Kawasaki Versys Adventure

Discussion in 'Japanese polycylindered adventure bikes' started by Ted99UK, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. Ted99UK

    Ted99UK Adventurer

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    I have posted this as a new thread. It is included in another long thread.
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    This is my take on the Versys turned into an Adventure bike.
    I bought it new in July08, knowing it was a gamble because if I couldn't sort it to my requirements it would have to go. There was no bike on sale which did exactly what I wanted so I got the nearest. It had to be a twin, compact, light weight and capable of rough but mud-free off road trails.
    I am 6ft 4ins so the first job was the seat. I took it to a small company in UK who have rebuilt several seats for me. They removed the seat foam and made me a new foam onto the stock base, raising it almost 3 inches and much more long distance comfy. Unbelievable transformation. Nearly perfect riding position which really surprised me since I am so tall and the standard Versys seat suits “quite” small riders pretty well.
    Next job suspension. I hadn't known whether it was just too hard or crap design.
    Replaced the rear first with a UK made Hagon shock. Still way too hard but Hagon rebuilt it for me with softer spring and much softer compression damping.
    Next the forks. I sent them to a suspension Guru in UK I have used before. I simply told him what I weighed (92 kg plus gear and luggage, total 120kg) and what I wanted to do with it. He kept the stock spring, reduced the compression damping valving and slightly increased the rebound. Wonderful improvement with no detriment (to me) on fast tarmac but it has real compliance now on the rough stuff but still pretty firm.
    Next I designed my own radical screen since the stock one was now way too low and turbulent. I now have a very odd-looking curve-over-top screen which keeps my chest wind-free but lets my helmet stay in clear air so it is quiet, which is vital for me as I have "Tinnitus".
    I then did several minor mods.
    2 electric power sockets.
    Wired in a switched Garmin GPS power supply to a fixed RAM mount.
    Fitted a heated glove controller to the bars with its own supply.
    Fitted a digital voltmeter to the dash to warn of impending Voltage Regulator problems.
    Fitted a rubber flap crud-deflector to protect the Voltage regulator in its well-cooled but horribly vulnerable position in full splash from the rear tyre.
    Fitted a front mudguard extension.
    Fitted Ventura Luggage racks with 2 bags but NO panniers because I like a slim bike.
    Fitted strong aluminium-spine hand guards which I took off my previous 1991 Yamaha Supertenere.
    Fitted a strong aluminium under engine guard by "Algard" which has proved to be brilliant. I extended the base of it a few inches further to the rear to stop the front edge of the silencer box hooking up on branches etc on the trail.
    Fitted a Scottoiler with flexy tube large reservoir, neatly all under the seat.
    Thats it. Didn't cost too much. I got the bike well discounted and I spent that saving plus a bit more on doing these mods. I am an engineer, I thoroughly enjoyed doing the work and I have huge satisfaction because I now have the bike I wanted. It has exceeded ALL my expectations.
    In September 08 I took it across Europe to Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo and proved its trail potential on a few mountain trails and big miles of seriously rough broken tarmac.
    In 09 I took it across Spain and into Morocco. Right down to the south into the Sahara where it took me on several trails of a rocky severity that I still can’t believe it could do. One particular trail was so completely covered with big freshly machine-broken stone pieces that I knew if I stopped it could not even be “walked” out so I just had to pin the throttle and bounce from rock to rock like a trials bike. The tyres I had on, Avon Distanzia SM (supermoto) gave me fabulous grip but the rear was cut to pieces by the sharp rocks and failed as soon as I got back onto tarmac and had to be replaced. It was useless in soft sand and there was no mud at all, just a few rocky river-crossings.
    In May 2010 I took it to Spain and rode the superb mountain range along the north coast from Asturias to Galicia helping with reconnaissance for my son-in-law’s Trail-Riding and Motorcycle-Touring business.
    I Sept 2010 I took it to the Shetland Islands which are half way between the north coast of Scotland and Norway. The roads are so absolutely perfect for a bike , and with the Distanzia SM’s again I had a ball. What a great place to visit on a bike.
    I have clocked up over 20,000 miles on the Versys, all of which are trips with no commuting as I am retired, and it has well exceeded all my expectations. I have had a string of Yamaha Tenere singles and a Supertenere twin since 1991, but as anno-domini is creeping up on me I needed something more manageable and easier to pick up, as I mostly travel alone and I ride to pretty challenging places. The Versys went down the road at 30 to 40 mph on a gravell’y mountain tarmac road in Slovenia on my 2008 trip. I picked it up easily, alone, with full luggage on, and apart from straightening the foot brake lever and dealing with a few fairing scratches when I got home it crashed fantastically well. Far better than you could ever imagine, and I haven’t got crash-bars fitted because I couldn’t find any I was happy with.

    There you go guys. A bike well worth considering. SO NEAR to being an Adventure Bike “out of the box”, you just have to finish it off.
    It’s a shame really because Kawasaki could do what I have done for so little money.

    Happy riding.

    Ted99uk
    #1
  2. stege

    stege Wonderer

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    pics?
    #2
  3. ram1000

    ram1000 Long timer

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    This is a novel!
    #3
  4. Gravehunter

    Gravehunter Been here awhile

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    Still has a 17" front wheel that nobody makes a knobbie tire for. At least here in the US anyway.
    #4
  5. LukasM

    LukasM Long timer

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    That's why some people use a rear tire on the front, although obviously they can't care much how the bike handles.
    #5
  6. Ted99UK

    Ted99UK Adventurer

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    Absolutely true but it performed like you wouldn't believe in Morocco.

