Should I Get One? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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Should I Get One?

Hey guys! I will be a first time rider and am not exactly familiar with the motorcycle world. I went to my local motorsports dealership and focused in on a used 2014 Versys ABS (650). It seems that everyone on here are pretty supportive of Versys but is there anything I should know about Versys in general before getting it? Maybe some peculiarities about the 2014 model? I'm open to anything you have to say. I want to be fully aware of what i'd be getting into.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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And here is a second post in order to get access to the full website
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 03:05 PM
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Unmitigated risk aversion is the new Puritanism; complete with witch hunts funny outfits and humorless preachers thundering doom. The Deity is Safety; Satan is a Lawyer; but the object is the same: to suck the life out of life and tell you how to live it.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mormon_Munk View Post
Hey guys! I will be a first time rider and am not exactly familiar with the motorcycle world. I went to my local motorsports dealership and focused in on a used 2014 Versys ABS (650). It seems that everyone on here are pretty supportive of Versys but is there anything I should know about Versys in general before getting it? Maybe some peculiarities about the 2014 model? I'm open to anything you have to say. I want to be fully aware of what i'd be getting into.

Thanks!
Your asking this question on a Versys forum so will likely get a biased answer. That said most of the motorcycle magazines have selected the Versys as a best in class all rounder in prior years and it has a really high bang for the buck ratio. In short it has plenty of suspension travel with great adjust-ability for rough, and beat up pavement found on most back roads. Will run fast through the corners with a high fun factor, and has enough power for sporty riding up to 140kph/80mph. If you want blistering acceleration from 80mph and up look for a bike with a bigger engine. It will cruise all day on the highway at 140kph/80mph though and has a relaxed and comfortable riding position unlike a lot of bikes. The only downside is you will need a ~31inch inseam to ride it or otherwise install a lowering kit. Reliability like most Japanese bikes very high.

You will also require a downloaded service manual (free from this site), a rear pit stand (there is no kick stand), and a basic metric socket set (3/8" square head) and metric Allen key set to do all maintenance tasks yourself.

You should also likely consider the installation of side mounted crash/engine bars to protect the bike in the inevitable tip overs that occur, particularly with newer riders and taller bikes. They will prevent a lot of expensive to repair damage to the bike. All bikes should come with these standard. They are cheaper than repairing damaged plastics once in many cases.

For the simple reason the Versys 650 is a best buy in the mid size all rounder class I have owned two over a 10 year period. There are faster and better all rounders like the Multistrada or BMW, but not near the Versys price IMO. Versys 650 came in 3 revisions. There is no difference between years of the same revision.

2007-2009 MK1
2010-2014 MK2
2015-current MK3

The only issue with the MK2 is be very careful when removing the front plastic panels as they slide out in a weird way and you can break the tabs removing them wrong. Read the manual to do this first. The 2014 was the best of the MK2 as they added ABS this year.
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Last edited by twowheels; 06-12-2019 at 04:32 PM.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 05:25 PM
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My $.02:

I've had a 2015 Versys 650 ABS for about 9 months now. I got my MC endorsement about 4 or 5 years ago and bought a cheap, used 150CC scooter. Yes, lame. But really easy to master. Then a 200CC scooter (minor step up, but it has ABS which was a big want). Then the Versys. So I've been following a very gradual upward slope on the learning curve.

I really like the Versys, as probably everyone on this forum does. That said, it is tall (33 inch seat height) and has a very high center of gravity. I live in a very hilly urban area, so that makes it um, "interesting". Yes, I've dropped it several times now. The scooter is waaay easier to manage in our urban environment. Low CG, automatic tranny, less weight, etc.

I would really urge you (or any beginner) not to buy your "ultimate" bike as your first bike, but a bike that will facilitate learning, and not leave you crying when the inevitable drops and other "learning experiences" occur. Used ("pre scratched") is good! Don't be influenced by what you think other folks will consider "cool".

Personally, if I hadn't had prior experience, I would have gone with a Versys X300, knowing that I might want to replace it in a year or two. The X300 is a very good bike, and IMO quite a bit more beginner friendly.

YMMV,

dm

-dm
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 08:34 PM
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the versys is a very easy and forgiving bike and good for 1st timers. Sit and have a test ride before you make your mind. There are other model you may want to consider like Honda 500.

If you are new to biking , the bike you are going to buy must be within your capacity to handle it.

Take your time and don't rush. Biking is dangerous!
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 09:09 PM
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 09:42 AM
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Depends on what you want.

'09 Versys 650 was/is my first motorcycle, I got it end of February '18, and I've put just over 15k miles on it since, just got back yesterday afternoon from taking it all the way from DFW TX to Roanoke VA and back.

The best part about the Versys is that it's really quite good at everything.

The worst part about the Versys is that it really isn't amazing at anything.

There is no one or two things the Versys does that another bike won't do much better, even in the same price range. There's better canyon/track bikes, better dual sports, better commuters, ADV's, touring bikes, etc. The Versys borrows a little bit from every type of bike except cruisers and mashes it together in an upright and top-heavy package.

