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2019 Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE LT+ Goes Up-Scale

After winning MD BOTY back in 2015, Kawasaki’s excellent Versys 1000 LT stagnated, but now receives massive updates for the 2019 model year. The 2019 Versys 1000 SE LT+ is a technological marvel with electronically controlled suspension, intelligent ABS, quick shifter, ride-by-wire throttle, traction control, cruise control, and smartphone connectivity. Engine revisions are also present.

Here is the full press release from Kawasaki:

Kawasaki is a company that is synonymous with versatility, innovation, and the pursuit of absolute performance, and nothing embodies this philosophy more than the all-new 2019 Versys® 1000 SE LT+. It is the most versatile adventure-style motorcycle Kawasaki has ever made; it is ready for any road, any time. For 2019, the all-new Kawasaki Versys SE LT+ features a 1,043cc in-line four cylinder power plant, utilizing the latest technology in engine tuning and design, as well as a high-performance chassis and a full suite of state of the art advanced rider support features.

What makes the Versys 1000 SE LT+ one of the most versatile motorcycles for riding solo or two-up, around the corner or around the globe, is the combination of a smooth and responsive in-line four engine tuned for flexibility, and a nimble chassis fitted with dynamic Kawasaki Electronic Controlled Suspension (KECS) that will leave riders with smiles for miles.

Developed to suit a wide range of riders, the Versys 1000 SE LT+ platform provides riders a motorcycle that allows for Good Times™ to be had across a wide variety of street riding scenarios. The Versys 1000 SE LT+ features several all-new performance-increasing updates to the engine, suspension, and ergonomics, as well as increased long-ride comfort and advanced rider support technology. Complementing the increased performance and handling advancements is all new, fresh, and unique Versys® styling, which showcases the balance of aesthetic appeal and functional design. 

The Versys 1000 SE LT+ motorcycle is packed with premium class leading components and technology, such as Electronic Throttle Valves (ETV), Kawasaki Electronic Controlled Suspension (KECS) Showa front fork, and Kawasaki Cornering Management Function (KCMF) along with much more.

Highlights of the 2019 Versys 1000 SE LT+

  • NEW KECS (Kawasaki Electronic Control Suspension)
  • NEW Smooth Engine with Electronic Throttle Valves and KQS
  • NEW Electronic Suite including KCMF and KIBS
  • NEW TFT Color Instrumentation with Integrated Riding Modes
  • NEW Smartphone Connectivity via RIDEOLOGY THE APP
  • NEW Bodywork with LED Headlights and Cornering Lights

NEW Powerful Engine

The Versys 1000 SE LT+ features a powerful but playful liquid-cooled, DOHC, 16-valve 1,043cc in-line four engine, with a bore and stroke of 77.0 x 56.0 mm, which creates strong low-mid range torque and facilitates smooth power delivery. The engine has been tuned for flexibility and offers superb throttle response, strong torque throughout the rpm range. Electronic Throttle Valves (ETV) complement the engine performance and design for 2019. Other new features for 2019 include new fuel injection mapping, exhaust design, and a new catalytic converter design.

The all-new Electronic Throttle Valves enable the ECU to control the volume of both the fuel and the air that are delivered to the engine, by way of the fuel injectors and throttle valves. The optimal fuel and air inputs create a smooth, natural engine response and the ideal engine output. The ETV system has the accelerator position sensor located in the throttle assembly, eliminating the throttle cable.


The Versys 1000 SE LT+ utilizes gear ratios that were chosen to accommodate a wide range of riding situations, including sport riding, highway cruising or riding fully loaded with a passenger and luggage.

New for 2019 on the Versys 1000 SE LT+ motorcycle is a contactless-type quick shifter that allows for ultra quick, full power upshifts and clutchless downshifts. The Kawasaki Quick Shifter (KQS) detects that the shift lever has been actuated, and sends a signal to the ECU to cut ignition so that the next gear can be engaged for clutchless shifting. During deceleration, the KQS system controls engine speed to perfectly match engine RPM, which smoothly engages the lower gear, allowing effortless downshifts.


Complementing the transmission is an assist & slipper clutch, race-inspired technology that offers both a back-torque limiting function as well as a light feel at the lever.

The assist function is noticed by the lighter pull at the clutch lever, helping to reduce rider fatigue especially in stop and go traffic situations.

The slipper function is noticed when excessive engine braking occurs as a result of quick or accidental downshifts. The slipper cam comes into play, forcing the clutch hub and operating plate apart, which relieves pressure on the clutch plates to reduce back-torque and help prevent the rear tire from hopping and skidding. 


