News 2011 Kawasaki Versys | Preview

2011 Kawasaki Versys | Preview

2011 Kawasaki Versys

If you look up Versys in the dictionary there is no listing. One must assume then that Kawasaki invented the name to define motorcycle versatility and then attached it to an all-around, do anything bike.

Since the Kawasaki Versys was introduced a few years back, motorcycle magazines and the public have praised it as well.

The Versys is a player in the burgeoning adventure category, going up against motorcycle class favorites like the BMW GS and the Ducati Multistrada.

The big difference is that the Kawasaki has a price tag that makes it very appealing to a wider range of motorcycle enthusiasts.

The 2011 Kawasaki Versys is powered by a liquid-cooled 649cc parallel-twin, officially categorizing it as a middleweight.

The modest displacement allowed for compactness, which contributes to a more nimble and manageable motorcycle (whether dealing with commuter traffic or ditches and sand washes).

With digital fuel injection feeding two 38mm Keihin throttle bodies, the twin produces enough power to satisfy the advanced rider while managing to be tame enough to suit a novice. Predictability is the key, with the Kawasaki Versys power coming on in a steady torque curve.

Upright seating is intended to provide a comfortable riding position for optimum control and visibility in traffic, as well as all day comfort for touring.

An adjustable windscreen is designed to reduce windblast on the rider and passenger while remaining small and compact enough to not disrupt the design flow of the motorcycle.

Providing further rider comfort, the engine is partially rubber mounted and hollow inserts on top of the footpegs help isolate the rider’s feet from engine vibration.

At the heart of the 2011 Kawasaki Versys is a sportbike. Although a perfect daily commuter, short or long haul tourer, and even a capable off-road/adventure motorcycle, the Versys possesses the soul of a canyon runner.

The upright seating position and semi-wide handlebars provide exceptional leverage, allowing for some spirited runs through twisting sections of pavement.

Adding to this package of fun, the Versys due the 650cc twin’s super model-like appetite gets exceptional fuel economy. Add to that a five-gallon fuel tank for further insurance you won’t be getting stranded out in the boonies.

Suspension is a big part of the Versys multi-role versatility. On the back end a single Showa shock mounted in a cantilevered position has two-stage damping that allows it to soak up the little bumps and ruts of the road with the first portion of the shock stroke providing a plush ride.

As the shock is compressed it transitions into a stiffer range, allowing it to absorb bigger ruts and nastier terrain.

The Kawasaki Versys relatively short motor allows use of a long, gull-wing swingarm, which helps stability especially when suspension is collapsed.

Front forks are a carry over from dual sport with fully adjustable, 41mm tapered, inverted tubes designed to act in concert with the rear shock, with the same progressive damping that stiffens significantly as forks compress.

Add these technical features to Kawasaki’s attention to rider and passenger comfort with natural seating position and easy to read instrument gauges and the Versys is destined to win over converts interested in a highly versatile, yet fun motorcycle.

2011 Kawasaki Versys | Motorcycle Specs

Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder parallel twin

Displacement: 649cc

Bore x stroke: 83.0 x 60.0mm

Compression ratio: 10.6:1

Cooling: Liquid

Fuel system: Digital fuel injection with two 38mm Keihin throttle bodies

Ignition: TCBI with electronic advance

Transmission: Six-speed

Final drive: O-Ring chain

Frame: Semi-double cradle, high-tensile steel

Rake / trail: 25 degrees / 4.3 in.

Wheelbase: 55.7 in.

Front suspension / wheel travel: 41mm hydraulic telescopic fork with stepless adjustable rebound and preload / 5.9 in.

Rear suspension / wheel travel: Single offset laydown shock with 13-position adjustable rebound damping and adjustable spring preload / 5.7 in.

Front tire: 120/70×17

Rear tire: 160/60×17

Front brake: Dual 300mm petal discs with two-piston caliper

Rear brake: Single 220mm petal disc with single-piston caliper

Overall length: 83.7 in.

Overall width: 33.1 in.

Overall height: 52.4 in.

Seat height: 33.3 in.

Curb weight: 454.2 lbs.

Fuel capacity: 5.0 gal.

Colors: Metallic Imperial Red

Warranty: 12 months

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling.

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