KAWASAKI VERSYS 650 (2010-on) Review

Published: 12 March 2010

"A Jack of trades, and at under £6000 a bit of bargain all round bike"

Kawasaki Versys

"A Jack of trades, and at under £6000 a bit of bargain all round bike"

  • At a glance
  • 649cc  -  60 bhp
  • 48 mpg  -  152 miles range
  • Medium seat height (845mm)
  • £6,549

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

There wasn’t much wrong with the old Versys, it just needed a few minor faults addressing which Kawasaki have done. They have reduced the engine vibration which was a major fault and improved the bike cosmetically, whilst adding more extras like heated grips. It’s a jack of trades, and at under £6000 a bit of bargain all round bike.

- Video: 2010 Kawasaki Versys first ride

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Low speed handling is excellent making the new Kawasaki Versys ideally suited for town and city riding. Turns easily, very tight turning circle, you can just jump on the Kawasaki Versys and have fun, making the Kawasaki Versys ideal for new riders. However, when you up the pace well above the national speed limit the soft suspension starts to complain. Brakes are excellent if you can stop the front from burying itself into the road.

Engine 4 out of 5

You can be forgiven into thinking the new Versys isn’t up to much in terms of performance but you would be wrong, the parallel twin had some real punch and on paper produces are respectful 64 bhp. It’s got plenty of torque to loft the front easily, and prefect for darting around town and still has enough top end revs for fun and a top speed around 125mph.    

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

We have not head any horror stores regarding the parallel twin engine, some have even ended up on track in the popular mini twin series without any major problems. Kawasaki has improved the looks and feels of the new Versys, giving it a few design tweaks and given the bike a greater feeling of quality. It certainly doesn’t feel too budget, like some bike feel in this category.

Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5

As the name suggest for under £6000 you have a very versatile bike which is just as happy raising a smile on a wet cold commute to work as it is fully loaded taking on a two up touring trip to the coast at the weekend. In terms of value and being able to perform in so many ways it has to score 5 out of 5. Find a Kawasaki Versys for sale.

Insurance group: 9 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

ABS is optional, so are heated grips and the 12v socket, but in basic form you get a lot for the money. The new screen is three way adjustable, mirrors and indicators are larger and most importantly Kawasaki have rubber mounted the engine to reduce vibration a similar trick they performed on the ER-6N and F last year. Compare and buy parts for the Versys in the MCN Shop.

Owners' Reviews

3 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI VERSYS 650 (2010-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4.3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3.7 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 3.3 out of 5
4 out of 5

Too good

04 May 2012 by enf005980

I am in love, i am saving money for a new versys 650 but just one detail, here in Texas they cannot sale it..... I could not find even one used for sale 2010 or 2011! Read more

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 1 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

