Kawasaki Versys 650

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Kawasaki Versys 650
Manufacturer Kawasaki Motorcycle & Engine Company
Parent company Kawasaki Heavy Industries
Production 2007-present
Predecessor Kawasaki KLE500
Class Standard or adventure touring crossover
Engine 649 cc (39.6 cu in) liquid-cooled 4-stroke 8-valve DOHC parallel-twin
Bore / stroke 83 mm × 60 mm (3.3 in × 2.4 in)
Compression ratio 10.6:1
Power 59.4 hp (44 kW) @ 8,400 rpm[1]
Torque 42 lb⋅ft (57 N⋅m)[1]
Transmission 6-speed constant mesh
Suspension Front: 41 mm (1.6 in) telescopic fork with adjustable rebound and preload, 150 mm (5.9 in) travel
Rear: Single offset laydown shock with adjustable rebound and spring preload, 145 mm (5.7 in) travel
Brakes Front: Dual-piston caliper with dual 300 mm (11.8 in) discs
Rear: Dual-piston caliper with single 220 mm (8.7 in) disc
Tyres Front: 120/70-17
Rear: 160/60-17
Rake, trail 25 degrees, 108 mm (4.3 in)
Wheelbase 1,415 mm (55.7 in)[2]
Dimensions L: 2,125 mm (83.7 in)[2]
W: 840 mm (33 in)[2]
H: 1,330 mm (52 in)[2]
Seat height 845 mm (33.3 in)[2]
Weight 206 kg (454 lb)[1] (wet)
Fuel capacity 19 L (4.2 imp gal; 5.0 US gal)[2]
Fuel consumption 4.5 L/100 km (63 mpg‑imp; 52 mpg‑US)[2]
Related Kawasaki Ninja 650R

The Kawasaki Versys 650 (codenamed KLE650) is a middleweight motorcycle. It borrows design elements from dual-sport bikes, standards, adventure tourers and sport bikes; sharing characteristics of all, but not neatly fitting into any of those categories.[3] The name Versys is a portmanteau of the words versatile and system.[4] It was introduced by Kawasaki to the European and Canadian markets as a 2007 model and to the US market in 2008.[5] A California emissions compliant version was released in 2009.[6][7] In 2010 new styling was applied to the headlight and farings and several functional changes made including enlarged mirrors and improved rubber engine mounts.[8] In 2015, a new model was introduced with a new fairing style that abandoned the older, stacked headlights for the more conventional twin headlight style commonly found on sportbikes.[9]

Technical details

The Versys is based on the same platform as Kawasaki's other 650cc twin motorcycles, the Ninja 650R and the ER-6n. It shares the same electronics, engine, wheels, brakes and main frame as its siblings. Where it differs is in riding position, rear sub frame, suspension components, and engine tuning.[2]

The Versys' 650 cc liquid cooled, four-stroke, parallel-twin engine has been retuned for more bottom-end and mid-range torque. This is achieved with different camshafts and fuel injection mapping. These changes cause peak torque to occur at a lower engine speed and provide better throttle response in the 3,000 to 6,000 rpm range. In addition a balance tube has been added between the exhaust headers to smooth out power delivery. Power is 68 hp (51 kW) at 8,500 rpm, compared with the Ninja's 67 hp (50 kW) at 8,000 rpm.[1] Torque is 47.2 lb⋅ft (64.0 N⋅m), compared with the Ninja's 48.45 lb⋅ft (65.69 N⋅m).[1] Improving the engine's low and mid range response comes at the expense of a slight reduction in peak power however. A similar approach was recently deployed by Honda with their CBF1000 model. The engine uses a 180 degree crankshaft. This in turn requires an uneven firing interval (180 degrees, 540 degrees) which gives the engine note a distinctive "throbbing" sound at idle.[2]

The suspension has greater vertical travel and more adjustability than the suspension on the Versys 650 siblings. On the front thicker/stiffer 41 mm inverted telescopic forks are externally adjustable for preload and rebound damping. The right fork leg carries a damping cartridge while both legs contain springs. The rear shock absorber is adjustable for rebound damping. Suspension preload is adjustable in the rear via a screw collar on the shock. 2015+ models have an external adjuster. The rear shock/spring is directly connected, without linkages, to a non symmetrical, gull wing, aluminium swing arm instead of the more basic steel swing arm used on the Ninja and ER-6.[2]

Local variants

In Australia, the Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme (LAMS) is in place for riders on a restricted license during the first period after passing their motorbike test. For this market the Versys 650L is manufactured and sold with output power restrictions put into place using a custom program on the ECU and a screw installed near the throttle wheel on the right-side of the bike which prevents it from fully rotating. The specifications for the Australian LAMS and non-LAMS variants for the 2017 model year are below, but the different RPM measurements should also be noted[10][11]:

Model KLE650 (KLE650FHF) KLE650L (KLE650FHFW)
Power 51 kW @ 8,500 rpm 41.3 kW @ 8,000 rpm
Torque 64 N.m @ 7,000 55 n.m @ 5,500 rpm

In addition to the above differences, Australia marketed Versys 650 and 650L are sold with a fuel capacity of 21 L and have a curb mass of 216 kg (wet) for both the 650L and 650. Available color scheme in the Australian market have been limited a single choice for a model year. This differs from other Kawasaki markets where one or more color choices have been on offer in the same model year. For example, for the only color choice for the Australia MY2017 Versys 650 is Metallic Flat Spark Black / Metallic Carbon Gray and in 2016 it was Candy Matte Orange. In Europe in 2017, there were three color choices available.


The Versys was reviewed by motorcycling media and received the following notable reactions.


  1. ^ a b c d e Brissette, Pete (8 January 2008). "2008 Kawasaki Versys Road Test". Motorcycle.com. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j White, G. (8 December 2011). "2012 Kawasaki Versys 650 Specifications". Kawasaki.ca. Archived from the original on March 30, 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
  3. ^ "2010 Kawasaki Versys Review". Motorcycle.com. Retrieved 26 May 2010.
  4. ^ "2008 Kawasaki VersysTM Q & A with Product Manager Karl Edmondson" (PDF). Kawasaki. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  5. ^ "2008 Kawasaki Versys - First Look". MotorcycleUSA.com. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  6. ^ Cobb, Jeff (26 May 2010). "2010 Kawasaki Versys Review: A Swiss Army knife among street motorcycles". motorcycle.com. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  7. ^ "Living With Versys-tility". webBikeWorld. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  8. ^ "2010 Kawasaki Versys Review". topspeed.com.
  9. ^ "2015 KAWASAKI VERSYS – FIRST LOOK". cycleworld.com.
  10. ^ "2017 Versys 650 | Kawasaki Motors Australia". kawasaki.com.au. Retrieved 2017-10-20.
  11. ^ "2017 Versys 650L | Kawasaki Motors Australia". kawasaki.com.au. Retrieved 2017-10-20.
  12. ^ "Mag names Versys MC of the year". LondonBikers. 2008-12-02. Archived from the original on 2009-01-03. Retrieved 2008-12-03.
  13. ^ Cashman, Garret (2008-12-02). "Kawasaki Versys Wins Prestigious Award". LondonBikers. Retrieved 2008-12-03.
  14. ^ "2015 Comparison: Kawasaki Versys 650 LT vs. Suzuki V-Strom 650XT". Motorcyclist. 2015-10-27. Retrieved 2015-04-21.

External links

  • Official website
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