6,555 Miles // MSRP: $12,799
Since our last Long-Term Rides report on the Versys 1000 LT in the July issue, we’ve logged another 5,000 miles and we selected it as Rider’s 2015 Motorcycle of the Year. The more we ride the big Versys, the more attached we get. Power, handling, comfort, balance, luggage capacity, two-up-ability and price are just right, and more than one of us is trying to figure out a way to make the Candy Burnt Orange/Metallic Spark Black machine a permanent member of the family.
After 4,760 miles, the original Bridgestone Battlax T30 rear tire was pretty shagged and it had a small puncture leak. T30s are excellent sport-touring tires, with tenacious grip and responsive handling, so we spooned on a new set of T30 Evo tires, which has an improved tread compound and pattern for the rear. The Evos feel slightly firmer—not a bad thing—and seem to have a more consistent profile that improves handling.
The Versys works so well in its stock configuration that, other than the color- and key-matched factory accessory 47-liter top trunk ($582.75), the only other item we felt compelled to try out was Givi’s D4105ST replacement windscreen ($135). It installs quickly using the stock hardware (we recommend placing a towel over the cockpit to catch any falling bolts…ahem), and with 6 inches more height and up to 3.75 inches more width, it significantly improves wind protection. For those with a love of farkles, Kawasaki offers heated grips, a gear position indicator, a 12V power outlet, LED lights, frame sliders and luggage liners, and there are numerous aftermarket options for luggage, crash protection, replacement seats and exhausts, and more.
At 7,600 miles, the Versys will be due for its first post-break-in service (change oil, filter and spark plugs; lube and inspect all major components), but so far we’ve logged 6,555 hard miles without a single mechanical issue. Fuel economy has ranged from a low of 35 mpg (very spirited canyon riding) to a high of 49 mpg (cruising on the freeway in Low power mode). We’ve averaged a respectable 41.8 mpg overall, which yields 230 miles of range from the 5.5-gallon tank. One issue we (and a reader who bought a Versys 1000) have noticed is that the digital fuel gauge registers as full (showing all six bars) for the first 100-120 miles and then it will fall steadily. It’s not a showstopper on a bike with more than 200 miles of range, but can be inconvenient.
See more of this bike by watching our YouTube video here.