The Indian motorcycle market is growing rapidly in all segments and the touring motorcycle segment too. Considering the tourer segment of motorcycle there are very few motorcycles available for the biking enthusiasts. We got an only Benelli 600 GT as a proper tourer package but it lacked in safety features like ABS even though it had other better positive points like a bigger fuel tank, inline 4 600 cc engine and a good revving range.
In Dec 2015 Kawasaki India launched 2016 Kawasaki Versys in India and this bike blew mind of all aspiring tourers in the Indian soil. The bike is based on Ninja 650 but a perfect middle weight setup and it comes with ABS at a price tag little higher than Benelli 600GT. Team 4wheelreviews was really curious to know about this bike as we have already extensively rode the competition Benelli 600GT. We got Kawasaki Versys 650 for 1000 kms to test and we made sure that we will take this bike to the terrains that it can go and meant for. Here is our most comprehensive review of 2016 Kawasaki Versys 650 for India.
First impression, it feels quite big for the 650cc. The whole upper fearing is brand new and the dimensions are not exactly as tiny as it look like in the picture. Kawasaki has achieved the best ergonomics for this middle weight tourer. The fearing might look too big when you get on the bike, but it serves all the purpose you need for. The earlier Versys used to have vertically stacked headlamps but this one has got a sharp twin lamp setup as available with all bigger Kawasakis in the market. The bike also gets a distinctly large windscreen that is adjustable to up and down motion only and it makes sure that you don’t get direct wind blast.
The bike lacks in features like Handguard, that you can buy as accessories from the Kawasaki at the extra price tag. There is also an outstanding change in the front brakes and now the unit comes from Nissin equipped with ABS as standard. The caliper looks like a mono-block, but the company smartly managed to put two barrels there to ensure sharp braking without compromising performance. There is a new, separate function front forks from SHOWA that has roughly same travel and performance like the older Versys forks.
The adjustable front forks are very much improved and you can feel the same difference when flicking the bike from right hander corner to left hander or vice versa. This motorcycle can sock up bumps like nothing in its price range. The rear KYB shock absorber can be adjusted by a simple knob on the go. Well, from going stiffer to softer damping setup is really easy as you unload the spring, but going softer to stiffer is really not easy while riding the bike. But, it’s pretty much easy when you get off the bike.
The engine on 2016 Kawasaki Versys is same as of its sibling Ninja 650. Mechanically the construction is all same including two pot 650 cc motor and even the gearbox, but the ECU is differently tuned for the purpose of this bike. The bike gets wider mid range for its touring capabilities from the new maps of the ECU. Power and torque figures remain same as the tweaking the power and torque delivery part is done by the ECU.
Though the gearbox is same 6 speed from Ninja 650 the power delivery is something that Kawasaki learned the lessons from all the tourer segments plus Versys 1000 and then combined to offer best possible outcome. The first two gears offer really high torque and as you move to third the refinement in the motor just pleases you. The company added lots of dampers around the engine as well as the handlebar to ensure least vibration passing to the rider. The 6th gear can take you from the speed of 45kmph to 180kmph with ease.
The average cruising speed on Indian tarmac can go effortlessly to 120kmph and bike can return 20-22kmpl. The fuel tank capacity is 21 liter and hence you can easily take a road-trip to any coastal area in Maharashtra from Pune in one full tank. The riding posture is upright and makes me remember of Kawasaki Ninja 1000 sitting position. The riding position is upright and the tall windscreen ensures less wind blast to the rider. Even on the softer side suspension setup at speeds of 120kmph the bike is rock steady and that builds up the confidence in the rider to twist the throttle a bit more. The ABS and the sharp braking enhance your confidence on this bike.
The rideability this gearbox offers is from the wide range of driving conditions. This is the motorcycle you can take it to the office everyday from the chaotic city traffic cutting those zippy lanes and this is the same motorcycle that you can take for a Sunday morning ride to one of the adventurous place with soft road condition. 2016 Kawasaki Versys 650 is the bike you can keep for a long time with you, and it will give you all the fun in every terrain you take in.
2016 Kawasaki Versys 650 is around a lakh more expensive than Ninja 650. A tourer setup with long travel adjustable front and rear suspension, wider torque range and ABS are the added bits we can call for a price above Ninja 650. A price tag of Rs. 7.22 Lakh On road, Pune is bit on higher side but there is no perfect middle weight tourer competition to the 2016 Kawasaki Versys 650 in this segment with same features and performance.
Also Read: 2015 Benelli 600 GT review
Imagery by Arjun Dhavale