Adventure Riding Class on a Versys - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-20-2016, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
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Adventure Riding Class on a Versys

Last weekend I attended a 2 day adventure riding class here in Utah presented by DualSportSchool.com of Utah. If you've thought about maybe taking a course, I highly recommend it! And I highly recommend DualSportSchool. The staff is great, you ride on real trails in the most beautiful terrain on earth, and their price is (for now) stupid cheap. There were about a dozen students, including a couple of guys from Europe, a couple from the east coast, some from California, one from Colorado, and a few from here in Utah.

We met at Sundance Resort, then took a brisk 20 minute ride on the mountain twisties which rank as one of the most scenic and fun rides in the state all by itself. At a paved parking lot we spent the morning doing various balance and low speed maneuvering drills. Then it was off down a dirt road to a campsite for lunch (provided by the school) and then an afternoon of more drills and riding. We covered all kinds of techniques for handling rough, soft, wet, off camber, and steep terrain. We learned how to pick up a bike dropped in an inopportune location. We learned how to extricate ourselves when we bite off more than we can chew. And water crossings. Lots of water crossings! Fun, a bit scary at first, exhilarating, and wet.

A couple of quick notes if you want to take your Versys off road, beyond a well groomed dirt road. You'll need much better tires than the factory Dunlops. Pirelli Scorpion Trail II worked quite well for me, and was the tire the instructor had on the rear of his BMW 1200. You'll need crash bars, and they should wrap the lower engine. You'll want better foot pegs, though you could get by with stock pegs. Pivot Pegz work great on the '15 Versys. Your front turn signals are at risk, consider installing micro sized units on the front. Adjust the handle bars, rotating them up if possible and adjust the brake and clutch levers for comfort when standing. The rear brake lever needs to be higher for standing. A skid plate is highly recommended if you can find one for your year bike. A kickstand large foot, preferably one which bolts on, not a plastic toss down gizmo.


Somewhere in the Wasatch Mountains


Practicing balance skills, transferring weight from one side to the other while riding.


Lunch stop. I've never seen the footpeg used for a helmet hook as it is on the nearest BMW.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-20-2016, 09:24 AM Thread Starter
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Lined up ready to hit the trail.




The first bike to get dropped was a BMW brand new off the showroom floor.




The other Versys in the class.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-20-2016, 09:32 AM Thread Starter
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We went through this water crossing about a dozen times. There is a little bit of a technique to it but it is easier than it looks. The Pirelli tires were serviceable in the water. This is one application where a true knobby would have been better. This is one of the other students crossing. Somehow I ended up without any pictures of myself, as everyone was too busy riding to take many photos.




I managed to biff an exit from the water at the end of the first day. Tired, I didn't enter quite straight and was out of position on the bike, and started to get a bit loose midway. Too much throttle to compensate, and I came out sideways, landing in the spot where the picture above was taken! No photo of the bike laying in the mud and grass, but here's proof a good crash bar is needed.




One of the trails we rode.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-20-2016, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
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The other Versys rider managed to drop his bike in front of me. I decided to go around him up the little stream to where I could park and help him. But that little puddle at the end of the stream was not as shallow as it looked!











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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-20-2016, 01:53 PM
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Looks like a fun weekend!


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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-20-2016, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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Looks like a fun weekend!
It was great! I'm paying for it now with sore muscles, bruises, and a banged up knee from coming off the bike. I can't wait to get the Versys back out on some dirt.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-20-2016, 06:34 PM
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How did you manage the water crossings with the low exhaust on the Versys?
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-20-2016, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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The low exhaust was no problem at all. I suppose the engine had to work a little bit harder to push against the water pressure, but I didn't notice any loss of power. The water was taken in 1st gear and probably about 3000 rpm (I wasn't looking at the gauges).

The bigger concern I had was the height of the air intake. I'm not sure exactly where it is. Going through 12" or 18" of water seems like a whole lot more due to the bow wave. I had water coming over the top of the windshield a couple of times! Not a solid wall of water, but enough to soak my jacket. It wouldn't take much water in the intake to stall the motor, and a solid slug of water could do serious permanent damage to the internals.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-21-2016, 12:32 AM
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My wheel and swing arm bearings notably puckered and made a face when I read about the water-cross.

Unless the Zombies are coming up the road behind me, after stripping my bike to the bone and replacing bearings and such, I am not in a hurry to take it swimming.

The rest of the class I bet I would enjoy.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-21-2016, 08:22 AM
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That looks like a great experience. Nice to see the Vs doing well in that environment.

Always trust your cape.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-21-2016, 08:48 AM
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Great write-up - thanks for sharing, looks like a great adventure!

Years ago I went on a guided dual-sport ride on fire roads in Oroville, CA. It included the use of a Suzuki DR-350, which I dropped early and often Had a blast! But the idea of doing it on my Versys terrifies me! The poor thing would be destroyed! :O

I'd love to do it again, but with a similarly small, light (and more crash-able) bike like the DR.

Rob in KC
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-01-2016, 02:49 PM
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Thanks for doing the course, AND then writing it up w/ great pics!

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-01-2016, 03:07 PM
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That looks like a huge amount of fun.

I've been throwing around the idea of getting a small used dirt bike to take offroad, I imagine it would make me a much better rider, and eventually give me the confidence to actually dual sport my versys.

Wonder if there are any similar courses available on the east coast of Canada. I'd love to take some more advanced courses after I get a year of experience behind me.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-28-2016, 06:23 AM
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I had my first real water crossing, mud crossing and rocky hills this weekend.
First crash too, must be because I ordered the hepco becker crashbars the night before. Karma.

The crash revealed a few flaws:

a) the 650 LT model's barkbusters are crap. they flip up and take with them the clutch cable or master cylinder. If they didn't rotate they would protect something. Trying to tighten them up the stupid allen bolt head stripped. Poor poor quality metal.

b) whatever mud guard you are thinking of buying, they will do NOTHING. Mud comes from the top of the wheel. Save your money. Perhaps I will try this guy's version: http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums...ml#post1092505

c) turn signals, yeah. They sure would inflict dammage, but I removed the clamp so they can just pop right out. See http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums...ml#post1216593
I won't have to buy any short one anymore (and no need to go LED and resistors and connector adaptor BS).
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