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Old 28th June 2017, 23:50   #1
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Default Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650

Now, where do I start? Well, I had owned few bikes in the past before getting into the 600cc+ category. Learnt riding on a RX 100, rode through West Bengal, Odisha and Bihar roads on the next bike, LML Adreno for a few years.

Then came along a break for 3 years where I had got into a new job and had some other commitments to take over. Then I moved to Bangalore in 2011. Had few friends here who suggested to get a bike for daily commute as the rush in public transport was maddening. But then I didn't want just any commuter bike, rather wanted a bike with which I can explore and ride around as well. I went ahead and booked the popular RE Thunderbird 500 in September that year and was pretty happy with what was offered with the bike as it suited my needs. But on getting to know the 1 year waiting period of the TB500, I lost patience, cancelled the booking and started looking for other options.

Then in 2012, KTM launched the Duke 200 in India. I was smitten by the style and sound (yes I love the sound of the older KTMs) of the bike. After few months, KTM had got the bikes to our office campus and were giving test rides. I had to ride it, and the rest is history. Rode around 25k kms in and around South India on the 200 before upgrading to the Duke 390 in 2014.

Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-1.jpg

From 2013 onwards, my wife (then girlfriend - she is a BHPian too with the handle nandita_bayan21. You all must have read some of our driving/riding stories through her travelogues) started touring along with me as pillion. Luckily, in my case, she was passionate about traveling and exploring new places, just like me. With one step at a time, got her full riding gear as do not want to compromise on safety just because she is a pillion rider. We toured extensively on our 390, sometimes just the two of us, sometime with few friends.

Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-2.jpg
Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-3.jpg
Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-4.jpg

Recently did a 9 states, 7500 kms ride on the 390 with Nandita as pillion. Below is the travelogue for the same:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...-9-states.html (Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 states)

I can't imagine riding pillion 10 kms on that small seat, I seriously wonder how she managed to happily ride along 85k kms on D390 including multiple 800+ kms a day rides and a 1000+ kms a day ride. So it was about time, I got her a comfortable saddle to ride pillion. Meanwhile, she is also learning riding

With the amount of riding we both do and plans of some future big rides, somehow thought that we needed a proper touring bike. A bike which is more reliable in the long run, can do all sorts of terrain and comfortable for rider as well as pillion. There weren't too many options which perfectly suited our needs. So, which bike?

Options:

1) Kawasaki Versys 650
2) Kawasaki Versys 650
3) Kawasaki Versys 650

I had only one option and that was the Versys 650. I always had a thing for ADV bikes but pre 2015, owning one in India means one needs to shell out more than 10 lacs for sure. But ever since we saw the Kawasaki Versys 650 review in 2015 on YouTube, that was a bike that we wanted to own and ride across our beautiful country and beyond. Then it was launched in India in 2016, but in black color. Although I liked it, Nandita insisted on waiting for the green color to be launched. The only color that one can related to with Kawasaki is Green! Hence, the wait got extended.

Meanwhile I kept watching all the reviews of the Versys 650 on YouTube, not for the specs but just to look at the bike.

Also, I would like to thank mobike008 and CrAzY dRiVeR for the brilliantly detailed ownership report which has set the bar so high in terms of ownership reviews that it's really tough to match, let alone cross it. I will go on to say that those two are the best V650 reviews one can find on the internet.

Enter 2017 and the wait for green V was still on, and finally Kawasaki decided to launch the rather different looking green V and Nandita gave the approval straightaway. Started to arrange the finance for the bike and asked her to choose a name as I never used to keep any name for any of my previous bikes. Now came the shocker, Karnataka tax increased from 12% to 18% and so did the OTR price of V as well. Now it was Rs 8.3 lacs on road. Discussed the other options we had but ruled everything out as there was nothing else in the market which could beat the VFM factor and the features offered by V650 in the price range. Within 10 lacs, there is nothing which rides better, handles the bad roads of India better and goes the distance comfortably with luggage and pillion better!

Although we had our eyes on the Tiger but it was way out of our budget. So it was V650.

Booking:

We delayed the booking so that we don't get caught between the Kawasaki-Bajaj split up. Finally the booking was made in May and the entire process went smooth. The overall experience with Kawasaki dealers in Bangalore, RideVenture was good. The loan process was taken care by Yes Bank as recently three friends (Daytona, Tiger and Z800) took a loan from the same bank and the entire process was swift. We gave the documents and the waiting period began.

Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-5.jpg
Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-.jpg
Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-d.jpg

Delivery:

I had asked the dealer to get the bike ASAP as I had waited almost a month. Meanwhile I had sold my 390 so I desperately needed the bike. Fortunately one fine Monday, I got a call from Chethan, the sales guy, saying that my bike has arrived and PDI is going on. I wanted to be present for it but weekdays are really hectic and can't afford to take leaves as I know I would need a lot of leaves once I get the bike.

Few of my riding buddies joined in for the delivery day. What better than spending this special day with your friends and closed ones.

Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-dsc_0273.jpg
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Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-c.jpg

Arun, an office colleague and a riding buddy, made this video of the entire delivery day, also do check out the other videos in his channel!



Naming:

As I said earlier, I am not a big fan of naming the machines I own, but Nandita has a name for our car (Chevy Beat - Skiddy) and all the other bikes owned by us. After a lot of deliberation, it was HULK that we found to be perfect for this green monster.

Living with the HULK:

The second day itself I got 3M PPF done on the bike and installed some accessories made by Srivastha, a fellow V owner. Had to get rid off the ugly barbecue grill (saree guard) at any cost.

It's been a pleasurable 800 kms till date with HULK and the ride has been extremely smooth so far. I believe in doing the run-in in city traffic so that the bike can go through lot of gear changes and clutch involvement. Well, that's how I have done for all the bikes and cars I have owned, although it’s just my personal preference.

The bike is a bit difficult to ride in traffic due to the huge dimensions but then any bike for that matter is difficult to ride in Bangalore’s infamous B2B traffic. I commute between BTM to Bellandur, Bangalore people will definitely understand my pain.

The ride so far was niggle free and I did a short 200 kms photo shoot ride to a nearby dam backwaters. Got some pretty good pictures as Nandita is a budding photographer, so we always get pretty neat pictures on all our rides/drives.

Here are few photos from that ride:

Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-dsc_0380.jpg
Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-dsc_0424.jpg
Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-img_8006.jpg
Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-dsc_0480.jpg
Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-dsc_0487.jpg
Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-dsc_0564.jpg
Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-dsc_0571.jpg
Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-dsc_5798.jpg
Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-dsc_5809.jpg
Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-img_8030.jpg

Initial Impressions:

What I Like:

1) Being a KTM user from past 5+ years, everything on this feels better built, more comfortable.

2) Seats: Extremely comfortable, rode non stop 150 kms recently and didn't feel a thing. We used to take breaks every 170-200 kms on our 390. I am pretty sure that number will increase since the tank range and comfort has been amplified with the Versys. Also, my pillion, Nandita is loving it! She says the seats make her feel sleepy, defintely need to get a top case to prevent her from falling off.

3) Engine: Butter smooth, haven't gone past 4k RPM, I am pretty sure it will get even more smoother after the 1st service. There is no lugging or jerking if the speeds are low and gears high, although one shouldn't do that, I was just checking. There is an air intake sound when you leave the throttle which sounds amazing. I have never been a fan of loud exhausts on touring bikes so I am pretty happy with the silent exhaust note. Earlier, everyone used to get to know when I entered the apartment premises because of the Duke sound, now I can sneak in and out without anyone noticing

4) Ride quality: Very supple, irons out the bad patches with ease. Bone jarring rides are a thing of the past now. Tried some mild off-roading and the bike felt extremely pliant. The front 17 inch wheels do get deflected due to any stones but due to the weight, the bikes feels planted and stable on off roads. I have done few hardcore off road rides in the past on the 390, and I would love to take this bike on those rocky trails.

5) Brakes: Pretty powerful I must say, initial bite is not very strong but it's progressive. Had a panic breaking scenario recently and the brakes worked perfectly in stopping without the ABS getting engaged. Maybe EBC brake pads can stop this behemoth even more efficiently. As per other V owners, the braking will improve once the brake pads have run in for some more kms.

6) Heating: Again, 10% of what 390 used to emit. I have ridden it in B2B Bangalore traffic, and could feel some heat only on a small section near the right toe. Pillion doesn't feel any heat at all. It's definitely a welcome upgrade from the tandoori legs that 390 used to give us both.

7) Tires: Rode 800 kms till now on both wet and dry, handling is better than expected. Gravel roads were a bit of a concern as the front was not giving much feedback. For my kind of riding, the next change would be a heidenau set. Stock Dunlops do have pretty good grip in corners and one can achieve decent lean angles for an ADV bike. Proper wet road testing will be done real soon.

