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2015 Kawasaki Versys 650 LT: MD Ride Review

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Back in 2007, Kawasaki christened a new 650 cc parallel twin model the “Versys”. It arrived in the U.S. for the model year 2008. When we tested that bike, we concurred with the versatility built into the package, which included upright seating, moderate wind protection and sporty handling.

After improvements were made to the Versys 650, we again sampled this model and thought Kawasaki had moved things in the right direction. I personally rode the bike on a 1,000 mile trip (with the optional saddlebags stuffed) through wildly varying conditions (for California) … even traversing the famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco aboard it. Gabe and I both concluded that Kawasaki had further refined an already great motorcycle … that was still ugly to look at.

For 2015, Kawasaki has again redesigned the Versys 650, and this time tackled head-on the aesthetic issues of the previous models. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we think the new bike is a vast improvement, and quite good looking by any standard. With all that practicality still there, Kawasaki managed to make the Versys look far more modern, and sporty.

In addition to better looks, engine tweaks, according to Kawasaki, net increased top-end power together with improved fuel economy. A bump in fuel capacity to a generous 5.5 gallons boosts the touring capability of the new Versys, as well.

Suspension was improved with a new fork and shock. The fork now separates the function of each leg, with spring preload adjustable on one and rebound damping on the other. The shock offers a remote preload adjustment via an easily reached knob. The ABS braking system was also thoroughly revised with new discs, calipers and pad materials. This latter change addresses the verdict that prior Versys models had simply adequate, but not outstanding, braking.

One thing we have always liked about the Versys 650 is that it features a 160 section rear tire, while the rest of the industry has embraced “wider is better.” This reduces unsprung weight out back, but more importantly allows the Versys to change directions with little effort at the broad handlebars.

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A new windscreen is adjustable for height, and the foot pegs are lower and further forward to allow riders to stretch out, a bit. A new instrument panel features a legible analog tachometer (hallelujah!), along with a digital clock, fuel gauge, speedometer and other bits of essential information (a gear position sensor is missing, however).

While riding away from Kawasaki headquarters here in Southern California where I picked up our Versys 650 LT, I appreciated the comfortable ergonomics immediately, but was almost shocked by how easily the bike dipped into corners. Perhaps it is the new suspension settings, but the Versys 650, always a nimble machine, seems to change directions easier than ever. I also noticed the new fork seemed to absorb small road chop with less stiction … feeling plush despite the fact that it stayed fairly high in the travel. I used the preload adjuster on the shock at a stop light to quickly raise the rear end a bit (as I typically prefer).

Without riding the bike back-to-back with the older model, it was difficult to verify Kawasaki’s claim that top end power has improved, although I did note that the Versys 650 feels less snappy and powerful than the Yamaha FZ-07 Evan and I had ridden in Norway a month earlier.  Nevertheless, the LT model Versys had several features we would have appreciated in the cold of Norway, including hand guards, windscreen and integrated luggage. The stock Versys suspension is also superior.

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The engine offers smooth, predictable throttle response coupled with relatively strong engine braking. The gearing spread worked well, although 6th gear could stand to be a bit taller for freeway cruising. Vibration is well controlled, but light buzzing could be felt through the foot pegs above 6,000 rpm. Wind protection is quite good, and the adjustable screen height will allow most riders to dial out helmet buffeting. Seat comfort is fine on shorter rides, but the seat felt a bit squishy on longer trips.

The Versys 650 LT can be hustled through canyon roads and hang with dedicated sport bikes … except on the straightaways, where the adequate power of the twin will lose out to the high revving race replicas.

The new brakes seem to offer improved power and feel when compared with the older model, but we can’t yet call them outstanding in a field of machines that includes homologated race bikes with top drawer components.

The suspension, on the other hand, is definitely a step up from the “budget” category found on some of the other bikes that don’t qualify as supersports or superbikes. Just as we concluded with regard to our test of the bigger brother, the Versys 1000 LT, Kawasaki has done an excellent job of dialing in damping and spring rates on this bike. In living with any motorcycle, few things are more important than quality suspension tuning, either for comfort or handling purposes.

