Kawasaki’s popular Versys 1000 range gets total makeover for 2021

2021 Kawasaki Versys 1000S with pillion
2021 Kawasaki Versys 1000S with pillion

Kawasaki has raised the bar with its hugely popular Versys 1000 line-up for 2021.

The ambitious overhaul sees the standard Versys replaced by a much higher-spec-as-standard S version while the SE (pictured below) boasts cutting edge Showa Skyhook suspension.

2021 Kawasaki Versys 1000SE

The clever semi-active suspension set-up uses a new set of electronics to give a smoother ride as it constantly tweaks damping settings on the fly. The term ‘Skyhook’ refers to the algorithms used in the semi-active suspension.

It’s based on the idea of measuring the bike’s movement in relation to an imaginary floating reference point in the sky. Where semi-active suspension normally measures suspension movement using a stroke-sensor, Skyhook monitors vertical movements of the bike using on-board accelerometers to constantly estimate its position in relation to the imaginary ‘Skyhook’, changing the set-up as it goes to mitigate the effect of road surface changes and to compensate for pitching motion under acceleration or braking.

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It certainly ups the ante in the adventure tourer class for next year and at £14,899; it’s only £200 more than the outgoing model.

The base-model Versys 1000 has always offered solid performance and comfort at a very competitive price; the 2020 model was a tempting £11,300. But for 2021, the S (pictured below) gets a load of extra bling as standard, but that comes at a fairly hefty cost : £12,999!

Kawasaki Versys 1000S

The extra £1700 gets you a quickshifter, an eye-popping and info-packed TFT dash, taller screen, cornering lights, a larger screen, heated grips, hand guards and improved riding modes.

The S also now gets special self-healing paint, which Kawasaki says uses clever tech to make light scuffs simply disappear.

The motor remains the same dependable 1043cc 16-valve inline four with 118bhp on tap and the chassis also remains unchanged.

Both the S and SE are available in Tourer and Grand Tourer spec. The Tourer includes 56-litre panniers added while the GT version adds a 47-litre topbox, fog lights, GPS bracket and frame sliders.

These additions push the price up with the S Tourer costing £13,799 and S GT £14,699. Turning the SE into a Tourer or Grand Tourer gets even more wallet-wilting; £15,699 and £16,599 respectively.

The Versys 1000 S arrives in UK dealers in December and the SE will hit UK dealers next May.

Kawasaki Versys 1000SE app

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Andy Calton

By Andy Calton

Content director, motorcycling, and Suzuki Katana rider