Is it like a bicycle? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-18-2017, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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Is it like a bicycle?

I last rode in college and that was a long time ago...

Convinced myself I needed to retry; so, took MSF safety course and got my motorcycle endorsement this summer.

Been looking at the ads and trying to figure out what my first bike back... The bike I rode in the safety course was a cruiser and didn't feel right. So, I've been looking for a more upright positioned bike with a reasonable price ( that I wouldn't feel so bad if I scratched it while relearning ).

Finally, got a hit with a 2009 Versys and picked it up today. Feels good but scary for me with limited experience; rain and wind bringing it home really drove that point for me

It only has 4k miles on it; and spent the last 2 years in storage. It came with heated grips and hard shell side bags.

The tires appear to be original (e.g. about 8 years old ); so, I'm planning on replacing them proactively.
I'm going to guess the coolant is original as well, probably should replace that.
Previous owner said the oil was changed yearly, I'll probably change it to figure it out
Need to adjust the windscreen for my height
Some plastic is vibrating near the gauge cluster; probably try to find where to stuff some foam to quiet that down.

Going to invest in a battery tender.

Any suggestions or other things to replace, get or add?

Back in the saddle again...
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-18-2017, 08:19 PM
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You appear to have it all under control. Tires yes, as they can go hard and maybe crack in the heat while unused. Oil and filter. Coolant and brake fluid renewal are a good proactive approach as well.

Be careful as you restart your riding experience. Sometimes people just do not register bikes as another motor vehicle. I am always far more alert while on my bike to what is happening around me and watch for anybody that might be able to trespass onto the "safe zone" in front of me. Ride defensibly as your health is more important than your right of way. Watch the line of parked cars in front of you - is that driver about to open his door? or even pull out on you?

I'd suggest getting out onto lightly used roads to gain experience before riding among traffic. Also go down to an empty supermarket car park and try emergency braking etc. so that you know what will happen if you ever need to. The tendency is to lock the rear wheel which can be disastrous. Most of your braking in an emergency is done by the front as the harder you brake the more weight is transferred pushing the front wheel down. There is no point avoiding a collision just to end up on the deck anyway. However I would choose leaving the road as preferable to a head on collision.

Motorcycling can be stimulating, relaxing and fun. However the consequences of inattention can be dire. Ride, ride and practice some more. Enjoy. Cheers.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-18-2017, 11:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brockie View Post
You appear to have it all under control. Tires yes, as they can go hard and maybe crack in the heat while unused. Oil and filter. Coolant and brake fluid renewal are a good proactive approach as well.

Be careful as you restart your riding experience. Sometimes people just do not register bikes as another motor vehicle. I am always far more alert while on my bike to what is happening around me and watch for anybody that might be able to trespass onto the "safe zone" in front of me. Ride defensibly as your health is more important than your right of way. Watch the line of parked cars in front of you - is that driver about to open his door? or even pull out on you?

I'd suggest getting out onto lightly used roads to gain experience before riding among traffic. Also go down to an empty supermarket car park and try emergency braking etc. so that you know what will happen if you ever need to. The tendency is to lock the rear wheel which can be disastrous. Most of your braking in an emergency is done by the front as the harder you brake the more weight is transferred pushing the front wheel down. There is no point avoiding a collision just to end up on the deck anyway. However I would choose leaving the road as preferable to a head on collision.

Motorcycling can be stimulating, relaxing and fun. However the consequences of inattention can be dire. Ride, ride and practice some more. Enjoy. Cheers.
This is an outstanding post! Many of the folks on this forum are either new or returning riders. This advice is relevant to all. Iíve been riding for 53 years and Iím constantly checking myself out.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-19-2017, 06:38 AM
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Welcome from Canada

to the forum, brake fluid change, tires as you said, there will be more help coming along from members
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-19-2017, 08:12 AM
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Welcome to the forum. I'll add my two cents.

1. Concentrate on not doing anything abrupt while leaned over in a corner. Don't slam the throttle closed or brake hard because you think you may have overcooked a corner. Abrupt actions tend to upset the balance of the vehicle's suspension and unload tires and can result in bad things happening very quickly. It may feel very strange and uncomfortable but try to keep calm and lean a bit more. It also helps to press down on the outside foot peg and both lean into the corner and slightly forward as well.
Most of us "regular" road riders do not lean anywhere near as far as contemporary suspension and tires will allow.

