June 13, 2024

Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE – First Ride Review

The Kawasaki Versys is truly a standout among motorcycles due to its immense popularity. Renowned for its exceptional versatility, the very name “Versys” encapsulates the bike’s ability to adapt to various riding styles and terrains. In the local market, the Kawasaki Versys is available in two trim levels: the 650 and the 1000, catering to riders with different preferences and needs.

Both the Versys 650 and 1000 offer an incredible riding experience that seamlessly combines exhilaration and comfort. It’s a remarkable feat to strike a balance between these two seemingly contrasting aspects, but Kawasaki has managed to achieve it with their engineering prowess. Riders can expect a thrilling ride, with powerful acceleration and responsive handling, while also enjoying a level of comfort that allows for long hours in the saddle without fatigue.

Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE – First Ride Review

The appeal of the Versys 1000 extends beyond a specific demographic. It attracts a diverse range of riders, including HPG officers who prioritize reliability and maneuverability in their line of duty, as well as avid tourers and adventurers who seek thrilling experiences on their journeys. The Versys 1000 has firmly established itself as a mainstay in the big bike scene of the Philippines, where riders from various backgrounds and interests rely on its exceptional capabilities.

Design and build

Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE – First Ride Review

A mere glance at the Versys 1000 is enough to convey its serious demeanor and commanding presence. It boasts a substantial size that exudes an intimidating and imposing aura. With its robust stature, it effortlessly demands attention on the road, ensuring its unmistakable road presence wherever it goes.

When it comes to styling, the Versys 1000 takes cues from its sportier counterpart, the Ninja, evident in its angular fairing and twin LED headlights. These design elements not only add a touch of aggression to its appearance but also enhance its aerodynamic efficiency. The exposed and muscular frame further reinforces the bike’s rugged and powerful aesthetic.

Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE – First Ride Review

The compact and purposeful look of the engine is another standout feature. It not only contributes to the bike’s overall performance but also adds to its visual appeal. The engine’s design clearly reflects its performance-oriented nature, promising an exhilarating ride that lives up to the rider’s expectations.

In contrast to other adventure-focused models like the Honda Africa Twin and Suzuki V-Strom 1050DE, the Versys 1000 emphasizes its road-focused capabilities. This distinction is evident in its design choices and engineering decisions, emphasizing its prowess on paved surfaces rather than off-road terrains. To complement its road-oriented nature, the Versys 1000 rolls on 17-inch wheels that are wrapped in Bridgestone Battlax T31 tires. This combination ensures a strong grip on the road, providing stability and confidence to riders as they navigate various conditions and corners.

On the road

Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE – First Ride Review

Living up to its versatile name, the Versys 1000 proves to be an incredibly adaptable machine that excels in various riding scenarios. On long highway stretches, it effortlessly gobbles up kilometers, offering a comfortable and enjoyable experience for riders and passengers alike.

One of the standout features of the Versys 1000 is its Skyhook suspension system. This advanced technology continuously adjusts the suspension tuning based on road conditions and rider inputs, all without the rider even noticing it. The result is a remarkably smooth and comfortable ride, as the suspension automatically adapts to bumps, dips, and other imperfections in the road. This feature enhances the overall riding experience, allowing riders to focus on the journey without being disturbed by discomfort caused by uneven surfaces.

While comfort takes precedence, the engine of the Versys 1000 doesn’t disappoint in terms of performance. Despite being more than a decade old, the 1,043cc inline-four engine is a true marvel of engineering. It has been finely tuned to deliver smooth power delivery, producing an impressive 118 horsepower and 102 Nm of torque. What sets it apart is the availability of torque early in the rev range, providing riders with ample low-end power for confident acceleration and overtaking maneuvers. This characteristic contributes to a sense of assurance and control during the ride, making the Versys 1000 an engaging and enjoyable motorcycle to operate.

The braking system of the Versys 1000 deserves praise as well. The brakes offer a solid performance, providing excellent feel to the lever. This ensures precise control and responsiveness, giving riders the confidence to confidently modulate their braking force as needed. With reliable braking capabilities, the Versys 1000 instills a sense of security and enhances overall rider safety.

Technology and features

Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE – First Ride Review

Kawasaki has gone above and beyond in equipping the Versys 1000 with a plethora of cutting-edge technologies, making it a true marvel in terms of technological advancements. One of the standout features is the inclusion of a six-axis IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) that provides the bike with spatial awareness. This enables the implementation of advanced safety features such as cornering ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) and lean-sensitive traction control. These technologies ensure optimal braking performance and traction control, even in challenging riding conditions or when navigating corners, enhancing rider safety and confidence.

To cater to various riding preferences and conditions, the Versys 1000 offers multiple ride modes. The Sport, Road, Rain, and Rider modes allow riders to adjust the power delivery of the bike according to their preferences and the prevailing road conditions. This versatility empowers riders to tailor the bike’s performance to suit their riding style and environment. Enhancing visibility and safety during cornering, the Versys 1000 features cornering lights. These lights illuminate the road ahead when entering curves or corners, providing enhanced visibility and allowing riders to navigate twists and turns with greater confidence.

Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE – First Ride Review

The Kawasaki Electronically Controlled Suspension (KECS) is another noteworthy addition to the Versys 1000. This advanced suspension system adjusts the suspension settings in real-time, ensuring optimal damping and responsiveness based on the road conditions and riding inputs. This technology enhances the bike’s stability, comfort, and handling, further elevating the overall riding experience. In terms of touring amenities, Kawasaki hasn’t overlooked any details. The Versys 1000 offers an adjustable windscreen, allowing riders to customize the airflow and reduce wind buffeting for enhanced comfort during long rides. Hand guards provide protection from wind and debris, ensuring a pleasant and secure riding experience. Passenger grab handles are also included, promoting comfort and convenience for two-up touring.

Lastly, the Versys 1000 is equipped with cruise control, an invaluable feature for long highway rides. This technology enables riders to maintain a consistent speed without having to constantly hold the throttle, reducing fatigue and promoting a more relaxed and enjoyable riding experience during extended periods on the open road.

Initial verdict

Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE – First Ride Review

During the brief period I had to test the Versys 1000, it became evident why this bike has achieved such widespread popularity. It can aptly be compared to the Toyota Hilux of the big bike world, earning its reputation as a versatile machine that excels in various tasks. Just like the Hilux, the Versys 1000 proves to be a jack of all trades, capable of accommodating both rider and passenger, carrying luggage, embarking on long-distance journeys, navigating urban environments, and tackling moderate twisty roads with remarkable ease.

In terms of reliability, there is no need for any doubt. Kawasaki has established a solid reputation for manufacturing motorcycles that are both dependable and high-performing. The Versys 1000 exemplifies this legacy, providing riders with a trustworthy and robust machine that can be relied upon for countless adventures and journeys.

Considering its price point of P900,000, the Versys 1000 SE surpasses expectations by offering an exceptional value proposition in terms of technology and features. It punches well above its weight class, providing riders with advanced technologies, cutting-edge features, and a level of performance that exceeds what one would typically expect at this price range. Kawasaki has truly delivered a bike that offers an impressive combination of versatility, dependability, and value.

Photo Gallery

Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE – First Ride Review

Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE – First Ride Review

Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE – First Ride Review

Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE – First Ride Review

Special thanks to Attorney Cyril Ramos for lending us his 2022 Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE!

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