Hello fro NJ - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-06-2017, 07:58 AM Thread Starter
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Hello fro NJ

Hi all,
New to the forums here (obviously LOL). I currently ride a 2015 Harley Davidson FXDL (Low Rider). I am definitely not your stereotypical Harley rider. I'm not into the Harley "lifestyle". I've always loved Harley bikes though. So when I started riding 3 years ago, I gravitated to cruisers. Started on a Honda Shadow for a year, then bought the bike I have now.

Over my first year of riding I became more familiar with adventure bikes. Problem has been that I'm vertically challenged. I am 5'4" (but a bit chubby so I have some weight). So I would never attempt to get on an ADV bike. Then I discovered BMW F700GS lowered suspension model and there was hope!! The next problem... there are two dealers within 80 miles of me, both which will not let me test ride. I won't buy a bike I can't ride! So I started looking at other options like the Versys, VStrom, and Super Tenere, but finding they are just really tall for me.

So after having a few years on my Harley I have really focused on only putting one foot down in traffic. I figured if I could get comfortable with that I may have chance. I am also tired of having to put money into my Harley to make it what it will never be for me.

In the last week, I sat on two Versys. The first one I could barely touch with one foot down. In all honesty now I can't remember if that was a 650 or 1000. The second one I sat on yesterday, a 2016 650 ABS, I was able to get one foot down enough to be comfortable when stopping. Then I discovered the Versys-X 300. That one would definitely work! The problem is I commute to work quite a bit and it's almost 70 miles one way, half of which is on several turnpikes rolling at 75 mph. That's where I would worry about the 300. I know the 650 would do the job though. My concern with that is even when I get fully comfortable with handling maneuvers like U-Turns into parking spaces on that bike, you still tend to have to walk the thing backwards at times. I'm not sure I can accomplish that on the 650 with the height.

My goal is to give the dealer a call and see if they'll let me test ride both. I know from a power perspective I will be much happier with the 650. I am so ready to get on an ADV bike and scrap the Harley though so I am trying to make it work even if it's a 300

So my goal joining here is to get opinions and as much info on the bike as possible to make a good decision. The hope is I am an owner soon. They just seem like such a great bang for the buck and incredibly versatile.

I'm looking forward to participating here!
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-06-2017, 08:11 AM
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Welcome to the forum! I think the 300 will be too slow for you and the 650 will be too tall for you. The reason I bought the Versys 650 was because it's taller than its competitors.
Good luck with whatever decision you make.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-06-2017, 08:28 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by vaulter View Post
Welcome to the forum! I think the 300 will be too slow for you and the 650 will be too tall for you. The reason I bought the Versys 650 was because it's taller than its competitors.
Good luck with whatever decision you make.
Thank you! I appreciate the input.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-06-2017, 10:47 AM
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My husband put the lowering kit on my 650LT so I could feel more comfortable on mine. I had learned to lean to the right but like you, I was uncomfortable backing and jockeying the bike around. The kit really helped. I feel right at home on it now. I had previously ridden sporters and most recently a Buell Ss Long.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-06-2017, 11:14 AM
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Vertically Challenged / Welcome from Canada

to the forum. I have a 30 inch inseam and with the lowering kit I can flat foot, which in my opinion is important if you do a lot of city riding / stop and go. I have had situations where the pavement is extremely slippery at the stop lights, leaning the bike to be able to touch ground can put you at risk of going over while stopped. Having said that, my bike has been on the ground on a few occasions, none of them at stop lights, go figure!!
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-06-2017, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by CJRuffner View Post
My husband put the lowering kit on my 650LT so I could feel more comfortable on mine. I had learned to lean to the right but like you, I was uncomfortable backing and jockeying the bike around. The kit really helped. I feel right at home on it now. I had previously ridden sporters and most recently a Buell Ss Long.
Thanks you. Yes i thought about a lowering kit. I'm not sure I want to mess with the geometry.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-06-2017, 12:47 PM
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It's kind of tough to find an adventure bike with lower geometry. My inseam is 32" and my heels are still off the ground on my '16 V650 unless I really push. The problem is that the pegs are right where my legs want to go down and so they push my feet out, making it harder to plant them. I'd definitely recommend something you can at least put both toes down with. The lowering kit and some aftermarket seats (Sargent for example) can drop an inch off the height, but it's definitely dangerous to ride when you can't put your feet down. A number of times I've come to a stop and my foot slid on some oil I hadn't seen, and if that was the only foot touching I might have lost it.

Regarding the 300, it would have barely enough power for the Garden State parkway. It tops out at around 100, but it'll handle 80 with some complaining. You're not going to be doing a lot of hard overtaking at 70+, but it will hold its place in traffic. If you can put both feet down on it, definitely consider it.

As much as I love the Versys, definitely check out the Honda CB500X, too. I considered it when I was shopping for the V650. The seat height is 31.8 inches stock, lower than both the V300 and V650, and it's similar in being a road-biased all-arounder with good wind protection. All three are great bikes, but you don't want to risk a tipover during stop-and-go traffic on the interstate because your foot went into some foot-deep pothole the state couldn't be bothered to fix. Good luck!
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-06-2017, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by aemacleod View Post
It's kind of tough to find an adventure bike with lower geometry. My inseam is 32" and my heels are still off the ground on my '16 V650 unless I really push. The problem is that the pegs are right where my legs want to go down and so they push my feet out, making it harder to plant them. I'd definitely recommend something you can at least put both toes down with. The lowering kit and some aftermarket seats (Sargent for example) can drop an inch off the height, but it's definitely dangerous to ride when you can't put your feet down. A number of times I've come to a stop and my foot slid on some oil I hadn't seen, and if that was the only foot touching I might have lost it.

