Kawasaki Versys-X 300

Discussion in 'Japanese polycylindered adventure bikes' started by shyam334, Nov 8, 2016.

  1. jamboa

    jamboa jamboa

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    Curious if u still have yiur Versys X and if u still liking it?
  2. Struuner

    Struuner Adventurer

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    I am in pretty much the same situation. I do not have much off road (or perhaps unpaved is a better suited word here) experience. Though a motorcycle trip in Africa gave me quite a boost in experience.

    I can agree with everything somanyfish posted.

    I noticed he did not mention anything about airing down the tires. I would not air down the bike. especially not when loaded with luggage. 175kg is light... for an ADV bike, not for a dirt bike! Add your own weight with gear to it and its actually not a light combo at all. Aired down tires on this bike makes the drive-ability a lot less enjoying on the pieces of road were it is not needed and cause a lot of wear on the tires, to name two.

    Speed, well I agree with somanyfish. It really is mostly a street bike, which can easily do some light unpaved roads as well. But for the gnarly stuff the ground clearance and suspension travel is not really enough to do a great speed. So in the end it comes to this; the correct speed is what you are comfortable at and doesnt break the bike ;)
    Again, like somanyfish said, some roads only allow up to 30kph or lower, were on other roads I managed to do up to twice that.

    About standing on the pegs; as mentioned before here, it really does make things easier in circumstances were the tires start to suffer from reduced grip. I needed quite some practice before I felt even remotely comfortable standing up.

    Yeah, dont lean in turns...! Last week I was driving in Germany on some wet tightly packed mud road and luckily was standing and performing the "peak around the corner" position as mentioned on the MOTORTREK channel, when both wheels started to slide. due to this position I was able to actually fairly easily keep in control of the bike. speed was low at somewhere between 15-20kph. and luckily the slide was only momentarily. it was, however, very thrilling! :)

    RPMS. I generally (but not limited to) run the engine around 5-6k when on unpaved surface and I only progress beyond 3rd gear when the road smooths out a bit. Meaning that only then do I progress beyond speeds of 30-40 kph?. I found out that 3rd gear gives me enough flexibility in speed, while containing some acceptable levels of (de)acceleration from lower rpms, without needing to shift (which i find nice, as I am not particularly comfortable shifting gear whiles standing on the pegs). When the road doesnt allow for speeds in 3rd I drop to second gear. I noticed that engine braking and acceleration are two very good buddy's to have on unpaved roads.
    1st gear,hmm I don use it all that much, the bike respons to much to change of throttle input.
    I noticed that the bike doesnt respond well to throttle input when to high gear/too low engine rpm. make sure you are in the correct gear for the situation that is coming up. better to go in with a too low gear than a too high gear. my experience anyway.
    Ramping up the rpms to lighten the front end... I've tried this, but i wasnt very succesful. I dont think this is very easily done without doing a proper clutch drop, which I find a waste of the clutch to practice learning, but to each their own.

    Like you, most I know, I know from YouTube and from what others suggested and trying to put it into practice.

    I hope the above has at least some use for you.

    Below a link to a short video of for what type of riding I use the bike for and bought it for. When I am not on the highway getting to those routes, that is. :)


    The front tire was the OEM tire with 18k kms on it (its replaced now). The rear tire an almost worn AVON trailrider 11k kms on it (going to be replaced now at 12k kms). and this combination is how I've gained most of the experiences that I mentioned above.

    EDIT: As you can see, I also dont ride at much speed when its unpaved. I was 1000km away from home and I really did not want to break the bike or me when in the middle of nowhere.
    Northern_Rider777 and SoManyFish like this.
  3. SoManyFish

    SoManyFish Been here awhile

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    Excellent information.

    I didn't mention airing down the tires in my post. It was an oversight on my part. I will air down the tires if I have many km to travel on gravel or sand but if I was only going a short distance I wouldn't bother. Some tires respond more noticeably to lowered tire pressures than others. Shinko 804/805 have softish sidewalls so at lower pressures they absorb surface irregularities well which reduces wheel deflection. But that soft sidewall also leaves you more susceptible to pinch flats and/or rim damage if the pressure is too low. And lower air pressures do increase the amount that the tire flexes so at higher speeds the tire will run hotter which softens the rubber and wears it out more quickly. With Shinko 804/805 on unpaved surfaces I would drop to 20 psi (f) and 24 psi (rear) which does noticeably improve traction on rough or loose surfaces but is high enough that IMO still presents a minimal risk of pinch flats or rim damage.

