300 mile report - Impressions from an older rider - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-09-2020, 02:53 PM Thread Starter
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300 mile report - Impressions from an older rider

I, finally, got rid of my last "big bike" (Kawasaki 900 Classic) and after my first 300 miles on my Versys 300 I thought I'd share some observations. I've been riding for almost 50 years (started riding my SENIOR year in HS 1972 and have never stopped.) My first new bike was a Suzuki T350 two stroke. Rode it during my first 4 years in the AF. Great bike! Once rode it from Texas to Kentucky. I've owned countless motorcycles... BMW, Moto Guzzi, Goldwings, Electra Glides, all manner & sizes of Japanese motorcycles... Now, I feel like I've come full circle - back to a 300cc. I couldn't be happier with this bike. It reminds me of when I first started riding. Simple, light, responsive but not overly powerful - yet, has that fun factor.
I either have or will make the following changes to my Versys:
Tall Seat Concepts seat
44 tooth rear sprocket
PM rear rack
Givi bag racks
Givi engine guards
Shinko 705 tires (taller aspect rear)
Foam grip covers

This "!ittle" bike does everything I need a bike to do and comfortably.
"Let the circle be unbroken..."
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-09-2020, 03:03 PM
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-09-2020, 09:16 PM
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enjoy your ride and be safe.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-10-2020, 09:09 PM
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I think that pretty much sums it up pretty good for most of us older riders. I'm 59 and I've been riding since I was 14. Like you, a lot of different bikes over those years. I also agree that the Versys X-300 needs a little tweaking and some accessories but even before that, its a very fun and reliable machine. I still have a couple of the bigger bikes, but because of its light weight, ease of handling and maneuverability, its the perfect machine for riding in my local urban area. Because of that, it gets more seat time than the others do. Its not all that powerful, but its power to weight ratio is actually pretty good and contributes to its fun factor. It also has decent trail, gravel road, forest and dirt road capabilities, which is one of the reasons I bought it. It allows me to ride terrain that I cant take the other two bikes on, so for me, that adds even more to the fun factor. Its initial low price and low cost of operation makes it a keeper for me (unless Kawasaki comes out with a 400cc version). Then I'd give it some serious consideration.

Moto Guzzi Griso 1200, Kawasaki Versys X-300
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-11-2020, 07:26 AM Thread Starter
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Just a quick note. I replace my rear sprocket (foolishly...) with a 44 tooth. I should have gone up not down on teeth... And my rpms went up, not down. It immediately have me a engine light code 25. So, I put the original sprocket back on. Disconnected the battery, tried running it 3 times... Code still there. So, I'm headed to the dealer to clear the code and have a 15 tooth sprocket out on the front. Hopefully, as many have reported, that will put me in the "sweet spot." Live and learn!
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-11-2020, 12:29 PM
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Thought I'd chime in here as I've been trying to solve this gearing nut since I bought the bike - now 17,500 kms later I have found a solution that works for me, much like you, DennyLee, are describing.
I looked for a taller gear than 6th when I first bought the bike so I went to 15T c/s sprocket at first service (1,000 kms). That helped somewhat, but most importantly I didn't have to mess with chain length. However even after the sprocket change, i still searched for 7th gear occasionally on the highway, not knowing that I was already in 6th.
Recently, @ 17,000kms, it was time to change the rear stock tire. I installed a Shinko 705 130/90 (taller than the stock 130/80) and this has made a world of difference re gearing to my riding style. Maybe it's all in my head, but the gearing feels like it has gone from gears 1 to 6 to now more like 1.5 to 7. 6th gear now feels like overdrive and I'm bombing around town down a gear at almost any city speed - definitely using 4th and 5th a lot more.
So according to gearingcommander the combination of 15T + 130/90 rear has lowered my rpms by 10.3% and has not upset bike computer (no error code).
Plus, I have these other benefits - the bike is taller by approx 5/8", the speedo is dead-accurate, and I like the look. I also installed a set of Grip Puppies to beef up the grips and hopefully lessen grip fatigue/cramping. All in all the bike feels bigger and better.
Anyway, I'm super happy with the results of this simple change - time will tell if there is any mpg improvement - I don't really care - the bike sounds better to me - lower rpms makes me feel like I'm not constantly running the bike at a shift-point. Plus the changes might also mean that perhaps I extend the life of the chain, spockets and maybe engine since all those things are running 10% less than original.

I'm an older returning rider and I ride 99% pavement, half city, half highway. Though I will be riding some FSRs later this year.

As an aside, I measured the circumference of my stock rear tire before I changed it and it measured 1990mm, down from 2010mm spec size. According to gearingcommander, that is equivalent to 130/77 size so the warn tire is another reason for higher rpms and more inaccurate speedo. The 130/90 supposedly measures 2090mm so doing the math it equals roughly a 32mm increase in diameter which equals roughly 2/3rd" taller rear tire.

Thanks for listening.

Last edited by Pekes17; 05-11-2020 at 05:25 PM.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-11-2020, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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Pekes,
You won't believe this but I have a Shinko 705 130/90 rear tire in my garage! Debating whether or not I should put it on... Debate over - On it goes.
Thanks!
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-11-2020, 07:40 PM
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Well Denny, maybe meant to be.
I hope afterwards you feel the same improvement. Anxious to hear results.

Last edited by Pekes17; 05-11-2020 at 10:38 PM.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-15-2020, 06:34 AM Thread Starter
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Just replaced the front sprocket with a 15 tooth. Much better... I'll change the rear tire to my taller aspect one when my stock one wears out. Might as well use it.
Now I have a different problem. My speedometer is varying 3 or 4 mph. Very annoying. Could I have damaged the rear sensor? Warped the sensor ring?
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-15-2020, 08:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DennyLee11 View Post
Just replaced the front sprocket with a 15 tooth. Much better... I'll change the rear tire to my taller aspect one when my stock one wears out. Might as well use it.
Now I have a different problem. My speedometer is varying 3 or 4 mph. Very annoying. Could I have damaged the rear sensor? Warped the sensor ring?
what rear sensor are your referring to?
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-15-2020, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DennyLee11 View Post
Just replaced the front sprocket with a 15 tooth. Much better... I'll change the rear tire to my taller aspect one when my stock one wears out. Might as well use it.
Now I have a different problem. My speedometer is varying 3 or 4 mph. Very annoying. Could I have damaged the rear sensor? Warped the sensor ring?
The speedo is optimistic. Period. It runs off the rear wheel sensor which is attached to the rear wheel caliper. I doubt that you damaged it.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-22-2020, 07:13 AM Thread Starter
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I did damage the ring that the sensor reads. I measured the variation from the sensor to the ring and found a couple of places that were lower or higher - I tweaked those spots and have it almost spot on now.
I installed SW-Moto engine guards yesterday and have an appointment for June 2nd to have my Seat Concepts Tall comfort seat cover/additional foam installed. That should be the finishing touch on transforming my 300x to almost perfect for me. Couldn't be happier!
One of my long time riding buddies came up yesterday and I convinced him he should ride my 300x. He did and was shocked at how much he liked the bike. He left muttering something about "How he could get rid of his big Indian and get one - ASAP!"

Last edited by DennyLee11; 05-22-2020 at 04:42 PM.
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