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Original Article:
2008 Kawasaki Versys First Ride

Please discuss the Motorcycle.com article 2008 Kawasaki Versys First Ride in our Motorcycle Forums below. Use the reply button to let others know your comments or feedback on the article. Constructive criticism is always appreciated, along with your thoughts and personal opinions on the bikes and products we have tested.
 

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Different rider perspectives

I ride a KLR 650 and a V-Strom (DL1000), and from this perspective, the Versys looks different in a couple of respects from the view reported by the article's author. (I've had my Versys for 3 weeks now.) In particular, rather than feeling like you can run up to top gear and pretty much forget about the gearbox, I find that far more frequent shifting is required in ordinary riding than with either of the other bikes. Also, in contrast to the author's criticism of the front brake, the brakes on the Versys are brilliant compared to those of either the KLR or the V-Strom.

We can agree, though, that the Versys is a nearly perfect all-around street bike for real-world use.
 

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Seems we have a new player in the Adventure market. I like it. Would I buy it? Don't know. If they could sqeeze a few more ponies out for my XXL size it'd be tempting. Hey- you White Bros guys working on the exhaust, yet? That and a power commander and it may be the next bike. Ok- in 3 yrs when used ones hit the market, anyway. Hate buying new.
 

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The article was nicely done. I got a chuckle out of the "fruity burble" comment on the exhaust sound.

I wish Kawi would do a better job with their website. I went to it after reading the article to check out the bike with the side and top bags. Not only do they not show you what it looks like with the luggage, but the only accessory part listed was a generic top bag! The seat and other accessories mentioned in the article don't appear at all. Some bikes look great with bags, other hideous.
 

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The article was nicely done. I got a chuckle out of the "fruity burble" comment on the exhaust sound.

I wish Kawi would do a better job with their website. I went to it after reading the article to check out the bike with the side and top bags. Not only do they not show you what it looks like with the luggage, but the only accessory part listed was a generic top bag! The seat and other accessories mentioned in the article don't appear at all. Some bikes look great with bags, other hideous.
I doubt the people who are buying this bike base their purchase on its good looks. It looks like a nice bike functionally, but it won't win any beauty contests with or without bags. ;-)
 

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The Toad
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Looks like a great all around bike that people new or old to the sport should consider.

Too bad it's gonna gather dust like the Z750. Maybe Kwacker could put on a full fairing or maybe a whole bunch of ridiculous chrome painted plastic. It might sell then.
 

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If I was buying a bike right now, this would probably be it. I actually like its looks. I see it as Kawasaki's version of the Multistrada 620 which I guess is no longer sold here in the states.
 

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I doubt the people who are buying this bike base their purchase on its good looks. It looks like a nice bike functionally, but it won't win any beauty contests with or without bags. ;-)
True enough. I've always thought the best looking machines were the ones that put function over form. But, I'd still like to see an accessorized bike on the website, or least the accessories themselves. I wonder why the other manufacturers don't put the same energy and effort into accessories that HD does? It sure makes them a LOT of money!
 

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Why does it scream...

...Buell to me? Just like every auto manufacturer is copying the looks of the ground breaking, weird, funky Honda Element, for their small SUV's, will the big three from Japan (four?) start aping the looks of the Buell City X for the new class of standard bikes?

Seems to be a formula that will work, maybe...if you like weird & funky.
 

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Buell$hit

...Buell to me? Just like every auto manufacturer is copying the looks of the ground breaking, weird, funky Honda Element, for their small SUV's, will the big three from Japan (four?) start aping the looks of the Buell City X for the new class of standard bikes?

Seems to be a formula that will work, maybe...if you like weird & funky.
I read an article somewhere where Eric Buell was talking about how pleased he was that his designs were being followed by other mfgs. I noticed the exhaust was very "Buellish," in addition to the styling.
 

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True enough. I've always thought the best looking machines were the ones that put function over form. But, I'd still like to see an accessorized bike on the website, or least the accessories themselves. I wonder why the other manufacturers don't put the same energy and effort into accessories that HD does? It sure makes them a LOT of money!
I don't know - maybe genuine "Piano Company" or "Generator Company" merch just wouldn't sell as well...

On topic - I really like the Versys. Even better if the ABS version were made available. Finally a company decided a "small" bike was worthy of good suspension and other components rather than the price point pieces that are typically used. If I was going to buy a new bike, this would top the list - I hope people do buy them so other manufacturers are encouraged to bring these kind of bikes here. I'd love to see a 675 based mini-Tiger.
 

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The Toad
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Perhaps

Except it's not an adventure-sport bike, but a street bike entirely. The tire specks alone dictate that. Of course I do expect to see some innovative dual-sport mods done by owners, so that should be interesting.
But a bike's functionality is not determined by ad copy. The Versys could be an excellent adventure bike as is, with proper tires, simply because of its comparatively light weight. GSes, Tigers and DL1000s are simply too heavy IMHO. The lighter bike innately has more potential for exploring those out of the way places. At the price I could buy one for me and another for my wife instead of a GS and still have money left over.
 

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I read an article somewhere where Eric Buell was talking about how pleased he was that his designs were being followed by other mfgs. I noticed the exhaust was very "Buellish," in addition to the styling.
Funny, I've always suspected that Buell got his idea for the underslung, stubby exhaust from the '88 Honda Hawk..........

What's OLD is NEW Again!
 

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If they would make it an actual adventure tourer I'd probably give it a shot. Another inch of suspension travel (at least) and a 19" front wheel and it would probably suit the bill. For year people have been saying manufacturer's need to make more smaller displacement, light, fun to ride bikes. Here you go. Me, I think I'd take a Wee Strom (and sell my V-Strom he says with tears running down his cheeks).
 
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