I mentioned a while back that I had been thinking about jumping head first into the modern world of motorcycles. For over a year I have been obsessed with the Kawasaki Versys, a bike which won ‘Bike of the Year’ in 2008, the year of it’s release in the U.S.
The thing that struck me most about this bike was reports of its complete versatility (hence the made-up name), and how many reviews I read by long-time riders who stated that it was the most fun bike they had owned, after years of riding.
The bike consists of the same motor as a Ninja 650, tamed by the installation of alternate cams, set into a standard riding position frame. Although the bike is not a Sportbike, it has enough get up and go to bump past highway traffic, while already doing 75mph. This is enough speed for me – and I look forward to having enough juice, but not too much.
It seems the market Kawasaki was aiming for was the adventure touring folks, who have been spending in large numbers, to have a seating position like this, with the ability to do some off-roading. Apparently Kawi did some research, and realized that 85% or more of the time spent on these ADV bikes (or ‘dual purpose’) is spent on paved roadways, making the extra cost for dirt-worthy accoutrements pointless to the majority of riders. Don’t get me wrong, the internet is filled with stories of people prepping and taking these bikes off-road, but since the majority of my riding is done in the city, I will be fine with saving the money – and getting a bike that may be superior in the city, as well as the twisties.
I will be posting impressions of this new bike in the near future – but I can tell you already, the bike is the most fun I have owned.
Stay tuned for a new ride report from Vermont!