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The Versys 650 LT is also fun to ride, with a light feel once underway (the claimed curb weight is 476 pounds). Like a loyal companion, it seems eager to follow every instruction from the rider, whether comfortably cruising the highway or hustling along the back roads. Convenience is always along for the ride, with the new, single key integrated luggage both attractive and functional (each bag will hold a large, full-face helmet).

Based on our testing, we also believe the new model offers slightly improved fuel economy, with more than 50 mpg available despite an aggressive right wrist. Together with a 5.5 gallon tank, you will likely need a break before the Versys 650 does.

If you are at a point in life where you want a do-it-all motorcycle that serves equal doses of enjoyment and practical transportation, the new Kawasaki Versys 650 LT might be the perfect bike for you. Available in the Candy Lime Green of our test unit or Pearl Stardust White, the 2015 Versys 650 LT carries a U.S. MSRP of $8,699. Visit Kawasaki’s web site for additional details and information.

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73 Comments

  1. TURBOMAN says:

    Just buy a Hyosung GT 650 add bags and save 3k..Has a better warranty than Kawasaki and parts are available over night if needed..This bike will do just as well as the Yamaha or Kaw 8699.00 is way to much for what this bike has to offer..Not everyone wants to spend that kind of money for a motorcycle..

  2. relic relick says:

    I will join in on the yam bashing. They have a second tier supplier, not kyb. I had a we x , too soft shock, not easily rebuild able. The R3 does not have ‘ too soft damping’ it has no damping.

  3. Chetztro says:

    i had the en 2 once

    And despite its monstrous look the bike is just perfect

    It’s comfortable, frugal, kicks well from Low bottom rev

    My wife hates motorbike, but the Versys is the only motorbike she’s eager to ride as pillion

  4. mg3 says:

    I thought this was the perfect motorcycle for me, and I went down to the dealership with checkbook conveniently positioned in my rear pocket. But damn! Foiled again! I am 5’10” and the thing was too tall for me. I could barely get my feet on the ground when saddled up. Big disappointment for me and I reluctantly ‘moved on’. Why so tall Kawasaki? What’s the big benefit from that height that is worth all the annoying times you’d be reaching for the ground with your toes?

    • KenHoward says:

      The raised seat-to-peg height allows for a (hopefully) more-comfortable, longer-travel suspension, along with greater knee comfort for taller riders. For a lower seat height, with the same engine, Kawasaki offers the Ninja 650.

      • KenHoward says:

        Oh, and more ground clearance, too, for casual off-roading.

        • Snake says:

          “Oh, and more ground clearance, too, for casual off-roading.”

          What “off-roading”? Did you forget that a lot of these modern, so-called “Adventure bikes” come with *street* rubber? Like this Versys does??

          We’ve got a generation of SUV wannabe bikes.

      • mg3 says:

        Yeah I looked at the Ninja too, and it’s also a beautiful bike, just not what I would really like to go on a week-long trip with. It probably could be adapted though, and be fairly comfortable for that kind of extended trip. Just don’t understand why no one makes a ‘normally sized’ motorcycle that is intended for long distance comfort, or can be easily modified. I currently ride an SV 650 that I have modified with higher gearing, an aftermarket seat and a small windscreen. This is getting me by for now.

        • todd says:

          The SV is a modern and more capable bike than the Ninja. Why would you need to replace it? It hasn’t been giving you problems, has it?

          • mg3 says:

            I am still kind of new to the SV, but so far it is proving to be a great bike. Will be doing some high mileage tripping soon and will have a better read on that part of the performance envelope, but around town you are right, this little SV rocks!

      • saddlebag says:

        I bought the 1k version. I had to lower it, but I still have the nice legroom, upright ergos, and now I can paddle it around if necessary.

    • Xootrx says:

      I’m 5′ 6″, and all I can tell you is you can get used to it. The seat height is just about the same as my 2012, and I do fine on mine. Riding boots ad a little to my inseam length, but not much.

    • John says:

      The new FJ-07 should trip your trigger. I helped a friend by a Versys and so it was in my driveway and I tried to get on it, and WOW, it’s just too tall for a small bike. And for what? It’s not going off roads.

  5. Sentinel says:

    This is a good review. Kawi did a really good job on this one. Something else that should be mentioned about the new braking system is that the master cylinder has also been upgraded on this new model.

