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2009 Kawasaki Versys KLE650
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys!

I thought I'd say hello and tell you that while I don't own a versys, I'm thinking of trading up to one from my KLR 685.

I'd really like to hear what the members here think of the Versys in comparison to the KLR and my other mount, a Bandit 600 sport touring bike.

What are the "MUST DO" mods if you plan on riding long distance and the odd gravel road?

I've a blog in my signature if you'd like to get a good idea of my riding style. ;)

 

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I own both an '08 KLR and the '11 Versys. I really thought the Versys could replace the KLR, but after 5,000 miles on the Versys I don't think so.

My modified KLR is a better bike for the off road side of dual sporting.


The Versys is a better bike for the street and would replace your street bike before it replaces your KLR.


My Versys replaced my Ninja 650R.

 

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:welcome:test ride a versys, my opinion its a street bike that can handle a small amount of off road but its not a KLR.
 

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I agree KLR way better off road! V is ok and with mods a little more off road, but mostly street IMO! :welcome::goodluck:
 

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:welcome:the Versys is a street bike and not a off road bike.

but some have done a great deal of travel where the road ends, so its not the bike bike but the man who handles it.

:cheers:
 

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I had a 98KLR and was in the dealer looking to buy a 2008 when I sat on a 2007 Versys. I immediately liked the riding position and while the style seemed quirky at first, I grew to like it. I do about 90% road riding and even with my old KLR the off-road was mostly gravel and logging style roads.
I took a chance on the Versys and have been very happy with it almost 20, 000km later. Without a doubt it is more of a road bike than a dualsport, but the comfort, power, handling and braking all out perform considerably the KLR. With the right tires and a few mods the Versys can easily do gravel and RTW travel, but not serious off-road. For my limited budget, I can only afford one bike and the Versys allows me to happily dream of many different possibilities.
 

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i sold my versys and bought a klr. The versys is a better street bike if you want to do track days, or like to go fast. However, my 11 klr can keep up with most riders on normal everyday streets even when we start riding harder. I do know that the new model klr is a better street bike than the old one tho so it is prolly a different story in your situation. I get slightly better mpgs on the klr but i love the extra 80+ mile range. the reasons i switch to the klr are...

1) way better weather protection (again something that you would prolly disagree with because of gen 1 factor)
2) i am in new england and the roads get pretty nasty during the spring months and its nice having a little more travel in the suspension.
3) the versys might be a versatile system but the klr is even more versatile (off road aspect)
4) riding position on the klr is perfect for me, i am 6'4" and have pretty long legs love the extra leg room (seat comfort is about the same stock)
5) right now i can only have 2 bikes mine and the wife's tu250x so with the klr i have a perfect compromise for all riding conditions (see item 3) and i figure with the low operating cost of the klr i will be able to convince her that its worth keeping when its time for a different bike :)

Versys pros

1) friggin awesome motor for the price point. great pull all over the rev range and can really get you moving quick when you want to.
2) very good suspension for the price point. Very planted and besides the tu250 i havent ridden a bike thats easier to push through the twisties at a fast pace. gets a little bumpy in the spring around here tho
3)riding position is pretty comfy but wish i had more room to move around on the seat, leg room is a little tight for me but wouldnt change it because it gives great lean angle room.

For distance riding if you dont mind the lack of weather protection all you would need is some highway pegs and a new saddle. but if you want to start hitting some trails remember its got and under chassis exhaust so protecting that is a must and the stock tires just wont do on anything but a dry street. Also, a radiator guard and/or fenda extenda in the front. hand guards too
 

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wow after reading all these great posts about the KLR, makes me want one to. Seriously though I love the Versys. I'm just under 6' however so its just about perfect for me on height. I love the versatile possibilities, but I'm in total agreement with these other guys. I've had mine on some very minor dirt/gravel and although it inspires way more confidence than my previous street bike which I would have never purposefully taken off the pavement, it still leaves some to be desired in that area. I grew up on lots of dirt bikes and I can say for sure that the Versys, while definitely a well rounded bike, is not going to replace a dirt or true dual sport without some modifications. I've seen some pretty good attempts at it and those riders may be happy in that area. IMO, if you want to do the mods it could probably be done. If it were me I'd keep the KLR and get the Versys as well.
 

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I've owned a KLR and many other mid and large dual sports, and for what your describing, I'd actually go with a DR650.. a better bike then the KLR (better brakes, suspension, motor etc.), air cooled, cheap.. and unlike the KLR, they can actually be modded up a bit to improve the power at low cost and effort
 

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i sold my versys and bought a klr. The versys is a better street bike if you want to do track days, or like to go fast. However, my 11 klr can keep up with most riders on normal everyday streets even when we start riding harder. I do know that the new model klr is a better street bike than the old one tho so it is prolly a different story in your situation. I get slightly better mpgs on the klr but i love the extra 80+ mile range. the reasons i switch to the klr are...

