Versys Part IV - Evolution
of a Relationship
by H.B.C. for webBikeWorld.com
Building Upon a Solid
A full season of using and
abusing both of our Versys motorcycles, especially the black test mule,
has done nothing to diminish our feeling that Kawasaki
has created another trend-setting, long-lasting,
value-added model. The Versys continues to bring on the
smiles, mile after mile, day in and day out. It really
is as simple as that.
From commuting in heavy
traffic, tearing through the 508 and 511 twisties on the
way to Calabogie, riding the many gravel and dirt trails
that abound in the Lanark Highlands, or just making some
sedate high-speed point to point trips on the highways
and interstates, the Versys has taken everything in
Both units continue to be
stone reliable and inexpensive to maintain. Outside of
the ever-growing farkle list (see below), neither the
black or orange motos have required -- nor have they been given
care and attention beyond their first 1000km (600 mi)
Each machine has had two chain adjustments, one
during the first 1000km check and the second when the
tire changes were made. Along with periodic lubing
of the chain, some WD40 on critical pivot points for
lubrication and to help keep everything cleaned out and
the odd wash now and then (mostly then) -- that’s it for
both of them.
One thing is for sure, they are very easy
to work on and in speaking with the shop tech, the motor
is extremely reliable and maintenance friendly as well;
the inspection interval for the valve train alone is
24,000km or 15,000mi.
Even though we did never did
get away on an extended trip on either Versys, both of
them have been subjected to two and three day trips,
typically well-loaded and always run hard, on a variety
of surfaces. Neither has consumed any oil whatsoever,
and gas mileage is typically in the 55 to 58 mpg
(Imperial gallon) range.
Ownership Has Its Rewards
In return for such loyal and
continued service, some rewards were in order, as
identified in the original
- Part II: Christmas in
The original farkle list for both Versys
included: two Vario Touring Screens by MRA (sold as a
Kawasaki accessory, but available from other MRA
re-sellers); two Givi Monorack FZ447 and PLX447 Sidecase
kits; a Givi Monokey V46 Trunk in basic black; a set of
Givi V35 Monokey Side cases, also in basic black with
black inserts; and, RAM-B-309 Series mounting assemblies
for the Garmin zumo 550 GPS units.
As well, the Ebony test mule
was ‘upgraded’ with a set of Pirelli Scorpion Sync MT 90
tires before it was delivered. Since then a second
top-case, a 47 litre Kappa trunk has been acquired so
that a locking case is available for each rider to
secure their helmet and other gear.
The Kappa trunk does
have a slightly different shape, hence the difference in
the capacity rating. Otherwise, it is a virtual clone of
the V46 unit for fit and finish, albeit somewhat less
And yes, we get maximum use
out of our luggage – all of our fleet, less the 2007
Z1000, can use either the V46 or the Kappa trunks, and
over the winter, the BMW F800ST will be the beneficiary
of a PLX kit as well, allowing the V35 bags to be used
on it as desired. If all goes well, we'll have another set of the Givi V35 bags anyway.
the soft luggage shown on the Ebony Versys in these
photos: The textile saddlebags on the Ebony Versys were
a set of the Givi T421 Throw Over Panniers, also
sometimes identified as Voyager Bags and I believe they
are still available - somewhat rectangular in shape,
easy to mount and extremely versatile - good for a wide
range of motorcycles and able to carry as much, or more,
than some hard bags.
A frame is not needed to
mount the soft bags, although one needs to make sure
that the bags when mounted and loaded, will not
interfere with anything on the frame or back wheel, etc.
On the Versys, given the
trellis-frame construction and size of the bags, they
can be secured using the supplied straps, although the
signal lights, in their stock mounting position, will be
up against the rear of the bags, but they flex a bit, so
its not a big issue.
If one did have the Givi PLX
pannier mounting kit, then the signal lights are
relocated back somewhat using the supplied brackets, and
the soft bags would just fit over those frames and then
be secured...but the frames are not really needed.
Putting on the Givi tail
case kit and using a V46 trunk (or similar size) works
extremely well for both the commutes and travelling, in
combination with bags - hard or soft. HBC
It Is All Starting to Take
The objective of all the
‘farkling’ or accessorizing is, simply put, to see just
how complete and versatile a package can be built up
from an already very competent motorcycle.
In Europe and
the U.S., the Versys is slotted into the Dual Purpose
category, while in Canada it is marketed under the
Street/Touring category. After running both of them for
a full season, the category is not extremely important -
the Versys has already broken most of the stereotype
Looking forward, we know
that current, and future, owners will continue to
discover the many highs (and possible lows) of the
Versys in their own time and space. The primary
objective of this submission and associated "Quick Look"
articles is to help those current and future owners
decide the what, when, how and where.
