2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT | Road Test Review

Gone is the oddball styling of the previous Versys, replaced by a sleek, cat-eyed aesthetic similar to that of Kawasaki’s Ninja sportbikes. The smooth, powerful Versys 1000 is the most comfortable bike in this comparison, but it also throws off some engine heat.
Gone is the oddball styling of the previous Versys, replaced by a sleek, cat-eyed aesthetic similar to that of Kawasaki’s Ninja sportbikes. The smooth, powerful Versys 1000 is the most comfortable bike in this comparison, but it also throws off some engine heat.

(This is a sidebar for a comparison test with the Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS and Yamaha FJ-09. To read the full article and see full spec charts on all the bikes, CLICK HERE.)

With its venerable KLR650 handling dual-sport duties, Kawasaki first entered the “street adventure” category with the Versys 650, which debuted for 2008 and was based on the Ninja 650. A liter-sized version based on the Ninja 1000 was introduced for 2012, but only in Europe and Asia. The 650 and 1000 got thoroughly revamped for 2015, and now both are available in the U.S.

Made by Givi, the 28-liter Kawasaki Quick Release Saddlebags will each hold a full-face helmet.
Made by Givi, the 28-liter Kawasaki Quick Release Saddlebags will each hold a full-face helmet.

The Versys 1000’s moneymaker is a liquid-cooled, 1,043cc in-line four with DOHC and 4 valves per cylinder. Two fuel-injection maps provide Full (100 percent) or Low (75 power) power, which is sent to the rear wheel through an Assist and Slipper Clutch, a 6-speed transmission and an O-ring chain. Three-mode Kawasaki Traction Control (KTRC) is standard and can be turned off. A twin-spar cast aluminum frame mates to a tubular-steel subframe and a cast aluminum swingarm. KYB suspension includes a 43mm inverted fork and a horizontal back-link shock, both with 5.9 inches of travel and adjustable rebound and spring preload (the latter via remote knob on the shock). Braking is handled by a pair of opposed 4-piston Tokico front calipers and a single Nissin 1-piston rear caliper, with non-switchable ABS. Cast aluminum wheels are 17-inchers shod with Bridgestone Battlax T30 sport-touring tires.

Standard touring features include a manually adjustable windscreen, hand guards, a centerstand, a luggage rack and 28-liter Kawasaki Quick Release Saddlebags. A wide range of factory accessories is available. Color options include Candy Burnt Orange or Flat Ebony, both with a Metallic Spark Black fuel tank.

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The Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT was named the 2015 Rider Magazine Motorcycle of the Year. To learn more, click here.

To watch a video of the Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT in action, click here.

A pair of 4-piston opposed calipers squeeze petal rotors with real authority. ABS is standard.
A pair of 4-piston opposed calipers squeeze petal rotors with real authority. ABS is standard.
Digital display is info-rich but lacks a gear position indicator. There’s no 12V power outlet, either.
Digital display is info-rich but lacks a gear position indicator. There’s no 12V power outlet, either.

1 COMMENT

  1. In the video regarding the 2015 Versys 1000 the narrator says that it is all new from the ground up. This is not the case. The bike might be new to the US but dates back to 2012 and only received minor and mostly cosmetic changes in 2015. The model has been available in Canada since 2012.

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