Concerns of an older rider - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-15-2020, 06:45 AM Thread Starter
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Concerns of an older rider

I find myself at 65 years old at a crossroads of sorts... I've been riding since 1972 and would like to continue to ride, but I find that the larger bikes are just heavier than I feel comfortable with. I bought a 2019 Yamaha XT250 which I have set up for trail riding. (Love that bike already!) Now, I want to go with a 300x for my street riding bike if I can "dial it in" to suit my needs and size. My plan is to change the sprockets to a 15 front/ 44 rear which I have already bought. (Yes, I've read the sprocket change thread...) Change the seat to a tall Seat Concepts seat. I'm 6'2". Those two mods should give me the comfort and lower rpm range that I think will make this bike all I need for highway travel at 70-75 mph.
In the collective wisdom of this site do you think these changes will give me a bike that will suit me?
I'm looking at several deals right now, but haven't bought a 300x yet.
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post #2 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-15-2020, 09:08 AM
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Have you test ridden one? I really thought I wanted a Versys 300X until I rode one. It might look like an adventure bike, but it rides like a Ninja 300. A lot of high RPM revving to do what you want to do. It doesn't hurt the engine, but is definitely a different experience if you have previously had bikes tuned for low RPM torque.

My Versys Travels:


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post #3 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-15-2020, 09:17 AM
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What always amazes me is how much more light and nimble my X300 feels compared with my V-Strom 650. On paper it does not look much but in the real world the X300 is much more nimble, but still stable and so much less intimidating to ride in tricky situations.

I am also surprised that geared up a little that it can certainly hold its own on major roads. Sure you need to rev it but that motor is well tested and reliable.
If you trail ride an XT250 the seat height will not be an issue and the bike will travel so much easier than you Yamaha.

For a 300 it is still a "full sized" bike, although slim, and I lowered the footpegs on mine for an even more relaxed ride. I'm 69. 5' 11".
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post #4 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-15-2020, 09:22 AM
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I would take a serious look at the V-650 before your final decision.

I too am an "old fart" at 67. I rode all the fast and sporty stuff prior the my 2015 V-650. Gotta say the V-650 is the most fun street bike I have ever owned.

It is super nimble and great handling. Plenty fast too, it gets to 80 mph pretty fast and 100 is not a problem either.

At 67 I don't need to be going a buck 50 anymore like I used to do on the liter bikes.

Ride both bikes before you buy cuz there is nuthin worse than buyers remorse.

Cookin Wid Gas

2015 V-650 of course it's green...it's a Kazawalski.
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post #5 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-15-2020, 10:10 AM
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My $.02-

I'm 56, 5'11 180 pounds, recently bought a 650 after riding both it and several 300s. I didn't have a lot of motorcycle experience before buying - a dozen or so hours on dirt bikes, and a few years of riding a 200cc scooter (which I still have - it's way better than either Versys in city traffic).

I ended up going with the 650. But the 300 is definitely a "nimbler" feeling bike, and with the larger spoked wheels it is also a better choice if your touring is going to include non-paved surfaces. The fact that you have to rev the heck out of it didn't bother me, since I've never owned a HD.. But in the end, I decided that it just had too much "mission overlap" with the scooter. Since you've got a 250cc dirt bike already, and are plenty tall, I'm guessing the 650 *might* be a better choice. Definitely test ride both.

The 650 with a full tank of gas definitely feels top-heavy to me, and I've probably dropped it more times while trying new things than I would have a 300. Gotta like those crash bars and barkbusters! What's the point of an "ADV" bike if your not willing to get it dirty or drop it occasionally ;-)

-dm
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post #6 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-15-2020, 10:40 AM Thread Starter
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I've been leaning towards a Versys 650. Ergonomics good?
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post #7 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-15-2020, 03:10 PM
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How about a CB500X - the 2019 model is very much improved, and only 25kg heavier.
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post #8 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-15-2020, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DennyLee11 View Post
I've been leaning towards a Versys 650. Ergonomics good?
Ergos are fantastic. My little green machine is an all day rocket.

