Versys vs KLR 650 - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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Versys vs KLR 650

Originally I was looking at purchasing the KLR 650 for some adventure style riding. I was really thinking that would be a perfect bike, but then I started thinking about taking some longer trips and how would it be if I rode 300 to 500 miles one way and then back home. Then I got to thinking that I would be riding mostly on the street/highway so maybe I could go with something that would be a little more street than off road (Versys) and modify it to enhance its off road capabilities. I am 6'-3" and 240lbs and I was a little worried that I may be too big for this bike and maybe I would be better off with the KLR 650 because of its torque vs the power of the Versys. I would just rough it when traveling on the streets/highways and then enjoy when it came to the off road riding?

Any info would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 06:07 AM
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I rode a KLR for three years and really liked the bike. I made a couple of 400 mile trips on it and it did just fine. However at my age (67) was not doing any off road riding. I ran across a good used Versys and took a test ride, bought it and very glad I did. It is a much nicer on the highway and has enough power to pass if you need to. For me it is very comfortable. I am only 5'10" and 175 and liked the lower seat height of the Versus. Hope this helps
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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 06:24 AM
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 07:25 AM
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Two very different bikes.
You should test ride a V. Alot of us bigger guys ridin the V.
Now if you are two up and your gal is 2 or 3 hundred lbs you will want bigger bike.





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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
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Versys vs KLR 650

Since I am not riding right now I have been living on YouTube. I thought it would give me a great place to review motorcycles to give me an idea of what I may want. I am 55 myself and feel I can and want to do some off road riding while I still can. It seems the KLR is a great bike, but the V on the street/highway (Mountain Roads) is a lot of fun. I wish I could have two bikes then the problem would be solved and no 2 up for me isn't going to happen. My wife has already told me not to buy because of her which was a given since she has only ridden with me maybe 3 times in the last 28 years. I would love to test ride them before purchasing, but no Dealerships lets you test drive them that I am aware of. Thanks for the suggestions.

Last edited by rutranger; 10-09-2012 at 09:34 AM.
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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 09:39 AM
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But used bikes are available for test rides, and both the V and the KLR have been around for years, so there should be several used ones around that you could try.
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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 11:10 AM
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Versys - 95% street/5% off road (smooth, graded dirt roads passable to a car)

KLR - 50% street / 50% off road (rougher off road terrain but less sporty handling and rougher/slower on pavement)

You can dial back the preload on the suspension of the Versys which will give a much better ride on slow rough dirt roads but it will make the bike wallow a bit when pressed on the pavement at higher cornering speeds. I've also ridden the WeeStrom and find it not really any better off pavement than the Versys and the Versys more sporty on pavement. Tire selection will make a big difference off pavement.

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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 11:59 AM
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I came to the conclusion last year that it was simply impossible to have a bike that had it all and did it all. That's when I added the Versys to my MT-01. Now I have a fun bike filled with character and torque and looks (that I love, some hate), that is super unpractical and has a tiny 15L tank = Yamaha MT-01. And then I have the ok looking Versys, that has plenty leg room (with seat concepts upgrade), a 19L tank and super practical with hard luggage (on my xmas list), windscreen, heated grips, hand guards, great little touring package. I ordered some Heidenau K73 tires that will make it more capable on hard packed dirt roads or gravel roads. I think the bike that came the closer to doing it all is the multistrada, and well, its the price of 2 bikes
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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 12:39 PM
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Get both! I did!

The KLR is a great all rounder, will haul anything anywhere, just not very fast. Plus it's more of a "Farm Truck" ride. I did ride mine from Ohio to Florida and back...once BUT never again. 1,000+ each way and I did it in a day and a half each way. Almost all back road maybe 75 miles on the slab.

The Versys is much better on road any road. It'll run down the slab 85+ all day long, you'd likely burn a KLR up doing that unless you stayed on top of the oil level at every stop. Range is a little less between stops due about a gallon less tank-age on the "V" (Say 260 for the KLR to 200 on the Versys before reserve, my mileage). The Versys will haul a good sized load, maybe not as large as a KLR but large enough. PLUS it has a ride more "Grand Touring Car" like and at the end of a long day in the saddle you'll find you're not as beat.

From what you posted I'd go with the "V"...first add the KLR later!

Or was that look THEN leap?
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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 01:44 PM
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I had an '04 KLR650 till I bought my '08 Versys. The KLR took me to Alaska twice (check the link below my signature line), camping, the last 31 days. My V gets about the same fuel mileage at 70 mph that the KLR got at 55.

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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 02:40 PM
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I bought a 2012 KLR in may, after not riding for like 30 years. It was good bike to start back, but within a couple of months I had outgrown it, I weigh 260 the bike seem to lack the power to haul my fat arse with any kinda gettup and go. I am 52, while the thought of going off rode was more thought then reality. I also had looked into the shintz racing upgrade but by the time I did that the right way I could have bought 2 Versys with the money I would have had in the 2012 KLR plus all the upgrades that you are supposed to do to one. You need to go to the KLR forum and read all the suggested upgrades on one, it seemed to me a pretty lengthy list especially since the one I had sitting in my driveway was less then 2 months old. I actually thought s#$! on this, I bought a bike to ride not to spend thousands upgrading.
Got an 09, and am not looking back. Yes there is some farkling to be done on the V, but I am not having to break into the engine to do a "Dohickey" upgrade and a subframe bolt upgrade, work on the forks from excessive "Dive" when braking, replace rear enemic shock, thermobob upgrade.
These are things that from what I understood you needed to do just to make it reliable, and then you would have to start on the extra farkling bags, bars, and such. JMHO. For me the V is a much better fit, financially, power, and overall fun factor
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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 06:29 PM
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I love when people say "I outgrew a bike". Usually it means they want more even though they have not yet mastered the one they have.