The frame of the Versys 1000 SE LT+ is composed of a five-piece cast aluminum construction, consisting of steering stem, left and right main frames, and two cross pieces. The two main sections of frame components have open C-shaped cross sections and were die-cast to ensure a smooth surface finish. The lightweight, highly rigid frame uses the engine as a stressed member, which contributes to handling, offering a firm, planted feeling and light, nimble turning. The sub-frame is composed of a steel tube trellis design, which enables the high-payload. To create the sleek appearance, the frame was constructed with the fewest amount of welds possible.

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  1. Cw says:

    Personally, I have been despising Kawi’s Insecticon, mantis-inspired front ends for a while. I like purposeful looks, and I’d find myself less hesitant to have this than the previous styling.

    Interested in whether one can get into one for close-to-$10K with just cruise, though.

    Suzuki, again, you are on the cruise control clock.

    • Black Bart says:

      I saw the bike yesterday at the IMS in Long Beach, Ca. Basically, Kawi took the standard Versys 1000 and piled on every imaginable computer controlled rider aid this side of a Moto GP bike. They also gave it a horrible paint scheme, a smart phone app to control all the components AND an 18k price tag. All we wanted on the standard Versys was cruise and heated grips. What was Kawasaki thinking??? If they sell 10 bikes in the states I will be surprised, especially since the Versys is up against the Yamaha Tracer 900 GT. The Tracer has everything we want for 5 grand less, and looks much more pleasing to the eye.

  2. ben says:

    same price as the KTM 1290 super adventure R/S…..good luck with that

  3. PD says:

    I still don’t care for the way this bike looks. But it’s probably very nice otherwise.

  4. Grover says:

    $18,000 and no cigarette lighter? Pass

  5. Max says:

    I’ll be keeping my ’15. I’d like to have the cruise control and it’s nice they put a decent windscreen on it this year, but I don’t need $5k of electronics to keep me upright. I’ve been doing this for a while now.
    I find the mechanical suspension on the ’15 just fine. Mine’s also lowered. Not sure if doing that on this new one would muss up the electronic gizmotry. And I don’t even own a smartphone.
    Would have liked this better had they at least thrown the top box in for 18 large.
    On the plus side, the base package is most excellent. Maybe I’ll reconsider once I roll 100k miles over on mine.

  6. Black Bart says:

    Maybe I’ll let the bike go for a ride without me and after it returns and parks itself, I’ll go on the app and see how it all went down ….. all from my LazyBoy. All that for 18k plus. Such a deal.

    • motowarrior says:

      Well stated BB. Looks like we are headed the way of the autonomous auto. All that is missing is the Honda trick where the bike balances itself and follows you around like a puppy. Somewhere along the way we forgot the whole reason for motorcycle riding. Rather sad.

  7. Stuki Moi says:

    I am pretty sure this will be one sweet allround bike. That Ninja 1000 motor is really special, and this has every convenience known to man thrown at it. Only concern would be if they managed to build an RBW throttle that’s not dull, artificial and lifeless.

    • Max says:

      They’re all “dull, artificial and lifeless” until you twist them. Then they work just like a cable.

  8. steveinsandiego says:

    the verbiage concocted to describe a bike amazes me….LOLOLOL

    i DO like Kawis, though. had two of’m during my 20 yr riding “career”: 05 1600 classic, 09 ninja 650. AND, they resided in the garage together for two years, much to mrs sinsd’s consternation 😉

    • rg500g says:

      Yeah, a ’71 BSA 650, a 2008 BMW K1200gt, and a 1985 Suzuki RG500 all in the garage together was just the recipe for a date in Family Court, a date I certainly relished.

  9. Dino says:

    Have I been asleep for a month, or is there an International Motorcycle Show somewhere that is just opened??!!

    So many bikes, and articles.. Like the Kawasaki’s, , and this Versys checks a lot of the boxes

    • Bob K says:

      If the H2 SX SE disn’t exist and I hadn’t just bought it, I’d probably get this. It’s got everything I want for touring all over tarnation.

      • Pacer says:

        Everything except that supercharger whine! How do you like the H2 SX?

        • Bob K says:

          So far, so good but the real telling will be the first time I do a 2 week trip. That’ll be next year and will be broken in by then. It’s heavier than the outgoing Ninja 1000 but the brakes and suspension are better as it should be with something so powerful. But, like on other forums, I’ve noticed that it is choked up quite a bit. But there is a solution available to get back about 40 HP with a reflash and exhaust. It’s an my list of things to do. It is comfortable too, just like the N1k. A little more aggressive rider triangle but it was about the same as my old R1100S which was also more aggressive than the N1k. And being new, I still like just sitting and looking at it. The paint is real nice too, you can tell it’s nicer than what’s normally on a bike.

          • Pacer says:

            40 horse with an exhaust and reflash? Lol Think about that, 40 additional horse to a bike that many think is already too powerful. Enjoy, ride safe.😎

  10. VLJ says:

    Perhaps I missed it, but even after going through the list of available accessories I see no mention of heated grips. This bike looks to have literally everything else, making the absence of heated grips a rather glaring omission.

