New Long-Term Kawasaki Versys 650 LT In the MC Garage!

The Versys 650 LT for '15 is a little heavier and a lot better looking, and the “LT” stands for long-term!

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Hello Kawasaki Versys 650 LT!©Motorcyclist

WRIST: Spenser Robert
MSRP (2015): $8,699
MILES: 5,735
MPG: 46
MODS: None yet

As a video producer for Motorcyclist, my days are usually spent behind a computer screen or a camera, drowning my deadline sorrows in a pool of Red Bull and doughnuts. But, when the occasion calls, I'm also lucky enough to ride some of the latest and greatest motorcycles the industry has to offer. Whether it was filming the S1000XR-versus-Multistrada shootout from aboard a KTM 1290 Super Adventure, or getting to ride the newest crop of European roadsters on last year's Edelweiss tour, I'm often spoiled with my choices for two-wheeled transportation. And yet, even after all those miles and all those bikes, it wasn't until I swung a leg over Kawasaki's 2015 Versys 650 that I truly found my cycle soul mate.

I do have to admit, with its modest 649cc motor and a (relatively) big-boned figure weighing in at 476 pounds, it was not exactly love at first sight. Not that the newly restyled bike is ugly, by any means, but after spending a fair amount of time being disappointed with the performance and ergos of the Ninja 650, I really didn’t expect much from the platform-sharing Versys. How wrong I was. Sporting a long list of updates for 2015, including revised motor mounts and improved ergos, the fresh-faced Versys is as lively as it is smooth and comfortable. While the Nissin brakes and Showa suspension are nothing to write home about, they perform remarkably well when you consider the entry price of $7,999. In fact, ABS is standard on this fine machine, and the suspension does at least offer adjustability for preload and rebound damping.


I should also point out that I’ll be riding the LT model, which sees a price bump up to $8,699 but comes equipped with sturdy hand guards and the brilliant, Givi-derived, 28-liter saddlebags. Seriously, these bags are phenomenal. You can

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One key to rule them all: The Versys further butters my bread with luggage keys matched to the ignition. Yes, that reflector comes stock. No big deal.©Motorcyclist

fit a full-size helmet (not to mention plenty of camera gear) in either bag, and the opening/closing mechanism is basically idiot-proof. When you consider that the similarly spec’d V-Strom 650 Adventure comes in at $10,049, springing for the Versys LT is a no-brainer.

It’s no secret around our office how much I love this bike, and I won’t pretend to hide my affections here. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t improve a couple of areas on the sweet, beautiful Versys. Top luggage, a gear-position indicator, some form of cruise control, and, most importantly, a centerstand to ease maintenance, are all on the intended mod list. Beyond that, I’ll probably enlist the help of the Motorcyclist team to dial the bike in with some camera mounts and storage options that make this thing the ultimate videographer dream machine. In any case, with its 5.5-gallon tank and no shortage of filming assignments, expect plenty of miles and mods to come.