MD Double-Take: 2014 Kawasaki Versys (With Dirck’s Rebuttal) …

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Kawasaki Versys

MD Double-Take: 2014 Kawasaki (With Dirck’s Rebuttal)

Ets-Hokin: Age: 44, Inseam: Favorite Superbowl Snack: Chicken Strips

I’m looking at a brand-new motorcycle in the next but I don’t have a lot of money. But if I did spend the kind of money I to get the bike my rarefied tastes my lovely wife would enough hand-crafted footwear to our trade imbalance with Apparently, there are these called “professions” that pay so folks can buy $16,000 motorcycles, but I it’s too late for me.

I could $8000, so what do I get for that? Not if I want a motorcycle that’s good-handling, light and comfortable for all-day rides. Seriously—if you 60 horsepower, ABS, adjustable good tire choice, a with windscreen and a little bit of cred, for under $8000 looking at…the Versys. Oh, and the 650, which is kind of the thing, if maybe a little tarred as a noob bike.

also the Yamaha FZ-09, but the are all gone and Yamaha will up the price of those when it it’s about $2000 Maybe I should have my mouth shut.

Anyway, I’m getting at is the Versys is a stunning compared to everything else new for under $8000. It was already a bike when it was first to the States for 2008, and it got some (but good) mods for

The Versys is proof of how, a good bowl of soup, ingredients, well executed, can a memorable product. The frame is trellis, with an exotic-looking and aluminum swingarm (the 650′s is steel) connected to the by a direct-action lay-down monoshock for preload and rebound damping.

The end is an inverted 41mm fork adjustable for rebound and preload, the rebound adjuster only one leg) with two-piston brake calipers—new and at no extra for 2014—grabbing  a pair of 300mm rotors. We tested a 2013 standard brakes.

The motor is a parallel twin. There’s a that configuration dominated the and racing scenes in the ’60s—it’s a blend of weight, simplicity of (which keeps the price and performance. The Versys’ power is a nice balance of low/mid-range and top-end hit, and thanks to new mounts and footpegs, feels (especially at higher rpm) the ’08-’09.

  It’s fast and geared right so you can slice traffic and break the law (badly), but also good on gas and very good friend just hers something like miles in six weeks (including a high above the Arctic with only minor

On twisty roads, the Versys the job done, maybe even a bit of style. The tires are 17-inch with a 160-section rear, flickable favorite sizes. The offers more travel your average sportbike, and it can feel cheap and overwhelmed, is a lot than some budget I could name (and is and rebuildable).

The wheelbase is short, at 55.7 and with sporty geometry, 460-pound wet weight and wide makes the Versys easy to with. If you’re on a bumpy, road and overworking the Versys’ you need a supermoto, or more a few viewings of Red Asphalt I, II or III . Or just to decaff, okay?

On the open the Versys is a capable tourer. was set up with excellent factory ($335 for the brackets, $630 for the bags), which looked Givi stuff—high quality, to use, durable and secure, and Surj, you can get a 30-liter top case for the bracket).

The seat is great for all-day comfortable, if a bit spongy, and protection, at least with the “Vario” adjustable windscreen on our unit, was very acceptable, at very high speeds. I saw 45 mpg, which means a (or more) fuel range the 5-gallon tank, another that’s tough to find on any these days, no matter how you spend. And if it’s a capable it would work really as a commuter.

It’s not a perfect bike. funny-looking, slathered with of chintzy plastic and for God’s Versys owners, please chopping chunks off your to make them look because it’s not working. The is also pretty high off the and heavy for a middleweight Twin, keeps me from recommending it as a or even second bike.

And to $8,000 worth of used it’s pretty slow of buying used, the Versys its value very nicely, at around these parts).

But get real—this is one of the cheaper full-sized on the market, and you get a lot. Kudos to for keeping the price the same and ABS. Let’s face it, you can do on most any motorcycle—but you’ll more fun doing it on a Versys.

Gish: Age, 40, Inseam: 30, Superbowl Snack: Shrimp and Coffee

I have a soft for utilitarian bikes, motorcycles are awesome for everyday riding, getting groceries to rainy-day Horsepower numbers and beautiful excite me just like who gets their kicks by a throttle, but when I get on and go, I want a that is comfortable, efficient and Oh, and it has to be fun, too—your classic

Kawasaki’s Versys is one of those that always seemed it’d be a pretty sweet for my equation: sensible riding 5 gallon fuel tank, and power to get into (and out of) trouble. Looks are funky—some say a unique way that I like than not.

I picked up the on a Sunday. Vera (that’s the I gave her) was white, made me say, “What to Team Green, Kawasaki?” The Stardust White paintjob somehow reminded me of Ducati’s Panigale, which added a bit of to Vera’s strut. ( For 2014, you can get the Versys in Candy Lime

On the ride back to my garage, I was surprised—the “little” 650 motor when a 650 wasn’t small?) quickly and feels faster I expected it would. Check one in the column for the Versys.

I spent a few looking her over the following Accessory-wise, the bike had matching sidecases and a short windshield bolted on. The boxes are high and capacious, if a bit wide. “Hey, do sidecases make my … fat?”

Since I’d be splitting into San Francisco, I pulled the off (and wished for a sensibly topcase-only setup) before the road. Working my way through tortuous Monday-morning traffic, I was impressed with the bike’s It certainly didn’t feel 460 pounds of tall-ish motorcycle, but was surprisingly nimble and easy to at low speeds, without feeling or clumsy.

I spent the day dreaming of taking out for an early evening spin and managed to sneak out in the late Just in time! I headed for one of my goat trails to get some “real” riding in.

This is my relationship with Vera got a rocky—her suspension is fine for and sedate to semi-speedy paces on streets. The stock setup like it might be awesome if I was a jean-wearing supermodel of 90 pounds, but I’m a sized, leaning-towards-XL dude. the Versys on some rough, twisties got me a whole lot of sketchy in order.

The rear brake didn’t offer a whole lot of except a sinking “uh oh” feeling I got I’d bottom out the pedal trying to a little bit of slowdown out of it. Fortunately the brake was pretty solid.

I it back a bit to make sure I it home without kicking to the curb, and spent the rest of my mellow ride thinking of how I’d set up a if it was my bike. Definitely need to the rear brake—maybe steel lines front and back are in Suspension needs to be sorted, for

What next? Hand ($187 with brackets), grips and a topcase. Beyond I couldn’t come up with else required to make a kickass daily companion.

That’s the thing—as much as I cry about the suspension not working for me, the is actually a pretty good for my desire for a smart, fun all-rounder. also cheap enough 2013 is $7,999 with that I could afford to some money at suspension to it just right. That’s an awesome deal.

Dirck’s re Suspension

With all due respect to I put a lot of miles on the Versys myself and the suspension surprisingly good. dialing in a bit more rebound it was much firmer and had much stiction than the competition V-Strom 650).

 It seemed a good combination of plush, but enough to have fun in the twisties. is a “If I could only own one motorcycle …” combining loads of fun and practicality. job Kawasaki.

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