Make the ultimate Versys or get a different bike? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-09-2018, 12:07 AM Thread Starter
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Make the ultimate Versys or get a different bike?

So I've been casually making my own list of what would make the ultimate Versys 650. I'm having my own little debate with myself here; which brings me to three options:
1. Mod the crap out of my Versys.
2. Get a different bike.
3. Do an engine swap of my Versys into a KLR, and then do minimal modding on the KLR.

OPTION ONE - Here is a list I made of what would make an awesome V650!
1. Auxilary Lights - Add a little more "umf" during the night
2. Spoked Tires - Making it more off-road friendly in the event that something gets bent
3. 19" Front Tire - Better for off-roading. Would you say 19" or 21"? 21 seemed like to much of an extreme and to much to give up when on the highway.
4. ABS Controller - Because who doesn't want to be able to turn there ABS off when not on the highway?
5. Center Stand - Gotta maintain that chain and change those tires.
6. Skid Plate - Add some extra protection
7. Hand Guards - Helps during the winter, helps protect the bike
8. Back Plate - More room to hold a top case or bag.
9. Shocks - I hear those R1 shocks are amazing
10. Frame Guards - Already have these
Extra Stuffs
1. Portable Winch - WARN 85900 XT17 seems like a good fix
2. Extra Gas - The KLR 650 has a mod to make it a 10 gallon take by adding two tanks in the right & left fairings by the gas tank. Is there anything like that for the Versys?
3. Tire Inflator - Drop and raise those PSI's on a dime
4. Any other mods I need to consider?

OPTION TWO
Some of the bikes I've looked at as alternatives:
1. Versys 1000 - But really, is this an adventure bike? It's not a 1200gs by any means. I'd be stuck in the same predicament of modding the entire thing on something that is way to street friendly.
2. BMW 1200gs - This seems like a pretty powerful bike. Very well known for being the best adventure bike out there. Except for some small problems, it's way bigger than my V650, I'm not trying to get something bigger. I'm content with my 650cc, I just want some more power off-road.
3. BMW F800gs - Now this is more my size, but surely a modded V650 is just as good as a 800gs.
4. KLR 650 - Of course, I could just get a classic thumper?

OPTION THREE
I've seen some posts about engine swaps. The benefits of a KLR body, with the power of a V650 engine. What's not to love about that? This would perhaps be the most time consuming of the three, but potentially the most interesting.

So how does the V650 compare to the bikes mentioned in option two? Does my V650 have the ability to become a worth adventure bike? Or is it time to change to something else?
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-09-2018, 02:08 AM Thread Starter
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Wow, so read up more on KLRsys's post on his swaps. That is impossibly hard for my time frame and budget. So I guess it comes down to, mod the V650 to the extreme or get a more adventure/dual sport bike?
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-09-2018, 07:21 AM
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I added almost $4000 in accessories to my '11 Versys which is a łot considering the purchase price was only a little over $5000.

I didn't even mod wheels or exhaust or suspension.

Any of the bikes you mention require an athlete to ride on trails. Why not just add a 250 or a t most a DRZ 400 to the stable.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-09-2018, 08:31 AM
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Agree with 2WA. If you're looking for serious off road riding, I would get a second lightweight bike for that.

If you're looking for modest off-pavement riding then mod the V650 or get a Tiger 800 or small BMW. Cost wise, the V650 modded is probably cheapest, but the Tiger 800 would be pretty close without needing mods. The BMWs are highest cost.

My V650 is really quite capable off road, much more than the operator is! OEM wheels with better tires, crash bars, radiator guard, axle sliders, factory hand guards. Not much added expense there really. I carry both an electric air pump and a small bicycle hand pump, plus a variety of tools.

You can disable the anti-skid by holding the front brake and doing a burn out of the rear wheel (on a slippery surface like grass or dirt). I am not of that camp that wants it disabled but you can do it if you desire. Apparently you can also unplug one of the wheel speed sensors to disable it, too, but I have not verified that myself.

Going to a larger front wheel diameter would change the road handling. I've never wished for a larger diameter front wheel off road yet, but my off road isn't motocross style. I do like the idea of spoked steel rims and wish Kawi made them standard, though I don't actually worry about damaging my rims with the kind of riding I do.

Skid plate? Yes that would have some value. They're not terribly expensive to add to the V.

