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A Multitalented Middleweight Motorcycle with Added Confidence!

The Kawasaki Versys ABS is a rare exception to the old adage, “jack of all trades, master of none.” This motorcycle’s relaxed riding position makes it ideal for daily commuting, while a Ninja-like sporting spirit lets it tackle serpentine roads with the competence of a hard-core sportbike. Its efficient 649cc parallel-twin engine and overall layout also make short work out of covering long distances. With the addition of ABS brakes for 2014, Versys really is a jack of all trades, and it truly masters the art of being a great motorcycle!

Versys’ adaptable personality is greatly enhanced by the rubber bushings on its rear engine mounts and rubber inserts atop its footpegs, which isolate the rider from engine vibration for all-day comfort. This flexible nature carries through to the Versys’ edgy upright sportbike styling, which incorporates an adjustable windscreen to accommodate taller and shorter riders alike.

Versys’ compact, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, 649cc, parallel-twin engine was the perfect powerplant for this light and nimble do-anything bike right from the start: it’s lively enough for aggressive sport riders and predictable enough to inspire confidence in every-day commuters. The torquey twin delivers a deep ribbon of power in the lower and middle parts of its rev range, making the Versys a great commuter and relaxed traveling companion. Its surprising genius becomes readily apparent once the roads turn twisty, because despite its comfort and civility, the fun-to-ride Versys also offers genuine sportbike handling and excellent fuel economy. With its big, 5-gallon fuel tank, you can go a long way between fill-ups.

Long-travel, high-tech suspension is critical to the Versys’ multi-role mission. A Showa rear shock with two-stage damping firms up progressively as the wheel moves through its stroke, providing an initially plush ride that firms to near-sportbike levels as suspension loads escalate. The bike’s short, compact engine makes it possible to use a longer than average gull-wing swingarm to reduce throttle-induced suspension movement and excellent handling. An adjustable, long-travel 41mm tapered-tube inverted fork soaks up bumps big and small, and like the rear end, firms up nicely as the pace increases.
Crisp, linear ABS brakes are new for 2014 and help minimize drama and make slowing down a simple affair. Those new anti-lock brakes also boost the Versys’ already impressive versatility by reducing rider anxiety when conditions are questionable.

Absolutely key to the Versys’ success is a comfortable, carefully designed cockpit that provides a mostly upright, natural seating position and features a stepped seat constructed to provide optimum comfort for both rider and passenger. The comfort theme is further enhanced by the adjustable windscreen, which offers three different positions. An easy-to-read and informative instrument panel allows riders to quickly scan the gauges and keep their eyes on the road. Possibly the most versatile motorcycle out there, the Versys excels at almost any task it’s given, from gridlock traffic jams to canyon carving to long-distance touring.

2014 Kawasaki Versys ABS

Features and Benefits

Key Features
NEW ABS brakes offer excellent performance and enhanced confidence in adverse conditions
Amazingly versatile motorcycle is exceptionally comfortable to ride in a variety of situations, from commuting, to backroads, to touring and even track days
649cc parallel twin with digital fuel injection (DFI®) provides smooth, responsive power
Long-travel fork delivers excellent performance over a wide range of situations
Adjustable single-shock rear suspension offers progressive damping as suspension load increases
3-way adjustable windscreen allows customizable wind protection
Aluminum swingarm and 17-inch cast aluminum wheels reduce unsprung weight for better ride quality
Under-engine exhaust promotes better weight centralization
Aggressive styling gives the Versys a distinctive look

649cc DOHC Parallel-Twin
Most compact engine in its category helps reduce the dimensions of the entire motorcycle
Triangular crank and transmission shaft layout keeps it short front to back
Semi-dry sump oil system reduces overall engine height
Narrow, chrome composite-plated aluminum cylinders help reduce engine width
Tuned to deliver smooth, responsive power in the low- to mid-rpm range for exceptional roll-on response – ideal for negotiating city traffic, tight backroads and anything in between
180-degree crankshaft and a balancer shaft produce a remarkably smooth engine
Oil jets on the connecting rod ends spray oil on the undersides of the pistons to aid cooling
Under-engine muffler with 3-way catalyzer aids mass centralization for light handling and great looks

Liquid Cooling
Engine temperatures stay consistent for long engine life and sustained power in tough conditions
Closer engine tolerances mean more horsepower
Coolant routed through the engine cases reduces the number of external hoses

Digital Fuel Injection (DFI®)
A pair of 38mm Keihin throttle bodies with ECU-controlled sub-throttle valves mean optimum performance and rideability
Sub-throttles, located behind the main throttle valves, give the Versys precise throttle response and great feel as well
An automatic fast idle system makes starting and warm-up easy, even on cold days
Precise fuel injection provides great fuel mileage, and the 3-way catalyzer significantly reduces emissions

Six-speed Transmission
Versys’ racing-style cassette transmission uses a compact layout that’s easily removable as a single unit from the engine cases for much easier gearbox maintenance

Slender Trellis Frame
Versys’ exotic-looking trellis frame is small, light and narrow at the knees and pegs for excellent comfort and control
3D computer analysis in the design process achieved optimum stiffness balance for superior ride and handling

