Ask any person to describe an adventure bike and the first word they would probably use is tall. And so is the 2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000, a motorcycle that had my 185cm frame on the toes to get if off the main stand. But the intimidation simply disappears once you start rolling. Even at walking speeds, it feels super stable and confident to filter through traffic. Which was a good thing because I also immediately found myself in a traffic jam filled with Bangkok's notoriously annoying motorists.
The Kawasaki Versys 1000 felt completely at ease, its height giving me a great vantage point while the upright position and sensible set pegs felt completely natural. It also has the lightest clutch pull I've ever experienced on a big bike, as friendly as on a Honda CBR150R. With time to kill, I began playing with the digital display using the toggle switch on the handlebar to find that you have two power models and three-levels of traction control which can also be turned off. The dials give you all relevant information including two trips, a clock, overall and real time efficiency and a distance to empty readout. The only omission was a gear position indicator... But that will be less relevant as somebody gets more used to the motorcycle.
At first the Kawasaki Versys 1000 doesn't attract a lot of attention, probably because of the black - orange paint scheme, which by the way is only one you can have in Thailand. (Seriously not my favorite color combo.) But it does turn a lot of heads particularly because of the shock value of the design which features a Ninja face on a high set semi fairing. The rear stands out too with a wide luggage rack that's suspended high over the fat 180-section tire, It's not a pretty design but it has plenty of shock value and the motorcycle should look striking in Kawasaki green or plain black as we can see in other countries. Finally the traffic thinned, and a open stretch ahead begged for throttle to meet the stop. What was a doddle in the city with perfect fueling and a gentle demeanor suddenly turned into something what looks like a sportsbike. Forget the fact that Kawasaki has reduced compression on this 1043cc, inline four, engine and forget that its 120 horsepower is 22 horses less than on the Kawasaki Z1000 which uses the same engine. The engine comes alive post 4,000rpm and begins to scream above 6,000rpm. Hard first and second second gear acceleration sees an angry flurry of the traction control light with the system working overtime to keep the rear wheel in line and the front down. First gear is good for just under 100km/h and by third you've already reached some unmentionable speeds. The only difference is that the fun ends at 10,000rpm rather than a superbike's manic 14,000 plus rpm redline which is a bit of a shame because the engine feels like it has even more to give. Nevertheless, it's still the full experience with a hair raising howl from the exhaust and massive pull at the shoulders. The 2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000 is fast enough to get you into serious trouble in the blink of an eye.
Like when an unassuming street dog decides to amble across the road and you put all your faith in the twin front disc brakes to ensure you both make it to the other side.
As felt the powerful Tokico-callipers bite down hard and the slipper clutch smooth out my hurried downshifts, I had my first taste of the other side of this motorcycle – fork dive, aka a soft chassis. The Kawasaki Versys 1000 has been purpose built to eat up huge servings of kilometers. Hence the comfortable riding position. Hence the comfortable riding position, a soft seat that's wide and long enough for a least six of your typical Thai tandem riding individuals and soft suspension that soaks in everything the road throws at it. You can ride through seriously poor roads without a care and even the worst f potholes will only cause a slight hop at the rear. Highway composure is rock solid and the adjustable windscreen, even at its lowest setting, provides the right amount of wind protection without causing any helmet buffeting at around 100km/h.Tag: KawasakiVersys-1000Versys1000ccAdventure-BikeInline-FourTouring