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Common Tread

2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000 first look

Oct 15, 2014

The 2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000 was unveiled at INTERMOT earlier this month, and Kawasaki confirmed it was coming to the U.S. market for the first time. Now, Kawasaki has released more info on what this thing is going to look like.

The Versys 1000 has been available in Europe and other parts of the world for some time now, so it's about time it made its way stateside. Suzuki reworked the V-Strom 1000 for the 2014 model year, and it's been a huge success, which encouraged Kawasaki to follow suit.

2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000
2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT. Kawasaki photo.

The 2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT is powered by the same 1,043 cc four-cylinder engine that powers the Ninja 1000. Kawasaki claims it makes 75.2 foot-pounds of torque at 7,500 rpm, but hasn't released horsepower figures. The Versys 1000 will come with two power modes: "Full" is as it sounds, while "Low" limits power to 75 percent. It also comes with a slipper clutch that reduces the effort required on the clutch lever and limits the effect of engine braking when down-shifting.

The 43 mm inverted fork is adjustable for rebound and preload, and the horizontal back-link shock is adjustable for rebound damping and spring preload, via a remote adjuster. The frame is a twin-spar aluminum job, while the subframe has been specially designed to create handholds for the passenger and fit Kawasaki Quick Release Hard Saddlebags. The Versys 1000 LT also comes with a center stand stock.

2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000
Gauge cluster on the 2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT. Kawasaki photo.

The Versys gets ABS brakes stock with dual 310 mm petal rotors and four-piston calipers up front, and a single 250 mm petal rotor with a single-piston caliper at the rear.

The 17-inch wheels are wrapped in Bridgestone Battlax Sport TouringT30 tires.

Electronics-wise, the Versys 1000 gets the same three-level Kawasaki Traction Control (KTRC) as the sportbike line. I have been spending some time with the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R and I was very impressed by its levels of intervention. I expect the same from the Versys.

2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000
The windscreen is adjustable. Kawasaki photo.

The 2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT takes styling cues from the rest of the Kawasaki line, specifically the new Ninja 1000. I'm not a fan, but I am curious to see how the new adjustable windscreen does with keeping buffeting off of riders. A windscreen that doesn't do its job is an easy way to take an otherwise perfect motorcycle and make it miserable for touring.

Kawasaki isn't offering a stripped down version of the Versys 1000. This bike, in LT trim, comes with 28-liter hard panniers. A wide variety of Kawasaki accessories is available to meet all of your farkling desires.

I'm excited to see how the new Versys 1000 stacks up against the new Suzuki V-Strom 1000. If i'm honest, one of my favorite things about the Suzuki is that big twin, but Kawasaki is pretty confident the four-cylinder Versys is a better package. Guess we'll find out.

2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT


Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-four
Displacement: 1,043cc
Bore x stroke: 77 x 56mm
Compression ratio: 10.3:1
Maximum torque: 75.2 foot-pounds at 7,500 rpm
Cooling: Liquid
Fuel Injection: DFI, four 38mm Keihin throttle bodies, oval sub-throttles
Ignition: TCBI with digital advance
Transmission: Six-speed
Final drive: Sealed chain
Frame: Twin-spar aluminum
Front suspension
Wheel travel:
KYB 43mm inverted front fork with adjustable rebound and preload
5.9 inches
Rear suspension
Wheel travel:
Horizontal back-link shock with adjustable rebound damping and adjustable spring preload, remote preload adjuster
5.9 inches
Front tire: 120/70x17
Rear tire: 180/55x17
Front brakes: Dual 310mm petal rotors with four-piston calipers, ABS
Rear brakes: Single 250mm petal rotor with single-piston caliper, ABS
Overall length: 88.2 inches
Overall width: 35.2 inches
Overall height: 55.1 inches (windshield set low)
57.7 inches (windshield set high)
Ground clearance: 5.9 inches
Seat height: 33.1 inches
Wheelbase: 59.8 inches
Curb weight: 549 pounds (wet)
Fuel capacity: 5.5 gallons
Colors: Candy Burnt Orange
Metallic Spark Black
Flat Ebony
Metallic Spark Black
Warranty: 12 months