Kawasaki Versys 650 (2006-2010): The benefits of a tall street bike

      Engine: The parallel twin liquid-cooled 649 cc engine which is fueled via injection, delivers 64 bhp / 8000 rpm and 6,2 Kgm / 6800 rpm torque, nominal values.

     Actually, engine performance is very linear from the low end. Versys can accelerate without surging from as low as 1500 rpm. Engine power is more than adequate and very usable. Due to the proper gearing, the speed of 190 km / h may be achieved on minor uphill straight roads, rider only. However, due to the linearity of the engine, power produced feels rather sweet instead of brutal, by the rider.
     The increase in engine revs gets slower above 9000 rpm. Rev limiter intervenes at 10800 rpm.

     Riding position: The seat height is large.
     The dimensions of the bike are slightly smaller than those of the competition. The width of the machine is moderate. Towards the front part of the motorcycle, the width gets larger just beneath the handlebar, by the plastic parts surrounding the fuel tank. Again it is considered to be moderate by the standards of the category.

     The bike feels heavy while centre of gravity seems to be high. Actually the height of the saddle combined with the weight of the bike will not be comfortable for short riders. The reason is that it will be difficult for the rider to keep the bike upright in case that it leans to either side.
     The rider is placed in and on the motorcycle, riding position is neutral, relatively relaxed.
     The tyres of the motorcycle under test are Dunlop D221 with dimensions 120-70/17 at the front and 160-60/17 at the rear.

     On the road: The firmness of the suspension is moderate , just a little to the soft side. The fork is fully adjustable while the shock absorber can be adjusted to the spring preload and rebound damping. The front fork is inverted. There is no linkage at the side mounted shock.

     City rides are really easy for the Versys which is very comfortable in everyday commuting.
     In the process of filtering the handlebar of the motorcycle is higher than car mirrors. The height of the bikeĘs mirrors is about the same with that of the SUV mirrors. Eventually there will not be any problem for the rider during filtering.
     Steering lock, is average, it is not adequate in congested traffic. Comfort to the rider is generally good although large road imperfections will not be absorbed adequately by the shock.

     On B-roads agility is excellent, thanks to the short wheelbase of 1415 mm and the high centre of gravity. It retains a joyful and vivid character, luring the rider. Handling is quite good especially on roads featuring a high friction factor. Feedback to the rider is good.

     At the fast pace, the tyres fitted will set the limits. The front end is ready to understeer. On low friction B-roads, fast riding pace will require a tyre change to something softer. Otherwise, rider will notice diminished feedback, under these circumstances. Because of the high torque produced by the engine, continuous tight bends at the fast pace will not require constant gear changes.

     On the highway, Versys is stable, wind protection is pretty good. The screen can be adjusted in three positions. The seat is comfortable and spacious for the rider and pillion. Travelling indicated speed may be as high as 170-180 km / h for a normal rider and this screen fitted. Travelling is enhanced by the tank range.

     On dirt roads, Versys is still a comfortable bike. The limits will be set by the road tyres fitted that could slide.
     There are two wavy disc brakes featuring twin-piston callipers at the front, while at the rear a single wavy disc brake and a single calliper is used.
     The front brake is powerful enough, feedback to the rider is average though. Under intense braking the great fork travel will not contribute for good feedback to the rider. As a result on low friction factor roads, some caution is required by the rider.
     The rear disc brake is relatively powerful, providing relatively good feedback to the rider. This specific bike tested was not equipped with an ABS.
     Reliability: No issues reported.
     Comments: The footrests for the rider are a bit inconvenient in town rides as they are positioned just at the point that riderĘs feet will step down whenever rider has to lay a foot on the ground. It may seem minor, however it requires some practice by the new owner.

     Quality built is quite good.
     The two sides of the bike are quite different. The left side seems rather plain, a straight swing arm is exhibited. At the right side though, a gull wing swing arm, the exhaust underneath the engine and the shock absorber are shown. Versys got minor improvements in 2010.

Price stock Model 2008 without ABS: 6890 §

Price VERSYS 650 ABS 2010/11: 8490 §

+ Variety of use

+ Agility

- Feedback under braking

More, specifications, (2008)



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