Long-Term Test Update: 2008 Kawasaki Versys

Practically perfect.

2008 Kawasaki Versys - Long-Term Test Update

When Editor-in-Chief Edwards had a chance to ride a Canadian-spec Kawasaki Versys—an adventure-tour-style standard based on the popular Ninja 650R—he liked it so much that he suggested to Team Green they should sell the bike in the U.S. A few weeks later, Kawasaki announced the Versys would be available in 2007 as a 49-state model. Coincidence?

After listening to Edwards describe the Versys' many attributes, Online Editor Gabe Ets-Hokin decided the mid-size Twin would be perfect for backroad blasting, inner-city exploring and the 800-mile commute between Newport Beach and his Bay Area home. Talk about a great way to rack up 10,000 miles in a hurry!

Our red 2008 model is comfortable, good-handling, fast enough to be fun, and thrifty, averaging 45 mpg. But it does have a few flaws. The stock windscreen, for example, creates some turbulence, fueling isn't perfect and it would be nice if the Versys actually sounded like a motorcycle. It also needs a better set of tires and more initial bite from the somewhat wooden-feeling front brakes. Hard luggage, heated grips and a more protective windscreen would likely make it the perfect lightweight sport-tourer.

That may seem like a long to-do list, but it's actually testament to how much we enjoy riding this bike. Because the Versys is ready for anything, we think it deserves some fine-tuning.

|#### SPECIFICATIONSTotal miles:|4174| |Next service:|7500 miles| |Maintenance costs (including tires):|$0| |Repair costs:|$0| |Average fuel mileage:|45 mpg| |List price (2008):|$6,899|