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I haven't taken mine on a whole lot of off-road adventures, but it seems very capable. This guy says it's a great bike, but it's not for off-road :frown2:. I think some folks here may disagree.

 

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I like his channel. He also says some stupid and/or ignorant stuff sometimes.
I’ve done an occasional dirt trail in mine and hope to do more now that I have some scorpion iis on the bike but I think the biggest improvement off-road would be a more consistent power delivery than my 18 offers currently. First couple mm of my throttle is like flipping a light switch but I don’t think the 18s can be retuned yet.
 

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I like his channel. He also says some stupid and/or ignorant stuff sometimes.
I’ve done an occasional dirt trail in mine and hope to do more now that I have some scorpion iis on the bike but I think the biggest improvement off-road would be a more consistent power delivery than my 18 offers currently. First couple mm of my throttle is like flipping a light switch but I don’t think the 18s can be retuned yet.
I like his channel too, but he's selling bikes. With him being a salesman, I think he was stressing the fun street aspects of this bike. I have to give credit to the folks from India that ride this bike and make videos. They have no qualms about taking this bike anywhere, and they're the ones that illustrated what this bike can do and were instrumental in my purchase decision. I don't have the skills to do hardcore off-roading, but, as he mentions, not a lot of people do that. I was watching some KLR videos and came to realize that I don't think that type of riding is for me; hence my decision of the Versys over the KLR. I also see what some folks on this forum do, and that's about all of the off-roading I'll need; more than enough in many cases. This bike has helped me evolve as a rider, and I feel much more confident on gravel.
 

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IMO the Versys 650 can be made to be adequate on dirt/gravel roads. Did 25 miles of the Olympic forests on mine on Monday. Like most motorcycles, it does not come from the factory with adequate protective gear - engine guards, skid plate, etc. So you gotta add those. But even most 1200GS riders end up adding after-market protection. And of course dual-sport tires...

In my mind the biggest limitations are the 17 inch front wheel and the non-switchable ABS. I don't ride very aggressively on gravel and always have to keep in mind how the ABS might act on steep downhills. The 17 inch wheel limits your ability to deal with obstacles. But so far I've not found any open forest service road that I couldn't handle. If you want to do single-track, that is another story.

On YouTube there is a video by Brett Tkacs showing his photographer's Versys 650, which he apparently rides pretty much everywhere that Bret rides his BMW. It's considerably "armored".

-dm
 

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Years ago somebody posted a video comparing the V650, the WeeStrom and the BMW F650GS, and found the V650 to be the BEST one in the dirt. I'll try to find a link: (I believe THIS is it!)

 

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In my mind the biggest limitations are the 17 inch front wheel and the non-switchable ABS. I don't ride very aggressively on gravel and always have to keep in mind how the ABS might act on steep downhills. The 17 inch wheel limits your ability to deal with obstacles. But so far I've not found any open forest service road that I couldn't handle. If you want to do single-track, that is another story.
You said it, those limitations are in your mind...
It's all about tires and rider.


17in vs 19in wheel makes no difference regarding obstacle height because you won't be slamming into obstacles so high that it would require it. Versys has only 6in ground clearance. That is the real limitation. And I say this while I don't even have a skid plate, and I don't plan to buy one either. 17in preserves the sporty behavior.

The 424 lbs (with empty tank) is manageable. Actually not much worse than the tall KLR. Just avoid topping tank before going in the trail, otherwise it's about 460lbs you have to manage, which is actually not that much felt (until you must pick it up).

The ABS should stay ON for offroad. The only time you could wish it should be off is steep downhill which you would take slowly (abs is off below 5kph) at which angle the rear brake is very inefficient anyway. Besides, if you are practically stopped, all you have to do is turn off ignition and abs will be off. You can also disable ABS (for the current ignition cycle) by spinning the rear wheel in 2nd speed while stationary (find a patch of grass ideally...)

There are many versys off road videos on youtube, some pretty gnarly, some spending time in rivers apparently...lol

I'll say this, I could do the same offroad with a ninja, granted I could have knobbies. Even a mere shinko 705 would bring a sport bike a long way. I just wouldn't like the short suspension.
 

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If you can't easily pick up the bike, do a standing doughnut, or slide off the back and stand the bike up, it doesn't belong off-road. I miss my Trail 70.
 

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If you can't easily pick up the bike, do a standing doughnut, or slide off the back and stand the bike up, it doesn't belong off-road. I miss my Trail 70.
Oh, you probably want to argue about "off-pavement" vs "off-road"...
But you might want to search for a few graham jarvis clips with a big fat ktm...
 
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