For those who have ridden the V-Strom 650 and Versys

Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by Wambo, Apr 16, 2008.

  1. Wambo

    Wambo On the road to nowhere

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    What made you decide on one vs the Other? I have owned a DL650 and after seeing the Versys in person, I'm a bit impressed with it. Keep in mind I'm not evaluating off-road performance, just for the street. Comparisons I'm looking at are handling, performance, fuel mileage, headlight performance (is the Versys as good as the V-Strom?), wind protection with aftermarket screens.

    I'm looking at your opinions other than the various magazines.

    Thanks! :D
    #1
  2. pilot

    pilot ...

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    I like them both. I bought a Versys. I only wish it had a bigger front wheel. Its a fun scoot.
    #2
  3. predictive

    predictive Finagler

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    I've ridden both and I bought the Versys because it's better than the Wee for the sort of riding I primarily do; commuting and some spirited weekend carving (I ride full time; no car.) I think the Versys' handling is phenomenal compared to just about everything else I've ridden, and the headlight's pretty darn good (I didn't ride the Wee at night, so I have no comparison there). I get around 40mpg during long rides averaging 85mph, and around 45mpg in typical commuting. I bought the Givi windscreen but I don't really like it (I prefer to be colder in clean wind than put up with the minor buffeting most screens provide.)

    If I rode more miles on the highway or the dirt, I'd have bought the Wee; it's got much better wind protection and is a bit better set up for offroad riding. As it is, I ride more often in city traffic and back roads, situations in which the Versys is far superior to the Wee.

    Ultimately, I spent the money on the Versys because it's the ultimate urban assault bike, and that's just what I needed.
    #3
  4. ronbaror

    ronbaror V_Ron

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    First , a disclaimer, I own a V-strom , so you could say I am biased....and you are probably right.:rofl


    I went for a ride in the mountains a few weeks ago.
    During the ride I swapped bikes with a friend on a Versys.

    Here are my remarks.
    1. The V-Strom's motor is much better. No comparison really. A modern 90 degree V-twin is much better than a parallel twin. The low end and mid range tourque is much better, and it also revs higher

    2. The V-Strom suspension is much better. The versys front end is too soft, and the rear suspension isn't that great either. The Strom's suspension is great for all round road use. ( I don't use it off-road, the Strom is not a dual sport , even though a lot of people think it is).

    That really says it all. Suspension, frame and motor is everything on these bikes.

    I agree that the Versys looks much better. Feels shorter, feels more nimble.
    When you sit on it, you think it's going to be a supermoto style bike.......but looks can be deceiving :huh

    Besides, when you ride the V-Strom, you can't see how ugly it is...

    Hope that helps.
    #4
  5. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    It's funny how different people ride the same two bikes (assuming the bikes Ron rode were both stock) and come away with completely different impressions.

    Unlike Ron, I'm not biased. I have both a V-Strom (Vee, though, not Wee) and a Versys. But, I have ridden the Wee quite a bit and also rode them back to back last weekend.

    Aesthetics aside (given that it's a personal matter), the Versys is and feels smaller. It's shorter (both overall length and wheelbase) has much smaller visual mass in front of you when you are sitting on it, so that really contributes to that impression. The seating position has a slight more forward lean on the Versys, the seat to peg distance is shorter too (at least compared to the optional Suzuki gel seat), making it feel more like a sport bike than a tourer. For me, that distance is actually too short (long inseam, reaching the ground is rarely a problem for me on bikes people usually complain about being on tiptoes... :evil ), and since the seat height is actually not that tall, there will probably be a taller seat in the near future on my bike. Kawasaki offers a tall gel seat in Europe, but Kawasaki NA, in it's infinite wisdom, decided that we don't need that option, and only sells the short version here.

    I typically don't like big windscreens, so most of the time I use a short one on the Versys (as well as on the V-Strom). Remarksman's Wee is equipped with a stock screen bolted to a MadStad bracket. In that configuration, the Wee offers better wind protection but also creates some turbulence at the top of your helmet. The Versys with a short screen puts the air at chest level, creating more noise at helmet level but no turbulence. I have a taller screen (Powerbronze) which gives results similar to the Wee screen with the MadStad bracket. Without any modifications, the V-Strom's screen is really annoying at highway speeds.

    The Versys engine produces more vibration. It's more noticeable than the vibrations the 90 deg twin on the Wee makes. On paper the Wee makes more power, but on the road you wouldn't know that. Probably due to the difference in weight, the Versys feels more lively. But in reality, the differences are minimal, so it's not anything that would sway you one way or the other.

    The Versys is definitely stiffer sprung than the Wee. Actually, I'd probably say it's surprisingly stiffly sprung and damped for a Japanese "standard". It feels more like what you'd expect a sport bike to be sprung/damped like. This could be good or bad, depending on your weight, use and type of riding. There is no doubt that there is a lot of movement, due to the long travel suspension, but the V-Strom (in stock form) dives more under braking.