  6. matt says:

    ‘sorted’ suspension, eh? We’ll see about that. The FZ07/09 is so bad it’s a professional embarrassment. You don’t need to spend $2000 to fix the suspension of any of this class of bike. Though Traxxion will be delighted to sell you an AK-20 and Penske 2-way. The Andreani + Ohlins can be had for $1000 (the Andreani kits needs some updates though). and there are garage operators who retrofit the real deal into bikes of this class (FZ, SV, EX) of bike for about $500.

  7. Christo says:

    Does it have a temp gauge and not just an idiot light?

  8. Bill says:

    I loved it when it first came out. Now it looks like everything else. I’m sure it’s still a good bike.

    • red says:

      me too, I liked the stacked headlights, particularly the gen2 style. Now it’s gone generic

      • KenHoward says:

        There’s a small-but-vocal minority that always prefers odd designs over more-standard but good-looking and functional shapes. This new front end looks more like a typical sport bike (or “generic,” if you will), but is probably more aerodynamic and certainly offers better wind protection than gen-1. And, most will agree it looks better.

        • rerun says:

          Odd designs (ugly) vs. Generic (boring and not so ugly trying but failing to look good). Why should the Versys limit itself to only those two options? What about being good looking and cool, like a Ducati? What about an inspiring design that makes a rider want to stick out his chest in pride and good looking women stop and stare? Looking at this Kawasaki makes my T levels want to drop like a rock.

          America is not such an impoverished nation just yet to the point where it has to give up the privilege of the romance of biking over the merely mundane and practical. We are not so poor just yet where have no option but to ride around on little dink dink 125’s like the rest of the world. Come on Kawasaki, give me something I want to ride, not just something I can ride.

          Riding this bike is about as masculine and awe inspiring as riding around on a scooter.

          • pistoldave says:

            If you feel the need to use a motorcycle as a “Male Enhancement Device” then you are right, this is probably not the bike for you. Not all of us use our motorcycles for “extensions” however. There are plenty of other bikes out there that meet those needs.

          • rerun says:

            Nonsense. Men (and a fair number of women apparently these days) ride cause it makes them feel like men, not like women. How many pink bikes can you name vs. the number of black bikes? Enough said.

            And furthermore, in America, we ride because we want to ride (we choose to do it) not because we have to cause we are too poor to afford anything better. Likewise in America, we are still rich enough to choose who we marry unlike the rest of the world who are forced to marry people who they don’t like or don’t even know in arraigned marriages because they are too poor to rise above the practical, mundane, and the lame.

            In America, even our Dentists (who could be more lame, bland, and boring than them), insists on killing their lions not with the ordinary hum drum rifles but with the more romantic, ego boosting bow and arrow.

            Everything about this bike says mediocre and ordinary. I say, why be ordinary before our time. Why be 3rd world before our time? In America, we are still rich enough to adorn ourselves with garbs more impressive and spectacular than that just of the mediocre, average, practical, and the mundane.

            Tell Kawasaki to go and sell this bike in the poverty stricken 3rd world where it belongs. This bike does not belong in the “Land of the Free” (and the rich).

          • Dave says:

            You’re vastly misusing the word “we”. You really mean “I”.

            American’s can choose what they want (for the most part). Fewer and fewer are choosing to ride motorcycles at all. The ones that do (and many more Euros) are choosing bikes like this more than some other types, so this is what the motorcycle companies are importing to our market.

          • rerun says:

            I use we as we Americans. We Americans are not yet too poor to be free, to be free from the dullness and lifelessness of the average and mediocre. After all what else is freedom good for if it does not allow one to rise above the dull, lame, boring, and the ugly. Now some in America may no longer have the desire to be free and to be no different from the rest of the unfree 3rd world. But can you really be said to be a true American, one truly imbued with the American spirit, if you have no desire to be exceptional and special? Red, white, and blue and I’m better than you – that’s the motto this country was founded on and it’s belief which has made it great and the envy of the world.

            And more and more people are not choosing to ride lame looking bikes like this. They buy it cause they have no other choice. The known free world is becoming poorer and poorer as we speak, and more and more are now becoming too poor to ride anything more exciting and better than this “I’m a nobody”, “Nobody likes me”, level of bike.

