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I took the Basic Rider Course in Maine this past August, and passed my road and written tests at the end of it. I was 51 years old. Prior to the BRC, I had spent a total of less than a couple hours riding motorcycles in my lifetime, all while I was in my teens. It was nice that there were only four of us in the BRC class that weekend, because we got to spent lots of time on the bikes - over 30 miles in a trucking company's parking lot.

I had a number of people tell me I should just get a beater bike, that I would end up dropping it, etc. I wasn't keen on idea of getting a used bike though that might have issues due to poor maintenance, and I also liked the added safety of ABS. I ended up getting a really great deal ($7274) on a new 2016 Versys 650 LT. I actually bought the bike before I took the BRC. I had also looked at the V-Strom 650, the NC700X and the F700GS, although I didn't ride any of them, since I didn't even have a rider permit yet. I have no regrets about getting the Versys 650. Being such a new rider, riding any bike is not going to feel completely natural to me, but I do feel relatively comfortable on the Versys. I also love how positive virtually everything I've read about the bike has been. I'm excited to do some touring/camping with it this year.

I'm already kind of thinking about getting something like a KLX250, CRF250L or WR250R as a second bike, not to replace the Versys, but for more off-road riding.
 

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I took the Basic Rider Course in Maine this past August, and passed my road and written tests at the end of it. I was 51 years old. Prior to the BRC, I had spent a total of less than a couple hours riding motorcycles in my lifetime, all while I was in my teens. It was nice that there were only four of us in the BRC class that weekend, because we got to spent lots of time on the bikes - over 30 miles in a trucking company's parking lot.

I had a number of people tell me I should just get a beater bike, that I would end up dropping it, etc. I wasn't keen on idea of getting a used bike though that might have issues due to poor maintenance, and I also liked the added safety of ABS. I ended up getting a really great deal ($7274) on a new 2016 Versys 650 LT. I actually bought the bike before I took the BRC. I had also looked at the V-Strom 650, the NC700X and the F700GS, although I didn't ride any of them, since I didn't even have a rider permit yet. I have no regrets about getting the Versys 650. Being such a new rider, riding any bike is not going to feel completely natural to me, but I do feel relatively comfortable on the Versys. I also love how positive virtually everything I've read about the bike has been. I'm excited to do some touring/camping with it this year.

I'm already kind of thinking about getting something like a KLX250, CRF250L or WR250R as a second bike, not to replace the Versys, but for more off-road riding.
You will find quite a few folks on this forum take their Versys off road. I'm in the camp of having a dual sport bike like you are mentioning for off road riding. I have a Kawasaki KLX250 and love it!
 

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Welcome aboard from 180 miles north of you at Moosehead Lake, ME, my home. We're there between May and October and then we retreat to San Antonio, TX, wife's home, where we can continue to ride! I suspect you will really like the Versys. I'm 73 with a 29 inch inseam and I still love the Versys, although it stays in Texas.

In Maine I ride a '93 BMW K75S which I dearly love but it does remind me I'm an old short legged man - with an artificial hip. And with the exceptions of log trucks, moose and deer, Maine is a great place to ride. Enjoy your Versys and ride safely.
 

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I replaced my '07 Ninja 650 and my '08 KLR 650 with the '11 Versys 650 and '12 KLX250S.

I believe the KLX complements the Versys nicely and a better bike to hone your skills on than the Versys.
It's also an awesome dirt bike; I frequently take my Grandson out dirt riding. I was able to teach him to ride and we've had some great bonding time together!

 

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I was a new rider when I got my versys 650 and very happy with it. it is great starter big easy to ride and you can go some off road on it you will just need to add some accessories to it such as replacing the windscreen get some crash bars, side cases, top case and if you have non LT version then you need gear indicator and power plug. I have 11k on my 2015 and never had a single issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I got a 2016 LT, so it came with the side cases. I'm happy with the windscreen so far, but I have no basis for comparison. I'm leaning more toward getting a 250 dual-sport bike for shorter or more off-road oriented trips, and using the Versys for mostly paved road touring/camping, so I'm not leaning toward crash bars or a skid plate for the Versys at this point. I think I'm just going to add the Kawasaki relay, to feed Oxford heated grips and the Givi three-port USB hub, which will live in a Givi XS320 tanklock bag, when it's on the bike. I have a couple sizes of drybags, which I can put camping gear in and strap down across the rear seat and top of the side cases for longer trips.

I'm still debating getting the Garmin Zumo 395 vs. just using phone apps. I know there are countless threads out there debating the merits of one vs. the other. I love the voice of the latest iOS Apple Maps chick telling me directions, and the app has gotten so much better in multiple ways, but it's not a motorcycle oriented app, although you can just say no highways and no tolls, which isn't bad. I would guess that Garmin routing is better on the Zumo, but can't match Apple Maps audio directions.

I'm not sure about the gear indicator. I have tried to shift into 7th gear a few times, but no harm done. Having driven a manual transmission car for many years, I'm okay paying attention to the tach (or just listening to the engine) when downshifting. I need to spend more time on the bike before I decide that I care enough about the gear indicator.
 

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Wecome! Don't forget to download the service manual from the tech section. If you have not already done so I would install engine bars like the SW-Motech and swing arm spools (8mm) plus get a pit stand. No need for a skid plate if not tackling rough terrain. The Oxford grips do not require a relay as they shut off automatically.