Anyway, I owned the '08 KLR for four years. I had racetech front suspension and Cogent Moab rear shock. The bike could do anything the Versys can do with the exception of racing down the interstate. Keep it under 65 mph and the bike is happy. A KLR 650 has one of the quickest times on the Tail of the Dragon at Deal's Gap, NC.

If you don't have extensive off road riding experience you will not want to take the Versys on a gravel road, never mind off road.

I sold the KLR because I would rather explore the back roads on the Versys and off road riding is not plentiful in my neck of the woods. The versys replaced the KLR and the Ninja 650

My Versys Travels:


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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by twowheeladdict View Post
I love when people say "I outgrew a bike". Usually it means they want more even though they have not yet mastered the one they have.

Anyway, I owned the '08 KLR for four years. I had racetech front suspension and Cogent Moab rear shock. The bike could do anything the Versys can do with the exception of racing down the interstate. Keep it under 65 mph and the bike is happy. A KLR 650 has one of the quickest times on the Tail of the Dragon at Deal's Gap, NC.

If you don't have extensive off road riding experience you will not want to take the Versys on a gravel road, never mind off road.

I sold the KLR because I would rather explore the back roads on the Versys and off road riding is not plentiful in my neck of the woods. The versys replaced the KLR and the Ninja 650
Truth is I did not master it, and don't believe I claimed I did. I knew I just wanted more power. Thanks
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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 10:01 PM
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i own both... if you are wanting to do super quick twisties and keep street oriented tires on it... go versys

if you wanna ride offroad periodically and don't need to whip around twisties and scrape pegs... go KLR

either one is not made for super long highway trips, both will need you to replace the gearing to give them "longer legs". I like to ride offroad on the weekends, and dont mind the KLR's less power. The rear shock, the front brake, and the forks are all concerns on the KLR...but you can buy 2-3 perfectly good used KLRs for the price of one new Versys.

1997 KLR 650
2011 Halle-friggin-leuya Versys
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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
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I am glad I have some time before I will make a decision to purchase my bike because I really need to look at what I want to do. I really like the off road opportunities the KLR gives me, but the fun factor of the V is fun just thinking about it.

Thank you to each of you for your information and personal experience. It will truly help me in my quest for a bike early next year.
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post #16 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-11-2012, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by jtwodogs View Post
Truth is I did not master it, and don't believe I claimed I did. I knew I just wanted more power. Thanks
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioenglish.net
The verb OUTGROW has 2 senses:

1. grow too large or too mature for
2. grow faster than
So which one is it? If it is number one then I apologise. If it is number 2 then my statement stands.

My Versys Travels:


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post #17 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-11-2012, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by BAMF View Post
i own both... if you are wanting to do super quick twisties and keep street oriented tires on it... go versys

if you wanna ride offroad periodically and don't need to whip around twisties and scrape pegs... go KLR

either one is not made for super long highway trips, both will need you to replace the gearing to give them "longer legs". I like to ride offroad on the weekends, and dont mind the KLR's less power. The rear shock, the front brake, and the forks are all concerns on the KLR...but you can buy 2-3 perfectly good used KLRs for the price of one new Versys.
The KLR can definitely drag pegs on the street if that is what you desire.








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post #18 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-11-2012, 05:38 PM
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Yep the pig can move on the back roads. Even with knobbies she can zip right along.

I find the key to get a KLR moving like this is to get rolling and then stay off the brakes as much as you can. slowing down to much and you waste a lot of time getting back up to speed. OF course blowing a corner and hitting the ditch is "Bad Form"!

Or was that look THEN leap?
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post #19 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-11-2012, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by twowheeladdict View Post
So which one is it? If it is number one then I apologise. If it is number 2 then my statement stands.

I don't understand. Maybe I used the wrong phrase. I just know I had and itch for more power and the KLR was not scratching it. If I used the wrong phrase then I apologize.
At 52, life is to short to be riding a bike that aint makin you smile..
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post #20 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-12-2012, 09:21 AM
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I don't understand. Maybe I used the wrong phrase. I just know I had and itch for more power and the KLR was not scratching it. If I used the wrong phrase then I apologize.
At 52, life is to short to be riding a bike that aint makin you smile..
Yes, many people misuse 'outgrow' or 'outgrew' in your case. Same with "had to put it down" when they panic and lock up the bike and go down.

No problem man. Get what makes you smile. That is how I ended up with the Versys. Went to a Kawasaki demo day and rode just about everything they had. When I rode the Versys it just made me smile. Of course I still ended up buy the Concours a year later because it was the bike that was first on my list of bikes to try out.

Put 15,400 miles on the Versys in my first year of ownership.

My Versys Travels:


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