UPDATE: Here’s my review!
The Versys is getting fancy. Last year, the Versys 1000 (only available in the touring-spec LT model is the US) was a hell of a bargain as it included ABS, two ride modes, traction control, 28L bags, a center stand, assist/slipper clutch, and plenty more for just $12,999. For 2019, the Versys 1000 gets some extra letters (SE LT+)…and a staggering price increase to $17,999. So, what are you getting for your money?
Well, just about everything. The motor, the frame, and the bodywork are all new. And if you like electronics, you’re getting a whole lot. Kawasaki’s website summarizes it as follows:
NEW Kawasaki Electronic Control Suspension (KECS)
NEW Smooth engine with electronic throttle valves (Kawasaki’s way of saying “ride by wire”) and KQS
NEW Electronic suite including KCMF and KIBS
NEW TFT color instrumentation with integrated riding modes
NEW Smartphone connectivity with RIDEOLOGY THE APP
NEW Bodywork with LED headlights and cornering lights
NEW Highly durable self-healing paint
Electronic cruise control and heated grips
That’s a whole lot of acronyms, and for some reasons Kawasaki insists on putting their name in front of everything so they all start with K. Let’s break it down a little bit:
KQS = Kawasaki Quick Shifter
KCMF = Kawasaki Cornering Management Function
KIBS = Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System
KTRC = Kawasaki TRaction Control
I’m looking forward to learning why Kawasaki decided to go upmarket with the Versys, as the model name has been associated with a good value for money for over a decade – the 650 is a surprisingly popular choice for motorcycle journalists that just want to have one bike of their own in addition to all the press units that come through. Now, though, the Versys has to compete with machines like the BMW S1000XR. Maybe that’s the point – some publications were already making that comparison because the Versys was so good for the money, but compared to much more expensive machines the conclusion would always be the same: “If you’re on a budget, choose the Kawasaki.” I had a discussion with someone at Kawasaki several months ago and he lamented how journalists would often summarize the Versys with the obvious conclusion of ‘well, it doesn’t have the same features as the other bikes, but at least it’s cheaper’. Maybe this is Kawasaki’s way of fighting back.
Check out what Kawasaki has to say about their newest Versys, and then hit me with your questions in the comments!