Kawasaki Versys 1000 motorcycle test


La Z goes green

Eternal absent from the Kawasaki range, apart from the unlikely KLV 1000 (Suzuki V-Ström renamed), the maxi-trail model finally appears at the manufacturer of Akashi, betting on a stable segment in terms of sales. The brand also wants to place its machine between a more urban Honda Crossrunner and the "high-end" maxi-trails of the Ducati 1200 Multistrada, BMW 1200 GS and Triumph 1200 Tiger type: an intermediate, modest and surely prudent positioning..

If the novelty finds an obvious aesthetic connection with the Versys 650, it nevertheless adopts very different technical choices, especially in terms of engine, forgetting in particular the twin for a 4-cylinder. However, far from starting from scratch, engineers turned to solutions and systems found in other in-house models. Adapted for the occasion, engine, chassis, exhaust and electronic assistance come together in a new concept. To get an idea, we are invited to the Canaries to study the Japanese wader.

Kawasaki Versys 1000


The front optics, at least its minimalist design with overlapping lights, is arguably the only thing in common between the two members of the Versys all-terrain family. If the midsize is slender, the Versys 1000 has gained volume and seems more massive, especially in its dark color..

Kawasaki Versys 1000

Also available in a metallic white livery, the play of contrasts then breaks this slightly heavy front line and refines the design of the machine. Capped with a bubble adjustable in height (over 30 mm) via two dials, the imposing muffle widens towards the sides and the tank. Large airflow deflectors energize the line, concealing the frame plates and stretching towards the upholstery. Generous, the pilot and passenger seats are based on a specific rear frame extended and reinforced with tubular steel trellis. Sheathed in a resin half-shell, it supports grab handles of the same material which join together, forming the luggage carrier.

Kawasaki Versys 1000

The design of the rear light remains sober, dominating a single exhaust on the right side. Borrowed from the Z 750, painted in matt black, this slim silencer seems lost on this bulky road. However, it welcomes the four collectors of the well-known Japanese block. Because it is indeed the 4-cylinder in-line of the Z 1000 and SX family that equips the great Versys. New and unique on a trail, this architecture has been extensively reworked to offer more availability at low and mid-speed. Thus, the combustion chamber, lower compression, camshaft profile and gearbox ratios have been modified. Compared then to its road cousin, the new adventurer loses 20 horsepower and 0.8 m / kg of torque, i.e. 118 hp at 9,000 rpm and 10.4 m / kg at 7,700 revolutions / minute in the free world (106 hp and 9.6 m / kg for frenchies).

Kawasaki Versys 1000

This engine takes place in an aluminum perimeter frame borrowed from the Z 1000 SX. Reinforced at the level of the steering column, it also features rigid elements enclosing the cylinder heads. These mask the engine even more, as do the half-shoes and wide side scoops. A little regrettable for this well drawn block.
We also lose the aesthetic side shock absorber of the 650. A backlink-type system, adjustable in preload and rebound, is mounted horizontally on a rocker, positioned above the swingarm axis. A 43mm Kayaba inverted “Big Piston” type fork guides the front axle. This element is adjustable in compression on the two tubes and in rebound only on the right.

Kawasaki Versys 1000

Front braking is handled by 4-piston axial calipers clamping two 300mm discs and a single rear piston clamping a 250mm disc. Good news, the ABS system is standard! Kawasaki also equips the Versys 1000 with its configurable KTRC traction control, on the handlebars, in 3 levels and disconnectable. This combines the system present on the GTR 1400 and the sportier S-KTR of the Ninja ZX-10R. Its intervention intensity varies to favor either the best acceleration or optimum stability. Two injection profiles are also available, one of which limits the potency to 75% of its maximum. Any offroad changes will only be more reassuring on this fully loaded 238 kilo machine. A rather contained weight.

In the saddle

The Versys 1000 is surprisingly thin at the crotch, as the front part of the machine is imposing. Despite a saddle height of 845 mm, the ground support is good for the driver of one meter eighty-four and leaves a correct ease for the maneuvers..

Generous in its forms, the trail is also in comfort. You immediately feel the softness of the saddle, wide and deep. Thick foams are, according to Kawasaki, the most comfortable in the range. It is easy to see. Under the pilot / passenger seat block is a fairly well-supplied tool kit, with the particularity of being housed in a plastic cylinder and closing with a butterfly. And the road on stilts has other advantages for the trip.

Kawasaki Versys 1000

Positioned fairly straight, the torso does not force in any way and the arms fall naturally on the wide handlebars. Lacking grace, the volumes of the maxi-trail reveal a real protective functionality. The legs are housed in the notches in the tank and the body is naturally sheltered behind generous side air deflectors and the large fork crown. The interior trim of it just lacks a bit of harmony and an empty pocket. Its playful depths are rough on the eye. Fortunately, the dashboard is of better quality..

Kawasaki Versys 1000

Clear and legible, it consists of a large analog tachometer (red zone at 10,000 revolutions / min) and an LCD window. This includes a 6-stick fuel gauge (average consumption announced at 6.5 l./100), tachometer, and engine temperature. The selection of the choice of cartography and traction mode is made via the cursors on the left hand switch. At the top of the screen are successively displayed various information: clock, odometer, double trip, average consumption and remaining autonomy.

