I know it's not a real adventure bike but - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-15-2009, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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I know it's not a real adventure bike but

Ok here's the thing, I am hearing my inner child calling and he's say buy that BMW 1150GS! , but my wallet screams louder and it's saying you dont have $20,000 bucks. So I want to make my V into the bike I truelly want and Im needing a few ideas for off-roading farkle , I 'm going to order most of my gear from Happy-trails.com, (engine guard, under carridge guard, and the panners) but im also wondering what else should I be thinking about adding on to the V to make this happen. Im not planning on mountain climbing or real river crossing but, just good gravel and rough roads,

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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-15-2009, 11:30 AM
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I just put a pair of BarkBusters on my wifes GS. I installed the optional Storm Guards and I like them a lot. Very high quality parts. I may put a set on my V as well. Like you I am going the AT route with my Versys. Avon Distanzas are on the short list too.

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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-15-2009, 11:32 AM
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One of the easiest and cheaper mods will be the tires. Something like a Distanza will help out on logging/forest roads. If you really want to make it more adventuresome, see if you can get some wire wheels front and back and get a larger diameter front wheel.

Not sure if its possible, but keep us posted. The protection is good, but if you go over rough stuff, you are more likely to bend an aluminum rim and get a flat that you can't fix, than get stranded by bashing the bottom with a stone.

I would love wire wheels-so lead the way!

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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-15-2009, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
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yeah was thinking about the wire wheels, but I havn't found many, no sorry , ANY options. Yeah really Im a forrestry road camper, not planning on the super tough stuff.
So hand guards, tires....

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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-15-2009, 12:18 PM
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I don't think you'll really be happy after installing all of the off road stuff on what is really a street bike, because you won't like it for street riding anymore. You'll wind up with a bike that does a little bit of everything, but not much of anything. Let's face it, you need a KLR.
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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-15-2009, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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I don't think you'll really be happy after installing all of the off road stuff on what is really a street bike, because you won't like it for street riding anymore. You'll wind up with a bike that does a little bit of everything, but not much of anything. Let's face it, you need a KLR.


Yeah I was hoping not to hear that, as that was my first choice when purchasing a bike last year, I guss i'll be looking for a old KLR to farkle up and bore out

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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-15-2009, 04:27 PM
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I found the KLR boring. Not nimble enough off road and too gutless on the pavement. In theory it should be a great ride, but I found the reality quite different. I was so happy to get rid of it for the V.
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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-15-2009, 05:34 PM
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The 1100 and up GS's are just too big and heavy for much off-roading, I have Moto-Guzzi Quota 1100 [100 lbs. lighter then 1100 GS] and it is hard to handle off road. Just my 2 cent's. I take my V in places I don't dare take the Quota.

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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-15-2009, 06:13 PM
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Buy a V-Strom 650. It opens up a whole lot of options that are not available for the Versys to go dual-sporting/adventure riding - first and foremost tire options, but also engine guards, crash-guards, luggage, etc.

But, the reality is that for most of those roads you don't need much more than good clearance and lower pressure in the tires, both of which are already available in the Versys. If you don't have a tendency to run at high speeds on gravel roads, a plastic "engine protector" would do the job deflecting the stray rock that will come flying off the front wheel. If you have a tendency to be hard on equipment, maybe an engine guard is worth it. You can get Distanzia's or MT60's for the Versys to get better grip in the dirt (not bad on road either), but they are not long life tires.

Some years ago (when they were still new) I considered getting an 1150GS (and later a 12GS). I took several test rides and was convinced I didn't want that bike. After the V-Strom came out it was a no brainer, I got the V-Strom. If you are thinking 1150GS, maybe a V-Strom would be a better option. Unless you like to spend lots of money on motorcycles, of course...

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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-16-2009, 12:04 PM
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Question

I've got both the "V" and the KLR, and I agree that the KLR isn't the BEST. In June I'm riding to Alaska (3rd time) with side trips to Inuvik and Bella Coola. While I'm pretty sure the "V" could do it (...?), I'll spoon fresh K270s onto the KLR and go on it. GPS says it'll be 12,400 kms from Didsbury, Alberta and back. IF the Dempster was guaranteed to be dry, as well as the "Hill" to Bella Coola....
But, SOMEHOW, I don't believe there's a guarantee in the works...!
Ed

PS Rode the GS1150 (?) and F 650GS at a BMW demo day a week ago. Not convinced the prices are worth it, or that the capabilities are that much above the KLR or the V.

