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Old 03-18-2012, 05:27 PM   #21
Streeter
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Default Versys for a Mexican pavement trip?

I'm thinking of buying a Versys for a trip to Mexico on mostly paved roads. I ride my KLR and DRZ on the rough dirt roads there. Even the paved roads are sometimes rough and potholed, and the speed bumps (topes) are high and sharp. I'm afraid my ZRX would get hung up on the speed bumps. Is there some kind of skid plate available for the Versys? What kind of ground clearance does a Vesys have? What kind of pavement oriented dual sport tires are recommended?

I have heard that the older Versys have vibration issues. How bad is it compared to a KLR? Has this issue been addressed on the new 2012 models?

I could just put some more street oriented tires on my KLR and ride it, but it sure would be nice to have more power, especially when we're riding at 6 to 7000 feet altitude.

Thanks!
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Old 03-19-2012, 04:35 PM   #22
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Default Re: Versys for a Mexican pavement trip?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Streeter View Post
I'm thinking of buying a Versys for a trip to Mexico on mostly paved roads. I ride my KLR and DRZ on the rough dirt roads there. Even the paved roads are sometimes rough and potholed, and the speed bumps (topes) are high and sharp. I'm afraid my ZRX would get hung up on the speed bumps. Is there some kind of skid plate available for the Versys? What kind of ground clearance does a Vesys have? What kind of pavement oriented dual sport tires are recommended?

I have heard that the older Versys have vibration issues. How bad is it compared to a KLR? Has this issue been addressed on the new 2012 models?

I could just put some more street oriented tires on my KLR and ride it, but it sure would be nice to have more power, especially when we're riding at 6 to 7000 feet altitude.

Thanks!
Let's see here...

1) Is there a skid plate available for the Versys?
No. There is a guard from SW-Motech (link) and some other ones available from members on the kawasakiversys.com forum, but none of these should be considered a skid plate in the true sense of the word. While they protect the cases from debris thrown up from the front wheel, I would not expect any of them to protect the cases from the same impacts that a skid plate on a true dual sport machine would.

2) How much clearance is there?
I'll hopefully have my '08 out of the shed sometime this week. When I do, I'll measure it. It's not as much as the KLR, though.

3) What kind of dual sport tires are recommended?
If you stick with the stock sizes, I believe you can get Pirelli MT-60s, Avon Distanzias, and Pirelli Scorpion Trails, all of which are pavement-oriented. I've heard good things about the Distanzias and MT60s. However, they tend to have shorter mileage as the ones in the stock sizes for the Versys use a supermoto compound which is softer. The Scorpion Trails are newer, so I haven't heard as much about them. Early reports are good, but they are definitely pavement oriented.

Others have run more aggressive tires such as TKC-80s and Heidenau K60's, but that requires using non-stock sizing, possibly running a "rear" tire on the front, and raising the front fender.

Note: some people have tried using Shinko E705's with the Versys, and have had blocks come off. While they worked fine on my KLR, I wouldn't recommend that tire for the Versys.

4) Vibration?
There is some vibration on the pre-2010's, but nothing I would write home about. The 2010+ have the rubber mounting for the engine, but I haven't ridden one, so I can't say one way or another if it's an improvement or not.

Cheers,
Dave C
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Old 03-20-2012, 02:24 PM   #23
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Default Re: KLR 650 vs Versys

Thanks, Dave, I appreciate your comments.

Paul Streeter
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Old 03-23-2012, 08:38 AM   #24
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Default Re: KLR 650 vs Versys

I own both A KLR and Versys. If I was going on a long trip that was paved or packed dirt/gravel hand down the Versys is what I would take. Anything more off-road the KLR gets it. Trying to compare these two bikes is like Apple and Oranges...

The Versys Parallel Twin is a much smoother engine and delivers more power than the KLRs thumper. The ride is better the handling is better the brakes are far better ( and many consider the Versys brakes weak) The KLR is far better suited to off-road...larger front wheel, Longer Suspension travel, high fender etc....

So one is not better than the other just better suited for different tasks.

I been swapping back and forth on commutes and I have to say for commuting the Versys wins....when I want to go hit the back dirt roads....the KLR takes it.

If you want just one bike you can mod the Versys to compete with the KLR but you will spend almost as much as buying a used KLR....which is what I did.
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:21 PM   #25
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Default Re: KLR 650 vs Versys

I have a KLR and a Versys. If you plan on riding on anything apart from the pavement or smooth gravel/dirt roads then get the KLR. On the road, the Versys is a far better machine than the KLR, especially the brakes.
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:10 PM   #26
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Default Re: KLR 650 vs Versys

