Kawasaki Versys 1000 First Ride
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The pros: The bike looks sporty yet rugged, powerful engine, smooth and comfortable riding. Equipped with advanced features such as ABS and traction control.
The cons: Riding around the city can be a bit stressful. The Versys is a little bit heavyweight tourer.
The crux: Versys a 1000cc bike is made for those riders who like adventures and long tour, priced at Rs. 12.9 lakh (ex-showroom Pune).
It’s not every day that you get to ride a litre class adventure touring motorcycle. But when that day comes, you make sure you’ve had your fill of fun. Now the Indian motorcycle segment is finally warming up to big capacity machines and manufacturers are obliging as well. You have plenty of fast nakeds, sportbikes and cruisers plying the roads.
However there is this new genre of motorcycles that have suddenly taken the market by storm. The adventure touring motorcycle. Today we get to go for a long ride on one of them – the Kawasaki Versys 1000. Let’s see what this motorcycle has to offer.
The moment you lay your eyes on the Kawasaki Versys 1000, you’ll know what this motorcycle was made for. But who said rugged can’t look good too. Kawasaki have done just that by lending the Versys a sporty yet rugged look. The twin headlights are enclosed in a mean looking sporty fairing leading up to an adjustable windshield that keeps the wind from your face and keeps the bugs away. The sharp lines continue down on to the tank shrouds all the way till the tail light. The rear of the motorcycle definitely looks more rugged and tough than its sportier front but if you add the pannier accessory, it will cover all that up.
The Versys 1000 has an abundance of features. Let’s start with the instrument console that not only shows you the speed your riding at and the rpm but also shows you the engine temperature and outside temperature. It also displays Trip A and B, Average speed, Distance to empty (range), Two power modes- Full and Low and a 3 level traction control system. Surprisingly it also displays an economy symbol when simply cruising along at a lower rpm just in case you want to save fuel.
Kawasaki have got the riding position just right for long distance touring. The position of the one piece handlebar to the seat and footpegs leaves you sitting comfortably upright without a strain on any part of your body. Even though the Versys 1000 may be a little heavy at 250kg, it’s very easy to manage within city speed limits and with a saddle height of 33.1 inches, it’s not too tall for average Indians but tall riders will feel more at home. Riding comfort for the pillion too has been given a lot of thought and there’s plenty of room for both riders to sit comfortably.
Engine and Performance
Even though this motorcycle is a touring machine, at its heart beats a strong powerhouse that’s based on the Z1000. Its 4-cylinder, 1043cc engine pushs out 120 PS of power and a mountain climbing 102 Nm of torque. Irrespective of which gear you’re in, the Versys 1000 pulls strong and hard through the rev range. The gearbox is smooth like the Z1000 but gets updated gear ratios for added versatility. The linear power delivery keeps you at ease without any of the scare a litre class bike might give. The engine sounds refined and the exhaust note isn’t ear shattering.
Ride and Handling
Riding around the city can be a bit stressful with the amount of traffic and even more if you have panniers attached but the inclusion of a slipper clutch makes everything better with a lighter clutch feel. The suspension setup is handled by USD’s in the front and a horizontal back-link suspension at the rear. Both are adjustable to suit the terrain and use you would want to ride on. A remote adjustment knob is given for the rear suspension making it extremely easy to change the settings by using just your hand. Over the pot-hole filled roads, the Versys 1000 cruises effortlessly, eating up every undulation. Braking too is progressive and has just the right amount of feedback. The dual disc brakes in the front offer great braking power and with ABS coming standard you don’t have much to worry about.
With the urge to travel far and wide, adventure motorcycles are suddenly the thing to have. Triumph are doing extremely well with the Tiger range and you have the Suzuki V-Strom and the Aprillia Caponord filling in. Priced at Rs. 12.9 lakh (ex-showroom Pune), the Versys 1000 is priced well for a 1000cc motorcycle which comes in as a CBU. It may not be the sharpest tool, but its long-range comfort and inspired handling go a long way toward getting you (and a passenger) from point A to a far-away point B with a smile on your face.