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.