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post #11 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-18-2009, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Mt. Versuvius View Post
I found the KLR boring. Not nimble enough off road and too gutless on the pavement. In theory it should be a great ride, but I found the reality quite different. I was so happy to get rid of it for the V.
I agree, I bought an '08 KLR thinking I would really have an all around bike. I already had 2 DR350S bikes that I've stripped down to barely street legal (in fact they probably aren't) but I thought a KLR would be as good in the dirt but better on road when I wanted to ride to the off road areas. Lesson learned. The KLR might have more top end than the DRs but I'd bet the DRs would leave the KLR behind up to about 45 mph. They feel more nimble on the road also and forget about it in the dirt. I found the KLR to be an overweight pig to be considered a dual sport. I have taken the Versys into the same places I took the KLR (gravel roads). With Barkbusters, SW-Motech engine guard, Algard case protector and Givi luggage I think my Versys better fits MY needs for an all around than the KLR did. Mind you, I mostly want to be able to ride gravel roads; I'll use the DRs for serious off road. Only additional I'll do is some Distanzias or MT60 when the stock tires wear out but like someone said, dropping the air pressure helps with the stock tires.

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post #12 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-18-2009, 10:22 AM
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I've changed my opinion on this. Since riding both our F650GS and the Versys with STOCK tires on it on gravel roads I feel the Versys could be made to be every bit as much "off-road" as teh little BMW. I am willing to bet with good tires and maybe a change to a larger rear sprocket you would be good to go (if you dont mind a 400lb dirt bike). I guess I will find out sooner or later. I am going to swap out to a more DS tire when these stockers are dead and add some barkbusters and go for it.


As far as spoked wheels? No freaking way, you would be better off trying to fit a V-Strom front wheel on your Versys so you can run tubelss tires.

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post #13 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-18-2009, 10:36 AM
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I don't think you'll really be happy after installing all of the off road stuff on what is really a street bike, because you won't like it for street riding anymore. You'll wind up with a bike that does a little bit of everything, but not much of anything. Let's face it, you need a KLR.
I couldn't disagree more. He says he wants a GS. He wants to get his ride dirty. That speaks to the type of riding he'd like to do. Please tell me what you can do on the street that I can't with distanzias and bags n such? Have you taken your V on a dirt road? Me and lgajohhnymac showed an '08 BMW F800ST who was boss pretty much all day Saturday on 300 miles of incredibly ridiculous NC/TN STREET riding
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post #14 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-30-2009, 03:56 PM
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Will the front end from the Kawasaki 250 supermoto fit on the versys to give it about 9" over front travel and then a longer shock to balance things out? It might be easier to find a 21" wheel to fit the 250 forks than the versys forks. Anyone looking at this?
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post #15 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-31-2009, 04:29 PM
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Nobody will ever come up with a bike that can be a good comfortable tourer and a capable dirt bike at the same time. The requirements for each use directly conflict with each other. At best, the result will be a machine that does a little bit of everything, but not much of anything.

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post #16 of 41 (permalink) Old 06-21-2009, 09:39 AM
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The Kawasaki 250sf front end is a direct replacement item with the versys front end and offers 8" of travel instead of 6. Combined with a better front wheel, and longer rear shock you would essentially have a bmw 800gs for substantially less money and a much better vehicle for fireroads, potholes and jeep trails.
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post #17 of 41 (permalink) Old 06-21-2009, 10:13 AM
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The Kawasaki 250sf front end is a direct replacement item with the versys front end and offers 8" of travel instead of 6. Combined with a better front wheel, and longer rear shock you would essentially have a bmw 800gs for substantially less money and a much better vehicle for fireroads, potholes and jeep trails.
Now THAT I'd like to see! How do you know the 250 front end will fit? If so, it would sure help in the "making-a-Versys-off-road-worthy" department. Not to mention what it would look like...



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post #18 of 41 (permalink) Old 06-21-2009, 11:13 AM
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Dirt, gravel, access roads all no sweat on the Versys. I took mine up a pretty decent off-road access trail last year. Hundreds of miles of gravel and smooth dirt, bone stock. For going camping, I think the V would fit the bill just fine. I looked at a used BMW 650 something or other and felt it was way too small for me (6'2").

For real dirt I've got a plated Husky TE450 that is simply BAD ASS in the woods, rocks, hills etc.
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post #19 of 41 (permalink) Old 06-21-2009, 11:46 AM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEo3lpXJ4nI

There ya go, easy I know. We did a couple creek crossings and I've had her on much rougher roads.
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post #20 of 41 (permalink) Old 06-22-2009, 03:29 PM
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I have an '04 650 Vstrom and an '08 Versys. I've ridden both bikes hundreds of miles offroad and for moderate or less trails (as your original post indicates you will ride) both bikes do well. However, to make the Versys fullly capable on dirt (as you asked) I recommend the following additionals in approximate order of importance:
1. Hand gaurds
2. New tires (I put on Pirelli MT60s)
3. Radiator guard (cheap and easy from post on this site)
4. Engine guard (I put on SW Motech)

If you plan to haul some crap, then get hard bags (I put on Givi E21s; small but enough for me and plastic). Next up for me are bar risers and off-road pegs, then a skid plate.

I've been able to capably and safely take the Versys on every trail I've wanted to ride, and my first 600 dirt rides were on the stock bike. Since I don't scrape the pegs on the pavement (or ever intend to) my setup is perfect for my type of riding. To me, that is true "versys-tility." Good luck.

Last edited by Gatorman; 06-22-2009 at 03:33 PM.
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