8) ABS: Not very intrusive, but works for sure! As mentioned earlier, had an instance of panic braking, but the brakes itself had enough bite that ABS didn't need to engage. Did try doing hard braking in a safe environment to feel the ABS kick in, it works fine without unsettling the rider.

9) Mileage: Too early to say, getting around 20 kmpl for now. I hope it improves to atleast 22-25 kmpl, maybe it will return good figures on highway. Tank range was a huge plus point because of which we went with this bike.

What could have been better:

1) Lights: Inadequate for a bike which can do high triple digit speeds. Need some AUX lights for sure. Also, thinking to upgrade the stock bulbs to white LEDs. I don't understand the logic behind manufacturers providing such low quality lights on such expensive machines. Got to give props to Bajaj and KTM for providing such powerful lights on their latest bikes. Kawasaki should learn a thing or two.

2) Windshield: The windshield was doing a fair job in the city as anyways one cannot make out much in low city speeds. But once out on the highway, strangely I started getting quite a lot of wind noise even at the highest setting. I am 6 ft and the windshield seems to be creating a bad airflow right on my helmet. Surprisingly the wind noise was not this high on my 390, even after the bike being a naked street fighter. It's definitely due to the flow of wind from the screen. Most probably will get a bigger screen from Puig/MRA sometime later. Until then ear plugs should do the job.

These are just the initial impressions, I will report back with more pros/cons and mods done (I like to personalize my bikes) once the I clock in some more kms.

Mods/accessories planned:

Since I have already got most of the protection accessories installed, need some utilitarian mods as well.

1) AUX lights
2) Top case
3) LED bulbs for the main headlight unit (I am a big fan of LEDs, no pun intended)

PS: Most of our travelogue writing is done by Nandita so excuse for the more amateur take on this thread.

Last edited by moralfibre : 1st July 2017 at 06:30. Reason: Only two smileys permitted per post.
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Old 29th June 2017, 09:18   #2
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Default re: Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650

A small tragedy:

Couple of weeks back, few friends thought of catching up at a nearby McD for a short night ride to welcome two new 390s into our group.

Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-1.jpeg
Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-whatsapp-image-20170618-12.56.35.jpeg

I was doing pretty low speeds as the visibility was fairly low on the road and run-in was still on. Unfortunately a car whizzed past us and a tiny stone came and hit the radiator resulting in the coolant spewing out like a fountain. Immediately called everyone back and informed about the ordeal.

Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-2.jpeg
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Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-4.jpeg
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Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-6.jpeg

It's nice to have helpful friends.

Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-7.jpeg

We arranged a tow truck and shifted the bike to a friend's hotel and moved it to the SVC the next day.

Hotel parking:

Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-8.jpeg
Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-9.jpeg

The insurance has been claimed and HULK is awaiting the radiator which should arrive in 2 to 3 weeks’ time.

In SVC:

Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-10.jpeg

I will not blame the bike for it, it was totally unfortunate on our part as we were the victim as lot more bikes including a Z800, Daytona and a Tiger also passed from the same route. Also, all this time I was cursing myself for having the Aliexpress radiator guard and not fixing it. But I had my eyes wide open when I saw a Z800 and a Ninja 1000 having the same Aliexpress radiator guard with the same damage. So immediately I ordered the Evotech radiator guard and Pyramid Fender Extender from bikenbiker.com

Now can't wait to fix HULK and get back on the road soon

Last edited by atul.ktm : 29th June 2017 at 09:21.
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Old 30th June 2017, 11:11   #3
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Default Re: Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Motorcycle Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 30th June 2017, 11:39   #4
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Default Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650

Many congratulations on the HULK. I completely agree that nothing beats the green of the Kawasaki. Owning one is one of my dreams and I do hope to live it one day.

Great to see how well you have used your bikes to explore the country. I am sure Versys will just add to the number of places you visit.

Having read multiple reviews of Versys and all have been all praise for the beauty for its comfortable ride. Looking forward to read about your escapades on the HULK.

Also just read your (nandita's) TL on your Goa trip on your skiddy. It's just a blessing to have a companion who loves to ride with you. All the best to both of you for many more miles on the HULK and the SKIDDY.
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Old 30th June 2017, 12:05   #5
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Default Re: Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650

Congratulations on the Versy's. I have owned the Ninja 650 in the past and always toy around with the thought of trying out the Versy's since so many people prefer it over the regular 650 for obvious reasons.

