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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all,

Just registered but have been lurking a bit. I am in the process of purchasing a 2018 Versys 650 LT (just learned the bags are crap from lurking). I am currently in China but will return to the states in May. It seems like you guys are pretty helpful, and I've learned a lot from lurking. I was going to get a KLR but decided on the Versys instead; I hope I made a decent decision. I have no plans of intense off-roading, and was told the Versys could handle gravel and dirt roads if set up with decent tires. It will be nice to be able to see and know what others are experiencing. Thanks - Jonny
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I have had bikes since about 2006, but haven't ridden much. I had a 750 Honda Shadow and currently have a Vulcan 900 classic. I didn't like riding in the city much, and I moved to the U.P. last year. My 2009 Vulcan only had 800 miles on it, so I decided to ride it more last year. This was the first year I actually enjoyed riding. There are a lot of dirt/gravel roads that I would like to explore, but I wasn't happy with the Vulcan on gravel. So, I am selling my boat and getting a new bike.
 

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:welcome:
 

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Hi all,

Just registered but have been lurking a bit. I am in the process of purchasing a 2018 Versys 650 LT (just learned the bags are crap from lurking).

Ive got a 2015 LT with the OEM panniers and I beg to differ. I love the panniers. One key system, way to go. Locked up standalone or to the bike with the flick of a lever. The width design is integrated to the bike so you have room inside going in towards the tire instead of out. Can fit a helmut. So....26 litres each,maybe you want more. Maybe you want aluminium for strength off road. Maybe you want square for a big laptop or dont like the design at the rear which allows your rear lights to be seen from the side. Or maybe you want top loading instead of side. Personally,I like side. My left pannier is organized with all my road gear on the inside half so I dont have to dig from the top. But for me,they are on the bike always and work great for me. Each their own!
 

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Hi all,

Just registered but have been lurking a bit. I am in the process of purchasing a 2018 Versys 650 LT (just learned the bags are crap from lurking).

Ive got a 2015 LT with the OEM panniers and I beg to differ. I love the panniers. One key system, way to go. The width design is integrated to the bike so you have room inside going in towards the tire instead of out. Can fit a helmut. So....26 litres each,maybe you want more. Maybe you want aluminium for strength off road. Maybe you want square for a big laptop or dont like the design at the rear which allows your rear lights to be seen from the side. Or maybe you want top loading instead of side. Personally,I like side. My left pannier is organized with all my road gear on the inside half so I dont have to dig from the top. But for me,they are on the bike always and work great for me. Each their own!
I agree and really like my OEM panniers. They're easy to remove and doesn't leave all the brackets that third party panniers do. It will hold my XXXL modular helmet just fine. I actually find myself still using them more often even than my added top box, as I like to keep the weight low for center of gravity. Like you said, to each his own, but the bags are certainly not crap!
 

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:welcome: aboard!


...I was going to get a KLR but decided on the Versys instead; I hope I made a decent decision....
Quite a few of us came from KLR650s - GREAT choice!

...I have no plans of intense off-roading, and was told the Versys could handle gravel and dirt roads if set up with decent tires....
"...gravel and dirt roads..." like THESE?















HERE'S a KLR "in the dirt"....:wink2:



I've been told, once or twice - that you can't ride a Versys off pavement....

:yeahsmile: - :yeahsmile:
 

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(just learned the bags are crap from lurking)
.
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I have no plans of intense off-roading, and was told the Versys could handle gravel and dirt roads if set up with decent tires. It will be nice to be able to see and know what others are experiencing.
Welcome aboard!

The shape of the bags is crap, but otherwise they're good. For me the shape is a significant problem. Around town I make grocery store runs or go out to a trail to hike. For work I carry several rectangular bags. The shape just is a problem and I wish I'd gone with aftermarket rectangular boxes. But structurally the OEM are good, they key to your ignition, and they mount/dismount super easily without having any rack system attached to the bike. For basic touring and camping the factory shape is ok, though I would still prefer rectangular. Note you can buy a 1 gallon red plastic fuel can made for Harleys that fit nicely into the shape of the factory Versys pannier. But otherwise the angular shape mostly creates problems for packing.

The factory top box is really good, but you can get the identical unit from Givi for less.

Tires. Yup the OEM tires suck especially on dirt. For basic dirt/gravel roads I have been very happy with Pirelli Scorpion Trail 2. Air down to about 28 or maybe a titch lower for looser surfaces. On pavement I run them at Kawi recommended pressures. These tires are 90/10, meaning 90% pavement 10% dirt. Superb on paved surfaces btw. You can go knobbier if you want but unless you'll be in sand, mud, or deep gravel you don't need knobbies. I've gotten about 6000 miles on mine and they are still looking pretty good. I will replace them with another set of the same.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
:

Quite a few of us came from KLR650s - GREAT choice!

"...gravel and dirt roads..." like THESE?

I've been told, once or twice - that you can't ride a Versys off pavement....

:yeahsmile: - :yeahsmile:
Thanks! I do worry about the choice. They have a lot of fire roads in the U.P., and roads to camp grounds or parks are sometimes not the best. I don't plan on doing any bushwhacking, so hopefully I'll be OK. No disrespect for the KLR. Yup - similar to those roads.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Welcome aboard!

The shape of the bags is crap, but otherwise they're good.

The factory top box is really good, but you can get the identical unit from Givi for less.


Tires. Yup the OEM tires suck especially on dirt. For basic dirt/gravel roads I have been very happy with Pirelli Scorpion Trail 2. Air down to about 28 or maybe a titch lower for looser surfaces. On pavement I run them at Kawi recommended pressures. These tires are 90/10, meaning 90% pavement 10% dirt. Superb on paved surfaces btw. You can go knobbier if you want but unless you'll be in sand, mud, or deep gravel you don't need knobbies. I've gotten about 6000 miles on mine and they are still looking pretty good. I will replace them with another set of the same.
Thanks! Been thinking about a top case and tires as well. Still have a lot to learn, and will dig further into options. Thanks again!
 

