Kawasaki Versys 650 Best Used Motorcycle Review

“Versys” is a contraction of “versatile system”

2008 kawasaki versys 650 studio side view
Kawasaki Versys 650Courtesy of Kawasaki

YEARS SOLD: 2008–present

MSRP NEW: $6,899 ('08) to $7,999 ('16)

BLUE BOOK RETAIL VALUE: $3,905 ('08) to $6,335 ('16)

BASIC SPECS: Power is provided by Kawasaki's compact 649cc parallel twin featuring liquid-cooling, semi-downdraft fuel injection, twin cams, four valves per cylinder, under-piston oil jets, counterbalancer, and a state of tune providing greater low-to-midrange torque than that of its Ninja 650R sibling. The steel-trellis frame is identical to the Ninja 650 and carries a 41mm inverted fork featuring 5.9-inch travel, adjustable rebound damping, and spring preload. The single offset laydown shock offers adjustable spring preload and 5.7-inch travel. Its 17-inch diameter cast-alloy wheels, sporty tires, and dual 300mm front disc brakes (ABS was introduced in '14) are clear cues to an on-road focus despite the bike's ADV-inspired styling.

WHY IT'S DESIRABLE: "Versys" is a contraction of "versatile system," says Kawasaki, and true to the company's word the parallel twin has proven itself as a solid commuter, tourer, and even sportbike. With its rev-happy engine, good suspension, and ample cornering clearance, the Versys will go just about as fast as anyone dares to go on public roads. The big appeal for many is its upright and roomy riding position and adjustable-height windscreen. There have been a few styling updates over the years and the addition of an LT model that comes equipped with detachable hard side bags.

THE COMPETITION: The Suzuki V-Strom 650 has been the sole competitor within the same price and displacement category. A passing argument can be made for the Aprilia Dorsoduro 750, Triumph Tiger 800, and Yamaha FJ-09.

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