I think it comes down to how aggressively you expect to be riding off-pavement, and how often. The V is an excellent compromise at a great price point. The Tiger 800 is a competitively priced off-the-shelf option if you're looking for some pretty serious and aggressive off-roading. The BMW's are nice but you pay a lot for them. Their 650 is a 1-cylinder motor, btw, so probably pretty vibey.

Another option? The Versys 300.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-09-2018, 01:29 PM
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I've got most mods on my 2010 and have also owned a modded 2008 Versys 650. Depending how you use your bike and where you live your experience may differ from mine. I don't pretend to have all the answers. I'm primarily a road rider and commute in all weather and do occasional weekend camping trips.
  • SW-Motech engine bars - they've paid for themself in damage prevention, well worth the investment IMO. They pretty much completely protect the bike in a tip over or minor low side
  • Center stand - don't really miss it as I prefer the pit stand for working on the bike and don't want to carry around the 20lb of extra weight a center stand requires as well as pay for the cost
  • Heated grips - I have heated gloves instead but would definitely have these (Oxford) in a northern climate otherwise, and probably choose these over heated gloves knowing what I know now
  • Rear top box - necessary if you carry a passenger or commute on the bike IMO, side cases look better but for commuting a top box works better and holds more. Soft, cheap ($150-200), generic side bags supported by rear seat supplement it for occasional camping trips and are cheap.
  • 12V socket and X-Grip mount for phone + bluetooth headset
  • Touring shield is nice for cooler weather or highway running but not necessary
  • Rear hugger keeps spring and shock clean and maybe makes them last longer. It also keeps mud off cooling fins of voltage regulator preventing electrical issues. They moved this to a safer location on the III.
  • Suspension adjustment and tweeking for your weight and riding style brings the performance of your bike to a whole new level, I like the front a wee bit stiffer to control brake dive
  • Hand guards look great but have caused me issues with clearance between my aftermarket windscreen and brake lines. I also have found they don't really contribute what they cost toward function. Get heated grips instead if you have cold hands. Replacement brake and clutch levers are dirt cheap as well and never seem to break completely in a tip over - you can still ride home with them. Their intended purpose is to protect your hands from brush but if you don't ride through brush then you probably don't really need them. The OEM bar end weights provide almost as much protection in a tip over.
  • Steel braided brake lines definitely improve brake feel on the front but require a good bleed job if you want to reap the benefits. Probably not as important if you have ABS?
  • 15" x 15" stretch cargo net is pennies on ebay or elsewhere and is easy to store under seat for emergencies when you need to strap something to rear seat
  • Aluminum CNC 90 degree valve stems are pocket change on ebay and make filling the front tire MUCH, MUCH easier
  • Decent tires make all the difference in the world if you drive in the wet or cold. I've had bad experiences skimping on tire quality
  • I've always been happy with my stock seat although I have read posts on here about people who rave about aftermarket seats and mods. I think this is a matter of personal preference. Also I find any new bike I ride feels weird in the seat until I acclimate to it. If you just got a new Versys I would not immediately replace the seat but rather wait a few months to see if you adapt. The forward slope of the seat as well as the narrow forward section is designed to allow you to get your feet to the ground in a stop. If you are sliding forward to the narrow part while riding, try adjusting your handle bars. A very slight forward lean is usually more comfortable than sitting bolt upright and keeps you from sliding forward.
  • LED aux lights - the good ones on AliExpress are about $80 a pair (spot beam not flood) and drastically improve high beam visibility but if you don't drive a lot at night in the country, where there are no street lights, you won't miss not having these. You will also need bike specific mounts for these that can cost almost as much as the lights.
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Last edited by twowheels; 06-09-2018 at 01:55 PM.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-09-2018, 09:12 PM
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OPTION ONE - Here is a list I made of what would make an awesome V650!
1. Auxilary Lights - Add a little more "umf" during the night - Currently Underway and waiting on parts. I have a thread over this
2. Spoked Tires - Making it more off-road friendly in the event that something gets bent - Adding a larger front tire/ rear tire and raising the front front fender
3. 19" Front Tire - Better for off-roading. Would you say 19" or 21"? 21 seemed like to much of an extreme and to much to give up when on the highway. - No need, see comment above
4. ABS Controller - Because who doesn't want to be able to turn there ABS off when not on the highway? - No need
5. Center Stand - Gotta maintain that chain and change those tires. - Added a foot peg enlarger and does just fine
6. Skid Plate - Add some extra protection - Waiting on Sw-Motech bashplate to come in mail
7. Hand Guards - Helps during the winter, helps protect the bike - Come with LT stock
8. Back Plate - More room to hold a top case or bag. - Sw-Motech Alu-Rack system and Sw-Motech soft bag attachment
9. Shocks - I hear those R1 shocks are amazing - Just adjust your preload and your front forks to your liking. Eventually I'll upgrade. But that'll be next year if I even do it.
10. Frame Guards - Already have the Sw-Motech crashers
Extra Stuffs
1. Portable Winch - WARN 85900 XT17 seems like a good fix - Seen a review on this and will eventually do this
2. Extra Gas - The KLR 650 has a mod to make it a 10 gallon take by adding two tanks in the right & left fairings by the gas tank. Is there anything like that for the Versys? - There are attachments you can buy, I'm going to purchase one but torn on which
3. Tire Inflator - Drop and raise those PSI's on a dime - I have a handheld that attaches to my teather I've installed
Here's my list.

