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.
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.