2010 Kawasaki Versys
Versatile, Distinctive, Affordable and Just Plain Fun
Now and then, a clean-sheet idea that just plain works appears from out of nowhere, and everybody wonders why nobody thought of it before… That’s the Kawasaki Versys. Following its debut just a couple of years ago, the world’s motorcycle press unanimously embraced the Versys’ unique combination of utility, versatility, affordability and just plain fun — and they haven’t stopped singing its praises. Motorcyclist magazine named it “Motorcycle of the Year,” and the Versys made top 10 lists around the world. Luckily, the brains at Kawasaki who dreamed up the Versys are not afraid to mess with success, so for 2010, there’s even more to love.
Fresh new bodywork showcases the Versys’ athletic-looking steel trellis frame, gull-wing swingarm and compact engine, with a newly sculpted shape that shows off the bike’s dynamic flexibility and strength. A new stacked dual-beam headlight leads the way, with a bigger, three-way adjustable windscreen atop it that gives more options to more riders. Out back there’s a bright new Z1000-type LED tail light, and between the head and tail lights all sorts of pieces have been restyled to reflect the Versys’ quality, including the radiator shrouds, mirrors, turn signals, engine covers and rear fender.
Functionally, the Versys was tough to improve upon, but adding rubber bushings to the rear engine mounts, and topping the footpegs with hollow rubber inserts to better isolate the rider’s feet from engine vibration, resulted in a smoother, more relaxed ride.
The Versys’ compact liquid-cooled fuel-injected 649cc parallel-twin engine was the perfect powerplant for this light and nimble do-anything bike right from the start: Lively enough for advanced riders and predictable enough to inspire confidence in rank novices, the torquey twin delivers a deep ribbon of torque in the lower and middle parts of its rev range, making the Versys a perfect commuter and relaxed traveling companion. Its surprising genius becomes readily apparent once the roads turn twisty, because despite its comfort and civility, the fun-to-ride Versys also offers genuine sportbike handling. And excellent fuel economy combined with a big, 5-gallon fuel tank lets you go a long way between gas pumps.
Long-travel high-tech suspension is critical to the Versys’ multi-role mission. A Showa rear shock with two-stage damping firms up progressively as the wheel moves through its stroke, providing an initially plush ride that firms to near-sportbike levels as suspension loads escalate. The bike’s short, compact engine makes it possible to use a longer-than-average gull-wing swingarm for reduction of throttle-induced suspension movement and excellent handling. A dual-sport inspired, adjustable 41mm tapered-tube inverted fork up front soaks up bumps big and small, and like the rear end, firms up nicely as the pace increases.
Absolutely key to the Versys’ success, a comfortable, carefully designed cockpit provides a mostly upright, natural seating position and features stepped seat constructed to provide optimum comfort for both rider and passenger. And the bigger new windscreen and upgraded passenger seating carry the comfort theme forward on the latest Versys. An easy-to-read and informative instrument panel allows riders to quickly scan the gauges and keep their eyes on the road. Possibly the most versatile motorcycle out there, Versys excels at almost any task it’s given, from gridlock traffic jams, to canyon carving, to long-distance touring.
