2010 Kawasaki Versys
Difficult to explain and impossible
to categorise, the highly acclaimed Versys is one
of those machines that truly exceeds the sum of its
parts. Its name, derived from “vertex”
(Latin for pinnacle, summit, top) and “system,”
hints at its initial development goal of offering
a truly superior platform from which riders can maximise
riding fun in any number of street riding situations.
One ride is all it takes to confirm that the Versys
does indeed deliver on its engaging any-street promise.
Designed for those that love to ride
- whatever the road conditions, the Versys offers
a unique package comprising long travel suspension
& sporty 17” wheels, a comfortable natural
riding position and a compact, responsive Parallel-Twin
engine tuned for low and mid range torque.
Highly acclaimed for its versatility
and engaging character, the Versys concept is best
understood by riding it. The Versys features engine
characteristics, chassis balance and suspension settings
all selected to maximize rider enjoyment on the street
in real world conditions. With its superb control
and feedback, the Versys offers a high level of rider
confidence in numerous street riding situations and
rewards a variety of riding styles from city commuting
to the enjoyment of fast A road sweeping bends and
tight country lane hairpins.
Long-travel suspension &
sporty 17” wheels
The combination of long-travel suspension
with stiffer spring settings is one of the keys to
the active control offered by the Versys. In addition
to being easily able to cope with a variety of road
conditions and offering confidence-inspiring feedback
to the rider, the Versys allows riders to consciously
control the bike’s forward-rear weight balance
– adding a new dimension of controllability
and feedback for riders to explore.
Slim, upright riding position
A slim, upright riding position with
wide handlebars offers both a naturally relaxed posture
and great controllability, and allows riders to explore
a number of riding styles. Whether riding in the hills,
down hedge lined country roads or navigating city
traffic, the clear, unobstructed view afforded by
the tall seat height and upright position make it
easy to see and avoid potential problems on the road
Compact Parallel-Twin engine
tuned for low and mid range torque
A compact Parallel Twin engine tuned
for low and mid range torque delivers a satisfying
and predictable surge of acceleration when pulling
away or out of corners. The controlled response of
the carefully tuned engine offers reassuring rider
confidence whatever the gear or revs.
For 2010, the new Versys maintains
the essential package of its predecessor, but new
state-of-the-art styling and a number of other clever
upgrades mean it is more fun to ride than ever.
Refined styling & finish
The new Versys has sharper new styling
for 2010 reflecting its essential nimble and sporty
nature. A number of clever cosmetic changes give it
a slimmer, sleeker look, and the sculpted new bodywork
adds to its dynamic image: like an athlete, the new
model exudes flexibility and controlled strength.
In addition, smaller detail changes and a more refined
finish contribute to its higher-quality appearance.
Enhanced comfort when riding with a
passenger, revised mirrors with improved visibility,
new genuine accessories and optional ABS mean the
new Versys is better equipped than ever to provide
a fun weekday street riding and weekend or holiday
Not all streets in the real world are
made of circuit-smooth tarmac. Road imperfections
(bumps, potholes, repairs) are common, and some cobbled
streets still exist. While the Versys was not designed
for all out
off-road use, its long-travel front forks and rear
shock were specially selected to cope with the huge
variety of street conditions it may come across, and,
along with its 17” wheels, enable aggressive
Further, the long-travel suspension provides an added
dimension of controllability: the ability to consciously
control the bike’s front-rear weight transfer
gives riders an additional riding element to explore.
The long stroke of the inverted front
forks and off-set laydown rear shock (F: 150 mm, R:
52 mm) allow experienced riders to actively control
the bike’s front-rear weight balance. Purposely
increasing braking force to compress the front suspension
before a corner reduces the caster, resulting in quicker
Alternatively, the rider can opt to
brake less aggressively, maintaining the bike’s
attitude for smooth, stable turn in. The Versys puts
this choice in the hands of the rider, so even the
same corner can be enjoyed a number of different ways.
Both the front fork and rear shock
combine long travel with stiff springs. Standard off-road-style
long-travel suspension allows a bike to fly over bumps
and ruts with ease, but this type of suspension was
deemed to be too soft for the kind of riding Kawasaki
engineers wanted to offer. Likewise with sports bike
suspension, road holding is superb, but performance
is best on (relatively) smooth roads. Combining both
long travel and stiff springs yields the benefits
of both off-road-style and sport-bike suspension,
offering excellent road holding in a wide range of
street riding conditions plus superb feedback, enabling
aggressive sport riding.
In addition to being tapered, the outer
tubes of the 41 mm inverted front forks are relatively
short (even at full
compression, a large portion of the inner tubes remain
visible) to provide the ideal stiffness balance to
complement chassis settings.
