Long term update: Versys versus Versys

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The 2015 Versys 1000 has been receiving rave reviews since its launch at the end of last year and in 6000 miles I’ve been seriously impressed. The previous 1000 never managed to generate the same love. The single overwhelming factor for this was the styling which to put it politely, split opinion. The old bike’s industrial-looking design has now gone, replaced with a much slicker, sportier fairing.

But while the styling is radically different, I was staggered by how similar the two bikes are to ride. First of all, sat on the bike the cockpit view and switchgear is identical apart from a slight type change on the rev counter.

Swapping from bike to bike you notice a minimal difference in the riding position. On the old bike the rider is sat slightly more on top rather than the in-it position of the softer-seated new bike. The handlebar position is also slightly different. On the old bike the angle of the bars feels straighter, giving a more off-road/adventure feel.

Engine-wise they were again hard to split despite the new bike gaining an extra 2bhp. My bike felt freer but I think this is down to the fact that it’s covered over 6000 miles compared to the old model we tested, which had less than 500 miles showing on the digital display.

On the chassis and suspension front, the new bike won out largely due to the fresh Pirelli Angel GT tyres fitted. In contrast the old Versys was fitted with a pair of Pirelli Scorpion Trail which were barely scrubbed in. The new bike also feels slightly plusher, which is a combination of more compliant tyres and the softer seat.

So the question of which one is best is easily answered by the fact that once on the move they are virtually identical. If you’re not offended by the challenging looks of the old bike then there are great deals to be had.

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Michael Guy

By Michael Guy

Sports Editor, former 250-racer and adventure rider