The engine bars will pay for themselves the first time you drop the bike which you are almost guaranteed to do as a new rider. The pit stand and spools will make basic maintenance tasks a lot easier.
 

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I got a 2016 LT, so it came with the side cases. I'm happy with the windscreen so far, but I have no basis for comparison. I'm leaning more toward getting a 250 dual-sport bike for shorter or more off-road oriented trips, and using the Versys for mostly paved road touring/camping, so I'm not leaning toward crash bars or a skid plate for the Versys at this point. I think I'm just going to add the Kawasaki relay, to feed Oxford heated grips and the Givi three-port USB hub, which will live in a Givi XS320 tanklock bag, when it's on the bike. I have a couple sizes of drybags, which I can put camping gear in and strap down across the rear seat and top of the side cases for longer trips.

I'm still debating getting the Garmin Zumo 395 vs. just using phone apps. I know there are countless threads out there debating the merits of one vs. the other. I love the voice of the latest iOS Apple Maps chick telling me directions, and the app has gotten so much better in multiple ways, but it's not a motorcycle oriented app, although you can just say no highways and no tolls, which isn't bad. I would guess that Garmin routing is better on the Zumo, but can't match Apple Maps audio directions.

I'm not sure about the gear indicator. I have tried to shift into 7th gear a few times, but no harm done. Having driven a manual transmission car for many years, I'm okay paying attention to the tach (or just listening to the engine) when downshifting. I need to spend more time on the bike before I decide that I care enough about the gear indicator.
I would get the FOBO TPMS system before buying a gear indicator.

Also, as a new rider you will drop the bike at some point. Especially if you are going to load it up for camping and maneuvering around campsites and other uneven surfaces. The engine guards are invaluable.
 

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It's also an awesome dirt bike; I frequently take my Grandson out dirt riding. I was able to teach him to ride and we've had some great bonding time together!



Which is why I got it. The KLR650 is a compromise bike unless you have mad off-road skills and the strength of a linebacker.

...and yes, I do have a GPS mounted to my little KLX. That jeep trail in New Mexico was actually a "road" on my GPS. The Versys would have never made it up those mountains.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Welcome aboard from 180 miles north of you at Moosehead Lake, ME, my home...Enjoy your Versys and ride safely.
Thanks! I spent a week on Moosehead Lake 34 years ago, but haven't been that far up since. It was really nice up there though in the summer. I moved to Cape Elizabeth in April last year, after living in Freedom, NH the previous 17 years. I lived in and around Boston before that.

I've spent quite a bit on good protective riding gear and I like to think that I'm a more alert driver than most people - I haven't been in an accident in the past 30 years, although some of that is from sheer good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Wecome! Don't forget to download the service manual from the tech section. If you have not already done so I would install engine bars like the SW-Motech and swing arm spools (8mm) plus get a pit stand. No need for a skid plate if not tackling rough terrain. The Oxford grips do not require a relay as they shut off automatically.

The engine bars will pay for themselves the first time you drop the bike which you are almost guaranteed to do as a new rider. The pit stand and spools will make basic maintenance tasks a lot easier.
Thanks for the tips! I was planning on getting a pit stand, although I had never heard of swing arm spools, but now know what they they are. I realize that the Oxford grips will shut off on their own, but for $17 plus shipping, I would just assume put in the relay to eliminate any draw from USB or 12V when the engine isn't running - I might as well run the grips through it as well. I'll give more serious thought to the engine/crash bars.
 

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Thanks for the tips! I was planning on getting a pit stand, although I had never heard of swing arm spools, but now know what they they are. I realize that the Oxford grips will shut off on their own, but for $17 plus shipping, I would just assume put in the relay to eliminate any draw from USB or 12V when the engine is running - I might as well run the grips through it as well. I'll give more serious thought to the engine/crash bars.
Swing arm spools are really cheap on ebay but take a month to arrive from china.

I've owned two Versys over the years. I would not own one without installing crash bars. Tall bikes are easy to tip over and especially so in your first few years of riding. They will usually pay for themselves with your first drop on it's side and you are guaranteed to have a few per year in your first few years of riding. The plastics are expensive to repair/replace and the SW-Motech bars prevent them from touching the ground. My engine bars are always scarred but it is easy to fix this with black paint, can't say the same for fairings. Of the different crash bars options SW-Motech is probably the best but there is also Givi and a few other brands.

I assume you are mounting your phone for GPS as you mention USB connectivity. Be sure to select a 2 amp USB plug as not all are. There are numerous mounting options but the RAM-B-186 (~$10) attaches to the handle bar clamp on the Versys and works well as it keeps your phone out of wind blast unlike the bar mounts. With this I just use a standard RAM X-Mount that does double duty in my car too, with a windshield suction cup ball mount.
 

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I highly recommend you get that dirt bike sooner rather than later. Take it out to dirt roads and trails. Push it a bit at lower speeds and as you gain confidence see what it takes to regain control in a skid. Turn into a skid and ease, not close, the throttle. Practice emergency braking. The thing is your actions need to become instinctive. If you have to consider what to do it's already too late. You will probably drop it a few times practicing this.

I guarantee that sooner or later dirt bike skills will save you from dropping your Versys.
 
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