Kawasaki Versys 1000

In the end, we especially regret the absence of a central stand, the optional addition of which will be impossible due to a too large exhaust line….

In the city

The ramage of the four-cylinder matches the plumage of the silencer … nondescript! And so muffled that it is hard to know if the 1000cc core is working properly … Enough to please specialist equipment manufacturers! On the other hand, the imagined and promised sweetness is there..

Kawasaki Versys 1000

The Versys 1000 soars with vigor. The balance is excellent … so much so that you almost completely forget the weight. Flexible, the large block Z allows, without vibrations or jolts, a pace of 50 km / h at 1,000 rpm on the last report. On the intermediaries, the good engine availability makes the machine quite lively. Supported by a soft and precise box, urban evolutions are pleasant.

Whether small streets or large arteries, the Versys is at ease, benefiting in addition to a reduced turning circle. The mirrors reflect a wide field, the image of which is, unfortunately sometimes frenzied.

Motorway and expressways

Even a little "deflated", the four in line delivers sympathetic accelerations … but more linear. In line with the demands of its multipurpose profile, smoother power curves and longer gear ratios. At the legal 130 km / h, the long-legged Z chompes on the brakes at 5,000 rpm, ready to give you more, much more. Because at the end of the red zone, the Versys takes you at almost 240 km / h, with an almost light heart. Almost, because a little sway has been occurring on board for some time, the consequence of the aerodynamics of the aircraft carrier. Just enough to give back and avoid administrative troubles.

Kawasaki Versys 1000

At slightly less criminal speeds, and equipped with suitcases and top-case, long-term stability remains remarkable. The protection offered by the bubble is not so much. In the "high" position, it generates eddies on the helmet and the upper body. Adjusted to the lowest, it gives more comfort, the air pressure then being slightly increased but also more constant. The solution is either to lie down on the reservoir, or to quickly discover the secondary network. Given the profile of our frame, this will be the number two choice !


Displaying a docile behavior under 4,500 turns, the Kawa offers two faces. Muffled if you follow her grizzly character, or sassy if you tease her a bit. Expressive from 5,000 to 9,000 turns, the Versys 1000 then twirls along the narrow curves of the Canary Islands. The wide handlebars allow for quick angle changes, although if you really pick up the pace you can feel the limits of the soft suspension. Without however breaking up, the front axle becomes more blurry and the fork plunges noticeably under braking. The rear shrinks on heavy raises. Accelerations which, however, readily invite mechanics that are quick to rev up. However, on this point we lose the explosiveness of cousins ​​Z and SX. Less lively, the engine of the Versys offers a more targeted pleasure at mid-range, with more torque at low speed than the Z1000SX and forcing to play with the gearbox..

Kawasaki Versys 1000

After a slight adjustment of the suspensions (hardening of the preload and braked rebound) the behavior becomes more homogeneous. We wind up at a good pace, counting on the quickly available grip of the Pirelli Scorpion Trail. The 17 "wheels clearly indicate a preference for asphalt. It is also the choice of agility at the expense of all-terrain capabilities. The correct ground clearance allows respectable angle grips that limit the repeated friction of the toe clips.

To slow down, all you have to do is grasp the brake control with your finger. The decelerations are efficient and the grip of the lever on the angle does not over-lock the steering. The rear caliper acts as a discreet retarder, nothing more. Powerful and enduring, braking, even hard, will not be enough to trigger ABS, except on the road.
This is also where we take good measure of the in-house KTRC traction control. Not very intrusive in mode 1 and 2, it eliminates any risk of the rear tire escaping in position 3. Coupled with the engine mapping mode limiting power to around 90 hp, it provides the Versys 1000 with first-class traction.
out of the asphalt.

Kawasaki Versys 1000


Balanced, it gives rigidity and lightness to the Kawasaki maxi-trail. Once the suspensions are adjusted to a less Pullman profile, the Versys 1000 is pleasant both in large curves and in small corners. Mass transfers are still noticeable when braking hard.

Kawasaki Versys 1000


If the attack of the calipers is measured when the levers are engaged, its intensity then increases very quickly if we insist with appreciable progressivity, therefore for a machine intended for various surfaces. The Bosch ABS control unit manages any wheel locks as well as possible. Its action remains discreet and without too many jolts.

Kawasaki Versys 1000

Comfort / Duo

Whatever the rolling surface, the comfort remains remarkable. If the general flexibility of the damping can sometimes hamper the precision in sports use, it brings a constant appreciable pleasure. But it is above all to the thickness of the saddles that the Versys 1000 owes its soft Moroccan pouf, guaranteeing long-distance trips without having a tanned butt.

Natural position, rubber-coated footrests, wide passenger grab handles … the accompanying person is cared for.

Large profiled suitcases and two-tone top-case containing two full-face helmets are available as an option. The fixing frames are, unfortunately, no more aesthetic, once the luggage is removed, than on the Z 1000 SX. Kawasaki could have integrated a permanent device to the resin plates of the rear shell.