New for 2010:
- A new fairing, stacked dual headlight, new front fender and mirrors, and a Z1000-style LED tail light, give the Versys a bold new high-tech look
- A larger windscreen provides a larger still-air pocket for increased comfort; three-position adjustability makes it adaptable to fit a variety of riders and climates
- Revised passenger grab rails, new seat cover material, and a little fine-tuning of the passenger seating position make the Versys even more fun for passengers
- Rubber bushings at the rear engine mounts and hollow rubber-covered footpegs result in reduced engine vibration and a more comfortable ride
- Revisions to the muffler, clutch cover, sprocket and alternator covers, radiator shrouds, swingarm pivot covers and rear fender all contribute to the Versys’ bold new high-quality look
649cc DOHC Parallel Twin-Cylinder Engine
- The most compact engine in its category helps reduce the dimensions of the entire motorcycle
- Triangular crank and transmission shaft layout keeps it short front-to-back
- A semi-dry sump oil system reduces overall engine height
- The narrow, chrome composite-plated aluminum cylinders help reduce engine width
- This one is tuned to deliver smooth, responsive power in the low- to mid-rpm range for exceptional roll-on response — ideal for negotiating city traffic, tight backroads and anything in between
- A 180-degree crankshaft and a balancer shaft produce an uncannily smooth engine
- Oil jets on the connecting rod ends spray oil on the undersides of the pistons to aid cooling
- An under-engine muffler with 3-way catalyzer aids mass centralization for light handling and great looks
- Engine temperatures stay consistent for long engine life and sustained power in tough conditions
- Closer engine tolerances mean more horsepower
- Coolant routed through the engine cases reduces the number of external hoses
Digital Fuel Injection (DFI)
- A pair of 38mm Keihin throttle bodies with ECU-controlled sub-throttle valves mean optimum performance and ridability
- Sub throttles, located behind the main throttle valves, give the Versys precise throttle response and great feel as well
- An automatic fast idle system makes starting and warm-up easy, even on cold days
- Precise fuel injection provides great fuel mileage, and the 3-way catalyzer significantly reduces emissions
Digital Capacitor Discharge Ignition (CDI) System
- Microprocessor-controlled timing never requires adjustment and is ultra-responsive to the engine’s needs
- Powerful, spark plug-mounted “stick” ignition coils are compact, light and reliable
- Versys’ racing-style cassette transmission uses a compact layout that’s easily removable as a single unit from the engine cases for much easier gearbox maintenance
High-Tensile Steel Trellis Frame
- The Versys’ exotic-looking trellis frame is small, light and narrow at the knees and pegs for excellent comfort and control
- 3D computer analysis in the design process achieved optimum stiffness balance for superior ride and handling
Single Shock Rear Suspension
- A distinctive aluminum gull-wing swingarm controlled by a lay-down single shock complements the distinctive frame design, with an integrated line flowing from steering head to rear hub
- The short, compact frame and engine design allows the swingarm to be longer, which improves overall handling
- The Showa shock has adjustable preload and rebound damping, and uses a free piston and two-stage damping valves for smooth action during initial compression that becomes firmer near the end of the stroke for a more planted feel
- A 41mm long-travel inverted fork combines the best of dual sport and sportbike-type suspensions, to deliver excellent performance over a wide range of conditions
- Tapered, relatively short outer tubes help provide the ideal stiffness balance to complement frame stiffness and chassis settings
- Fork height, spring preload and rebound damping can be adjusted to fine-tune the suspension to specific conditions, riding styles and loads
Petal Style Brake Discs
- Dual 300mm front petal discs with two-piston calipers in front and a single 220mm rear petal disc with a single-piston caliper in back provide plenty of stopping power
- Same rotor design as found on the Ninja® supersport machines, petal design rotors offer improved cooling and warp resistance
- Like the ones you’ll find on the Ninja ZX™-6R and ZX-10R, these six-spoke wheels use less material between spokes so rim thickness is reduced along with overall wheel weight
- Lighter wheels increase overall performance — suspension, handling, acceleration/deceleration and initial turn-in
- Each section of the two-piece seat was designed with a different thickness and firmness of foam to optimize comfort for both rider and passenger
- The passenger seat and grab bars were designed to provide a natural seating position for added comfort
- An easy-to-read instrument panel has a large analog tachometer and digital readout for the speedometer, fuel gauge, odometer, dual trip meters and clock. White LED backlighting provides increased visibility at night
- Engine: Four-stroke, liquid cooled, DOHC, four-valve per cylinder, parallel twin
- Displacement: 649cc
- Bore x Stroke: 83.0 x 60.0mm
- Compression Ratio: 10.6:1
- Cooling: Liquid
- Fuel System: Digital fuel injection with two 38mm Keihin throttle bodies
- Ignition: Digital CDI
- Transmission: Six-speed
- Final Drive: O-Ring chain
- Frame: Semi-double cradle, high-tensile steel
- Rake / Trail: 25 degrees / 4.3 in.
- Wheelbase: 55.7 in.
- Front Suspension / Wheel Travel: 41mm hydraulic telescopic fork with stepless adjustable rebound and preload / 5.9 in.
- Rear Suspension / Wheel Travel: Single offset laydown shock with 13-position adjustable rebound damping and adjustable spring preload / 5.7 in.
- Front Tire: 120/70x17
- Rear Tire: 160/60x17
- Front Brake: Dual 300mm petal discs with two-piston caliper
- Rear Brake: Single 220mm petal disc with single-piston caliper
- Overall Length: 83.7 in.
- Overall Width: 33.1 in.
- Overall Height: 51.8 in.
- Seat Height: 33.1 in.
- Curb Weight: 454.1 lbs.
- Fuel Capacity: 5.0 gal.
- Colors: Metallic Spark Black