2010 Versys

22 July 2010 by Phaelok

Well, I turned up at Kawasaki Bristol at 3pm in the afternoon for my allotted ride with my girlfriend and the new versys. My route took me from the dealership down the M32, M4 and M5, turning off the Clevedon junction to head out towards cheddar... Read more gorge. The route back involved a couple back lanes and the versys coped admirably with all I could throw at it. A first impression when sat on the bike is this is going to be a comfortable ride, and it is. The seat is extremely plush and whilst I had no immediate discomfort, it seemed to be all day comfy. I would consider a gel seat as my bum did get a bit numb just from being sat on it for ages... Wind protection is astounding. I often wondered how people could wizz past me down the motorway at 80mph constant when I could only do 70 maximum. Wind would try to rip my face off constantly. With the versys there is no drama; 80mph cruising could be covered all day. Her ladyship was also impressed. Its the first time she has let go of me completely, placing her hands on her lap. Compared with the SV she was holding on for dear life. She found the seat comfortable and much more so than the SV, and the riding position much roomier. This bike has furthered her confidence in riding as a pillion. With regards to the ergonomics, the sizing of the bike is adequate for my lardy self, and the bars are not a stretch or awkwardly placed. The foot position is perfectly acceptable and its easy to get onto and be comfortable. Everything seems to fall into place naturally. As for the engine, all I can say is wow. It suits my riding style perfectly. I am lazy with the throttle and the torque just kicks in when I need it, powering out of corners. Setting off from the show room saw me surprised by the instant pick-up and acceleration. I had opened the throttle as if on the SV, it certainly woke me up! Two up the torque is plentiful, carrying myself and the lady with no fuss at all. There’s enough poke from the engine for overtakes I wouldn’t have even attempted on the SV. Though the bike is down on power on paper compared to the SV, it certainly doesn’t feel it. Still in-keeping with the engine subject, the vibrations have been mentioned by many a review and I will agree they are noticeable. I became used to them over the course of the test ride. However when cruising at 70mph the vibes were certainly noticeable, to the point I tried to prod for another gear. There were two options, power through it up to 75mph or down to 65mph. Emma also commented on vibes compared to the SV, but on the whole conceded that the comfort much outweighed it as an issue. The vibes seemed to be most noticeable to me at 5k rpm, but sit above or below, or power through and its perfectly fine. Moving onto all round ability, as aforementioned I took the bike down the motorway and through country roads and back lanes. The bike coped admirably in all situations. I had attempted roads on the versys I would never have attempted on the SV. The suspension was lovely and plush, wafting over road imperfections with notable state of comfort. Hitting a pot hole however, would see the suspension react harshly, feeding it back through the bike to rider and passenger. On the whole whilst riding I noticed suspension producing a see-saw effect. Under braking, the front began to dive a lot more than on the SV. This could be a trait of tall bikes, because I have never ridden one – which means I would need to get used to it. The handling is neutral and I managed to throw the bike into some corners comfortably, with the bike remaining composed for a range of bends. From only riding a cruiser, naked and semi sports bike the handling on the versys is confidence inspiring. It has a weird sensation of ‘falling’ into corners; however feedback is adequate for the speeds undertaken. One instant observation when leaving the dealership is the back brake is pants, whilst the front brakes offer plenty of initial bite. I can make a direct comparison with these brakes as I have exactly the same system on the SV. The brakes on the SV seem more balanced, with the front providing enough power when braking hard, but no initial bite. The rear on the SV is strong in comparison with the versys, making back brake maneuvering on the SV easier. The versys provided a few head bumping moments when braking due to the bite present on the front end. The rear could do with the same sort of power, if not a little less. Perhaps changing pads and over to braided hoses would help somewhat… On the whole this bike is an impressive bit of kit, whilst it might not be much of a looker (though it is growing on me), its ability far outweighs its visual aesthetics. It’s a similar story to some BMW’s, many also look ugly and squinty with an asymmetrical design, but function far outweighs its looks. I was so impressed with the bike I didn’t want to go back to the showroom with it. Fortunately there were no other test riders after me, so I was able to stay out longer – and I relished the chance. I was supposed to be out for an hour, I returned two and a half hours later.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

2010 Versys

13 July 2010 by cmc1

Just got a 2010 Versys ABS model. MCN said it's a "Jack of all trades, master of none" I agree with jack of all trades but disagree with the master of none, on twisty country roads it's superb and has real punch out of the corners which see it leave... Read more the high reving 600 sports bikes even if it's only for a short while. If the roads not straight you'll struggle to keep up. I found this out for my self last year riding a TL1000 when some bloke on a Versys left me for dead on the twisties and it looked completely composed at the same time. in a nut shell it's a porky supermoto that can handle motorways and carry two people.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
Read all 3 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2010
Year discontinued -
New price £6,549
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 9 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 60 bhp
Max torque 43 ft-lb
Top speed 128 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 48 mpg
Tank range 152 miles
Specification
Engine size 649cc
Engine type Parallel twin, 6 gears
Frame type Tubular Steel
Fuel capacity 19 litres
Seat height 845mm
Bike weight 181kg
Front suspension Preload, rebound
Rear suspension Preload, rebound
Front brake 2 x 300mm discs
Rear brake 245mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17 in
Rear tyre size 160/60 x 17 in

History & Versions

Model history

2006: Original Versys launched
2010: Updated model introduced
2011: Available as Versys ABS [£6,834], Versys Tourer (incl. panniers, varioscreen and tank protector) [£6,937] and Versys Tourer ABS [£7,294]

Other versions

None

Photo Gallery

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