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Old 6th July 2021, 19:44   #1
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Default Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home

Preamble

It was one of those evenings in September 2019, when I first showed my better half the picture of the Z900 and told her that I would like to pick up a bike after 34 years. That went way better than I expected and is completely documented in this thread:

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/super...omes-home.html (My 2019 Kawasaki Z900 - Bumblebee comes home)

A lot has happened since Bumblebee came home - most importantly, me acknowledging to myself that I did love my bikes that wee bit more than I did the cars. And as of writing this, the bike has crossed 16,000 kms and has been a flawless performer through and through.

But then, like with all good things, there were a few fies in this ointment. For one, the pillion seat of the Z900 is meant for those people without gluets ... so one of the peeves of my better half was that I could never take her on a proper ride. To add to that, in the last few rides on non-lockdown days that I did with my son, he started complaining of a butt ache - and if he, who is so passionate about bikes start complaining, that to me, called for some serious introspection. The other major push to the decision was the fact that, in my mind, adding a top box and panniers to the Z900 would take away from the otherwise rakish looks that I had come to love. So these two issues put together, kick started this process.


Arriving at the Decision

I turned 50 on the 1st of January, 2021. A few days before that event, my wife expressed her desire to get me something that I really wanted for this milestone and to humour her, I just mentioned in passing that I would love to have the Versys 1000 in my garage at some point in time. While she was ready to dip into her savings to get me this bike, due to certain other financial priorities, the idea was parked as "doable when able".

However, similar to the story of my Z900, what triggered off this was another fitness goal that I had to achieve. Let me take a few steps back. About a month ago, a very close friend of mine, picked up a Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro. Subsequent to him taking delivery, in one of our visits to his house, I got thrown the gauntlet - drop down another 10 kgs and you can buy the Versys. So, there you have it - you have your target .. now to figure out how to achieve it.


Why the Versys

Even before I picked up the Z900, there was this discussion amongst my close group of friends who are petrol-heads, after having gone and test ridden quite a few different motorcycles. One of them had, after that event, described the Versys as a sofa on two wheels. Somehow, that description got embedded deeply in my brain and it kind of started shaping my thought process. I had over a period of time, spent a fair bit of my free time going up and down the various reviews and riding impressions of the Versys 1000 on YouTube and slowly, I was getting clearer and clearer in my mind that this was the bike for me. I wanted it to be the bike that I could just load up with luggage - and my better half - and travel the length and breath of the country. Rock climbing and trail riding was the farthest from my mind. The more I saw the reviews and videos, the more my decision was made.


The Booking Process

You might call it a case of Deja-vu, but the next day, I found myself at the local Kawasaki dealer. And on display, at the very same spot that I first laid my eyes on Bumblebee, my Z900, stood a spanking new Versys 1000. The fact that it was there, gave me a very good feeling and I walked in to take a look. Here are some pictures that I took on that visit.

Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home-img_4303.jpg

Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home-img_4306.jpg

However, I had to keep in mind the caveat - which was that I lose 10 more kgs. But at the same time, I did not want this bike to go to anybody else, so I just took the plunge and paid the booking amount - with strict instructions to the folks at the showroom that until I gave them the all clear, the fact that I had booked the bike should not be let out. Happy to say that they were true to their word.

In parallel, I started the ball rolling with my bank to get the funding organised. Over the next few weeks, slowly but surely, I started my plan to get to the target - which was shift my IF into high gear. I must say I did make some progress. One day, all of a sudden, the Home Minister catches me off guard with the statement "I can see you really want that bike and you are pushing hard. Go ahead and get it, but promise me you will continue towards the target weight". What more could a guy ask for.

So finally things started moving and the bike was to be registered on the 23rd of July. It did make the trip to the RTO but due to some back-end system glitch, the process was not completed. However, the day being an auspicious one, we took delivery that evening - with a second visit due to the RTO on Monday. My resident junior monkey was over the moon

Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home-5c6c2a6c597143e1acc66c0253045dbc.jpeg

Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home-img_9795.jpg

So, finally Roadrunner came home.

Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home-64874325521__3ec9f8c0ee6a4355b93c954d7da27eba.jpg

Standing taller than the resident monkey

Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home-64874335968__d434c4f341ad4b90ab7f8933d378b8bc.jpg

And more than 1/2 the length of the Superb.

The Pooja happened the next morning with my parents in attendance.

Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home-img_4742.jpg

The Accessories

Once the bike was booked, I started looking at accessories. My experience with the Z900 had taught me a few things and I was determined to put my newfound knowledge to use. After a lot of research, I settled on the following:
  1. Hepco-Becker Crash Guards
  2. Hepco-Becker Pannier Racks
  3. Hepco-Becker Panniers & Topbox (bought off a fellow biker)
  4. Barkbusters Handguards
  5. Baja Designs Squadron Pro Aux Lights
  6. Radiator Guard (Fabricated locally)
  7. SW Mototech Bash Plate (bought off a fellow biker)
  8. GiVi Windscreen (taller than stock - bought off a fellow biker)
  9. Viofo M1 Motorcycle Dashcam

The accessories in the above list which were bought off fellow bikers because they were either not utilising them fully, or were letting go of their rides, are very well maintained. Not to mention the fact that it allowed a lower budget to go for a bit longer.

First impressions

Where do I start - when I first started up the bike to take it home after taking deli very, it started off to a buttery smooth purr - it was like there was a load of sound and vibration deadening insulation all around the engine. The gearbox - well it was a dream from another planet quite unlike the direct shift clunk that I get in the Z900. Took a few minutes to get used to the heft, but after that enjoyed my ride back home.

Having had the Z900 in my garage and covered more than 16,000 kms on it so far, this is the first point of comparison that I have. The Versys 1000 is quite a different beast when you compare it to the Z. It’s super smooth. Pot holes and speed breakers on the road don’t seem to exist. It’s slightly top heavy but that feeling goes away within less than a kilometer of it being ridden. It’s 255 kg heft is felt only when it is standing still. Once in motion, the weight disappears.

The default windscreen is pretty good with a smooth adjustment between its lowest and highest position. It requires both hands for adjustment - which are best done while the bike is standing still. In both positions, it offers adequate protection from wind buffeting. I will be replacing this with a GiVi aftermarket screen which will cover my face in the most upright position, giving me more protection from wind chill and buffeting.

Both the Mrs and my 8 year old son, gave full marks to the pillion seat. One of the complaints that my son had with the Z900, was that the pillion seat was very hard and small, and that he always ended up with a butt ache after a 40 km ride with me. Besides, the suspension on the Z900 was also set up a little stiff to deal with the high speeds that we normally do on the highway and hence transmitted more road irregularities to the pillion’s butt.

To sum up - while I am aware that I would be likened to comparing apples and oranges - the Z is like a track car that’s been adapted for the road. The Versys, on the other hand, is like an S Class Mercedes - smooth and fuss free.

Coming to the engine, its supremely flexible, producing usable torque all across the rev band. The bike comfortable in 6th gear at 50 kmph, the same way that it is, doing 100 kmph in the same gear. To describe it in one word, its a gem.

What I like are -
  • Butter smooth engine and gearbox
  • Extremely comfortable seating - both rider and pillion
  • Upright seating position with minimal wind buffeting

What I did not so much like are -
  • Default headlight alignment - I was able to see the treetops but not the road on high beam

There was nothing much to not like - seriously.

Technical Statistics

Below are some technical details of the Versys 1000
  • Engine - in-line 4 Cylinder displacing 1043cc
  • Gearbox - 6 Speed (1 down + 5 up shift pattern)
  • Vital Statistics - Wheelbase - 1520 mm, Ground Clearance - 150 mm, Kerb Weight - 255 kgs, Seat Height - 840 mm
  • Fuel Capacity - 21 Liters
  • Tyres - Front 120/70ZR17; Rear 180/55ZR17 - Bridgestone Battlax T21 Sport Touring
  • Brakes - Front Dual Semi-floating 310mm Petal Discs with dual radial mount 4 pot callipers; Rear single 250mm Petal Disc with single piston calipers
  • Power Numbers - 118 Bhp@9000 rpm and 102 Nm of Torque @ 7500 rpm


Back to the story

On the following Monday, post the RTO formalities being completed, I did a short 50 km ride with my son, with a dear friend (who in a way, was responsible for accelerating the acquisition) as my wingman on his Tiger 900 Rally Pro to a place called Palamalai, near Coimbatore. Here are the pics.

Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home-4bf5db8c81c44ef68062677539ba7154.jpeg

Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home-2ff65bf84a5b4d15bfb63b4d136f1554.jpeg

Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home-2e7bd3de91884c8ba40efb05fd41618f.jpeg

Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home-0f4e581ac54844038b16cee46fc06799.jpeg

Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home-d693bbb59ed646da9f02b75d5409bbb7.jpeg

Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home-e6782bc2993b4594a720584ea726b128.jpeg

Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home-df797f4a4af04b9a8ed614ccec2eac0a.jpeg

I am currently in the process of installing all the accessories that I have and I will add on to this thread once that is done and I do some pictures of them. Looking forward to posting more pictures and travellogues as I start using Roadrunner more and more.

Last edited by krishsreedharan : 3rd August 2021 at 15:53. Reason: Adding more content
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Old 4th August 2021, 07:09   #2
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Big Bikes section. Thanks for sharing!

Going to our homepage today
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Old 4th August 2021, 09:16   #3
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home

Heart congratulations on acquiring this beast! Wish you a safe & fun filled ownership experience!
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Old 4th August 2021, 10:56   #4
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home

Many congratulations, sir, and wishing you tens of thousands of happy n safe km on the V1000 From what I know of today's bikes (being from the RE 500 genre), this is one of the best touring machines on two wheels that money can buy!

Two queries:

Do you face any issues with the heft/weight of the bike, especially while parking and U-turns? 255 kg is some mass to reckon with!

Do you find the GC of 150mm adequate enough for our roads?

Enjoy your ride!

Last edited by cool_dube : 4th August 2021 at 11:04.
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Old 4th August 2021, 12:37   #5
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nair.V8 View Post
Heart congratulations on acquiring this beast! Wish you a safe & fun filled ownership experience!
Thank you Sir!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cool_dube View Post
Two queries:

Do you face any issues with the heft/weight of the bike, especially while parking and U-turns? 255 kg is some mass to reckon with!

Do you find the GC of 150mm adequate enough for our roads?

Enjoy your ride!
The weight take a little bit of mental adjustment - but mostly like you said, while staying in one place or on slow U-Turns. But once you get a hang of it, you dont feel it once the bike is moving - even at a slow pace.

So far, I have not gotten the bottom to scrape. I believe that is where one needs to understand how suspension adjustment works so that it can be adjusted to the situation.
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Old 4th August 2021, 13:53   #6
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home

Many Congratulations on your new ride Krish !!
Could you please also share the pricing details if it is all right ?

Also, your experience of using it within the city, heat management, etc. would be helpful. Thanks in advance.
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Old 4th August 2021, 14:21   #7
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home

Many congratulations on the purchase!

I have read multiple face-offs between Tiger 900 Rally Pro and Versys 1000 and I still can't figure out which one is better on paper. Yet to take a ride of either of them

Any views considering your friend has the Tiger?
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Old 4th August 2021, 14:33   #8
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home

Another street / sport bike rider moving to ADV / dual-purpose and rightly so, especially in our conditions. Infact, this is just so common nowadays - Faired SportsBike / SBK > Naked street > ADV.

[True with car to SUV's too ].

Once you log in more miles, have no time / inclination to go for track days, responsibly riding a street / sports will tire & bore you. Was it not available in white?

Quote:
Originally Posted by krishsreedharan View Post
However, I had to keep in mind the caveat - which was that I lose 10 more kgs..
.
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Old 4th August 2021, 15:03   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exhuberance View Post
Many Congratulations on your new ride Krish !!
Could you please also share the pricing details if it is all right ?

Also, your experience of using it within the city, heat management, etc. would be helpful. Thanks in advance.
Thanks! Costed me ₹ 13.24 Lakh on-road at Coimbatore. Ex-showroom was ₹ 11.44 Lakh. Firstly, the length and width of the bike require that you be mindful that you are riding a baby elephant in traffic . Otherwise, its quite easy to ride.

Parking can be a handful though because you will find it hard to find a place amongst the other bikes. If you do, however, be prepared to pull out a few bikes - or wait for their owners to show up and take them out - since you need space to even lift it off the stand and literally manhandle it in reverse.

