2014 Kawasaki Versys PreviewHaving sport spirit and commuter comfort, the mid-weight Kawasaki Versys is a multitalented motorcycle. The Versys, the term a hybrid word of “Versatile” and “System,” arrived on the US market in 2007, quickly becoming a popular model due to its all-day comfort, sporty 649cc parallel twin, mult-use and value.
The do-it-all bike remained relatively the same except for a few aesthetic changes in 2010, but never arrived with ABS. This changes for 2014, Kawasaki adding its ABS to the Versys.Everything else is typical Versys. The liquid-cooled, fuel-injected parallel twin provides optimal power in the lower and mid rpm range. This is ideal for commuting situations, but grab some throttle and the upper rpm range is also lively for sportbike-like performance.The fuel-injection is crisp and responsive, allowing the rider to enjoy the bike that gets around 52 mpg. And with a 5-gallon fuel tank, trips to the gas station are minimal.Suspension duties are handled by a Showa rear shock with two-stage damping, along with an adjustable, 41mm inverted fork. These long-travel suspension components combine with the longer swingarm allow for comfort while commenting, but firmer suspension when the pace increases.Stopping the 2014 Kawasaki Versys is the same setup as found on the Ninja supersport motorcycles – dual 300mm petal-style rotors with two-piston calipers up front and a single 220mm petal rotor with a single-piston caliper out back. And to increase safety, the linear ABS was added for 2014.Comfort is everything on a commuter, and the upright seating provides a natural reach to the bars and pegs. This comfort is enhanced with a stepped seat that provides a soft cushion for both rider and passenger, and a three-position adjustable windscreen. Then there’s value; this versitle motorcycle is offered for under $8,000.Following are the features, specs, color options and MSRP for the 2014 Kawasaki Versys ABS.2014 Kawasaki Versys ABS Features:Key Features
NEW ABS brakes offer excellent performance and enhanced confidence in adverse conditions
Amazingly versatile motorcycle is exceptionally comfortable to ride in a variety of situations, from commuting, to backroads, to touring and even track days
649cc parallel twin with digital fuel injection (DFI) provides smooth, responsive power
Long-travel fork delivers excellent performance over a wide range of situations
Aggressive styling gives the Versys a distinctive look
649cc DOHC Parallel-Twin
Most compact engine in its category helps reduce the dimensions of the entire motorcycle
Triangular crank and transmission shaft layout keeps it short front to back
Semi-dry sump oil system reduces overall engine height
Narrow, chrome composite-plated aluminum cylinders help reduce engine width
Tuned to deliver smooth, responsive power in the low- to mid-rpm range for exceptional roll-on response – ideal for negotiating city traffic, tight backroads and anything in between
180-degree crankshaft and a balancer shaft produce a remarkably smooth engine
Oil jets on the connecting rod ends spray oil on the undersides of the pistons to aid cooling
Under-engine muffler with 3-way catalyzer aids mass centralization for light handling and great looks
Engine temperatures stay consistent for long engine life and sustained power in tough conditions
Closer engine tolerances mean more horsepower
Coolant routed through the engine cases reduces the number of external hoses
Digital Fuel Injection (DFI)
A pair of 38mm Keihin throttle bodies with ECU-controlled sub-throttle valves mean optimum performance and rideability
Sub-throttles, located behind the main throttle valves, give the Versys precise throttle response and great feel as well
An automatic fast idle system makes starting and warm-up easy, even on cold days
Precise fuel injection provides great fuel mileage, and the 3-way catalyzer significantly reduces emissions
Versys’ racing-style cassette transmission uses a compact layout that’s easily removable as a single unit from the engine cases for much easier gearbox maintenance
Slender Trellis Frame
Versys’ exotic-looking trellis frame is small, light and narrow at the knees and pegs for excellent comfort and control
3D computer analysis in the design process achieved optimum stiffness balance for superior ride and handling
Single Shock Rear Suspension
A distinctive aluminum gull-wing swingarm controlled by a lay-down single shock complements the distinctive frame design, with an integrated line flowing from steering head to rear hub