Outside of the accessories
identified above, nothing much else was done to the
Versys during the rest of the riding season, mainly
because we just wanted to keep riding them and we also
wanted to make sure that our initial accessory baseline
was a good one. Without any hesitation we can state that
Besides the mirror issue,
nothing has loosened, broken or fallen off. The
left-hand mirror on the Ebony bike tends to loosen up
from time to time (largely thanks to Kawasaki’s current
mirror mounting implementation which is present on a
number of models). Editor's Note:
comments below for a possible solution.
The only other issue has
been a sticky release latch on one of the V35 side
cases, easily fixed with some cleaning (off-road crud
had accumulated inside the push-to-release mechanism).
All in all, it has been pretty smooth sailing -- er,
Less the mirror issue, the
dealer reports no major concerns have been raised by
other owners. Indeed, in speaking with some of them,
they are as enthusiastic, or even more so than we are
about the motorcycle.
Other owners are well down
their respective farkle lists: many of these items are
similar to what we have used, while other installations
are totally different, i.e.; tank bags, tank panniers,
engine guards, other top-cases and the list goes on.
Outside of the under-frame
exhaust system, there is not much else on the motorcycle
in the way of obstacles to designing and executing a
wide range of street, adventure touring or on/off road
In appreciating everything the Versys has
to offer, it was a given that the Versys was going to
generate a lot of interest, both from consumers and the
Kawasaki really helped kick
off the accessory thing by releasing a short list of the
most highly desired items right off the bat. Admittedly
the North American offerings are largely based on the European
accessory list, which was farther along the market path. However, there is little doubt that Versys owners are
going to have many more reasons to smile as the
accessory list gets longer and longer.
So Much for the (Really)
Even though the riding
season up here went into a serious (early) decline, most
of the priority items on the growing farkle list got
installed and relatively well tested, all before the
(really) bad weather sent us scuttling into the garage,
whining over the rotten riding season deal we got this
Admittedly we have been
spoiled somewhat, especially after last year - many of
us (and not just Beemer riders) were out enjoying the
fall-like weather before Christmas and again in January
and February during some warmer breaks.
was provided in March when upon our return from Daytona
we off-loaded the motorcycles and within a few days had
started riding again for the season.
This second round of
accessorizing was all done during the fall of 2007. So far, everything
seems to be working well, individually and collectively. We were extremely happy to get some of the accessories
installed, as it made riding in the ever-falling
temperatures much more pleasant, thus extending the Versys riding season by a fair margin.
Christmas Came Early
Following is a brief paragraph on each of
the latest accessories installed on the Versys. For
the full scoop on each of the individual products,
including installation tips, please visit the
related "Quick Look" articles as they are posted:
Givi D405ST Windscreen:
This is definitely the stylish way to gain substantial
rider and passenger protection. It mounts up in minutes,
allows three height adjustment options and just plain
Pirelli MT60 Corsa Tires:
While installing the Givi windscreen provided the
biggest immediate gain in rider protection, installing
this set of tires provided the biggest increase in the
Versys fun quotient. They look different, they feel
different, but they sure do work.
Zeta Armor Handguards
Straight Kit: This kit, along with a set of black Zeta XC Deflectors is a real test installation. Although a
bar-end insert mount kit, they have been bolted directly
to the ends of the handlebars along with a smaller and
lighter bar-end. They are very solid and with the
deflectors mounted, very effective. The incorporated LED
light strips, once wired up, will provide a nice
(bright) safety addition to the front end.
Oxford Hot Grips: We
reported on the Oxford Hot Hands a few years ago in
this webBikeWorld article, but I'll describe how the
updated Hot Grips work on the Versys.
riding for a great many years without the benefit of any
heated handgrips, the de-rigueur heated handgrips on both
the R1200GS Adventure and F800ST are very much
appreciated, especially this time of year.
The Oxford HotGrips are not perfect, but everything in the kit is
well made and easily installed, it took about 30 minutes
to go from box to heat. All done in the name of research
FAMSA 260/7 Tankset:
swapping stuff between motorcycles all these years, and
in eyeballing the Versys one late evening, we figured
one of the FAMSA tankbags mounted on the Adventures
would be a close to perfect fit.
Five minutes later we
were proven right – even the fuel filler cutout on the tank pad lines up. Given another five minutes and the
unused R1200GS tank panniers were zipped on – eh voila! The adventure touring look was now complete.
