Tiger owner impression of a Versys
Had a local ride on my friend's new toy, a Versys 650. In case it's useful for anybody, I'll post my impressions, from the point of view of an XC800 owner.
1. Versys feels way, way more compact, although the specifications say it's only about 100 mm shorter and 10 kg lighter. I really can't reconcile those specs with the "apparent" size. The ergos of the Versys suit me right out of the box. I am 5'10 77kg and I lowered my Tiger 30 mm, added bar risers and tilted the bars back, but it's still a bit big in all dimensions.
2. Versys is easier to turn in a small radius. I feel like it would also be easer to split lanes on it, but that's just speculation (not enough traffic on Sunday afternoon).
3. Versys goes pretty well but not in the same league as Tiger. I've read some reviews that say it vibrates but it's silky smooth compared to say a thumper (but again not as refined as Tiger triple). In fairness to the reviewers I only got to a bit over 100 km/h and you wouldn't expect much vibration at that speed anyway.
4. Big feature: Versys can crawl along at 12 km/h without slipping the clutch. I am jealous. Very jealous. That is right where I want an ADV bike to be. Tiger can only get 20 km/h without the clutch, which is unimpressive. Versys is doing 4,500 rpm at 100 km/h and tiger 4,200 - more or less the same cruising rpm. So Versys has a far, far more useful spread of gears. Not sure why Triumph does not understand that need.
Not sure about the small front wheel on the Versys - it was perfect on my smooth-road test but maybe not my choice on rough surfaces and pot holes. Don't know whether there are dual sport tyres for it, either. The suspension felt quite plush which is good for rough roads but obviously has less travel than a Tiger.
Overall I thought it is very good value for money and with the right tyres would probably be a reasonable dual sport and brilliant commuting bike.