    The most recent long I trip I did on unpaved roads was last summer: 2300 km (1500 mile) return trip comprising 900 km (560 mile) of pavement, 1100 km (690 mile) of gravel, and the remaining 400 km (250 mile) was the "Athabasca Seasonal Road" which is a constantly varying combination of gravel, crushed shale, sand, and powdered gypsum. Weight carried on the bike was me (95 kg or 210 lbs w/ riding gear) and about 18 kg (40 lb) of luggage, tools, etc. Shinko 804/805 @ 20/24 psi did very well on the unpaved surfaces with decent traction, and no flats or rim damage. And on the entire trip, I only had one tip-over which was the direct result of my own error: I was executing a slow U-turn in sand and in a moment of of inattention I leaned the bike towards the inside of the turn and -- as you would expect -- the front tire slid out and I was obligated to have a small rest lying in the sand ... LOL.

    I now have Shinko 705 on front and rear. I like the 705 for pavement and hard-packed trails. They remind me of the OEM IRCs but with a quicker turn in and a slightly harsher ride. However, the less aggressive tread pattern and very stiff sidewalls make the 705 much less confidence-inspiring on rough or loose surfaces than the 804/805. (The sidewall is so stiff on the 705 that lowering the air pressure seems to have little noticeable effect on traction.)

    I hope this is helpful to somebody.
  4. flexiflyer

    flexiflyer Been here awhile

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    Installed the Motech footrests last week and Motowerk 25mm risers tonight.
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  5. Ken in Regina

    Ken in Regina Long timer Supporter

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    I agree with @dirtdreamer50. You could have put on the stock handguards for less time and money than you've got invested now. They work perfectly with the stock setup. That's what I'm using and it works great.

    ...ken...
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  6. Ken in Regina

    Ken in Regina Long timer Supporter

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    Do you mean 20 front and 24 rear or vice versa? I ask because the factory recommended pressures are higher front than rear (32 front, 28 rear).

    If that's what you meant (lower front than rear), did you leave the rear higher because of the extra weight of the travel load being biased toward the rear?

    ...ken...
  7. Ken in Regina

    Ken in Regina Long timer Supporter

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    There have been some good tips from @SoManyFish and others. I just want to expand one common suggestion with a practical method. That's the suggestion to ride more relaxed and not get a death grip on the handlebars.

    Easy to say. But how do you actually do it in those situations that instantly cause your hands (and butt cheeks!) to clench?

    I taught the Canada Safety Council Motorcycle Training Course for 10 years. Here's a method I taught my students that works for virtually everybody in any situation like that. And those situations where you want to "ride relaxed" are not limited to off-pavement. There are lots of times on the pavement that you want to avoid unnecessary steering inputs to the handlebars. An example is when you want to be able to improve your ability to ride twisty roads a bit faster. Or when you're dealing with rougher pavement or pavement snakes that love to move the front wheel around. Or gusty crosswinds that are trying to shove you around, regardless of the riding surface. There are tons more.

    The fact is that unless you were born with ice water in you veins you will never truly relax in those situations that have you on edge. So the real question is how to deal with the tenseness constructively.

    Grip the tank with your knees. The higher the tenseness, the harder you grip. Don't worry; unless you're a gorilla you won't dent the tank. :-)

    This allows you to constructively divert the tension somewhere it will help rather than hinder.

    It locks your lower body to the bike so you can't do any weight shifting that will make the situation worse. Yeah, I know ... those of you who know from experience how to constructively use your weight properly in virtually any situation are grinding your teeth. But this is aimed at the @Northern_Rider777 who is just learning and has little experience with this stuff. In that case the very best thing you can do is not make things worse.

    The other thing it does is that it automatically loosens your upper body, not just your arms. This allows you to avoid any unnecessary inputs with your hands and arms.

    Next time you're in a situation where you find yourself tensing up try it. Just squeeze the tank hard with your knees and feel your upper body relax. It won't hurt anything and may allow you to deal with any situation that worries you. Get in the habit of doing it any time you're getting ready to go around a corner in town or a curve on the highway. It not only keeps you relaxed through the turn but gets you in the habit of doing it by default any time you feel yourself getting tense.

    ...ken...
  8. gavmac

    gavmac Been here awhile

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    Oh no there not! P2-11 in service manual Front 200 kPa 28 psi - Rear 225 kPa 32 psi :)

    The b... writing on the decal on the swingarm is so small I had to look in the manual. :)
  9. Ken in Regina

    Ken in Regina Long timer Supporter

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    Thanks. I made the mistake of trying to read the swingarm. And obviously got it backwards.

    ...ken...
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  10. flexiflyer

    flexiflyer Been here awhile

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    Lsat year being in a hurry I had just run an sae plug harness to the battery to power my tank bag. Also had installed a breaker in the accessory slot. Ran my heated grips power to the bullet connectors for the dash Usb plug and installed a waterproof rocker in the fog light switch cover. Grabbed a white plug and terminals to match the fog light connector and wired my Gps cable to that. Anyway, finally had a chance to install a powerlet low profile in the Usb cover.

