KAWASAKI VERSYS 650 (2015 - 2021) Review

Highlights

  • Brilliant sports tourer
  • Excellent build quality
  • Comfy over long distances

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Annual servicing cost: £170
Power: 68 bhp
Seat height: Medium (33.1 in / 840 mm)
Weight: Medium (472 lbs / 214 kg)

Prices

New N/A
Used £3,900 - £9,000

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

Ride quality & brakes

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

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.

Neevesy cornering quickly on the Kawasaki Versys 650

Engine

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

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.

This side-on shot shows the Kawasaki Versys 650 engine

Reliability & build quality

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

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.

Kawasaki Versys 650 ridden on the road

Value vs rivals

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

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.

Competition comes in the form of the Suzuki V-Strom 650, Triumph's Tiger Sport 660 and the Yamaha Tracer 7.

Kawasaki Versys 650 is a great value bike

Equipment

3 out of 5 (3/5)

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.

Kawasaki Versys 650 in black

Specs

Engine size 649cc
Engine type 8v, parallel twin
Frame type Steel diamond frame
Fuel capacity 21 litres
Seat height 840mm
Bike weight 214kg
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
New price -
Used price £3,900 - £9,000
Insurance group 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

Model history

  • 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.

Other versions

None.

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.

Review your KAWASAKI VERSYS 650 (2015 - 2021)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Engine: 4.1 out of 5 (4.1/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Equipment: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £170
4 out of 5
09 May 2022 by Steve H

Version: GT

Year: 2016

Annual servicing cost: £250

Very comfortable and great for long distance rides but feels a little top heavy at slower speeds

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

All fine but would not want to ride it anywhere other than proper roads

Engine 4 out of 5

Fine for what I use it for. Could do with a little more power when two up

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Never let me down, starts first time every time and after six years of being kept outdoors all year hardly a spot of rust

Value vs rivals 3 out of 5

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

Equipment 5 out of 5

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.

4 out of 5
03 May 2022 by ferbie

Version: grand tourer

Year: 2019

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.

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

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

5 out of 5
27 April 2022 by mrBakerfield83

Year: 2019

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.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

The ride quality is great. The wind protection is fine. The bike handles superbly.

Engine 4 out of 5

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.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

So far I had no problems with the bike.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Fuel consumption is great.

Equipment 4 out of 5

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.

5 out of 5
10 January 2022 by Damo

Version: Grand tourer

Year: 2021

Great engine in mid revs, cheap to run, light handing but feels secured to road

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Breaks good, holds the road very nicely on standard tyres

Engine 5 out of 5

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.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Only had 6 months but ridden all winter and no issues so far.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

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.

4 out of 5 Geoff KLE650
03 December 2021 by Geoff

Year: 2015

Annual servicing cost: £100

Best , Handling,Fuel economy,Reliable,Weight, Basic controls, Finish, Looks. Worst , On/off Throttle, Awful engine braking.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Best all of the time, excellent all round bike . Minimum 3hours riding.

Engine 2 out of 5

On/off throttle, engine braking. Both terrible.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

No problems so far with correct maintenance.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Owner maintained.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Gear selection indicator.

Buying experience: Private, £3995 paid £3995

5 out of 5
18 October 2021 by Les stitt

Version: Gt

Year: 2019

Fabulous all rounder definitely would recommend to a friend

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 5 out of 5

Buying experience: Payed £6800 2 years ago from a dealer

4 out of 5 All rounder
01 October 2021 by Geoff

Version: Sports tourer

Year: 2015

Annual servicing cost: £200

Best, riding position, brakes, handling,equipment, mpg , smoothness. Worst, fierce engine braking, twitchy throttle, noisy gearbox.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Best all the time, exceptional brakes . Must be one of the best all round bikes .

Engine 3 out of 5

Throttle very twitchy in 1st and 2nd gear but the rest excellent.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Good build quality, no problems , excellent finish.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Chain lube, oil and filter.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Favourite thing is the riding position.

Buying experience: Private buy, £3995 paid £3995

5 out of 5 You get what you pay for.
10 July 2021 by Geoff

Version: KLE650FFF

Year: 2015

Excellent bike, enough power, lightweight, smooth, cheap to own, good on fuel , tyres and oil , easy to maintain by owner.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

3hours

Engine 5 out of 5

Smooth ride

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Build quality is good.

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

Lightweight bike to ride. Larger screen required.

Buying experience: Private buy , advertised £3995 paid £3995

5 out of 5 The arounder
18 June 2021 by Keep it Upright.

Version: Tourer

Year: 2015

Used for everything. I have toured as well as commuting. Really comfortable, carries all my kit and large fuel tank.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

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 4 out of 5

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.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

No problems at all.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

This also includes MOT.

Equipment 5 out of 5

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.

4 out of 5 Older rides bike
14 May 2021 by Geoff Ellson

Version: KLE

Year: 2015

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.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Bike is good anytime, excellent all round bike, 3 hours between breaks.

Engine 4 out of 5

Good in any gear, power delivery not smooth, power is on or off very erratic on the move.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Totally reliable.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Owner servicing.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Excellent Turn signal switch, best feature. ( Ex BMW rider) Recommend gear indicator selector .

Buying experience: Private buy, paid advertised price £3995

3 out of 5 Wouldn’t buy another
05 March 2021 by Ken

Year: 2019

Failed ECU which dealer hasn’t fixed under warranty after 2weeks

Ride quality & brakes 2 out of 5
Engine 2 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 2 out of 5
Value vs rivals 2 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5

Buying experience: Dealer

4 out of 5 perfect tourer,economical on fuel and very easy to ride
15 January 2021 by Ian Aldridge

Year: 2019

standard tyres don't give much confidence although adequate they lack feedback

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

i have fitted a comfort gel seat so all day riding no problem

Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

overall finish is very good

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

standard luggage is the big bonus ideal for european touring

5 out of 5 650 versys tourer
17 October 2020 by Apehanger

Version: grand tourer

Year: 2019

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

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

tear shock not the best but sufficient

Engine 5 out of 5

plenty of poke for motorways and good low end torq for a 650

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

Buying experience: dealer, got the fully loaded version for the price of entry model

5 out of 5 Underrated all rounder.
04 September 2020 by Andy P

Version: GT

Year: 2019

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.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

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.

Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

No issues with build quality. After a winter of riding, everything still shines up like new.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

So far only 600 mile and annual service which were cheap enough

Equipment 5 out of 5

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.

3 out of 5 Good bike but underpowered
18 April 2020 by DM

Version: GT

Year: 2017

Annual servicing cost: £250

Good bike for short distances, not so on long distance. Should have purchased the 1000!

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

Suspension a bit on the soft side, good on Motorways poor feel on choppy A roads

Engine 3 out of 5

Slightly underpowered in the full GT model

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

Buying experience: Excellent dealer service

5 out of 5 Versys 650 - does it all
08 April 2016 by cj

Version: GT

Year: 2015

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.

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

Great for round town, open her up and it turns into a different bike. 650cc?

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

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.

4 out of 5 A europe bike from japan
16 September 2015 by nickolas

Version: ABS

Year: 2015

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.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5

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..!

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Nothing faulty to report whatsoever. The build quality is excellent.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
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