    Here's a couple of photos. (I hope)
    Ted
    #6
  7. Ted99UK

    Ted99UK Adventurer

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    That didn't work. I uploaded the 2 photos, how do I make them attach to the post?
    Ted.
    #7
  8. Gravehunter

    Gravehunter Been here awhile

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    Put the URL between

    Example:

    [​IMG]
    #8
  9. Kawidad

    Kawidad Long timer

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    Pic's???? :lurk
    #9
  10. Daz the Aussie

    Daz the Aussie Mistrusts Squirrels

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    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. The Toad

    The Toad on the go since...wait. where am I ?

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    Here is a pic of wifes ADVersys

    [​IMG]
    Pictured:
    Shinko 705's front/rear (rear on front)
    Fender raised to accomdate
    Blue Seas Fuse box
    Heated Grips
    Aux Lighting
    Motech Rack
    PowerMadd Guards
    Radiator Guard

    Since pic added:
    Motech Crash Bars
    Pelican Cases (side)
    Replaced brake lines w/Stainless
    Flipped front tire around (tread pattern should be reverse on front :1drink )
    Fork Guards for lower end

    Still needs:
    Bash Plate



    Bike has been Road/Gravel/Mudd/Freeway/Rain tested and handles all VERY well

    705's are bias ply and will be replaced w/newer radial ply when they start to show signs of cracking (see 705 thread) which should be in about another 2k...

    No its not a GS or a KTM... but well suited for most any adventure.. also it costs 1/3 the price to own and operate.. ALMOST as good as my Wee :evil (just kidding dear).
    #11
  12. Butters

    Butters Kwyjibo Supporter

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    You can't upload pics from your computer. You need to have them hosted on a image sharing site: smugmug, google picassa (free), etc.

    Would love to see pics. The Versys is currently at the top of my wish list bikes (at least the practical wish list).
    #12
  13. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    you're right kawi is so close it laughable. they need 21or19" spoked fr & 17or 18 spoked rear and a reroute of the muffler and they'd have it. if they did this my guess is they'd sell alot more of these bikes!
    #13
  14. Ted99UK

    Ted99UK Adventurer

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    That's what I thought Eakins, but my experience in Morocco showed that depending on tyre choice it will do AMAZING THINGS ON A 17 INCH FRONT. As much as you could reasonably expect to do on a Big Trail Bike IN THE DRY. I scraped the Algard bash protector but didn't touch the exhaust box even over loose MASSIVE rocks. If you want to do more or ride in mud you need something more focussed but that would not give you the superb road-handling and all-day comfort I get on my Versys.
    I got 2 small dings in my wheel rims from the rocks, but they are soft ally and carefully hammered straight. They took a fantastic hammering for hours on end over rocks. The wheel bearings were still good afterwards as well but I had to get Hagon to re-bush the rear shock after it.
    I will have a go at posting the photo's guys. Thanks for the advice. What a rigmarole just to post a photo.
    Ted.
    #14
  15. Gravehunter

    Gravehunter Been here awhile

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    What tires did you run?

    If you can email the photo(s) to me i'lll post them for you.
    PM me.
    #15
  16. Gravehunter

    Gravehunter Been here awhile

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    Thats a good looking bike. Some knobbies and a high fender and that thing would be perfect! :clap :lol3 :rofl
    #16
  17. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    front is a shinko 705 at looks like 130-17" but 120-17" is now available
    or maybe it's a 120.
    he did the front fender raise mod.
    the 705s are rated for front or rear

    rear is also a shinko 705.

    http://www.shinkotireusa.com/product/index.php?category=4

    truth is there are many 120-17" (4.6-17") tires that would work on the front of the versys. though they might be rear tires, they'll still work.
    #17
  18. Zapp22

    Zapp22 ZAPP - Tejas

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    would be an ok bike if it had the KLR front end.
    #18
  19. The Toad

    The Toad on the go since...wait. where am I ?

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    Not sure what you mean ???? But if youre somehow trying to bash well.... :flip

    Ive owned/own.. 1 GS, an F650, 3 Wee's and I can tell you that the Versys is as capable as everyone of those bikes... As for looks... It is a MUCH better looking bike the the Wee (note ive owned 3)... only REAL issue is with seat... being a nutcrusher.... and the exposed underbelly.. but adding a bash plate fixes that...

    Sooooooo..... well... ummmm... huh... still not sure what youre getting at ?? I keep reading it... not getting it... but seems like a bash... so once again I say to you good sir :ken
    #19
  20. Gravehunter

    Gravehunter Been here awhile

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    No No... i wasn't bashing you at all. I really like the looks of that bike. I looked at it before i got my bike. The 17" front was the deal killer for me because i like to run knobbies. Not so much the rims size.. just because in the states anway you can't get knobbies for 17" rims.

    I have a high fender on my bike and like it setup that way. I think a high fender and knobbies on your bike it would look mean as hell! Better looking than the Stroms no doubt.

    In anything dry non knobbies will work fine i agree with you! I'm not doubting the bikes ability at all.
    I like to head down a mud road after it rains and see if i can make it and regulary ride in soft ground. So i just prefer knobbie tires.
    #20