Ver­sys one, win­ter nil

GT beats the bad con­di­tions

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage - adam.child@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

KAWASAKI VER­SYS 650 GRAND TOURER

Price £7999 Weight 216kg Seat height 840mm Power 68.4bhp Torque 47.2ftlb

ADAM CHILD Pro­fes­sion­ally test­ing bikes for the last 15 years.

Height 5ft6in Weight 78kg

Kawasaki’s Ver­sys 650 GT proves you don’t need a pukka grand tourer to keep you warm and comfy when tour­ing in cooler con­di­tions.

I’m head­ing to the Peak District late af­ter work on a Fri­day. It’s dark, cold and wet; go­ing tour­ing in early Jan­uary prob­a­bly wasn’t my best idea ever, but, de­spite the grim weather, my Ver­sys 650 GT is bring­ing light to the dark­ness.

I’m com­fort­able, and the man­u­ally ad­justable screen is do­ing its best to hide me from the wind and rain. Heated grips would have been bril­liant but the hand­guards are do­ing their best, and with an ad­di­tional heated waist­coat and good kit, I’m rea­son­ably warm.

The pan­niers and top­box have swal­lowed my kit for the week­end with ease, in fact they’re only half full. I’ve added two turns of preload to com­pen­sate for the ex­tra weight, which only takes 30 sec­onds via the re­mote ad­juster. Mu­sic is play­ing via Blue­tooth di­rectly into my Shark lid, while the fog lights are il­lu­mi­nat­ing the un­fa­mil­iar road ahead; what’s not to like? OK, a CD player would have been nice, so would have been semi-ac­tive sus­pen­sion, and cor­ner­ing ABS, just like the kit that was fit­ted as stan­dard to my 2016 long term BMW R1200RT test bike, but at un­der £8000 the Ver­sys 650 is loads of value and more than up for the job.

Once into the Peak District the con­di­tions re­ally de­te­ri­o­rated, and we ploughed on through freez­ing fog and sketchy road sur­faces. With speeds back down to le­gal lev­els the fuel econ­omy starts to increase. At le­gal speeds ne­go­ti­at­ing the never-end­ing, switch­back High Peak roads, we’re av­er­ag­ing close to 70mpg which gives a tank range close to 250 miles. Even on faster­paced sec­tions of mo­tor­ways the econ­omy never drops be­low 60mpg. Im­pres­sive.

Al­though my Peak District tour was fairly brief, I cov­ered close to 300 miles and only had to re-fuel the Kawasaki once. And I ar­rived home thor­oughly im­pressed by the lit­tle 650 Ver­sys. This short trip away was a bit of a test be­fore I em­bark on a trip to Scot­land in search of snow. Once I’ve fit­ted some heated grips, it will be no prob­lem… and I’ve even worked out I should be able to strap my snow­board on the back!

You canõt tell be­cause of the Shark but Chad is ac­tu­ally smil­ing hereé

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