I am 5' 9" and it is very comfortable. I have often done 500 miles in one day. Yes I am tired but not all beat up like I was on my Ninja 1000 or Yamaha FZ-09.

I installed an MRA touring screen which is a big improvement over the stock screen. Really blocks the wind with little or no buffeting. I can ride all the way to 90 mph or so before the wind will shut my helmet shield that was open on the first notch.

Try and get a test ride on the V-650 but make sure you are ready to fall in love. Every time I think I am getting an itch for something bigger or faster I just take my V for a ride and the itch gets scratched away in short order.

Good luck.
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post #9 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-15-2020, 05:24 PM
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I am 67 and have ridden road bikes the past 50 years. Two KZ1000s, two Goldwings, Harleys and two BMW K bikes and one BMW RT. I currently have 2016 BMW K1600GT. I bought a really clean low mileage 2014 Versys last September and am loving the bike. I have told all my riding buddies how much fun it is to ride through the curves. Plenty of get up and go and light enough to really make riding it fun. I have even done some riding off the tarmac on some dirt and gravel roads and it does great. Not selling my Beemer road bike, but will keep the Versys for a long time for our day rides and the annual trips to Big Bend and Colorado, to which I haul to and camp. Just my two cents worth.
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They call me: Chief Many Roads
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post #10 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-15-2020, 05:29 PM
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Kato

Here is a pic of Kato, the green machine.
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They call me: Chief Many Roads
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post #11 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-15-2020, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by DennyLee11 View Post
I've been leaning towards a Versys 650. Ergonomics good?
Yes, Test ride a Versys 650 and then test ride a V-Strom 650. When I was trying to decide, I chose the V-Strom because the cockpit and frame fit me better. However I do have a Versys X300 and a Versys 1000 LT SE. My 300 is for ruining around Denver and my Big Versys 1000 SE is for long distance trips and I use the V-Strom for running around Colorado on my day rides. It does the dirt and gravel roads (19 inch front wheel) just a bit better than the Versys 650. Lots of dirt roads in Colorado. And if I really want to be silly, I have a 2014 FJR. But it is getting almost too heavy for my 70 years of age. Good luck on what you decide but do give the 650's a look.
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post #12 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-15-2020, 08:54 PM
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I am 63 ans still ride my 09 Versys 650. At 5,9 and 70 kg i am still comfortable with the bike. test ride one before make calling the short.
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post #13 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-16-2020, 08:55 AM
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Just to complicate things a bit my brother is looking for a bike to hang off the back of his Roadtrek camper van. He was pretty much zeroing in on the 300x but is now looking strongly at the 400 "Ninjette". A tad bit lighter and more power for highway usage with ABS braking. I assume it's suspension would not be as good for off road but still good enough for what he plans for it. Seat height is listed at 30".

I hope he buys it, I'd like to try it.

Yeah, if you want true ram air tuning, you better be willing to ram some air! (SteveinSunnyFlorida)

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And most of Canada too, eh?

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post #14 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-16-2020, 09:06 AM
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It looks like I'm one of the spring chickens here at 59 yrs old. 5'10" tall and 150lbs.

The ergos are good. After bruising a knee in an off road incident, I found the foot pegs too high for comfort. A peg lowering kit is much more comfortable, and actually I like it better for standing too. For me the handlebars were a bit too far away. I don't like the leaned over posture, so bar risers were added which fixed that issue.

The stock seat is either like it or not. I went with a Sargent aftermarket seat and love it. All the aftermarket seats get excellent reviews. Lots of threads on seats on this forum.