On the stone damage part, I can feel your pain, as, I had a similar incident with my Busa in May. It was 20th of May and the bike had completed 3 months on that day and also I had finished the running in. However, luck had different plans for this day. While I was riding back home from a ride, a huge stone came flying from underneath a truck tyre (I saw that huge stone flying towards my bike ) and did this to my left hand side fairing damaging it, including the radiator and oil cooler and a few other plastic parts

Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-img_3905.jpg

Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-img_3915.jpg

I could just thank my luck that it did not hit the tyre, as I could have lost my balance or worst hit my helmet. There is absolutely nothing you can do to avoid such situations. But, as a precaution, I avoid riding next to a truck or behind one as much as possible.
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Old 30th June 2017, 12:32   #6
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Default Re: Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650

Congrats on your new ride! I think the new paint scheme makes the bike look even better. I do hope your bike is back up and running at the earliest.
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Old 30th June 2017, 12:39   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justwheels View Post
Many congratulations on the HULK. I completely agree that nothing beats the green of the Kawasaki. Owning one is one of my dreams and I do hope to live it one day.

Great to see how well you have used your bikes to explore the country. I am sure Versys will just add to the number of places you visit.

Having read multiple reviews of Versys and all have been all praise for the beauty for its comfortable ride. Looking forward to read about your escapades on the HULK.

Also just read your (nandita's) TL on your Goa trip on your skiddy. It's just a blessing to have a companion who loves to ride with you. All the best to both of you for many more miles on the HULK and the SKIDDY.
Thanks a lot. We already have planned few monsoon escapades on our HULK

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnS_12 View Post
Congratulations on the Versy's. I have owned the Ninja 650 in the past and always toy around with the thought of trying out the Versy's since so many people prefer it over the regular 650 for obvious reasons.
Thank you, Ninja 650 was always one of my favourite bikes but the lack of ABS on such a powerful machine was a bummer. This was more so because all my rides are with a pillion, so couldn't take chances with safety. Versys did tick all the right boxes for us to go for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnS_12 View Post
On the stone damage part, I can feel your pain, as, I had a similar incident with my Busa in May. It was 20th of May and the bike had completed 3 months on that day and also I had finished the running in. However, luck had different plans for this day. While I was riding back home from a ride, a huge stone came flying from underneath a truck tyre (I saw that huge stone flying towards my bike ) and did this to my left hand side fairing damaging it, including the radiator and oil cooler and a few other plastic parts

I could just thank my luck that it did not hit the tyre, as I could have lost my balance or worst hit my helmet. There is absolutely nothing you can do to avoid such situations. But, as a precaution, I avoid riding next to a truck or behind one as much as possible.
That's a pretty substantial damage, glad that nothing happened to you. Agreed on the part that these situations are unavoidable on Indian roads. It's all pure luck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deepfreak15 View Post
Congrats on your new ride! I think the new paint scheme makes the bike look even better. I do hope your bike is back up and running at the earliest.
Thank you, hoping for the same.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 30th June 2017 at 18:50. Reason: merging back to back posts
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Old 30th June 2017, 14:13   #8
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Default Re: Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650

Atul & Nandita : Congratulations on your spanking new Versys 650. That green color makes it really look like the HULK (Apt name)

Glad to know my review helped you in deciding this bike

For someone who munches serious miles like you, I would recommend you to get the PUIG screen (but, please get the clear screen as the smoke one is aesthetically awesome but, at night times it does give some visibility issues and I sometimes have to peer from the side to get a better view of the road)...But, once you install it and set it to the top most setting, trust me you will feel as if you are driving a car (zero wind)

Look forward to your adventures on this tourer and do keep updating this thread regularly and continue to share pics (BTW, pics have come out real nice-Vivid and lovely)

Congrats again and ride safe !!!
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Old 30th June 2017, 15:41   #9
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Default Re: Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650

Congratulations Atul & Nandita on getting your HULK home. I feel an apt name, based on its looks & what's it capable of.

I have been planning for an upgrade for over an year now. But still haven't been able to decide. 1st it was Harley vs Triumph and then i was zeroing in on Triumph T100, when i read mobike008's Versys650 thread and i got debating Triumph vs Kawasaki. Somehow, i'm now tilting towards Versys 650. Need to take a test ride though. But still you know mind says one thing and heart plays to its own tune.
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Old 30th June 2017, 16:54   #10
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Default Re: Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumping Soul View Post
I have been planning for an upgrade for over an year now. But still haven't been able to decide. 1st it was Harley vs Triumph and then i was zeroing in on Triumph T100, when i read mobike008's Versys650 thread and i got debating Triumph vs Kawasaki. Somehow, i'm now tilting towards Versys 650. Need to take a test ride though. But still you know mind says one thing and heart plays to its own tune.
Triumph T100 vs. Kawasaki Versys 650? Interesting shortlists