            The way this bike looks says I’m too poor to be free, and more and more people even in the rich nations can do no better than this. Not exactly a choice in my book.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            I ride motorcycles to raise my endorphin levels, not my testosterone levels. The Versys is a sweet handling bike with a sporty engine and a lot of utility. I have great appreciation for all three of those things and also think it is a good-looking bike. If I had one, I’d ride it proudly and enjoy every minute of it.

            Most Americans ride Harleys. It doesn’t get much more lifeless, dull or corny than that as far as I’m concerned, but then none of those Harley riders should care what I think in the least. They bought what they wanted. The Versys isn’t your kind of bike. We get it. Now stop embarrassing the rest of us with this strange drivel.

          • todd says:

            Hey rerun, what’s happenin? Which one of the 35 American countries are you referring to?

          • Dave says:

            Well rerun, I’ll give you this, your narcissism is pure American.

          • rerun says:

            You don’t get it. What I am trying to say is that the Versys and all bikes like it are just not my kind of bike, but it is not our kind of bike. It is quintessentially Un-American. As Ronald Reagan would have put it – it is not a freedom loving motor vehicle.

            And the only reason why you actually believe you would be proud to be seen with this bike is because you can choose to ride this bland contraption, and are not forced to cause you are too poor to have any other choice. Think about it. A man who has other options but yet still chooses to date and ugly girl and is unafraid to be seen with her in public is viewed as the bigger man, as his own man, a man who is above the shallow opinions of others. But a man who dates the same fat, ugly woman but has no other choice is without a doubt looked down upon, spat on, and viewed as the ultimate of losers. And wherever he goes, such a man is given no semblance of respect, by both men and women and by both young and old.

            Hint, hint: When you so proudly ride this bike in public, subconsciously you are thinking you are being viewed by others as this former man, and not the latter complete loser. Believe me, if you really were too poor to afford anything else (which I doubt is the case with you and your pride) you would be singing a different tune and you would be ashamed to be seen in public with such an ugly bike, just as the latter type of man is ashamed to be seen in public with the fat, ugly woman they have no other choice but to be stuck with.

            Easy logic. Easy to comprehend, wouldn’t you say?

          • rerun says:

            And what other country can I be referring to other than the States? Red, white, and blue and that means I’m better than you. Duh, what other nation could that be? Besides, in the Americas only America is not too poor to be free. Even Brazil, the supposed up and coming BRIC member, can’t even get the turds out of its waterways for its Olympic celebrations, when all the eyes of the world will be on Brazil. Imagine how turd infested the waterways are when the rest of the world is not watching.

            So yes, having turd in your drinking water, bathing water, and swimming water to the point where your general population has become largely immune to poop related illnesses strongly suggests that you are too poor to be free. And yes, if being rich enough to be free means that I am able to live in a poop free world, then so be it, I’m an All-American narcissist.

            Better to be a poop free narcissist, than a poor, unselfish Brazilian man with poop in his ears and poop on his bike.

          • Dave says:

            Re: “Easy logic. Easy to comprehend, wouldn’t you say?”

            No, you don’t get it. You do not define the American experience, nor to you understand what “freedom” means to Americans or any of the other, many free countries in the world.

            We’re not the only free country in the world, or even in North America (ever heard of Canada?). We’re not even the only free country that has a red, white, and blue flag (France?). We even have water problems just as bad as those you describe in Brazil (thanks, big oil..).

            Open your eyes, get informed. Stop telling others how to feel about their own experience and understand that theirs is different, but no less valuable than yours.

          • mg3 says:

            Oh man, I can’t believe I am jumpin into this, but hey Rerun, some of what you say is true, but – that ‘American’ dentist that you seem to admire because he used the ‘romantic’ bow and arrow to kill the lion, well I’m willing to bet there was a thoroughly un-romantic guy with a loaded rifle standing right behind him, you know, just in case. And please leave my favorite president out of this.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Rerun, I get it, and I comprehend it. I just don’t agree with it.

          • mickey says:

            As a bow hunter the dentist embarrassed me. My understanding is he shot it with a crossbow and it lived for 40 hours before being finished off with a rifle.

