2015 Kawasaki Versys 650 Preview

Kawasaki has heavily revised its Versys 650 for 2015. The 2015 Versys, which is a hybrid word for “Versatile” and “System,” arrives with updated styling, more power, better handling and enhanced comfort.

The younger brother of the Versys 1000 is available in two versions – the Versys 650 ABS and the Versys 650 LT. The latter is the same bike as the 650 ABS, but has additional light-touring necessities – Kawasaki Quick Release hard saddlebags and hand guards.

First thing that garners attention is the styling. Gone are the stacked headlights, and in their place are horizontal headlights contained within a brand-new front fairing. Design elements include a chin spoiler under the headlights, as well as air passages on the side of the cowling. The spoiler provides downforce at higher speeds, while the passages direct air around the rider and passenger, Kawasaki says.

The windscreen is also twice as large as last year’s model, and can be adjusted sans tools by 2.4 inches. Styling updates also include an “easy-to-read” instrument cluster that features a revised fuel gauge, maximum range indicator and ECO Economical Riding Indicator that shows the rider when maximum efficiency is achieved.

The Versys 650 models are powered by a fuel-injected 649cc parallel twin transplanted from the Ninja 650 sport bike. The Versys’ engine, which is mated to a six-speed transmission, was re-tuned for more optimal torque throughout the power band.

To increase higher RPM power, Kawasaki adds a a new one-piece exhaust that is matched to ECU changes. The new setup has optimized fuel economy, and for more miles between fill ups, Kawasaki added a larger 5.5-gallon fuel tank.

The 2015 Kawasaki Versys 650 models also receive new suspension – a Showa 41mm front fork that splits the damping and spring functions into separate fork tubes, and a KYB shock out back with a new remote-mounted adjuster.

Braking duties are handled by dual 300mm petal rotors up front squeezed by two-piston Nissin calipers up front, and a single 250mm disc out back squeezed by a single-piston caliper. ABS is standard on both models.

The updated motorcycle rolls on six-spoke 17-wheels – similar to the Ninja superbikes – shod in new Versys 650-specific Dunlop Sportsmax D222 tires that are designed for “light handling and comfort.”

Kawasaki says it also enhanced comfort by moving the foot pegs 15mm lower and 20mm forward compared to the 2014 model. Also, the 2015 model also gets a new rear subframe that allows for a larger payload.

The Versys 650 LT gets the Kawasaki Quick Release 28-liter hard saddlebags, and an item found on nearly all adventure-tourers – hand guards, which help protect hands in inclement weather.

The 2015 Kawasaki Versys 650 LT is available in either Candy Lime Green or Pearl Stardust White. Kawasaki did not release an MSRP as of this writing.

Following are the features and specs of the 2015 Kawasaki Versys 650 ABS and 650 LT.

2015 Kawasaki Versys 650 LT / Versys 650 ABS Features:

Key Features
• Amazingly versatile motorcycle is exceptionally comfortable
• NEW Front-end styling with an aggressive and functional design plus larger windshield
• NEW Front and rear suspension
• NEW Front and rear brake master cylinders, calipers and pad material
• NEW Dunlop tires
• NEW Larger, adjustable windshield
• NEW Instrument cluster and ignition switch position
• NEW Increased power and torque from the 649cc parallel twin with Digital Fuel Injection (DFI®)

649cc DOHC Parallel Twin Engine
• Most compact engine in its category, helps reduce the dimensions of the entire motorcycle
• Triangular crank and transmission shaft layout keeps the motorcycle short
• 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 back roads or freeways
• 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 helps mass centralization for light handling and great looks
• NEW One-piece exhaust and muffler helps to boost top-end performance
• NEW Exhaust end-cap design for smarter appearance
• NEW Fuel pump for improved fuel delivery
• NEW Revised ECU settings to match exhaust updates and enhance fuel economy

Liquid-cooled
• NEW KAMS (Kawasaki Air Management System) radiator air ducting system
• Engine temperatures remain consistent for long engine life and sustained power in tough conditions
• Coolant routed through the engine case 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
• Sub-throttle valves, located behind the main throttle valves, give the Versys 650 LT precise throttle response and great feel
• 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

Six-speed Transmission
• Versys 650 LT motorcycle has a racing-style cassette transmission layout that is extremely compact

Slender Double Pipe Perimeter Frame
• Frame is small, light and narrow at the knees and pegs for excellent comfort and control
• 3D computer analysis in the design process achieved the optimum balance of stiffness for superior ride and handling
• NEW Rear subframe design adds strength for saddlebag mounting

Suspension
• NEW Showa front fork has spring components in the left tube and damping components in the right, saving weight
• NEW KYB offset lay-down rear shock includes new remote adjustable preload
• Lay-down single shock complements the distinctive frame design, with an integrated line flowing from steering head to rear hub
• Short, compact frame and engine design allows the swingarm to be longer, improving overall handling

