Long term update: 10,000 miles and counting

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You learn a lot about a bike riding it through winter. Cold, wet rides give you plenty of chance to get serious about your evaluation of a bike. In the  summer months rides go past in a blur of enjoyment, life is good and as result any analysis is far less critical.

But in the winter the miles tick past slowly, you become acutely aware of factors effecting your confidence, comfort and general mindset. Now 10,319 miles in and I’ve had plenty of time to evaluate the nitty gritty of life with the big Versys. While I’ve been fortunate to run faster and more exotic long term test bikes during my 13 years at MCN, the Versys has shown me the joys of having a completely competent all-round motorcycle. As a bike it doesn’t pigeon hole you in anyway. It’s a not a sports bike, commuter, adventure bike or tourer, yet it remains capable of filling the criteria of them all… to a point.

As a commuter and tourer it puts a big tick in permanent pen in those boxes thanks to its slow speed manoeuvrability and long distance comfort. As a sports bike it obviously can’t cut it with an ZX-10R on track but on a typically bumpy, poorly-surfaced British B-road it would happily hold its own thanks to its strong motor, useable power and solid handling. As an Adventure bike, I wouldn’t fancy taking it off-road on anything other than a smooth fire track, but not many GS’s ever see serious off road – so that’s another tick in that box.

As far as niggles, I only have two. The first is the wind noise I get no matter where I put the adjustable Powerbronze screen. From a buffeting point of view it performs well, but the level of wind noise is high. I’m coming round to thinking it’s purely down to the combination of my height, helmet and screen angle – so I’m planning to try a different helmet. My only other issue is the fuel gauge and miles-to-empty readout. They don’t concur making the moment I hit reserve and the fuel display begin to flash a bit of a lottery!

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Michael Guy

By Michael Guy

Sports Editor, former 250-racer and adventure rider