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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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After much homework and market research, I've come to the conclusion that the Versys is probably the best choice. About 6 months ago I took the safety course and shortly thereafter my erstwhile boss gave me his '91 Honda Hawk 650 to ride. I quickly logged 5000 miles on it and have been searching for the "right bike" ever since. It seems that the Versys would make a great street-fighter, handle the cruddy pavement here (which will get worse) and make for some decent overnights int he forests to the north. The complaints that it is not an off-road machine are of little concern since the extent would be slowly traversing fire-roads.
I'm pretty sure the re-geared 650cc engine can do what I want it to do.
Any concerns about power? I assume the luggage works just fine.
As of yet I have not made the purchase and only a few second handers have come on the market in Cali, being the last place on earth for the Versys to land!
Advise on smart buying practices would be appreciated....
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-18-2009, 01:01 PM
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Location: Littleton, CO
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JMS, I'm currently taking turns between my '90 Hawk GT and new-to-me 2008 Versys. First impressions are that I need to do some adjusting to the Versys suspension; it's a bit harsher than the Hawk at present (my Hawk has a year-old Wilbers shock in back and Progressive front springs w/emulators up front), but I'll be checking out setup before I consider modification. I'm in Colorado, where the roads are fairly potholey and rough from too many freeze/thaw cycles. Coming from the Hawk, my power has been magically increased by nearly 50%, so it's more than adequate for my needs. I assume by the term "re-gearing" that you're thinking of the "three-tooth" mod that I'm slating for the first chain replacement, just so things don't seem so busy in the engine at 70mph+ highway speeds. Other than that, the only issue has been adjusting my clutch and throttle hands to the differing systems of the two bikes - I'm nearly there, but that first take off is still a little awkward.
Unfortunately, I'm pretty much a moto-shopping neophyte (been riding the Hawk the past 17 years), but when a friend in New Mexico found my Versys on Craigslist, I emailed the seller and got my friend to go over for a look. When he came back with a thumbs-up on the bike (and seller), I put down a ~10% deposit via Paypal and hubby and I went to get the bike the next available weekend (in early April, so we were dodging between storms) with an envelope full of the balance in cash. Had a nice dinner with my friend, the seller knew what he was doing and was quite professional, and it was a fairly nice ride home, even though we were making time on the interstate to get home before the next storm.
Being in California, I expect registering an out-of-state bike may be more hassle than it's worth, but check with your DMV ahead of time to find out what paperwork's needed to re-title, if you haven't done that before.
Good choice of "next" bike; if you're selling the Hawk, consider listing it at the Hawk GT forum,

Val Gregory
AMA 466527, DoD 1258
'90 Hawk GT
'08 Versys

Tell the truth, explain to me, how you got this need for speed?
She laughed and said, "It might just be the next best thing to love."
- David Wilcox, "Eye of the Hurricane"

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-18-2009, 03:48 PM
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No concerns about power. Two up in the mountains, you'll be able to overtake anything (well except another Versys).

I defy you to put more crap on it than this. I was camping with it a few weeks ago and loaded up way too much comfort stuff!

I have the 16 tooth front sprocket on which dilutes the power by about 6% and there are still no power issues when loaded. BTW, it will do around 50mpg, one up, two up, loaded in the mountains on the flat etc, many do better than that.


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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-19-2009, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback!
The re-gearing I reffered to was the changes made to the Ninja engine to give it more mid-range pull. Val: Sadly the Hawk is not mine and came to me in a less than wonderful condition. Regardless I have put money into it because I use it as primary make me increasingly nervous. It needs more work: clutch, shocks, steering bearings, could lift the bars as I dont care much for the leaning forward posture. That said it makes more sense to just get the right bike rather than spend half that upgrading. In theory I could sell it since my boss owes me monies but I would rather hand it off to that special lady when she comes along.
In regard to power, I have to remind myself that a new Kawi engine is going to be a different animal than a '91 Honda left to age. As with most motors, it's partially in how you use the gears and not simply the raw torque. I have noticed that getting from 70-90 mph on the Hawk does not happen quickly on the highway no matter what.
When comparing the Versys via reviews and stats. to the V-strom, the BMW gs bikes, and Tiger as well as MultiStrada it seems like a lighter more nimble machine. I'm constantly playing in traffic, threading the BayBridge and running twisties in the Headlands so I have to be nimble or I'm likely to get crushed! Although it sounds a bit silly, my gut feeling is that the Versys is very much for me as a true "first bike". That said I saw a Ducati HyperMotard today and it was nothing short of industrial sculpture.
I get the sense that the versys has a bit of that style of bike in it.
New vs. Previously owned? Transferable warranty?
Thanks! jms
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