All Tests – The new Versys takes height – Used KAWASAKI

The new Versys takes height

All Tests - The new Versys takes height - Used KAWASAKI

From the ER-6, the new Kawasaki Versys sets out to conquer all roads and all bikers. With its revised engine, its higher and more robust cycle part and its original design, does the new road trail fulfill its contract? ? Test !

Unveiled last July (read), the new Kawasaki Versys exposed an ambitious concept that every manufacturer dreams of putting on the market one day: the ultra-versatile motorcycle, capable of brilliantly getting out of daily traffic jams and escaping. the weekend – or even more if affinities – on the roads and highways of our vast country.

Kawasaki has chosen to carry out this delicate program because it is very complete, drawing inspiration from its very successful ER-6 (read). So much so that if Kawasaki had not made a point of modifying certain crucial points, the name "ER-6v" ("v" for "versatile", versatility in French) would not have been usurped !

Paris, 03/10/2006 – The new Versys tackles V-Strom, TDM and other MultistradaVideo Site.

While retaining the essence of its easy, playful and economical roadster, the Japanese firm has therefore created a brand new machine, whose name "factory" KLE 650 clearly proves its belonging to road trails "good for everything" !

If only aesthetically, the Versys innovates and avoids passing for a simple sister of the ER-6n and ER-6f: the fork crown in particular, equipped with a new optical unit, distinguishes the new Kawa from any other production..

She has the eyes that kill

Destabilizing on the first low-angle photo unveiled by Kawasaki this summer (read), the face of the Versys "goes better" visually. The desire to decorate it with a pirate eye patch remains nonetheless important, but we quickly get used to this original style study..

On the other hand, we regret the presence of plastic covers along the frame, supposed to represent reinforcements which actually exist. Useless, these growths may even upset some who thought they had to do with "beefy" … More moderate observation about the hoof which, if it does not protect the pots, rather well dressed the beautiful.

But in order not to repeat the description of this new supported motorcycle during its very first appearance (read), let’s focus on the essential: the dynamic test during the press presentation by Kawasaki, last week in the south of France.

In the saddle

It all starts with a more delicate setting in the saddle than on the ER-6: located at 835 mm high, the double-stage saddle requires a bit of gymnastics to get on it. Nothing insurmountable however, especially as for the little ones, a low version (790 mm, as on the ER-6) is available as an option..

Once seated, the arched shape of the saddle pleasantly facilitates access to the ground while its thickness will fill most of the hindquarters. The passenger reception is comparable to that of the ER-6f: low footrests and wide handles but the saddle is a little too hard…

The relatively low footrests and the wide and high handlebars allow you to adopt a straight and serene position. We also appreciate the fineness of the reservoir and the cutout of the fairing, which accommodates the largest femurs..

The comodos are in the same vein as those of the rest of the Kawa production, as evidenced by the five settings of the brake lever but also that of the clutch. The tachometer is very readable and its white background gives it a "class" aspect rather well seen.

On the digital counter, the odometer, the two partials and the clock are obviously present, just like the fuel gauge, so regretted on the ER-6f … On the other hand, the Versys does not show itself more GT than the small road "f" since only a U or a disk block will find refuge under the saddle…

Another similarity: the Versys will not take up a lot of space in the garage, even if the pot placed under the engine prevents any installation of central.

But it is high time to kick the starter and test the 650 twin, "reviewed and corrected"compared to its first version mounted on the ER-6.

The noise remains the same since the pot has remained the same. Even an attentive ear will not be able to perceive a difference, despite a slightly different timing and the addition of a balancing tube between the two tailpipes..

A new engine ?

And yet! To take on the small departmental roads, the 650 of the Versys is indeed different from that of its cousins. Accelerations are still straightforward but occur earlier, from 3,000 rpm. After 4,000 revolutions, the engine is really fun and up to 8,500 rpm without taking a single break.

On the other hand, there is no need to wring the handle further: the red zone placed at 10,500 rpm (against 11,000 on the ER-6) seems to be there only to attract a clientele of novices, eager for tempting meters! Indeed, the maximum power of the mill (64hp) is reached from 8000rpm !

