2011 Kawasaki Versys Review


When the Versys first appeared, it was an unusual conundrum in motorcycle design. Not quite a sport bike, not quite a cruiser, the Kawasaki Versys was the best of both of those designs in a lightweight, middle-range package. It gained immediate attention and popularity and by the time Kawasaki had worked out the kinks, it began taking awards and accolades from the biggest names in the motorcycle press. In its 2011 form, the Versys is a complete package of versatility to make any rider, from entry-level to advanced, happy with their ride.

The 650-cc engine puts out a respectable amount of power and has been tuned to deliver it at lower RPM than might be expected, giving the 2011 Kawasaki Versys a strong, but comfortable ride at the low end of its gearing. This creates a good commuter bike in pulsing traffic but doesn't compromise the higher-speed travel much. The Keihin throttle bottles create efficient revving, smoothing out the riding experience, while the overall drivetrain and suspension set give it a relaxed feel at low speeds and a tight, sporty feel at higher ranges.

That plush ride turning to hard speed is thanks to the Showa rear shock's two-stage damping that gives large amounts of cushion at lower speed, but flexes out at higher revs and speeds to harden for the sportbike feel on the highway. Add to this the long gull-wing swingarm and the result is a full package of throttle movement reduction for a great feel. Full adjustability at the front and rear gives custom setting to these attributes. So despite its entry-level appeal, the 2011 Kawasaki Versys is a package that even experienced riders will enjoy.

New For 2011

  • Adjustable windscreen to fit rider's size and comfort levels with three positions available on the factory-installed frame
  • New instrument cluster with more visible, easier-to-read gauges and readouts. Those read most often (speed, RPM) are centrally located and larger for faster reading
  • Larger rear view mirrors to give better visibility and a more adjustable area of view
  • Expanded gasoline tank for longer range between fill ups

2011 Kawasaki Versys Specs

  • Model: Versys
  • Engine Type: Four-stroke, parallel twin, 650-cc
  • Bore and Stroke: 3.27 x 2.36 inches
  • Compression ratio: 10.6:1
  • Valve Train: Direct overhead cam (DOHC) quad-valve
  • Induction: Liquid
  • Ignition: Transistor controlled breaker-less ignition (TCBI) electronic advance
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual
  • Final Drive: O-ring chain
  • Fuel Capacity: 5.0 gallons
  • Estimated Fuel Economy: 49 miles per gallon
  • Brakes (Front): Dual 11.81-inch petal disc with two-piston caliper
  • Brakes (Rear): Single 8.66-inch petal disc with single-piston caliper
  • Suspension (Front): 1.61-inch hydraulic telescopic fork, stepless
  • Suspension (Rear): Single offset laydown shock, adjustable
  • Wheelbase: 55.7 inches
  • Rake: 25 degrees
  • Trail: 4.3 inches
  • Seat Height: 33.3 inches
  • Curb Weight: 454.2 pounds
  • Tires (Front): 120/70 17-inch
  • Tires (Rear): 160/60 17-inch


  • Kawasaki-branded riding gear, sportswear (both men's and women's) and youth sportswear are available to complete the motorcycle rider's look
  • Top case frame brackets and hard case to fit behind the passenger seat for added storage
  • Saddlebags frame mount and hard case bags to saddle around the passenger's seat
  • Collapsible soft-top case to fit over passenger's seat with optional pad set
  • Optional taller or Vario-style windshield to replace standard windscreen
  • Simple dust cover for indoor storage or premium indoor/outdoor Kawasaki-branded cover available to protect the motorcycle when not in use.
  • Grip heaters and hand guards for added comfort in cold weather conditions.

Key Competitors For The 2011 Kawasaki Versys

  • Yamaha FZ1 or FZ6
  • Yamaha XT660X
  • Aprilia Tuono and Shiver