SW-Motech comes to the rescue once again, with a solid center stand offering for the new 2015 Kawasaki Versys 650 (the LT in this case).
The kit is complete (always the case with SW-Motech in our experience) and the hardware is better quality than Kawasaki OE.
You'll have to study the instructions carefully however and be sure to lay out all the hardware and tools first, then do a dry run through the procedure.
Installation is a bit of a paradox; it looks complicated and sort of is, but once you finish, it seems relatively easy.
A motorcycle owner with basic mechanical skills and tools should be able to work through it with the help of a coupla cups of Peet's House Blend and the same in hours.
If you can't change your own oil and filter or don't know how to bleed the brakes or install a set of lights -- those sort of skills -- then don't try this at home.
The only real issue is growing a third hand to help hold the parts while you bolt 'em down. Of course, you can always bribe a friend to help.
And we even have a cheap trick to getting those Godzilla-strength return springs in place.
The one (rare) SW-Motech mis-step is that the center stand foot pad interferes slightly with the side stand during deployment. It's not a biggie but it's surprising they weren't able to figure this out a little better.
And don't worry about having to cut part of the Versys' plastic for clearance on the center stand.
Although the instructions call for that and it's scared away a few potential owners, we found that it's not necessary at all and left us wondering why SW-Motech even recommends it.
Once you've used a center stand, you can't live without it. Every bike should have one.
So far, we've installed a center stand on the 2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS (Blog), the 2014 Suzuki GW250 (Blog) and the Suzuki DR650SE (Blog), to name but 3 of the last few webBikeWorld Project Bikes.
But, there's no center stand in the Kawasaki accessory catalog for the 2015 Versys 650 and 650 LT. That's just crazy, especially since Kawi could easily partner with SW-Motech and simply sell a re-branded SW-Motech part.
But, who knows what wackiness lies in the minds of management.
Thus, why Kawasaki doesn't offer a center stand for the Versys will remain a mystery. In the meantime, we turn to SW-Motech once again, as we have for many different accessories for various webBikeWorld Project Bikes.
The German-based company is known for high quality, precise engineering, adherence to local standards and high-quality hardware included with the kits.
Their minimal-text installation instructions are concise but thorough, although they typically do take quite a bit of study and prep time.
Don't try to cut corners here; read the instructions very carefully and very slowly and dry run yourself through the entire process at least once before starting.
Also, be sure to lay out the hardware, check it against the hardware photos and descriptions in the installation instructions and if you aren't familiar with metric nut and bolt nomenclature, get yourself a metric measurin' stick and identify each nut and bolt.
Believe it, this will make the job 37.63% easier, scientifically proven and guaranteed by Smokey Stover.
Let's do one of those webBikeWorld picture/story walk-through's of the installation:
The center stand for the 2015 Versys and LT is pretty expensive at $306.95. That price probably takes into account the relative scarcity of the 2015 Versys 650 plus the absence of any real competitors.
If Kawasaki offered a center stand option, probably the SW-Motech price would drop by at least 20%.
But, a center stand is such an important feature, it's nearly a must-have. Yes, you can use a front wheel chock (reviews), but only in the garage. You can't take it with you.
A center stand is priceless when it comes to checking tire pressures, chain lubes (reviews) and general farkling and accessorizing.
The SW-Motech kits are typically very nicely made, well designed and include all the hardware and instructions you need. The hardware is high quality and usually better than the stuff that comes on the bike.
Twisted Throttle also checks and re-checks everything to make sure it's going to work and they stock spare parts. And you'll have Twisted Throttle support also if you run into trouble.
One thing that can scare off a potential owner is the replacement engine mounting bolt that comes with this kit and other center stand kits we've installed.
The center stand uses this long through-bolt to secure the hinge in the front for the center stand. But don't worry; it's not a big deal really.
You unfasten the nut on the left side of the engine on the Versys, pull the bolt through from the right side and replace it with the longer version in the kit. But, the replacement bolt has the nut on the left side, rather than the right.
But you caught that in the instructions when you studied them before starting the job, right?
We've done this type of engine through-bolt replacement before, on the Suzuki DR650SE engine guard "bash plate" installation.
The nut on the bolt only takes 46 Nm of torque, the same as a few of the other bolts on the Versys center stand. 46 Nm isn't all that much, so don't worry about that either.
You'll need a good torque wrench though, like the Check-Line DTW 100 electronic torque wrench (review).
Note that you may need someone to hold a hex wrench on the bolt on the right side as you torque down the nut during reassembly.
