KAWASAKI VERSYS 1000 (2015 - 2018) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£230|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
With its new styling, extra comfort and dedicated sports touring tyres, Kawasaki has transformed the Versys 1000 from a confused, adventure-styled ugly duckling, to a handsome, super-capable sports-tourer – so good it rivals its own Z1000SX.
- Related: 2021 Kawasaki Versys 1000 S review
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Taller riders will love the Kawasaki’s cosseting riding position, compared to a lower, less knee-friendly sports tourer. It’s roomy, comfortable, vibe-free and there’s excellent all-round wind protection, thanks to that new aerodynamic nose, adjustable screen and wide, two-litre bigger fuel tank. Mirrors are big and clear and the new ‘fat’ bars are perfectly placed to give you a nice feeling of control. It’s 11kg heavier, thanks to its stronger subframe (to take the new optional luggage system), new wheels and centre stand. That extra bulk actually makes for a more comfy ride on the straights and flattens bumps in your wake, but handling is still surprisingly good. If you push hard you can get it bouncing and wallowing, even with its new forks and rear shock (complete with its stronger rear spring). It can get a bit ‘crashy’ over severe bumps. The Versys 1000 steers predictably, is agile and the new Bridgestone T30 sports touring tyres offer loads of confidence-inspiring grip in all surface and weather conditions.
EngineNext up: Reliability
New cylinders, cylinder heads, injectors and air filter boosts power from 116bhp to 118bhp. There’s so much grunt you never need to trouble the slick gearbox, once you’re in sixth, but if you want to play there’s enough grunt to get the front wheel hovering out of tight corners in second and third gear. The new slipper clutch, which has a light lever feel, works superbly at smoothing-out on/off throttle inputs, as well as reducing engine braking into corners. A three-stage traction control gives you a helping hand in slippery conditions and if the going really gets tough, a softer power and torque ‘map’ is available at the touch of a button. Kawasaki also claims the 1043cc, inline four-cylinder motor is 5% more fuel efficient and we managed 44mpg.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
The paint finish is superb and the general build quality is top notch. The previous model was bomb-proof, so expect the same with this version.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
You get a lot of metal for little money, as well as ABS, traction control, a centre stand, an adjustable screen, slipper clutch and remote rear preload adjuster.
There’s a decent level of equipment in standard trim, but there are two other Versys 1000 versions available in the UK. The Tourer has panniers (and liners) and handguards. The Grand Tourer is fitted with panniers, a top box, handguards, fog lamps, gear position indicator, 12v power socket and engine protectors. The optional gear position indicator is really useful, as are the heated grips, which work well, even if these add-ons look a bit tacked-on – but let’s remember you’re not paying BMW money here.
|Engine type||16v, inline four|
|Frame type||Twin tube aluminium frame|
|Fuel capacity||21 litres|
|Front suspension||43mm USD forks with adjustable preload and rebound damping|
|Rear suspension||Single rear shock with adjustable preload and rebound damping|
|Front brake||2 x 310mm discs with four-piston calipers|
|Rear brake||250mm single disc with single-piston caliper|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||180/55 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||44 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||£230|
|Used price||£6,300 - £10,800|
11 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||118 bhp|
|Max torque||75 ft-lb|
|Top speed||140 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||203 miles|
Model history & versions
2012: Versys 1000 launched
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Owners' reviews for the KAWASAKI VERSYS 1000 (2015 - 2018)
15 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI VERSYS 1000 (2015 - 2018) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£230|
Version: Grand tourer
Annual servicing cost: £150
Reliable and comfortable tourer with great handling and enough power to carry myself and my wife in a week's tour Luggage capacity is great. I have fitted a an MRA Vario screen as the original created a lot of buffeting for my wife on the back The original pipe has been replaced as it was big and ugly with a fuel end can, which looks as good as new after 3 years and I have fitted a tutoro chain oiler I would and have recommended this bike to others The versys has just clocked 40,000 miles, and on its 1st MOT, the tester said that he thought the milage was wrong, saying that he had never seen a bike with those miles look that good, a testament to the quality of finish
Reliability and comfort are great, two up, my wife loves it, I have managed a 500 mile day, and whilst I was shattered at the end of it, I didn't need a chiropractor to get me off the bike, as I did on the blackbird
Great engine, smooth and torquey, even two up fully loaded It's not turbine smooth like the blackbird but I don't ride it like I stole it as I did on the blackbird.
