First Ride: Kawasaki Versys 1000 review – Kawasaki Versys 1000 review…

27 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on First Ride: Kawasaki Versys 1000 review – Kawasaki Versys 1000 review…
Kawasaki Versys ABS

First Ride: Kawasaki Versys 1000 review – Kawasaki Versys 1000 review

The front suspension, while perfect for racking up the miles, felt vague on switchback roads. The Versys feels like it’s sitting slightly lower at the rear, which makes weight transfer to the front that bit harder. It takes heavy braking to get the front to compress and feel positive, but the ABS chipped-in on more than a few occasions when as I started to brake hard. The forks are harder compress than you’d expect for an ‘adventure style’ motorcycle.

When off the brakes, the front forks are eager to spring back to position, making the Versys 1000 feel prone to running wide. The fact the engine’s got instant torque and impeccable fuelling only highlights this, as when you tap on the power, the weight is quickly transferred to the rear.

I only weigh 10 stone, so you could factor in my weight as a bit of a problem, so to counter this, I added two more clicks of preload to the raise the rear right height, which definitely helped the bike feel more stable under braking and reduced the amount of times the ABS chipped in. I counted 25 clicks of preload adjustment in total, with the base setting on 6, so with 19 more clicks of preload, you could jack the rear up to excess, should you wish.

Let’s be honest, a bike designed for two-up touring, laden with luggage is never going to have ZX-10R rivalling handling on the backroads and nor would I expect it to but what really hit home was the fact I couldn’t shake the guys from Kawasaki who were following us on the Versys 650. Even though the Versys 1000 has a brilliant traction control system that allowed me to get on the power ridiculously early and really use every last drop of from the engine, the 650s could carry way more corner speed and easily trumped the 1000’s strong point: torque.

The Versys 1000 is a bike of two halfs in so many ways. From the engine forward it looks exactly like the Versys 650; all-roads capable and up for adventure. From the tank backwards it looks more like the GTR1400; comfortable, roomy and good for distance work. The seat and tank will help you on your way to 250 miles, the screen and wide bars won’t.

While the rider’s view makes you feel like you’re on an adventure bike, the 17” wheels remind you to stray off road with caution. The grunty engine urges you to press on when the roads are twisty, but the tall ride height, suspension setup and huge capacity tank limit its cornering potential.

The Versys 1000 is aimed at the Triumph Tiger 1050 owner, with bikes like Ducati’s Multistrada 1200 and Honda Crossrunner taken into account, but I feel it’s more of an option to anyone considering a Suzuki GSX1250FA.

If you want to tour two-up in comfort and value a bike that’s equally good on twisty roads as it is on the motorway, then stick with the Versys 650. If you want to blast from A to B on a bike with a high up and commanding riding position, that cruises at 100mph in comfort, delivers good fuel economy and has a great tank range, then buy a Versys 1000 and fit a larger screen – it’s a great tour bus for your next rock ‘n roll adventure.

Kawasaki Versys 1000 Specifications

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