Kawasaki Versys-X

  • Indonesian blogger Stephen Langitan is on a solo ride from Jakarta to London.

  • He’s doing so on the Kawasaki Versyx-X 250 lightweight adventure bike.

  • He visited Kawasaki Motors (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. for a meet and greet session.

Inspired by those before, Stephen Langitan decided to see the world on a motorcycle, and his chosen steed is the Kawasaki Versys-X 250.

Stephen had started out from Jakarta on 25th March 2018, rode through south Sumatra to Medan before hopping over to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. From here, he will travel north first to Thailand and then continuing on a north-westerly tack towards Europe and ultimately London. He expects to reach the UK’s capital by 17th August 2018 to commemorate Indonesia’s Independence Day there.

Stephen was invited to Kawasaki Motors (Malaysia) for a Meet & Greet session with the Versys-X club members and media, to share his views, experience and knowledge on his solo ride.

What spurred him to embark on this ambitious ride? “I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. I also wanted to fly the Indonesian flag all the way throughout the trip, that’s why my bike is painted in the red and white Indonesian flag.”

The conversing point on everyone’s lips was Stephen’s choice of bike, the Versys-X 250. We’ve written before that it is one of the best choice for an adventure bike (click here for the article), on account of its affordability, reliability and light weight. It turned out to be the same sentiments echoed by Stephen: “The main reason is because it’s light. One must always be prepared about dropping the bike when adventure riding and the Versys-X 250 is light enough for me to lift it back up by myself. Sure, you could ask for help, but what if I dropped it where there’s no one around? All I need to do is remove the tank bag, sleeping bag, and other luggage and get it back onto its wheels.”

“The second reason is of course fuel economy. I don’t ride fast – normally around 80 to 90 km/h. The Versys-X averages approximately 30 kilometres per litre of petrol at that pace, hence I could touch up to 450 kilometres per tank, through multiplying 30 km by 15 litres with 2 litres as reserve.”

“I have a very tight schedule due to Visa constraints through a number of the 26 countries I’m riding through, and that’s is why I cannot afford to stop too often, unless I feel sleepy and need to refresh myself,” Stephen explained.

His Versys-X is decked out in luggage and the aforementioned paintjob, besides a few accessories. We asked if it had been modified in any way. “No, the motorcycle is fully stock. I’ve only added accessories such as the engine protection bars, brackets for the panniers and top case, a GPS holder, high-powered spotlights, except for the stock rims which have been made to support tubeless Metzeler Tourance tyres.”

“As for challenges so far, I think I’ve travelled on the worst roads through southern Sumatra already. The roads ahead should be well-built and I hope for a smooth ride.”

Stephen’s final message before the end of the event was, “Thank you Kawasaki Malaysia for welcoming me, thank you Kawasaki Versys-X Club of Malaysia for coming out to meet me. I’m very touched by your support.”

You may follow Stephen Langitan’s further progress on his Kawasaki Versys-X 250 on his blog


  • Adventure riding takes you to places inaccessible to most others

  • Adventure riding takes practice and careful planning

  • Once experienced, it may become your only type of riding activity

Courtesy of

Adventure riding is fun in many more ways than one.

Why not ride an offroad trail or better yet, blaze your own trail to some waterfall in a jungle where no one has been to before, compared to visiting an easily accessible waterfall that’s overcrowded, dirty and dangerous with rubbish and human effluents?

But how does one go about with adventure riding? Some people may cynically say, “It isn’t an adventure unless something goes wrong.” It’s not as bad as that. Think about discovering the many God-made beauties our country has to offer.

Here are our top tips for adventure riding.

1. Get a Proper Adventure Bike

Starting with say, a Kawasaki Versys-X 250 or a Versys 650 ABS. Or just go ahead with a Kawasaki KLX150BF or KLX250 (you may want to leave the KLX450R for the pros, though). But for the sake of simplicity, we’ll just stick to the Versys-X in this article.

Kawasaki Versys-X. Courtesy of

The Versys-X 250 fills the role of a lightweight adventure and commuter motorcycle nicely, as it has a good balance for adventure riding when standing up on the footpegs. It’s also equipped with spoked wheels instead of cast aluminium ones. Spoked wheels are more desirable for adventure riding as they are usually lighter, absorb shocks better and can be adjusted back to shape if dented.


