All Tests – Versys 1000 test: the Kawasaki trail almost on target! – A formidable trail on the road

Versys 1000 test: the Kawasaki trail almost on target !

All Tests - Versys 1000 test: the Kawasaki trail almost on target! - A formidable trail on the road

Derived from the fierce Z1000, the maxi trail Versys 1000 radicalises the concept of the Versys 650. And while the French biker discovered this new Kawasaki 2012 at the Motorcycle Show, MNC tested it on the sublime roads of Tenerife. First try !

A formidable trail on the road

A piece of expressway, a crossing of a small town: barely are the presentations finished that we already approach the ascent of Pico del Teide! First observation: the large handlebar gives an excellent lever arm on which it is however useless to force to modify the direction of the "small" front wheel of 17 inches.

The Versys willingly plunges into rows of small curves: the neutrality of its front end is confirmed, while the progressiveness of the focus on the angle reassures. At the rear, the 180mm wide tire does not strain agility.

The engine is perfectly docile: the times are very smooth between 2000 and 4000 rpm. The last four reports of the box (longer this time than on the Z1000) and the weight (more than 28 kg) make the times less impressive than on the roadster, despite the announced torque gain.

You have to wait until the tachometer needle exceeds 4500 to feel the block wake up and catapult the whole thing more strongly. Vibrations are then particularly palpable in the feet, thighs and fingertips if they are placed on the levers…

On small roads and beyond 4500 rpm, however, it is better to concentrate on the track than on the vibrations of the engine. And past the 5000 rpm mark, the Kawa engine extends its stride without running out of steam, on the contrary.

Cool or sporty fashion

Unlike the maxi trails of the competition, the Versys 1000 and its mill are just waiting to be jostled! To benefit from explosive raises, you should not hesitate to play the selector. As for the "bipolar" character of the engine (gentle then angry), it results in two very distinct "modes" of conduct: cool or sporty.

Kawasaki also offers two engine mapping modes: the "Full" – which, as its name suggests, allows you to take advantage of the full potential of the machine – and the "Low" – which restricts the maximum power to 75% of its initial value (approximately 89 hp), flattens the torque curve and softens the go-around.

Accessible directly from the handlebars – like all the information on the dashboard – this choice of mapping will perhaps reassure the most timid of bikers. Others will be much happier to enjoy the ultimate version of Kawasaki traction control. !

Synthesis of the “KTRC” of the GTR1400 and of the “S-KTRC” of the Ninja ZX-10R, the KTRC of the Versys 1000 can be configured in three positions. Unlike ABS, it can be disconnected in order to best suit driving conditions..

But it turns out that those encountered during this press presentation were simply idyllic … Too many, since the traction control did not come into play once! The "fault" in the extraordinary surfacing of the roads of Tenerife, in the omnipresent sun on the two days of testing, in the absence of English journalists – who often bring the rain in their luggage – and in the grip of the Pirelli !

Only a short foray on a dusty path allowed us to spin the rear wheel a few inches before the KTRC – set to mode 1, the least intrusive – takes control and tempers the ardor of the 4-cylinder. It will therefore be necessary to wait for a more complete test on Site to definitively judge.

ABS meanwhile was noticed only during very heavy braking on crumpled surface. In this exceptional situation, the Bosch control unit releases the pressure before putting it back quickly: the braking distances are only slightly extended and above all, the Versys and its pilot are unlikely to end up on the ground. !

On the same "bouncy" section of road, the fork (pre-load and trigger set as standard) struggles to follow and transmits the slight jolts in the arms. On large transfers, however, the front suspension is effective and does not sink excessively.

Taking the brakes on the angle does not interfere with the steering any more: good for this 43 mm inverted KYB element which is inspired by Showa’s "BPF" (large piston) technology.

Behind, the shock absorber (preload not far from the mini and original trigger) and its connecting rods offer the Versys 1000 a significant compromise. Even on vicious little bumps, the rider’s buttocks are never bothered. And at the end of the turn, it is gently kicked thanks to the flawless traction of the rear axle.

The Versys rather than the SX ?

The saddle is no stranger to this feeling of well-being: sufficiently soft and wide, it is also deep enough to partially move the thighs away from the vibrating reservoir. On the highway in particular, we can comfortably wedge the tailbone against the passenger seat.

Adjustable in height, the bubble continuously protects the torso, shoulders and a good part of the pilot’s head. By pulling the bubble upwards – handling is possible while driving, but Kawasaki advises stopping – even the tallest can protect themselves from the air at 130 km / h.

When the speedometer displays – digitally – this speed, the engine is running at a little less than 5,000 rpm, or 500 rpm slower than on the SX. 8000 rpm is reached in less time than it takes to type it on the keyboard, and the red zone is still 2000 revs higher. This is to say if the Versys 1000 can run fast and far !

If you can free yourself from the vibrations at the crotch level – that’s pretty well said, right? – and fingers, it is impossible to stop those which shake the mirrors. The field of vision is excellent, but the view is completely blurred: too bad !

The dashboard remains perfectly readable in all circumstances and is very complete: tachometer, speed, odometer, two partial trips, instantaneous and partial consumption, fuel gauge, remaining range, engine and ambient air temperatures.

The "eco" driving indicator, now dear to the Greens (Akashi!), Is even present. In the end, all that is missing from this maxi trail is the gear indicator engaged to compete with the road (the warning command is also there!). And this reflection can be generalized to the whole motorcycle…

Indeed, at the end of this first test, Site can not help but think of – many? – bikers who prefer to opt for a Z1000SX with the look of "Ninja" rather than to turn to a Versys with the line – it must be admitted – much more clumsy.

However, make no mistake: of the two sisters offered at extremely close prices (€ 12,499 for the Versys and € 12,999 for the SX, with ABS but without KTRC), the trail version will take you the most. easily every day at work, will make you cover very long distances most comfortably, will take better care of your passenger, and will allow you to continue to attack despite the degradation of the roads…

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