    Handling is very different. The Versys with the shorter wheelbase and smaller front wheel turns in faster but also feels more nervous (I guess it goes hand in hand) in a straight line. Small inputs translate to almost immediate movement. The Wee has better straight line stability but requires more effort to initiate a turn. Once you are in the turn, the Wee will bounce less over bumps mid turn. The Versys stiffer suspension settings makes it bounce more and probably requires more attention, because every movement you make at the bars translates to a change in direction.

    Assuming both bikes in their stock configuration - if you had only one road bike, the Wee will allow you to tackle a larger variety of riding conditions in greater comfort, especially if you were going on longer road trips. The Versys is more fun to ride on weekend rides. Both bikes can benefit from a good budget for aftermarket accessories and parts. Once you start doing that, it just depends on which way you want to take it, both will allow you to customize it so they are better for your intended use.

    I'll send Remarksman a note, he doesn't regularly read this section, see if we can get an honest opinion from a Wee rider... :lol3


    Gustavo
    #5
  6. motoman250f

    motoman250f Been here awhile

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    I agree with every word gustavo!! That is the most fair comparison I have read to date on these 2 bikes.

    Thanks,
    #6
  7. Remarksman

    Remarksman Been here awhile

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    Gustavo & I traded bikes (his Versys for my WeeStrom) for 30 miles or so on a ride last weekend. I agree with his assessment of the differences.

    I'm not sure if Gustavo's bike has unusual fork springs, or if the one Ron rode does, but the forks on Gustavo's Versys are quite firm, probably too firm. I didn't get a good or bad feeling from the rear shock, mostly because the forks were strikingly stiff. Contrast this with my Wee, which is a bit too soft front and back (and my back shock is essentially sacked at 10,000 miles).

    Versys vs. Wee is an unusual comparison to make, since the Versys would line up much more similarly to Suzuki's SV650. The WeeStrom is kind of the 'touring' version of the SV: big (heavy!) frame to allow room for a passenger and hard luggage, bigger front wheel for 'dual sport cred', and wind protection (altho the stock 'Strom wind screen setup sucks). If you're really looking at street-only, maybe the SV is what you should be comparing against.

    For your specific questions, I'm only partially qualified to answer, since I bought the Wee before the Versys existed, and I have an old SV650S to satisfy my street carving desires.

    Regarding handling and performance on the street, the Versys wins any track day or twisty road comparison. It's smaller. It's lighter, with similar power. The Versys frame, forks, and swingarm are race-bike stiff compared to the floppy forks on the Wee. A quick twitch of the handlebars at speed will reveal a firm twitch and possible headshake on the Versys, while the Wee responds with some flexiness. The Wee starts looking better as the pavement quality (potholes!) goes down and/or the miles you're riding per day go up.

    I can't tell you anything about Versys fuel mileage or headlight effectiveness. The Wee has better headlights than many new cars, so it's going to be tough to beat that. I get anywhere from 40 to low 50's MPG on the Wee, and it doesn't always seem to relate to the riding style. Sometimes I think the injection software may be a bit glitchy because of the variations. (I have an '04)

    Wind protection is a whole can o' worms. You could spend days reading about aftermarket and home-made solutions for the WeeStrom here on ADV and on various VStrom forums. I did! Then I got the MadStad bracket. It helped a lot, but it's not perfect. Much of what you will read about wind protection is somewhat useless because people are different sizes, people the same size as you ride differently than you, and have different expectations and experiences.
    I assume that loads of drivel have been written about Versys wind screens, but there's probably less of it because fewer people own them.

    Have fun choosing!
    #7
  8. tedder

    tedder irregular

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    well said, remarksman, gustavo, et al.

    The comparison seems a little apples and oranges; the Versys is a smaller bike, especially at the tail end, more street oriented (front tire, suspension, etc), and the engines are somewhat different. I suspect the FZ6 and Versys are more closely related than the Versys and DL650.

    Listen to Gustavo, though. He's in a position to tell you, because he owns both a V-Strom and a Versys. While his 'strom is a 1000, it is close enough to make the comparison in everything except engine power. The only thing I'll say about Gustavo is that he has very odd preferences for windscreens :-)
    #8
  9. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    I forgot to the headlight question. Most US bound Versi (and from reading the International forum, almost all Versi) come from the factory with the headlight aimed three feet in front of the bike. Even after correcting that, it's not as good as the headlights on the V-Strom. Like others have mentioned, kudos to Suzuki for that one, because very few stock setups are.

    Gustavo
    #9
  10. pilot

    pilot ...

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    I rode from KC to Dallas today. On the VS. My mileage was right at 41 running 75-85 with a stiff headwind.

    Its loaded fairly heavy with a Givi 52 top box and soft bags.

    I didn't bring my Airhawk seat pad. I wish I had. It could be a lot worse, but I see room for improvement.

    In the handling department, I was quite favorably impressed. It tracks very well in straight lines and in curves. It felt very stable. It reminded me of the 1150GS I had.

    Compared to the Wee I've ridden, I would say they are more alike than different.

    The VS is definitely smaller. If riding two up is important, I would go with the Wee. Riding alone, the VS.
    #10
  11. dirtworm

    dirtworm n00b

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    What he said.

