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Old 02-01-2011, 06:26 PM   #1
flying_hun
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Reflections on ̶1̶0̶K̶ 90+K Miles on a̶ Two Versys

Picked mine up from Fremont Kawasaki back in July (screamin' deal!). Since then I've done local rides on it, commuted on it, done BARF group rides on it, rode the fall rally on it, gone two-up touring on it, played on dirt roads, goat trails and racer roads, and have put more than 10K miles on it in a little over six months.



I've done a few things to it:
  • My wife requested a top box, and it is a convenience, and it helps with stealthiness
  • I replaced the stock saddle with a Corbin. Wife liked the stock saddle better, but I hated it. If I were to do it again, modifying the stock saddle would be the way to go.
  • Upgraded the tires. The stock Dunlops are SHIT. Pirelli Scorpion Syncs have been nice, but any decent S/T tire would be an improvement over stock.
  • Replaced the stock shock with a Hyperpro emulsion shock. Definitely nicer, but stock isn't horrible.
  • Larger accessory Kawasaki windshield. Nicer, but not necessary.
  • Acerbis handguards to keep the wind and rain off. Should have bought better ones.

What have I liked?
  • Surprisingly good handling - almost shockingly so
  • Amazingly easy to ride - between the previously mentioned handling, and the extremely flexible motor, it's incredibly forgiving.
  • Cheap. Cheap to buy and run. Sips regular gas - 45 to 47 mpg even on winter swill. Never seen worse than 40 mpg, and have seen as high as 53.
  • Cheap to maintain
  • Far more comfortable for my passenger than my Hyper.
  • Reasonably comfortable - even on a 700 mile day
  • Fairly light (~450-460#'s wet) for a street bike
  • Fast enough that my skills are the limiter on group rides rather than the bike being the limiter.

What don't I like?
  • It lacks what one poster here on BARF so aptly named 'fuck you' power. Around 60 hp at the wheel is not bad, even two-up, but if you really want to make that pass, shoot that gap, lose that cager, whatever, it doesn't do it with the stamp of authority that the Ducati does.
  • It would be nice if the brakes were a bit stronger, but I have yet to do anything about that.
  • The area around the dash can be a little buzzy, but it's nothing I've bothered to fix.
  • It could be a little more spacious when riding two-up
  • In the winter time I always miss having shaft drive
  • A centerstand would be nice, but the muffler position makes it impractical
  • No *$'s pose value at all
  • In a perfect world it would weigh 325#'s

You're right. Whine about it not having shaft drive, but wish it was lighter? Praise its frugality, but wish it had more power? Makes no sense, but hey, it's my thread to whine in.

What's the occasion for the post, other than the arbitrary 10K mark? Glad you asked. I just got a quote for shipping it to Europe for the purpose of riding this year's EuroBARF rally, after which I will then leave it for use in subsequent years. If it all comes together, my beloved Versys will be gone before summer, so I'll be bike shopping again. Unless I decide to do something about that whole shaft drive thing, maybe I'll get another.

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Last edited by flying_hun; 02-01-2011 at 06:27 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 02-01-2011, 06:34 PM   #2
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Sounds like you've enjoyed riding kawk for the past six months.
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If You don't know diddly about how it is safer to have your front wheel up at least a tiny distance off the pavement, while turning, so there is no risk of losing traction, there, where there is no traction to lose, And you are turning with the rear wheel...Then by all means, go slow enough so Your risky behavour, doesn't get overwhelmed...
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Originally Posted by louemc View Post
literally turning on a dime, is often best done on One wheel.
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Old 02-01-2011, 06:39 PM   #3
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Sounds like you've enjoyed riding kawk for the past six months.
I can honestly say I've never enjoyed a kawk so much.
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Old 02-01-2011, 06:42 PM   #4
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Sounds like you've enjoyed riding kawk for the past six months.
10k miles of it!
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:05 PM   #5
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Awesome thread
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:07 PM   #6
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I looked at these as a natural progression for the KLR. You are making them sound pretty dam good. Maybe a pipe and some tuning could pick up a few more ponys?
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:09 PM   #7
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:11 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Cereal KLR View Post
I looked at these as a natural progression for the KLR. You are making them sound pretty dam good. Maybe a pipe and some tuning could pick up a few more ponys?
I don't think there's a whole more there unless you do cams and such too. R'Gal had the best idea (something else I haven't done) in suggesting a quick turn throttle. Don't get me wrong, it will flat smoke a KLR (I had one), but it would be nice to have more.
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:55 PM   #9
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Congrats on the milestone. I came very very close to buying a Versys, it just seems like one the best all around, practical bikes you can get for the money. . .

But I ended up buying a Super Duke instead
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:58 PM   #10
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hey flyin_nun,

thx for posting this. I've been thinking about upgrading to a Versys, and don't see much info about them since they're relatively rare. maybe this year or next. gotta get a black or blue one.
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:05 PM   #11
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Sounds somewhat like my Weestrom. Ever tried one of those? If not, maybe we should swap and compare sometime.
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:02 PM   #12
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hey flyin_nun,

thx for posting this. I've been thinking about upgrading to a Versys, and don't see much info about them since they're relatively rare. maybe this year or next. gotta get a black or blue one.
For 2011, they only seem to come in red.

Tor the OP: I've thought about buying a Versys. Another bike you might like is a late-model Buell Ulysses. Like the Versys, it's an almost an adventure bike, but with 17" wheels.

You don't get the shaft you want, but you get a belt drive. More power than the Versys too.

Last edited by davidji; 02-01-2011 at 09:04 PM..
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:10 PM   #13
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I looked at these as a natural progression for the KLR.
The first picture from flying hun looked almost like a totally souped-up KLR - a SUPER-KLR, maybe? Exactly what I've been wishing for.
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:17 PM   #14
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If You don't know diddly about how it is safer to have your front wheel up at least a tiny distance off the pavement, while turning, so there is no risk of losing traction, there, where there is no traction to lose, And you are turning with the rear wheel...Then by all means, go slow enough so Your risky behavour, doesn't get overwhelmed...
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literally turning on a dime, is often best done on One wheel.
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:17 PM   #15
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Nice write up Kurt.

I've seen a few of them (Versys) around and the riders sure seem to like these bikes an awful lot.
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