So beyond 8,500 rpm, the engine is still running but stops increasing the speed. The driver then naturally changes gear to fall back into the range of use of the "new six and a half". At the bottom, this range is limited by puny times under 3000 rpm and even jolting under 2000.

But there is no less than 5,500 rpm available to separate from the flow of traffic or efficiently get out of bends of all types! Because if the engine is a treat to exploit in this range of speeds – especially thanks to a firm and precise gearbox – the cycle part of the new Versys is not left out..

To her the small roads !

High perched, the new Kawa looks like a Supermotard, particularly at ease in the series of small and medium curves. Its moderate weight (181 kg dry) and its center of gravity placed relatively low compared to the remarkable lever offered by its large handlebars give its driver intense pleasure in crisscrossing the Var hinterland and other regions conducive to cycling. arsouille !

The long inverted fork – 150 mm travel – will just need to be firmed up to offer an optimal comfort / attack compromise (including on degraded roads) and makes it possible to keep a good number of Supersport enthusiasts in check! Keen on angle changes or when reversing into a curve, the front axle is perfectly stable at high speed and swallows large curves without oscillating.

Likewise, when it comes to grabbing the front brakes, the Versys is particularly docile and neutral. The version equipped with Bosch ABS (500 € optional) should also charm most future buyers, since the system is very effective and its intervention remains minimal at the lever..

The front brakes (300 mm double disc clamped by Tokico double piston calipers) are sufficiently powerful and easily controlled. Only the most athletic pilots will blame a slight lack of bite, which the rear brake is not lacking !

On dusty roads and in "attack" mode, the rear wheel even has an annoying tendency to sweep the track … sorry, the road! Fortunately, thanks to its contained weight, its wide handlebars and its well-flared reservoir – allowing the bike to be held securely between its thighs – the management of these slight drifts is done quietly. A taste of Supermotard, in a way !

An efficient cycle part

The work of the rear suspension receives the same criticism as that of the ER-6: in direct connection with the new swingarm in "seagull wing", the Showa shock absorber offers very good road holding but is a little abrupt, even" bouncing "on the successions of small imperfections.

The 17-inch wheels, inherited from the ER-6, allow you to fit tires with a sportier profile than on most road trails: Dunlop D221 in this case. In addition, the 160 mm rear tire actively contributes to the ease of riding and the light and intuitive character of the motorcycle..

On more rolling sections, we take full advantage of the maximum torque (61 Nm at 6800 rpm) since at this precise speed in 6th gear, the Versys tumbles at 150 km / h "counter", a good 140 chrono measured by GPS thanks to the Tomtom Rider (available as an option) installed the test bikes.

The raw data of the version limited to 34hp announces that from 3000 rpm, the pilot benefits from 50 Nm. If the test does not literally convey this sensation of very low torque, launched at approximately 88 km / h, just 1000 rpm higher, the valiant Versys allows without any apprehension quick overtaking and exits of exhilarating curves on nationals, as well as safe insertions on motorways and quite respectable times !

Protection too limited

Unfortunately, the protection is too light: even increased by 40 mm, the small bubble struggles to free the helmet from all the turbulence and the top of the shoulders remain exposed. Likewise, the vibrations of the footrests may be annoying for the most sensitive wishing to cut long distances on the expressway..

Finally, even if this does not reach the scale of the ER-6f – which since benefit from kits available in dealerships -, we note on some test models an annoying crackling of the fairing, while other examples are completely exempt…

Available from November 2006 at the expected price of € 7,099, Kawasaki humbly plans to sell 1,500 copies next year.

In the end, Kawa delivers a particularly charming motorcycle to us, full of good intentions, without however achieving absolute versatility. If its engine and chassis make it a formidable weapon in town and on the secondary network, the Versys still lacks protection and comfort at high speeds, as well as a few horsepower – yes, nevertheless. !

Flawlessness is therefore not for today … We are approaching it, but can we only achieve it? The debate is open…

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