KAWASAKI VERSYS 1000 (2015 - 2018) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Annual servicing cost: £290
Power: 118 bhp
Seat height: Medium (33.1 in / 840 mm)
Weight: High (551 lbs / 250 kg)

Prices

New N/A
Used £6,500 - £10,500

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
5 out of 5 (5/5)

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.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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. 

Engine

Next up: Reliability
5 out of 5 (5/5)

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 quality

Next up: Value
5 out of 5 (5/5)

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 rivals

Next up: Equipment
5 out of 5 (5/5)

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.

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

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. 

Specs

Engine size 1043cc
Engine type 16v, inline four
Frame type Twin tube aluminium frame
Fuel capacity 21 litres
Seat height 840mm
Bike weight 250kg
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 £93
Annual service cost £290
New price -
Used price £6,500 - £10,500
Insurance group 11 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term -

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

Model history

2012: Versys 1000 launched 

Other versions

None

MCN Long term test reports

MCN Fleet: Waving goodbye to Kawasaki’s Green Giant

MCN Fleet: Waving goodbye to Kawasaki’s Green Giant

'Christ this thing’s big… I’m not sure what I’ve got myself in for here,' is what I told myself as I wobbled out of the MCN carpark for the first-time aboard Kawasaki’s Versys 1000 SE almost a year ago today.  A 1043cc inline-four-cylinder sports adventure bike weighing in at 257kg and shod wit

Read the latest report

Owners' reviews for the KAWASAKI VERSYS 1000 (2015 - 2018)

10 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.

Review your KAWASAKI VERSYS 1000 (2015 - 2018)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Engine: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Equipment: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Annual servicing cost: £290
4 out of 5 Excellent adventure style sport tourer
10 April 2020 by Peter Candler

Version: GT

Year: 2016

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.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

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.

Engine 5 out of 5

Pulls from low down, throttle take up is smooth and goes well when needed.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

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.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Short service intervals

Equipment 4 out of 5

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

5 out of 5 Kawasaki Versys 1000 review
15 March 2019 by Gijon rider

Year: 2017

Annual servicing cost: £150

Try one and buy one. It's wonderful. Kawasaki at its finest.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

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.

Engine 5 out of 5

Silky smooth. All my mates have tried it and love this engine.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

All is perfect so far.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

Has everything that I need.

Buying experience: Bought from a dealer, second hand, in Madrid. I live in Northern Spain.

5 out of 5 Take it for what it is!
13 March 2018 by Dynaco

Version: KLZ1000B

Year: 2016

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.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5

Kawasaki at their finest! Can not be much better than this!

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Have you ever doupted Kawasaki build quality and finnish lately?

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

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.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Confidently free from all sorts of gizmos you never use anyway

Buying experience: Bought one in September 2016.

3 out of 5 The high score suprises me
13 March 2018 by William

Year: 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.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

I felt that the bike was top heavy and had to soft suspension

Engine 3 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5
Value vs rivals 1 out of 5

The main reason for the low score is that taxes in Norway makes this bike twice as expensive.

Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5
06 August 2017 by George

Version: gt

Year: 2017

very easy to ride handles much better thn previos fjr1300

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 Oversome bike.
02 December 2016 by Ex_BMW_lover

Version: 2016

Year: 2016

Oversome bike

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

Heat greaps and fog lamps switches look old school compared to BMW GS.

Buying experience: Just oversome bike. I had BMW GS

5 out of 5 Awesome
01 November 2016 by Nigel

Version: GT

Year: 2016

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.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

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.

Engine 5 out of 5

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.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Only done 5000m, Faultless. What were you expecting, problems?

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

I'm getting 50mpg average (UK)

Equipment 4 out of 5

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.

5 out of 5 A rocket ship for two
16 October 2016 by Mr S

Version: GT

Year: 2015

Fast, reliable, capable and comfy for taller rider and going long distances with pillion.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

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.

Engine 5 out of 5

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.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

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.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

rear tyre lasted just 6000 miles but grip and confidence is amazing. Other servicing costs have been simple oil changes at reasonable cost.

Equipment 4 out of 5

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.

5 out of 5 Great real world, value for money bike.
09 March 2016 by Geoff

Version: MK2 015 model

Year: 2015

This is the second Versys 1000 that I have owned, and both have been faultless. With bomb proof Japanese reliability.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Can handle anything thrown at it. Perfect all rounder lacking nothing. Good for 3 hours before needing a leg stretch.

Engine 5 out of 5

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.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Superb build quality. No issues.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

I do my own servicing, but will take to dealers when valve shims are due at 26,000.

Equipment 5 out of 5

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.

5 out of 5 SX to EXcellent
04 December 2015 by Sordino

Version: GT

Year: 2015

Annual servicing cost: £350

Runs as if on rails - superb handling even with my 16 stone to cope with!

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

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.

Engine 5 out of 5

It is a peach!!

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Nothing so far except a mirror that would not stay put ---- all fixed now.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

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.

Equipment 5 out of 5

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.

Back to top