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BIKELAND > FORUMS > BIKE CHAT > Thread: The Coolest Bike You Can't Buy... The 2007 Kawasaki Versys First Ride NEW TOPIC NEW POLL POST REPLY
Editor


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posted November 24, 2006 09:17 AM        Edited By: staff on 21 Jul 2007 00:06
The Coolest Bike You Can't Buy... The 2007 Kawasaki Versys First Ride


World Exclusive: 2007 Kawasaki Versys First Ride

How come all the really cool stuff doesn't make its way Stateside? Are they trying to protect us from ourselves? It happens every model year; something really cool crops up, but for some reason it's only available in Europe. What's even more bizarre is that every now and then you see some of these European gems show up right on your doorstep in the frozen reaches of Northern Canuckistan.

PLEASE CLICK HERE AND DOWNLOAD THIS ARTICLE IN PDF FORMAT (RECOMMENDED)
*** CONTENT, PHOTOS AND EXTRAS ARE EMBEDDED IN PDF ***


Now, I don't know why the Canookians get preferential treatment for some of these unique one-off models, but they do. This year is no exception with the release of the 2007 Kawasaki Versys. Bikeland had the chance to ride Kawasaki's latest (and probably one of their coolest) offerings at our secret Northern testing facility courtesy Burnaby Kawasaki.

The Versys is a unique looking machine; part dual sport, part motard, part UJM, the styling of the Versys immediately reminded me of the old Honda Transalp blended with some sort of KTM.

The Versys is based on Kawasaki's successful 650 Ninja platform, and retains the torquey 649cc parallel twin engine and super cool looking bellypan exhaust. According to KHI the Versys engine offers a lower compression ratio of 10.6:1 vs. the 650 Ninja's 11.3:1 ratio. Unlike the 650 Ninja, the Versys sports 41mm inverted front forks that are adjustable for rebound and preload. The horizontally mounted rear shock offers 13-way adjustable rebound damping and is 7-way adjustable for preload. The digital speedometer and odometer are easy to read and displayed in metric units for our test. Switching the Versys to read in imperial units is only a few button pushes away, making this bike a shoe-in for a Southerly "migration" to warmer climates and better roads.

The Versys has a seat height of about 33", a couple of inches higher than the 650 Ninja and according to KHI weighs in at 2 lbs less dry than it's 650 Ninja counterpart. Other than that, the wheelbase, rake and trail appear to be identical to the 650 Ninja spare the raised handlebars that make the bike quicker to turn in. Whoever designed the "organic" handlebar riser for this bike must have just come from watching Alien vs. Predator.

It's styling cues like this where (in my opinion) Kawasaki is often trying a little too hard. Looking the bike over you realize that the frame is not a creation of aluminum casting, but instead a steel fabrication hidden with specifically placed plastic bits to mask the spars. Are they embarrassed about using a steel frame? Why should they be?

As a personal criticism I find it odd that one of the things that continues to separate the Japanese OEM's products from those of their luscious Italian and European counterparts (read Ducati, Aprilia etc) is that the non-Japanese OEM's "own" their work. For example, Ducati takes pride in featuring a tubular steel frame, not hiding it. Kawasaki, in their evolution in the marketplace stands to break free from the rest of the Big Four if only they could use their innovative designs as features and improve on the build quality instead of hiding welds and non-machined bits with useless pieces of extra plastic bodywork.

With that bit of personal opinion aside, the Versys is super cool. The engine offered plenty of torque low down and carried the front wheel off the ground with the slightest twist of throttle. Whereas the 650 Ninja felt and looked more like an everyday commuter or a reborn UJM, the Versys sports more street cred.

The nuts and bolts are this: the Versys is a refitted, kitted 650 Ninja with way better handling, suspension and looks. The Versys has all the cool that the 650 Ninja lacks, and then some. It's perfect as a commuter but has an extra motardish urban "edge" that (when put side by each) makes the 650 Ninja look like "your parent's bike".

Why you can't buy this cooler, improved version of an already great bike is beyond me.

The Versys is offered in two colors; Ebony (that's "black" in marketing speak) and Candy Burnt Orange (that's "orange") and has an MSRP of aboooot $8999 Canadian money units ($8K or so in Greenbacks). If you're interested in securing one of these gems, drop Brian at Burnaby Kawasaki a line at 604 525 9393. Like all great motorcycle stores, they're closed Sunday and Monday.



