New and improved Kawasaki Versys 650

Kawasaki’s all-rounder Versatile System bike offers an exciting way to beat the rigours of daily commuting, yet is much at home for touring purposes just like its predecessor. The ‘do it all’bike gets you around the city Monday to Friday, but is also versatile enough for long tours on weekend getaways or holidays.


The Versys 650 is one of those machines that is difficult to explain and impossible to categorise. Its combination of long-travel suspension & sporty 17″ wheels, upright riding position and a low-mid range focused parallel-Twin engine results in a highly versatile package able to offer riders maximum riding excitement in a wide variety of street-riding situations, especially on twisty mountain roads.


A styling makeover makes the 2015 model Versys 650 very different from the outgoing model. The stacked headlights are now replaced by the distinctively shaped twin headlights: a trait that runs through the Kawasaki range. The newly styled top fairing housing now incorporates a distinctly larger screen, much to the pleasure of tour riders.


The reinforced rear frame and stronger wheels now allow an increased payload, allowing riders to take more with them. The stronger rear frame now allows accessory panniers and a top case to be used. The new Versys now feature an integrated luggage mounting system designed as a part of the new, stronger subframe. This enables specially designed panniers to be easily mounted without the need for unsightly brackets.


The smart designed system now allow dedicated panniers to simply clip into mounting points in the grab rails and an extension bracket near the pillion foot-rest. The mounting system also ensures the rear of the bike looks sharp when the panniers are removed.

The 649 cm3 Parallel Twin engine is focused on a balanced powerful feeling whilst maintaining a quick-revving character. Care was taken to maximise low-mid range torque to optimise performance for everyday riding. Engine updates result in increased high-rpm performance and improved fuel economy. ECU settings match changes to the engine and contribute to improved fuel efficiency.


A newly styled angular exhaust can is tucked away ele’gantly almost out of sight. The header pipes are now unitised with the under-engine silencer as a single-piece construction. This new design contributes to increased high-rpm performance.

Vibrations at higher speeds as reported in the feedback from the previous model of the 650 was an issue that owners found distracting. Gone are the vibes now, as the Kawasaki Versys 650 2015 model now features rubber mounting for the engine and handlebars for a very smooth ride. Humming around 4,000 rpm at highway legal speed, the Versys offer a relaxed and comfortable ride.


The generous steering angle of the wide handlebars makes it easy to be negotiated filter through busy streets. Power comes fluidly from the proven 649cc twin-cylinder engine in a friendly and predictable way.

Hit the open road, and a quick twist of the throttle crisply result in a burst of acceleration that puts you ahead of any dangers on busy city streets. The twin would then comfortably surge forward, quickly accumulating speed by the time you’re ready to shift up into fourth gear.Speeds are kept in check by dual 13300 mm petal discs which are gripped by new twin-piston calipers. A new rear caliper features revised settings that prioritise controllability.


Longer journeys are now more comfortable with the bigger, adjustable windscreen, as compared to the rather smaller one previously. The upright riding position seats the rider comfortably for all-day riding, as well as agood view over congested traffic in urban jams.


Kawasaki have upgraded the front suspension with Showa forks and the rear with a KYB monos hock, resulting in a premium ride. Designed based on feedback from high-spec models, the long-travel 1341 mm front fork with separates the functions between the two fork tubes, with a spring in the left tube and damping cartridge in the right. This allow all adjusters to be at the top of the fork for easy adjustment: preload on the left; rebound damping on the right. The rear offset laydown single-shock now has a remote preload adjuster making it easily adjustable to suit ride load, either with a passenger or luggage. The adjuster is conveniently positioned between the seat and rear shock for easy access.


Perhaps the favorite aspect of the Versys 650 2015 is its ergonomics, namely the wide windscreen adjustable between 2.4 inches using mantfal adjustment knobs.


There are very few motorcycles capable of matching the Versys 650 over a wide variety road, given riders of equal skill. And those bikes that could, alas, would not be nearly as affordable to buy, nor as friendly and easy to operate as a daily commuter. The Versys 650 is a standout and aerodynamic commuter bike and a proficient middleweight tourer. And this is a fact that should not go unappreciated.

** Versys 650 – RM38,369 (inclusive 6% GST, excluded OTR expenses )


** Thank you to Kawasaki Motors (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd
** Photo by Abdul Shukor Md Janis & Aiemax Choomoo


Type Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke Parallel Twin Displacement 649 cm3 Bore and Stroke 83.0 x 60.0mm Compression ratio 10.8:1 Valve system DOHC, 8 valves Fuel system Fuel injection: 038mm x 2 Ignition Digital Starting Electric Lubrication Forced lubrication, semi-dry sump 


Revise styling package blends style, wind protection, aerodynamics and airflow management. New twin head lamps designs reflects new Versys 650’s abundant potential for fun, sporty riding. 


Reinforced rear frame and stronger wheels allow an increased payload allowing riders to take more with them especially accessory panniers and a top case to be used at a same time. 


Long-travel rear suspension and high-grade link-less system offers direct feel and a balance of light handling and riding comfort. With new preload adjuster, it is easily adjustable to suit riding with a passenger or luggage.


Front and back wheels contribute to quick, sporty handling and accommodate a wide variety of sport tyres and stronger tyres contributes to an increase payload.


This feature contributes to mass centralisation, free up space under the seat and helps to keep the heat away from the rider and passenger.


Complementing new rubber mounts for the front and upper-rear engine mounts, handlebar and footpeg mounting assembly further increase rider comfort. 


Triple petal disc brakes delivers plenty of stopping power. New calipers, revised master cylinder settings, new brake pad material and a larger 0250mm rear disc deliver increased controllability, stronger initial bite and greater overall brake force. 


Long-travel 041 mm front fork with stiff springs to actively control the bike’s front-rear weight transfer. Separated functions for each tube allow all adjusters to be at top of the fork for easy adjustment. Setting contribute to both light handling and ride comfort.


Larger windscreen with 60mm range can be adjusted without tools, allowing riders to tailor their wind and weather conditions. 


The compact engine and slime frame result in a design that is narrow at the knees and feet. Repositioned footpegs offer a more relaxed position. 


Increased volume contributes to a greater cruising range. Short-style fuel tank positions the rider closer to handlebar and better control.

Co-founder of Bikes Republic and a motoring journalist by night. He is a self described enthusiasts with a passion for speed but instead rides a Harley and a J300. A man of contradictions, he is just as passionate about time off in the quiets as he is about trail braking into turn one at Sepang Circuit on two or four wheels.

Related Articles


Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on YouTube