The KLX range is a no brainer when it comes to adventure riding, as they are enduro motorcycles – super lightweight, slim, long travel suspension, big spoked wheels, and torquey engines. The KX models, on the other hand, are competition models for motocross, supercross and conversion to supermoto, thus they are not road legal. But you could always truck it to the starting point of your ride.


Depending on the severity of offroading on your adventure ride, you may need to replace the Versys-X’s stock tyres to more adventure-oriented ones, otherwise the standard tyres are fine. Adventure-specific tyres not only offer more offroad grip, but they also allow the pressure to be dropped safely (more on this below).

2. Get Proper Training

Adventure riding has its specific set of skills. The route you’re going to travel on may not be severe, but it’s always good to be prepared.

Best way to learn this is at Most Fun Gym (MFG), operated by Malaysian veteran GP rider and legend, Oh Kah Beng. MFG may seem to be a hardcore motocross school, but it’s otherwise in reality. You don’t have to do the jumps. Learning offroad means learning the skills to control a motorcycle over low to no-grip situations through mastering throttle control, brake control, body control, body positioning, vision.

Training at Most Fun Gym

You’ll find your road riding skills improve too. That’s why MotoGP champs ride offroad on their off days.

3. Packing Up

This may seem frivolous but packing plays a big role in a safe hence enjoyable adventure ride.

Loaded up GIVI’s top case and panniers

A few extra items should be brought along:

  1. Extra tool kit. Or a good multi-tool set with extensive attachments.
  2. Cable ties. The most important kit by far.
  3. Tyre tube or tyre puncture repair kit.
  4. Compact electric air pump for the tyres.
  5. Tyre pressure gauge.
  6. First aid kit.
  7. Flashlight.
Courtesy of advpulse

For one, heavy items such as tool kits, or camping equipment should be packed low in the panniers. Locating them high up results in a high centre of gravity and causing the top-heavy feeling (the bike likes to tip over at slow speeds).

Important items like the wallet, phone, cigarettes/vape, lighters should be packed in a waterproof or ziplock bag, and be easily accessible, so you don’t have to dig through everything to look for them.

Courtesy of advpulse

Not least of all, hook the motorcycle’s key to a large keychain. It’ll give you a good chance of locating it should it be dropped into a pool of mud or water.

Kawasaki floating keychain

4. Riding Gear

Adventure riding gear is the best as they are designed to be tough, protective and comfortable.

Hevik adventure jacket

However, if there are certain constraints, motocross wear is fine, but do wear full body armour including knee and shin guards.

Acerbis body armour

The subject of boots is open to contention, however. Many choose to wear motocross boots but this writer prefers adventure riding boots such as the TCX Track WP. First of all, the latter is more flexible, which increases comfort greatly. Secondly, adventure boots have more “aggressive” sole patterns compared to MX boots. That’s important in case you get off and push the bike. MX boots’ soles are smoother, made for sliding across the track while cornering, which means you may not have much traction in the rough.

TCX Track Evo WP adventure boots

An adventure helmet (full-face with a peak) is good, so is a motocross helmet, as they provide optimal airflow. A roadracing full-face will have you out of breath in a jiffy. An open-face is inadvisable as it doesn’t have the protective chinbar.

HJC FG-X offroad helmet

5. Tyre Pressure

With all that out of the way, it’s time to ride.

But hang on! We need to work on the tyre pressures first!

Again, if the adventure ride consists of serious offroading, the tyre pressures needs to be reduced.

Reducing the tyre pressure lets the tread “open up” for a wider footprint. The lower pressure also allows the tyres to absorb shocks from irregular surfaces, rocks and tree roots.

Reducing tyre pressure

Typical road pressures are anywhere between 200 kPa front to 280 kPa rear. A drop of half will suffice. For example, if the recommended pressure for your bike is 200 kPa, drop it to 100 kPa.

Remember we recommended that you bring a tyre pressure gauge? This is what it’s for. Also, keep in mind to re-inflate the tyres back up to the recommended pressures when you ride home on the road. That’s what the air compressor is for.

Stop & Go portable air compressor

6. Stand Up

Get your buttocks off the seat and bend your knees a little, using your legs as shock absorbers for the rear. Lean your chest slightly towards the fuel tank and splay your elbows outwards, but do not press down on the handlebar. Use them as additional shock absorbers for the front, instead.

