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Old 11-12-2012, 01:46 AM   #1
spacekadet OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Jun 2006
Location: Sydney, NSW
Oddometer: 243
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.
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Old 11-12-2012, 02:15 AM   #2
My Hardley is a POS
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Joined: Mar 2007
Location: god's country, AKA. Newfoundland!
Oddometer: 970
All the reasons why my klr was replaced with a versys. There are a few different great sets of ds tires available, the front tire I don't even notice. You can get a set of laced wheels for 1600 with a 19" front wheel. I may get a set next year. All in all the versys is a brilliant bike, it gets better every mile and its comfortable to eat them up in short order.

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Old 11-14-2012, 09:29 PM   #3
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Joined: Nov 2012
Location: Drumbo, Ontario, Canada
Oddometer: 586
Thanks for the review!

I'm in "decision mode" right now, and the Versys 650 is on the short list.

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Old 11-15-2012, 02:03 AM   #4
My Hardley is a POS
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Joined: Mar 2007
Location: god's country, AKA. Newfoundland!
Oddometer: 970
Originally Posted by 16VGTIDave View Post
Thanks for the review!

I'm in "decision mode" right now, and the Versys 650 is on the short list.

I highly recommend it. The versys is as its name implies, a very versitile motorcycle. You can do pretty well everything on it.

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Old 03-15-2013, 07:06 AM   #5
Joined: Mar 2011
Oddometer: 47
I have a 2012 Tiger 800 Roadie which The Girl rides and I split time between my other bike, 07 RWB VFR and The Girl's 09 Versys.

We have breakfast every weekend in Deals Gap so you know what I ride...mountain roads. All 3 bikes are a blast with my favorite for pure sport riding being the VFR, followed by the Versys and then the Triumph. The Triumph has the best suspension and smoothest motor/transmission but lacks ground clearance and has poorly selected gear ratios. 1st gear is too high and 6th gear too low so it is a little stall-happy on take-off and a little too revvy on the highway. The Versys is geared almost the same up top but has a 1st gear you can crawl off-road with. The VFR has the best "ratioed" transmission I ever experienced with wheelie low 1st gear and true overdrive 6th.

For the Versys I rigged a perfect-fit Vista cruise control, added peg lowering brackets with Connie pegs and allen bolts instead of feelers, customized stock seat, better windshield, up-one front sprocket, and highway pegs on aftermarket crash bars. It is 500 mile-day comfy and with Bridgestone S20s or Dunlop Q2s it flat rips the twisties. It will run away and hide from the Tiger simply due to superior clearance and agility.

The VFR is...magic.

The Tiger is a fabulous ride, supremely comfy and composed with a refined feel and big bike roomy. Best seat-to-peg comfort of any bike I have ever owned. I led a BMW S1000 through Western NC last year and the hardcores that run the Tail-of-the-dragon are always telling me how much fun it is to follow. One of the fast guys up there raves about the spark show and the graceful lines I take. The Tiger's relaxed steering geometry and 19" front wheel create an old-school bike feel that seems to like wide lines and smooth braking/accelerating opposed to the modern sportbike cut-and-thrust bias.

Any of these 3 bikes would be a great only bike. They are all fast enough to excite and comfortable enough to ride all day. Of the 3 the Versys is the most unique because it has that mystical connection to the past courtesy of its 650cc parallel twin. Cruising along around 45 MPH on a distant mountain road on a sunny summer day I feel like I am transported back in time. I put my feet up on the highway pegs and let the spirits of a thousand bikers-past marvel at how refined a 650 twin can be. Yeah, I'm old.

I love having these 3 rides to choose from every Saturday and Sunday morning almost as much as I love seeing the Appalachians from my driveway.

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Old 03-15-2013, 07:30 AM   #6
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Joined: Aug 2010
Location: New Hampshire
Oddometer: 1,929
As a recent (past) Versys owner I can say it is a great bike. It can fill a lot of needs, Sport bike, Commuter, Light tourer, and with a few mods adventure bike. The only reason I got rid of mine was I needed a bigger bike for two up and touring. Long hauls are not where the Versys excels. I added a taller rear sprocket to get the rpms down on the interstate. The engine is bullet proof and powerful for its size. If could have afforded to keep 3 bikes I would have kept it.
"Beer cans explode with a nice loud pop when they are hit by a Heidenau K60 at 40 miles an hour. Now my bike smells like last call..." Me
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