The Versys center stand kit is a "U" shaped assembly, with a big crossmember support bar that runs underneath the bike (it only fits one way) and plates on either side that bolt into the bike.
You basically remove some plastic on either side to reveal the bolts, attach the plates, attach the crossmember, replace the engine bolt and the legs of the center stand. Re-assemble everything, torque to spec and you're done. Except for adding the double-strength return spring.
(Photo Above): These are the parts on the left side that have to be removed. This is very easily done with a couple of T-handle Allen wrenches. Some of the bolts are replaced with longer versions included in the kit, which allows the extra space needed for the center stand side plates you'll attach.
Some of the bolts also have a flanged spacer or bushing also, it's all illustrated and described in the installation instructions (.pdf).
Here's a close-up of the engine through-bolt that you'll replace with the longer version in the kit. Accessing this is the only reason you have to remove the plastic engine vanity covers on the right and left side of the engine.
(Photo Above): Here are the parts to remove on the right side of the Versys, easily done with a 4 mm hex wrench.
(Photo Above): They don't specifically call it out in the instructions, but if you study the line drawing carefully, you'll notice that the crossmember is asymmetrical and only fits one way.
We didn't notice this at first; it's easy to think the crossmember has no specific fit direction. But after fussing with it for some time, we discovered that it only fits one way. Note the angle with the shorter length towards the right side of the bike.
(Photo Above): This is just a closer look at the parts that hold the return spring on the right side of the bike.
The SW-Motech center stand for the 2015 Versys 650 is similar -- but not identical -- to the kit for earlier versions of the Versys 650. So the parts are not interchangeable but the installation is nearly the same.
(Photo Above): Here's the real puzzler: SW-Motech says you have to cut a 63 mm long piece off the tip of the engine vanity panel on the left side of the bike. We didn't and found no clearance problems.
The center stand does not rub on this panel, so we're not sure why they say it has to be removed?
Even if it did need a trim, it would be no big deal, so don't let this put you off. We found some various forum entries where owners decided not to install the SW-Motech center stand for the Versys because of this issue.
But it doesn't seem to be a problem either way, so don't let it discourage you.
(Photo Above): Here's a little tip: use a bungee cord or rope or something to hold the center stand up when you get ready to install the return spring.
(Photos Above): Center stands typically have a big, hefty return spring that can be a real pain to install. But looking at the instructions, SW-Motech shows a return spring installation tool. We cut a small groove in a cheap Phillips head screwdriver to make our own tool.
You hold the spring hook in the slot and simply lever the springs on to the post. A tap with a rubber hammer might help.
NOTE: Be very careful to protect your eyes whenever you're working with springs!
The only strange problem we discovered is that the side stand hits the foot pad on the center stand when both are in the upright position and you push down on the center stand.
It's not a big issue but we're kind of surprised that SW-Motech didn't catch this during the design. We'd like to hear from other 2015 Versys 650 owners who have installed the SW-Motech center stand to know if this is a problem.
After this review was first posted, I noticed a serious problem that can occur.
Prior to riding the motorcycle, make sure that the center stand is retracted before the side stand.
Apparently, this is only the second SW-Motech center stand with this problem, due to the geometry of the 2015 Versys. There's a notice on the SW-Motech website about not using the center stand as a "ride off" type.
The choice was either no center stand or one with the caveat that the center stand is retracted first to avoid interference.
Here's what can happen, as I discovered:
I didn't notice this problem at first. I discovered it only after by chance I did the procedure above before going out for a ride. When I made a right-hand turn, I heard and felt something scraping on the right side.
I stopped as soon as I could and discovered that the center stand was not fully retracted because of the interference with the side stand.
This can be a serious problem, so make sure you pay attention. It would be nice if SW-Motech could redesign the center stand foot pad to resolve this issue.
Here are two photos:
The SW-Motech center stand is basically the only solution for the 2015 Versys 650 that we know of. But, like all SW-Motech accessories, it's very nicely made and everything you need to complete the project is included.
The Versys levers up on to the center stand without much effort, so it's a nicely designed package as far as that goes. Of course, the bike feels like it's half the weight of the last webBikeWorld Project Bike, the 2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS (Blog), so that helps.
The center stand is also completely out of the way when you're riding, so there's no way it can interfere with cornering.
All told, this is an excellent (albeit expensive) accessory for the Versys and it's one of the first things you should add.
Review Date: December 2015
From "L.E." (September 2016): "I read with interest your experience installing the center stand on the Versys 650LT project bike.
