Many years ago, when I was a rookie motorcycle tester, Kawasaki gave me the Versys 650 to test ride. This was way before Kawasaki started to CKD the 650s. I was quite amazed by how the bike performed. It had good ground clearance, excellent handling – and it was fast. In the hands of a good rider, it could even keep the supersports crowd in sight.
The only problem for me was its looks. In my opinion, the bike had to be among one of the most aesthetically challenged motorcycles in recent times. Fast forward to 2014, and Kawasaki have upped their game. Unveiled at Intermot was the latest Versys 650 and 1000 which have undergone redesigns. The new Kawasaki design language – that we have seen on the Ninja 250r and ZX10r is clearly evident. The bike looks awesome.
But it isn’t just the looks that have been upgraded. The bike also now comes with new suspension, with rebound and damping settings that are easily aaccessible on the fork top. Preload for the rear monoshock is also now remotely adjustable, allowing the rider to easily make changes when the load changes. The bike has new ABS brakes with upgraded discs, caliper and pads. The engine too is tweaked, producing a little more power – 69hp at 8,500rpm and 64nm of torque at 7,000 rpm. The fairings have been redesigned and appear slimmer, with side by side twin headlamps that are similar to the Ninja 250r in appearance. The bike has also a new windscreen which can be adjusted while on the move – which is a great thing when you’re touring. There is no indication yet when Kawasaki Malaysia will be bringing in this new Versys, but rest assured – there are a lot of people waiting for it’s arrival.