New Member Trying to Fix Love-Hate Relationship w/2011 Versys 650 - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-31-2017, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
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New Member Trying to Fix Love-Hate Relationship w/2011 Versys 650

Hello and thanks for reading.

Brand new and posting for the first time.

Got back into motorcycling after a long time away, and so glad I did. Learned from my first ride that sports bikes aren't for me (too uncomfortable and built for the track, not the street). Wanted a taller bike with an upright riding position that's still sport enough to lean it over, grin when the throttle's turned and have some fun.

Versys 650 seemed just the ticket.

And in so many ways, it is. Riding position is perfect. Love the leverage of the bars. Handling is superb, by my standards. Relatively light. Eager engine w/just enough power. Good fuel range. So much to love.

But, it's not without flaws. Even with the MkII's (again, mine is 2011) rubber engine mounts, the bike generates unpleasant, high-frequency vibes at anything above 3k rpm. I feel it most in my hands (why Kawi rubber-mounted the handlebars on the MkIII) and far less in my feel. A bit in the saddle too, but not bothersome.

Could be that my second lesson (after no sport bikes riding position) is insist on a smooth engine.

Seat padding is okay, at least in the back portion. But why is it tilted/angled forward so you slide toward the tank? They may consider it "sporty," but it chafes after an hour or two. My guess is they did it to claim a slightly lower seat height (which I don't need). So, I want a flat, comfortable seat too.

After that, a few USB power charges would be nice. I've already added a gear indicator that works beautifully. Then maybe a better windscreen and it'll be all "love" from there.

Any recommendations are most welcome.

Thanks!

- ELB
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-31-2017, 12:24 PM
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Hey Welcome, Look on the forums for the seat riser hack. With a few washers, a flat piece of bar stock, and longer bolts. Fixes the seat angle for only a few $$.

I ride to get lost and find my way back.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-31-2017, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by MrELB View Post
<snip>

But, it's not without flaws. Even with the MkII's (again, mine is 2011) rubber engine mounts, the bike generates unpleasant, high-frequency vibes at anything above 3k rpm. I feel it most in my hands (why Kawi rubber-mounted the handlebars on the MkIII) and far less in my feel. A bit in the saddle too, but not bothersome.

Could be that my second lesson (after no sport bikes riding position) is insist on a smooth engine.

Seat padding is okay, at least in the back portion. But why is it tilted/angled forward so you slide toward the tank? They may consider it "sporty," but it chafes after an hour or two. My guess is they did it to claim a slightly lower seat height (which I don't need). So, I want a flat, comfortable seat too.

After that, a few USB power charges would be nice. I've already added a gear indicator that works beautifully. Then maybe a better windscreen and it'll be all "love" from there.

Any recommendations are most welcome.

Thanks!

- ELB
Welcome to the forum, where we daily prove what a good motorcycle choice we made!


here's a thought, expensive, but worth a look: https://motowerk.com/products/antivi...ser-versys-650
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-31-2017, 01:47 PM
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Vibration is often the result of a needed throttle body sync.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-31-2017, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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Vibration is often the result of a needed throttle body sync.

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I've read a bit about this. Some claim it makes a huge difference. Others say this only affects idle. I think it's safe to assume that you fall into the first camp. Could you explain how this improves vibration in a bit more detail or point me to this info?

Thanks so much.

- ELB
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-31-2017, 06:56 PM
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Let me ask you a question. Do you use machinery at all? If you have ever used a gas line trimmer on your lawn, you will say the Versys is smooth as a sewing machine. If you have pampered computer hands then I say toughen up! All bikes, and I mean all bikes have vibration at of certain amplitudes and frequencies. Big lumbering V-twins have very low frequency vibes that won't numb your fingers, but might excite your passenger. I-4 engines have high frequency vibration that becomes finger numbing at certain frequencies.

Every bike has its' sweet spot where it is most comfortable to cruise at.

Some bikes have "Character", which is another word for vibrations in every RPM like the Royal Enfields, and KTM singles.

What kind of gloves are you wearing? Quality gloves help. Grip puppies might help too.

Do some grass trimming. If you don't have a lawn, volunteer with a local (Care Assurance System for the Aging and Homebound) CASA for short and help some elderly person out.

My Versys Travels:


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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2017, 02:12 AM Thread Starter
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Okay, I'll accept that all engines vibrate, and so all bikes experience vibration.

Does this make one bike just as good as the next when it comes to vibration? Pretty clearly not. If vibes weren't an issue with the Versys, presumably Kwai wouldn't have gone to the trouble of rubber mounting the engine once in the MkII and then adding further vibe dampening on the MkIII, including the handlebars.

And you yourself say that some vibration is worse than others. Apparently, big twin vibration is often at a level that's not unpleasant, while inline fours are known to be buzzy.

Further, I've read about liquid smooth bike engines. 90-degree V-twins are perfectly balanced compared to 45-degree and inline twins like the Versys, which is also a high-revving inline twin.

The new Yamahas (FZ09 and FZ07) are said to be very smooth because they are counterbalanced.

And, yes, all engines may have a sweet spot where the harmonics are just right and the vibes are fine. If that's true for my Versys, it'd be around 3,000 rpm. That's unfortunate, because 6th gear at 3,000 equates to about,what, 50 mph? Cruising speed on our highways is around 75-85 mph, which brings revs to around 6-7,000 or a bit higher. At that level, my hands don't go numb -- it's never been that bad -- it's just unpleasant enough that you don't want to keep doing it. And if the point is to enjoy the ride...

As for gloves, mine are good. Rev-it brand. Thing is, gloves are made for feel and protection; you don't want them thick with padding.

