New Owner's V1 Impressions - First Ride - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-17-2017, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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New Owner's V1 Impressions - First Ride

I've owned something north of 30 motorcycles over the years and enjoyed most of them. I just sold a pristine GL1500 Goldwing after 5 great years of touring with it...because all 900 lbs of it were becoming a problem at slow speeds (parking lots, stop lights, etc.) Nearing 70, I feel I still have a few years of good riding ahead of me so I bought a 2017 V1 to reduce my ride by about 350 lbs.

My first ride was about 200 miles and I'm really happy with this motorcycle. I have a list of minor improvements to do, accessories on order, but this is a bike that is far more capable than I am, as a rider. HUGE negative is its inability to stay anywhere near a speed limit if left un-monitored for more than a few seconds, but maybe that will get better with time. I knew I'd be giving up some weather protection so a Puig w/s is on the way to help, but I can't for the life of me understand why Kaw didn't include an electronic cruise control. I miss that more than anything else from the Goldwing (a 20 year old machine btw). It should be illegal to call something a sport tourer that doesn't have a true cruise control

The ride quality is top notch and the handling is the best I've personally experienced. I decided to test the brakes and clamped them pretty hard at about 50 mph. I wasn't prepared for that kind of stopping power, but I certainly do appreciate having it! I see the ABS system as a much wanted safety feature that could mean the difference between avoiding a collision...or not. AND, all of my slow speed woes have vanished as I'd hoped they would. This bike is much lighter than the 'Wing and better balanced. A welcome relief.

Power. You can never have too much controllable power, and this bike has as much as I'll need in any situation. It's unlikely I'll ever feel the need to see what its top speed is and will take the word of the magazine journalists who say it's around 135 mph. Love the variable traction control. Don't see the need for the 2 power settings, but hey, why not?

I found myself unable to judge speed on this motorcycle and went into several familiar curves going faster than intended, faster than any time previously. That's bad news in my opinion. Good news is, the bike is incredibly capable of hanging in there at extreme lean angles and never tries to stand up on you at inopportune moments. It LOVES cornering. It begs to be pushed hard when cornering. Good to know.

Fuel mileage seems to be very respectable and the 5+ gallon tank will be adequate for long distance touring. The side bags seem a bit flimsy, but I think they'll hold up just fine. Very annoying that you can't remove the key from them without re-locking...a stupid inconvenience. On the other hand the mounting system is nice and it's easy to remove the bags as needed. The dash meter provides lots of information and seems to be well thought out. I'm unsure about the fuel gauge. I did a fill-up using 2 gallons and all of the bars were still showing. If the gauge were accurate and as linear as it should be, two of the bars should have disappeared. But, in time I'll learn to interpret what the gauge is telling me.

All in all I expect to have many good times and lots of satisfying miles ahead of me as I spend time with this new friend.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-17-2017, 05:36 PM
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On my 2016 V-1000 On the fuel gauge the top bar will disappear a little after 100 miles. When the last bar on the fuel gauge starts flashing you have a little less than a gallon in the tank...

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-17-2017, 05:47 PM
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The fuel gauge is not accurate. I use the trip meter and fuel up at about 200 miles which leaves a gallon or more. The fuel gauge is the same on my Concours. You learn to deal with it.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-18-2017, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Dannyboy1949 View Post
...The side bags seem a bit flimsy, but I think they'll hold up just fine. Very annoying that you can't remove the key from them without re-locking...a stupid inconvenience....
On MY '15 650LT (SAME bags) I CAN remove the key w/ the bag 'unlocked', as long as I've already opened the 'lever'.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-18-2017, 02:28 PM
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Cheers to you! I hope to be riding till the day I die. I met a gentleman at a Moto Guzzi rally that rode solo pulling a camper behind, and he was in his early eighties! What an inspiration for us all. Thanks for sharing.

The V is a light weight compared to a wing but so much more fun! After getting off a big cruiser its like riding a bicycle! Enjoy!!

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-20-2017, 12:46 PM
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I am about the same. 65 years old, purchased 39 motorcycles from 11 different brands. Last bike was a 2015 Indian Chieftain and wanted to get away from the big heavy motorcycle, love the Versys 1000LT. I put on the Puig windscreen, Moto Werk 1" handlebar risers, Kawasaki lift out saddlebag liners, and now a GIVI V47 Top Case. Last thing to do is change the seat. Rides, and of course handles better than the Indian. And its great to get away from the tractor like Vtwin.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-30-2017, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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SECOND RIDE IMPRSSIONS:

No, I won't be boring you with 3rd, 4th,...27th ride impressions. But I took the V1 out for a 400 miler after adding some accessories and this is what I found:

SEAT MOD: I dished out the rear portion of the driver's part of the seat and added a bit of width to the rearmost part of it, plus added a seat heater. This successfully remedied the factory's intent that you constantly polish the tank with your valuables. I'm sure it isn't as comfortable as a custom seat from Russel or the like, but it's a nice improvement and I'm hoping to be able to tour with it next year. On this ride, which included mountain roads with lots of curves, and straight open roads, after 400 miles and 8 hours I was not squirming or suffering from bottom burn.

Other accessories: SEAT HEATER and GRIP HEATERS: when I begin getting cold if I can get some heat into my hands and/or butt I find that I can focus on the heat rather than the cold, which really helps. And it helped on this ride.

HANDLE BAR RISERS: From Moto Werks: Nice addition that helps with the seating position. Feels like I'm not leaning as far forward, which is helpful to me as it's easier on my neck.

PUIG Windshield: Works as advertised: Found that about 2" up from the lowest position works great for me. I'm 5-10 with a 30" inseam. Doesn't give the weather protection my Goldwing did, but it would be silly to hold it to that standard.

ELECTRIC VEST PLUG: Gotta have it for cool weather riding in the Pacific Northwest, or touring into states where the weather can do virtually anything anytime at higher elevations.

CRUISE PEGS: Unsure if I'll mount them...time will tell. They're on the bench just in case.

LED RUNNING LIGHTS: A safety necessity IMHO. I have a pair of cheap ones I got from China on another bike and like them so well I got a pair for this one as well. I don't know how much help they'll be at night. They weren't in place on this ride, but I got home after dark and I was NOT impressed at all by the stock lighting for night vision. I don't ride at night by choice anymore, but in the case of wanting to leave at 0-dark-thirty or arriving late to a destination sometimes it can't be helped. These running lights reach WAY out in the daytime and nobody who is awake with their eyes open will miss seeing them. Be seen, stay alive.

PERFORMANCE: As I first suspected...more than I need, But what a blessing when you want to pass in a tight spot! Best handling motorcycle I've ever owned and it's a real joy in the twisties. Also the quality of the ride is a testament to the thought Kaw put into this model, and it's much appreciated.

GREMLIN BELL: Personally, I'm not superstitious. At all. But it would just be insane to ride with out the Gremlin Bell.

FUTURE MODS: Maybe lower the pegs with the Moto Werks brackets. Maybe ride down to Redding, CA and have Russel Day Long build a seat for me. Time will tell whether or not these mods will be needed. The brackets are cheap, but the seat is a bit pricey...and I'm a cheapskate.
Speaking of being cheap, I'm a dyed in the wool DIY On A Budget kinda guy. I'm currently doing a top case mod that some might find interesting...I'll post pics when it's finished and mounted.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-30-2017, 08:10 PM
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+1 on the gremlin bell....I have the MotoWerk Highway Peg Mounts with Rivcco Pegs and they work great..

Versys 1000 Moto Werk's Goodies by weljo2001, on Flickr

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