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Discussion Starter #1
I’ve been riding for about 2 years now. I started on a 2006 Ninja 650R and have ridden about 15,000 miles on it so far. I LOVE my bike, but I’d like something a bit more versatile. I’m thinking about getting a Versys 650 in the near future but I haven’t tested one out. I need some real-world advice/ comparisons.

I know the bikes have the same engines, frames and other parts, but for everyday real-world usage how do they compare? Handling? Comfort? Performance? Maintenance? Etc.

About Me: 5’6” tall, 30” inseam, 160lbs, athletic build. I commute every day to work in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis, St. Paul and suburbs) in all conditions except during winter with snow/ ice (last year I rode from April to December). I try to avoid the freeway when possible and prefer to take county roads, smaller highways and back roads if possible. I ride aggressively in traffic and prefer to pass quickly and get the hell out of the way. Besides commuting, I take short weekend overnight and daytrips trips on the back roads as much as possible.
 

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twowheel will be in here shortly i'm sure haha. from what i've heard, the versys is much more versatile for touring/off road adventures. other than that i believe it's basically the same ride.
 

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Hey Woolsocks. The Versys is a better all around bike than the Ninja. I went from an '07 Ninja 650 to an '11 Versys 650. At your height and inseam though the Versys may be a tad on the tall side for you. I would recommend you go sit on some and see how they feel.

They might both be 650s but that's about all they truly share. The Versys has different cams than your Ninja 650 and it makes it's power in the lower RPM range. The suspension on the Versys is better than your Ninja. Handling is better on the Versys. The Versys is roomier than the Ninja 650. Maintenance is easier since you don't have the full fairings to remove. Nothing to remove when doing oil changes.

I would say that the Ninja with a touring screen has better wind protection than the Versys. Especially for the legs. Handguards and a tall windscreen on the Versys will provide a lot of upper body wind protection.
 

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DO IT!

Even just for the longer travel suspension.

I bet you could lower it a bit if it's too tall.

I'd have a Versys if I had the cash.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hey Woolsocks. The Versys is a better all around bike than the Ninja. I went from an '07 Ninja 650 to an '11 Versys 650. At your height and inseam though the Versys may be a tad on the tall side for you. I would recommend you go sit on some and see how they feel.

They might both be 650s but that's about all they truly share. The Versys has different cams than your Ninja 650 and it makes it's power in the lower RPM range. The suspension on the Versys is better than your Ninja. Handling is better on the Versys. The Versys is roomier than the Ninja 650. Maintenance is easier since you don't have the full fairings to remove. Nothing to remove when doing oil changes.

I would say that the Ninja with a touring screen has better wind protection than the Versys. Especially for the legs. Handguards and a tall windscreen on the Versys will provide a lot of upper body wind protection.
I actually removed the lower fairings on my Ninja after I installed the frame sliders and did my first oil change. The oil change took 3 times as long with those damn fairings! I like the 3/4 fairing up top that the Versys has. I like seeing the engine and being able to bolt-on parts without too much hassle.

I like the better handling that you mentioned. With the brutal winters, ice and snow the roads have tons of pot holes, cracks, fissures and sand and salt in the spring.

Random question: How much seat storage does the Versys have? I'd imagine about the same as the Ninja...
 

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I'm only 5' 6", 140 pounds with a 28" inseam and the Versys was easy to ride for me.
True, I could only touch the ground with my toes :), but the weight of the bike is so light compared to my zr-7.
It's not tall and heavy like the Concours 14.

The riding position is different. You'll be sitting more upright. Also, the wind protection is terrible. But if you're not schlepping on the interstates, that shouldn't be a problem.
 

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Factory wind protect is poor, but after market windshields are fairly cheap and don't look out of place. A couple things I really enjoy about the Versys is that you can add a bunch of comfort and utility crap and it looks like it's supposed to be there. The suspension feels way more cushy than the slight advantage in travel would suggest. Cops don't give you a second look, neither do squids, so you get to "fly under the wire" on both counts. There is more torque down low, but there is definitely less top end charge.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I'm only 5' 6", 140 pounds with a 28" inseam and the Versys was easy to ride for me.
True, I could only touch the ground with my toes :), but the weight of the bike is so light compared to my zr-7.
It's not tall and heavy like the Concours 14.

The riding position is different. You'll be sitting more upright. Also, the wind protection is terrible. But if you're not schlepping on the interstates, that shouldn't be a problem.
That's good to know. I sat on a DRZ 400 SM at the shop a while back. It has around a 36" seat height and it didnt feel too awkward to handle. The Versys is probably lower. Edit/ Addition: DRZ 400 SM actually has a 37" seat height...Versys has a 33.3" seat height
 

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That's good to know. I sat on a DRZ 400 SM at the shop a while back. It has around a 36" seat height and it didnt feel too awkward to handle. The Versys is probably lower.
It is lower, but doesn't squat as much.

"under the radar" ....sorry. It really doesn't matter, I just have issues.
Haha, oops, that didn't seem right when I wrote it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It is lower, but doesn't squat as much.



