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Kawasaki Versys 1000

Kawasaki Versys 1000

4.2 from 13 reviews

See the Best Sport Touring Bikes in 2019 as rated by Australians on ProductReview.com.au.

Batteries not included

Whilst the bikes good overall I think it should have a disclaimer 'batteries not included' type of thing. I think 9/10 people will require an upgraded windshield. And the position of the radiator forces your hands to buy a radiator guard just to name a few.

Purchased in February 2018.

Excellent bike, after some tweaks

Overall, very pleased with this beautiful bike. Recently bought a used 2013 Versys 1000 with only 2500km on the odometer. Some things needed fixing right off the bat, but they were all minor and mirrored what the others were writing in their reviews.
1. Windscreen is too short / not effective. Added an extension, now it's perfect, just touches the top of the helmet (I'm 185cm). If you are taller than 180cm I'd recommend you replace the windshield.
2. No center stand. When I have some spare $ I will get this. And crash guards.
3. Replaced the stock bulbs with Cyclops LED lights. They were easy to install and make a big difference in terms of visibility. High beam is incredible. Don't think I need spots. Very affordable.
4. BUZZING. This initially was a big deal and a bit concerning as I like my bike quiet. The V1000 is a quiet bike for it's power, almost surprisingly. But between 3-5k it starts to buzz. It's the fairings mainly. Take off the two side front (colored) fairings, put insulation on them, tightened up a few loose bolts beneath, and behold - 70% of the buzzing was gone. Then determined that the speedo was buzzing, so (2 minute job) added insulation behind the speedo assembly and boom another 15% of the buzzing gone. Now it's only minor buzzing up front, which I can live with. :)
5. Other upgrades I'll consider - side bags and upgrade exhaust for better sound.

Overall great power (haven't had it out of low power mode yet .... ), great traction and comfort / stability feel. Even on a wet highway at 130km/hr. I'm very happy with it. SUPER COMFORTABLE.


**(Update after two months of riding)**
Several notable upgrades include
- Denali Sound Bomb air horn. Wiring was easy. Placement was pretty much in the stock horn position but turned it in. Very loud, worth the $125.
- Barkbusters, also a big addition to keeping hands warm.
Discovering high power mode slowly. What a joy. :)

Date PurchasedSep 2018

Big mistake

I bought a 2016 based on reviews from owners and bike mags. The dealers also raved about it. My first thought were this is a very different riding style height of the seat to what I’m use to. I like to ride distance and ride hard and fast but it became apparent at speeds the bike was unstable the front went very light and the handle bars shakey. Taking corner wasn’t a pleasure it was like falling the back end weaving. The long and short of it I kept it for a year tried everything but this bike didn’t do it for me. The SX/ Fazer/GSX1250 fa are more my style. Personal opinion which many may not agree with. Ride carefull stay safe.

Date PurchasedNov 2016

Love it!

I came of a 650 V Strom and jumped on the 1000 Versys. I loved it when I first rode it, but after a week or so I found it a bit too unstable with the back end unpredictable. I have never had a bike with traction control before and once I changed the traction control from 3 to 1, I couldn't believe the difference, it just flows thru the corners. Love the power (when I need or want it), the big lazy torquey motor just lopes along, it's quiet as a mouse and after getting between 450-490 out of the Strom, 400 km from a tank on the Versys is more than acceptable. I reckon I could do better if I really tried. I find the seat as comfy if not more than the Strom. Headlights are good on low, but a bit ordinary on high. I have fitted engine bars and driving lights which make it better, but better ones again are on the cards very soon, and I want to get rid of the factory Bridgestones and fit Pirelli Scorpion Trail 11's. I fitted billeted, powder coated bar risers, Made my own pannier racks as the factory ones from the stealership were way too dear, had them powder coated and fitted soft panniers (my preferred type) along with a Shad top box and bark busters. the busters have hi level daytime running lights and indicators on them to make me a bit more visible to tin top drivers. I absolutely love the centre stand which is so user friendly and invaluable when you are lubricating the chain or cleaning or adding farkles to the bike. I find it a great long distance tourer and very easy to ride. I am looking at changing the front sprocket to a 16 tooth to lower the rev's a little bit when in 6th, as I occasionally find myself looking for 7th gear. I only have 6000 km on it so far, but as for the V Strom which I put over 100000 km on it, I think the Versys will be just as reliable and fun to ride. I was very disappointed in Kawasaki Gold Coast though after the first service at 1000 km. 3 days earlier, I organised to drop it off 8 am. It took me 30 minutes to book it in as no one was in the service dept, 4.40 pm they still hadn't touched it, but at 5.10 pm it was ready and cost me $245.00 for the privilege. I think they need to lift their game a bit. The next service will be done by the local independent bike guys which the wife and I have used before and couldn't be happier with.

