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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-16-2014, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
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Considering a Versys

I'm 58 y/o, and have got the bug for a motorcycle, again. In my teens and early 20's, motorcycles were my life. I raced MX every weekend, even made it to pro level for a short time, wrenched, then became a parts man, and finally a showroom salesman before my parents persuaded me to go off to college and prepare for a "real job". I even had my picture in Dirt Bike Magazine's Crash and Burn Annual in 1975 though I was just avoiding the carnage. I quit riding altogether in 1982 because I moved on the other things in life.

Mostly I rode in the dirt, but working in a shop I got to ride all sorts of street bikes that I fixed or took in trade. The most amazing was that 3 cylinder 2-stroke Kawasaki 750. An amazing rocket ship with a terrible chassis. I'd be frightened of riding something like that now.

I have some questions for y'all.

I'm looking at used bikes on CL and in dealers. The Suzuki Vstrom 650 and the Versys 650 are the two that are calling my name the loudest.

I have ridden neither as I'm in the process of getting my Motorcycle license but will have it in a few weeks.

From the reviews I've read, the V-strom is a smoother and more comfortable all day rider and the versys is a more nimble handler. The shootout review I read said the vibration on the versys can wear a rider down after a long day in the saddle. Otherwise, they said the 2 are remarkably close performers.

The Versys calls out my name a bit louder than the V-strom plus used ones at a reasonable price seem more available here in the sf bay area.

Any middle age to old farts out there riding the Versys?
Anyone ridden both the versys and vstrom extensively?

This is a great forum y'all have going here.
David
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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-16-2014, 12:12 PM
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There's a lot of middle aged folks here (probably the majority) who started out in the dirt. As a dirt bike lover you'll probably love the height of the V and it can be ridden almost like a supermoto. When I went in to pick mine up I loved how it sat up considerably higher than all the bikes in the shop. It was like being a kid in the 70's and walking up to a brand new CR250.

Since you've ridden so much way back when when bikes were less, ahem, refined I'm willing to bet the small amount of vibes there are are practically negligible (and it's generally at a specific rpm). Many of us have ridden several hundred miles in a day without having to immediately jump in a hot bath with epsom salts! Maybe didn't feel like turning around and riding another 500-800 miles but that's due to the distance more than the bike itself.

The Wee was a bike on my short list too but I wasn't really looking at taking the bike I got off road per se so I went with the then Motorcycle of The Year and never looked back. Comfortable, economical, super fun, low insurance, etc.... it's hard to beat. I haven't ridden a Wee, but from what I heard it is more utilitarian and not as 'moving' as the V so I'm happy. It's no firebreathing H2 or H3 but the torque and other improvements would probably more than satisfy you. My $.02

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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-16-2014, 12:34 PM
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My sentiments are in agreement with El Tig. The Wee and Versys were the only two on my short list. The V was first and the Wee was second, and the V won. It spoke to me, if you will, in ways the Wee didn't and I'm not the least big disappointed.

I've a long time friend who owns a Wee and he's quite happy with it, though I feel it's bigger than it needs to be and as wide as a bus when equipped with hard bags. The enormous upswept right side exhaust causes the right bag to hang way out and I didn't like that. In addition the right and left bags tend to be different sizes.

The V suits my riding style. I'm no spring chicken either - 68 years piled up so far, and comfort is important. The V is comfortable and handles a bit quicker than the Wee without being a bone shaker so I'm happy.

If the Versys didn't exist, I'd probably have a Wee Strom but the V does exist and I'd have another.

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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-16-2014, 01:08 PM
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Vibration certainly isn't an issue for me on the Versys.
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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-16-2014, 01:31 PM
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I'm 40, love the Versus, and don't really notice the vibes. Of course my other ride is a '79 kz750 that vibrates like crazzzzy.
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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-16-2014, 01:53 PM
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53 and love my V. Sat on a Wee in the dealers and didn't like how big it is.
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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-16-2014, 01:55 PM
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I think the Versys is a little taller and more top heavy than the vstrom. Speedy's lowering link fixed that for me though. He also makes an anti vibe handle bar riser.
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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-16-2014, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys,
I've been drooling over some used ones on CL in the SF bay area. There are 4 or 5 2008's or 2009 models with 10k or less miles. One for as low as $4k. There are few wee's and they all have over 25k miles.

