Riding my Kawasaki Versys 650
First of all, why did I buy this motorbike? Well, its is a bit a choice made out lack of competition. Imported motorbikes are due to very high import-tax very expensive. Look to the prices of BMW, Triumph or KTM. They are all too expensive for me so that leaves me with a few less options. There are also grey imported motorbikes but this is all a big pain in the ass with the all paperwork and legalization of the bike. I learned the hard way that it is not worth the trouble and money. So that leaves me again with a few less options. I do not like racing bikes or choppers, so again that leaves me with a few less options.
What is price-wise and legal-wise a good option are the Kawasaki ER6N and Kawasaki Versys. Both are almost the same, with almost the same 650cc 2-cylinder engine. But the Versys is more a tour motorbike with straight-up seating position. The ER6N is more a racing bike and the engine is tuned for high RPM. And since they started to make the Versys in Thailand (and because of that the price became better) my choice was easy. The Kawasaki Versys 650. But like I said it is a choice made out of lack of good competition, not for the good design or good quality. Just for the function and price. If it was not for the price it would have been a BMW or KTM I think.
I did ride now more as 5000 km and the bike has handled very well. I also ride sometimes on roads with gravel and sand. Well actually not real roads. But apart from the tires the bike handles very well. And on the highway there is enough power to overtake cars and stupid kids on their Honda Wave's. Sometimes power & speed can save your life!
All together I did ride 3 years with this bike and almost 40.000 km in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. And except for the high weight-center I have been very happy with this bike.
The good points:
* Straight-up riding position
* Big gasoline tank (bigger as the tank of the ER6N)
* A little bit dual-purpose bike (that is why the name is Versys)
* Much cheaper as a BMW like-wise bike
* Acceleration at lower RPM's
* ABS (but you can not switch it off)
* Comes with all the legal papers & license plate
The not so good points;
* The bike is actually too high for my short legs (the ER6N is lower)
* Simple dash-board, no 12v outlet, no gear indication. But well it is not a BMW.
* Less quality as a BMW like-wise bike
* A bit lousy horn, you really need to be heard here in Thailand.
* Not really green on the gasoline with 1 liter for 22 km
* The stock Dunlop tires are not really good tires for Thai roads
The real bad thing:
* Kawasaki Thailand is selling the Versys in Thailand with a very bad quality D.I.D. 520 VP2 chain. Replace this chain with a good chain, like the EK 520 Gold chain!