Triumph T100 is an ageless motorcycle with so much chrome on it that it can give the Harley's competition..LOL! Jokes aside, T100 is a beautiful bike and would be a great bike to own (Though I was always a fan of the standard Bonnie due to it's better handling capabilities)

Versys is a clear winner if you enjoy smooth, silent, super comfortable and heavy duty mile-crunching for touring purposes

Choose the bike based on your usage. Both are equally reliable and a pleasure to own and ride
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Old 30th June 2017, 23:18   #11
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Default Re: Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650

Beautifully written thread Atul. And welcome to the green goblin club. Nice to see so many Versys being added.

Hope we meet someday and ride together.
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Old 30th June 2017, 23:52   #12
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Default Re: Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650

Beautiful review mate! Congrats and wishing you a lot of safe miles on The Hulk

85k km on a Duke 390!! That is so nice to hear. I bought an used Duke 390 at 41k on odo, and having completed 46k now, I am hoping I can manage at least 75k km on it without major issues. Your Duke 390 says a lot about ktm reliability.
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Old 1st July 2017, 09:33   #13
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Default Re: Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650

Blessed is the word that instantly hit me seeing you guys. Congrats on your Hulk. You two are destined to explore every nook and corner of India I hope and the V is the perfect companion for that. Ride more and ride safe.
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Old 1st July 2017, 17:16   #14
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Default Re: Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
Atul & Nandita : Congratulations on your spanking new Versys 650. That green color makes it really look like the HULK (Apt name)
Thank you, name credits goes to Nandita

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
For someone who munches serious miles like you, I would recommend you to get the PUIG screen (but, please get the clear screen as the smoke one is aesthetically awesome but, at night times it does give some visibility issues and I sometimes have to peer from the side to get a better view of the road)...But, once you install it and set it to the top most setting, trust me you will feel as if you are driving a car (zero wind)

Look forward to your adventures on this tourer and do keep updating this thread regularly and continue to share pics (BTW, pics have come out real nice-Vivid and lovely)

Congrats again and ride safe !!!
Thanks again, yes PUIG is what I have in mind. Although some are suggesting MRA screen. But with the extra visor, I feel PUIG would be a better option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumping Soul View Post
Congratulations Atul & Nandita on getting your HULK home. I feel an apt name, based on its looks & what's it capable of.

I have been planning for an upgrade for over an year now. But still haven't been able to decide. 1st it was Harley vs Triumph and then i was zeroing in on Triumph T100, when i read mobike008's Versys650 thread and i got debating Triumph vs Kawasaki. Somehow, i'm now tilting towards Versys 650. Need to take a test ride though. But still you know mind says one thing and heart plays to its own tune.
Thanks a lot. Hope you get the bike which suits your needs and more importantly connects with you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
Versys is a clear winner if you enjoy smooth, silent, super comfortable and heavy duty mile-crunching for touring purposes
+1 to that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kailashnj View Post
Beautifully written thread Atul. And welcome to the green goblin club. Nice to see so many Versys being added.

Hope we meet someday and ride together.
Thanks Kailash, me and Nandita keep riding towards MH, would be travelling there again, soon. Hope to meet you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrasannaDhana View Post
Beautiful review mate! Congrats and wishing you a lot of safe miles on The Hulk

85k km on a Duke 390!! That is so nice to hear. I bought an used Duke 390 at 41k on odo, and having completed 46k now, I am hoping I can manage at least 75k km on it without major issues. Your Duke 390 says a lot about ktm reliability.
Thanks Prasanna. Duke 390 is a very reliable machine if you maintain it properly. It does have it own niggles, but for the price, we shouldn't complain much.

Happy mile munching!

Quote:
Originally Posted by VishJ View Post
Blessed is the word that instantly hit me seeing you guys. Congrats on your Hulk. You two are destined to explore every nook and corner of India I hope and the V is the perfect companion for that. Ride more and ride safe.

Thanks Vish
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Old 1st July 2017, 17:38   #15
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Default Re: Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650

So finally these arrived today:

Evotech Performance Radiator Guard
Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-img_8610.jpg

Pyramid Fender Extender
Homecoming of the Hulk : Kawasaki Versys 650-img_8611.jpg

Special thanks to www.bikenbiker.com for the prompt delivery.

Last edited by atul.ktm : 1st July 2017 at 17:39.
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