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

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