Haha, oops, that didn't seem right when I wrote it.
I have the day off on Friday. Hopefully I'll have some time to swing by a local dealership and sit on one. Maybe even a test ride? :mouthwate :wink:

I like the fact tha the Versys is in a category if it's own. I hate that people, non-riders mostly lump the Ninja in with the crotch rocket and squid bikes. I get some many questions from people about how fast I can get the bike up to and if I will wheelie the bike for them. Hopefully with the Versys they'll just be confused :laugh:
 

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Yeah, I've always felt the Ninja 650 was a sheep in "wolf's clothing", which is why I first got an ER6N. Turns out the ER6N is like a sheep in a naked wolf disguise, and I STILL got THAT treatment. The Versys is MUCH better in that respect.
 

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I have the day off on Friday. Hopefully I'll have some time to swing by a local dealership and sit on one. Maybe even a test ride? :mouthwate :wink:

I like the fact tha the Versys is in a category if it's own. I hate that people, non-riders mostly lump the Ninja in with the crotch rocket and squid bikes. I get some many questions from people about how fast I can get the bike up to and if I will wheelie the bike for them. Hopefully with the Versys they'll just be confused :laugh:
I went through the same thing with people calling the Ninja a crotch rocket and squids pulling up and inviting me to ride with them.

Here is mine so you can see different ways you can outfit the Versys.

 

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I went through the same thing with people calling the Ninja a crotch rocket and squids pulling up and inviting me to ride with them.

Here is mine so you can see different ways you can outfit the Versys.

I had an er6n and loved it BUT I'm now on my second Versys and it's just the most fun machine I have had.:dance:
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I went through the same thing with people calling the Ninja a crotch rocket and squids pulling up and inviting me to ride with them.

Here is mine so you can see different ways you can outfit the Versys.

Looks nice! I'd be looking at a 2013 Versys in white if it fits and seems like a suitable bike. Here's what I'd add so far: front axel sliders, rear swing arm sliders/ spools, handguards, Oxford heated grips, Powerlet plug in for phone/ GPS (mounted on handlebars or upper fairing), RAM mount for phone/ gps on handlebars, fender eliminator kit, rear wheel hugger.

I've been using the Kriega US-system bags and Kriega backpacks for commuting but a hardcase system might be something to look at...


ADD-ON:

I found a dealer near where I work and on my lunch break went to check out the Versys. The sales guy just sold a 2013 model in white, but they had a red 2011 in stock. I’d prefer the white 2013…anyway, not important. With my 30” inseam I can tip toe the bike with relative ease. The suspension doesn’t sag as much as I thought (I’m only 160lbs). Getting a different seat would allow me to touch a bit more ground and I wouldn’t have to screw around with a lowering kit. I can flat foot with my left foot on the ground and right foot on the brake using the OEM seat which is how I stop the majority of the time. I’ll be going back on Friday or Saturday for a test ride and will report my experience afterwards.
 
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Color isn't all that important to me, here you can get a 2012 for under $7000 OTD versus around $8000 OTD for a 2013. All my mods were around $1000 (SW sideracks, Seahorse cases, SW Engine guards, Givi windshield, Oxford heated grips, swingarms spools, barkbusters, 12 volt plug). For the same money I'd rather have a bike with all the stuff in black than a stock bike in white. White IS my prefered color, and I'll probably paint my bike white this summer, whenever I get around to it but it's not that pressing.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Color isn't all that important to me, here you can get a 2012 for under $7000 OTD versus around $8000 OTD for a 2013. All my mods were around $1000 (SW sideracks, Seahorse cases, SW Engine guards, Givi windshield, Oxford heated grips, swingarms spools, barkbusters, 12 volt plug). For the same money I'd rather have a bike with all the stuff in black than a stock bike in white. White IS my prefered color, and I'll probably paint my bike white this summer, whenever I get around to it but it's not that pressing.
That's true. If the bike was in a neutral color like black, blue, grey vs the maroon/red color I wouldn't care. That maroon color just doesn't work for me. If the maroon/red color model is significantly cheaper I'd probably go for it, but at the end of the day I want to be happy with what I purchase. I'll be testing the maroon/red 2011 versys tomorrow...i'll report my findings on how color affects performance ;) white will probably win though...
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I tested the bike out at a dealership today. It was awesome! I rode it for around 20 to 25 minutes on some side streets, on a county highway and the freeway. The bike is more than I was expecting. It is very smooth and has good torque. I thought I would miss the "power" of my Ninja, but the Versys does not lack in that area. The Versys is also much smoother than my Ninja down low and responsive. Even on the freeway the bike was relatively smooth and has really good passing power. I was sitting at 65 mph and opened the throttle and the bike pulled really well up to 80mph. I didn't feel a noticeable difference is power, but the Versys is snappy compared to the Ninja. The seating position is very nice and upright, mirrors wouldn't need to be modified at all, I can actually see behind and around my shoulders! What surprised me most was how light and nimble the bike is, basically just push the bar slightly and the bike just falls into the corner. The suspension is also very nice too, my Ninja seems harsh by comparison. The Versys wasn't set up for my body, but "out of the box" suspension is very nice. The dash is easy to ready. Stock screen seems good, no wind buffeting for me...I'm 5'6". Great bike!

To put it short, I'm pumped about this Versys.
 
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