PLEASE CLICK HERE AND DOWNLOAD THIS ARTICLE IN PDF FORMAT (RECOMMENDED)
*** CONTENT, PHOTOS AND EXTRAS ARE EMBEDDED IN PDF ***




2007 Kawasaki Versys

Model Year: 2007
Engine type: Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke Parallel Twin
Displacement: 649 cm³
Bore x stroke: 83 x 60 mm
Compression ratio: 10.6:1
Valve/Induction system: DOHC, 8 valves
Maximum power: 47 kW {64 PS} / 8,000 rpm
Maximum torque: 61 N·m {6.2 kgf·m} / 6,800 rpm
Fuel supply/Carburetor: Fuel injection: ø38 mm x 2 (Keihin)
Ignition: Digital
Starting: Electric
Transmission: 6-speed, return
Frame type: Diamond, high-tensile steel
Rake/Trail: 25°/108 mm
Suspension, front: 41 mm inverted telescopic fork with stepless (right-side) adjustable rebound damping and adjustable preload
Suspension, rear: Offset laydown single-shock with 13-way adjustable rebound damping and 7-way adjustable preload
Wheel travel, front: 150 mm
Wheel travel, rear: 145 mm
Tire, front: 120/70ZR17M/C (58W)
Tire, rear: 160/60ZR17M/C (69W)
Brakes, front: Dual semi-floating 300 mm petal discs
Brakes, rear: Single 220 mm petal disc
Steering angle: left / right35° / 35°
Dimensions (L x W x H): 2,125 mm x 840 mm x 1,315 mm
Wheelbase: 1,415 mm
Seat height: 33"
Fuel capacity: 19 liters
Dry weight: 181 kg
Complies to EU emission limit EURO 3

Source: Bikeland.org


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BlueLIGHTning


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posted November 24, 2006 12:54 PM        
They are already in the showrooms up here in Canada.
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fish_antlers


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posted November 24, 2006 01:07 PM        
they aint in the USA!
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bovinespongiformencephalo


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posted November 24, 2006 05:07 PM        
It's vaguely reminiscent of Nemo's "Nautilus."
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TJ


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posted November 24, 2006 09:11 PM        
We may not be a ble to get it in the US but it is far from "cool"
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worm~hole


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posted November 24, 2006 09:20 PM        
...the faring/headlight treatment is FUGLY!
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CaptainZX14


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posted November 24, 2006 09:40 PM        
I guess I am just a full on sport bike kind of guy. I have not seen a two cylinder motorcycle worth a purchase since the advent of the in-line four! Am I missing something? Why would anyone want to buy a two cylinder motorcycle? What is the advantage? I just don't see what is so cool about this bike.
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1badzx12r


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posted November 24, 2006 09:43 PM        
quote:
I guess I am just a full on sport bike kind of guy. I have not seen a two cylinder motorcycle worth a purchase since the advent of the in-line four! Am I missing something? Why would anyone want to buy a two cylinder motorcycle? What is the advantage? I just don't see what is so cool about this bike.
+100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 who would want a no runnin piece of shitttt........... when you can buy a 600 true sportbike for a few bucks more....
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TurboBlew


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posted November 24, 2006 10:19 PM        
Whoever created that PDF needs to work on picture placement abit better.

I like the article but I cant find a use for something like that...especially when Kawi could just throw some 17" road race tires and lights on something like the KLX.

Suzuki is selling the DRZ SM.... not sure why Kawi doesnt see potential there?
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fish_antlers


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posted November 24, 2006 10:50 PM        
quote:
We may not be a ble to get it in the US but it is far from "cool"


Hmmm.... maybe KMC knows their demographic better than we do 'cuz I think that Verysys is one cool looking bike... oh well... don't ask why when the rest of the cool stuff goes to Europe and never makes it over here.
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Y2KZX12R


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posted November 25, 2006 05:37 AM        
They know people in the USA wont buy that junk. Theres no market here for twin sport bikes or any low HP bikes unless there cruisers. They know that.
In socialist countries where its cost prohibitive, like most of europe, it might sell well because total anual operating cost (insurance) is a lot lower than a liter bike.
Here in the USA that doesnt come into play anywhere near as much.


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stevewfl


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posted November 25, 2006 06:35 AM        
What is so cool about that bike?! Wonderfully written article, but per below I know why they don't attempt to spring it on us Americans

"The Versys is a unique looking machine; part dual sport, part motard, part UJM, the styling of the Versys immediately reminded me of the old Honda Transalp blended with some sort of KTM."

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fish_antlers


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posted November 25, 2006 08:18 AM        
funny Y2K... that's not what all the people I've met and pretty much all the comments I've seen on other sites have suggested...

I really do find this fascinating!
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blitzkrieg


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posted November 26, 2006 10:51 AM        
My .02 - it's demographics.

It's not that the U.S. is one-off bike deprived it's that kawasaki's (and Yamaha and Suzuki and Honda's) demographics and market research show that a bike such as this would languish in the showroom here.

It's happened many times before.

The U.S. is a unique market. Gas is still relatively cheap compared to certain countries, there are no governmentally imposed tariffs on cc's, and due to the fact that Tort based insurance is in place in many states people are pretty much free to buy what they want so long as they can afford the insurance.