The short, compact frame and engine design allow the swingarm to be longer, which improves overall handling
The Showa shock has adjustable preload and rebound damping, and uses a free piston and two-stage damping valves for smooth action during initial compression that becomes firmer near the end of the stroke for a more planted feel
Adjustable Long-travel Front Fork
A long-travel 41mm inverted fork delivers excellent performance over a wide range of conditions
Tapered, relatively short outer tubes help provide the ideal stiffness balance to complement frame stiffness and chassis settings
Fork height, spring preload and rebound damping can be adjusted to fine-tune the suspension to specific conditions, riding styles and loads
NEW Anti-Lock Disc Brakes
NEW ABS brakes offer excellent performance and enhanced confidence in adverse conditions
Dual 300mm petal-style rotors with two-piston calipers in front and a single 220mm petal rotor with a single-piston caliper in back provide plenty of stopping power
Same rotor design as found on the Ninja supersport machines; petal design rotors offer improved cooling and warp resistance compared to traditional discs
Like the ones you’ll find on the Ninja ZX™-6R and ZX-10R, these six-spoke wheels use less material between spokes so rim thickness is reduced along with overall wheel weight
Each section of the two-piece seat was designed with a different thickness and firmness of foam to optimize comfort for both rider and passenger
An easy-to-read instrument panel has a large analog tachometer and digital readout for the speedometer, fuel gauge, odometer, dual trip meters and clock. White LED backlighting provides increased visibility at night
Grab rails, seat cover material, and a comfortable seating position make the Versys more fun and less stressful for passengers
Rubber bushings at the rear engine mounts and hollow rubber-covered footpegs result in reduced engine vibration and a more comfortable ride
The fairing, stacked dual headlight, front fender and mirrors, and a Z1000-style LED tail light give the Versys a distinctly bold and high-tech appearance
The windscreen provides a large still-air pocket for comfort, and its three-position adjustability makes it adaptable to fit a variety of riders and climates
2014 Kawasaki Versys ABS Specs:
Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder parallel twin
Bore x stroke: 83.0 x 60.0mm
Compression ratio: 10.6:1
Fuel injection: DFI® with two 38mm Keihin throttle bodies
Ignition: TCBI with electronic advance
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 rotors with two-piston caliper and ABS
Rear brake: Single 220mm petal rotor with single-piston caliper and ABS
Aprilia Tuono 660 Factory + Steve ’Stavros’ Parrish
byMotos and Friends by Ultimate Motorcycle
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Ultimate Motorcycling’s weekly podcast—Motos and Friends. My name is Arthur Coldwells.
Our first segment features the new Aprilia Tuono 660 Factory. Senior Editor Nic de Sena brings us his report on the flagship version of Aprilia’s upright middleweight machine. He gives us insight into whether it’s worth spending the extra money on the Factory version, and also of course, whether this sporting Aprilia is really the motorcycle for you.
The next guest segment of Motos and Friends is brought to you by the faster and most technologically advanced, 2023 Suzuki Hayabusa—one of the most iconic sportbikes ever. Check it out in person at your local Suzuki dealer now, or visit suzukicycles.com to learn more.
In this segment, Associate Editor Teejay Adams chats with (arguably) one of the most interesting Suzuki race riders of all time. the iconic RG500 alongside teammate double World Champion Barry Sheene. The two were almost as famous for their exploits off-track, as for their success on it. Those were the days! Steve also raced the Isle of Man TT for about ten years where he won 13 Silver Replicas, and got a podium finish. His insight into that particular brand of mayhem are fascinating.
But there’s waaay more to Steve Parrish than his motorcycle racing. He is also the most successful Semi-Truck racer ever, and, little known piece of useless trivia—he’s my birthday twin: 24th February. He is a natural entertainer and you can’t miss his recounting of the world’s most entertaining—and arguably terrifying—double-decker bus ride ever. If any of you were actually on that hell-ride then we’d love to hear from you!