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Experience / $$$

Hi all,

Just registered but have been lurking a bit. I am in the process of purchasing a 2018 Versys 650 LT (just learned the bags are crap from lurking).

Ive got a 2015 LT with the OEM panniers and I beg to differ. I love the panniers. One key system, way to go. Locked up standalone or to the bike with the flick of a lever. The width design is integrated to the bike so you have room inside going in towards the tire instead of out. Can fit a helmut. So....26 litres each,maybe you want more. Maybe you want aluminium for strength off road. Maybe you want square for a big laptop or dont like the design at the rear which allows your rear lights to be seen from the side. Or maybe you want top loading instead of side. Personally,I like side. My left pannier is organized with all my road gear on the inside half so I dont have to dig from the top. But for me,they are on the bike always and work great for me. Each their own!
I can tell you I have had 3 friends, 2 with the Versys and 1 with a Ninja, with those bags, they all expressed frustration . The one with the Versys could not get his helmet in the case, the one with the Ninja showed up at my place with his service manual, minus the ring binder, because it wouldn't fit, a bit embarrassed as he almost dropped some pages. I owned a 07 Versys that had the Givi 35 cases, try opening the kick stand side without something falling out. I purchased the Trekker cases from Twisted Throttle , absolutely love them, they are tough enough that I have gone down at 20 KM/HR in deep gravel, just a few minor scratches, with the bike resting fully on the case, try that with the OEM cases, if in doubt have a look at Fasteddie post.
The second thing, the Trekker cases open suitcase style or top, absolutely love them.


Givi 35



Trekker cases take 15 seconds to remove




Notice the cross brace on the mounting, yes the opposite side helps to support should you crash, try that on the OEM


My case kickstand side with the prop stand in bubble wrap near the top,( opened using top opening instead of suitcase style, notice the anchor style latch inside, used to switch opening style) my left side is used for my tire repair & tools, chain lube, compressor , stop and go, wrenches, gloves and rags, fuses, owners manual,led extension light ( 10 feet long) with cigarette lighter plug, socket on left is live all the time and fused at 25 amp.

Prop stand is 15 inches of square aluminum tubing , I keep my 100 LB & 50 LB wire ties inside ( my 1/2 X 3.5 stainless bolt for front tire use) of the bubble wrap, , which also keeps the case inside from getting worn .


Prop stand in use on rear, am also able to use on the front right fork and get the tire off the ground for plugging, using a 1/2 X 3.5 ' stainless steel bolt with a stainless fender washer welded onto the inside head of the bolt.




One last thing, wait until you break a ignition key off in your OEM cases and see how happy you are with the system, trust me, been in the rain many times, went to open the one side and noticed the key was hard to turn, the Trekker keys are really beefy, just a bit of graphite and good to go again.

Like you said, each to their own, just thought I would throw my $0.02 in C/W photos.
 

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Keys! So here is something ALL of our forum members should know. Shortly after I had my 2016 LT for a few months I was half way through a 250 mile loop when my gas light went on. I pulled into a gas station to fill up. I was horrified when the key almost bent off when opening my gas cap! Fortunately, I was in a small town where the gas station actually still had a service garage and after finally getting the bent key out of the gas cap, we were able to straighten the key enough to gas up and complete my trip.

When I got home, instead of going to a hardware store for a new key, I went to an old time locksmith. Guy says "yep, this is a frequent complaint about Japanese bikes" . He had strong blanks that are made by ILCO. Model number is KA34. No bent key problems anymore!

 

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:welcome:aboard. Have original kawa side case on my 09 and no complaints whatsoever. Have done cross country tours and they still hold good with all the load in it.

Maybe the latest models are aerodynamically design which take away storage space.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for the replies! It appears that I will be needing to get some keys made....that's a must IMO. Regarding the panniers; Sine I have already put the money down on the LT, it looks like the Kawasaki panniers are going to be what I start with. I don't want to cause a stir, and I do appreciate all of the feedback. This whole ordeal of getting a new bike and being on a forum is both exciting and overwhelming. I am excited about riding again, but there is so much information in forums that you can end up down a rabbit hole pretty quickly. I'm in China and super bored, so I've been doing a lot of research. It's good to dream, but I think I need to touch the bike to actually figure out what I am going to do. One thing for sure is that I will be picking your brains to do the best I can. I can't cry over spilled milk with the panniers, and I am not going to be too hard on myself for making my decision. I'll run what I brung for a while and upgrade if needed. Thanks!
 

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Thanks for the replies! It appears that I will be needing to get some keys made....that's a must IMO. Regarding the panniers; Sine I have already put the money down on the LT, it looks like the Kawasaki panniers are going to be what I start with. I don't want to cause a stir, and I do appreciate all of the feedback. This whole ordeal of getting a new bike and being on a forum is both exciting and overwhelming. I am excited about riding again, but there is so much information in forums that you can end up down a rabbit hole pretty quickly. I'm in China and super bored, so I've been doing a lot of research. It's good to dream, but I think I need to touch the bike to actually figure out what I am going to do. One thing for sure is that I will be picking your brains to do the best I can. I can't cry over spilled milk with the panniers, and I am not going to be too hard on myself for making my decision. I'll run what I brung for a while and upgrade if needed. Thanks!
Put your hands on the bike and all will come to your end and don't worry on the side case..they are not that bad and pretty sure it will meet you ends. Who knows, you might actual like the side case.

Super bored in China, i was there once and i know how you feel. best to bury yourself in your work.
 
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