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Offline Himself

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The 176 Mile Versys MK3 Test Ride
« on: December 22, 2018, 09:54:47 PM »
I spent today (December 22nd) running in a 2019 Versys 1000 MK3 for Chris Walker Kawasaki in Grantham (UK). Having spent the last 18 months totally smitten by Susan (my MK2 VK),  I was wondering if the changes to the new model would nudge me towards changing.

Perhaps this is an unfair comparison, after all, Iíve tweaked my 2017 VK to my liking, not by much but enough to take me from happy to ecstatic.

Iíve backed off the front end preload half a turn to make the front more pliable. The original exhaust end can has been replaced by a fully legal Delkevic, thereby making to motor breath noticeably easier, even with the CAT in place. The original pads went in the bin recently, and Double H EBC pads fitted. The stock screen has been swapped out for a Givi ďare you sure that isnít a sail from the Cutty Sark?Ē replacement. I have no issue with the original screen. However, the Givi keeps more crap off me in winter. And lastly, the standard headlights were swapped for HID units, almost as soon as my MK2 was run it.


The 2019 Versys Iíve been riding is the standard model, with a couple of additions from Chris Walkerís dealership. The bike has the Kawasaki quick shifter fitted, Kawasaki heated grips and handguards. Other than that is was how it comes out of the crate, which includes cruise control.

First impressions: The bike looks bigger, which it isnít, and the LED headlights are bright. Motorcycle manufacturers appear to be catching up with cars when it comes to headlight technology. One-eyed -Pete-the-Pirate, the single headlight low-beam has been done away with, both headlights are now on for low and high beam.


The instrument cluster has been lifted from elsewhere in the Kawasaki range (H2SX I think) and looks good. I wouldnít call it an improvement over the MK2, it is just different. The needle moves the same way, and the numbers tell me how fast Iím going. The warning lamps are around the outside of the rev counter, rather than in a row across the top. There is a lot of information on the display which was a little confusing at first glance. After the second cup of tea and some prolonged staring at the display, I had worked out where everything was.

Following a couple of doughnuts around the carpark to get the feel of the 2019 version, I spent the first 30 miles on the A1 Ė a fast two-lane road to let the motor come up to temperature and everything settle in. Running in requires no more than 4,000 RPM for the first 500 miles, and at 63 MPH those 30 miles seemed to go on forever. I was heading for the outstanding B660 road from Yaxley to Kimbolton, but first I got the opportunity to play with the cruise control.


I never thought Iíd need cruise control on a motorcycle. Iím on a motorcycle because I want to ride it, so if you want to take over any part of riding the bike, then I'm going to object. Yet, with the button just under my left thumb, I knew I was going to press it, to see what happened. And press it I did, and nothing happened. Einstein here forgot to turn it on first and then press set.

Having worked out the error of my ways, I pressed the buttons in the right order and not unsurprisingly the Verysys then continued to travel at 63mph when I released the throttle. Pressing the minus button slows the Versys down, and the plus button speeds it back up again. The perfect way to travel through what is reportedly the most profitable section of road in the UK, thanks to the average speed cameras (Hah Ė 63mph!). Touch either of the brakes and the cruise control disconnects, with a little bit of a thud. The throttle effectively goes from 63mph and 4,000 rpm to shut in a heartbeat.

The more interesting bit of the cruise control system is at the other end of the handlebars. The Versys now has a ride-by-wire throttle, and the mapping of the throttle response to the movement of the twist grip is poetry. Exploring how good the throttle response was, I found I could run into a corner with the throttle closed, and from mid-corner, edge the throttle on without experiencing any hesitation or lumps in the power delivery. Very smooth and progressive. If I were going to trade-up from the MK2 to the MK3 Versys, this would be near the top of my reasons to do so. 

The quick shifter, which can be dealer fitted to the standard model, is the genuine Kawasaki version. Amazingly, it costs less than the very effective heated grips, which are also a dealer option and were occasionally too warm, if you can have such a thing on a day in December. The grips have three power settings, but the button is recessed into the left-hand grip and awkward to get to with thick gloves on. Regardless, my hands were warm all day long.

Initially, the quick shifter was catching me out. It seems I have a habit of pre-loading the gear level before I want to change up. The pressure I was applying was enough to trip the quick shifter on a few occasions, resulting in a gear change earlier than expected. Once my brain had communicated with my foot, changing up and down using the quick shifter was a pleasure. Being limited to 4,000 RPM, Iíve no idea what it is like when fully on the herbs, but for short shifting through traffic, it is slick and easy to get into the habit of using. Coming down through the gears there is an auto-blipper, which is so subtle that I couldnít detect it. It balances the RPM by exactly the right amount to make the downshift as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

There are numerous other changes to the bike to go along with the new technology. The layout of the switchgear is essentially the same, but to make space for things like cruise control some of the buttons have changed in design. High-beam is now selected by flicking the headlight flasher ĒtriggerĒ switch away from you. To deselect, you pull the trigger, flash the headlight, and are left with low beam.