And I have Grip Puppies on top of gel grips. The vibes aren't extreme, they are just high frequency enough to make more than three-hour rides much less fun than they should be

So I either need to find a fix or upgrade the bike to something with a sweet spot at 85 mph.

- ELB
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2017, 06:37 AM
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My 90 degree v-twin moto guzzi would not be described as a smooth engine.

Kawasaki had to add all the rubber damping because customer feedback and sales numbers.

My FZ-07 is no smoother than my '11 Versys was.

Maybe I am just buzzed out from over 300,000 miles of riding in the past 10 years alone.

Do you keep a light touch on the bars or are you grabbing them? That can make a difference as well. I usually ride with two fingers on the clutch and two fingers on the front brake.

You might need to look at trading for a Honda. Honda usually has the least amount of character compared to all other brands. Good luck.

My Versys Travels:


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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2017, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrELB View Post
I've read a bit about this. Some claim it makes a huge difference. Others say this only affects idle. I think it's safe to assume that you fall into the first camp. Could you explain how this improves vibration in a bit more detail or point me to this info?

Thanks so much.

- ELB
As the intake valves wear one cylinder may suck more air/fuel mixture than the other. As a result, the explosion size in one cylinder may exceed the explosion size in the other, resulting in increased vibration. Syncing the throttle bodies balances the explosion size between cylinders, and the result is a smoother operating engine. It is important to always do a throttle body sync immediately after a valve adjustment. The manual recommends doing a sync once per year or at oil change intervals. Syncing involves restricting the air flow to the cylinder with the more efficient draw while reducing the restriction on the other. Essentially you want to balance the volume of air in each cylinder at TDI by compensating for minor differences in intake draw efficiency between the cylinders. See the sync procedure in your service manual for more information. I would recommend either building or purchasing a throttle body sync tool. The purchased tools work better and are less of a headache IMHO. I am just about to do mine and have ordered a throttle body adjustment tool. When I get it I will post a thread with the procedure. There are also some HOW TO videos on YouTube for other bike models. The procedure itself is incredibly easy and only takes a minute or two. The difficulty stems from accessing the adjustment screws and vacuum ports on the throttle bodies without interfering with engine operation. There are some work arounds, some of which are documented on this site.

A large difference between cylinders may indicate it is a good time to do a valve adjustment.

Other factors that can effect vibration are the weights on the ends of the bars. When installing hand guards it is important these are not removed or are replaced with equal size weights.

Kawasaki also reduced vibration with redesign of engine mounts and other related parts between Gen 1, Gen 2 and Gen 3 of the Versys 650. Also engine vibration is most pronounced around ~5K RPM so ideally it is best to shift down to avoid cruising for prolonged periods at this RPM. IMO the Versys has considerably less vibration than most other bikes I have ridden, eg. the Yamaha FJ09. A gen 3 Versys should have practically no vibration if it is running optimally. I have the same gen 2 bike as you and do not get hand tingles which can be an issue for me on other bikes I have ridden. Also ensure you do not have a death grip on bars, a secure but loose grip is ideal. Also is front wheel balanced?

Last edited by twowheels; 08-01-2017 at 12:18 PM.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2017, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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A large difference between cylinders may indicate it is a good time to do a valve adjustment.

Other factors that can effect vibration are the weights on the ends of the bars. When installing hand guards it is important these are not removed or are replaced with equal size weights.

Kawasaki also reduced vibration with redesign of engine mounts and other related parts between Gen 1, Gen 2 and Gen 3 of the Versys 650. Also engine vibration is most pronounced around ~5K RPM so ideally it is best to shift down to avoid cruising for prolonged periods at this RPM. IMO the Versys has considerably less vibration than most other bikes I have ridden, eg. the Yamaha FJ09. A gen 3 Versys should have practically no vibration if it is running optimally. I have the same gen 2 bike as you and do not get hand tingles which can be an issue for me on other bikes I have ridden. Also ensure you do not have a death grip on bars, a secure but loose grip is ideal. Also is front wheel balanced?
Don't have much time now, so have to answer quickly.

First, many thanks for that excellent explanation re: throttle body sync. I did have a 7,500 mile service done earlier this summer, so perhaps it was included then, but not sure (can easily check).

I don't have aftermarket guards. Haven't changed bar ends and believe they are stock from first owner. Was considering getting heavier ones to alter vibes.

Surprised to hear that vibes are better than FZ-07 or FZ-09 since I've read so many comments about counterbalancing. I have read that the MkIII Versys is essentially vibe free after the additions Kawi made to the MkII.

I naturally maintain a very light grip with both hands. Seating position on Versys for me is excellent, so no need to lean on wrists and don't naturally grasp the grips hard. In short, this isn't the problem.

Re: front wheel balance... Had Pirelli DRIIIs installed earlier this season at the dealer, so expect balancing was done properly, but I suppose you never know.

To be clear, I find this uncomfortable after hours of riding. My typical rides are 3-4 hours long, sometimes with short breaks. I'd still like to get my bike to the equivalent of the MkIII, if possible.

Perhaps I am just "sensitive" after all.

Thanks so much,

ELB
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2017, 03:51 PM
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Bar vibration. Brace across bar. Fill bar with silicone seal. Weights. Tennis racket gel wrap around grip.

Does get a bit buzzy. Not as bad as some.

My 90 degree Guzzi California 1400 is the least buzzy bike I've had, and it's buzzy at 6000 rpm.

Dr. Toaster: Guzzi 1400 California, VStrom 1000
Mrs. Toaster: 2009 Versys 650
Located 50 miles W of Deals Gap aka Dragon
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