Depending on what you want, this is good or bad. If you know what kind of riding you like and will be doing, the Versys honestly probably won't be the bike for you. But if it's your first bike and you have no idea what you want to do, it's the best possible bike out there. It will let you tweak it and try out almost every type of riding there is until you learn either what you like, or you realize that you like doing 3+ different types of riding without taking the time or money to switch between bikes.

Anything's a dirt bike if you're not a lil b**ch

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 10:08 AM
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Welcome aboard, Munk!

A few comments for you, but first a few questions. How tall and strong are you? What is your mission for the machine?

As has been said, the V650 is a tall machine with a high center of gravity. I am 5'10" tall and find the bike a little taller than I would like. With a full tank of fuel and some stuff in the top box or my camping gear strapped on, it is sometimes a challenge when coming to a stop. Especially on an uneven surface.

You can install a lowering link which people report works very well and doesn't mess up the handling. You can also get a lower seat.

With good motorcycle or hiking boots with more of a heel than regular walking shoes I can flat-foot both feet, almost. With my camping gear weighing it down I can definitely flat foot.

For the first timer, I think the height and weight are the big concerns. If you're taller than me, younger and stronger, it may not be an issue at all.

For all around use the V650 is a great bike! I commute (half highway half city), go grocery shopping in the burbs, go camping, take road trips, go off-road (not crazy motocross), and have fun on mountain twisties.

But, honestly, a stable of several motorcycles to cover a variety of uses would be easy to justify if I had the space and the $$.

A used smaller bike to learn on, then sell it and move up to something bigger, makes a lot of sense. Or keep the smaller bike and add the larger bike. But it depends a lot on you and your mission/environment. If you're 6' or taller, young and strong, the V650 will be just fine for you. If you're 5'10 and 135#, which is what I was graduating college, the V650 might be a bit too much to learn on.

The little 250cc bikes are fantastic to learn on, super easy to ride, and perfect for the short suburban rides at 45mph or less. They are not highway machines. I had a Virago 250 for a few years which had been my daughter's until she moved downtown in the city and gave up riding. I would recommend it for learning, if you aren't too tall/big.

Royal Enfield has some really nice bikes which are easy to ride. The V300 is also a great bike though taller than the old style RE or the cruiser style bikes.

Think of your first bike like a teen's first car. It is going to get bumped and scratched. Be sure to put on crash bars or frame sliders. If you get a 2015 or newer, the front turn signals hit pavement when dropped and then an expensive plastic fairing is cracked. If you do get a Versys, members here can help with what works and what doesn't on your bike.

My first bike was a new 1982 Kawasaki KZ550 when I graduated college. There was a learning curve but quickly I was comfortable and loving the back country roads where I lived. You don't need to start with a tiny bike. Just be aware the V650 is not like a bicycle with a motor.

Take a good training class. Ideally use their bike, because you'll likely drop it a few times. It is a good way to get your license, because the course counts as your road test when you finish, and it may get you a good discount on insurance. You could take the course and then decide which bike to buy.

I am not trying to discourage you from the V650. It could be the perfect bike for you.

Last edited by Fly-Sig; 06-13-2019 at 10:15 AM.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 03:31 PM
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The plastics can be protected from the turn signals by removing the bolts that hold the front turn signals in place. There is a rubber grommet at the base of the assembly that is sufficient by itself to hold them in, but they will pop out when in contact with pavement.

As others have said, tell us about how you plan on using the bike - where you will be riding, what you want it to be able do do.

-dm

-dm
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 08:06 PM
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welcome "I will be a first time rider". ding ding ding (bells going off).... methinks its probably better to spend a year on a 250 class bike first. not that starting out on a 650 hasn't been done, but it's much easier on smaller lighter bikes.... and probably more fun too. I have one as well as my 650 (and 1150, etc). I ride it a lot for short trips. on the highway, for distance meh, not so much. to make an honest, educated evaluation we should know about you big guy/little guy? in shape? athletic? ride mountain bikes? maybe age. also, where do you want to ride... hiway only, twisties, dirt & fire roads... all of it?

I am downsizing (because I'm getting old), and soon the 650 will be my biggest bike simply because its 100 pounds lighter than my GS(s). and my (beloved) KLR was replaced by a KLX 250 because its also 100 pounds lighter. for short dashes and rougher roads the lighter bike is better. when I'm gonna be on the hiway for awhile or have a bunch of distance to cover bigger is better. the GS is a flying couch, but its a bitch to push around in the driveway with the panniers full. the Versys now fills that spot for me, and all that said, ya, the Versys is a great bike. maybe best in the class when all factors are considered. I think its been Bike of the Year 3 times (every generation). they need a few tweaks, but all bikes need something. one thing I like is Ninja wheels fit right on, so spare wheels are cheap by comparison. I just finished putting on my "dirt" wheels 'cause I'm heading to Dawson in a couple days for D2D via Denali Highway, and/or Kennecott then Taylor Highway (Top of the World)..... eat yer heart out boys ha ha
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if I'm answering your question I assume the basic points have been addressed, such as: did you do a compression test? is it still on fire?
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 06:49 PM
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