    • Bob K says:

      The Kawasaki Heated Grips are a $300 option and they really suck. I had them on my ’11 Ninja 1000. Not enough heat levels, not enough watts and spotty heat coverage. I replaced them with Oxford Heaterz. The best heat output, overall coverage and the intelligent heat controller is easy to operate with gloves and will shut off in 10 or 15 minutes if you forget to turn it off, which is critical if it is wire direct to the battery. I wired mine to the fuse box so it was switched. I am doing the same for the H2 SX SE I just took delivery of but the new model is called Oxfor Heaterz Premium. Should be here any day now and was $90 bucks from Revzilla. Grips come in 3 flavors: Sport, Adventure and Touring. All are 7/8″ with the difference being the grips in terms of comfort and aggressiveness of the grip surface. The Touring is the most comfy of the 3 and is a less agressive grip pattern. Sport is thinner and more aggressive. Adventure is in the middle.

      • VLJ says:

        I’ve used the Oxfords multiple times. They’re good, in that they get plenty hot. Way hotter than the factory accessory heated grips on my Yamaha, for instance. There are two issues with the Oxfords, for me. The first is that large, bulky controller that you have to mount somewhere above the handlebar. With all that extra wiring hanging out there, it just looks horrible. The second issue is I had the toughest time finding a grip glue that didn’t melt with the Oxfords. My grips kept spinning in my hands. Never had that problem with any other heated grips. I didn’t have that problem with the Oxfords either, on my Triumph. On the Yamaha, however, man, it was bad.

        Anyway, I prefer that the grips have a built-in controller button, like the Koso Apollos, or the factory Honda or Triumph grips. The factory accessory heated grips on my Honda are far and away the best I’ve experienced. The indicator lights on them are even Kawasaki green, so they’d be perfect for your bike!

  11. denhajm says:

    Dirck, these multi-page articles are a pain. click, click, click. Can we go back to the single long page format, please? Its easier to scroll down with a mouse wheel (no matter where the cursor is hovering) than having to move the cursor to a particular target and click to see the next section of the article. Sorry for complaining. Have been reading your content for years–thank you!

  12. Tom R says:

    Versys 1000 SE LT+

    The name of this model looks like a typo.

  13. randy says:

    more flat paint???Who wants flat paint???Can’t wait to see how high$$$ they priced it.Kawi is making me a suzuki man these days.

    • randy says:

      Ok ,I saw the price,$18,000. I would go look at a BMW if I was going to pay that much.

      • Bob K says:

        You’ll still pay more than that for an equivalent feature set. I’ve never seen a BMW dealer carry a bare bones base model. For instance, the R1200RS I looked at last year clocked in at $23k how I wanted it.

      • SausageCreature says:

        $18k? Wow. Hopefully the regular GT trim will still be available. I don’t really need, or really even want, most of the additional features.

        • randy says:

          A v strom 1000 is looking mighty good to me right now.Leftover 2018 or wait till a 2019 in red is my only choice.

        • Bob K says:

          This is the LT+ version. Much like the H2 SX SE, which is about 3000-3500 more than the standard H2 SX, this Versys is offering the same features on a bike without a supercharger. So the price premium is still in line with how the H2 SE was priced.

        • Joe Bogusheimer says:

          I could live without some of the features that would presumably be exclusive to this version – TFT screen (tho I don’t know why, these things are probably cheaper to make than traditional instrument panels), electronic suspension, maybe the cornering lights, etc. I would hope the standard model would still have the cruise control, not like Yamaha and the Tracer, where it’s only available on the GT model – again for no apparent reason since everything necessary for it (other than the switchgear) is built into both versions. You shouldn’t have to go to the extremely deluxe version to get basic touring amenities like cruise control, on a bike that is meant for touring. At least the Tracer GT is not too much more expensive than the standard version.

          Maybe I’m too obsessed with having CC on my next bike – it’s not like I really do a ton of LD touring where I would need it. But knowing that it’s now possible, at essentially no additional cost if the bike has throttle by wire, I really want it.

  14. Tom R says:

    The front of this bike got a bit homely. It looks somewhat like the H-D Adventure bike prototype.

    And what about the “contactless-type” quick shifter? Contactless? Is that a thing?

    • SausageCreature says:

      Maybe I’m a bit weird, but I think the front end looks better than previous iteration (although admittedly that’s a fairly low bar to clear). I also kinda like the styling of the HD adventure bike also, so…yeah…I’m weird.

      • Bob K says:

        The front does look physically bigger but it definitely serves a purpose and was necessary to house the cornering lights, which on my H2 SX SE is really awesome. I don’t think it looks too bad. A lower wind screen would probably make it look better.

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