In order to accommodate the longer
stroke of the rear suspension, an aluminium gull-type
swingarm was chosen. The use of aluminium helps reduce
In addition to being lighter, using
a simple non-link type rear shock offers more direct
feedback from the rear wheel, contributing to greater
rider “feel.” The excellent feedback clearly
communicates how the bike is behaving thus increasing
The ability of the rear suspension
to soak up bumps and ruts was the key to being able
to ride over cobbled streets and handle road imperfections
like debris and potholes, etc. Consequently, a great
deal of development time was devoted to the tuning
of the Showa rear shock unit. The high-grade unit
makes use of a free piston and 2-stage damping valves
to ensure smooth action at the initial part of the
compression stroke and firmer damping near full compression,
giving a more planted feel.
This careful attention to the tuning
of the rear suspension ensures the Versys can be ridden
aggressively and with confidence through city streets,
be they paved, brick or cobblestone.
Both the front and rear suspension
have adjustable rebound damping and preload, offering
riders a range of
adjustability to experiment with should they so choose.
17” wheels front and rear contribute
to the bike’s quick steering. The 120 mm front
tyre offers an excellent balance of quick steering
and front wheel traction. Tyre sizes are as follows:
- Front: 120/60ZR17M/C 58W
- Rear: 160/60ZR17M/C 69W
When engineers considered the kind of riding they
wanted to offer, and the speed range most often used
in everyday riding, a naturally relaxed posture and
high controllability via a slim, upright position
with wide handlebars was deemed ideal. Because it
would have a great impact on rider control and enjoyment,
a substantial amount of development time and effort
was devoted to fine-tuning the riding position.
The combination of a compact Parallel Twin engine
and a narrow, lightweight trellis frame enabled by
the offset laydown rear suspension is the key to the
Versys’ slim riding position.
A short-style tank positions the rider closer to
the front wheel for increased controllability and
offers a greater choice of forward-rearward sitting
The seat’s slim design, and the knee grip
characteristics of the tank, afford good freedom of
movement, allowing riders to change position should
they so choose. Thick urethane increases comfort and
contributes to a seat height that places the rider
in a position of fun controllability. The stepped
shape of the two-piece seat also provides support
for the rider when accelerating.
Complementing the wide handlebar, the footpegs are
positioned low and slightly forward of the seat.
Together, all these points result in a very natural,
relaxed riding position designed to offer a high level
of machine control. The upright riding position accommodates
a variety of riding styles (lean-in, no-lean, lean-out),
broadening the spectrum of riding enjoyment and also
offering a high level of comfort; a great benefit
for touring. This combination of comfort and control
is one of the things that make the Versys so rewarding
When combined with the long-stroke suspension, the
upright riding position and higher seat height offer
commanding view of the road ahead – especially
advantageous when navigating city traffic or winding
in the hills.
When tuning the 649 cm3 Parallel Twin engine, our
engineers’ first priority was to find a throttle
response that balanced a powerful feeling and a quick-revving
character. To optimise performance for everyday riding,
care was taken to maximise low-mid range torque. When
opening the throttle, riders will notice that the
engineers succeeded in creating an extremely smooth
and powerful engine character that offers both a high
level of control when making minute throttle adjustments
and a gratifying rush of acceleration in the lower
Intake and exhaust cams with short operating angles
move the torque curve toward the lower end of the
To achieve smooth power and torque curves, the exhaust
system makes use of a balance tube.
Fuel injection settings for the Versys were selected
primarily to deliver a strong powerful feeling when
the throttle is opened.
Performance and feel were optimised for the mid-range
(3,000-6,000 rpm). However, in the low-rpm range (below
3,000 rpm), power delivery is very smooth, and even
above 6,000 power and torque curves continue without
dropping off suddenly.
The above settings result in performance that favours
the speeds most used in everyday riding. Corner pick-up
is excellent: the powerful mid-range delivers a satisfying
surge of acceleration and the flat, step-free torque
curve and smooth engine response let riders use the
throttle with confidence – at any rpm.
The key to the Versys’ sleek chassis is its
compact Parallel Twin engine, which allows the use
of a slim, lightweight frame. Together with the forward-located
seat position and the under-engine muffler, this engine-frame
combination delivers a highly centralised mass distribution,
which contributes to the extreemly agile package.
High priority was given to achieving chassis settings
that deliver a high level of feedback, better enabling
the rider to recognise their own and the bike’s
The base frame construction and stiffness balance
were set to offer a high level of feedback to the
The highly compact engine and under-engine muffler
contribute to mass centralisation. The front cowl
(including instrument panel and headlight unit) is
mounted directly to the frame, minimising its effect
The bike’s tall seat height and long-stroke
suspension result in a higher C of G. The resultant
increase in agility makes the Versys even more fun
Chassis dimensions provide a balance of flickability
and high-speed stability. (Although the Versys’
performance is optimised for everyday speed range,
it is quite happy to oblige riders who wish to travel
at higher speeds.) With a wheelbase of 1,415 mm, the
Versys can still be considered a “short wheelbase”
model, and accordingly it delivers a high level of
Triple petal disc brakes offer superb stopping power
and feel at the lever. 5mm thick front discs contribute
to enhanced controllability.
For additional braking reassurance, models with
front and rear Bosche ABS are available as an option
in some markets.
