New member - help me decide - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-24-2012, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
moe
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New member - help me decide

Hey - I've been lurking for while here on this great forum trying to decide between this and a Yamaha FZ8 - I know apples and oranges.

I'm a new rider (started this spring now with 5k miles) with the 250cc Suzuki TU250X but need more power. I am generally too conservative and cautious which ends up costing me money - should have bought a larger bike as my learner. I am pretty sure I want the V but I keep going back to the FZ8 because I like naked bikes and I wonder if I'll want the extra hp eventually. I don't want to be lusting after a new bike within 6 months like I am now. I've ruled out Honda NC700 (practical but boring) and the Triumph Street Triple (not practical and too sporty).

I've sat on both (no demos here) and both do it for me. I'm 45, 6-2 175lbs and I'm no hooligan. I plan on using this as a commuter but want some degree of fun on the week-ends.

I must be all over the map because I can't find many head-to-heads on the interwebs that include these 2 bikes.

There is a leftover new red 2011 V at a dealer for $6999 out the door that I almost bit on. Is that a good deal? They don't seem to sell well here in Boston.

Thanks for reading and any advice...
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-24-2012, 04:31 PM
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That's a tough choice given that it is, in fact, like trying to compare apples and oranges - almost impossible in my opinion. The FZ is, according to what I've read, much sportier and more powerful. Four cylinders will beat two almost every time (oh, I know there are exceptions though). It also means the FZ is more complex, heavier, more expensive to insure, and most probably will get less gas mileage than the Versys. I also am painfully, yet joyfully, aware that there are tons of great accessories available for the Versys (ask my checkbook) though I don't know if the same holds true for the FZ.

I've owned almost two dozen bikes over the years, from one to four cylinders, and find that I'm quite happy with two. Well, most of the time. I bought a '93 BMW K75S three cylinder a few months ago and I love it though it isn't sporty in the current sense of the word. It's a gentleman's motorcycle. Still, the Versys is one of my all-time favorites.

The Versys is, as the name implies, versatile and I believe that's one of its best selling points (though apparently most buyers who shy away from the Versys fail to understand that). If you were in your 20s or early 30s I'd suggest the FZ and then hope you managed to ride it more than a few hundred miles before stuffing it into the weeds. Being a bit more mature, you might be more satisfied with the Versys in the long run.

BTW, it's a bit amusing trying to imagine someone who says he's conservative and cautious riding a bike in Boston! I'd be reluctant to drive an armored personnel carrier in Boston traffic. I've an elderly aunt who lives in Andover and riding with her in Boston (in her Miata) is, to say the least, an adventure of the first magnitude. Once occupied the passenger seat when she turned left, from the right lane, across three lanes of traffic. That was a real eye-opener!

Enjoy whichever bike you decide upon.

Arion

"Plan? Plan! There ain't no plan."
Pig Killer, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-24-2012, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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BTW, it's a bit amusing trying to imagine someone who says he's conservative and cautious riding a bike in Boston! I'd be reluctant to drive an armored personnel carrier in Boston traffic.
Heh-heh - good point. We are a little crazy on the road but I'm used to it. Few years ago I was all over downtown on a 50cc scooter. It doesn't get much hairier than that. I took the MSF course this spring and we had to practice a quick stop while in a turn. Instructor said that she had only needed to do that once. My neighborhood has lots of rotaries and in my first few weeks I had to 4 times thanks to being cut off, old ladies stopping randomly...

Appreciate your other points too - helpful advice.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-24-2012, 06:29 PM
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Hey Moe, two great bikes you're looking at there. I own a 2012 Versys, and after a seat upgrade as well as windscreen upgrade, I couldn't be happier. I was looking at the FZ8 too, and was looking to change from a Suzuki GSX650F. I just didn't feel the need for 4 cylinders.......
Like previously said, saving money on insurance/fuel/maintenance was a big part of my decision, and the fact that the Versys is so Versatile. You can make it pure street, or you can farkle her up- put some knobbies on her and take make her a hardcore gravel runner
Good luck!
PS-- as a side note...when I compared sitting on both bikes, I found the controls on the FZ8 had quite a cheap feeling to them..... Strange, I know, but that was my impression.

