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-   -   2008 Kawasaki Versys Road Test (http://www.motorcycle.com/forum/motorcycle-general-discussion/7064-2008-kawasaki-versys-road-test.html)

Gritboy 01-10-2008 04:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kenneth_Moore (Post 176560)
I was seriously considering this bike versus the V-Strom. What made my mind up was the size, the VerSys is tiny, the V-Strom has the size and road presence I want. Ok, the 1000 cc engine in the Vee was better too, but compared to the Wee, it's tiny.

A 650 engine is the good size the chosen market -- doing light canyon carving, commuter, and light tourer -- where a 1000 might be too much beast for novice riders, and the smaller engine is probably better on gas too. I'm always amazed how many want bigger engines... this is a light, all-purpose bike, so anything between a 600-800cc is logical.

I was surprised at how tiny the Versys felt compared with my DL 650 when I sat on it at a tradeshow. I do like the feeling of mass my DL 650 has for street work, so a mere 20 lb difference in weight doesn't bother me.

Gritboy 01-10-2008 04:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ewok1 (Post 176576)
do any of you prefer the 17 inch wheel to the taller fronts on the old tiger, the vstrom and the gs? i feel that the smaller wheel for a street biased bike gives me more feel, or a better way to express it may be that the taller fronts feel vague to me.

Great question. I'm curious what others think. The Versys is designed purely for the street, much like the new Tiger, so given that they're both wearing 17s, I'm assuming the wise folks at both Kawi and Triumph have found 17s the best for pure street.

I've ridden 16, 17, 18 and 19 inch front tires on my past bikes and 17 is certainly the best feeling (right balance of sticky and nimble), but my V-Strom 650 has a 19 inch front. While a bit twitchy feeling when pushed hard (real canyon carving), the narrow 19 does soak up more road irregularities like a temperpedic matress. For me, this translates to much more confident riding on poorly maintained backroads, but on good roads at high speeds, it feels a bit light and ungrounded unless I have my tankbag loaded for extra front weight.

I'd buy a 17 inch front conversion kit from my Strom if they made one, because with good rubber, it already handles amazingly well... it's no GSX-R killer, but you'd be surprised. 19 inch fronts do have their place in touring, fireroads, etc., so they're not a bad choice for a adventure touring, but the Versys is clearly a street bike, so 17s are logical.

Can't wait to see more comparisons between V-Stroms (made do they need updating from Suzuki), the latest Tiger, BMW's new F800GS and the Versys. I'm sure the powermongers will love the Tiger for HP, but the rest promise to offer smaller displacement practicality... it just depends if street, dirt or a combo is what you want.

Gritboy 01-10-2008 05:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by longride (Post 176594)
I suppose if I rode one I would like it better than looking at it. It looks better than a V-Strom by a mile though (Sorry Ken!). None of these type of bikes do a thing for me. I suspect that they are just like the modern SUVs; off-road capability, but none of them are actually being ridden off-road. Nice write-up boys!

Funny, there a LOT of V-Strom riders who take 'em off road along with big and small BMW GS'. I ride my Strom 650 on fireroads, dirt and gravel trails and it does just fine (stay away from sand without nobbies though), even fording shallow creeks and flooded spots without issue.

There's a annual V-Strom get together in my area with 100+ riders and over half do dirt and trail riding that would make you proud. While not as rugged and gruntish as the BMWs for actual use (especially if not using nobbies), I've seen many adventure tour bikes being use for EXACTLY what they were designed for... all terrain and touring.

That said, the Versys is NOT an adventure tour bike... it's purely for street, or so the salesmen and reviewers imply.

As for looks... the Versys is nice looking in person. It's unconventional, but that's good. I don't like the headlight look however. The V-Strom can look very nice if don't add the accessories like saddlebags, frame guards, tall windscreens, etc., but do add a Pyramid Belly Pan and more attractive bars/mirros. Then again, I like the odd looking bikes over those that choose to all look the same. Then again, looks don't mean s^%t when riding... that's where you decide if you actually like a bike.

Gritboy 01-10-2008 05:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by anrajala (Post 176619)
Tekniikan Maailma, a local motoring rag, tested 650 all roaders, and what do you know Versys won. And the riders were not your standard bunch of semi-drunk Finnish dragass yahoos either, as the judges were guys like the seven-times enduro world champion Kari Tiainen (who specifically commended Versys for being well balanced).

Final points:
Kawasaki Versys 650 = 8.4
Suzuki DL 650 A (V-Storm) = 8.3
Yamaha XT 660 R = 7.8
Aprilia Pegaso 650 Trail = 7.7
BMW G 650 Xmoto = 7.6
Honda XL 650 V Transalp = 7.6

As you see V-Storm was pretty much neck in neck. Could have possibly won with smoother fuel injection who knows.

And there you have the beemer also, by far the most expensive but sharing the jumbo place with the antiquated Honda. Proves that the badge tax does not end there when you cough up the extra dough. You’ll end up riding the incompetitive turd too.

- cruiz-euro

Woohoo! The WeeStrom gets its due. If I didn't do dirt sometimes however, I'd probably opt for Versys and I don't have cash for a new BMW F800GS.

Gritboy 01-10-2008 05:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by seruzawa (Post 176638)
ALL the Adventure Tourers suck off road. All of them. All they are good for is tippy toeing along so you can see some nice scenery or for being better on rough tarmac. They are all at least 450 pounds wet and in no way can be considered real dirt bikes. They allow you to get places that a Goldwing can't go, but let's not pretend that they are anything but slightly off-road capable road. "How well" they work off road is really immaterial since any of them are easily humiliated by any clapped out old DR400. No one runs knobbies on their adventure bike anyhow.

seruzawa, your crack habit is showing. ;)

I've see some GS riders (1150cc+) that can put people to shame on almost any surface and who DO run knobbies both on and off street at serious speeds. No, they can't compete with a light off-road bikes, but don't think they don't use 'em that way. Some V-Strom riders do too, but many BMW guys really do ride them off road... giant ungainly beasts that they are. That's half the fun... conquering the ungainly.

sfcdjevans 01-10-2008 05:39 PM

This gets worse
 
I've located a 2006 'Strada 620 for under $7,000 I'm so confused....

Gluge 01-11-2008 01:24 AM

I rode my aprilia RS250 off-road... I think I can ride anything off road now ;)

PS my friend followed on his GSXR-750 haha.

Kenneth_Moore 01-11-2008 05:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gritboy (Post 176731)

I'd buy a 17 inch front conversion kit from my Strom if they made one, because with good rubber, it already handles amazingly well... it's no GSX-R killer, but you'd be surprised. 19 inch fronts do have their place in touring, fireroads, etc., so they're not a bad choice for a adventure touring, but the Versys is clearly a street bike, so 17s are logical.

There's a thread over on Stromtrooper.com about pulling the front wheel from an SV and putting it on the DL. It leaves me wondering what that front wheel diameter change would do to the rake, trail, etc., but apparently it's been done.

pplassm 01-11-2008 06:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kenneth_Moore (Post 176635)
..... a purpose built offroad bike like a KLR etc.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

That's the funniest thing I've read in a long time.

A KLR (especially an KLR650) is not a "purpose built offroad bike". No way.

I get your point though.

Kenneth_Moore 01-11-2008 08:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pplassm (Post 176743)
BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

That's the funniest thing I've read in a long time.

A KLR (especially an KLR650) is not a "purpose built offroad bike". No way.

I get your point though.

You could put what I know about dirt bikes in your eye and never notice. Shoulda just said "dirt bike" and left it like that.


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