Considering Versys 650 - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-23-2019, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
mva
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Considering Versys 650

Hi

I'm 55 years old; I completed a safety course and just got my motorcycle license. So far I've ridden Honda CB300F to train for my licence and CB500x.

I'm strongly considering a Versys 650 for my first bike.

Mike
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-23-2019, 01:07 PM Thread Starter
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reply to get my 2nd post!

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-23-2019, 02:46 PM
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I just picked up an 09 650. Great bikes, good choice. Plenty of power, easy to maintain.

09 V650
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-23-2019, 04:52 PM
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2009 Blue Versys.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-23-2019, 05:00 PM
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What are your concerns? Maybe we can help ya decide!
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-23-2019, 05:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mva View Post
Hi

I'm 55 years old; I completed a safety course and just got my motorcycle license. So far I've ridden Honda CB300F to train for my licence and CB500x.

I'm strongly considering a Versys 650 for my first bike.

Mike
You're on a Versys forum so will probably get a biased opinion as everyone here is an owner That said I'm on my second one. The 650 is one of the best "all-rounder" type motorcycles for the dollar IMO.

The only issue is, and this applies to all "adv" style bikes is you need to have an inseam of 32 inches or so OR install a lowering kit. The height gives it better ergonomics though and better ride on public roads that are winter damaged, repaired, frost heaved, etc..

I would highly recommend you install tip over protection with any motorcycle you purchase. It will pay for itself. On the Versys the most common tip-over protection is installing SW-Motech crash bars or similar. It's pretty much guaranteed you will drop your bike a few times on its side and the bars will prevent damage to the fragile parts and save you many swear words. You also need a rear pit stand with a bike like the Versys that has no kickstand. I like this better than a kickstand actually, to work on the bike, although opinions vary. There is an aftermarket kickstand available.

Also either download or obtain the factory service manual (not the owners manual) for whatever bike you end up with. You need this to perform maintenance tasks. For the Versys you can get this on the site.




Last edited by twowheels; 02-23-2019 at 05:24 PM.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-23-2019, 07:56 PM
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Welcome aboard! What kind of riding are you wanting to do, and in what kind of environment?

FWIW, I'm 5'10" tall, 150 lbs, inseam about 30". I find my 2015 a bit tall but not unmanageable. With 20 pounds of stuff on the back it sits just enough lower to be pretty comfortable at a stop light. After 1,000 miles the rear suspension also relaxed a little bit, so it sits a bit lower than when brand new.

For me it is more comfortable with bar risers to pull the bars back and up 1.5". Also lowered pegs made it more comfortable for longer rides. Any bike will probably need some adjustments and slight mods to get it how you like it.

Ditto on getting some form of crash bars or frame sliders. Also, on the 2015 and later (don't know about earlier years) the front turn signals will hit pavement when dropped, so I recommend replacing them with micro sized LED signals.

As for the factory hard bags, my vote is no on the side panniers but yes on the hard top box. The side panniers are not rectangular and thus are not great for fitting rectangular objects like a briefcase or grocery bag. Aftermarket luggage is in the same price range as the factory luggage, but you'll need to install a frame. The factory luggage is pretty rugged and looks good, but not a great geometry if you'll be commuting to work with your laptop. The top box is excellent, though you can buy the identical unit from the manufacturer (Givi) for a lower price (but not with the matching color).
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-24-2019, 08:56 AM
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Welcome. I've been riding since around 1963 and have owned what seems to be a gazillion bikes over the years. Although not perfect (disclaimer - very few things are) the Versys 650 is one of the best all round machines available in my opinion. It manages to do almost everything well and I've yet to find any major faults. I can't readily think of another bike that offers as much value for the money though there may be one or two out there as yet undiscovered by me. Then again, maybe not.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-24-2019, 09:25 AM
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-24-2019, 10:06 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick responses!

Thanks everyone! Some cool videos there that I hadn't seen yet. Here are more details about my situation:

I am 5'-8" and 31" inseam and 160 LB. I can not flat foot with the Versys 650 but I can touch with the balls of both feet. I might put on a lowering kit but I think I could get used to the stock height.

I will be riding in an area that has excellent roads for biking - curvy, not that busy and max speed limit of 80 km/hr (north end of the sunshine coast in BC). My house is 1km down a dirt road with some potholes and washboard at times and a total of 30 km of nice curvy roads to get to town. My thought is that I will use the bike for trips to town on a regular basis and storage is important to grab groceries or whatever. There are also extensive logging roads in the area to explore.

Once I get some experience on the bike, some of these trips will be 2-up with my wife (5'-4", 130 lb). We are also planning to use the bike for occasional longer trips into Vancouver which is 200 km with 2 ferry rides. This trip is also very nice for motorcycles with a bit more traffic and then full on city driving in Vancouver. The advantage of a motorbike is that bikes are first on and first off the ferries and the fares are also a bit lower - so no need to arrive an hour early to line up and no multiple ferry waits or need for reservation fees that cagers experience through the summer months.