Regarding the 300, it would have barely enough power for the Garden State parkway. It tops out at around 100, but it'll handle 80 with some complaining. You're not going to be doing a lot of hard overtaking at 70+, but it will hold its place in traffic. If you can put both feet down on it, definitely consider it.

As much as I love the Versys, definitely check out the Honda CB500X, too. I considered it when I was shopping for the V650. The seat height is 31.8 inches stock, lower than both the V300 and V650, and it's similar in being a road-biased all-arounder with good wind protection. All three are great bikes, but you don't want to risk a tipover during stop-and-go traffic on the interstate because your foot went into some foot-deep pothole the state couldn't be bothered to fix. Good luck!
Thanks for the great reply! I am considering the CB500X. I have a few Honda dealers around me. Only one has something in stock. It's a 2015 though. Nothing wrong with that other than the fact there is no way I'm paying what a 2017 would cost. I'm hoping to check it out tomorrow.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-06-2017, 01:23 PM
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Thanks you. Yes i thought about a lowering kit. I'm not sure I want to mess with the geometry.
Took him all of 2 hours to add the lowering kit, lower the front fork and cut off the kick stand. I fell over at a stop sign so we knew a change had to happen.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-06-2017, 03:54 PM
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aboard! You can ALSO get shorter springs for the shock which lower it about an inch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJRuffner View Post
Took him all of 2 hours to add the lowering kit, lower the front fork and cut off the kick stand. I fell over at a stop sign so we knew a change had to happen.

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-06-2017, 04:33 PM
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aboard! You can ALSO get shorter springs for the shock which lower it about an inch.



Hmmmm. I will mention that to him. I don't think he wants me to fall over again. Kinda reminded me of the old Tim Conway on the tricycle skit from the olden days. Except we laughed at Tim Conway........he didn't laugh at me.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-07-2017, 01:56 AM
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You can lower the versys a bit but at 5'4" it maybe a bit too much to ask...not sure. Meanwhile test ride the versys and get the feel.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-07-2017, 11:59 AM
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I also don't like messing with the geometry. I did have Speedy's Lowering Link installed and it seemed to work fine. However, I wanted to upgrade the springs, so I removed the link and lowered the bike about an inch with the springs. I have HyperPro. I see you're in NJ. A trip to EPM Performance in Manalapan to work with Klaus would be worth the trip. They make lowering springs for the Versys, which he ordered. However, the specs weren't right for some reason. He worked with me to find a spring that lowered the bike about an inch. Much improved handling, too, with the swap to HyperPro springs in the forks and shock.

I'm also about 5'4", but my inseam is 32"
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-09-2017, 07:32 PM
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I also don't like messing with the geometry. I did have Speedy's Lowering Link installed and it seemed to work fine. However, I wanted to upgrade the springs, so I removed the link and lowered the bike about an inch with the springs. I have HyperPro. I see you're in NJ. A trip to EPM Performance in Manalapan to work with Klaus would be worth the trip. They make lowering springs for the Versys, which he ordered. However, the specs weren't right for some reason. He worked with me to find a spring that lowered the bike about an inch. Much improved handling, too, with the swap to HyperPro springs in the forks and shock.

I'm also about 5'4", but my inseam is 32"

I need to take a ride over and see Klaus....I want to get a new rear shock and get my forks done....

2016 green V1K
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-09-2017, 09:16 PM
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If your doing much highway riding you'll definitely prefer the 650. The advantage of the 300 is lighter weight and increased agility and ease of handling off pavement.

The 650 will certainly handle dirt roads but I would not consider more aggressive terrain with it, it is really a sport/tour/all rounder bike with longer travel suspension, not a dual sport. To full take advantage of that adjustable suspension though you will need to tweak it for your weight and riding style. The default settings are for a 150ob rider. It is adjustable for both preload and rebound in the front and preload (and rebound damping in V1 and V2 bikes) in the rear.

You can download the service manuals from the tech section of this site. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the reliability of Kawasaki. If cost is an issue Versys 650's are popular and usually plentiful on places like Craig's List. You can rent a UHaul motorcycle trailer for $20/day to retrieve.

Last edited by twowheels; 07-09-2017 at 09:22 PM.
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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-10-2017, 02:00 PM
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...The 650 will certainly handle dirt roads but I would not consider more aggressive terrain with it, it is really a sport/tour/all rounder bike with longer travel suspension, not a dual sport....
Right - here are some pics of a few "dirt roads" they CAN handle......!









There were 24" deep ruts from run-off UP that road, and it was GNARLY, for about 2 miles, ending here...!



The next morning.


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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-10-2017, 04:12 PM
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Seriously? Get a 650 V-Strom. The "dogbone" links will lower the bike better that the Versys kit and the reach to the handlebars is shorter. Honestly, I still love my Versys, but in retrospect, I'd have been much better off with the V-Strom. It cost me waaaaay too much to get this Versys to fit me, and my shoulders and rotator cuffs are still killing me after riding an hour or two (after two different risers and the widest windshield they make).

Just a thought.

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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-12-2017, 08:38 PM
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welcome from a new old guy in NC
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