Kawasaki Versys 1000

Us Versys Them: Kawasaki builds its own Big New Adventure Bike.

2012 Kawasaki Versys at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys at EICMA 2011

So, we’re all standing there next to the velvet rope, waiting for the stringbean Italian models to pull the cover off the new ZX-14R, and when they finally do, what instead has been lurking underneath is an all-new model, the Versys 1000. I thought those mirrors were sticking up rather far.

With this 1000, Versys means versatile, just like the original 650 version. It also means that Kawasaki has joined what its spokesman called “the rapidly expanding adventure-bike movement,” and from the looks of the bike, the engineers built it rapidly. They already had the Z1000/Ninja 1000 four-cylinder in stock, and the new Versys appears to share that bike’s cast aluminum main frame, as well.

Details are sketchy for now, so we don't know how much Kawasaki may have retuned that already midrange-intense engine for use in the Versys. But don't worry about spinning the rear tire on your 127-horsepower-at-the-contact-patch Kawasaki, because you'll have three-position traction control to back you up. In any case, the claimed wet weight of 527 pounds, 17-inch rubber and big disc brakes (ABS optional) clearly say "stay on the pavement" to most of us. Naturally, Kawasaki will offer its own très chic aluminum-look panniers and a slew of other accessories.

According to Kawasaki Motors U.S.A., there are no plans to bring the Euro-specific Versys 1000 into the States any time soon. But the new Ninja 650—which is an ER 650 outfitted with the manual-adjust windshield of the Ninja 1000, a more comfy seat, an interesting new tubular swingarm and an engine tuned for more midrange—will hit these shores armed with a $7499 price tag.

2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011
2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 at EICMA 2011