            As a motorcyclist and an American who owns multiple bikes and would gladly ride this one, rerun embarrasses me. What a load ……

          • rerun says:

            Jeremy: I never said you agreed with me, just that your subconscious did. As Freud and the marketers on Madison Ave. would agree, better to have a person’s subconscious agree with you than what they think they think. Money has always equaled freedom in the U.S. Money equals freedom – how can anyone seriously argue against that statement? You (how you think you think) may not want to agree with it, but your subconscious (how you really think) can’t help but agree with it. In the final analysis, it is what you really believe in your heart of hearts despite you not wanting to believe it. It’s just that simple, just simple, elementary Freudian psych.

            Of course, you could claim, unlike the rest of us, that you do not have a subconscious, but I doubt you will make such a claim, since the part of you that thinks what you what (your conscious self) is realistic enough to know that the probability of others around here believing such a far fetched claim is low. You fortunately are realistic enough to know better.

          • rerun says:

            Dave: Like Jeremy above, despite your protests to the contrary, I think you will find that our positions are not all that different when viewed in a more holistic manner, rather than the pigeon holed, compartmentalized manner in which most Americans view the world and themselves. Basically your position of tolerance – we can’t define, we can’t judge, no negativity, tolerate and accept all up to the very limits of human tolerance. I get it.

            But what you don’t see is that your form of tolerance is actually a form of intolerance itself, or at the very least strongly contributes to the very form of intolerance – being too poor to be free – which you find so distasteful. Of course, being a relativist, which most overly tolerant people like you are, you think reality is so vague and uncertain that no one person can define this position and concretely show the hypocrisy and inconsistency of the modern forms of our much celebrated tolerance… BUT I’M HERE TO TELL YOU THAT I CAN. Your relativistic world view is incorrect and not all people are yet required to dumb themselves down and subscribe to it.

            America was built on the foundation of secularism. Money equals freedom could only exist in a secular world. So for the past 200 years, America has made it its business to replace the intolerance of the moral and religious with the intolerance of the economic and the legal (no matter what world you live in some form of intolerance has to exist). So now, instead of being ostracized and excommunicated for being immoral, deviant, or ungodly, we now get look down upon for being poor (losers we say) and thrown in jail for abstract, legalistic, overly technical crimes which no one can understand and which can be applied arbitrarily to basically anyone at anytime. Now, instead of being excommunicated by the church, we get thrown into prison and have all our money taken away from us for silly, made up secular crimes such a this – “Kane was charged with perjury, conspiracy, obstructing justice, official oppression, and false swearing”. How the heck is one supposed to defend oneself against such vague and intangible crimes, just as how could anyone defend oneself from being excommunicated from the church in the past?

            Now, which form of intolerance is greater? Well, obviously the modern, secular form. Notice the insecurity and stress levels of modern people (the true measure of the intolerance and pressure to conform which they face on an everyday basis), it is off the charts. It is higher than its ever been. How can that be in our supposedly overly tolerant and progressive world? So cut to the chase, ironically, your giddy form of tolerance inevitably clears the way for the prevalence of this new form of intolerance of the secular, where people are condemned for being not immoral or non-religious but for being failures, losers, and secular criminals – ALL OF THIS LEADING TO A WORLD WHERE MONEY EQUALS FREEDOM. The world is not big enough for 2 types of intolerance. We choose which form we will accept and people like you, wittingly or unwittingly, for the past 200 years have chosen the more intolerant and vicious form, that of secular intolerance.

            So surprise, surprise, your form of tolerance inevitably leads to and solidifies my world, a world you supposedly find to be intolerable, the world where most are too poor to be free. What do you know, the ironies of ironies.

          • rerun says:

            Mickey: I don’t know, Mick. In your attempts to ostracize me, it seems you unwittingly managed to describe someone who is more “American” than me – um, namely yourself. So again, how ironic us Americans are. We are embarrassed of other Americans when we are more American than the person we are embarrassed of… and of course, how typically American all of the hypocrisy, self-deceit, and confusion is.