Are the 08's and 09's okay? I'm curious why people would dump them with low miles. The market is a curious thing and maybe its just random how they're so available at this point in time and so few wee's are available.

How many miles are on yours? What are your complaints about the bike?

The blue one or red ones are calling out my name real loud. I've gotta wait about a month as I need to get my license, then I'm going to rent a BMW F800 for a day just to make sure I really like riding again as much as I think I will. I don't want to buy the bike, then find out that the thrill is gone and be stuck with something to have to offload. I can't imagine that will be true as I live in Sonoma County California which has plenty of good backroads and I have a couple of buds that welcome me to ride with them on the weekends.

Here's another question. I've seen some bikes that have a pulsating headlight. This looks like a good saftey feature but am wondering if they are too annoying to other riders on social rides?

I'll have more questions when I think of them. Thanks for humoring me.
David
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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-16-2014, 02:27 PM
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Hi David, welcome from way down under.

When I was looking at replacing my BMW 650 in 2009 a Suzuki salemans gave me three bikes to test ride, vstrom 650, versys 650 and a Suzuki B-King ( the B-King was just thrown in for fun but not really what I was looking for.

Decided to test ride the bike around some of the smaller streets in the city as any fool can go flat out down the main highway as I wanted a nimble flickable bike. Found the vstrom felt a bit top heavy to me and in my wifes opinion it looked real ugly, fell in love with my burnt orange Versys and wife loved the colour and its still going strong with 40,000km on clock ( it was 2nd hand as it was a trade in with 3800km on clock)

My wife used to have a C50 Suzuki but we have sold it a couple of years ago and was allowed to buy a Ninja 1000 which now has 25 k on clock and till going strong and wifey sometimes rides the versys and loves it as her girl friends have HD and she just loves how easy it is for her to ride through twisties and she says the Versys is idiot proof as it just rides corners on its own and even if she makes a mistake it is easy to correct unlike her old cruiser.
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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-16-2014, 02:34 PM
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Mine is an '08 in red and, although not perfect (very little is) it's a good sound machine. Newer models offer a few improvements like rubberized (is that a word?) engine mounts, repositioned turn signals and a new front fairing but they're fundamentally the same machine.

Though not a beautiful bike, the generation 1 version isn't as unfortunate (ugly) as the generation 2 - beauty, of course, being in the eye of the beholder. And, you can't see the front end when in the saddle.

Many of us add "farkles" to our bikes including larger windscreens, engine guards, and foot peg lowering kits. But then so do the Wee owners. That's the fun of owning a machine for which there is a lot of neat stuff available.

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post #11 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-16-2014, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whangler View Post
Thanks guys,
I've been drooling over some used ones on CL in the SF bay area. There are 4 or 5 2008's or 2009 models with 10k or less miles. One for as low as $4k. There are few wee's and they all have over 25k miles.

Are the 08's and 09's okay? I'm curious why people would dump them with low miles. The market is a curious thing and maybe its just random how they're so available at this point in time and so few wee's are available.

How many miles are on yours? What are your complaints about the bike?

The blue one or red ones are calling out my name real loud. I've gotta wait about a month as I need to get my license, then I'm going to rent a BMW F800 for a day just to make sure I really like riding again as much as I think I will. I don't want to buy the bike, then find out that the thrill is gone and be stuck with something to have to offload. I can't imagine that will be true as I live in Sonoma County California which has plenty of good backroads and I have a couple of buds that welcome me to ride with them on the weekends.

Here's another question. I've seen some bikes that have a pulsating headlight. This looks like a good saftey feature but am wondering if they are too annoying to other riders on social rides?