    If you hole saw the cover carefully it cuts out the retaining screw tower and leaves the locating ears. Then you take off about a third of the locating ear height. All needed to mount then in addition to the kit parts is a 3/4" id flat washer with an od bigger than the cover hole to put on the backside.

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  11. flexiflyer

    flexiflyer Been here awhile

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    Oh, also searched out a part that some may find useful. I'm also installing the SW motech bars and Ricochet skid plate. If you want to use the little side engine covers these studs work a treat. I just installed them long thread in with the Ricochet supplied flat and lock washers. The short side is just long enough to properly accommodate the oem sleeve bushings and some 6mm flange nuts. It's a VW turbo part, pic is of the stud and part#. They are available all over for a couple bucks apiece. They would also work without the skid plate but the long end may need trimmed down or just washers added.

    IMG_7706.JPG IMG_7711.JPG
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  12. SoManyFish

    SoManyFish Been here awhile

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    Yes, for longer distances on unpaved surfaces with Shink0 804/805 I use 20/24 psi (front/rear) which is 25-30% lower than the Owner's Manual / Service Manual / Swingarm recommendation of 28-32 psi. Yes, the rear is left a little higher than the front because it carries more weight. Lowering the pressure does noticeably improve traction on loose, soft or irregular surfaces. On some tires I might go even lower than 20/24 but the sidewall on the 804/805 is rather soft so I don't feel comfortable dropping any lower than that. And if a rider was very heavy and/or had his bike heavily laden and/or was a very aggressive rider it is possible that 20/24 might be too low. With those same tires on tarmac I usually run them at 32/36 (F/R) because they feel better planted at higher speeds and more consistent in the twisties (and, as a bonus, the slightly higher pressure should reduce wear a bit which is nice on this relatively short-lived tire).
    Northern_Rider777 likes this.
  13. Ken in Regina

    Ken in Regina Long timer Supporter

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    Thanks. Bullwinkle runs his at the higher (32/36) pressures. I tried it last week and I'm a believer now, for handling. If the weather ever cooperates a couple of us are planning on doing a quick run out to Lumby, BC, and back later this week. That will give me a better idea if it makes a noticeable difference to the wear. I'm now on my third rear tire at 30,700km. I've been running factory pressures. My Shinko 705s have been getting a bit better wear than the stock IRCs did but I think it could be better.

    ...ken...
  14. dirtdreamer50

    dirtdreamer50 long time rider

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    If you get to go, have a great time.. Take some pics to post too. tp
  15. Dirtdeville

    Dirtdeville Been here awhile

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    Any chance of posting a link for that bolt and maybe a picture of the final installed engine covers and skid plate?
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  16. flexiflyer

    flexiflyer Been here awhile

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    Will do when home and have a few minutes, I think it just looks better/finished but of course those things are subjective. You do still have to trim them fyi. I had to modify my original plan for fasteners a bit due to the hex part being proud and will show what I did.
  17. Rob.G

    Rob.G Mostly Harmless

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    Good news! A friend just bought a 2019 Versys-X 300 yesterday! And the cool part is I never even said, "hey be sure to check out the VX300." He figured it out all by himself. :)

    So last night, I was helping him get his clutch adjusted, since from the factory it engages at the very end of travel (very annoying), I took his bike for a short ride. Okay, WTF. His bike has significantly better low-end than my 2017!! I didn't really rev it at all since it's new, but still, just puttering around up to maybe 35-40 mph, it's a very noticeable difference!!

    I'm wondering if maybe the ECU programming changed, like more low-end fueling or something. But it really is pretty noticeable. And I'm jealous. I want mine to feel that way.

    Anybody else notice this between the older and newer bikes?
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  18. Dfrnt

    Dfrnt Just pluggin' along Supporter

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    Check the sprocket sizes. Maybe geared lower than yours.
  19. Rob.G

    Rob.G Mostly Harmless

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    It's not the sprockets; they're the same. It's the motor feel. His is definitely stronger.
  20. SoManyFish

    SoManyFish Been here awhile

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    My Versys-X is a 2017 and I have ridden a 2018 -- they felt the same. I checked part number for the ECU and it has not changed so I doubt Kawi has retuned the ECU for 2019 model year. At low RPM the little 300 cc engine doesn't deliver a lot of power so a decrease of even 1-2 HP is noticeable. It's easy to lose that much power via some combination of worn out spark plugs, worn/dirty chain, dirty oil, dirty injectors, old or poor quality fuel, etc. Additionally, it is also possible that your engine was not broken in properly and consequently is producing less power than it should. (If I recall correctly, I remember you stating that you did not believe in following the manufacturer's recommended "keep the RPM low" break-in procedure.)