2015-on Versys 650 (LT/ABS)

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by mcmann, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. augie05

    augie05 Been here awhile

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    I am looking to potentially purchase a middleweight bike to supplement "my wife's" 2018 Goldwing. I primarily bought the Goldwing so that she is comfortable as a pillion as we were doing a lot of two-up riding... but doing less of that now. Plan to keep the Goldwing for now but we will see if we change our mind.

    We would use the new bike primarily for one-up local and NC mountain twisty roads. The other KEY use would be to trailer the new bike from NC to the western U.S. starting next year for extended retirement trips. My wife no longer wants to ride across the country on the back of the Goldwing ....so we would use the new middleweight bike for shorter rides from our west base location, including some light gravel in western states like Colorado, etc. Guessing it might be a 50-50 mix of shorter solo and two-up rides.... maybe less pillion time if my wife hates the back seat.

    The Versys 650 LT is currently at the top of my list. Prefer a 2018 leftover as I like the look of that year vs. the newer ones. I previously owned a 2016 Versys 1000 LT and was generally happy with it. I also previously owned a 2009 V-Strom 650 and was generally happy with that as well. My wife was much more confortable on the back of the Versys than she was with the 2009 Vstrom. I believe the primary issue w/ the 2009 Vstrom was the passenger foot peg position.

    Other bikes currently considering: 2017+ Vstrom 650, Honda CB500x, Yamaha Tracer 900 GT (prefer new, discounted leftovers for each)

    Key requirements for middlweight bike:
    1) Complements 2018 Goldwing
    2) Fun/sporty character
    3) Can handle reasonable gravel roads -- much better than my Goldwing
    4) Good value
    5) Reasonable pillion comfort -- maybe most challenging item??
    6) Lighter / transportable
    7) Good adjustable wind protection
    8) Good adjustable suspension

    I weigh 175 lbs and wife is 135 lbs... without gear. I plan to ride as many bikes as possible before pulling the trigger. Other than your feedback - I am guessing that the test rides might seal the deal for me -- assuming that I can get test rides on these bikes.

    Any and all feedback/recommendations appreciated. Thanks!
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  2. Lee R

    Lee R Man in a Box

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    The 650 should be a more agile bike than the 1000 you had previously, with the power hit but as you had a Vstrom you know what to expect there. I think it just comes down to how your wife gets along with the rear seat on the V650. Out of the above options I’d go with the Versys. It’ll do gravel fine at a mellow pace but it’s much better imo in twisty’s than the Vstrom. The Tracer is cool but the fuel range is way shorter and the geometry is a bit more mellow. Plus it takes premium fuel which isn’t the end of the world but it’s sometimes harder to find out west. The fuel range is important out there. (I lived in Utah for a while). Also the Versys luggage is better.

    I think it say’s a lot that so many of the moto journalists went with the Versys 650 over other options for the mix of performance/price/cost to own/handling etc. If that Tracer had a 250 mile range it would be way more attractive but it’s more like a 170-180 to fill up and 200ish empty range.

    Having owned both I feel like the Versys is more fun to ride than the Vstrom. It’s a much better twisty road bike.

    I think this comes down to the rear seat. You may want to throw the Vstrom 1000 into the mix as well, it’s quite a lot lighter than the Versys 1000. I think it’s @ 500lbs vs 570. Maybe 35lbs or something more than the V650.

    Check out the Moto Guzzi V85TT as well, middleweight with shaft drive and great fuel range. @ 500lbs. I owned a Stelvio and it was a great bike, just heavy. Easiest bikes out there to work on (valve checks are lol easy). Air filter was under the seat! (Why they aren’t all like that!) Mine was reliable aside from some minor stuff like an exhaust gasket that leaked (easy fix). I only sold it because it was nearly 600lbs.

    I
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  3. augie05

    augie05 Been here awhile

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    Great feedback, Lee R!

    I really hope my wife would be reasonably happy on the back of the Versys 650.... but a bit worried that it won't work for her.

    The Vstrom 1000 might be the ticket if I ingore the looks. Maybe even get a good deal on a leftover 2018/19 model since the 2020 1050 models just came out. Again, need to get over the looks but I struggle with the beak/lights combo on the 2014-2019 models. The cruise on the 2020 model would be really nice to have and the new one looks slighly better. Maybe there will be some better pricing come winter on 2020 models... ??

    Need to get my wife to sit on the main options but she is recovering from a nasty (pedal) bike accident and she is not yet ready to throw her leg over a motorcycle.

    Maybe the wrong sub-forum... but let me know if anyone has any thoughts on the pillion comfort of the 2014-2020 Vstrom 1000/1050 vs. the first generation Vstrom 650. My wife hated our 2009 Vstrom 650.
  4. Ogre_fl

    Ogre_fl Long timer

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    Well, it took a long time, but I got my MRA SP shield.

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  5. vagrant1947

    vagrant1947 He is free who lives as he chooses!

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    I'm trying to find the MFG. of the really nice highway peg brackets I got 5 years ago. Does thumbnail_IMG_0835.jpg anybody remember the name of these?
    Doug Just Doug likes this.
  6. Lee R

    Lee R Man in a Box

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    Looks like motowork. I have a set on my 650.
    https://motowerk.com/
  7. Doug Just Doug

    Doug Just Doug Silly Party Candidate Supporter

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    Yup, Motowerk. I have 'em, too.
  8. vagrant1947

    vagrant1947 He is free who lives as he chooses!