Seen comments above, I do treat the bike to a couple of ACF 50 treatments per year, but the finish and build quality is fantastic, I owned a Honda blackbird previously and the build quality on the versys is almost up there with the blackbird I have only had to replace a rear breaklight switch sine buying the bike
I am averaging 46 miles per gallon, and I replace the tyre every year currently running Michelin road 5
As mentioned earlier I have fitted an MRA Vario screen as the original created buffeting for my wife, and the tutoro keeps the chain going The bike came as standard with panniers and top box, running lights and heated grips I have had pirelli angel GT tyres before the Michelin road 5, he pirelli's were good but the 5's are brilliant, giving loads of confidence in all conditions
Buying experience: I bought the bike when it was a year old and paid £7400 from a franchised Kawasaki dealer, a steal, it had a new set of tyres and full service when I bought it The service book is fully stamped, the dealer was great
Version: Grand Tourer
Annual servicing cost: £5
The best features for me are the comfortable riding position and the engine, which is so smooth. Two up is fine with plenty of room and the pillion has a commanding view. No hesitation recommending this bike at all. One word of caution is the height for shorter riders. The footpegs are also in the way when coming to a stop.
Smooth engine and fine handling has suprised me, both very good and that engine just pulls like a train.
The engine is so powerful and smooth, it is a pleasure to ride in any weather and the electronics are capable. Wind the bike on from any speed and it will respond with urgency, even in top gear.
Build quality seems fine, with no corrosion at all as yet. Reliability seems very good and I have never yet been stranded.
Not had a service yet under my ownership, but fuel economy is very good and tyres are much cheaper than expected.
The range of settings and electronics are a great addition, reduce power or change suspension at a click of a button. Additions on my bike are the full luggage system, fog lights and power socket for sat nav. I would recommend all these additions.
Buying experience: I bought the bike from a dealer of morotcycles in general, not a sole brand dealer, I paid £7200 which was the price advertised.
Annual servicing cost: £180
Reliable, swift enough for daily use, mile muncher, reccomend adter market german seat for high mileage riders
1 hour with std seat 3 hours with german seat
Will set off in 3rd , will pull from 20mph in 6th. I am a 300lb male bike hits 130 easily with me sat upright Rarely gets left in twisties
On 3rd versys over 75k never a problem
2 owner performed services a year
Bridgestone t30evo tyres good life wet grip dry grip best ive tried avoid roadsmart 4 lose all feeling Avoid kawasaki heated grips use oxfords much better. Std seat not as comfy as it looks
Annual servicing cost: £300
Smooth, comfy, torquey, easy to ride, keeps up on the twisties, would like a shaft drive version, it's my 3rd versys clocked 77k in 6 years total would recommend to anyone
200 miles or 2 hours no problem
Plenty of low down power pulls from 20mph in 5th Top speed not impressive but who needs it
Reasonable service costs avge 52mpg tyres T30 evo 6 to 7 thousand miles
ABS,, T30 EVO GREAT TYRES
Version: Grand tourer
Annual servicing cost: £250
Handling is light and solid, build quality is good but not honda good
Comfortable and good light handling
Enough power high mileage engine no issues
Oil and filter service, plus chain and sprockets
All anyone could need
Buying experience: Perfect good price for the package
Annual servicing cost: £200
Excellent tourer with the ability to move on when required. This is a quick bike and handles well when ridden in the limits of suspension and components. Remember this is not an all out sports bike but is a very capable all rounder with enough power to make things interesting and would recommend to a friend.
