Kawasaki Versys 1000 delivers more for your money

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So does a four-cylinder adventure bike make any sense? On the strength of our world first ride of Kawasaki’s pioneering, Z1000-based Versys 1000, the answer is ‘Yes’… and ‘No’…

The Versys 1000 has a superbly smooth and tractable engine, class-leading traction control, all-day comfort, and is the cheapest bike in its class. But its looks are controversial and I was never confident in the front-end when pushing on.

Not only is the new Versys 1000 the world’s first four-cylinder adventure machine, it’s also one that Kawasaki freely admits has no real off-road ability. And that makes it pretty odd from the outset.

Instead it’s intended more as an ‘alternative touring bike’, which Kawasaki reckons, is the use of most adventure bikes after all. In that context, the new Versys, with its smooth, grunty motor, bags of comfort and reasonable price, may well be onto something.

Mechanically, Kawasaki has started with an excellent base, the Z1000/SX, which was one of the highlights of last year, while also drawing on some of the technology from other models. The Versys’ three-stage traction control, for example, is a combination of the systems from the GTR1400 and the ZX-10R.

Read the full review of our world first ride in this week’s MCN (7 December), on sale now.

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