Stand up when riding offroad. Courtesy of advpulse

Standing up brings your centre-of-gravity (CoG) down to the footpegs. Also, having your body off the seat means you don’t get hammered when the bike moves around underneath you. Sitting down in the seat, will have the bike taking you for a ride as it snakes, squirms and bounces.

The Versys models have short fuel tanks; the Versys-X’s fuel tank is sloped sharply downwards at the rear so that the rider may position his body weight towards the front when standing up.

7. Ride Loose

Your grip, arms, torso and legs should be relaxed. This allows the bike to do what it’s supposed to, and letting the suspension soak up the bumps. Fighting the bike will only exacerbate a situation. Your job is just to point the bike towards where you want it to go.

Relax your arms, legs and body – Courtesy of advpulse

8. Push Down

Cornering on the road or track means leaning your body to the inside of the corner.

When adventure or offroad riding, keep your body straight up and push the handlebar and footpeg downwards.

9. Sit Down

Standing up is necessary when you travel straight or around a gentle curve. But you need to sit back down for sharper corners.

Sit down for sharper and faster corners – Courtesy of advpulse

Keep your upper body straight up and push the handlebar downward. Stick your leg out but that leg’s knee should touch the bike. Splaying your leg wide will have the bike sliding and can lead to a lowside.

10. Throttle Control

Throttle control is probably the single most important control in adventure riding (so is on the road, as a matter of fact).

Modulate the throttle smoothly when turning it on or shutting it. Roll it on, roll it off – never slam it open or slam it shut.

If the bike slides in a turn, don’t slam shut the throttle like what your instinct tells you to do. A slide doesn’t mean the bike is totally out of control. It’s just a sign that the sliding tyre or tyres have less traction.

Stay on the gas! – Courtesy of Ksatria Pinandhita

Instead, you could maintain the same throttle position and lift the bike up slightly by either using your leg or the handlebar, or both. If you need to slow down more, remember to roll off the throttle. Cutting the throttle immediately when the bike is sliding will cause an abrupt back-torque (engine braking) and that will result in the tyre breaking all available traction.

When we tested the Versys-X, we noticed that the engine’s power is softer initially, before picking up at 3000 RPM. On one hand, that’s to not scare beginners, but it’s also meant for smoother throttle response when adventure riding. The model is also equipped with a Slip & Assist clutch to control engine braking.

11. Don’t Jump on it!

As with the throttle, you should also be smooth on the brakes. Never grab the brakes but apply pressure progressively.

Additionally, do not brake in a slide. Use the throttle.

Similar to the throttle, the Versys-X’s front brake is a little soft at the beginning of its stroke.

The Versys-X’s brakes are nicely progressive

12. Look!

The simple adage applies: “You go where you look.”

Don’t stare at the big rock in your path if you don’t intend to hit it. Look to the sides and you will miss it.

Look where you want to go – Courtesy of rockymountainatvmc

So, there you go. Follow these pointers and you will want to forget about road riding and who knows, you may devote yourself to adventure riding. These tips may seem complicated at first, but they are actually rather simple and straightforward when you put them together.

Enjoy that waterfall!


Video: Our first impression of the new Kawasaki Versys X 250!

  • At just RM23,789 with GST, the Versys X 250 is now the cheapest adventure bike in the market right now.
  • Tall riders will love the sitting position, which is similar to that of bigger adventure bikes, minus the weight.
  • The 249cc engine, though nothing spectacular, was designed to balance power and fuel consumption.
  • During the off-road session, the tall ride height of 180mm ensured that the bottom never met any rocks, and with a weight of just 173 kilograms, it was simple and easy to manoeuvre through the tight spots and thick mud.
  • If it is a light, cheap, do -anything, go-anywhere kind of bike you want, the Versys-X 250 is the bike you should be spending your money on!

What is it that makes a good adventure bike? Is it a brand? Or a certain look? Or a particular engine or perhaps it should have about a hundred different rider aids? We asked some friends and the general answers were that a good adventure bike should be simple to repair, lightweight, comfortable with good suspension and it should have good fuel range as well.

Well there are lots of bikes that meet all those criteria, and the latest one is this – the Kawasaki Versys X 250. I have to admit to being a little excited about meeting this bike, which is odd because it is not one of those bikes you would normally call beautiful, and neither is it particularly powerful. It is just a plain, functional simple green Kawasaki with tall suspension and seat height. I was excited because this is the bike that signals that all is well in the motorcycle industry and manufacturers are creating more and more models to meet rising demand. An adventure bike for less than RM25,000, who would have imagined we would have bikes like this 10 years ago. It is a brilliant idea, and one that gives almost everyone a chance to own a good bike.