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Originally Posted by jharrissocal View Post
I have a KLR and a Versys. If you plan on riding on anything apart from the pavement or smooth gravel/dirt roads then get the KLR. On the road, the Versys is a far better machine than the KLR, especially the brakes.
Same for me, I also have one each and if I had a long trip planned on Pavement and good gravel I would use the Versys. If it were mostly gravel and dirt and any chance of mud the KLR would be the way to go. I find the Versys and KLR have similar sitting stace and they are both very tall bikes which I like because of the clearance. But my Versys doesn't handle gravel verywell but I'm sure if I had a decent set of Dual Sport tires it would be a different bike.
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:49 PM   #27
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Default Re: KLR 650 vs Versys

So are you keeping the ZRX? If so your solution is obvious--set up the KLR for serious trails/commuting, and set up the ZRX for comfort on the hiway.
I did the same thing with a DL1000 V-strom, and used my beater KLR for trails and I feel I am extremely well-mounted. I can go anywhere and do anything with these two bikes.
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:58 PM   #28
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Default Re: Versys for a Mexican pavement trip?

I finally got around to this today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveC View Post

2) How much clearance is there?
I'll hopefully have my '08 out of the shed sometime this week. When I do, I'll measure it. It's not as much as the KLR, though.
It's approx 7 inches clearance to the lowest point (pipe in front of the muffler).

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Old 05-13-2012, 09:09 PM   #29
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Default Re: KLR 650 vs Versys

I noticed somewhere on here that someone mentioned that the wieght was and issue between the two.
I looked at the specs and I think there is only like a 10 lbs diff.

I noticed the exhaust ran underneath vs the klr on the side. I would think if there was a way to run the exhaust to the side of the versy with a good set of knobbies it would be good for the mud. One question would be torque, would the klr have a little more at the low end vs the versy?
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Old 08-27-2013, 11:45 AM   #30
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Default Re: KLR 650 vs Versys

The KLE 500 was better then both, too bad kawasaki replaced it with the versy and failed to update the KLR650.
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Old 08-27-2013, 04:22 PM   #31
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Default Re: KLR 650 vs Versys

i have had both the versys and now have the klr. The versys was a great street bike. Not capable of riding dirt and gravel roads without floating around. Probably because of the wide tires.

I like my klr off the main roads. I miss my versys on the highway.
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Old 12-20-2013, 02:37 PM   #32
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Default Re: KLR 650 vs Versys

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtwodogs View Post
I noticed somewhere on here that someone mentioned that the wieght was and issue between the two.
I looked at the specs and I think there is only like a 10 lbs diff.

I noticed the exhaust ran underneath vs the klr on the side. I would think if there was a way to run the exhaust to the side of the versy with a good set of knobbies it would be good for the mud. One question would be torque, would the klr have a little more at the low end vs the versy?
That is a bit misleading; Versys is 452 lbs and the 2nd gen KLR is about 424 lbs however my 1st gen KLR is 399 stock (wet and full of fuel) and after a small "diet" my bike is now under 340 lbs (wet, no fuel) or around 375 wet with fuel. That's almost 80 lbs and is certainly noticeable.


I bought a Versys and it was a great bike for urban commuting. Superior to the KLR in almost every way as long as you were on pavement. Off road, the KLR is just better and as the road gets closer to a trail, the differences get more pronounced.

Stock to stock the 2nd Gen KLR is lighter, has longer travel and better suspension, better ground clearance and the 21" and 17" wheels have much better dirt oriented tires available.

My modified 1st Gen KLR is as much an improvement offroad compared to a stock GenII as the GenII is compared to the Versys.

Cheers,
Dave
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Old 03-01-2014, 05:50 PM   #33
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Default Re: KLR 650 vs Versys

I don't understand this line of thought, The KLR and the Versys are to different types of bike. Both good at what they are intended to do. BUT the KLR is a PITA on high speed Interstate runs and off road the Versys is a real pig. The best way to deal with is to buy one of each...I did! Kind of the Ying & Yang of mid weight bikes.
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Old 03-16-2014, 07:22 PM   #34
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Default Re: KLR 650 vs Versys

Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdy View Post
I don't understand this line of thought, The KLR and the Versys are to different types of bike. Both good at what they are intended to do. BUT the KLR is a PITA on high speed Interstate runs and off road the Versys is a real pig. The best way to deal with is to buy one of each...I did! Kind of the Ying & Yang of mid weight bikes.
That's also my view on it.
I've been looking for an efficient upright, comfortable street bike and the Versys is on my shopping list as is either the Suzuki DL 650 or DL 1000 for more road oriented rides.
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Old 03-16-2014, 10:44 PM   #35
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Default Re: KLR 650 vs Versys

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Originally Posted by parallax View Post
That's also my view on it.
I've been looking for an efficient upright, comfortable street bike and the Versys is on my shopping list as is either the Suzuki DL 650 or DL 1000 for more road oriented rides.
On my 2009 Versys , which I loved riding for 20,000 miles , the one thing that always bugged me was the vibration or buzzyness of the motor...however...the short wheelbase and fantastic powerband of torque was really fun to do a trackday on...you know...finding the limits of traction on a 450 lb. street bike ...showed how well the Versys is engineerd...Brilliant motorcycle. I MISS MY KLE 650
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