An adjustable windscreen helps reduce wind noise
and helmet buffeting, creating a serene space behind
which to enjoy high-speed riding. The adjustable windscreen
has three different settings (raised, standard, tilted
forward), allowing riders to tailor its position to
suit their preference. (Adjusting the bolt-mounted
windscreen requires a 4 mm hexagonal wrench.)
A taller screen is also available as an
For riders looking further afield, a comfortable
seat, relaxed riding position, large-volume fuel tank,
protection from the adjustable windscreen and enhanced
touring potential make the Versys a very capable touring
partner - solo or with passenger. A number of optional
accessories further increase the Versys’ touring
Along with the comfortable seat, the relaxed position
enables riders to spend long hours in the saddle.
A 19-litre fuel tank combined with a fuel injection
system tuned for fuel economy offers an ample touring
A number of new genuine accessories available from
Kawasaki dealers further contribute to touring comfort:
hand protectors, heated grips with 5 levels of adjustment,
and a 12 V outlet. As with the previous model,
a taller windscreen, an adjustable vario windscreen
and frame sliders are also available.
In addition to the optional top-case, specially
designed large-volume GIVI panniers are available
as accessories. Each pannier can hold a full-face
helmet and is rated for 5 kg.
Passenger footpeg stays and the reinforced sub-frame
were designed to accommodate the optional panniers
and top case (rated at 5 kg). The sub-frame’s
additional strength contributes to increased stability
when carrying luggage or a passenger.
Thanks to the under-engine muffler, the bike’s
profile can stay relatively slim even with the panniers
Hooks added to the underside of the tail cowl provide
additional tie-down points for securing luggage.
Sometimes sharing the ride is half the fun. The
Versys has a number of features that make riding with
a passenger enjoyable for both rider and pillion.
Each part of the two-piece seat was designed with
different thickness and firmness of urethane, optimising
comfort for both the rider and passenger.
The pillion position was also designed to offer
a natural seating posture. Revised grab bars are flatter,
easier to hold and positioned further out for greater
freedom of movement.
Fine-tuned passenger seat/pegs/grab bar relationship
offers enhanced passenger comfort.
Rubber added to the passenger footpegs also contributes
to the enhanced passenger comfort.
The comfort afforded by the slim layout - thanks
to the under-engine muffler - also extends to the
passenger. A further benefit is that heat is kept
away from the passenger.
Layout is such that a passenger can also be comfortably
accommodated when the optional panniers are
The 2010 Versys receives a sharper new styling package
that better reflects its sporty nature. The updates
include a more refined finish that gives the bike
a higher-quality feel. The new stacked dual headlamp
design gives the Versys a slimmer appearance and alludes
to its nimble handling. Using a single position lamp
further contributes to the slim appearance.
Sculpted bodywork of the new front cowling and side
fairing adds to the Versys’ updated and dynamic
image. Like an athlete’s, the image is one of
flexibility and controlled strength.
Revised radiator shrouds and swingarm pivot covers
enhance appearance and contribute to the high-quality
Slimmer front turn signals complement the sharp
new image. Positioned higher and further forward
they help make the bike more visible.
Diamond-shaped mirrors contribute to the sharper
styling. Positioned higher and further outward, they
also offer improved rearward visibility. Revised mirror
housings ensure a blur-proof view.
New front fender design looks sporty.
Revised engine covers contribute to the bike’s
Revised engine covers contribute to the bike’s
new styling. New LED tail light (shared with the new
Z1000), featuring a transparent red lens gives the
tail a clean, tidy look.
Trimmed of unnecessary material, the new rear hugger
makes the tail look shorter, contributing to the bike’s
Triangular layout of the crankshaft and transmission
shafts makes the engine very short front-to-back.
Transmission input shaft, output shaft and change
drum are contained in a “cassette”-style
package that both allows a compact layout and facilitates
easy transmission maintenance.
Semi-dry sump design reduces engine height. The
plated, linerless cylinder is lightweight. The narrow
cylinder pitch reduces engine width.
Auto-fast idle system simplifies starting and ensures
the catalyser reaches optimum temperature quickly.
Simplified cooling system routes coolant through
the engine cases to the cylinder and head to reduce
180° crankshaft drives a balancer shaft for
silky smooth engine operation. Oil jets located in
the rod big-ends direct oil to the undersides of the
pistons for added cooling.
With the large radiator and under-engine muffler,
the Versys offers superior comfort from a heat dissipation
Rubber mounts instead of rigid mounts used for the
upper-rear engine mounting reduce vibration transmitted
to the rider.
Revised footpegs with new hollow rubber covers help
reduce unwanted vibration.
The instrument panel features white LED-backlighting
for increased visibility at night. Features include
digital speedometer, analogue-style tachometer, digital
fuel gauge, odometer, dual trip meter, etc.
Under-seat storage space has room for a U-lock or
similar security device. The turn signals also function
as hazard lights.
- Pearl Solar Yellow / Metallic Flat Spark Black
- Metallic Spark Black / Metallic Flat Spark Black