1) way better weather protection (again something that you would prolly disagree with because of gen 1 factor)
2) i am in new england and the roads get pretty nasty during the spring months and its nice having a little more travel in the suspension.
3) the versys might be a versatile system but the klr is even more versatile (off road aspect)
4) riding position on the klr is perfect for me, i am 6'4" and have pretty long legs love the extra leg room (seat comfort is about the same stock)
5) right now i can only have 2 bikes mine and the wife's tu250x so with the klr i have a perfect compromise for all riding conditions (see item 3) and i figure with the low operating cost of the klr i will be able to convince her that its worth keeping when its time for a different bike :)

Versys pros

1) friggin awesome motor for the price point. great pull all over the rev range and can really get you moving quick when you want to.
2) very good suspension for the price point. Very planted and besides the tu250 i havent ridden a bike thats easier to push through the twisties at a fast pace. gets a little bumpy in the spring around here tho
3)riding position is pretty comfy but wish i had more room to move around on the seat, leg room is a little tight for me but wouldnt change it because it gives great lean angle room.

For distance riding if you dont mind the lack of weather protection all you would need is some highway pegs and a new saddle. but if you want to start hitting some trails remember its got and under chassis exhaust so protecting that is a must and the stock tires just wont do on anything but a dry street. Also, a radiator guard and/or fenda extenda in the front. hand guards too
I think the Versys has way better weather protection than the KLR, not the other way around. The KLR has no windshield, just a small deflector, the Versys as a plethora of after market wind shields and the stock one keeps most of the breeze of your body on the highway.

The Versys is NOT a track day bike by any means although I suppose you could track it.
 

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I think the Versys has way better weather protection than the KLR, not the other way around. The KLR has no windshield, just a small deflector, the Versys as a plethora of after market wind shields and the stock one keeps most of the breeze of your body on the highway.

The Versys is NOT a track day bike by any means although I suppose you could track it.
Somebody should tell this guy that it isn't a track day bike :D

Yes he's riding a V :D And doing a proper job of slaying SS's in the twisty bits :thumb:

Seriously, i've owned my 2010 V for about 4 months now. actually picking it up from the shop today fresh with a new pirelli on the back :D It's got a "fun factor" that a lot of street bikes nowadays fail to achieve.

Personally i'd switch the bandit 600 out for the V. Let us know what ya do! :cheers:
 

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First, as the OP knows, the '08 is the "new" KLR.
I have the old one, a '92, with 20k miles on it. My Versys is an '09 bought as a left-over in May of 2010. It just went over 21k. That'll tell you which one is more fun to ride.
 

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2009 Kawasaki Versys KLE650
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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks guys, I saw that video of Caldwell Park, and I think he had to end his day because he ground his pegs too short. That covers the street bike part...

As for touring, I'm a bit concerned about the stock windscreen, it looks useless, but then so is the stock windscreen on the KLR. :p

So what do the guys who ride theirs offroad do to them mod wise? I know these bikes are no dual sports, heck, my KLR was a shopping cart with a motor until I upgraded the suspension and tossed the stock muffler away. (It kept hitting my swingarm)

So how do they stack up against the VStrom?
 

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2009 Kawasaki Versys KLE650
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Discussion Starter #16
I've owned a KLR and many other mid and large dual sports, and for what your describing, I'd actually go with a DR650.. a better bike then the KLR (better brakes, suspension, motor etc.), air cooled, cheap.. and unlike the KLR, they can actually be modded up a bit to improve the power at low cost and effort
You, sir, are an evil man. The DR and XR are both better than the KLR, but the KLR can run them into the ground as a super tanker. Twenty years worth of spare parts scattered around the world, so when you pull into Cape Town, Halifax or Baja and ask for a clutch lever... Blah blah blah. :) BUT, on the superslab the KLR was just a plain bitch to ride across Newfoundland, and while I put 1,000 kilometres of gravel under it on the Trans Lab, I was followed by a VStrom that made the remaining 7,000kms of asphalt and highway look simple compared to mine.

Sigh, there is no perfect bike, I thought perhaps the Versys would still let me ride gravel aggressively while making long highway stretches much easier. I must admit, I'm falling in love with my Bandit again, but prefer the Versys seating position.

Has anyone tossed TKC80's or Heidenau K60's along with some serious guards and done dual track on them?
 

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2009 Kawasaki Versys KLE650
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Discussion Starter #17
I sold the KLR, sold the Bandit and bought a DR650E. It was brilliant at everything but highway and two up riding. Enter a fiance, and I swapped The DR650E for a 2009 Versys and while I miss the offroad, I have a love hate with the Versys.

I hate that I can't ride off road on it with the tires and crap suspension.

I love touring on it and hitting the twisties.

You guys were dead on, and yes, I miss my KLR and may end up with something similar like the BMW Sertao or a KTM one day in the distant future.

That being said, I've never had so much fun touring as on this thing.
 

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....I hate that I can't ride off road on it with the tires and crap suspension....
I have ridden MANY thousand dirt-miles on my Vs, on the OEM tires and suspension, as well as updates to both...!

:welcome:
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The DR650E was a whole lot better offroad, and did way better wheelies. :p

The first time I took this one onto a trail, I busted my exhaust and dumped it in the sand.

Last weekend I was climbing a dirt barrier on PA 666 and stuffed a bunch of gravel into the front of the exhaust can due to clearance.

It is the best street bike and sport tourer I've ever owned.

Thanks for the welcome.
 
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