Kawasaki Versys 650 – Everything you need to know

The Versys 650 has almost everything an out-and-out Kawasaki needs for India. We’ve ridden so many Kawasakis over the years and they’ve never fallen short of quality, and the Versys in particular comes with an upright seating position, pliant ride quality, and tall suspension. And then, of course, there’s the performance these 650 Kawasakis are capable of providing, and so we expect the same from the Versys 650.

Sharp design

The Kawasaki Versys 650 looks somewhat identical to the Ninja 650 from Kawasaki Bikes. There’s more mass on the top to help give way for additional damping travel and it sports a twin headlamp; a proper masculine design when viewed from up-ahead. The headlamp of the Kawasaki Versys 650 offers great illumination and the alloy wheels hint at the bike’s street-biased intent. You get neat cowls that surround the engine and radiator. The instrument cluster is nicely visible with all the important information you’ll need to know. We particularly like the 60mm adjustable windscreen that can quickly be adjusted and it does a great job in keeping wind blast at bay even at highway speeds. The palm grips are of good quality and feel soft to grip; so do the machined-alloy, reach-adjustable control levers. And the same can be said about the switchgear and the mirrors too. There is a single side-mounted shock-absorber strut that bodes well with the rest of the Kawasaki Versys 650 and the silencer is almost hidden away underneath. Kawasaki Bikes have equipped it with a stepped seat and solid grab handles at the back. The finish and overall quality are excellent, but when looked at from the back, the bike does look a bit awkward. Proportions-wise, the Versys 650 could’ve looked better.

Yup, it’s a Kawasaki

The Versys 650 is powered by a 649cc, short-stroke, parallel-twin, and liquid-cooled engine. It is an 8-valve motor with dual overhead camshafts while digital fuel injection is needed for two cylinders through a set of throttle bodies. The engine produces 68.4bhp and 57Nm of torque. If you’ve already ridden a Ninja 650, this bike shouldn’t feel too different. Throttle response is crisp and low-end torque is strong, meaning the low to mid-range power delivery is good. The bike is very refined to ride and you don’t feel any vibrations. The clutch function is slick, allowing the rider to shift up and down effortlessly. In terms of performance, this bike can accelerate from 0-100kph in 5 seconds and reach a top speed of 200kph. However, the engine doesn’t sound as nice as an inline-four. Off the road, we wouldn’t recommend this bike since it comes with tyres made for the tarmac. Off-road tyres can be fitted as well, but don’t expect astounding levels of grip when you take it on the rough stuff. The Versys 650 features a trellis steel frame, an adjustable upside down telescopic suspension up-front, and an adjustable monoshock at the back.

Hopping on, riding along

The Versys 650 is a comfy motorcycle, there are no two ways about it, thanks to its relaxed riding posture. But the handlebar should’ve been wider for comfortable leverage. Another problem is the weight of the bike and further adding to it is the tall stance and the high center of gravity. And you tend to feel the weight of the bike mostly when tipping into corners. The saddle is supportive and quite spacious and thanks to the long travel suspension, ride quality is impressive. However, at low speeds, steering it requires some effort. On the braking front, the bike is equipped with a twin petal-type disc brake up ahead and a single disc at the back. The brakes bite well and the bike gets the option of ABS.

Worth it?

The Versys 650 is fast and proves to be a great touring bike even at three-digit speeds, but it becomes a bit demanding around bends with all that heft. And let’s not forget dealing with the weight in traffic; that’s going to be a pain. Kawasaki has to tweak the formula a bit more to make it click in our market.

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