The summer months will consist of the baseplate concern being taken care of. I had the T-Rex racing one and that thing is garbage. I've had many emails with the company over their design. I'll also be installing my lights with one behind centered over the headlights. In the fall-winter months I'll go on ahead and raise my front fender and throw some larger front and rear tires.

Thats the plan so far. At least for this years mods.

Sidenote- I don't see enlarged footpegs on here. I am waiting on my Sw-Motech offload pegs to come in the mail. I have one portion already as it came from two different places from RevZilla. But man! There's beef in these things.

16', Versys 650 LT, Black w/ modifications

Last edited by Atalanta89; 06-09-2018 at 09:20 PM.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-10-2018, 09:24 AM
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Engine swap...ugh. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much work...but.

How bout this one. FZ09 motor in the versys 650 frame.

I owned an FZ09 for 24k miles. That little 3 cylinder 850 motor is a beast. Would be double the HP of the V-650 motor and would not add much in weight.

Could be a winning combo.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-10-2018, 09:37 AM
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Engine swap...ugh. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much work...but.

How bout this one. FZ09 motor in the versys 650 frame.

I owned an FZ09 for 24k miles. That little 3 cylinder 850 motor is a beast. Would be double the HP of the V-650 motor and would not add much in weight.

Could be a winning combo.
Test rode 2017 FJ09 last Thursday at a demo event. Fun engine but bike feels very close to my 2017 versys 650. Yes more fun to ride but not worth leaving versys for it.

On the other hand, I also test rode 2018 FJR1300. a beast of a sport touring machine. Been my dream bike for a while now. WILL BE my next bike in a year or two. FORE SURE.

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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-10-2018, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by twowheels View Post
I've got most mods on my 2010 and have also owned a modded 2008 Versys 650. Depending how you use your bike and where you live your experience may differ from mine. I don't pretend to have all the answers. I'm primarily a road rider and commute in all weather and do occasional weekend camping trips.
  • SW-Motech engine bars - they've paid for themself in damage prevention, well worth the investment IMO. They pretty much completely protect the bike in a tip over or minor low side
Link for the bars? I have 2017 versys 650 with no protection so far. Would like to take a look if worth it. Thanks!

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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-10-2018, 09:53 AM
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Link for the bars? I have 2017 versys 650 with no protection so far. Would like to take a look if worth it. Thanks!

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SW-MOTECH Crash Bars Engine Guards for Kawasaki Versys 650 LT & ABS '15-'18 | TwistedThrottle.com

or another brand if you prefer..

http://www.twistedthrottle.com/shop-...bars?limit=144

2016 green V1K
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-10-2018, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Maher View Post
Test rode 2017 FJ09 last Thursday at a demo event. Fun engine but bike feels very close to my 2017 versys 650. Yes more fun to ride but not worth leaving versys for it.

On the other hand, I also test rode 2018 FJR1300. a beast of a sport touring machine. Been my dream bike for a while now. WILL BE my next bike in a year or two. FORE SURE.

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Also check out the Kawi Concours 14. I had a 2012 for a while. Great bike.

