Long term update: End of the winding road

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After nigh-on a year and more than 13,000 miles, it’s time to say goodbye to the Versys. I’d like to tell you it’s been emotional, but it hasn’t and that’s because it’s been the most competent, hassle-free, easy-to-use bike I’ve ever done such big miles on. No, it’s not the fastest or most exciting – but I’ve grown to like it, and more significantly I depend 100% on its no-fuss approach to motorcycling. Versys life in numbers…  

120 (bhp)

It may not sound a lot, especially on a bike that weighs 250kg, but I haven’t found the motor wanting. Kawasaki have a well-deserved reputation for building strong engines and the proven inline four-cylinder 1043cc Versys motor is no exception. Due to good fuelling and what feels like low gearing, it’s responsive throughout the range and pulls with satisfying urgency at anything over 6500rpm. While there isn’t a glut of power it’s easy to access every bit of bhp it has, which makes it brisk and useable.

51 (average mpg)

My commute is a round trip of just under 140 miles, most of it on fast dual carriageway or motorway. On average my cruising speed hovers around an indicated 85mph, yet the Versys has delivered a more-than-acceptable mpg of just over 50mpg.

13,125 (miles ridden)

When the average annual mileage for a UK biker is under 3000, completing over 13,000 in less than 12 months equals four-plus years of biking in one hit. During this time it’s had no problems, no breakdowns and no drama. The only niggle was when the neutral light started staying on, but the problem which arrived without warning has disappeared just as fast.

0 (a year of zero-ego biking)

I’ve enjoyed the Versys’ functionality and anonymity. It’s capable of being ridden fast, but I don’t feel compelled to do so. It’s also not trying to be a BMW GS clone, so even when loaded up with kit it doesn’t give the impression that you’ve just left your family and are about to start an epic round-the-world adventure!

18 or 66 (miles to empty)

My biggest gripe is the fact the fuel gauge and miles-to-empty tripmeter don’t tally. I’ve had three bars showing on the gauge with the miles-to-empty reading 28, yet on another day three bars on the gauge will give a range of 120. While I’ve never actually run out, I’ve had a few twitchy moments.

1 to 6 (which gear?)

About the only thing missing is a gear indicator. While in reality it’s no big deal, in my opinion it’s the type of bike that should have one and it’s a bike where owners would expect one.

9749 (price in £)

Just shy of £10k is a lot of money but on balance I think it’s a fair price, and represents good value for money, largely down to its complete competence as a do-it-all motorcycle. It has good presence, it’s very comfortable, has a balanced chassis, more-than-adequate brakes and a lively and surprisingly fast motor. I’m going to miss it!

Michael Guy

By Michael Guy

Sports Editor, former 250-racer and adventure rider