    Actually, I wouldn't mind having them both. :evil

    -Glen
    #11
  12. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz Long timer

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    Thanks for the post (saves me writing it :D )
    Owning a V...and having ridden both the Wee and Versys, Gustavo nailed it any which way.
    +1 on every word.
    Must admit, I do like the Versys a lot and wouldn't mind one in the garage, it's a hoot.
    (then again, I love ALL bikes and always find enough reason to 'have of them in the garage"...that's addiction for ya :freaky )
    #12
  13. hunting1

    hunting1 Been here awhile

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    I love my Versys, but to do it again I would probably go Weestrom. With that said, I can not find any real faults with the Versys and highly recomend it to anyone looking for a good street and some gravel roads bike. It is fun and the after market argument is becoming a non issue now. Both good bikes!
    #13
  14. Wambo

    Wambo On the road to nowhere

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    Everyone, I really appreciate you guys taking the time to respond. My V-Strom 650 was a good bike with probably the best headlights I've ever seen on a bike (which is why I added that to the list of questions), but it was a bit vague for handling feedback and was noticably top heavy. When I sat on the Versys, even though both are tall it felt far less top heavy, and reminded me of the Multistrada, which I've had the luck to test ride and I loved the way it felt. However, I haven't ridden the Versys, so that's why I appreciate your inputs that much more. I feel the V-Strom and Versys are very similar in regards to having longer suspension travel for the 'real world' roads we find, rather than the FZ6 or SV, with very comfy seating positions. I also prefer twins in that size range more than the inline 4's due the better low end torque.

    Gustavo, Tedder, and Remarksman: I should have known that the Oregon guys would have the answer! We have a very rich 'DL' environment here, as I see several all the time. I've only seen one Versys on the road-Gustavo maybe? I wouldn't mind having both but my wife would kill me in my sleep.
    #14
  15. tedder

    tedder irregular

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    Yeah, we miss Gustavo's wife. The corner ruled it a freak accident.

    -ted
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  16. pilot

    pilot ...

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    Actually, comparing the Versys to the little Multistrata is valid. I have a neighbor with the 620 Multistrata. Side by side, they measure up very well. Same weight, wheelbase, hp, ergos, right down the list. If there is one bike I would guess Kawasaki copied for the Versys, I'd say the little Multi. It even Ducati red.
    #16
  17. ronbaror

    ronbaror V_Ron

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    Ok , you got me, I am actualy a Suzuki dealer.
    Please buy a V-Strom or they will fire me....:rofl

    Seriously now, if you own both bikes, I guess I should'nt argue with you and your mates, as you all seem to agree.

    But here is a thought.

    If a person loses his eyesight, his hearing, taste and touch senses improve to compensate.
    If a dog loses a leg, it learns to run on 3 legs.
    By the same logic, if a biker is forced to own only one bike ....he has to master the art of making a good choice.... no ?

    Just a thought:evil.... I know its rubbish, if I could own 50 bikes I would.

    I read a lot of the posts on ADvrider on several categories. There is a lot of information here. There is also a lot of conflicting information here.
    As a reader, I am always tryging to find the few people who actuall y knows what they are writing about , as opposed to the masses of +1 posters.

    I'm wondering what you guys have to say....
    I will read your posts later, cause now I am going down town to trade my V-Strom in for a Versys:lol3
    #17
  18. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    Considering Tedder's previous post, all I have to say is "No Comment".


    :lol3


    Gustavo
    #18
  19. Remarksman

    Remarksman Been here awhile

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    +1
    :evil
    #19
  20. Motodevil

    Motodevil n00b

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    After reading a good chunk of replies, I thought I would throw in my opinion too, although, this subject truely has been "well" covered.
    Mostly because my experience has a couple of diferences.
    Biggest is mileage, I've seen alot of low and mid 40's claims. I live in Colorado springs, over 6500 ft up and the worst mileage I've gotten after beating on my Versys is 50, With a best of 59. I'm still experimenting with 87 vs 91 octane gas, the 59mpg was with 91, but I was real nice that tank.
    The headlight is aimed absurdly low from the factory, I am still adjusting mine up more, The low beam is wide but ends very abruptly in front of you, the high beam is killer, wide throws down the road pretty far and bright. I use Sylvania Silverstar bulbs, which helps quite a bit.
    The handling is no doubt fooking quick, and thusly can be a bit nervous, but holy shit, can you throw this thing around. It is not as stiff as I'm personally used to, but that is coming from a YZF600 with a track tuned Race Tech front end. As long as you're smooth with this bike, it holds a line pretty damn well.
    I will do little to no offroad, so that matters little to me, if I wanna go offroad, I'll buy a real offroad bike.
    As far as comfort goes, again coming off a rocket, I think the Versys is pretty damn comfy, I do a few hundred miles a day sometimes, and no real complaints, as long as I'm not stuck going straight for too long. I'm 6 ft...
    To repeat, it all comes down to what you will use the bike for, how you define comfort, and obviously asthetic opinion.

    Cheers,
    Erik!!!
    #20