            (1) Kills animals with bow arrow rather than a gun – check. I do no such thing. If the population of wildlife does need to be culled from time to time, as can be understood by all, then why not do so humanely and use tranquilizers to put the animals to sleep before humanly euthanizing them. Why all the need for this gratuitous blood letting while furthermore increasing this blood letting by using a bow and arrow rather than the simple and less blood thirsty gun. Why the need to increase the pain and fear of other sentient beings in their final hours when it is not required by necessity, when it is all done so that few overly egotistical, hard headed men can pat each other on the back and have more fun ending the lives of other creatures in a more bloody and hands on way?

            (2) Has an excess of materialistic things. Is rich. Has more motorcycles than one person will ever need – check. I only have one bike and I am poor. It seems making money is more of a focus of your life than mine. You certainly have more of it than me. So it seems you subscribe to this money equals freedom thing even more than me. If not in your mind, then certainly your behavior. You know the old saying, believe what a person does, not what a person says.

            So basically, you are not really embarrassed by the Dentist for being incompetent and unmanly in the way he killed the lion, as you claim. My guess is that in spite of being a hunter yourself, you still have a heart, and that heart of yours dislikes the killing of any animal for unnecessary and gratuitous reasons. Read between the lines, and anyone can see that it is not the incompetence of Dentist you are embarrassed about, as you claim, but rather the fact that he killed such a majestic, living breathing animal for no reason, just to boost his pathetically insecure ego. You just can’t admit it, since you are a bow hunter yourself.

            In the same sense, you are not really embarrassed about me and my Americanism, as you also claim, but rather you are embarrassed with yourself and your Americanism and you are just taking it out on me cause I am an easier and more convenient target than you yourself happens to be. Its just that you have trouble admitting to yourself, since you are more American than me.

            It’s all understandable. Just the typical hypocrisy and self confusion of a typical “money equals freedom” American. It seems you are more of an ugly American than me and you hate yourself for it, but you subconsciously project this self-hate towards innocent and nice guys like me. How oh so typically American.

          • mickey says:

            If you say so.

          • saddlebag says:

            Go ride your black, tough guy bike up to Alaska with some guys on Versys sometime.

      • cw says:

        I was just about to post “I guess I’m the only one that finds it boring now”.

        I guess I’m not the only one.

        BayFormers styling wins again.

        • mg3 says:

          RIP Cecil. And this POST. Yikes

          • rerun says:

            Hey, I thought in the States we were supposed to be all about diversity. Ra ra, diversity, right? Was this the wrong kind of diversity? Can there be such a thing as a wrong kind of diversity? I thought we outlawed the concept of the wrong kind of diversity in the States?

  9. Lonerider says:

    What an improvement Kawasaki did with this one. If Yamaha would offer a variant of the FZ07 similar at the new Versys, i’d probably trade my FZ. I didn’t demo ride the new Versys. So i can’t tell if the new engine is as vibey as the 2 previous generation.

  10. PN says:

    I have a 2008 with several mods (seat, fork springs, brakes, power, windshield and rack, heat). This bike is just fun and practical and a terrific value. God bless the designer, because he improved on the original Multistrada. Other adv bikes are just overloaded and overcomplicated compared to the Versys.

  11. Kagato says:

    I’m wondering how the V Twin on the Wee Strom compares to the Kawie mill. I’ve never ridden either.

    • Lonerider says:

      Easy. The Versys is a shaking engine with a lawnmower’s sound. The Suzuki is vibe-free, with character and beautiful sound. Lol.

      • Grover says:

        Agreed. The SV is way smoother and more refined. You really can’t compare the two.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          Disagree. Well, sort of. The Suzuki engine is smoother, or at least it was. This new Versys is supposed to be noticeably smoother than the previous generation, though I wasn’t bothered by the minimal levels of vibration on the 2010 Versys I rode.

          The bikes are very different though. The Versys feels like a sportbike, the V-strom like a lumbering oaf in comparison. The Kawasaki twin also has a sportier character to it that the Suzuki V.

        • KenHoward says:

          Yes, the V-Strom is smoother, but hardly “vibe-free.” I rode one, briefly, though, and it was also lacking in character and sound and shift-feel. Either bike will benefit from an aftermarket exhaust. The V-Strom (or “Wee-“) has a much longer wheelbase, and just didn’t feel right to me. I was very happy to get back on my Bonneville, which – comparatively – oozes character.