In the U.S. a bike like this should appeal to your entry level to intermediate rider (maybe your advanced rider looking for an all around bike) but the key market would be the 18-25 year old segment. Put that bike next to zx-6 or zx-10 in the U.S. showroom and the floor is gonna be dull around the sportbike and nice and shiny around the Versys.

There is a U.S. market for a similar concept, but it's a niche market and the first requirement is that the bike cost a lot and is rare. Exclusivity is required. Look at the takeoff KTM has had.

No, Kawasaki is not dumb. They know this bike would never drum up enough sales in the U.S. to make it worth the effort, and they are right.


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fish_antlers


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posted November 26, 2006 11:07 AM        
Are they, when they sell a neutered version of it already as the 650 Ninja? Why carry that bike then?
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BobC


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posted November 27, 2006 05:02 AM        
quote:
they aint in the USA!


They're in the showrooms in the UK too.
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burgerking


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posted November 27, 2006 10:19 AM        
Will def. try this one out next year...see if it's a match for my KTM Adventure 950....nah no chance but I love dual purpose bikes and I think for the money the Versys will be a good bike.....fugly as sin though.
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ZREXER


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posted November 27, 2006 03:23 PM        Edited By: ZREXER on 27 Nov 2006 15:24
You know riding for me at least is not all about speed. I certainly am glad that there are bikes like the '07 Versys available. I have a Suzuki SV 650 Naked and even though I have the ZX 14, I still rack up alot of miles on the SV.

Sure it is slow compared to the '14, but for just tooling around town and on the back roads it is a perfect bike. It is light, handles decently stock and with tires and a few suspension mods can be made into an extremely good handling bike.

Riding for me is all about fun and it is fun to ride lower powered bikes.

You really don't need 200 horsepower to have fun on a bike. I think some riders have lost sight of that!

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bigdtd


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posted November 27, 2006 03:53 PM        
you're right zrexer,you don't need 200hp just to have fun, my dear departed 76 honda 400 four supersport (new $800)was a fun bike to ride, but nowadays i like to pack some more heat. i think one of those new motocross bikes with road race tires would be sweet to have as a fun 2nd bike...
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Nukedog


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posted November 27, 2006 04:07 PM        
Would much rather have a TDM 850 ...
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1badzx12r


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posted November 27, 2006 04:09 PM        
i'm must be crazy....buell cityx or xb12
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osti33


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posted November 27, 2006 05:33 PM        
Great write up as usual. I however agree with Y2K and Blitz. I really don't think it would be a hot seller in the states.
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babbalou50


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posted December 17, 2006 09:42 AM        
I live in the USA & I WOULD buy this over anything else sold here. Finally, someone builds the bike I've been waiting years for & we don't get it here. Why? The market has decided that we want choppers or racebikes. "Screw ergonomics, we want to look cool!" Well, I outgrew that. For fellow Americans who don't understand the Versys, think of it like this: Supermotard; add 20 hp, a windscreen, bigger gas tank & a more comfortable seat. It's meant to be fun, not cool. FUN. Some of us want that. I canceled plans on getting a V-Strom until 2008. If we still don't get the Versys, I'll get the V-Strom or fly to Canada & import the Versys somehow.
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fish_antlers


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posted December 18, 2006 12:15 AM        
604 525 9393 ... ask for brian.
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Jammer


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posted January 02, 2007 06:17 PM        
I've seen & sat on the Versys, and it's cool! I never thought I'd say that about a 650 of it's type, but I like it. I understand the big-bore 4 preference - I have an 89 ZX10, FJR1300, am considering a C14, and I had an 04 ZX10 for 2 years, so I understand the appeal of power. Then I took a ride on a Ducati Multistrada - what a hoot to ride!!! However, the Versys is still a 650. I look at it as the perfect bike for my 16-yr old son to start street riding on, a more competent street bike than a KLR650. I agree with Ed that it is way cooler than the Ninja 650 - hell, I'm tempted just because it is so cool, and looks like a lot of fun to ride. The Kawasaki importers of each country make their own decisions as to which bikes they will import from Kawi's selection of products. I was surprised to see the Versys show up here (Canada), because of the type of bike it is, as well as the fact that more & more products (bikes especially) are being homologated for the "North American market,", as opposed to separate bikes for USA & Can. We used to get more - 0W01s, RZ500s, RG500 Gammas, NSR400s, etc, but not much anymore. Sometimes we may get a different color or graphics, but not very often.

Anyway, I'm glad to see it here. As for babbalou50's comments re the V-Strom - get the Versys. The 2 bikes were side-by-side at the dealership and I looked and sat on both. The Versys hsa a compact fun, exciting feel to it, whereas the V-Strom 650 feels huge, soft and fat in comparison. The V-Strom may be a better cross-country tourer, but the Versys looks to be a better all-around bike to just rip around on & have fun!!!

Anyway, that's all I've got to say about that!

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