I was delighted to find this stand still available at RevZilla and I promptly bought it.
I value highly a center stand on a motorcycle; I can't understand the trend of manufacturers to produce bikes without this essential feature.
I spend the afternoon pulling the bit and covers off my 2015 650LT in preparation of the installation of the center stand.
All seems well until I went to fit the bracket on the right side. The holes in the SW-Motech bracket do not align with the holes in the Kawasaki frame. Big disappointment!
After a good bit of wrestling with the bracket, I put the covers back on the bike, put my tools away and went into the house to weigh options.
This center stand is no longer available. Returning it to RevZilla would probably get me the $300 I paid, but I'll be stuck with a bike without a center stand. That's a big problem for me.
I'm contemplating having one of the mis-aligned holes bored oversize about 3-4 mm and bolting the thing up that way.
Two of the three holes in the SW-Motech bracket align, so my reasoning is that the third sloppy hole will not jeopardize my safety or that of the motorcycle.
I'm now wondering what I'll discover on the bits and pieces of the kit for the left side of the motorcycle. If SW-Motech used a poorly made jig to do the right bracket, can I expect anything better on the bracket for the left side?
I'm really disappointed with this turn of events. I don't know if Kawasaki is playing fast and loose with it's QC or Sw-Motech is guilty of poor QC.
Just a quick update to close the loop here.
Asking around, it seems as though all other buyers of the SW-Motech center stand kit for the 2015 Versys were well satisfied. I began to doubt myself, so I went back and attempted to fit it again. No go.
There is no question that the right side bracket had poor alignment of the holes that must match up with the frame.
Twisted Throttle never answered my e-mail, so I went ahead and had the bracket hole opened up at a machine shop (I don't have a drill press and didn't feel like this was something to tackle with a hand drill motor).
As long as I was going to a machine shop, I took the stand itself along and had two holes bored in it so I could lube the pivots with an aerosol can of lithium grease. Taking it off for that necessary maintenance makes no sense to me.
Parts in hand once again, the installation proceeded almost as it should have from the start.
I say almost because I discovered one of the spacers for the left side bracket was not included in the fastener bag.
A trip to the local Ace Hardware store (God bless 'em) solved that, as I found two 8 mm washers stacked is the rough equivalent of the missing spacer's thickness.
I think the center stand kit I purchased must have been assembled at SW-Motech on a Monday morning.
Now that it's fitted (see photo) I feel it is going to do the job, as intended. I regret having to jump through so many hoops, though. It is by no means cheap and for the price, I had expected fewer challenges."
From "P.B." (December 2015): "Nice piece on the assembly. I've had a new stand on my (New) 2012 this whole year. It ate up a DID gold StreetPro chain installed with new sprockets in 7k miles.
When I installed my new EK chain with OEM new sprockets and Cameleon chain oiler (review), I had the front and rear sprockets cleaned real well.
I now can say without a doubt that the chain rubs the 1/2" thick AL left support piece of the center stand (see pic below).
If the 2015 design was based on the 2010 to 2014, I can only assume SW-MOTO has jeopardized your readers' safety, since you are promoting it. Mine had at least 2 bad links kinked and ready to explode when I changed mine.
You know how bad small 520 chains whip? Well there is less than 1/64" clearance between the chain and the 1/2" AL block."
Rick's Reply: Thanks for the info, I hadn’t noticed this before, but I just looked at it and although the chain runs pretty close to the brace, I see no signs at all of rubbing. The paint hasn’t been scratched at all.
So I’ll keep an eye on it, maybe your chain was too loose or something?
As for “promoting” this product, we’re not promoting anything, I publish reviews and information on products that we own and use.
I can’t know it all, so your information letting people know about something that no one else caught is precisely why publishing this type of information along with owner comments is a good thing and proves that the system is working.
From "D.H." (December 2015): "Thanks a million for the SW-Motech center stand review and, particularly, the installation tips!
I'm hoping to replace my bike before spring and the current gen Versys 650 is the leading candidate.
I've inquired about the SW-Motech center stand on a couple Versys online forums but nobody seems to have any experience with it. If I end up with the Versys, I'll be sure to have your review and video loaded on my phone for reference.
I've been riding for 30+ years and have never owned a street bike without a center stand -- no way I can live without one; not just for maintenance, but I put my bikes on the stand every single time I dismount (incl. gas stations) unless the surface is too soft or too sloped. It also saves a lot of space in the garage."