I'll have more questions when I think of them. Thanks for humoring me.
David


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post #12 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-16-2014, 04:19 PM
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My story is almost the same except I rode street bikes late teens/early 20's but got out of it when we had the kids early 80's (doing the responsible dad thing you know). Road dirt bikes in between but got the itch for the street again at 52. I boughg a brand new 2009 Wee Strom but never really connected with it like I thought I would. It seemed too big and cumbersome, not a lot of soul. I only did a couple thousand kms in a year and sold it.
Bought a new 2011 Versys 659 and absolutely loved it, a huge difference in fun factor and nimbleness compared to the Strom.
I put on 15000 km in the 1.5 years and traded it I on the Versys 1000 (damn you Kawasaki ) mainly cuz I wanted to do some 2-up riding and more long distance trips.
If they hadn't come out with the V1K I would definitely still have the 650. Great bikes

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post #13 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-16-2014, 07:59 PM
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I'm a month shy of 67 and moved from a bigger ST1100 to the Versys a couple of years ago... Since then I've done several 1000+ mile weekends... and a 5600 mile/19 day trip from Florida to Montana and back. In fact, tomorrow morning I'm headed out on another 1000 mile weekend to visit kids and grand kids.
I say do it... Just be safe...

GeneHil - Mount Dora, FL
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Viet Nam: Dec67-Dec68 & Jul69-Dec72

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post #14 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-16-2014, 08:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whangler View Post
I'm 58 y/o, and have got the bug for a motorcycle, again. In my teens and early 20's, motorcycles were my life. I raced MX every weekend, even made it to pro level for a short time, wrenched, then became a parts man, and finally a showroom salesman before my parents persuaded me to go off to college and prepare for a "real job". I even had my picture in Dirt Bike Magazine's Crash and Burn Annual in 1975 though I was just avoiding the carnage. I quit riding altogether in 1982 because I moved on the other things in life.

Mostly I rode in the dirt, but working in a shop I got to ride all sorts of street bikes that I fixed or took in trade. The most amazing was that 3 cylinder 2-stroke Kawasaki 750. An amazing rocket ship with a terrible chassis. I'd be frightened of riding something like that now.

I have some questions for y'all.

I'm looking at used bikes on CL and in dealers. The Suzuki Vstrom 650 and the Versys 650 are the two that are calling my name the loudest.

I have ridden neither as I'm in the process of getting my Motorcycle license but will have it in a few weeks.

From the reviews I've read, the V-strom is a smoother and more comfortable all day rider and the versys is a more nimble handler. The shootout review I read said the vibration on the versys can wear a rider down after a long day in the saddle. Otherwise, they said the 2 are remarkably close performers.

The Versys calls out my name a bit louder than the V-strom plus used ones at a reasonable price seem more available here in the sf bay area.

Any middle age to old farts out there riding the Versys?
Anyone ridden both the versys and vstrom extensively?

This is a great forum y'all have going here.
David
I have had both bikes. The Wee Strom was in the top 4 of 50 bikes because of value performance and fun factor. But as others have commented the bike is big and a lot harder to flick around on tight mountain switch backs. More relaxed at highway speeds than the versys and gets considerably better fuel mileage. The Versys has a lot more fun factor on twisty back roads. The vibration is more of a buzz and I do not consider it a problem. Many riders have forgotten what a M/C is all about wind in your face a serious amount of fun, economical to name a few. For my 2 cents the Versys is like an enduro on steroids for street riding. So it comes down to how you in tend to ride. If you plan to make lots of long distance rides the Wee Strom gets the nod but if you intend to commute take the occasional 250 mile day trip, and lots of twisty paved back roads. I would lean towards the Versys. Ps I am 62 and owned 500 & 350 triple, Honda 750 -4, 4 Goldwings, 650 KLR Lots of dirt bikes and have been riding since 1966.

Last edited by Silverfox09; 01-16-2014 at 08:42 PM.
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post #15 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-17-2014, 12:42 AM
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Just a repeat! Fun bike and great up right riding position.

And a great bike for the money!





