Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review

We take a spin on the versatile Kawasaki Versys 1000 which is the first Versys offering from the Japanese two-wheeler giant in India. Get detailed review for Kawasaki Versys 1000 on zigwheels



Kawasaki Versys 1000




Performance bikes are glowing examples of automotive engineering, meant to be ridden hard. But in the Indian context most of the performance bikes are treated as trophy wife and can be spotted on popular hangouts of the city during weekends. But gladly the new generation of big bike owners are more aware and aren’t afraid of venturing out on their prized possessions and riding them hard. The big displacement motorcycle market in India is still in its developing stage and the only two genres of bikes that are popular among these niche consumers are supersports and cruiser bikes. 



Kawasaki Versys 1000 static



While supersports offer you the thrill of speed and performance they aren’t meant for long distance riding owing to its aggressive riding posture. Cruiser bikes offer you comfort but are heavy and aren’t the most docile of machines to manoeuvre. This is where motorcycles like the Kawasaki Versys 1000 come into the picture. It offers you the comfort of a cruiser and performance similar to mid-range supersport machines. The Kawasaki Versys 1000 is a sports tourer designed to munch miles for breakfast, lunch and dinner. How does it go about its job? Read on for answer..


Design & Features: rating_4_rating



Kawasaki Versys 1000 console



With its mass and bulk, the Kawasaki Versys 1000 is a striking looking motorcycle for sure. The front is aggressively designed with twin split headlamps in typical Kawasaki design language. The large and neatly sculpted wind screen along with the quarter fairing, does gel well with the overall design of the bike. The exposed subframe, bulbous fuel tank and chunky split seats adds more muscle to the overall styling. The LED tail lamp is dwarfed by the chunky grab handle with a large luggage rack and our test bike came equipped with the optional panniers that complimented the tourer DNA of the bike.



Kawasaki Versys 1000 switch gear



The Versys 1000 is a decent looking bike with lots of presence but we personally feel that a brighter shade would have done better justice to the design as it is available only in the above black shade in India. It employs a part-digital-part-analogue instrument console with a plethora of information like temperature, trip meter, odometer, clock, distance to empty, real-time mileage indicator etc on tap. The digital speedometer is easy to read on the go but the design of the console looks a bit lack lustre and crude. Switch gear quality is top notch while the thumb operated traction control and power mode system is easy to use. The large windscreen can be easily adjusted (75mm) manually with the help of two knobs to lock it into the desired position. The overall build quality along with fit and finish of the Versys 1000 is of premium standards.



Engine & Performance: rating_4_rating


Kawasaki Versys 1000 engine




Once astride on the rather generous saddle, the first thing that one notices is that the seat height is rather tall. The tall seat height (840mm to be precise) in conjunction with the kerb weight of 250kg made the Kawasaki Versys 1000 a bit intimidating. But once you crank the four-pot motor and start riding the bike, it is easy to ride as any normal bike. The tall handle bar, kindly cushioned seats, centre-set footpegs result in a comfortable riding posture, perfect for long distance touring. 



Kawasaki Versys 1000 action




Powering the behemoth is a 1,043cc in-line-four cylinder, liquid-cooled engine producing 120PS at 9,000rpm and 102Nm of peak torque at 7,500rpm. The powerplant has been detuned a bit to better suit the sports touring dynamics of the Versys 1000. The bike is offered in two power modes – high and low. The low power mode cuts the power output by 25 per cent, despite this the Kawasaki Versys 1000 was quick enough to clock over 130kmph in just third gear without any aggressive gear shifts thereby showcasing the firepower on offer.



Kawasaki Versys 1000 action




In full power mode, the Versys 1000 transforms a bit into a hooligan as whacking open the throttle results in the front going light albeit in a controlled manner. To safeguard the rider from getting into trouble, the Versys 1000 has been equipped with a four setting traction control that can be switched off completely if you wish to. Sustaining speeds around 150kmph on the open highways is a relatively easy affair and makes the Kawasaki Versys 1000 a great touring machine. The highlight of the motor is its refinement and the crispness of the 6-speed gearbox that showcases the engineering prowess of the Kawasaki boffins.



Ride, Handling & Braking: rating_4_rating



Kawasaki Versys 1000 cornering shot




The Kawasaki Versys 1000 employs a twin-tube frame crafted from aluminium and handling dynamics of the bike is decent. It isn’t the most docile machines around tight corners but on fast sweeping bends it doesn’t disappoint. Suspension duties are taken care of by 43mm inverted forks at front and a monoshock unit at the back. Ride quality of the Versys 1000 is just fantastic as the bike offers a magic carpet like ride quality absorbing all the undulations effortlessly.



Kawasaki Versys 1000 rear suspension adjuster knob



The rear suspension can be easily stiffened by rotating a knob if you plan to go fast around bends as in the soft setting the bike tends to wallow. The Bridgestone Battlax tyres offer great grip on the tarmac but on lose surface and gravel they are a bit nervous restricting the Versys 1000 usability. The Tokico sourced disc brake along with ABS provides good bite and feedback and do a great job in bringing the behemoth to a halt.



Verdict: rating_4_rating



Kawasaki Versys 1000 static pic




The Kawasaki Versys 1000 is a great sports tourer offering without a shadow of doubt. The comfortable riding dynamics, refined and powerful motor, outstanding ride quality, excellent brakes and electronic goodies make it a perfect motorcycle to go touring. It does have its sets of flaws like the tall seat height and heavy kerb weight which some bikers might find intimidating also in the current black shade it doesn’t have the visual appeal of its competitors. Having said that, at Rs 12.9 lakh (ex-showroom Pune), the Kawasaki Versys 1000 is also the cheapest litre-class sports tourer on sale in our country getting it additional brownie points.