Last edited by BigOleChalupa; 10-24-2012 at 06:43 PM.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-24-2012, 07:57 PM
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A friend of mine who was going to get the FZ8 but changed his mind and is now buying a versys and in fact he flew to another part of the country today to ride it back over next couple days with his brand new green V.

He said what changed his mind was test riding my very fast orange V.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-24-2012, 08:45 PM
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Well, gettin up there 45! You are thin with only 175 on 6'2". I'd go with the V-1000. That will put a little zip in your step!

If the V-1000 is not an option I'd go with the FZ8.

But you did test ride the V-650? That could be the turning point!





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Last edited by MTS; 10-24-2012 at 09:28 PM.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 01:36 PM
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I was looking at the exact same 2 bikes before I made my decision to go for the V. It just makes more sense for me. Cheaper insurance, more versatility, longer trips between gas stops and cheaper to buy brand new.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. I'm sold - probably was about 95% of the way there. I mean I didn't post this same question on the FZ8 forum.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 04:35 PM
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I've owned a 2011 FZ8, a 2009 Speed Triple, 2010 Triumph Scrambler, 2007 MT-01 which I have currently with my 2011 Versys 650. As you can see I like many bikes as long as they are a bit different hehe

The FZ8 with aftermarket exhaust is really awesome, sounds and handles amazingly well, looks good after a few mods, this was mine:


And here's a video with the Yushimura exhaust I installed on it:
http://youtu.be/XhVWWnxNEPE?hd=1&t=34s

Why did I sell it after a 20000km season? Well I Just realized that in order to really enjoy the bike, I had to be revving it all the time which ment I was often WAY over speed limits. These inline 4 engines have decent torque in the bottom range, but they are really only happy above 6000rpm until you hit the redline. Someone riding an FZ8 as a commuter at normal pace, will most likely find it a bit boring.

The Versys doesnt have the power the FZ8 has, but it's got this little je ne sais quoi If I was to try and do a record lap time, I'd probably pick the FZ8, but if I wanted a fun bike to commute, do some highway, some twisties, some slight offroading, some 2up riding? I'd pick the Versys:



Really they are both great bikes...It really depends on what you're looking for, but personnaly the FZ8 is what tought me that I just don't want inline 4 engines anymore, they are just incompatible with keeping your drivers license cause you can't have fun unless you're full throttle and taking curves above speeds you should be

Let me know if you have any particular questions, I still put lot of km on it (including a 2000+km trip) while I had it so I know the bike pretty well...

Last edited by Kawa007; 10-25-2012 at 04:43 PM.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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Kawa007 - thanks so much that is exactly the kind of info I was looking for. Wish I had ability to own as many as you have - must've been fun.
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MTS View Post
Well, gettin up there 45! You are thin with only 175 on 6'2". I'd go with the V-1000. That will put a little zip in your step!

If the V-1000 is not an option I'd go with the FZ8.

But you did test ride the V-650? That could be the turning point!
Ha - the men in my family are just naturally bony. The women ... not so much
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 07:24 PM
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Kawa007 - thanks so much that is exactly the kind of info I was looking for. Wish I had ability to own as many as you have - must've been fun.
I guess if I was a women, I'd be collecting shoes hehe I've enjoyed every bike I've had for sure, and each for very different reasons. My favorite so far is the Yamaha MT-01. But since there's no bike that is perfect, it's just about the most unpractical bike I've ever had and it's heavy, but it's got loads of character that makes up for it all Every time I go from the MT to the Versys it takes a few minutes to adjust cause the Versys is so darn lite and flickable!

Oh if you buy the Versys, rip off the OEM seat it sucks, specially for tall people, you can check in the forums for the Seat Concepts. It's about 160$ and improves leg room for us tall guys and fixes the uncomfortable forward slop thats on the stock seat. If you don't, you might start hating the bike quickly hehe.

There's also Corbin, Sargent and another brand I don't remember but it's much more expensive, and some are super satisfied and some disappointed, no seat fits everyone perfectly but so far on the forums most of the tall guys seem to love the Concept Seat.

Last edited by Kawa007; 10-25-2012 at 07:34 PM.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 10:16 PM
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I have 450 miles on a new 2012 V. Good things: 47 miles to the gallon.
Nice in the canyons. Bad things: The seat slope is absurd.
Buffeting on the freeway is pretty bad.

