Kawasaki Versys: first impressions…

Getting used to the Kawasaki Versys

Getting used to the Kawasaki Versys

After having the Kawasaki Versys (KLE 650) for about a week now, a few things are becoming clear.  First, the performance of this bike in the city, is world’s better than any bike I have ever owned…

The difference is the smooth power at low RPM.  The 1976 Honda CB 550 always had issues with the carbs at low throttle, and the Yamaha FZR 600 always wanted to be going 130 mph, not 30 mph!  This Versys handles low speed like a champ, and the fact that I’m stuck in traffic 1/2 of my riding life (or more!), is mellowed by the response of this engine.  Maybe it’s because this is a 2-cylinder motor, or maybe it’s some other magic, but no more hiccups, no more jerking around while barely off-idle.  This thing rocks in the city!

The next thing that jumps out at you is that despite being so good at low speeds, it has plenty of kick to get you up into the higher RPM.  The throttle is smooth.  I mean smooth!  I tweaked the throttle cables a bit, to make sure they were properly set, and I now understand why people rave about Fuel Injection (FI).  There is an instant gratification to opening the throttle, feeling the bike move forward, away from beneath you.  Lean into it, or you may get left behind.

Allow me to digress a moment, and mention the joy of starting this bike up.  Also related to the FI, the very first thing that happens when you switch the key to the on position, is the whole dash lights up and goes bonkers.  If I wasn’t ready for it, I’d have thought the thing had just fried itself.  Not so, it’s just the Versys doing it’s system check.  You hear the fuel pump activate, wait for it to quiet down, and then hit the starter.  The Versys whirs to life, with the idle at a heightened pace.  This is the part I love… it basically has an automatic choke.  No need to monkey with a small, metal lever buried inside the carbs.  Nope!  This thing does it all on it’s own.

The bike warms itself up quickly, but I still take the typical time I allow a bike to ready itself (1 quickly smoked cigarette usually does the trick).  Then you are ready to roll.  A beautiful thing really.  Just fire it up, let it do it’s thing, and you are off…

I have been finding some great information on the Kawasaki Versys Forum, which I had used to do research while shopping around for these bikes.

I’m gearing up for a trip up to Vermont this weekend, for my own style of adventure riding, so I am sure there will be more to come…

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