To fully appreciate that changes Kawasaki is making to its big-boy, top-of-the-line Versys for 2019, you’ll have to ride it, not look at it.
That’s because, for the most part, the visible elements of the bike remain the same, principally the 1043cc inline-4, as well as the frame and the ergonomics.
Rather, the new-for-2019 upgrades mostly cluster in that super-heated area of competition for these premium sport tourers: electronic rider aids.
For example, for the first time the 1000 will get electronic throttle bodies. That one change opens up a new universe of electronic performance and safety aids. Right on cue, the SE LT+ now comes with a six-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU.)
The IMU also works with a dedicated Electronic Control Unit (ECU) to pace the new semi-active Showa suspension.
Kawasaki first used semi-active suspension on last year’s ZX10-R SE and now is expanding its use. Riders will be able to choose from four modes — Sport, Road, Rain, and a custom setting that the rider can determine, called, appropriately enough, Rider.
The ABS has been upgraded with lean angle detection. This technology, which helps you maintain your line under braking in a curve, isn’t available on the standard Versys 1000.
Clutchless shifting also makes its first appearance as standard gear, as does electronic cruise control. This can be deactivated a number of different ways: by touching the clutch, the shift lever, either brake, reducing the throttle setting, or if the traction control spots something it doesn’t like.
Among the more visible changes to the 2019 Versys 1000 SE LT+ are a color TFT screen beside an analog tachometer and cornering lights. There’s also a Bluetooth connection for Smartphones that links with Kawasaki’s Rideology app.
Kawasaki have already set a price for the 2019 Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE LT+ at USD $17,999.