Long-Term Kawasaki Versys 650 LT Gets An SW-Motech Top Case

More trunk for your junk.

Long-Term Kawasaki Versys 650 LT update
Arizona Perks
Endless dirt roads, a balmy winter climate, and free meals are just a few perks of a ride out to Arizona.©Motorcyclist

Wrist: Spenser Robert
MSRP (2015): $8,699
Miles: 7,735
MPG: 49
Mods: Super geeky top box

Now that the long-term Versys 650 LT and I have been going steady for a couple of months, bringing the bike back to Arizona (where I grew up) seemed like the right thing to do. Endless dirt roads, a balmy winter climate, and free meals at my parents' house are just a few of the perks for making the trip over. I also needed some time on the bike to test out some new luggage and to gauge how this Kawasaki ADV-styled bike handles itself in some ADV-styled terrain.

Long-Term Kawasaki Versys 650 LT update
SW-Motech Rack
Four socket screws secure the SW-Motech steel rack to the Versys.©Motorcyclist

Unfortunately for my dirt-road traction, the Versys is still sporting the Pirelli Angel GT tires (see the previous Versys update here) that were installed during the previous update. The tires have been exceptional on the street, particularly in some of the wet weather we've experienced lately, but a dual-sport tire they are not. As soon as I got off the asphalt I noticed how much the rear tire slips in corners, the front tire washes out in the sand, and the 17-inch wheels seem to deflect off even the smallest of bumps. But, bad as that may sound, none of it really bothered me as much as I thought it would. Dirt is slippery, after all. That's exactly what makes it so much fun. And while I can't say the Pirellis or the Versys would be my very first choice for the oft-fantasized ride to Tierra del Fuego, I would not think twice about taking this set-up down an enticing gravel road or even through some light single track.

Tires notwithstanding, the Versys is fairly equipped to go off-road. There is enough suspension travel (5.9 inches front; 5.7 inches rear) to avoid bottoming out at every dip, and the ergos are more than compliant with standing up while riding. If you are looking to do some hardcore adventure riding, it would probably be a good idea to get a little protein in the Versys’ diet (crash bars, a skid plate, some spoked wheels, and a set of knobby tires would be a good start), but for every gravel road this side of the Baja 1000, the Versys and some sport touring tires will do just fine.

Long-Term Kawasaki Versys 650 LT update
Locked and Loaded
The case slips into place by way of four metal adapter posts on the steel rack.©Motorcyclist

Oh, and how about that luggage? Well, like all top cases, this one is seemingly visible from outer space. Aside from that, the verbosely named SW-Motech TraX EVO 38-liter ALU-BOX is neither the most affordable, nor the most spacious piece of top case luggage on the market. Including the steel toprack, the toprack to topcase adapter hardware, the top case itself, and the lockset for that topcase, you're looking at a grand total of $570. (twistedthrottle.com). That's a whole lot of cheddar for one piece of luggage, but I have to say it is cheddar well spent.

To begin with, the installation is a breeze. Four socket screws for mounting the steel rack to the stock Kawasaki piece, four metal adapters into the rack for securing the case, and then one easy sliding motion to install the case itself. And once it’s installed, the case doesn’t appear to flex or wobble at all. Even on rough dirt roads, everything stays right where it should. The capacity of the case itself is a little on the small side, but it is more than capable of accommodating any helmet I’ve ever attempted to store. And, as an added bonus, the case also has the perfect dimensions to hold a 12-inch frozen pizza. You heard it here first, Versys-owning bachelors.

Long-Term Kawasaki Versys 650 LT update
A Little Clunk for the Trunk
Closing the lid requires that you turn the key to the unlock position.©Motorcyclist

The only gripe I have, aside from the price, is that the locking mechanism can be a little clunky. You can’t leave the case unlocked, and what’s more, you have to turn the key to an unlock position to get the lid to close at all. Not a deal breaker, just a minor inconvenience when you consider the cost.

Now that our luggage situation is fully squared away (seriously, just look at how square that top case is), and our ADV-appetite is temporarily satiated, next up will be some much-procrastinated mods. Gear indicator, power outlet, center stands, oh my! Stay tuned, folks.