2. Despite what some riders insist is bogus, counter steering, rather than body English, is the quickest way to change direction on a motorcycle. Disclaimer: I believe the MSF still teaches this skill. It involves the concept of gyroscopic precession but the details are for James May types. In simple terms, at virtually any speed above walking pace, to turn left press the left handgrip; to turn right press the right hand grip.

3. To judge whether a vehicle may pull out from a side road, alley, or any lane offset from your line of travel, watch the front wheel for movement. Most vehicles now have alloy spoke wheels making it much easier to notice movement by looking at a wheel spoke than it is to judge movement by looking at the mass of the vehicle itself.

I'm by no means a world class rider but over the past 50 or so years I've managed to stay safe and, for the most part, am aware of my limitations. I continue to practice riding skills and recognize that I'm still nowhere near learning all there is to know about riding - or many other subjects as well. Keep Calm and Keep Learning.

Arion

"Plan? Plan! There ain't no plan."
Pig Killer, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

Last edited by Arion; 10-19-2017 at 08:23 AM.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-19-2017, 08:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quizzer View Post
I last rode in college and that was a long time ago...

Convinced myself I needed to retry; so, took MSF safety course and got my motorcycle endorsement this summer.

Been looking at the ads and trying to figure out what my first bike back... The bike I rode in the safety course was a cruiser and didn't feel right. So, I've been looking for a more upright positioned bike with a reasonable price ( that I wouldn't feel so bad if I scratched it while relearning ).

Finally, got a hit with a 2009 Versys and picked it up today. Feels good but scary for me with limited experience; rain and wind bringing it home really drove that point for me

It only has 4k miles on it; and spent the last 2 years in storage. It came with heated grips and hard shell side bags.

The tires appear to be original (e.g. about 8 years old ); so, I'm planning on replacing them proactively.
I'm going to guess the coolant is original as well, probably should replace that.
Previous owner said the oil was changed yearly, I'll probably change it to figure it out
Need to adjust the windscreen for my height
Some plastic is vibrating near the gauge cluster; probably try to find where to stuff some foam to quiet that down.

Going to invest in a battery tender.

Any suggestions or other things to replace, get or add?

Back in the saddle again...
What's most likely vibrating is the top plastic dash panel. It has a tab you can't see until you take it appart. Get some foam weather stripping tape and apply it to the tab. Alternatively rubber cut from inner tube and glued with removable rubber cement also works.

You can download the service manual from the TECH section off this site.

Suggest installing crash/engine bars as they protect the bike in a tip over/drop and will pay for themselves the first time this happens.

Twist of the wrist video on YouTube is worth watching. Also other great instructional videos can be found there too.

Don't forget to adjust your suspension for your weight.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-19-2017, 09:26 AM
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Welcome............all good advice so far. I'll add something..........don't over concentrate on anything while riding......stay loose and aware of everything. Don't worry over much about going down. It will happen sooner or later.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-19-2017, 10:36 AM
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At low speed, the front brake can by 'grabby', and the front forks will dive considerably if you pull hard on the brakes going less than 10 miles an hour. If you aren't going in a straight line when that happens, you will most likely put the bike down. (personal experience.) Learn to fight the urge to fully grab the brakes at low, low speed

Aside from increasing your range of vision at night, a basic set of LED lights (I installed these for under $30) will also provide a lot more visibility during the day!

'09 Versys
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-19-2017, 10:49 AM
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Stay away from traffic until you become one with the bike. If you don't have deserted roads, then a vacant parking lot to practice.

You should be able to do everything without taking your eyes off the road.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-19-2017, 12:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks

Thanks for the encouragement and focus points; I can use everything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brockie View Post
brake fluid renewal are a good proactive approach as well.
Missed that one, added it to my list of todo's; any body have preferences on fluid types or brands?