Single Shock Rear Suspension
A distinctive aluminum gull-wing swingarm controlled by a lay-down single shock complements the distinctive frame design, with an integrated line flowing from steering head to rear hub
The short, compact frame and engine design allow the swingarm to be longer, which improves overall handling
The Showa shock has adjustable preload and rebound damping, and uses a free piston and two-stage damping valves for smooth action during initial compression that becomes firmer near the end of the stroke for a more planted feel

Adjustable Long-travel Front Fork
A long-travel 41mm inverted fork delivers excellent performance over a wide range of conditions
Tapered, relatively short outer tubes help provide the ideal stiffness balance to complement frame stiffness and chassis settings
Fork height, spring preload and rebound damping can be adjusted to fine-tune the suspension to specific conditions, riding styles and loads

NEW Anti-Lock Disc Brakes
NEW ABS brakes offer excellent performance and enhanced confidence in adverse conditions
Dual 300mm petal-style rotors with two-piston calipers in front and a single 220mm petal rotor with a single-piston caliper in back provide plenty of stopping power
Same rotor design as found on the Ninja® supersport machines; petal design rotors offer improved cooling and warp resistance compared to traditional discs

Six-spoke Wheels
Like the ones you’ll find on the Ninja ZX-6R and ZX-10R, these six-spoke wheels use less material between spokes so rim thickness is reduced along with overall wheel weight
Lighter wheels increase overall performance – suspension, handling, acceleration/deceleration and initial turn-in

Very Comfortable Ergonomics
Each section of the two-piece seat was designed with a different thickness and firmness of foam to optimize comfort for both rider and passenger
An easy-to-read instrument panel has a large analog tachometer and digital readout for the speedometer, fuel gauge, odometer, dual trip meters and clock. White LED backlighting provides increased visibility at night
Grab rails, seat cover material, and a comfortable seating position make the Versys more fun and less stressful for passengers
Rubber bushings at the rear engine mounts and hollow rubber-covered footpegs result in reduced engine vibration and a more comfortable ride

Unique Bodywork
The fairing, stacked dual headlight, front fender and mirrors, and a Z1000-style LED tail light give the Versys a distinctly bold and high-tech appearance
The windscreen provides a large still-air pocket for comfort, and its three-position adjustability makes it adaptable to fit a variety of riders and climates

2014 Kawasaki Versys ABS Specifications

Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder parallel twin
Displacement: 649cc
Bore x stroke: 83.0 x 60.0mm
Compression ratio: 10.6:1
Cooling: Liquid
Fuel injection: DFI® with two 38mm Keihin throttle bodies
Ignition: TCBI with electronic advance
Transmission: Six-speed
Final drive: O-Ring chain
Frame: Semi-double cradle, high-tensile steel
Rake / trail: 25 degrees / 4.3 in.
Wheelbase: 55.7 in.
Front suspension / wheel travel: 41mm hydraulic telescopic fork with stepless adjustable rebound and preload / 5.9 in.
Rear suspension / wheel travel: Single offset laydown shock with 13-position adjustable rebound damping and adjustable spring preload / 5.7 in.
Front tire: 120/70x17
Rear tire: 160/60x17
Front brake: Dual 300mm petal rotors with two-piston caliper and ABS
Rear brake: Single 220mm petal rotor with single-piston caliper and ABS
Overall length: 83.7 in.
Overall width: 33.1 in.
Overall height: 52.4 in.
Seat height: 33.3 in.
Curb weight: 460.8 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 5.0 gal.
Colors: Candy Lime Green
MSRP: $7,999
Warranty: 12 months
Good Times Protection Plans: 12, 24, 36, and 48 month plans are available

6,807 Posts
How are you supposed to ride a bike well off pavement with the ABS on?? I don't see anywhere that you can turn it off.

75 Posts
How are you supposed to ride a bike well off pavement with the ABS on?? I don't see anywhere that you can turn it off.
The Wee-Strom folks don't have ABS shut off either and they seem to manage okay off-road. I think the 17" front wheel on the Versys sends a clear message that this bike is not a hardcore offroader.

I'm glad to see them finally put ABS on the Versys... if they had done it last year I would have bought one.

10,328 Posts
How are you supposed to ride a bike well off pavement with the ABS on?? I don't see anywhere that you can turn it off.
The Wee-Strom folks don't have ABS shut off either and they seem to manage okay off-road. I think the 17" front wheel on the Versys sends a clear message that this bike is not a hardcore offroader.

I'm glad to see them finally put ABS on the Versys... if they had done it last year I would have bought one.
Neither the Versys, nor the Vstrom are dual sport bikes. They are street bikes that can be adventure touring bikes which means groomed gravel or dirt road capable. Then again any bike in the hands of a skilled rider is groomed gravel or dirt road capable.

10,328 Posts
Still no rear rack.
Rear rack can be added. Personally I don't see the Versys as a two up touring bike. I put the side luggage and strap my camping gear across the back seat to keep the weight forward.

Funny how NickJ included NINJA in the title. LOL! Before I added all the accessories to create an adventure bike poser I had people calling the Versys a crotch rocket. LOL!
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