Living With Versys-tility
wBW Kawasaki Versys Review
Versys Part IV - Evolution
of a Relationship
by H.B.C. for webBikeWorld.com
Building Upon a Solid Foundation
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 stride.
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 -- much care and
attention beyond their first 1000km (600 mi) check.
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; for example, 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 July article.
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 expensive.
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
ADDENDUM: Regarding 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 molds anyway.
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
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 it is.
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: See "K.K.'s"
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, riding.
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 accessories.
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 accessory industry.
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 year.
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.
Another bonus 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 Again
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 works.
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.
Despite 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
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 of course…
FAMSA 260/7 Tankset:
From 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 are extra
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
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
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)
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 thing.
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 environment.
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 accessories to be installed and tested.
Stay tuned. A Happy New
Year from all us hosers up north, eh?
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Versys Owner Groups and Forums: Versys
owners are welcome to join the
site (From "R") | "If you want a
list with all the aftermarket and OEM parts for the Versys,
then take a look in our
German Versys forum. (From "C.M.")
From "P.N." (9/08): "I
bought the Kawasaki Dealer sold bags but was only given the
option of the side or top bags, but not both. I went with the
side bags and later e-mailed Givi for ideas to add a top bag,
with an answer I didn't care to hear: I'm stuck.
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 suggestions?"
H.B.C.'s Response: "Paul, despite
what your or any Kawasaki dealer might tell you, the Kawasaki
branded accessories, that are supplied by GIVI, will allow both
the sidecases and a topcase to be fitted.
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
another excellent owner and information repository is www.micapeak.com,
which has a separate Versys page for owners to list their machines
Keep us in mind if you have any more questions, or issues."
From "K.K.": "In
regards to your article "The Kawasaki Versys Part 4: Accessories
and Farkle for the Versys" you talk about the mirror issue.
I wanted to comment on this and I am including what I posted
that solved the mirror issue for me.
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 much.
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."