Farkle Price Listing
The pricing below reflects
retail pricing. Applicable taxes, shipping and handling
Marsee 20 litre Teardrop Tankbag, 137.95 USD
Vario Touring Screen by MRA, 179.95 CAD
Givi Monorack FZ447 Kit, 135.00 CAD
Givi PLX447 Sidecase Kit, 190.00 CAD
Givi Monokey V46 Trunk, 340.00 CAD
Givi V35 Monokey Side cases, 548.00 CAD
Kappa K961-K52 Rack Kit, 63.00 CAD
Kappa 47 Litre top case, 310.00 CAD
Pirelli Scorpion Sync MT 90 tires, 430.00 CAD
Pirelli MT60 Corsa Tires, 445.00 CAD
Givi D405ST Windscreen, 18cm higher than stock, 110.99
Oxford Hot Grips Kit, 125mm for 7/8 bars, 130.00 CAD
Zeta Armor Handguards Straight Kit, black, with mounting
hardware, 71.95 CAD
Zeta Deflectors, XC style, black, with LED light strip
(running or signal-light use), 59.95 CAD
LP 30mm Black Flush Bar Ends, lightweight, 17.95 CAD
FAMSA 260/7 Tankset (for BMW R1200GS Model), 299.00 CAD
Test and Riding Environment
2007 Versys, fitted with
accessories listed above
High speed four and two lane to low speed gravel,
dirt and ATV trails
Temperatures ranging from -3C to 10C (26 F to 50)
Are we finished – NO. There
is an ever growing list of accessories, some of which
could be classed as essentials rather than farkles, that
we would like to evaluate for use on the Versys. With
the Versys now available in the US, the after market
product listing is sure to take off. This is a good
Given the VERSYS-tility of
this outstanding 650 twin, we think that the currently
installed or tested accessories is a good sampling of
what many owners will look for. Owners will of course,
tailor their machines to best use or taste, both of
which are major drivers in the aftermarket accessory
With winter here and mucho
snow on the ground, there is time to reflect on what has
been done, what could be done or, left to be done in
expanding roles for the Versys even further. We are
hopeful that with spring, there will be a greatly
increased product offering allowing additional
to be installed and tested.
Stay tuned. A
Happy New Year from all us hosers up north, eh?
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I really want to add a top bag to the current
configuration that I have, but don't want it at the cost
of having to buy an entire new set. Any
Outside of any changes that might have been made to
the Versys marketed in your country...then both kits can
be ordered from Kawasaki or from GIVI. I have seen
differences in some country sites regarding availability
of the two kits, but again, the two kits will fit
together, unless GIVI has just made a change to the
kits, which my supplier says has not happened.
The Specific Monorack top case kit is GIVI 076-FZ447,
and the Tubular side case holder kit is 076-PLX447.
For a top case I would recommend the V46 Monokey unit,
although you can use something smaller, or larger.
The side case kit can only be fitted with the V35
Monokey side bags, with or without the coloured insert
to match your machine. Both kits can be installed
individually or together and you don't even have to
remove the grab rails, contrary to what many will say.
The kits are pretty straight forward to mount up,
though the instructions are/were poor. Working
with the kits can take both hands, or some help, so it
is best to loosely install the components from both kits
together to make sure everything lines up, then tighten
it all up in the order listed in the instructions.
With the V35 sidecases and a good top box, the Versys
is now ready to travel...
If you are getting contrary information from Givi, or
a specific dealer, please let us know...my local
retailer has a good rapport with both the Kawasaki
representative and the GIVI representative - they would
love to have this type of feedback.
There are a couple of really good resources sites for
the Versys as well, one being
www.kawasakiversys.com/forums, another excellent
owner and information repository is www.micapeak.com,
which has a separate Versys page for owners to list
their machines and goodies.
I, like others, found the field of view provided by
the stock mirrors lacking. I could not see behind
me through the mirrors without moving my arms.
I looked at bar end mirrors and did not like the way
the stuck out and if I split lanes (filter for those
across the pond) I was afraid of loosing them.
Other bar end type mirrors required cutting the grips
and mounting them at the end of the bars but these
reduced the space for my hands and with winter gloves
that was unacceptable.
I also looked at mirror extenders but they looked
weird and I was afraid the mirrors would vibrate even
more. So I looked at a lot of bikes and tried
different mirrors on my Versys.
As a result , I found a solution for the narrow
mirrors on the Versys, at least for me. I put a
set of mirrors from a Triumph Triple 1050 on my Versys
and the problem is solved. These mirrors stick out
a little over 1 inch more than the stock mirrors and I
can see behind now. They are also black, have an
oval shape, look better, and do not seem to vibrate as
Here are the Triumph part numbers: LH - T2060050, RH
- T2060150. The total was $140 USD. Make
sure you get the mirrors with the adapter (it should be
included) since the male end on the Triumph mirrors are
bigger than the female mount on the Versys. Don't
forget to take the rubber sleeve off the stock mirrors
and put it on the new mirrors.
Feel free to pass on. Looking forward to more
on this bike from you. Thanks."