Kawasaki Versys 650 ABS Review New Motorcycles New Zealand

29 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Kawasaki Versys 650 ABS Review New Motorcycles New Zealand
Kawasaki Versys

Kawasaki Versys 650 ABS Review

Kawasaki Versys 650 ABS

Eager personality

Sweet engine and gearbox

Loves a winding road

A real fuel-miser

Kawasaki gave the Versys an unusual moniker to tell us that it’s a versatile bike. I’d go along with that – it’s a mid-size, sporty tourer/commuter with some dirt-road ability, courtesy of its tall stance and long-travel suspension.

Along with its unusual name, the Versys is an unusual-looking bike. Powered by an ER6-derived 649cc vertical twin, it combines a number of eclectic elements in its chassis design: a touch of Buell in the underbelly muffler; a suggestion of BMW HP2 in the skinny bones of the lattice sub-frame. There’s even a smattering of Aprilia here and there.

To my eye, it all comes together well.

So much for the look. What about the ride?

On board, it feels tall but compact. By compact I don’t mean you’re restricted for leg-room – it seems to accommodate even lanky riders quite well. It just feels more compact than, say, a Suzuki V-Strom 650 ($14,495), which is a natural choice for comparison.

I’m guessing the space issue might come into play for those contemplating serious touring with a passenger.

The riding position – upright, the bars within easy reach – and the bike’s responsive engine combine to give a feeling of eagerness to the character of the Versys. Straight off, it feels like a goer rather than a plodder.

The long-travel suspension and relaxed front-end geometry would suggest a little laziness in the tight stuff. The reality, though, is that it’s a very agile handler. The leverage of its wide handlebars and its sporty-short wheelbase (1415mm) make it quite responsive in the twisties.

Effective suspension damping, generous cornering clearance and decent brakes all add value to its ability to give higher-powered, sportier bikes a bit of curry through the mountains.

Kawasaki Versys

Engine fuelling is spot on – no flat-spots, no surging, very economical. Torque down low is adequate rather than exceptional, but it’s a really sweet engine that’s a willing revver. The silky smooth clutch and gearshift complement the engine’s personality perfectly.

Versys by name and versatile by nature: a hoot to ride, this mid-sized Kwaka promises a pleasing blend of fun, practicality and safety at an attractive price.


Engine type Liquid-cooled, four valves per cylinder, parallel twin

Capacity 649cc

Bore x stroke 83 x 60mm

Compression ratio 10.6:1

Fuel system EFI

Type Six-speed, constant-mesh

Kawasaki Versys
Kawasaki Versys
Kawasaki Versys

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