Long-Term Review: 2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT

2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT
2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT

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.

2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT with Givi’s D4105ST replacement windscreen.
2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT with Givi’s D4105ST replacement windscreen.

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.


  1. I purchased this bike in black several months ago, at purchase added lights, 12 volt power outlet and top box, to replace an older Multistrada. I have ridden v twins most of my riding life and it’s going to take time to get used to using the upper rev range available with the Versys.
    Overall very satisfied with handling and performance. Would like more legroom (6’4″) and a seat that allowed for some variation in the seating position.

    Enjoy your magazine, had only recently became a subscriber, added Rider after reading a copy in a car dealership waiting room. Your selection of this bike as bike of the year reinforced my decision to purchase the Versys.

  2. The only thing stopping me from buying this bike is lack of electronic cruise control. The thumb lock cruise controls that bind the throttle are worthless. Please consider installing an MCCruise electronic unit and evaluating. I am also interested in knowing if the factory saddlebags are waterproof. Thanks much.

  3. I’ve got the 2015 LT1000- candy orange too. Does anyone know of an online site where i can purchase THE TOP-BOX and STEEL BRACKET that goes with it? Also, I’ve seen vids on youtube showing attached indicators to the TOP-BOX as well. Much appreciated if someone can help 🙂


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