Quote:
Originally Posted by twowheels View Post
What's most likely vibrating is the top plastic dash panel. It has a tab you can't see until you take it apart.
Don't forget to adjust your suspension for your weight.
That helps me find that faster, thanks. I need to figure out how to adjust the suspension; more to do

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arion View Post
It may feel very strange and uncomfortable but try to keep calm and lean a bit more. It also helps to press down on the outside foot peg and both lean into the corner and slightly forward as well.
Good advice, hard for me at a mental level; in college, I had one slide out from under me due to some oil on the road. Nothing says fun like sliding across the pavement.... but yes, I need to trust in the physics more.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmason View Post
At low speed, the front brake can by 'grabby', and the front forks will dive considerably if you pull hard on the brakes going less than 10 miles an hour.
Yep, found that out; and like some of you have warned against, I'm tending to use the rear brake more than I should.
The throttle is a little more responsive than I expect sometimes; it really wants to rev up fast

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duffy View Post
Don't worry over much about going down. It will happen sooner or later.
I may be fatalistic but I kind of planned for the possibility with the used, low cost starter ... I think someone had a quote, "Expect the best, plan for the worst and expect to be surprised" that is good for this
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-19-2017, 02:09 PM
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Welcome aboard! Taking the MSF course immediately tells me you are serious about safety. Good job! My brother was a course instructor for 20 years. He taught me all the basics and I continue to build on it. I was intrigued by the title " Is it like a bicycle". I was just telling a friend the Versys reminds me of my old Trek mountain bike of which I logged hundreds of miles. Jump on a V after riding a big cruzer and you know what I mean!

I don't know about the early generation V's but my 2016 mirrors only showed my shoulders and little else. The very first upgrade I did was Motowerks mirror extenders. What a difference! Worth every penny! Good luck to you and keep riding!!

You will never see a motorcycle parked in front of a psychologist office!
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-19-2017, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quizzer View Post
...Missed that one, added it to my list of todo's; any body have preferences on fluid types or brands?...
Just make sure it is DOT4 fluid.

Ed
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-19-2017, 07:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buffalo_Bob View Post
This is an outstanding post! Many of the folks on this forum are either new or returning riders. This advice is relevant to all. Iíve been riding for 53 years and Iím constantly checking myself out.
Thank you Bob. I am up to 51 years experience. We have survived because we have learnt to recognise a potential danger and have acted to minimise it. Cheers.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-19-2017, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arion View Post
Welcome to the forum. I'll add my two cents.

1. Concentrate on not doing anything abrupt while leaned over in a corner. Don't slam the throttle closed or brake hard because you think you may have overcooked a corner. Abrupt actions tend to upset the balance of the vehicle's suspension and unload tires and can result in bad things happening very quickly. It may feel very strange and uncomfortable but try to keep calm and lean a bit more. It also helps to press down on the outside foot peg and both lean into the corner and slightly forward as well.
Most of us "regular" road riders do not lean anywhere near as far as contemporary suspension and tires will allow.

2. Despite what some riders insist is bogus, counter steering, rather than body English, is the quickest way to change direction on a motorcycle. Disclaimer: I believe the MSF still teaches this skill. It involves the concept of gyroscopic precession but the details are for James May types. In simple terms, at virtually any speed above walking pace, to turn left press the left handgrip; to turn right press the right hand grip.

3. To judge whether a vehicle may pull out from a side road, alley, or any lane offset from your line of travel, watch the front wheel for movement. Most vehicles now have alloy spoke wheels making it much easier to notice movement by looking at a wheel spoke than it is to judge movement by looking at the mass of the vehicle itself.

I'm by no means a world class rider but over the past 50 or so years I've managed to stay safe and, for the most part, am aware of my limitations. I continue to practice riding skills and recognize that I'm still nowhere near learning all there is to know about riding - or many other subjects as well. Keep Calm and Keep Learning.
This is all great advice. To expand on point #1, the Versys is known for a rather abrupt on/off throttle response, especially if the throttle free play is on the loose side, it definitely takes some getting used to, however the Versys motor is quite forgiving and easy to control.

On point #2, yes the MSF teaches countersteering, almost to the point of religion, they don't even mention body lean except for leaning to the outside when making sharp turns at parking lot speeds. The Versys having a pretty short wheelbase and bolt upright riding position isn't the easiest bike to hang off of anyway.
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