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2019 Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE LT+ Goes Up-Scale


The Versys 1000 SE LT+ motorcycle is equipped with 150 mm of long travel suspension, both front and rear. The 43 mm Showa cartridge fork and Showa BFRC lite rear shock utilize the latest in Kawasaki Electronically Controlled Suspension technology (KECS).

Compression and rebound damping for both the forks and shock are generated (and adjusted) electronically via the all-new KECS system that is controlled by a solenoid valve with direct actuation and allows for extremely quick reaction time. Riders can choose base settings from four modes: Sport, Road, Rain, and Rider mode (Manual). KECS then adjusts to the road surface environment in real time to provide the ideal damping, taking into account vehicle speed, and stroke speed. Deceleration is also accounted for to manage the natural pitching that occurs under braking. Riders can now electronically control the rear shock preload settings as well. KECS offers three different preload settings: rider only, rider with luggage, and rider with passenger and luggage; riders can fine-tune these settings with 10 levels of adjustment.

The forks and shock have built-in stroke sensors that provide real-time stroke speed and compression information. The sensor coils provide input to the KECS ECU every millisecond. This is complemented by information provided by the IMU (acceleration/deceleration) every 10 milliseconds, and the FI ECU (vehicle speed) every 10 milliseconds. The KECS ECU then directs current to the solenoids to adjust damping as required by the situation. This results in quick reaction time to road conditions and maintains a natural feeling that is crucial to the ride feeling at one with the motorcycle.

The KECS, coupled with a Showa 43 mm inverted cartridge fork and BFRC lite suspension components, delivers added confidence in rough road conditions and assures the tires feel planted when cornering.

Brakes & Wheels

The Versys 1000 SE LT+ comes equipped with sporty, lightweight six spoke 17 inch wheels front and rear. For a bike with unlimited street riding potential, it was crucial to find tires that offer superb cornering performance for more fun in hills, great high-speed stability, and a strong on-road image to go with the sporty character.

Handling the stopping duties for the all-new Versys 1000 SE LT+ is a full disc brake setup, featuring Kawasaki’s Intelligent anti-lock Brake System (KIBS) technology. The Radial-pump front brake master cylinder commands a pair of 4-piston radial-mount monobloc calipers to grip a pair of 310 mm brake discs, providing plenty of stopping power. The rear brake features a single piston, pin-slide caliper gripping a 250 mm disc.

KIBS (Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System)

Kawasaki’s supersport-grade ABS is standard equipment on the Versys 1000 SE LT+ motorcycle. This is based on the same system used on the Ninja® ZX™-10R and Ninja H2™ sportbikes, with programming and settings revised to suit both the street performance parameters and long-travel suspension of the Versys 1000 SE LT+. High-precision brake pressure control enables the system to avoid reduced brake performance due to excessive pressure drops, allowing lever feel to be maintained when KIBS is active, and helps ensure ABS pulses feel smooth.


For 2019, the Versys 1000 SE LT+ received several ergonomic features to enhance performance and comfort. At the front of the motorcycle, a new adjustable windscreen, vent layout, and cowl design all aid increasing performance and comfort. The new large windscreen height can now be adjusted from the rider’s seat, without tools, using two knobs on the inside of the screen to suit the rider’s height preference. The adjustable windscreen is equipped with a centrally located vent, which helps reduce the negative-pressure effect in the cockpit, increasing rider comfort at high speeds. The new upper cowling design and wider fairing provide increased wind protection, while still keeping fresh air routed to the areas of the engine bay that produce the most heat.

The wide handlebar and slim seat design along with low and forward footpeg position of the Versys 1000 SE LT+ creates a spacious and confidence-inspiring rider triangle. The upright riding position accommodates a variety of riding styles, broadening the spectrum of riding enjoyment and also offers a high level of comfort, a great benefit for longer rides.

Kawasaki Quick Release 28 Liter Saddlebags

The saddlebag mounting system of the Versys 1000 SE LT+ motorcycle utilizes the Kawasaki Quick Release mechanism, which allows for convenient, easy removal and installation of the saddlebags. Seamlessly integrating the saddlebags with the rear of the bike, the clean-mount system positions them close to the centerline of the motorcycle and thanks to its clean, clutter-free design, ensures the rear of the bike still looks good with the saddlebags removed.  The standard KQR™ 28 liter hard saddlebags are rated for up to 11 lbs storage weight and utilize the one-key system, which means they can be unlocked and removed with the ignition key. They are also color-matched to the body of the bike and have the Kawasaki logo stamped into their covers, ensuring a well-integrated, high-quality image. The Versys 1000 SE LT+ can also accommodate a top case with the saddlebags, offering multiple configuration options.

As an adventure touring motorcycle, the construction of the Versys 1000 SE LT+ required the use a of robust steel tubing to provide the sub-frame with the substantial 485 lbs payload capacity for carrying a passenger and luggage.


The styling and design of the Versys 1000 SE LT+ features smooth, flowing lines throughout the chassis and bodywork, Highly Durable Paint and full LED lighting which helps to create a motorcycle that is sure to keep even the most-seasoned riders enticed.

The new design of the Versys 1000 SE LT+ flows from the front of the bike to the rear. Its refreshed appearance of the front fairing and upper cowl signify the next step in the evolution of the Versys line of motorcycles. In the new design, the engine and sub-frame area were consciously presented as a styling element, as it showcases the trellis-style sub-frame. Also, in addition to the strategic use of colored pieces, the new design displays the balanced use of metal and composite materials, with each part’s material reflecting its functionality. A new front design with long, slim reflectors contributes to sporty looks while offering increased protection for the fork inner tubes. The new compact, sporty silencer showcases the sophisticated styling and image that has been added to the back of the bike.

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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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