        • Matthew Thornton says:

          You are correct about no comparison. The Kawie will blow away the SV in performance. And that was the older model. If they added power, gone!

      • xLaYN says:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfW0jrcllqU

        “lawnmower’s sound” you mean the GS500?

        • Matric says:

          I know what you mean. I had a GS400. And at the driving school whre i worked a couple of years ago, we had 2 GS500. Good bikes, but lack of musical attraction.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      That 650 Zuk is the single greatest twin cylinder engine ever put in a motorcycle. At least as far as liquid cooled ones go. The Kawi is fine, but it’s a well engineered mechanical device designed to serve a purpose. Not, like the Suzuki, a religious experience in and of itself.

      If you want a Versys with an engine on the same meta perfect plane as the Zuk, get the 1000. That Liter/4 is a mill worth building shrines for.

  12. rerun says:

    An improvement over the previous Versys? Yea, in the sense that a lot of make up improves the look of an ugly girl… but the ugly is always still there lurking just underneath.

    Bike looks like a frog, an aerodynamic frog, sort of like Kermit with a Darth Vader suit on.

  13. todd says:

    I’m in the minority thinking that the previous version was vastly better looking, especially in the Not-For-US Orange.

    • todd says:

      I mean the FIRST generation Versys. They ruined the second one and totally made it generic looking on this one – but you can’t argue with all the nice upgrades.

  14. robert says:

    I always liked the Versys looked real hard at a 2008 when they came out every year they seem to get better but not being able to put a center stand on it killed the deal every time

  15. xLaYN says:

    “the 2015 Versys 650 LT carries a U.S. MSRP of $8,699”
    interesting… 200 more than the MSRP for the honda CBR650F, OTH Yamaha seeks to keep kicking package/price derrières with the 7K$ FZ07.

    “features a legible analog tachometer (hallelujah!)”
    I though people had already agreed that “if you hear it rumble, it’s rising bumble…. if you hear it screaming it’s rising speeding…” was the correct relationship between the engine sound and a beautiful analog, sun proof rpm tachometer needle.

    “The stock Versys suspension is also superior” … “few things are more important than quality suspension tuning”
    yay, one of those overlooked parts most of the time

    Mr. Dirck congratulations on the extra protection pants!!

    is that purple fringe on the photo before the last one?

    • fast2win says:

      A very poor comparison.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Those are some pretty different bikes to be comparing. In any case, the Versys LT comes with ABS, hard bags and better suspension. Add any two of those to the Honda or Yamaha, and you will eclipse the $8700 price tag on the Versys. The Honda with ABS is already more expensive than the Versys.

  16. Bob says:

    I can’t help but wonder what this bike would look like if given the same styling treatment that Yamaha gave the XSR700.

    • Dave says:

      While not a “retro”, Kawasaki does offer a sport-standard, the ER-6n that looks really good. Seems like the platform has a lot of potential for that.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Kawasaki hasn’t sold the ER-6n in the US for several years.

        • Dave says:

          I knew it had been discontinued in the US but didn’t know how recently. It was still available in other markets as recently as 2014. Given that Suzuki dusted off the Gladius for re-release, I was just speculating that Kawasaki could offer an update/re-style without too much investment.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            2009 – 2010 was all it lasted here. My brother had one, and I really liked it. Great looking machine in my opinion. Worst stock seat I ever sat on though!

            Given that naked bikes finally seem to be catching on here, I wouldn’t be surprised if they have another go at it.

          • Dave says:

            They’ll need to really sharpen their pencil if they want to go up against that FZ07.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            The FZ-07 is definitely a tough act to follow.

  17. TimC says:

    Kawasaki of late has a nice reputation for improving models in meaningful, significant ways (cf Concours). Sounds like they are getting it.

  18. Jeremy in TX says:

    It is a good-looking motorcycle (finally) in my opinion. I had the opportunity to put almost 1000 miles on the previous generation of this bike, and I thought it was an excellent handler and all-around motorcycle. It sounds like Kawasaki made some genuine improvements in other areas beside aesthetics. Well worth the asking price.