Kawasaki has been spawning multiple models at a fast pace. With the variety of models launched in India, it has captured a sizeable mindshare of buyers. The range includes the  Z250, right upto the Ninja ZX-14R. The Kawasaki range is full of nakeds, street bikes and tourers. The Kawasaki Versys 650 is a bike which has caught the fancy of many enthusiasts. We spent a few days with this tourer to learn more about it. How is the Kawasaki Versys 650? Does it offer good touring capibilities? We bring that out in our Kawasaki Versys 650 Review.

Kawasaki Versys 650 Design

Kawasaki Versys 650 front three quarter

The Kawasaki Versys 650 looks very similar to the Versys 1000, its bigger sibling. It has large proportions and a tall stance. The front fairing incorporates a  pair of sleek looking headlamps. The windshield is adjustable too. The well chiseled fairing makes it loo mean and stylish. The turn indicators are mounted below the headlamps on either side. The switchgear is standard but is of good quality and build. Ditto with the handlebar grips, levers and bar ends.

Kawasaki Versys 650 headlamp

The contoured fuel tank blends well with overall design nicely. The Kawasaki Versys 650 has a sharply raked tail and the step seat goes gels well this styling. It has grab handles on either side. The taillamp is an LED one, similar to the ones seen on other Kawasaki 650 bikes. The short exhaust pipe is neatly tucked below the front footrest. The Versys looks good from all angles and in black colour it also looks mean enough.

Kawasaki Versys 650 side

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Kawasaki Versys 650 Engine

The Kawasaki Versys 650 is fitted with a 649cc parallel twin, liquid cooled engine with fuel injection. It makes 67.5bhp of power at 8500rpm and 64Nm of torque at 7000rpm. This is the same engine that powers the Ninja 650 and ER6n, however the Versys steps down a bit on power and in turn offers a wider spread of torque to make it more rideable in different conditions. The engine also has an intelligent ECU thats adjusts the idling as per atmospheric conditions.

Kawasaki Versys 650 engine

Kawasaki Versys 650 exhaust

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Kawasaki Versys 650 Performance

The engine fires up with a refined exhaust note and settles to a soft idle. It feels extremely smooth and there is seamless delivery of power. It does not shoot off in a crazy way unlike some other bikes in this category but the Versys never feels out of breath and reaches triple digits in under 5 seconds. A heavy wringing of the throttle can see the front wheel in the air, even in second gear. This despite the bike weighing 216 kgs, which is not exactly light. The Versys 650 is very easy to ride in city conditions at slow speeds too because go the even spread of torque.The gears feel a bit clunky and that was the only glitch here. The gears slot well but I would have preferred it to have a smoother shift.

Kawasaki Versys 650 motion front 4

The Kawasaki Versys 650 is an effortless cruiser. The refined mill makes it even more of a pleasure to keep riding for hours together. A taller sixth gear would have been preferred as the engine would then spin a little lesser at speeds beyond 120 km/h, however it is not something that will bother.

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Kawasaki Versys 650 Ride

The Kawasaki Versys 650 is a tall bike and those with medium height need to nearly jump to straddle the bike. Short riders will find it difficult. Once you are on the Kawasaki Versys 650, it feels extremely comfortable. The seats have a wide base with comfortable cushioning, one of the best things on this bike. The handlebar position is set high and its width makes for a perfect riding position. The footpegs have an ideal placement too, neither set too forward or back. Not only the rider but the pillion too will find it extremely comfortable. Now, this is a rare affair and pleasing your better half in being comfortable, riding pillion, is a tough job for many. The only challenge in a is while mounting the bike, where the pillion has to step on the footrest to be able to mount the rear seat.

Kawasaki Versys 650 tank

Kawasaki Versys 650 rear three quarter

The ride is where the Kawasaki Versys 650 excels. A fantastic suspension system aids this. The pliant ride helps in the bike remaining firmly planted on the road. The long-travel 41mm Showa front forks are outstanding. They can be adjusted for pre-load and damping. The rear suspension of the Kawasaki Versys 650 is a monoshock which also has preload adjustment. This can be adjusted by simply turning a knob which is easily accessible. The Kawasaki Versys 650 is a sort of dual sport machine and can handle a little bit of off-roading but the tyre setup preferably calls for tarmac riding. For off roading, a different set of tyres is recommended.  The 170mm ground clearance on the Kawasaki Versys 650 and suspension pose no challenge in otherwise taking it off the road.

Kawasaki Versys 650 motion 2

Kawasaki Versys 650 Handling

Despite the tall proportions, the Kawasaki Versys 650 handles brilliantly and takes bends with ease, almost like a sports bike. Sudden direction changes also are handled with aplomb. To aid this, the braking is excellent too. The ABS on the Kawasaki Versys 650 works flawlessly and has a good bite. The bike is easy to ride  in traffic conditions, without much effort.

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Kawasaki Versys 650 Utlility

The instrument cluster of the Kawasaki Versys 650 is similar its other siblings and not complicated. It has an analogue tachometer and a digital speedo, tripmeter and fuel gauge. We would’ve liked a gear indicator here. There is underseat storage also available. However, limited to placing the tool box and maybe the bike documents. There are two helmet holders on either side which are very helpful as you can lock the helmets while the bike is parked.  This is a real wow feature for those who understand its value. The rear grab handles also have hidden sockets below to mount hard panniers, which are available as accessories. The grab handles on the Kawasaki Versys 650 also have lugs for bungie cords that assist in tying luggage such as bags or lose bundles.

Kawasaki Versys 650 pics
Clockwise from top: 1. Helmet holder 2. Rear shock setting knob 3. Rear grabhandle with slots and lugs 4. Clutch lever settings

The Kawasaki Versys 650 becomes a centre of attraction in traffic due to its tall stance. It is currently available only in Metallic Black colour. We would’ve preferred more colour options and we think Kawasaki may introduce them at a later stage.

Also Read: Kawasaki Versys 1000 Review

Kawasaki Versys 650 Mileage

The Kawasaki Versys 650 returned a mileage of 18km/l in city riding with traffic. On the highway it returned 22km/l, that too at speeds mostly beyond 120km/h.

Kawasaki Versys 650 Front

Kawasaki Versys 650 Price

The price of the Kawasaki Versys 650 is INR 7.2 lakhs (on-road, Pune). The pricing is pretty good considering the equipment it offers.

Kawasaki Versys 650 Verdict

Your search ends here if you are looking for a long distance tourer which is also ridden for daily commutes as well as weekend getaways. The Kawasaki Versys 650 comes across as a very well-rounded motorcycle. It is versatile and hence gets its name – Versys. We found the Kawasaki Versys 650 very good value for money as well. It is well-equipped and good looking. The Kawasaki Versys 650 has great ride and handling and a seamlessly performing engine. Frankly, this is one bike which we had a hard time letting go.

Kawasaki Versys 650 motion rear

Kawasaki Versys 650 Specifications

Length: 2165 mm

Width: 840 mmHeight: 1450 mm

Wheelbase: 1415 mm

Ground Clearance:170 mm

Seat Height: 840 mm

Engine:  649cc, liquid cooled, fuel injection

Power: 67.5 bhp@8,500 rpm

Torque: 64Nm @7,500 rpm

Transmission: Six-speed, chain drive

Kerb Weight: 216 kgs

Fuel Tank capacity: 21 litres


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