It does get a little hot when ridden in stop and go traffic, but does not fry your legs/feet. Once the traffic clears out, its fine. Initially, I did find it hotter than my 900, but I figured that the fairings on the side, kinda channeled the air a bit to my lower legs. On the 900, the dissipation of heat was not directed by any sort of fairing, since its a naked bike. On the highways though, its another story. The bike runs really cool.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hells Bells View Post
I have read multiple face-offs between Tiger 900 Rally Pro and Versys 1000 and I still can't figure out which one is better on paper. Yet to take a ride of either of them

Any views considering your friend has the Tiger?
I believe the basic premise between the Tiger 900 Rally Pro is more of an adventure bike as against the Versys 1000, which is more of a highway mile muncher which can handle gravel roads without too many bumps and dips.

Nothing that a proper test ride of both the beasts will not determine. But for me, my plan is to use it for a lot of highway touring - I am not an off-road guy - at least on two wheels

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
Another street / sport bike rider moving to ADV / dual-purpose and rightly so, especially in our conditions. Infact, this is just so common nowadays - Faired SportsBike / SBK > Naked street > ADV.

[True with car to SUV's too ].

Once you log in more miles, have no time / inclination to go for track days, responsibly riding a street / sports will tire & bore you. Was it not available in white?
My Z900 still is in my Garage - its my daily run-about within town and for my weekend rides until now. Moving forward, it will do less of weekend rides, but it continues to be my daily driver. But overall, I fully agree with your observation.

Yes. It used to be available in white. Not any longer. Maybe next year, they will do another round of colour changes. Have to wait and watch.

Last edited by krishsreedharan : 4th August 2021 at 15:05. Reason: Added content
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Old 4th August 2021, 19:41   #10
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home

Congratulations krishsreedharan ! The Kawasaki Versys 1000 is one of the more under rated big bikes on sale in India today and from your stated requirements, you certainly have bought the perfect big bike for your usage. I look forward to more updates on this thread as it will help many members and readers take the plunge into the Adv world (as Sheel so rightly pointed out).
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Old 4th August 2021, 20:34   #11
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home

Congratulations and wishing you many kilometres on this beauty. What do you feel about the height? I bought a used Versys (650) and the height is the main thing that bothers me. But that botheration disappears as soon as I take off
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Old 4th August 2021, 21:10   #12
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hells Bells View Post
Many congratulations on the purchase!

I have read multiple face-offs between Tiger 900 Rally Pro and Versys 1000 and I still can't figure out which one is better on paper. Yet to take a ride of either of them

Any views considering your friend has the Tiger?
I dont think a Tiger Rally Pro and Versys 1000 are comparable. They are completely different products in what they’re designed to do.
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Old 4th August 2021, 21:27   #13
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Default Re: Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review | Roadrunner comes home

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaganm View Post
Congratulations and wishing you many kilometres on this beauty. What do you feel about the height? I bought a used Versys (650) and the height is the main thing that bothers me. But that botheration disappears as soon as I take off
I am able to tip-toe on both sides. I was already preparing myself for this and when I actually got to do it, it did not pose a problem. But like you said, once you are moving, nothing matters.
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Old 5th August 2021, 00:23   #14
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Quote:
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I dont think a Tiger Rally Pro and Versys 1000 are comparable. They are completely different products in what they’re designed to do.
Thanks for the feedback, Axe77 and Krish. I am, as yet, an armchair enthusiast when it comes to bikes but have been thinking a lot along the direction of tourer bikes. I was under the impression that Tiger series too allows for touring capabilities with additional off-roading capabilities. At the end of the day, my requirements will be road-centric touring as my better half ends up with migraine every time she steps into either of our cars.
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Old 5th August 2021, 07:52   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hells Bells View Post
Thanks for the feedback, Axe77 and Krish. I am, as yet, an armchair enthusiast when it comes to bikes but have been thinking a lot along the direction of tourer bikes. I was under the impression that Tiger series too allows for touring capabilities with additional off-roading capabilities. At the end of the day, my requirements will be road-centric touring as my better half ends up with migraine every time she steps into either of our cars.
It does, but what you term as offroad capabilities might be misleading yourself. Its offroad capabilities are limited by your own capability. Will it eat up bad roads? Yes. Can you ride this bike off the road 20 foot drop down a slushy farm and back onto the road again to escape a 10 mile truck jam at the Bihar border? Good luck.

In so far as big touring bike buying is concerned, my advice to myself has always been: buy it for its singular ability to go 1000 kms a day on rough shod roads in india. Absolutely nothing else. Which means engine refinement, suspension quality, seat plushness, and stock wind deflection will be the only key parameters to buy in my book.

Congrats Krish. That bike will outlast you and me together lol.
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