All Tests – 2015 Versys 650 Test: Kawasaki brings out the big guns – MNC and the Versys 650 to attack Etna

2015 Versys 650 test: Kawasaki pulls out the big guns

All Tests - 2015 Versys 650 Test: Kawasaki brings out the big guns - MNC and the Versys 650 to attack Etna

The third version of the Versys 650 presented in Cologne will enter service at the beginning of 2015. Five years after correcting its shooting, Kawasaki this time leaves the heavy artillery … Site reviewed the Kawa road trail: guard to him !

MNC and the Versys 650 take on Etna

On the small roads winding at the foot of the Sicilian volcano, Site gradually increases the pace at the controls of this new 2015 Versys 650. Placed in the low position, the bubble then struggles to isolate its pilot from the wind – very! – fresh.

To raise the bubble of the little Kawasaki, it is no longer necessary to take out the toolbox fixed under the saddle: it suffices to unscrew the two knobs placed … facing the road, and not facing the rider. "They were installed there for the sake of safety, handling must be done at a standstill.", explain the Greens.

In practice, however, we manage to access the screws while driving. The operation is neither obvious nor prudent, but quite tempting – thus one does not lower the sacrosanct average! -, so that the choice of Japanese engineers is counterproductive: they would have done better to facilitate the pilot’s task…

Once raised by 60 mm, the screen offers very good protection by deflecting the air towards the top of the helmet. 1.7 cm wider, the original screen better isolates the shoulders. Only the biceps are not protected from the elements … and they are hardly more spared by the Twin !

The gains in power (+5 hp) and torque (+3 Nm) are not noticeable, especially for lack of direct comparison with the old version. "The new pot and the new ECU programming have improved the maximum values ​​and counterbalance the weight gain", however assert us the Ninjas.

On the handlebars, we always appreciate the voluntary character of the twin from 3500 rpm and the fact that it continues its efforts beyond 7000 rpm, the sound of the engine then becoming much more exhilarating than it is. is in slow motion.

The engine is assisted by a very efficient gearbox, especially for upshifting: the selector stroke is short and the gearbox precise. We just regret that she is always a bit rough when going downhill.

Stalled in the sixth and final gear, the Versys 650 continues to gallop at 131 km / h at 6,000 rpm. At a stabilized pace, it no longer vibrates (at 130 or 90 km / h) and finally allows you to cut down long distances without catching ants, neither on the hands nor on the feet.

By moving back on the saddle – which remains a little too leaning forward – the rider also has a seat width and therefore appreciable comfort. Thus, Site did not hesitate to considerably lengthen the loop initially planned by Kawasaki, to cover 150 km in one go without hindrance at the rear end..

The number of stages is also reduced thanks to the better capacity of the tank (21 liters instead of 19) and a consumption lowered by -2% according to Japanese engineers. FYI, according to the on-board computer, our Versys would have consumed an average of 4.8 l / 100 km.

Le Journal moto du Net has not always been economical and at times even, its pace could have earned it a handful of points less and a copious fine … or even a few weeks of layoff !

But to gauge the road capabilities of the Kawasaki trail, Site unfortunately had no choice! Pleasant in town, the suspensions have remained so on the sometimes very dented roads of Sicily. The desire to make its Versys more comfortable expressed by Kawasaki is felt when driving.

The "factory" setting of the fork in particular (preload and rebound can be changed using a simple flat screwdriver) offers a compromise more focused on comfort than rigor. But Site is convinced that potential buyers of this road trail will find their way there..

Well tuned to the Kayaba shock, the Showa fork smooths out irregularities in the tarmac very well. Where an old Versys – or even more so, an ER-6f! – would have gratified his pilot with nasty strokes of the handlebars and "racket", the 2015 Versys goes smoothly.

Carefully balanced, the new Versys accepts to drive at high speed and it will still be necessary to spit in the gloves to overcome the ground clearance in the turns. On this point and this point only, the absence of a central stand – even as an accessory, because of the low pot … – is a precious help.

Admittedly, at the entry of the curve, the nose of the Versys tends to dive more than in the past, which affects the precision and can reduce the confidence which one places in the Dunlop D222. But by remaining measured at the level of the right hand (gas and brake), the trajectories are only slightly modified.

The many blind and / or still wet corner exits from the storm of the day before did not encourage us to wring out the handle as much as possible. But the photoshoots on beautiful dry portions still allowed us to verify that the course was very satisfactory. !

The rear axle of the new Versys offers more support than the old one, the wheel remaining in contact with the ground even when the road is crumpled. On larger bumps, there is no pumping phenomenon either..

Near the hairpins, the braking of the 2015 Versys is more convincing than the old one. A priori no more biting – difficult to compare without the previous version -, it remains reassuring on wet-fat and limits the dive of the fork.

By pulling more on the right lever, the motorcycle tilts more and the braking power then seems better. The new master cylinder – prettier – and its calipers – prettier too! – in any case require less grip than the old ones.

The indisputable improvement in terms of braking on the new Versys concerns the price of ABS. Previously offered at € 600 by Kawasaki, assistance – which will become compulsory in 2016 in France – now costs only € 400.

However, this good news does not come alone, since the 2015 Versys is displayed 100 euros less than the 2010 Versys when it was released: therefore count € 7,290 for a brand new Versys 650, or € 7,690 with ABS (against € 7,990 Four years ago).

Mounted on our Versys, the "Tourer +" pack offers, against an extension of 1300 euros, to transform this charming little trail into a mini road capable of taking you far, very far from home. Even the dark will not stop it: the additional LED lights effectively improve night vision !

Apart from a few pods and an injection system that are too visible, the finish is generally good and the fittings remain flattering. The new fairing and swingarm – on the right side, less on the left side – are enough to make some ER-6 owners green with envy…

What more could we ask for from the 2019 Versys? … A storage compartment to quickly store your motorway ticket and credit card, perhaps an info command on the handlebars or an adjustable screen from the driver’s station to more easily refine its adjustment according to the roads taken.

We would also like to benefit from more dynamic times on the sixth report: in duet and loaded, we imagine that the "six-fifty" may be a little tight to overtake on the motorway and will require dropping one or two reports.

Finally, a central stand allowing easy maintenance of the chain would be welcome. For this, the Versys 650 will have to change the pot … The biker has another solution: switch to the new Versys 1000 (production unit), more torque and more powerful, but heavier and more expensive. His essay is to follow on MNC: stay tuned !

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