I think I'm going to have to do something about the seat and will
also get an aftermarket windshield. You should factor those items
into your final cost.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-26-2012, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Kawa007 View Post

Really they are both great bikes...It really depends on what you're looking for, but personnaly the FZ8 is what tought me that I just don't want inline 4 engines anymore, they are just incompatible with keeping your drivers license cause you can't have fun unless you're full throttle and taking curves above speeds you should be
He is spot on about 4 cyls getting you into trouble. They want you to get on them all the time, otherwise it's boring. Plus they love to eat tires!

My first bike was a FZ1 (145hp), a KLR650 (40hp?), then a FJR1300 (145hp). I have seen both sides of the spectrum. The FZ1 is gone and the KLR and FJR are on their way out. I'm only keeping the V.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-26-2012, 11:10 AM
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Yeah often when people start, they are worried about outgrowing the bike for too little HP and not wanting too much. My 2010 Triumph Scrambler had about 60HP (and a 19" front wheel), and I had no problems keeping up with a Ducati ST2 in the twisties, my MT-01 has 90HP (110lbs of torque), but it's the best engine I've ever tried, even if the power isnt intimidating it's just so much fun, makes you feel like your riding a WWII fighter plane:
http://youtu.be/UbxAN9nz-Tg?hd=1

Really the Versys is simply put a great package once you tweak it's small flaws. It will be sporty if you want it to be, adventurous if that's what you're after and will carry you all day long if that's your kind of thing. And even with it's 64HP, no need to use the clutch to raise the front wheel it's a quite punchy little engine. I've been riding the Versys for about 2 weeks now and went for a ride on my MT this morning, it felt like the front forks were welded to the frame hehe Before having the versys I felt the MT handled great, after riding the versys I felt the MT handling was quite heavy!

I rented a 178HP K1300GT for a 2000km trip and other then the luggage space, I by far prefer the Versys. Sure the BMW would pull like a train and brake like a porsche, but I hated the posture, the wind buffeting, and it was just a big fat pig hehe

Last edited by Kawa007; 10-26-2012 at 11:13 AM.
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post #16 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-26-2012, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by skatefriday View Post
I have 450 miles on a new 2012 V. Good things: 47 miles to the gallon.
Nice in the canyons. Bad things: The seat slope is absurd.
Buffeting on the freeway is pretty bad.

I think I'm going to have to do something about the seat and will
also get an aftermarket windshield. You should factor those items
into your final cost.
Word up...that's exactly what I did
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post #17 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-26-2012, 12:02 PM
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Word up...that's exactly what I did
That's my V without the mods although I also have the
sidebags.

What kind of windshield is that and what sort of improvement
do you see over the stock?

I should have mentioned that the V has plenty of power
and low end torque. Probably a bit too much. I will also
likely be doing the 44T sprocket mod.
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post #18 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-26-2012, 12:05 PM
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. Sure the BMW would pull like a train and brake like a porsche, but I hated the posture, the wind buffeting, and it was just a big fat pig hehe
How do you find the buffeting on the V? When I'm on a SoCal
freeway I'm continually feeling like I'm going to get knocked off
the bike.

Almost all of my prior experience with motorcycles was on
dirt, so I don't really have much to compare it to, but it was
a bit of a surprise.
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post #19 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-26-2012, 12:31 PM
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How do you find the buffeting on the V? When I'm on a SoCal
freeway I'm continually feeling like I'm going to get knocked off
the bike.

Almost all of my prior experience with motorcycles was on
dirt, so I don't really have much to compare it to, but it was
a bit of a surprise.
The Versys has that tiny windshield but somehow the wind buffeting seems minimal to me. I'm tall (6'3'') and that could play into it.
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post #20 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-26-2012, 12:43 PM
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I've mostly had naked bikes and can't remember trying one windscreen and going wow that is awesome. It usually concentrates the wind on your helmet. On the K1300GT it even gave me a headache when the windscreen was in a certain position, and even in its best position it wasnt great. Naked bikes for some is more fatiguing but I find that the wind is dispersed more equally instead of concentrated on the helmet. On the Versys I put the stock on on the lowest setting, seems to be whats working better. I have the Givi but havent managed to find a good position with it yet, it offers more protection but more buffeting.
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