When talking about Kawasaki and its versatile, do-everything bike, the name that will always come up is the Versys . It doesn’t have the same heritage as its Kawasaki contemporaries, but when it hit the scene a few years ago, it received universal praise from everybody, including being named the "Motorcycle of the Year" by Motorcyclist Magazine.
This year, Kawasaki is bringing back the Versys and if the 2010 model is any indication of what we’re in store for with the 2011 model, then prepare to make room for this bike in your garage.
It’s not even the most powerful bike in the Japanese bike maker’s line-up, but where it lacks in power, it more than makes up for in just about everything else. It looks great; it’s got enough performance capabilities to exude the Kawasaki tradition; and it’s got top-quality suspensions to make the ride as pleasant and as comfortable as possible.
Don’t mistake this bike for anything else. If you’re looking for breakneck power and speed, look elsewhere. But if you’re looking for a bike that gives a decent amount of everything you want, there’s nothing better than the Versys.
Find out more about the 2011 Kawasaki Versys Sport Motorcycle.
The Kawasaki Verys differentiates itself from the rest of the pack through a design language that can best be described as mixing comfort and style in one package.
The bike’s cockpit provides a mostly upright, natural stepped seat that emphasizes stress-free comfort for both the driver and the passenger. Another element of the Versys is the windscreen that can be readjusted in three different positions depending on the rider’s preference. Then there’s the instrument panel, which is about as easy to read as they come. The simplistic design doesn’t scream attention, but it’s detailed enough to allow drivers a quick glance at the gauges while keeping their attention firmly on the road.
To go with the stylish look, Kawasaki gave the Versys a compact, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, 649cc, parallel-twin engine that’s right up the alley for a lightweight bike that promotes overall versatility. The digital fuel injection comes with two 38mm Keihin throttle bottles that offers efficient revving for the driver, providing a smooth riding experience in the process. More to that, the bike’s overall drivetrain set-up also delivers a deep ribbon of power in the lower and middle parts of its rev range, making the Versys a great commuter and relaxed traveling companion.
Suffice to say, it’s lively enough that it won’t bore you to death, yet simple enough as to not confuse novice riders looking to break into two-wheeled machines. Adding to that, the Versys carries a big five-gallon fuel tank that goes a long way before you need to pay a visit to your local gas station.
Brake and Suspension
A Showa rear shock with two-stage damping is outfitted on the Versys, progressively moving the wheels as it goes through its stroke and accounting for that initial plush ride that firms to near-sportbike levels as suspension loads escalate. The bike’s short, compact engine made it possible for Kawasaki to use a longer than average gull-wing swingarm, thereby reducing the throttle-induced suspension movement while providing excellent handling. Similarly, a dual-sport-inspired, adjustable 41mm tapered-tube inverted fork absorbs all the bumps, be it big or small, whenever there’s a need to turn gears up to the next level.
The Kawasaki Versys will cost you just $7,699, which is a pretty decent price for one of the best introductory bikes out on the market these days.
|Engine||Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder parallel twin|
|Bore x stroke||83.0 x 60.0mm|
|Fuel system||Digital fuel injection with two 38mm Keihin throttle bodies|
|Ignition||TCBI with electronic advance|
|Final drive||O-Ring chain|
|Frame||Semi-double cradle, high-tensile steel|
|Rake / trail||25 degrees / 4.3 in.|
|Front suspension / wheel travel||41mm hydraulic telescopic fork with stepless adjustable rebound and preload / 5.9 in.|
|Rear suspension / wheel travel||Single offset laydown shock with 13-position adjustable rebound damping and adjustable spring preload / 5.7 in.|
|Front brake||Dual 300mm petal discs with two-piston caliper|
|Rear brake||Single 220mm petal disc with single-piston caliper|
|Overall length||83.7 in.|
|Overall width||33.1 in.|
|Overall height||52.4 in.|
|Seat height||33.3 in.|
|Curb weight||454.2 lbs.|
|Fuel capacity||5.0 gal.|
|Colors||Metallic Imperial Red|