2015 Motorcycle of the Year Presentation

Rider Maagzine's 2015 Motorcycle of the Year is presented to Kawasaki for the Versys 1000 LT.
Rider Maagzine’s 2015 Motorcycle of the Year is presented to Kawasaki for the Versys 1000 LT.

Rider’s Editor-in-Chief Mark Tuttle (2nd from left) recently paid a visit to Kawasaki Motors Corp. USA in Irvine, California, to present Team Green with our 2015 Motorcycle of the Year award for the Versys 1000 LT. Accepting the award are (from left) Media Relations Supervisor Brad Puetz; Manager, Public Relations + Brand Experience Kevin Allen; and Vice President of Marketing Chris Brull. You can read the full story about our Motorcycle of the Year selection and the contenders here.

Said Kawasaki’s Kevin Allen, “We are thoroughly overjoyed to hear the 2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT has been awarded the Motorcycle of the Year by Rider magazine. The large displacement adventure street segment has seen stiff competition as of late, but the value and the versatility of this machine, along with its proven engine and LT touring components truly set it apart. From a true enthusiasts’ publication like Rider magazine, this award is well appreciated and helps further justify the decision to grow the Versys family in America.”

So far we’ve racked up 5,200 miles on our long-term Versys 1000 LT, and found we only needed to add a taller windscreen—the one shown is the Givi D4105ST—to make it a near-perfect sport-touring adventure bike for solo or two-up riding. Kawasaki’s KQR 47-liter top case and Bridgestone T30 Evo tires just sweeten the deal. We’ll have another long-term report in a future issue.


  1. Hi,

    I purchased the 2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT a few weeks ago and in just a few days and with 200 miles under the belt, I can say this:

    1. The engine heat is really bothersome, especially in city riding. This is with the temperature around 80F. Even on the highways at speeds of around 70-80 mph, the heat from the engine does make the legs quite hot. I live in Northern California (San Jose area) and I will have to deal with temperatures of 80F+ for a significant part of the year.

    2. The fuel gauge is just broken. The 5 bars stay light until almost 130-140 miles (used the trip meter for this information) and then it drops to 3 or 2 bars. On the Versys forum, owners have suggested always using the trip meter to determine the amount of fuel left (based on average miles per gallon). This is not acceptable as a solution. A broken analog watch is better – it’s correct twice during the day. If you can’t get the fuel gauge to properly indicate the amount of fuel in the tank, just drop it from the display.

    I’m disappointed that your review doesn’t provide this information in their review. We, as readers, are not always fortunate enough to get demo rides on motorcycles that we end up purchasing and we end up depending on reviews to help us with our decision making.

    To readers who end up buying motorcycles with their own money as opposed to your reviewers who get the magazine to either purchase it or have the manufacturer lend it for extended periods of time, a review which provides this kind of valuable information is more useful than just raw number such as horsepower, etc.

    As I mentioned, it didn’t take me more than a few hundred miles on the bike to figure out these issues. I’ve now had the bike for a few weeks with about 1600 miles on it and the two issues mentioned above still remain and still irritate me. I have, of course, also written to Kawasaki about these issues. As a point of reference, my previous bike, a 2011 Suzuki GSX1250FA, didn’t have these two issues (even at temperatures of 120F, I didn’t feel any engine heat against my legs).


    • Siva, re: engine heat, if you’re going by the First Ride report in the April 2015 issue from our December ride in Sicily, well, heck no, we didn’t notice any engine heat so it’s not mentioned. However, it is addressed in the comparison test in the May issue (CLICK HERE). As we got into the warmer months with our test bike we did notice a small amount of engine heat, but nothing nearly as extreme or bothersome as you’re describing. Sometimes riders who wear shorts or jeans and shoes instead of riding pants and boots will notice engine heat more.

      Motorcycle fuel gauges are notoriously inaccurate, so much so that we always use them in conjunction with the tripmeter, as do most experienced long-distance riders. Five different riders have put more than 6400 miles on our long-term Versys 1000 LT, and none have complained about the fuel gauge. On our test bike the gauge will show all bars until about 100 miles, then begin dropping incrementally to four bars, three bars and so on. With a range of more than 200 miles, it’s not a huge issue, though I agree we should have mentioned it in at least one report. By resetting one tripmeter when you fill-up you can easily determine the approximate amount of fuel left in the tank at any time.

      • Hi, thanks for your reply. I should have mentioned that I was wearing boot and jeans (not shorts, :-)). But the heat is quite bothersome. Especially when I was on 100F temperatures. I guess that this would be true in other states like Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Florida, …

        Regarding the fuel gauges being inaccurate: I have ridden older bikes (my other ride is a 1995 Triumph Trident 900) which have manual trip reset knobs, and when I ride those bikes, I deal with the fact that the trip meter and the “low fuel” gauge light are my only means to determine the amount of fuel left.

        But, when a bike has the fuel gauge bars, I do expect it work correctly, otherwise just get rid of it. What is the point of an inaccurate gauge? On long distance trips, this is how I use the trip meters: Trip meter A: daily mileage. Trip meter B: total mileage over the entire trip (of course, I could use the pre trip odometer and post trip odometer reading to arrive at this number).

        As I mentioned earlier, on my 2011 Suzuki GSX1250FA, the 5 bars worked correctly to a point where I could predict almost to the mile when the bar would drop a notch. In 2013, I made a trip from CA to Utah, where in one section the next gas station was about 193 miles away and having the bars predictable was re-assuring :-). So, on a full tank, the 5 bars would light up, at 37 miles, one bar would drop, the 2nd at 74 miles, and so on. A friend who rides a Suzuki SV650 says that the same is true on that bike.

        I have also written to Kawasaki to complain about the engine heat issue and the fuel gauge issue.
        -Siva Kumar

  2. Hi, I read the review submitted by Silva on the 2015 Versys 1000 LT and agree on the fuel gauge inaccuracy issue. Mine would stay full until I had driven 200- 220 km at which point it would drop 1 bar, It would stay there until about 240km before it would drop another bar, it would drop quickly after that point. I have been getting around 360km on a tank. The shop tried to troubleshoot, first they replaced the fuel sensor in the tank. That didn’t work so they replaced the instrument panel, still didn’t fix the problem. So no fix, only now I have to add the original odometer reading to my new instrument panel reading for service tracking as there was no way to set the new instrument panel odometer reading to my original mileage reading. So now I use the trip meter on fill-up and have to deal with an incorrectly reading odometer!
    Subsequently, I acquired a wiring diagram and schematic for my fuel system and found that they still use a resistive fuel sender with a float instead of a capacitive unit. Also the sender float only seems to go up 2/3 in the tank for a full reading, so you would need to use at least 1/3 of your tank before it would change value.
    As far as the bike goes, everything else works really well. Best ergonomics on any bike I have owned, and lots of power. Fuel gauge, and now odometer, is an annoyance, Kawasaki should have not installed a fuel gauge this inaccurate.


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