Versys one, winter nil
GT beats the bad conditions
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