I bought my bike three years old for £3900 with 4k on the clock, FSH, hard luggage, heated grips, a touring screen, data tool alarm and in excellent condition. 10 months on and I've covered just over 6500miles with a decent mix of motorway, Sunday blasts, weekends away and city commuting. So far it's taken everything in its stride...
OK, the engine is never going to set the world alight. It's a 650cc parallel twin designed to be economical and user friendly. However it certainly feels more powerful than the numbers suggest (circa 60bhp) with genuinely useful midrange at real world road speeds and a top speed approaching 120mph. I'd be lying of I said I never wanted more power but I'd also be lying if I said it was dull. The sound it produces is inoffensive and tends to be drowned out by wind at anything over 60mph but is pleasant enough. I'm sure an aftermarket end can would solve (or ruin - depending on your outlook) the noise issue but I'm leaving it standard for now.
Suspension is adjustable front and rear but mine has stayed on the stock setting and seems fine. Handling is very easy and predictable although the front end in particular offers little in the way of feedback. It certainly hides its weight well and is good fun on twisty B roads. The ride quality is OK although it feels neither sporty nor plush - I guess budget suspension is to blame here. Either way I find the bike perfectly comfortable for at least 2 hours in the saddle, the only complaint being the distance between the seat and footrest is a little cramped for my 6'0 frame.
Equipment is adequate and includes a digital fuel gauge and two trip meters. The Versys does not come with a centre stand nor is it available as an aftermarket accessory as the exhaust can is in the way. This is one of the more annoying aspects of a bike that is otherwise perfectly capable of touring. Mine came with the optional Givi panniers, which fit plenty of gear (including a full face helmet in each) and are easy to remove. It does stick out further than the mirrors though and is something to watch when filtering in traffic! (Luckily I am yet to make this mistake.)
In terms of reliability the bike has been practically flawless. There was an issue whereby the exhaust failed on a weld a couple of weeks after I bought it but that was a cheap fix covered under the warranty anyway. Other than that it has been perfect. Quality wise, one has to accept this is a budget bike and if ridden all year round (as mine has been) bits will get a little rusty. On my bike this has mainly been a couple of welds on the subframe and pannier rack and the bracket holding the rectifier in place. General fit and finish is perfectly good in my opinion.
Value is where the Versys really excels. Insurance is cheap and even when ridden in a spirited fashion it will return 55mpg. It really is a lot of bike for the money too with plenty going for around the £3000 mark and tidy, well loved, low mileage examples rarely fetching over 4k. One (potential- depending on your annual mileage) downside is the short service intervals, which are due every 3750miles or annually. (Which ever comes soonest.) for me this means the bike needs servicing twice a year. On the plus side the service costs are fairly reasonable so it's swings and roundabouts.
How many bikes are there on the market that will happily top a ton, handle well, ride just as well in town commuting as they do loaded up touring and will still return a real life 55-60mpg? Not very many. How many do all this for less than 4k? The Versys is pretty much in a class of its own!