Date PurchasedDec 2016
1 comment
I have just fitted a Skene "Intelligent Headlight Control" module which allows both hi and lo headlights to be on at the same time (at a lower brightness) and fitted new Cree driving lights as well. I have also fitted a bike GPS and an auxiliary power socket. I have done another 1300 km since my last review and the more I ride this bike, the more I am enjoying it. Do yourself a favour and take one for a spin, you'll love it.

Excellent bike but missing just a few items to make it excellent

This bike is great and with lots of power. It just needs a better windscreen, 12v outlet & gear indicator. It handles excellent and very comfortable for long rides. Very pleased with its traction control, 2 power levels & ABS. Kawasaki really made a good sport cruiser. I bought a new 2016 model, let's see what the 2018 brings.

Date PurchasedFeb 2017

Second best bike

Sorry for my bad Eanglish, as it is not my firs language.

I have to admit that I am a HONDA fan, having Honda motorcycles starting with Hornet 900 (2004) and on. My first choice was Honda VFR 800X Crossrunner. Trying Versys 1000 was just a case. I've got one for test. First impression was that bike is very heavy. I just wanted to go back to the dealer, when it came to me, to check the tires inflation rate. Instead of 2.6 and 3.0 (they recomand 2.5 and 2.9, but this is to low for Dunlop tires), they have been inflated to 2.2 and 2.5. Fixing that was just amazed. So have doped my decision to buy again a HONDA and bought Kawi. I believe this speaks for itself.

This bike is fantastic solo, with pillion is incredible, as touring and as commuting bike. I would like to have some more power, but it does well as it is also.

Sorry for the Ducatti fans. But I find it better than multistrada 1200, and I just tried multistrada 950 which is a good bike, but to soft in front wheel. Much to soft.

Why second best bike.

I also tried BMW S1000XR. I have to admit, that it is a fabulous bike. To expensive for me, but great. Problem is that incredible buzzing, especially at left handle bar. Will take in few days 2017 year model as they said, they have fixed that buzzing. Will see.

Date PurchasedMar 2016

Top tourer, a few niggles

I have around 45,000km on mine now. Just replaced the chain and sprockets - which were still in good nick, but I wanted to go to a 16T front. The 42K valve check - only required every 42K - cost around $300 with a throttle balance. The valves were all in spec but the throttle bodies were way out and it runs a lot smoother now. Comfy bike apart from the dreadful seat, well built with decent quality materials, handles very well for a tall bike and feels very light underway, though top heavy with a full tank at low speeds. Despite the 240kg weight it is still lighter than most of the "adventure tourers" and I get a constant 19-20 km/l out on the highway, 17 or so around town. Getting the plastics off for maintenance is simple and fast although getting the tank side pieces back on can be a pain until you get the knack of seating the front slot.

Niggles: No centre stand so fitted a Hepco & Becker. Also fitted the H&B racks and Gobi panniers, 50L Kappa top box, heated grips, 12V socket, twin spots and touring screen. Seat is painful after an hour or so; I can ride my DR650 for longer. (I weigh 75kg and perhaps the Versys seat was designed for heavier riders.) I pulled the seat apart and reshaped the foam a tad and is a bit better. Suspension is pretty dire due to overly stiff and unadjustable compression damping (seems to be designed for >100kmh riding and is OK at speed) though it does work better when the suspension oil has heated up. With the 15T front sprocket it is undergeared in 1st-3rd and dives on gear changes. The 16T fixes that and makes the transition through the gears pretty seamless. With the torque of the engine it would have benefited from having a 5 speed instead of a 6 as it would give a more useful rpm range between the gears. The stock screen is OK at keeping the wind off the body but a bit noisy so I made a larger one of the same general shape and it is quieter and with better wet weather protection. Low beam is good but high beam is dismal and downright dangerous at times as the beam is narrow and has little penetration. The lights have been adjusted as they weren't aimed correctly as delivered and I use a pair of high quality LED spots at night which give a good side spread to pick out roos and so on. The rear number plate light lasts about 2 months before vibration kills it and keeping a couple of spares in the toolkit will save you from a fine from a picky copper. 2 minute job to replace. The front tyres wear faster than the rear but tyre life is OK for this type of bike. I use Dunlop Roadsmart IIs on all my big bikes as I prefer them to Pilot Roads and similar. The fronts last about 8000km and the rears about 10,000. As most of my riding is touring the brakes don't get used much but they are decent enough in slowing down the rolling mass of the bike. There is a slight warp in one of the front disks but not enough to be a problem. The rear rack is too short and lightweight for serious touring so I made a steel and alloy replacement. While there are few vibes to be felt when riding they do gradually loosen up parts of the bike and a go around with the spanners every month is a good idea. Packing the fairing joints with a thin strip of foam stops the buzzing at higher rpms. Fitting $30 L shaped valves to the rims makes checking pressures a lot easier as well. One thing that does need mentioning - when changing the oil, leave the filter slightly loose to bleed the air out and only tighten it when there is a dribble of oil coming out while the engine is first run. Most of the Kawasaki 1000 engines seem to need "burping", and if it isn't done you will hear a loud knocking from the engine and the engine management light will come on. Some V1s do it, others don't. Checking and adjusting the engine balancer every 20,000km keeps things smooth.

