I believe your riding style & comfort will help you choose. If you don't mind the bent over crotch rocket riding position of the Ninja, I understand its a great bike. If you prefer a bit more upright riding position & a little taller seat height, get the Versys, but don't wait for upgrades. Get a bike now....
Prior to determining the Versys was the bike for me, I was looking at the Ninja 650r. In fact, I feel in love with that bike. Then while researching that bike and others, I started looking at the Yamaha FZ6. I then was leaning towards that bike instead of the 650r because I thought you got more bang for your buck. But, did I want to ride a bike that was a 4 cylinder, high revvin, alota shifting bike? Or did I want a thumper sounding bike with alot of torque that I didn't have to shift as much? I basically at that point given up on the 650r and as leaning on the FZ6.
Then I gave the Versys a second look. It's a tad taller which doesn't bother me, but it has inverted longer front forks which I would think give you a somewhat smoother ride compared to the 650r. I also like the handle bars on the Versys, more like a moto-x bike instead of the inward style that are on the 650r. Coming from a moto-x background this will automatically make me feel comfortable on the Versys and for a more enjoyable ride.
Although seats are poor on both bikes the seat on the Versys at least for the passenger looks more comfy.
Bottom line, I'm 46 years old and even though I think I like the 650r the Versys is more for me. I will be commuting back and forth to work, using it to go on small rides, and possibly take it on a long trip or 2. The Versys is really a great bike, and it does grow on you as when I first looked at it I thought it looked kinda weird. Now, I think the Versys looks [email protected]@ss. I am positively sure after a month of riding the 650r I would get board with it. I think with the Versys it would take a very long time before I would get tired of riding the bike, and for me THAT'S a huge difference.
Maybe that's why we see so many 650r's for sale. Because there are a ton of em for sale.
I owned a 08 650 R and Bear is right on about the bent over position. Loved that bike for the motor. Seat on the R really sucked after 50 miles. Is built like a log shape and is exactly like sitting on one. The Versys is like a GS or Klr more upright style sitting. The R is a great bike if you are a little younger and don't mind the slightly leaned over style and the Versys takes the bumps better. Seat is not perfect on the V but much better as it is more flat. I am 61 so may be a major factor on the V. The R is much more upright although than any of the other Ninja's. Both have super motors. There are more R's for sale but i think they sold a lot more. Our dealers here did and very few Versys. Just didn't push or advertise the Versys well. Verys was a little tall for me until i found out on this site it could be lowered with Speedys kit. I can touch fine now with a 30" inseam. That was a selling donside too for some of us. Either bike is great, just pick your rideing style.
I test rode the Versys, 650R, and FZ6 at the last Cycle World show here in Houston. I didn't get enough time in the saddle to really evaluate the seats but here's my take on the three.
I rode the Yamaha the hardest. It felt like a faster bike that would be more comfortable when pushed. It puts more weight on the hands and wrists than the other two, so ergos would be a problem when touring. It ain't as bad as a full on sportbike, but still not good for long hauls.
The 650R was more comfortable. It didn't feel like it wanted to be pushed as hard as the Yamaha, but seemed to want it more than the Versys. I could feel some weight on my hands and wrists, but it wasn't bad. Probably something you could get used to.
The Versys had the most comfortable riding position of the three. That's why I own one now. While it didn't seem to invite more spirited riding, I'm sure the bike's abilities far outclass my riding skills. It should make the best touring bike of the three.
I would like to have tested Suzuki's 650 replacement for the Katana&Bandit, but they weren't giving demo rides.
To be fair, there really isn't much for hills or twisties in Houston, so the only place for really spirited riding was in intersections and on/off ramps. My take on the "sportiness" of the three might have been different on decent roads, but my comfort rating probably wouldn't be much different.
Hope that helps. What kind of riding do you want to do?
What improvements are they making to the 650R?
Lets see. I wanted a naked street bike and I settled on the Er-6n but no one had them in stock. I started to look closer at the Versys and sat on her and the 650r for over a hour to get a feel for both bikes. The Versys did not feel like a toy and I felt it had a better suspension package and better low end response. But the final nail(s) in the coffin was that insurance was cheaper and the dealers in my area were willing to come down lower in price. My dealer had a 09 versys advertised for $5999 plus fees but the 650r was $6700 plus fees. While price should not be a deciding factor I felt that the Versys was always unique. This was enough for me to upgrade from my beloved ninja 250.
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