Can a bike half the size of his BMW cope with Chad’s 90-mile commute
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean that I stop riding. My bike is my main form of transport for my regular 90-mile commute from home in East Yorkshire to the MCN office in Peterborough, so any winter companion I choose needs to be reliable, easy to ride and protective too. So, with my R1200RT now returned to BMW UK, I’ve got my hands on this 4000-mile old 2016 Kawasaki Versys 650 GT, which comes complete with luggage and other creature comforts.
My pre-requisites for a bike are quite tough; I need to be able to carry all my work kit, laptop and sometimes even race leathers with me, so panniers are a must. I also need something that’s manageable and easy to commute on, as I’m only 5ft 6in and don’t want anything too heavy. And finally, on the odd dry day I want something with enough poke to have fun on without stopping to switch off all the rider aids. The Grand Touring Versys ticks all these boxes.
I’m already enjoying the comfort, ease of use and lightness compared to my the R1200RT. Those huge fog lights are also proving essential on the unclassified unlit roads of East Yorkshire. The GT comes specc’dup with colour-matched panniers with inner bags, matching top case, handguards, gear position indicator and 12v power outlet, but unfortunately no heated grips – so that’s one job to take care of.
My RT was a brilliant bike, the best big tourer on the market – a title which it has held for the last three years – but it was on the big side and not great in traffic. The Versys is around half the price and almost half the size, but will it be half the bike?
ÔI want something with enough poke to have fun onõ
3878 MILES The Kawasaki’s spec is impressive – the only thing missing is heated grips
Comprehensive but not pretty