with in my 50 years of riding. The Versys is not in the same League with the ZZR as far as performance goes but it is no slouch either. I find that it has more than enough power to fight a strong headwind or side-wind with actually less fatigue than a large full fairinged bike.

The Versys is a quick, agile bike. It is simple to maintain and I think it is a great looking bike. Here's an example. You can change the oil and filter on the side of the road if you have to without removing anything to get to it, and it only takes about 2 quarts.

Aftermarket parts for the bike is ramping up and there is a good deal available already. One of the best parts is that you can still pick up a new '08 or '09 for a third of what a larger touring bike would cost.

There is only one slight drawback to the Versys as a serious touring or long distance machine and that is lack of a centerstand. I have been working on one for a couple of years now and have one that works but I'm still working on getting the price down to a reasonable figure. I was able to give myself a heania about a month ago trying to catch my Versys before it hit the shop floor during a simple move and now have had to back off working on this for a while. The V came out unscathed however I didn't.

Anyway, that's my story after owning the big boys and the Versys. I hope that gives you some useful information on making your decision.

Oh, while I'm at it............if there is any Versys owners in the Dallas area that would like to assist me in this Centerstand debacle, I need someone to help me in lifting the bike onto the stand for final determination of balance, ergonomics etc. Drop me a note at [email protected].

'09 Versys -Green

TET'68 Survivor
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-06-2010, 08:18 AM
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No expeirnece other than 1k sports bikes to compare but 500 miles across a very windy flat northern france (Two up with top box/side bags) Doable but It was a bit of a left/right tussle. Dropped to 75mph as only made fighting wind harder/dropped feul consumption going much faster. Bigger Hp needed/helps driving through strong wind if thats a priority IMO.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-06-2010, 05:01 PM
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Here in lisbon area of portugal over the last 10 years wind has grown a lot (climatic changes probably?), so we have a lot of average strength sidewind. My VeeVee has topcase and I fitted the givi 2010 versys windshield in the topmost position. It cover barely my helmet (I am 1,81 tall).

Regarding the sidewinds there´s not much I can do about it but buckle down my riding position, grab the tank with my knees and endure it, that´s it. I am sure there would be better options for bikes with resistance to sidewinds, but the V is so fun this would not be a concerning variable.


rgds
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-06-2010, 09:06 PM
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Winds can be tough - you are high on the V and the bike is light. This combo can be scary - I had the experience a month or two ago and it was not fun at all. But the winds really must be high -the other 95% of the time the V is a joy. - Previous bike was a suzi bandit - about 100lbs heavier and several inches lower.


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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-06-2010, 10:56 PM
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Talking about wind. Just came back from a 1,100 mile tour of western Colorado. A cold front came across Sun into Mon smack in the middle of one of my longest leg. Winds in the mountain valleys and through the passes was around 30 MPH with gusts of up to 45 MPH. Not fun at all. I was riding solo and do not have experience with larger bikes. However, many riders along the route on much larger bikes were dropping out of the tour and hunkering down until the weather passed. I kept going. I do not have a problem controlling the Versys in high winds. Yes it's light but its excellent handling help compensate. My biggest issue is with the cross wind pulling on my helmet. It gave me a huge headache.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-07-2010, 12:19 AM
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I love the Versys, but hate riding it in high cross winds. It seems to get blown around ore than I like. Over time I have gotten more used to it, but still not all that comfortable with it.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-07-2010, 12:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Boricua View Post
My biggest issue is with the cross wind pulling on my helmet. It gave me a huge headache.
Sounds like your helmet is too big

Have a watch of a video on the Arai site

They say 90% of riders ride with a helmet at least one if not more sizes too big.

there are also several other ones, such as.

Good luck

Although I have had Miss Jaffa (Burnt Orange 2007 Versys) for a while, I still have a lot to learn.


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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-07-2010, 06:05 AM
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I'm a new rider and have had my 09 for about 6 weeks now. I've got just over 2000 miles on my bike and I think the bike does just fine in the wind. I'm 6'2", 210 lbs.
I will say that my first experiences on the interstates with strong cross winds did take me a day or so to get used to, but now with some miles under me, I don't think about the wind any more. I have ordered a Givi windshield and a Madstad bracket to allow some tuning during different wind conditions. I am hoping this will help with some neck fatigue on the really long runs. Right now with the factory shield in the top position I feel like I take most of the wind directly at the base of my helmet which makes me tired as I sail down the interstate into the wind. I've got a 700 mile trek planned for this weekend and will share my experience with the new gear.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-07-2010, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by bigaussie View Post
Sounds like your helmet is too big

Have a watch of a video on the Arai site

They say 90% of riders ride with a helmet at least one if not more sizes too big.

there are also several other ones, such as.

Good luck
I thought about that. I don' think the helmet is too big. The next smaller size puts way too much pressure in my noggin. I cannot roll or get the helmet off while strapped. Pads are pretty tight on my head and helmet does not move so size is right. It's a modular so using a skirt is not an option. When the wind catches under the helmet it's pull my whole head not just from the chin strap. Thinking about a full face with a skirt to use for long range rides. Modular is comfy though.

I'll look into it. Thanks
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-07-2010, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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To the guy with the helmet problem, get a new helmet. Tell us the brand. The aerodynamics of helmets are crucial. When I came out from behind big old fashioned Slipstreamer type bar mounted windscreens in 96 and got on my Gpz with a Shoei RF700 the first time I turned my head to look back my head practically got ripped off. Chin fairings and neck masks sort of fixed the problem. I can't speak of other lids but my later RF800 and Arai Signent were multiple times better. The later has no lift at all and is seemingly invisible to the wind at any speed. I mean any speed.

Which gets to the other area of contention discussed in endless threads about buffeting or trying to get the shield high enough to block the wind. Buffeting is an issue but getting out of the wind won't happen. Get a Gold Wing. This is the area where the big ZZR excels. I am tall and sit tall and kept the low stock screen. The airflow is smooooooooooooth. Hell yes your in the wind. That is what a good full helmet and good fabric riding jacket are there for.

I'll have to ride a V but assume that getting beat up by the air is going to be a significantly bigger issue with it than the Z. That is separate from why I started the thread. I never see the issue of the bikes performance in windy conditions a part of any reviews even of various sport touring kind of bikes. Which is odd because it is a huge issue when really traveling. It's the one reason I really love the big Z but it's unsuitability for anything but the best gravel roads is a big minus. The air management and aerodynamics of the thing are top notch. Not that I have much real exerience to compare it with other like bikes. It's miles above the Gpz. It's just too fast and too big for me and my personality anyhow. Even if I do enjoy the 120mph runs across the high plains or the 6 car 110mph passes on state hiways with a slight twist of the wrist. Don't really need them often, or really at all. With any kind of tailwind 100 is loafing, it's too much.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-07-2010, 11:12 PM
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I use an HJC SyMax II. I do not believe it's a helmet problem. It's a wind problem. Normal wind flow at high speed (90+ MPH) it's not a problem. Cross winds over 30 MPH while riding at high speed is. The helmet seems to catch cross wind gusts from below pulling my head sideways. I say the biggest problem if this helmet is weight. The darn thing weights almost four pounds. Anyway, Sunday I rode about 50 miles with cross winds over 30 MPH and gusts around 40. Gorgeous but miserable ride. No control issues though.
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