Excellent for two up with plenty of room. will pull from below 30 mph two up in top gear. Brakes fine ever two up and loaded. Ride is comfortable but seat can make you slide forwards but not a problem as this stops you sitting in one position on long journeys. Luggage comes off easy which makes the bike feel so different when needed. Can ride all day.
Pulls from low down, throttle take up is smooth and goes well when needed.
Excellent for pillion with plenty of load capacity. Comfortable to ride all day. Enough power and torque to make riding easy and 50 mpg at normal speeds and use.
Short service intervals
Has gear indicator, auxiliary power socket, lever adjusters, excellent mirrors and adjustable suspension. Fitted oxford heated grips- excellent. Bridgestone T31 GT tyres grip and wear are very good, warm up quick and good in wet.
Buying experience: Purchased from dealer new at list price 11250
Annual servicing cost: £150
Try one and buy one. It's wonderful. Kawasaki at its finest.
I own various bikes but this one is the best all-round. The only complaint that I have is that I find it uncomfortable after about 150kms. Just on my behind, my legs are fine. I'm 6ft 3". I bought this bike a year ago and it is a definite keeper. The fact that it is much cheaper and, in my opinion, much better than its competitors helps too. I normally ride about 400kms each time I go out. Living close to the mountains means great biking roads and this machine is a pleasure.
Silky smooth. All my mates have tried it and love this engine.
All is perfect so far.
Has everything that I need.
Buying experience: Bought from a dealer, second hand, in Madrid. I live in Northern Spain.
Annual servicing cost: £450
William from Norway misses the point. This is not a adventurebike like GS and AT. This is sport tourer with longstroke suspension. Something to compare is X1000XR, Multistrada 950/1200 and perhaps Caponord 1200. Maybe they are better at some point, maybe not. Versys is a very civilized, smooth ultra-comfortable travel companion for poorly maintained tarmac.
Kawasaki at their finest! Can not be much better than this!
Have you ever doupted Kawasaki build quality and finnish lately?
Everywhere in Europe and in the USA, this bike is affordable and exellent value for money. Fees and Taxes in Norway is something else. If import agency is a bit greedy as well, they have a serious problem.
Confidently free from all sorts of gizmos you never use anyway
Buying experience: Bought one in September 2016.
I'm suprised about the high scores this bike has received here. Similar bikes i can compare this to is the GS1200 and Africa twin. And compared to these two, this one really doesn't come close. The Versys 1000 is a top heavy and engine weak bike, add the high tax in Norway and this bike is not wort the money.
I felt that the bike was top heavy and had to soft suspension
The main reason for the low score is that taxes in Norway makes this bike twice as expensive.
very easy to ride handles much better thn previos fjr1300
Heat greaps and fog lamps switches look old school compared to BMW GS.
Buying experience: Just oversome bike. I had BMW GS
Best bike I've ever ridden. I've had loads of bikes and ridden a lot more. Tried all the competition and without doubt this is the best bike I've ever swung a leg over. The big V does the lot. Equally at home going to Tesco, blitzing down a Scottish back road, or sitting for hours on the motorway. If you're not used to this style of bike, can be a bit daunting at first, especially stuff like slow speed U-Turns on an incline. After a wee while it's a doddle, you'll never go back from the high perch. It's got road presence too, especially with the fog lights. Ergos are spot on, doesn't feel like a big bike. Falls beautifully into a corner. Changes direction quickly and you will wag the bars if you pin it and aren't smooth. Under all that easy going nature there's a bit of a nut case. It's well built, refined, and kick ass. I'm absolutely smitten. I've got the carbon grey (almost black) it's understated and kind of sinister looking.
Brakes aren't top shelf but perfectly good. Suspension needed a wee bit of tweaking, added rear rebound a couple of turns and backed off the preload on forks a bit. The ride is firm, but man does she handle the Scottish roads. All in complete comfort too. You can't beat long travel suspenders, or 17" rims with proper rubber.
