Kawasaki Versys 1000: an adventuresome Ninja

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Our friends at Nieuwsmotor have scooped the first images of Kawasaki’s big Versys. The Kawasaki Versys 1000 takes a very similar approach to the road-biased ADV bike theme to the Honda Crosstourer and ends with a very similar result. Instead of pressing a huge, heavy expensive sports tourer into faux dirt duty with tall suspension and a big screen, Kawasaki has adapted its naked muscle bike. Which approach is better? Well, the Kawasaki weighs about 100lbs less than the Honda and should be much smoother. It’ll be quite a bit cheaper too.

Update: It’s official. 54 hi-res photos, video and more info.

What the Kawasaki gives up to the Honda is outright power and torque. Where Shamu’s hillbilly cousin puts out 127bhp and 95lb/ft, the Z1000’s 1,043cc inline-four has been detuned all the way dow to just 118bhp at 9,000rpm and a positively meager 75lb/ft at 7,700rpm. For the Versys 1000, tuned for torque means a drop in compression from 11.8:1 to 10.3:1, less aggressive cams (with shorter duration and lower lift) and matching Versys specific valve springs, and extra-long down-draft intake runners mated to 38mm throttle bodies. The best feature about the revised motor? “An intoxicating intake howl contributes to the engine feel and tempts riders to twist the throttle just to enjoy the aural sensation when accelerating.”

Like the Honda, the Versys 1000 is equipped with ABS and traction control as standard. In this application, KTRC is reduced to three modes and is likely much more conservative than on the ZX-10R.

Even without that weight savings, we have to say that the Versys just looks like a nice, simple, practical motorcycle. That exposed subframe and low exhaust are going to be great for strapping on any kind of luggage and or baby cows you can imagine. The seat looks huge and all-day comfy. The fairing is enormous. That Z1000 motor is an absolute peach — smooth and characterful. The Versys may not be a headline grabber, but it will be an excellent ownership proposition.

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Nieuwsmotor

  • oldblue

    Those V Maxes.

    The Diavel Cromo.

    Now this. I hope they all come with big brown paper bags…

  • http://www.twowheelsplus.com/ Anders

    Ugly is the new pretty, but I like it.

  • http://www.lgdm.fr stempere

    More pictures scanned from Moto Revue: here, here and here.

  • oldblue

    My eyes! My EYES!

  • 80-watt Hamster

    I’m still somewhat surprised Kawasaki went through with this. But with the ADV-lite market still apparently growing, I suppose throwing a few R&D dollars at an existing platform to grab a slice of the pie isn’t a terrible strategy.

    • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben Incarnate

      Definitely a low-risk strategy. There are a lot of Versys faithful out there, too, so this might appeal to their growing appetites.

      • 80-watt Hamster

        Many faithful, but too few converts, at least on the West side of the pond. Dealers are still trying to move ’09s.

  • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

    Gallery doesn’t load for me. I see an “invalid argument” error message instead.

  • AHA

    The Versys 650 is by all accounts a very good motorcycle despite the ordinary ingredients. Kawasaki should have a sales hit on their hands assuming it’s a lot cheaper than the Multistrada, GS, Tiger & Explorer etc.

  • Tommy

    I see a lot of people hating on the road based adventure style bike the last couple days, and I really don’t get it. Sport tourers have always had a tendency to be super wide and heavy, as not that much more comfortable than sport bikes. The adv ergos are great. I recently got a versys and it’s just sooooo easy to ride. On average, even though it’s slower than my old sport bike, in most cases I am a lot faster just cause its so easy to ride and see.

    The versys 1000 is still even uglier than its already kid of ugly little brother (even though I think it looks great in the way only a mother could), but it doesn’t look QUITE as ugly as the first set of linked pics.

  • Johndo

    The 650 looks WAY better.

  • pplassm

    That looks like my next bike. I like it!

  • markbvt

    Wow. The V-Strom is no longer the ugliest quasi-ADV bike on the market…

  • John

    The front shot looks very similar to the old Multistrada.

    I think it fills a good niche and has me interested.

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

      Looks WAY better than the 1st-gen Multistrada!

      • Beale

        That’s not saying much.

  • dux

    I’d be very curious about gas mileage of the de-tuned motor.