Having some weather protection and ABS is important to me because, despite being called "the sunshine coast", it rains quite a bit in this area.

I do really like the look of the stock paniers on the bike so I will likely go that route even though they are not the ideal shape.

I also really like the Versys X300 with the lighter weight, lower seat and built in rack but I believe that I will outgrow it, especially for 2-up use. Plus the seat is very hard and the stock 17 litre cases look useless.

Other bikes I am considering:

V-strom 650 - Highly recommended to me by a few other riders, felt top heavy in the shop and looks hard to service valves - very good reviews though.

Honda NC750x with or without DCT - great fuel economy, very easy to work on, nice low center of gravity - consistent reviews indicating that it does everything well but lacks excitement. "Excitement" factor is not a big priority for me right now so this bike is a contender.

Honda CB500x - I have ridden this bike and I liked it but it felt small to me. 2019 has the 19" front tire upgrade.

Triumph - street double, Kawasaki W800, Moto-Guzi V7 love the vintage style and seat height of these bikes but basically naked bikes with no weather protection and limited storage options.

Honda CB300r - this looks like a great, fun, beginner bike, only 313 lbs wet! And again I love the style but no weather protection and small for 2-up. They do have a back rack and top box available

The new Ninja 400 is also an amazing small displacement bike but not well suited for 2-up riding.

Last edited by mva; 02-24-2019 at 11:11 AM. Reason: added other bike comments
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-24-2019, 10:29 AM
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An alternative to changing the turn signals out for LEDs that has been mentioned on this site is to just remove the metal bolts and plates that hold them in. There is a rubber grommet at the base that supplies sufficient holding power in normal use, but allows the turn signal to pop out of the fairing when it hits something hard. I have emperical evidence that it works ;-)

You might also want to consider heated grips. The 15 I bought has them at they are really comfy in this part of the woods.

My whole reason for getting a motorcycle endorsement in the first place was ferry lines. Here in WA not only are you first to board, but you are allowed to cut the entire line.

-dm
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-24-2019, 11:12 AM
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You will want to put on better tires. The factory Dunlops are marginal at best. On wet pavement or on any dirt they are bad.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-24-2019, 11:19 AM Thread Starter
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Bikes are idea for Ferry rides

Yes, I believe it's the same in BC. Motorbikes bypass the car line-ups. And this is very significant for weekends in the summer where you can wait 3-4 hours in a car even after arriving an hour early.

Good info regarding the crash bars and turn signals. I read that many people have punched the turn signals through the fairing, even with crash bars.

How about the stock Kawasaki extra LED lights? Are they good?
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-24-2019, 11:23 AM
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Welcome MVA!

Sounds like you are doing your due diligence in selecting a motorcycle that you can grow with.
If I were going to do a lot of 2up riding. Then the V-strom would be on the short list. Because it has an additional 5" of wheelbase over the Versys. But it sounds as if your wife is petite. So she may be quite comfortable on the back of the Versys. Especially with the addition of a trunk. I've owned some big bikes over the last 9 years. Which I'm 5-10 and 180ish lbs. The Versys 650 is a great machine and you can grow with it. Both the weight and power is very manageable. Which i was looking to downsize. As i am very prone to hip cramps. Not fun on a top heavy and fully loaded 650+ lb machine. The Versys has not dissapointed. The power, handling, wind management, and riding ergos are very good. If the height is of real concern to you. Then lowering is an option. I have a Corbin low profile seat, which also helps me manage the heighth. So that is also an option. Or look at a nice cruiser with a very low seat height. Which keeps the weight very low center of gravity. Which you can travel down a groomed dirt road. Just as any bike. You have tons of options. But I wouldn't be afraid to buy a Versys 650 as your first bike. Good luck!

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-24-2019, 02:23 PM
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post #16 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-24-2019, 07:01 PM
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For a New rider and for easy of handling, the Versys is the best you can get.
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post #17 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-24-2019, 08:09 PM
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My Versys came with a lowering kit installed when I purchased it used. It is relatively easy to install or remove yourself. Just jack the bike by the right side drivers foot peg mount and tripod it on the front wheel (with handlebars locked), kickstand and jack. You will need a front triple tree stand to slide the front fork tubes up and down.

If you don't like the lowering kit it is easy to resell here on the forum. You might even find someone selling one here. It does noticeably lower the center of gravity and height of the bike but I prefer my bike at standard height. (You will have no problem with the Versys on your toes but will soon learn to park in spots you do not have to back the bike up, especially back it up a slight hill).

Despite what others have said, I have found no reason to shorten the kickstand while the bike was lowered.
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