I also rode an FJR but the Connie fit me much better. The ZX 14 motor is a beast. You can cruise all day long at a buck 20 if you dare.
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-10-2018, 11:17 AM
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Also check out the Kawi Concours 14. I had a 2012 for a while. Great bike.

I also rode an FJR but the Connie fit me much better. The ZX 14 motor is a beast. You can cruise all day long at a buck 20 if you dare.
No doubt a great bike as well but I am in love with the FJR and set. I'm looking for a gently used 2016. Why 2016? Because I must have blue

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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-10-2018, 12:26 PM
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I have moded a fair number of bikes in search of perfection (lol).

Shadow, what is your 'target' ?

I doubt there are any dirt, trail, street , powerful, lightweight bikes in one frame.
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-10-2018, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by twowheeladdict View Post
I added almost $4000 in accessories to my '11 Versys which is a łot considering the purchase price was only a little over $5000.

I didn't even mod wheels or exhaust or suspension.

Any of the bikes you mention require an athlete to ride on trails. Why not just add a 250 or a t most a DRZ 400 to the stable.

Bikes are like horses. You got your plow horse your pack horse your race horse your saddle horse your pacer.... You don't hitch your quarter horse to the plow, nor race your Percheron.

The "ultimate bike" is a stable.

Unmitigated risk aversion is the new Puritanism; complete with witch hunts funny outfits and humorless preachers thundering doom. The Deity is Safety; Satan is a Lawyer; but the object is the same: to suck the life out of life and tell you how to live it.

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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-10-2018, 06:01 PM
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Bikes are like horses. You got your plow horse your pack horse your race horse your saddle horse your pacer.... You don't hitch your quarter horse to the plow, nor race your Percheron.

The "ultimate bike" is a stable.

Couldn't agree more. Finding that perfect combination of bikes is a never ending quest.

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post #16 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-10-2018, 07:54 PM
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Hmm, a lot like guitars. How many guitars is enough? One more!
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post #17 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-10-2018, 08:47 PM
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Honestly, build your bike to suite you. How and what you plan on doing with said motorcycle.

16', Versys 650 LT, Black w/ modifications
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post #18 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-11-2018, 04:47 AM
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Test rode 2017 FJ09 last Thursday at a demo event. Fun engine but bike feels very close to my 2017 versys 650. Yes more fun to ride but not worth leaving versys for it.

On the other hand, I also test rode 2018 FJR1300. a beast of a sport touring machine. Been my dream bike for a while now. WILL BE my next bike in a year or two. FORE SURE.

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If that FJR was the SE model with electronic suspension you will love it. Having electronic cruise control is very nice on a bike with that much power. The sport touring bikes are great as long as the road doesn't get too twisty. They are a bear in the tight stuff. My Triumph Trophy SE did a much better job in the tight stuff than my Concours 1400 did.

When you rode the FJ09 did they allow you to put it in full power mode? When I rode an FZ09 when it first came out I was not impressed. Then I found out the dealer had put it in rain mode before my ride.

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post #19 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-11-2018, 05:15 AM
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If that FJR was the SE model with electronic suspension you will love it. Having electronic cruise control is very nice on a bike with that much power. The sport touring bikes are great as long as the road doesn't get too twisty. They are a bear in the tight stuff. My Triumph Trophy SE did a much better job in the tight stuff than my Concours 1400 did.

When you rode the FJ09 did they allow you to put it in full power mode? When I rode an FZ09 when it first came out I was not impressed. Then I found out the dealer had put it in rain mode before my ride.
All modes were available to me on the Fj09. Never tried B mode (rain mode). I started on standard and went to A mode (aggressive) 5 minutes into the ride. Fun bike with way more torque than versys 650. Fun to ride but my heart is set on FJR and yes ES model since wife will be riding with. That machine is a class of it's own.

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post #20 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-11-2018, 07:50 AM
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All modes were available to me on the Fj09. Never tried B mode (rain mode). I started on standard and went to A mode (aggressive) 5 minutes into the ride. Fun bike with way more torque than versys 650. Fun to ride but my heart is set on FJR and yes ES model since wife will be riding with. That machine is a class of it's own.

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I didn't even know the fz had modes when i rode it. It was too new.

The fJR is in the sport touring class. Concours 1400 is the sportiest in the class. Others in the class are the BMW GT 1600 and R1200RT, Triumph Trophy SE.

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