KAWASAKI VERSYS 650 (2015 - 2021) Review
- Brilliant sports tourer
- Excellent build quality
- Comfy over long distances
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£170|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
Kawasaki’s third-generation Versys 650 has grown into a serious small-capacity sports tourer - brilliant at munching big miles for little money and still perfect for the less experienced and smaller riders.
- Latest review: 2022 Kawasaki Versys 650
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
With its new Showa forks and KYB rear shock (with remote preload adjuster) the supple ride quality belies the Kawasaki’s budget price tag and handling is soft, but agile and reassuring. New Dunlop D222 sports touring tyres (which are actually a cheaper, single-compound version of the French firm’s RoadSmart) offer decent grip, while uprated front brake pads, ABS and a 30mm larger diameter rear brake disc give you more confidence on the brakes.
The improvement in rear power will be a blessing when carrying a pillion. The Versys 650 is comfy on the long haul and the new taller, manually-adjustable screen and wide tank protect your head, shoulders and knees from high speed windblast. A new 21-litre tank is two-litres bigger than before and if the on-board computer is to be believed, the motor is nice and frugal, returning 56mpg.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The 649cc parallel twin-cylinder engine has an extra 5bhp and 2ftlb of torque (200rpm further up the revs). It’s still packed with lots of low-down and midrange grunt, but really you’d be hard pushed to notice the extra oomph over the old model in isolation.
In fact it feels a little less spritely, due its heavier new wheels, fairing and sturdier subframe (to take the new accessory pannier and top box fitting system), which adds a hefty 8kg to the Kawasaki’s all-up weight. But you do notice the lack of vibes from the motor. They used to run through you like an electric shock and blur the mirrors on the old models, especially the ’06 original, but not now, thanks to the new front rubber engine mounts.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
It’s a well-finished machine and there are no clues to its budget price tag. Nice touches include the petal brake discs, ‘banana’ swingarm, remote preload adjuster, adjustable screen and ABS.
Our Kawasaki Versys 650 owners' reviews are glowing for the most part. One owner had an ECU replaced under warranty, but that appears to be an isolate incident.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
The Versys 650 is now better value than ever. It’s more versatile and can be used for everything from popping to the shops to travelling across Europe.
Standard equipment is sparse, but there’s a wide range of accessories available. In the UK there’s also a ‘Tourer’ version, with panniers (and liners) and handguards and a ‘Grand Tourer’ with panniers, liners, a top box, hand guards, fog lamps, gear position indicator and a12v power outlet.
|Engine type||8v, parallel twin|
|Frame type||Steel diamond frame|
|Fuel capacity||21 litres|
|Front suspension||41mm USD forks with adjustable preload and rebound damping|
|Rear suspension||Single rear shock with adjustable preload|
|Front brake||2 x 300mm discs with twin-piston calipers.|
|Rear brake||250mm single disc with single-piston caliper.|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||160/60 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||56 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£101|
|Annual service cost||£170|
|Used price||£3,900 - £9,000|
9 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||68 bhp|
|Max torque||92 ft-lb|
|Top speed||130 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||258 miles|
Model history & versions
- 2006: ER-6-based Versys 650 launched
- 2010: Refreshed model with revised looks and reduced engine vibes
- 2021: Bike goes off sale, replaced by new model for 2022.
Owners' reviews for the KAWASAKI VERSYS 650 (2015 - 2021)
17 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI VERSYS 650 (2015 - 2021) 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:||£170|
Annual servicing cost: £250
Very comfortable and great for long distance rides but feels a little top heavy at slower speeds
All fine but would not want to ride it anywhere other than proper roads
Fine for what I use it for. Could do with a little more power when two up
Never let me down, starts first time every time and after six years of being kept outdoors all year hardly a spot of rust
Fairly expensive to service for a relatively simple bike. I am not a fast rider and am a little disappointed with the fuel economy at around 50 mpg
Luggage is great and easy to remove. When removed it is nice not to have pannier frames
Buying experience: Bought from a dealer on normal hp, only issue was how long after ordering i had to wait for delivery.
Version: grand tourer
Annual servicing cost: £150
useful to carry extra items in the luggage. ride position is comfortable for long journeys. bike is brisk enough for the style of bike it is. would recommend.
as it is a venture style bike it would be drastically improved by having centre stand as that would make mounting the bike easier with all the luggage on it
First of all, I am not a native speaker, so my English is not that good. My apologies for that. The Versys 650 is a fun bike for the 'real world'. On the twisty roads it handles very well. The bike gives you a lot of confidence.
The ride quality is great. The wind protection is fine. The bike handles superbly.
The engine is reliable. It is quick enough, but don't expect a super bike. In my opinion the bike could use a bit more horsepower. On the other hand, above 7000 rpm the bike has a lot of torque.
So far I had no problems with the bike.
Fuel consumption is great.
I replaced the Dunlop Sportmax d222 tyres almost inmediately. I did not like them at all. I replaced them with the Metzelder roadtec 01 se, which is a big improvement. Furthermore I installed heated grips, an Osco oiler and a SW Moto tech GPS holder. Simple and cheap adjustments, which result in a more comfortable bike. The motorcycle seat is a little bit on the soft side, but is still ok.
Version: Grand tourer
Great engine in mid revs, cheap to run, light handing but feels secured to road
Breaks good, holds the road very nicely on standard tyres
get it to 3000 revs and the engine is great, lacks a bit of low end torgue but that's not what it's about. Economical.
Only had 6 months but ridden all winter and no issues so far.