Jekyll and Hyde. Pulls off the neat trick of being equally happy just pootling about without constantly egging you on to gun it. You can just pull out and sail past a line of traffic. Don't need to drop a gear, pulls right from the bottom. Then, makes an awesome noise past 6k and when that happens, oh boy does it shift! Spins up fast, really smooth too. Reminds me of my Blackbird. Light clutch pull. Nice gearbox, sits at 80 all day with plenty go available and low revs. TC is almost unnoticeable. Throttle's not snatchy. A peach.
Only done 5000m, Faultless. What were you expecting, problems?
I'm getting 50mpg average (UK)
I'm giving 4 stars here because the stock lights are good, but not on par with the best of them (my Tiger 800 had better). Also the stock screen got replaced for a National Cycle V-Stream (awesome, better than the Puig in my opinion). All the rest is great. There's space under the seat and the battery is right there. Stock fog lights (once the aim was adjusted up a bit) are awesome. The satnav is exactly where you want it (anywhere else and it's a waste of time). Accessory socket. Great luggage that's aerodynamic and doesn't stick out too far. Hand guards. Seat is sooo comfy.
Fast, reliable, capable and comfy for taller rider and going long distances with pillion.
It's quite a heavy bike its best giving solid stability whilst cornering rather than flicking through the twisties.Brakes are average. Suspension is perfectly fine but have had better, something to upgrade when worn out perhaps rather than change. Did a recent trip to Germany and was absolutley fine riding up to 200 miles between fill ups without needing to get off and stretch in between.
Love the sounds, a nice purposeful turbine like whine when cruising through town and then accelerates awsomely with a terrific kawasaki induction howl, tempting you to keep going much further up the rev range. Much smoother than a twin but not altogether vibe free (which is a good thing). Mirrors stay clear and no vibes through the hands. Two power modes, never felt the need to use the lower mode.
No problems whatsoever. Owner forums rarely speak of problems. a slight buzzing from something coming loose under a fairing is the worst problem I've seen, easily fixed and I will be ready for it IF it happens to me.
rear tyre lasted just 6000 miles but grip and confidence is amazing. Other servicing costs have been simple oil changes at reasonable cost.
The GT version comes with all you want bar heated grips. Gear indicator doesnt work when the clutch is in which defeats the point. But then this bike pulls strongly and smoothly at whatever revs in whatever gear so it's largely redundant anyway. A common upgrade is a better screen, I've changed mine and put an aftermarket exhaust on which saves some weight.
Buying experience: I paid full price from a dealer which is probably not the best way to buy any machine but I have no plans to change for a very long time, it ticks all my requirements.
Version: MK2 015 model
This is the second Versys 1000 that I have owned, and both have been faultless. With bomb proof Japanese reliability.
Can handle anything thrown at it. Perfect all rounder lacking nothing. Good for 3 hours before needing a leg stretch.
Superb engine.loads of grunt, is not fussed about what gear you are in, and will pull and pull when needed. This is truly the best engine ever in any of my bikes.
Superb build quality. No issues.
I do my own servicing, but will take to dealers when valve shims are due at 26,000.
I chose a tourer specification, including panniers but no top box as I used the box off my MK1 Versys.The T30 Bridgestones are fine.
Annual servicing cost: £350
Runs as if on rails - superb handling even with my 16 stone to cope with!
Built for comfort for both rider and pillion - still use my old Airhawk cushion to massage my lower regions. Can ride two hours easily then take a break and carry on.
It is a peach!!
Nothing so far except a mirror that would not stay put ---- all fixed now.
I have used my previous bikes all year round - so sometimes can be expensive on servicing. Not had the 2015 long enough to get picture of overall costs.
Got all the GT extras for the price of the standard model...have a good look round, some great deals out there.
Buying experience: Clay Cross Kawasaki - superb service from Dale.... see above for good deals.