Kawasaki Versys 1000


Kawasaki wanted to use proven and reliable solutions to offer a machine that can be easily used on a daily basis. In view of the test, the manufacturer of Akashi fulfilled and passed the result according to the specifications, with his choices of both chassis and engine. The best of greens for a motorcycle of cities AND fields … (Elysees).

The technology is there, and so is the performance. There remains a specific aesthetic, even invasive, even for a trail. If all of its more or less direct competitors also have "faces", the Kawa is not the most attractive. Out of these aesthetic considerations, it also lacks a gimbal. Even if it means digging into the house parts bank, a certain GTR could lend its transmission … but undoubtedly at the expense of an additional overweight.

As you can see, the target is not rivalry with the top players in the segment. However, offered at € 12,499, the Versys 1000 ABS is € 1,800 less expensive than a Stelvio 1200 8V ABS, € 3,000 less expensive than a BMW R 1200 GS comparable in electronic assistance. More road, the Honda Crossrunner VFR 800 X CBS fetched € 10,999.

The Versys 1000 therefore plays well placed, for fans of the four-cylinder in-line, with a specific positioning both in terms of plastic, character and chassis … enough to offer new paths for its new muse on the track already. well borrowed from maxi-trails.

Strong points

  • Engine availability
  • Cycle part balance
  • Quality of ABS and TRC electronic assistance

Weak points

  • Declining Z block character
  • Fork behavior
  • Incongruous exhaust

Available colors: brown, white, candy orange

Competitors: Honda Varadero 1000, KTM 990 Adventure, Suzuki DL 1000 VStrom, Triumph Tiger 1050

Kawasaki Versys 1000 technical sheet

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18 thoughts on “Kawasaki Versys 1000 motorcycle test

  1. This light guidance when accelerating out of a curve, must be boring to force.

    Wonderful !

  2. Quoteolivierzx
    Almost all the manufacturers have found more hp, more torque and less consumption with Euro5.

    Strongly Euro 10 !!!

    You will also have noted that this escalation and the R&D necessary to at least maintain the level of performance has a cost quite severely reflected in the price of motorcycles which increase every year … good for you if you can keep up, it will be the case of less and less bikers.

  3. Me who was waiting for the Versys 1000 to change my Versys 650, baaaah ……. I will rather change the dairy ….. Beueueurk !!!!!! wreath

  4. it’s true she is not beautiful even in real life !

    on the other hand after a test this morning I must say, voluntary engine, great braking from the front, the rear slowed down a bit! the front is a little light in bends but it still allows you to put gas, young young people who also test but sportswomen do not really follow the rhythm! lol

    the wind protection is not bad, but small vibrations in the feet !!

    I can compare like that with the future 1200 of triumph! it will always be closer to my sprint Great

  5. good bah, if it works better and the sports don’t keep up with the rhythm, there is a driver who will do the French editing championship with …. and who will win it.


  6. A real article, nice detailed, well constructed and interesting. Congratulations.

    What a beautiful motorcycle this Aprilia Tuono RSV4 is.

  7. A treat, your article which immerses the reader behind the scenes of race preparation.

  8. Everything is said in the introductioni

    Kawa could release us a version

    Roadster of the 636 zxr 636 I think

    That there would be amateurs…

    If Aprilia could decline its version

    Sportive Rsv in roadster why

    Not Kawa?

  9. Inexpensive, a nice face, a hell of a lot of autonomy … The mid-size offer is more and more attractive.

  10. The rear brake is a little light, unfortunately common to many motorcycles, what bothers me more is the lack of anchorage for the luggage …

  11. it might go from sprinting to versys for me !!!!

    finally I am going to ride with madam on sprint gt and versys to make him compare !

    I have already driven on the versys and just 84 barely .

    to follow question

  12. Benelli: The less shabby chinoiserie.

    Regarding this model, the quality is too much…

    As one eminent thinker would say, ALLO QUOI: 21hp AND 205 kg….

    You my ex XT was a fighter plane to compare with this trestle.

  13. it’s clear the sprint is to move forward! lol

    tomorrow I will know if the kawa tjs available in OCCAZ !

    if it is done I will make you cp rendered! I have already tested alone !!

    and for the aesthetic side!

    when they roll over it is really less noticeable !!!!!!!!!!!

  14. good after a test with madam on the versys it will be the triumph 800 which will come in the garage !!

    the versys alone I did not feel the famous vibrations! but there between 4/5 miles! and on another versys have felt that! rather unpleasant and has an often used diet !

    so not great for comfort, so it will be the tiger 800 that I will equip touratech !

    the catalog is a mine ………… of discoveries! lolpipe

  15. I have just taken possession of the gran tourer model; for the moment only happiness. nothing to do with my varadero. only downside stick out the tonguerotections in the wind and in the rain. I have the impression of having a 150 kg becane as the speed is there. I just have to adjust the front fork because it has trouble absorbing when the road is rough..

    Madame prefers the varadero for comfort.

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