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2010 Kawasaki Versys

2010 Kawasaki Versys2010 Versys

Kawasaki VersysVersys

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 ahead.

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.

Additional upgrades

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 touring experience.

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 sport riding.
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 steering.

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 unsprung weight.

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 rider confidence.

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 positions.

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 to ride.

When combined with the long-stroke suspension, the upright riding position and higher seat height offer a
commanding view of the road ahead – especially advantageous when navigating city traffic or winding roads
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 rpm ranges.

Intake and exhaust cams with short operating angles move the torque curve toward the lower end of the rpm range.

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 limits.

The base frame construction and stiffness balance were set to offer a high level of feedback to the rider.

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 on handling.

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 to ride.

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 agility.

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.

Wind protection

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 option.

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 potential.

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 range.

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 attached.

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 finish.

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 new styling.

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 light look.


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 external plumbing.

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 perspective.


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 a
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