The trail-GT approach is a delicate exercise for all manufacturers (except BMW, which has a perfect mastery of the subject), but they all got into it. Kawasaki also attempted the approach in 2004 with the KLV 1000, a recolored V-Strom in fact, with no real success..
Precisely, the Greens already have in their catalog a lively and playful, versatile, efficient trail, with a very nice little 6 and a half twin: the Versys – which unfortunately does not have the success it deserves. So, if we took up the concept by adding cm3 and presence to go wriggle with the tenors of the upper segment ….
Trail in appearance, backpacker in fact
Akashi’s answer is the VERSYS 1000. A handsome beast with sturdy shoulders, a large heart and a padded hindquarters. While some machines like the Tiger 800 XC or the 1190 Adventure R smell like dust, this one breathes GT from the wheels to the saddle. A logical approach because 90% of users of this type of after-sales service (like in a car) never put the wheels outside the asphalt. But like the friends of the segment, the Versys benefit from certain advantages of the trail. Greater suspension travel to smooth out the roughness of the road (150 mm at the front and rear), an upright position to ensure comfort until the end of the road; and to fully assume its road status, it needs an engine that knows how to respond. This is where the Versys comes out with its special feature that will not go unnoticed.
An engine from fierce battles
When the trail was born and until the peak of its glory, the single cylinder had the monopoly of engine architecture. Then, the big trail-GT arrived at the approach of the XXIst century and the twin-cylinder took hold of this new style of road. As we attack the second decade of the millennium, the cylinders are multiplying: Triumph confirms its master architecture with a large 3-cylinder on its 1200 Explorer; Honda dares the V4 on its Crosstourer; as for Kawasaki, it takes on the beaten track nothing less than a 4 cylinders in line. And not just any: that of the Z 1000.
This 1,043cc block powers one of the most famous streetfighters in production. Sacred bet and great daring to graft such a mechanism on this type of motorcycle. It’s big, it’s wide, but it’s very flexible, and its linearity goes better on long stages than turbulent monos or twins (more lively though).
Kawa calmed the fiery temper of this carton to match the Versys claims. In addition to a specific electronic management, there are many differences: a compression ratio reduced from 11.8 to 10.3: 1, less aggressive cam profiles, new valves and their adapted springs, and on the side of the box, the first 2 reports are shortened while the other 4 shoot longer. Deflated in power but reinforced in availability at low and mid-speeds, the unit delivers 118 horsepower at 9,000 rpm and more than 10 mkg of torque at 7,700 rpm. Enough to take off without worry the 239 kilos full made of the machine.
A barking engine and scratching fleas! As in the majority of sports cars, a modern motorcycle is supervised by an electronic brain. Objective: security and control. For the first mission, an ABS is installed as standard. We look at the range which has a nice one and not too heavy and tacky, we borrow the anti-lock from the ZX-10R.
For control, we trust the traction control. And no question of doing things by halves. Kawa combined the S-KTRC of the ZX-10R and the KTRC of the ZZR and GTR 1400 to provide 3 modes of traction control.
modes 1 and 2 favor acceleration (like the S-KTRC in the 2011 Ninja ZX-10R), while mode 3, comparable to the KTRC system of the 1400 GTR, makes driving on slippery roads more flexible. Of course, it is possible to deactivate the system. In modes 1 and 2, the very advanced software allows a certain degree of slippage.
Through complex analysis, the system can then predict when the driving conditions are about to become unfavorable. By acting before the slip goes outside the optimal traction range, it limits power drops and provides great flexibility. Finally, it checks the conditions every 5 milliseconds and manages the ignition accordingly, which gives it extreme responsiveness..
The intervention of mode 3 is more marked. As soon as it detects excessive slip, it manages the ignition timing, the air supply and regulation and reduces engine power until grip is regained by the rear wheel. In addition, if the KTRC of the 1400 GTR deliberately delays its entry into play to give the driver time to become aware of the rear wheel slip, the intervention of Mode 3 is almost instantaneous..
The device is also able to differentiate the rear wheels effected on torque, more progressive, from the brutal rear wheels. In Modes 1 and 2, the former are tolerated as long as the acceleration remains acceptable, but a sudden rear wheel triggers the intervention of the system. Mode 3 prevents any figure of this style.
By default, the KTRC is always on when starting the engine. The driver must therefore voluntarily deactivate the device, using the on / off button located on the left stalk..
In addition to traction control, the Versys 1000 also offers the choice between two maps. The weather is fine, you are sure of yourself, the road is enticing…. you might as well choose Full Power mode (oops, 100 hp in France). But when you get back, after 18 hours on the road, you are punctured, it’s raining, it’s cold … The Low Power mode only delivers 75% of the power and tempers the response to acceleration.
Comfort or pebbles…
Its look strongly modeled on the small Versys 650, but well inflated with steroïdes, clearly indicates its path: a lot of versatility, ignoring asperities, cobblestones, holes, roughness, but 17-inch spoked wheels, even mounted Pirelli Scorpion, 300 kilos minimum with a light pilot, and its weak trail-esque claims will not allow it to go further in the stones than its competitors. But as said before, the majority of users will not put the tires in it.
A few little touches will allow the crew to travel at ease. First there is a screen adjustable over 30 mm thanks to 2 dials, a saddle twice as padded as that of a Z 1000, a luggage rack, a rear frame buckle capable of supporting 220 kgs (we will be able to secure the valos and the top-case without fear), a multifunction button on the left stalk to control the electronic assistance, adjustment of the shock absorber preload offset on the side and accessible, a large tank of 21.5 liters capable of ensuring autonomy, according to the manufacturer, up to 400 km, and protection from the wind will be the task of the fork crown and side panels. Their dimensions should allow them to properly fulfill their office.
And the handling, who’s in charge? The engine is derived from the Z 1000, so you need stuff in the same vein. All around, it’s serious with a double-beam aluminum frame supported by reinforcement tubes. The fork is an inverted 43mm in diameter. Braking, under surveillance, remember the ABS, is provided by a set of 320 mm discs and 4-piston calipers at the front + a 250 mm disc at the rear. Identifying itself with the little Versys but with a genetic heritage coming directly from the Big Z, this machine seems to be more interested in sport than in agricultural roads.
Challenge or attempt ?
Without really standing out from the competition, the Versys 1000 offers a real identity. We like it or we grimace its features, but no one is indifferent to it. By adding a lot of elements to the Z 1000, it ensures sportiness and efficiency while keeping manufacturing costs down. At 12,500 euros, its price is 1,500 euros lower than that of the competition. This does not prevent it from offering ABS and traction control as standard, a big fat 4 legs, and the most comfortable seat of the Kawa range. Its dashboard is complete but a little austere – bonus, a special indicator light tells you when you are driving eco-friendly and green (dragging yourself like a larva, what….).
To ensure its aptitude for travel, you can add everything you need by drawing from the range of accessories: 117 liters of luggage with the top-case and the bags, the heated grips, an Akrapovic pot, protectors- hands, etc ….
What you must remember
Calculate the cost of
Test the price of the motorcycle insurance specialist
sure 51 notice
VERSYS 1000 2012
Model marketed in
200 km / h
The technical aspect
Kawasaki VERSYS 1000 2013
- Tank: 21 liters
- Width: 900 mm
- Height: 1,405 mm
- Wheelbase: 1,520 mm
- Operating weight: 239 kg
- Train before
- Secondary chain transmission
- Rear axle
(77 x 56 mm)
at 9000 rpm
at 7,700 rpm