There is a second link pipe between cylinders 1 and 4 to go with the familiar one between cylinders 2 and 3. Add in the new end can which doesnít constipate the motor as much as the milk churn on the MK2 did, and essentially it is a new exhaust.


According to the specification sheets, there should be little difference between the MK2 and the MK3 when it comes to the ride. Both have a seat height of 840mm and a wheelbase of 1,520mm. They both weigh the same. The suspension is the same on my Tourer as it is on the standard MK3, according to the specifications. So why does it feel that the MK3 turns easier, especially when manoeuvring in car parks?

Looking at the top of my forks (the MK2) they are different from the MK3. Whereas the base technical data might be the same, there are some differences Iíd need clever people to explain to me.  Jumping from the MK3 to my MK2 to ride home, the seat height feels lower on my Versys compared to the Mk3. Could it just be that Iíve compressed the seat on mine?

Contrasting my Versys against the MK3, the MK3 is a sharper ride. When you start to push I would expect the increased responsiveness of the MK3 to pay bigger and bigger dividends.

All of which leaves just the brakes to mention. The callipers on the MK3 are radial mounted. Not really understanding what this meant, I asked, and it is to do with how the bolts secure the callipers to the forks. Radial-mounted callipers flex a lot less during breaking so much more of the hydraulic force is applied to the pads, and hence the brakes are sharper, which they most definitely are.

And so to the big question Ö Am I trading Susan for the MK3 Ö Yes, however, Iíll wait until Susan gets to two years old, which will give me enough time to secure the required permission slip from Senior Management. Which model will I go for Ö?

The standard MK3 Versys has gone up in price slightly, whereas the Grand Tourer version with the electronic suspension and colour TFT dash is a noticeable step beyond that. So for me ... Standard Mk3, Heated Grips, Hand Guards, Radiator Guard, Mudguard Extender, Riding Lights, Bobbins or Frame Sliders, Rack and a swimming pool size box on the back. All of which are dealer fit options to the standard MK3 Versys. And after that, if I have a few quid left Ö that quick shifter, just because I can.

Huge thanks to Chris and Mark at Chris Walker Kawasaki for lending me the MK3 Versys for a day and to the guys in the workshop who took it away for a full clean and polish after Iíd covered it in 176 miles of road grime.

And as a final note - I hope I'm not breaking the forum rules by mentioning the people who lent me the Versys - Apologies if I am. It just felt like the right thing to do.  :002:
 





   



I was seduced by a 1000SX and gave into temptation

Offline Floydsz1

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Re: The 176 Mile Versys MK3 Test Ride
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2018, 10:08:50 PM »
Great writeup, I'll be getting one but can't decide if I should wait until the end of next year and pick up a second hand GT se or just buy a new one now for delivery in march. I'd like to try one with the lower seat.   Thanks again

Offline Rockdoc

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Re: The 176 Mile Versys MK3 Test Ride
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2018, 07:50:47 AM »
A great write-up and with lots of useful info for any waverers.

Keith
2018 Candy Fire Red/Metallic Flat Spark Black GT.
Where do they get the names for these colours?

Offline TallyRex

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Re: The 176 Mile Versys MK3 Test Ride
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2018, 10:36:28 AM »
Thanks for taking the time to give us the comparison   :031:

Offline stuf

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Re: The 176 Mile Versys MK3 Test Ride
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2018, 10:52:59 AM »
Hi,
Excellent report and observations.
 :759:
Stu

Offline TYKE

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Re: The 176 Mile Versys MK3 Test Ride
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2018, 11:27:58 AM »
I agree, excellent write up and very informative.... I'm waiting for mine to arrive in Feb/Mch and now the suspense has just been heightened  :2:   
Be wary of an old man in a world where men die young

Roger (Rog)

Offline Bart

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Re: The 176 Mile Versys MK3 Test Ride
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2018, 12:11:20 PM »
A great second post and very informative, thanks for taking the time to share with us  :031:

Re the sharper response, could it be that the new bike is sitting a little higher than yours at the rear and so sharpening things up, a simple comparison of the sag on the two bikes may be worth a look  :notsure:

Offline Himself

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Re: The 176 Mile Versys MK3 Test Ride
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2018, 12:20:17 PM »
Good point - The first 50 miles on the bike were strange. Everything needs a little "exercise" to get it all moving.

Susan (the MK2) has covered 9,000 miles and so everything has a degree of use to account for. I just finished in the garage checking the pre-load and the rebound front and rear - nothing was miles out, as I read elsewhere on the forum, it is worth cranking the read pre-load up to max and then resetting it if only to keep the adjuster working  :002:
I was seduced by a 1000SX and gave into temptation

Offline Vespista1960

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Re: The 176 Mile Versys MK3 Test Ride
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2018, 12:22:19 PM »
A good review.
I thank you (and your dealer for lending you the bike) :028:

Offline francis83

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Re: The 176 Mile Versys MK3 Test Ride
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2018, 01:15:56 PM »
Nice and objective report!!
The main point is invisible for the eyes

 



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