I’ve always had a soft spot for the ugly-duckling Kawasaki Versys. I’ve even suggested that it be the first bike to ride coast to coast to coast in Canada when the Dempster Highway is finished. The Versys points to a time when bikes weren’t styled and marketed to a genre.
The new Versys is no ugly duckling, and I’m looking forward to throwing a leg over it at shows this winter. I’m also hoping that Kawasaki Canada will put this bike out there as a viable alternative to other light-weight / multi-purpose bikes. An adventure bike doesn’t need to be some off-road inspired, knobby tired monster, and the Versys could be that swiss-army knife of a bike.
My first experience with the 650 Versys was less than stellar. I suspect a lot of that had to do with how much the Versys felt like my Ninja. I’m not looking for hard suspension and a purely road focused bike with the Versys, I’m looking for something more flexible. I’m hoping that the new bike offers the kind of clearance, suspension travel and all-round usefulness that the old one lacked. That it offers much more leg room and a less road bike inspired stance is a great start.
The adventure bike-set seems to have a lock on the all-purpose motorcycle at the moment, but there was a time when multi-purpose motorbikes weren’t duck-billed monsters. The Kawasaki Versys could reinvent that pre-adventure bike ideal of a multi-purpose machine without the big nose.