You see, at just RM23,789 with GST, the Versys X 250 is now the cheapest adventure bike in the market right now. It is also quite a big, tall bike and could be considered as a almost full-sized tourer. And with more people relying on two wheels to commute and to travel, the Versys X 250 is the one bike that could potentially offer it all – add some boxes and you will have ample storage space, it has good fuel range and it is cheap to buy. This is the bike that is capable of taking you around the world tomorrow should you want to. It is prepared, and even comes with tubed tyres, something that is easy to repair anywhere.

But lets manage expectations first. To begin with, the X is not powerful, at all. It offers just 31hp at 11,500rpm and 21.7Nm of torque at 10,000rpm. This means it has a high revving nature, and acceleration is just that, and the bike wheezes its way to a top speed of 150km/h. I managed 161km/h but that was on a downhill, so that’s cheating, sort of. The foot pegs too vibrate way too hard at high speeds, making it uncomfortable and leaves your feet buzzing for a good 10 minutes after stepping off the bike. But that’s it, that is all that is wrong with the baby X. Everything else about it is good enough.

The sitting position for one is similar to the Versys 650. The seat has been plucked off the bigger Versys 650 and feels comfortable on the Versys-X, good enough for a long ride north in fact. Tall riders will love the sitting position, which is similar to that of bigger adventure bikes, minus the weight. Talking about weight, this bike tips the scales at just 173 kilograms, which can be considered as ultra-light in the world of touring/adventure/dual purpose motorcycles.

The 249cc engine, though nothing spectacular, was designed to balance power and fuel consumption. The 17-litre tank offers a range of about 260-300 kilometres, something overlanders will appreciate. The engine is a liquid-cooled unit with double overhead cams (DOHC), eight-valves with parallel mounted cylinders. Most of the power it generates is at the bottom and mid-range of the rpm band and peaks at the very top between 10,000 – 11,500rpm, and it is because of this that you need to downshift when cruising at higher gears if you suddenly need more power; there is very little acceleration power in high gears.

But it is this low-ratio gears and high-revving character that makes the Versys-X such a capable machine when off-roading, as we found out during the recent official test ride in Rawang. Part of the route took us into a plantation, and because it had been raining, sand had turned into mud with little to no grip, great fun it was and the character of the engine and the lightweight nature of the Versys-X truly came alive here. The low-ratios means you have to use first or second gear through the slipperies and gives you access to power throughout the tall rev-band. And the ride height of 180mm ensured the bottom never met the mud, and with a weight of just 173 kilograms, it was steady through the tight spots and thick mud, parts where heavier bikes will struggle. I have to admit that the Versys X 250 was fun and nimble for a rookie off-roader.

The Versys-X was obviously designed to tackle both tarmac and off-road. The all-new rigid backbone frame was specially designed to handle external shocks like the hard knocks and bumps you get when riding off-road. It was also designed to make the bike sturdy when carrying a pillion and luggage.

The suspension too was good enough for us with 41mm of fork travel up front designed to soak up everything the road could throw at it and a bottom-link, uni-trak, gas-charged fork with adjustable pre-load at the rear. The front fork is connected to a 19-inch wheel while the rear measures in at 17 inches. The varying wheel size and the long forks gives the bike good handling, though there were some members of the media who thought 21 inches would have been better, low and high speed handling is already pretty good.

The Kawasaki Versys-X 250 was a rather pleasant bike to ride. You can’t tell how good a bike is just by looking at it, and the Versys-X 250 cannot be judged just by the way it looks. In fact it has a larger than life spirit to it, the kind that is willing to go anywhere, anytime and is able to do it well. Kawasaki Malaysia even specified a multi-function LCD panel that clearly indicates speed, rpm, and even a gear position indicator, which gives the bike a high-tech touch and doesn’t leave you feeling short changed.

The Versys-X 250 is currently the only bike of its kind in the market right now, and it doesn’t seem like there will be any competitors any time soon. So if it is a light, cheap, do -anything, go-anywhere kind of bike you want, the Versys-X 250 is the bike you want!

New Kawasaki Versys-X 250 small-sized adventure tourer debuts regionally in Indonesia.



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