Anti-Lock Disc Brakes
• NEW Front and rear brake block-style calipers, front and rear master cylinders and brake pad material for increased braking performance
• Standard ABS brakes
• Same disc design as found on some Kawasaki sportbikes: the petal design offers improved cooling and warp-resistance compared to traditional discs

Six-spoke Wheels
• NEW Versys 650-specific Dunlop Sportsmax D222 tires for light handling and comfort
• The six-spoke wheels are similar to the ones found on the Ninja® ZX™-6R and ZX-10R motorcycles. They use less material between the spokes, so rim thickness is reduced along with overall weight
• Lightweight wheels increase suspension performance, handling, acceleration, deceleration and initial turn-in performance

Comfortable Ergonomics
• NEW Footpeg location is 15mm lower and 20mm further forward to accommodate a wide range of riders
• NEW Subframe design with increased stiffness, enhanced grab rails and comfortable seating position make the Versys 650 ABS more enjoyable for the passenger, as well as allowing use of Kawasaki Quick Release (KQR™) saddlebags (standard equipment on the 2015 Versys 650 LT model)
• Seat is tapered at the front to make it easier for most riders to reach the ground
• Rubber bushings at the rear engine mounts, on the handlebar mount and hollow rubber-covered footpegs result in reduced engine vibration and a more comfortable ride

Unique Bodywork
• NEW Bodywork design emphasizes sporty appearance of this touring motorcycle
• NEW Cowling with twin horizontal headlights and a new LED tail light give the Versys 650 LT a distinctive, high-tech appearance
• NEW Adjustable and larger windshield provides a large still-air pocket for comfort, and its tool-less adjustability makes it adaptable to fit the rider’s preference

Instruments
• NEW Easy-to-read instrument panel has a large analog tachometer and digital readout for the speedometer, fuel gauge, odometer, dual trip meters and clock

Versys 650 LT model
• NEW KQR (Kawasaki Quick Release) 28-liter Hard Saddlebags and Hand Guards are standard equipment
• Hard Saddlebags allow riders to carry gear on the daily commute or weekend jaunts. They mount and dismount quickly using the Kawasaki Quick Release (KQR) system and also have the Kawasaki One Key system that allows them to be locked using the motorcycle’s ignition key
• Hand Guards are mounted with aluminum brackets and use composite covers to protect hands from the elements when riding in all weather

Kawasaki Genuine Accessories
• KQR (Kawasaki Quick Release) 47-liter Top Case with Kawasaki One Key system. It can accommodate two full-face helmets, is color-matched to the motorcycle and can be used with the standard Hard Saddlebags
• Optional Saddlebag and Top Case Liners
• LED Light Bar to provide greater visibility for the rider and for other road users
• Grip Heaters for cold weather riding
• Helmet Lock to secure your helmet to the motorcycle
• Radiator Guard to protect from debris and stones
• Frame and Front Axle Sliders
• Gear Position Indicator to let the rider know what gear is selected
• DC Power Outlet to charge devices
• GPS Mount to allow you to mount a GPS device
• Windshield to provide more protection from the elements
• Gel Seat to provide more comfort for longer journeys
• Backrest Pad to keep the passenger more comfortable
• Tank and Knee Pads to improve comfort and to protect the paintwork
• U-Lock Bracket to secure a lock when not in use

2015 Kawasaki Versys 650 LT / Versys 650 ABS Specs:

  • Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder parallel twin
  • Displacement: 649cc
  • Bore x stroke: 83 x 60mm
  • Compression ratio: 10.8:1
  • Cooling: Liquid
  • Fuel injection: DFI® with two 38mm Keihin throttle bodies
  • Ignition: TCBI with electronic advance
  • Transmission: Six-speed with positive neutral finder
  • Final drive: Sealed chain
  • Frame: Double pipe diamond frame constructed from high-tensile steel
  • Rake / trail: 25 degrees / 4.3”
  • Wheelbase: 55.7”
  • Front suspension / wheel travel: 41mm hydraulic telescopic fork with stepless adjustable rebound and preload / 5.9”
  • Rear suspension / wheel travel: Single offset laydown shock with remote adjustable spring preload / 5.7”
  • Front tire: 120/70×17
  • Rear tire: 160/60×17
  • Front brake: Dual 300mm petal rotors with two-piston calipers and ABS
  • Rear brake: Single 250mm petal rotor with single-piston caliper and ABS
  • Overall length: 85.2”
  • Overall width: TBD
  • Overall height: 55.1” (windshield low) / 57.1 (windshield raised)
  • Seat height: 33.1”
  • Curb weight**: TBD
  • Fuel capacity: 5.5 gallons
  • Colors: Candy Lime Green, Pearl Stardust White
  • MSRP: $TBD
  • Warranty: 12 months
  • Optional Kawasaki Protection Plus: 12, 24, 36, and 48-month plans are available