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Versys vs Tiger

Started by Lee337, October 15, 2022, 02:51:40 PM

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The phone rang. Turning over, I patted the top of the bedside unit in a desperate attempt to stop whatever it was playing some awful tune at 6.00 in the morning.

'Morning Lee, how'd you like to go to Lincoln to pick up some blood units?'

F*$k, I forgot I was on the night shift, but at least it was not far off the usual time I get up. I grab a pen & paper & jot down the address.

'While you're in Lincoln, can you also go to (another hospital in Lincoln) to pick up a package & take it to (a different hospital in Boston)?'

What's the point you're making with this? I hear you ask. Well this week I have a Kawasaki Versys 650 to ride for my Blood Bike weekend duty. First impressions are not great, the clutch is horrible, the front seems to wander all over the place and anything above 40mph and there's a loud, what can only be described as a thrumming, actually a THRUMMING sound that rattles your teeth and rolls your eyes arouind in their sockets from the air streaming over the front screen.

All that from a 4-mile ride from picking it up to getting home. So, last night I adjusted the clutch – much better., checked the tyre pressures 36psi front & rear, except front was 32psi & the rear 40psi. So they were adjusted. I wore a different lid this morning hoping that it was down to the flip up lid I was wearing.

Pushing it out of the garage & dabbing the starter button, the under powered twin kicks into life. First thing I noticed was the headlight. I could see where I was going in the dark, not like any of the nest of Triumphs I have, which are barely candle power in the dark. The seating position is pretty good. Unlike the Tiger, I'm sitting upright, arms fall into a naturally relaxed position, knees bent, but not overly so, probably on a par with the Tiger but my feet are flat on the floor, so the seat height must be lower.
Off down the road and that vague handling seems to have gone now the tyre pressures are right, but it's got no go! Out on the open road, that THRUMMING returns but oddly only when I'm accelerating. It seems to go when I'm cruising or slowing down and it's not speed related. There's an annoying rattle coming from the front somewhere which at first I thought might be the tyres, but I can't feel any vibration through the bars other than that of the engine. It's loud enough to hear even wearing earplugs and I still haven't found out what's causing it. The headlight was good though. By the time I got to Lincoln, 40 miles later, the THRUMMING was doing my head in, and I still had another 65 miles to go. Luckily, the Versys has an adjustable screen, so while I was stopped, I undid the two handy adjusters accessible only when off the bike, and pushed it up as far as it would go, around 10cm higher than it was, which seemed to do the trick. By this time, it had stopped raining & the sun was peeking through the clouds.

The brakes are pretty good if a little snatchy, but that may be down to me being used to the Tiger's brakes. Even so, a couple of times when coming to a halt, they caught me out. There seems to be no 'squeeze the brakes then ease off before coming to a halt' just 'squeeze the brakes, then stop' if you know what I mean. They weren't quite on/off, but not far off which being ABS surprised me. I particularly dislike the instrument cluster, being an LCD display, it was quite hard to see in strong sunlight and the whole instrument panel on this model was very basic looking, speed, mileage, time, trip, average mpg, range and fuel gauge, as well as a rather big rev counter. You have to watch the fuel gauge as it went from half full to zero very quickly and there's no warning light, the fuel bar, which is not particularly big anyway, flashes so not easy to see. The reviews say it averages 56mpg so, on a 21-litre tank, should be good for 220 miles on a tank. When I picked it up, it was showing a little over half full, so 105 miles to empty, or fumes at least seems to bare the mpg figures out. I filled up at 70 miles - I have no idea how much reserve is, but lets just say I was begining to get worried by the time I found a garage.

Handling was er... different. I had little confidence in the front on wet roads and it wasn't improved that much in the dry. It felt twitchy and followed every little ridge & groove in the road surface. It just didn't feel planted. The suspension wasn't overly hard, or soft for that matter & that was another aspect of the bike that I quite liked liked, as long as the road surface was good, which in Lincolnshire it's not. At the end of my journey, around 105 miles in total (around 169km), I must admit, I didn't have that many aches & pains. With most strange bikes I ride (& that includes my Trophy) over that kind of distance, my shoulders at least would be aching, they weren't. In fact, the only discomfort I felt was the usual numb bum, which set in around 1 hour in to my journey. That is no real difference to the Tiger with my sheepskin pad attached, and far better than both the FJR and Honda Dullville I've had in recent times.

So, here's the litmus test – If I was given a new Versys in place of 16 year old Tallualh Tiger, would I accept it?

No, It's not a 'fun to ride' bike like the Tiger is, it doesn't have the presence on the road, nor the handling and wind the throttle up and it just doesn't go, it's gutless, it's a 68bhp twin cylinder engine is just no match for a 100bhp+ triple and although the weight is comparable at 215kg, it's far more affected by cross winds.

Nope, a Versys is not the one.

No matter how smart you are you can never convince someone stupid that they are stupid.


Thanks for a read/review on a Sunday morning. :thumbsup
I had strange looking bike follow me from Tamworth to Manilla with my teenage son pillion on our Honda 750/4 back in 02. It was a Versys owned by a cousin of my wife who recognised our bike.
He was happy with it, he still owns it now. Must suits the flat open type roads out here. Not my style though. You cannot see attachments on this board.
1996 Granite black Steamer, ahead of 40 odd others owned
Regards Russ
An ounce of luck is worth a ton of experience!


That sounds like a serendipitous encounter! It's always interesting to come across other motorcyclists, especially when they recognize you and your bike. I am new in riding and heared The Kawasaki Versys is a versatile motorcycle that is well-suited for a variety of road conditions, so it's no surprise that your wife's cousin is happy with it.
I am a beginner and currently read some of these information on bikes It seems that the Versys has been a reliable and enjoyable motorcycle for him. I hope you and your son had a safe and enjoyable ride from Tamworth to Manilla. These types of encounters can make for some memorable experiences and stories to share.


The Versys is a good, reliable bike, that's why the Lincs. Blood Bikers use them. It gets you to where you need to be reliably and without fuss.

It's just a little too... er, beige for me if you see what I mean.
No matter how smart you are you can never convince someone stupid that they are stupid.


If there is anything that you get used to quickly, it's power. The Versys is a great example of that. ;) Though the Versys 1000 might be a better comparison. The Tiger has a relatively high power number for an 800cc of the era, where the Versys has a reasonably low power number for a 650. Still a good thing that you have the Tiger in your garage and the Versys on loan only. ;)
2008 Triumph Street Triple R | Ex Triumph Tiger 900 T400 1993, Tiger 800XC 2011