Finally! The waiting is over! The 2011 Kawasaki Versys has arrived! :clap:
Took the “scenic” route home and managed to put 50km on the odometer so far.
The Versys is geared noticeable lower than the ER6n / Ninja 650R making first gear power wheelies a cinch. Driving over manhole covers, potholes, etc in Bangkok I find the suspension on the Versys soaks up the bumps much better than the ER6n/Ninja 650R. This bike is TALL! The seat is tall, the bars are tall. Riding through traffic in Bangkok I felt like I was “above it all” Definitely the tallest bike I’ve ever owned.
I had the privilege of riding JG’s BMW F800GS on the Lampang-Chiang Mai highway and then out to Mae Rim last Sunday so it’s quite interesting to compare the bikes.
Very similar height and seating positions. In fact similar screens and instruments are quite similar too. Both are parallel twins. I’m not clear on the displacement of the BMW… The F650GS and F800GS apparently share the same engine? So is it an 800cc twin or a 650cc twin, or? ❓ The Versys has a 17″ front wheel while the F800GS has a 19″ front wheel and tubed Pirelli Scorpion tires. I replaced the Dunlops on my Versys with Bridgestone Battlax BT021’s as I’ve never been a big fan of Dunlop tires and I’ve heard nothing good about the stock Dunlops on the Versys. Despite the bigger front wheel I found the BMW was easy to turn and quite stable through high speed corners.
The suspension on the BMW was absolutely amazing. The Lamphun-Chiang Mai highway is mostly made up of concrete slabs and the joints between the slabs are often not terribly smooth or level so it’s a great place to test a bike’s suspension. When I’ve ridden the Ninja 650R and ER6n on that road the chassis is easily unsettled by the bumps in the road while the BMW went through the bumps like a hot knife through butter. SMOOTH is the only word that comes to mind when I think of the handling of the F800GS.
My only grumble about the F800GS is the very low redline (I think it redlines around ~9000 RPM or something like that?) and what seemed to me like a lack of power… IanBungy made a comment about how easy it is to power wheelie the F800GS but even with a nearly empty tank and scooting way back onto the pillion seat I could not get the front off the ground in first gear without using the clutch…
The Versys is geared very low. Even though I’m still breaking her in, wow, grab a fistful of throttle in first and the front wheel comes up easily, even with a full tank of gas. The Versys redlines at ~10500RPM but I’ll wait until I have a couple hundred km on the clock before I take her there. It’s the same engine as the ER6n/Ninja 650R but different cams and gearing give it a lot more low end grunt and less top end. Personally, for riding in Thailand I think more torque down low and less top end is a good compromise!
Love the gauges! Big white analog tach and digital speedo are very easy to read. My one complaint, as with the ER6n and Ninja 650R, is the lack of a temperature gauge…
The little screen seems quite effective. I’ve only had the bike up to ~140km/hr and at least up to that speed the screen does a good job. The screen is adjustable and right now it’s in the lowest position.
I’ll be taking the Versys on a tour to Prachuap Kiri Khan and Khai Sam Roi Yot National Park this weekend so will be able to give more feedback after the trip.
Let the Good Times ROLL!
Kawasaki Versys is here
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