Down­siz­ing

Can a bike half the size of his BMW cope with Chad’s 90-mile com­mute

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage -

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

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