I have full tourer kit (got as a free extra end of season), top box holds full helmet. I added hand warmers too for winter commuting
Buying experience: GT Superbikes South Wales, excellent.
Annual servicing cost: £100
Best , Handling,Fuel economy,Reliable,Weight, Basic controls, Finish, Looks. Worst , On/off Throttle, Awful engine braking.
Best all of the time, excellent all round bike . Minimum 3hours riding.
On/off throttle, engine braking. Both terrible.
No problems so far with correct maintenance.
Gear selection indicator.
Buying experience: Private, £3995 paid £3995
Fabulous all rounder definitely would recommend to a friend
Buying experience: Payed £6800 2 years ago from a dealer
Version: Sports tourer
Annual servicing cost: £200
Best, riding position, brakes, handling,equipment, mpg , smoothness. Worst, fierce engine braking, twitchy throttle, noisy gearbox.
Best all the time, exceptional brakes . Must be one of the best all round bikes .
Throttle very twitchy in 1st and 2nd gear but the rest excellent.
Good build quality, no problems , excellent finish.
Chain lube, oil and filter.
Favourite thing is the riding position.
Buying experience: Private buy, £3995 paid £3995
Excellent bike, enough power, lightweight, smooth, cheap to own, good on fuel , tyres and oil , easy to maintain by owner.
Build quality is good.
Lightweight bike to ride. Larger screen required.
Buying experience: Private buy , advertised £3995 paid £3995
Used for everything. I have toured as well as commuting. Really comfortable, carries all my kit and large fuel tank.
Can’t fault. I can ride 300 miles and go for another 3 ! No pillion ever carried, gets in the way of my luggage.
Engine is more than capable however you need to be around 3000rpm for lower speeds and not much after 7000 rpm going on. Very smooth for a twin extra 10 horses would make this perfect.
No problems at all.
This also includes MOT.
Panniers are good, great system. Tyres, Bridgestone’s work well.
Buying experience: From new, dealer. Easy to do however no wriggle room on list price.
Best:- excellent on fuel, good looking, versatile, comfortable, simple, no high tech. Worst:- bad gearbox, coolant level difficult to check. Would recommend to a friend.
Bike is good anytime, excellent all round bike, 3 hours between breaks.
Good in any gear, power delivery not smooth, power is on or off very erratic on the move.
Excellent Turn signal switch, best feature. ( Ex BMW rider) Recommend gear indicator selector .
Buying experience: Private buy, paid advertised price £3995
Failed ECU which dealer hasn’t fixed under warranty after 2weeks
Buying experience: Dealer
standard tyres don't give much confidence although adequate they lack feedback
i have fitted a comfort gel seat so all day riding no problem
overall finish is very good
standard luggage is the big bonus ideal for european touring
Version: grand tourer
great all rounder,dosen't excell at anything but does everything really well,luggage is brilliant so it makes intercontinental touring easy and 200 mile + fuel fill ups means you can cover a lot distance
tear shock not the best but sufficient
plenty of poke for motorways and good low end torq for a 650
Buying experience: dealer, got the fully loaded version for the price of entry model
Annual servicing cost: £95
Very comfortable, light but with big bike feel. Engine is a real gem with plenty of pulling power at just the right spot. Is exactly as the name says, versatile jack of all trades.....commutes, tours and fun on the back lanes.
Very comfortable and stable under harsh braking. Instills confidence. Main use is for 40 minute commute and now seat is broken in there are no issues with numb rear.
No issues with build quality. After a winter of riding, everything still shines up like new.
So far only 600 mile and annual service which were cheap enough
Fog lights are excellent and greatly improve your visibility to other drivers. Luggage set is perfect for commute or for weekend getaway. Panniers easy to mount in seconds.
Annual servicing cost: £250
Good bike for short distances, not so on long distance. Should have purchased the 1000!
Suspension a bit on the soft side, good on Motorways poor feel on choppy A roads
Slightly underpowered in the full GT model
Buying experience: Excellent dealer service
This bike is fantastic. I owned the previous model as well but this one is even better - no engine vibes, fab styling and brakes much improved. Build quality is great. I use it mainly as a commuter, but with the luggage on it's good for a weekend away. I've just traded down from a 1000cc bike but to be honest for the extra cost, the difference in power wasn't worth it - this little 650 has some serious poke. It's just an awesome all rounder and I wonder if I'll ever need another bike. If you need practicality AND a bit of fun this is the bike to buy. I splashed out on the GT - the luggage alone is worth a wad and the riding lights give extra confidence in the dark. Love it.
Great for round town, open her up and it turns into a different bike. 650cc?
The GT pack was a bit of an extravagance at the time but it's really proved its worth. I need to carry stuff and the luggage is good quality and very practical. Love the riding lights. I've added a rad guard and hugger, as the rear did get splashed up quite a bit.
Annual servicing cost: £120
The best feature of the bike it's is built quality and the comfort ride that provides.All that of course if you ride it under 4,000-5,000 rpm because if you decide to go over 5,000rpm then Mister hyde comes to life and the bike transforms to a sports bike (more than a tourer)! the worst bit is located to the front suspension where you have to experiment a little, in order for the bike to become more communicative with your handling.As a result of all that and more, i believe that the bike has an important feature that not many bikes have..SOUL.
In this bike you never know exactly how many cards it has on it's sleeves (in this case in her engine). it has the power delivery of a smooth tourer in the range of 3000- 5000rpm but when you turn your right wrist a little bit harder you'll find it has twice the power it had before..!
Nothing faulty to report whatsoever. The build quality is excellent.