All in all a very good bike. It's lighter than a fuelled up R1200GS, cheaper to run, handles dirt roads without drama, is just as comfortable and requires next to zero maintenance apart from oil and filter changes. The few minor problems with the bike are easily fixed for very little money and the bike is built to last.

Date PurchasedJul 2013

smooth criminal

My super commuter, all roads adventure tourer (not so quick on tracks but will do it), carver and monster it deserves a better rep than it has. It's a bit heavy compared to a multistrada or a sr1000xt, but will outlast them hands down and is often half the price!

Much better

Well I have just changed the OEM Pirelli Scorpions at a very disappointing 7100km for a set of Michelin Pilot Road 4's. They have made a huge difference, the bike actually handles now like it should. Before the front always felt vague and now it inspires confidence. The ride over rough bitumen is much better. When I bought the bike new it was the best part of 2 years old so maybe the tyres were even older than that. They were as hard as a bull's forehead and as well as being pretty ordinary in the corners the ride was harsh too. If you have had the same issue try the pilot road 4's as you won't be disappointed. I have them on my Vstrom and they are awesome in the wet even on white lines.
I keep reading that everyone thinks the seat on the 1000 Versys is comfortable and I must admit when I first bought the bike I thought the same until I did a modest 450km ride one day. The seat starts to grow teeth at about 250km and by 400 km you almost want to get off and walk. North Korea could buy some Versys seats to use in their interrogation rooms. Maybe it is just me but I think Kawasaki can do a lot better. I know there are a lot of other bikes out there with crook seats but it shouldn't be this way on a bike made for doing big mileage.
I was seriously thinking about selling the big V and buying a KTM 1190 but now it has a decent set of tyres and I am using the air hawk I will see how it goes.
They are quick which is addictive.

Top bike

I have done 40000 klm. on mine in 20 months and not a problem. Good tourer. It eats up the miles. Ridden it to Longreach then to Atherton and back to Brissy. It goes around corners on rough country roads well. I found fuel economy good. I got 420 kilometres Out of a tankful once but I rode sedately and still had a over a litre left.

A fantastic machine... But...

I bought the Versys 1000 about 4 months ago as an upgrade from my KLR650. And for the absolute bargain price of $11,990 ride away for a '12 plated brand new bike I couldn't go past it.

So after the last few months of riding nearly every day (a 100km round trip of combined highway and city riding to work) this is what I've found so far...


Probably one of the sweetest, smoothest and willing engines I have ever come across. Considering it's stolen straight from a Z1000 it was always going to be special. What Kawasaki have done after they slotted it in the frame makes all the difference. Power has been reduced by around 10% from the Z1000 stable but slight mods have made the torque curve just perfect.

This engine will happily pull from any gear from any revs above 2000rpm without ever getting grumpy - easy in any gear. It's 10,000rpm redline will give you plenty of options for gears too, but it's actually rare that you'd ever want or need to get it over 9,000. This thing just keeps pulling and pulling without ever running out of puff.

Vibration is only barely noticeable above 6,000rpm and the dual throttle bodies give a nice scream from under the seat. Only let down is that the exhaust is over silenced so don't expect the world to hear much of you ringing it's neck...

120hp is respectable and enough to get you where you want to be.


it's no feather weight at 240kg wringing wet but again that engine doesn't complain. It feels big to sit on but the moment you set off you'll be surprised at how manoeuvrable it really is. Big grab handles make walking it around pretty easy.

City stop and start traffic isn't a problem either though you may find lane filtering hairy with this bigger machine.

It's suspension set up is good with plenty of tampering options for both front and rear. Good idea to get someone in the know to have a play with particularly the front suspension as I've found low speed cornering can feel a little ditzy and unsure of itself.