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    Yep! thanks.
  9. Matt-J2

    Matt-J2 Been here awhile

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    Is it saying miles for both? I ask because 15,000mi is close to 26,000km. Could just be a misprint.
  10. NJPinesExplorer

    NJPinesExplorer n00b

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    Can confirm: own a Miata and a 2015 Versys 650 LT. Having owned faster motorcycles and cars, but now being a bit older, I really enjoy vehicles with that power sweet spot. You can rev them out, slam through the gears, take in the visceral sound of the engine at wide open throttle, and not end up in prison in the process. The Versys 650 is quick enough that you're faster than most cars on the road, but it won't have you going 120 mph before you realize it. The 180 degree twin engine character is also unique and fun.

    Also, I made a post two years ago in this thread complaining about the 650 engine, but after getting my ECU tuned by Shoodaben Engineering, I no longer think it needs any improvement. My biggest complaint about the 650 engine was the lack of torque below 3K RPM and the snatchy on/off throttle feel. This tune completely fixes all of that. The bike pulls smooth from below 3K RPM and the snatchy throttle is gone. I highly recommend checking out the long thread over at the Kawasaki Versys forums on the tune, and the Shoodaben website. The bike finally runs like it should and is so much more enjoyable as a result.

    Now if only I could get a 2017 gague cluster to work on my 2015 for that sweet gear indicator...
  11. Lee R

    Lee R Man in a Box

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    It’s possible it’s a misprint. They have the KM listed as well.

    AF8EB8FF-DBC1-486E-A59C-64F18D43412C.jpeg
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  12. fiatvhs2

    fiatvhs2 I just wanna ride

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    Just had my 2015 stock Kawasaki Versys 650 ECU flashed by Steve at Shoodaben Engineering, just as stated above made a major improvement in mid range and no more hesitation or snatchy throttle response. Well worth the $270.00 and took less than a week including shipping. It only took 5 minutes today to reinstall the ECU. As stated above the bike is much more pleasant to ride and when you roll on throttle at low rpm in perhaps a gear to high it smoothly accelerates instead of hesitating. Much more fun to ride.
  13. Cactus67

    Cactus67 Been here awhile Supporter

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    Versys 650 LT is on my short list for an affordable all around machine. The bike sure has loads of fans.

    The Ninja 650, even though it is lighter and gets LED lighting and TFT dash, doesn’t seem nearly as popular. Why is that? Seems like with a tank bag & tail bag it’d be a pretty good light tourer.
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  14. StanBo

    StanBo Been here awhile Supporter

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    Body position and two OEM hard cases?

    Heated grips?
  15. Cactus67

    Cactus67 Been here awhile Supporter

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    Yeah if I had to guess, it's the more comfortable ergos, especially for taller than average riders, combined with the bags, long travel suspension, and decent wind protection.

    I also think the Ninja would sell more units if it weren't named "Ninja"... I thought that was okay in the '80s, but it seems kinda goofy now.
  16. davidji

    davidji bike curious

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    With some mods I expect it would be fine.

    Can you add side racks to the current Ninja 650R? I had them on my 1st gen. Even if you go with soft luggage, side racks increase your options.

    Have you test ridden the bikes?

    The Versys will be more comfortable out of the box. I had more fun with my 2nd gen Versys than with my 1st gen Ninja 650R. If I had done more mods to the Ninja I think I would have liked touring on it more than I did, but the range still would have been worse than the Versys.
    Cactus67 likes this.
  17. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    I really like what Kawasaki did with the last generation Ninja/Z650. Then I sat on both and decided that the seat-to-peg distance wouldn't work even with mods. I have a Versys with a ~1" taller seat and foot peg lowering blocks, and going from that to the Z650 was a deal breaker for me:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    That and a bit more suspension travel on the Versys, but the stock suspension calibration Kawasaki decided to give the Versys was geared towards heavier riders, which means that lighter ones had to redo the suspension with lighter weight springs and damping rates. Mine already has the modified suspension, so another reason not to trade it.


    Gustavo
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  18. Cactus67

    Cactus67 Been here awhile Supporter

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    Seat to peg on the Z650 is tight for me. So if the ninja is the same, that’s not ideal.

    I heard that the Kawasaki accessory LED driving lights are quite good for the Versys. Might just add those. Really would like LEDs.
  19. Mr Maggo

    Mr Maggo n00b

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    Long time lurker here.
    70 years young and am the proud new owner of a 2020 Versys 650 LT
    Was at the top of my( Bucket List )
    Spending the grandkids inheritance hahaha.
    Just trying to Farkal the bike up a bit before spring comes along to start some long distancing rides.
    I am hopping some one with the same great bike can help me out.
    I have installed the T-Rex engine guard crash bars for this bike and would like to install S W Motechs Aluminum skid plate.Part No. Mss.08.518.1000/s
    I don’t know if the two are compatible with each other.( If they will fit and play nice together.?)
    I have tried reading through the posts on the Versys 650 but can’t find anyone that have put the two together.
    If some one could give me a bit of direction to a site that may have this information or has tried this setup It would be greatly appreciated .
    Thanks for help with this .
    Cheers
    Lawrence
  20. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    My $00.02. Either add the bike model in your thread title or post this in a Verseys owners thread to get an answer.