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post #16 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-17-2014, 03:08 AM
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2ND bike I have owned at age 50 this year , was going to buy a R6 as an upgrade from my 180cc Apache RTR because I watched the TT Isle of Man race and wanted something faster . They didnt have the one I wanted and I saw the green V sitting in the corner and the rest is history . I didnt even test ride it , the first time I rode it was on the way home from the shop and I couldnt wipe the grin off my face when I got home . It was a huge stepup from 180cc carb bike to a 650 fuel injected tar eating thriller . I havnt ridden a super bike yet but am very content and happy with my Versys . I bought it with 12000 km on and have done 16000 km in a year . Loads of grunt make her a cut above every other similar engine size bike on the road , she is fast on acceleration and will make you smile
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post #17 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-17-2014, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whangler View Post
...The shootout review I read said the vibration on the versys can wear a rider down after a long day in the saddle.

Any middle age to old farts out there riding the Versys?

Anyone ridden both the versys and vstrom extensively?...
I've ridden LOTS of long days on EACH of my Vs (red '08 in AZ, green '09 in BC) - NO problems w/ vibes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whangler View Post
Are the 08's and 09's okay? I'm curious why people would dump them with low miles.

How many miles are on yours? What are your complaints about the bike?

Here's another question. I've seen some bikes that have a pulsating headlight. This looks like a good saftey feature but am wondering if they are too annoying to other riders on social rides?
My '08 has 48,000 miles, my '09 has 40,000 kms. LOVE 'em both.

Quite a few people buy bikes and hardly ride them, which is why so many low-milers are out there.

The "jury is still out" on pulsating headlights....

Get yourself a V and find out what ALL of us know...!


Ed
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post #18 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-18-2014, 01:02 AM Thread Starter
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Well, I rode a Wee-strom today. People have described it well. Haven't ruled it out as it seems a "sensible" bike. Tomorrow I test ride a red 08 versys with cash in hand! Will keep you posted.
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post #19 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-18-2014, 01:29 AM
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All the best, strom is a very sensible bike, the versys is just a pure funvee, love my ninja 1000 but get way more smiles in twisties on the versys.
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post #20 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-18-2014, 02:36 PM
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Hey Whangler - I am a few months off 60, pretty happy with my 2012 Versys, here's why:

Handles great in the twisties, on small country roads, good enough for open highways, and is quite manageable on dirt trails (depending of course on tyres, stock Dunlops would be better off made into sandals). Sitting on the Versys you can see the road and the traffic ahead nice and clear, it's plenty nimble for any evasive action/sudden swerving necessary, the suspension sucks up most potholes and nasty bumps, plenty of torque from way down (I rarely crank it up past 6-7000 rpm, in fact most of the time i'm quite happy at 4-5000 rpm). As I am in Indonesia and my touring often takes me into smaller villages, with the relatively compact wheelbase I can actually turn the thing around if I get stuck in some small lane. Anything bigger (a 1200 GS for example) would probably involved a lot of sweat and swearing.

I have no need to go much above 140-150 km/h - at my age, with my back, crouching over a ZX at 200 km/h for more than 20 km would probably result in me having to have physiotherapy once they pried me off the damn thing. I have done 'only' 10,000km in the 7 odd months I've had the Versys - mainly because I have been traveling for work overseas. Included in that 10,000 are at least one 1,200 plus km trip through East Java which was a blast: smooth big roads, pot-holed small roads, dirt tracks, mountain twisties, coastal sweeps, heavy traffic (unfortunately) etc. The bike handled it all with no dramas.

Mind you a few minor mods have helped: decent tyres (I have Michelin PR2s on but there is limited choice here). MRA touring screen with x-creen 'spoiler' thingey makes longer trips easier, hand guards, Givi hard luggage (V-46 top case, trekker panniers), Givi engine guard, Hepco skidplate. That's all readily available, and just makes your longer trips comfortable and hassle free.

So from one slightly older fart to another, I'd say if you are looking for a bike that's fun but versatile enough to do some serious traveling on without busting the bank, this thing is a good investment.

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