Melbourne back roads can be tiring after a while as the front can feel as though it's bumpier than it really is...


4 mode traction control is brilliant. "3" is the super fun killer mode that will stop you doing anything silly on this bike and can be almost too intrusive at times. "2" will allow very minimal slip if you give it a good poke. "1" is most fun, allowing good launches off the line and some mono action when you give it the beans. "Off" is for stunt riders or this who wish to end up on operating theatre tables.

They have also included a engine power mode selector giving you the option of full and low power modes. Low power reduces output by 25% and dramatically reduces torque - useful in wet or dirt road conditions.

Bike is also standard with unsurpassed Bosch ABS system.


The dash in nice and the layout effective. Nice big analogue tachometer and digital everything else.

There is 2x odometers, current and average fuel consumption, clock and distance remaining. My biggest gripe lies here. The distance remaining and fuel gauge are next to useless. I average around 320km before the fuel bars flash telling me it's thirsty. The problem is that the gauge doesn't budge until you're through over half a tank then drops suddenly over the last half - annoying. The distance remaining is so ludicrously inaccurate and can never really make up its mind that I don't even bother with it. And the really annoying part is that if it was reliable and I did use it,the thing turns off as soon as the bike is on reserve - just when you need it most!


Bloody comfortable and could easily enjoy 1000km days in that saddle. High seating position with a good view of the world around you. Screen could be just a bit bigger.


Just niggling things like the useless trip computer and fuel gauge. Lack of centre stand on a bike of this size is also a pain in the butt. Oh and in this day, age and bike category; shaft drive would make a world of difference.

Other than that the thing has run like clock work, has been a worthy daily commuter and is also great fun on weekends.

Expect 400km from a tank on a still day cruising the highway and a bum that won't be aching. And expect your mates on their sporties to be jealous of you keeping up with them when it's game on!
That engine. Very comfortable. Good value. Fuel economy. All rounder.
Trip computer. Looks are an acquired taste. Lack of accessories here in Oz.

Magic bike

Had the Versys 1000 for six months now and just got the 6k service done. When I took it for a test ride, I realised how much fun I had been missing in these past ten bike-free years. I bought the thing on the spot :)

I am very pleased with the bike overall. It certainly goes very well, has an amazing amount of torque, and feels very nimble. I can't compare this to anything else that is current, since my bike history is stuck in the 70s, but I can say that I am a vey happy camper.

At 196cm, I need a physically tall bike, so if you are a shorty, you might struggle to get your feet down, so this is something to consider.

The trip computer tells me that I am averaging 17.4 km per litre, and that translates to 360+ km on a tank, and I find that pretty amazing. I live in the country though, so city dwellers won't see those figures around home, but should see them once out on the open road.

I would buy one of these in an instant if this one disappeared!
Solid, nimble, amazing torque, nice 'feel', handles well, comfortable, stands out, great fuel economy, excellent for two up riding.
The windshield vibrates, but that was pretty easy to fix. No centrestand, but paddock stands are an adequate workaround.

I live in Adelaide, use mine for commuting and 17 km/l is not uncommon in city traffic; 15.5 to 16.5 km/l when I face a week of very heavy traffic; never below this. When riding on the open road, it's always on or above 21 km/l. I've ridden more than 16,000 km so far and I really love it. If Kawasaki could make it with shaft drive, it would be undoubtedly the best bike ever made. I had a problem with a squeaky sound coming from the chain once, but a PDOiler fixed it.I have recently fitted an aftermarket centre stand. My wife has been a lot easier since then.

Unbelievable: It's Even Better Than the VERSYS-650!

This bike started amazing me the first time I engaged the 1st gear and left the dealer. I intended to buy a VERSYS 650, but changed my mind when I compared the two. I was a bit afraid of being sort of a "Guinea Pig", once this is this bike's first series, but decided to run the risk and buy one. Great decision!

On my way home, the engine was so smooth and responsive that I rarely needed to downshift. A few days later, I was in the highway, bound for the Yorke Peninsula, with my wife as a pillion. I couldn't feel any difference in handling by having her as additional weight. In 6th gear all the time, all I had to do to overtake whatever was in front of me was a slight pressure on the throttle: there was a buzz (I wouldn't call it a roar) from the engine and, immediately, the speedometer started rolling up like crazy. After 250 km, I took a look at the fuel figures: 4.8 litres per 100 Km! Amazing! In city traffic conditions, it said I was doing around 5.8 l/100km. By any means, very good figures for the performance I was getting and a 4 cil, 1043 cc engine, still in the break in days.