If you're looking at luggage, my advice is don't get the factory side cases. Lots of threads on those, too. They're excellent boxes for some missions, and they mount/dismount fast without added racks. Anyhow, research the luggage before deciding which way to go.
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post #15 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-16-2020, 09:08 AM
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Also check out the Suzuki Drz-400 and the honda xr650l .At over 6 feet tall the honda probably will fit you perfectly.
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post #16 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-16-2020, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by dbmccrohan View Post
My $.02-

I'm 56, 5'11 180 pounds, recently bought a 650 after riding both it and several 300s. I didn't have a lot of motorcycle experience before buying - a dozen or so hours on dirt bikes, and a few years of riding a 200cc scooter (which I still have - it's way better than either Versys in city traffic).

I ended up going with the 650. But the 300 is definitely a "nimbler" feeling bike, and with the larger spoked wheels it is also a better choice if your touring is going to include non-paved surfaces. The fact that you have to rev the heck out of it didn't bother me, since I've never owned a HD.. But in the end, I decided that it just had too much "mission overlap" with the scooter. Since you've got a 250cc dirt bike already, and are plenty tall, I'm guessing the 650 *might* be a better choice. Definitely test ride both.

The 650 with a full tank of gas definitely feels top-heavy to me, and I've probably dropped it more times while trying new things than I would have a 300. Gotta like those crash bars and barkbusters! What's the point of an "ADV" bike if your not willing to get it dirty or drop it occasionally ;-)

-dm
Or any kind of larger displacement thumper I gather.

There are many different types of bikes out there that red line below where the Kawasaki 300 engine just starts to get into the power band. But with your limited experience you probably wouldn't know that.

My Versys Travels:


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post #17 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-16-2020, 11:41 AM
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I've been leaning towards a Versys 650. Ergonomics good?
When I owned my '11 Versys 650 I would tell people that if I could only have one bike from my stable of bikes it would be the Versys 650. I found the ergos to be comfortable, but also on the sporty side of the ergonomics scale.

The 3rd generation may be more towards neutral by comparison.

Some will take a stock Versys and do bar risers, corbin seat, and foot peg relocators and try and turn it into more of a cruiser ergonomic without looking like a cruiser so that might work for you.

If you find a place that provides test rides you should also ride the Vulcan 650 to see what that engine can do in a more cruiser oriented motorcycle.

My Versys Travels:


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post #18 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-16-2020, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by SteveJ View Post
Just to complicate things a bit my brother is looking for a bike to hang off the back of his Roadtrek camper van. He was pretty much zeroing in on the 300x but is now looking strongly at the 400 "Ninjette". A tad bit lighter and more power for highway usage with ABS braking. I assume it's suspension would not be as good for off road but still good enough for what he plans for it. Seat height is listed at 30".

I hope buys it, I'd like to try it.

A Versys 400X might get my interest. I love the Van Van 200 for hauling on the back of the truck though.
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My Versys Travels:


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post #19 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-16-2020, 12:20 PM
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My versys 1000 is currently the largest bike I own. I sold a v-strom 650 gen1 to make room for it, and they both feel about the same weight. I know that the versys is heavier, but at slow speed, they feel about the same. And once moving, they are nothing alike.

I also have a ktm duke 690, now that is light weight. I had a klx 250 supermoto and the ktm is not much heavier, but sure is a lot more fun !

What I seem to be doing, as sixty is closing in on me, is riding lighter bikes (sold the valkyrie interstate and rune) and wearing a lot more of a lot higher end gear. (leather not mesh, CE armor not foam pads, pants and boots with jacket/gloves)

I believe I'm adjusting the factors in the risk reward equations, I'm reducing risk as much as possible. I maybe reducing the reward somewhat, not as many long trips, no more triple digit rides with sport bikes making crazy passes.

With these adjustments, the equation still works out to "RIDE"
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post #20 of 52 (permalink) Old 02-16-2020, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by DennyLee11 View Post
I've been leaning towards a Versys 650. Ergonomics good?
PERFECT once I lowered the footpegs (motowerk) and raised the handle-bars (2" ROX Risers). I'm 5'8", 30" inseam.

-

Ed
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