Media reviews said there's a vibration problem at high revs, but I'm still waiting to see it. So far, I've felt no vibrations at all, but my bike is still in the break in period, and I don't push it too much.

The saddle is pretty comfortable, both for rider and pillion, and the traction control can help a lot when crossing gravel roads. But it's definitively not made for those (Kawasaki has never said so, too). Riding quality drops a lot when you enter unsealed roads, but this bike is a "gem" on any sealed way.

The bike is not very lengthy, and doesn't feel as heavy as its 240 kg might make one think at first sight. It's surprisingly light to handle, and does corners like a sports bike. The throttle is responsive at all revs, which makes riding it a relaxing experience.

If you like to command something powerful, reliable, smooth and silent, this is the one for you.
Powerful, smooth, comfortable, silent, good range, easy to control, maneuverable, excellent breaks, instruments panel, fuel efficiency.
Many find its style a bit weird, but I don't care much about appearance. So...

Questions & Answers

Quality control should be revised
No answers

Im looking into getting a versys for my first sport-touring bike. My previous bike was a 04 Vulcan 800. im 6'5 and a little over 250. would a versys 650 be enough power. or should i just save up and get the 1000?
3 answers
Buy the 1000 and you'll be happier in the long run. The new 650 really is a great bike but with your height and weight I think you'd find it physically a bit small for comfort. The power would be OK as it has around 70hp and 45ft/lbs of torque, better fuel economy and cheaper running costs etc, but it's not a very big bike. There are quite a few used V1Ks around at very good prices, especially the original 2012-14 model, and I'd look at those first as there isn't much difference between the current and the first models. You can find a very good low km used V1K for way less money than a new 650. Also, the 2015 and onwards 650 is far better than the earlier models and the only one worth considering, but there aren't many of the non-LAMS versions around. I like mid-sized bikes and actually intended to buy one of the new 650s last year until I discovered it would have to be ordered in as the dealer only stocked the LAMS version. You'd probably find a used current model VStrom 1000 round the same price as a used current model V1K, and they are worth a look as well. Much better bike than the original VStrom 1000.I agree with Henry, I think the 650 might be a bit small for you given you are a big bloke. Also the older 650 Versys could get pretty buzzy at speed. The current shape Versys 1000 has some improvements over the 2012 to 2015 model, It also comes with a centre stand standard which the earlier model did not..I have heard the handling is better and it gained a couple of HP. The Versys 1000 is a pretty competent bike and will do pretty well everything you ask of it. If you are into wheelies they are pretty good at this in the first two gears even with the traction control in level one. The setting keeps its memory too unlike other bikes. I have moved on from my 2014 Versys 1000 but I did think it was a pretty good bike. It is hard to find the perfect bike however as there are always some improvements you want to make to suit your individual needs. I also owned a 2012 Suzuki 650 Vstrom (non lams) and it was an awesome bike and although only a 650 made good power and torque and was never found wanting in the company of much bigger bikes. They are very comfortable, handle very well and fuel economy is outstanding averaging 4.2 litres per 100km. Even at 6ft 5in you won't find it uncomfortable. Best thing to do is try out a few and you will then work out which is going to be best for what you want to do with it. Also check out youtube reviews to see what others think about the bike you are looking at buying.. Best of luck FrankGo for the 1000cc.you won't be sorry. I am sis six 105 kilos and the bike is perfect for me.

Hi guys We are going on a Aus round trip. My wife fancy the Versys 1000. What is the lowest it can drop. How comfortable is it for long distances? Thanks Battle axe
3 answers
Hi Battleaxe the new model (2015) is better than the older Versys 1000 and better on the eye too. You also get a centre stand as standard. Not sure what you mean by "what is the lowest it can drop" though. They are a pretty quick bike with pretty good torque at lower revs than the Z1000. I had to modify the seat on my 2014 model but others reckon it is not too bad. My wife liked the pillion seat which she found comfortable. The Kawasaki 1000 motor is bullet proof so you won't have any reliability issues. They also like putting the front wheel in the air in the first 2 gears.Hi frank. My wife is bit short in legs department.72cm hight is already a stretch for her. She would like to move away from cruizer style .she likes this one but we will need to lower it... hence my question what is the lowest it can drop? Loweringkit? Cheers pierreHi frank. My wife is bit short in legs department.72cm hight is already a stretch for her. She would like to move away from cruizer style .she likes this one but we will need to lower it... hence my question what is the lowest it can drop? Loweringkit? Cheers pierre


Kawasaki Versys 1000
CategorySport Touring Bikes
Release dateJan 2012
Visit official website - Download manual

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