Common Tread

2015 Kawasaki Versys 650 ABS and Versys 650 LT first look

Oct 15, 2014

Kawasaki unveiled the new Versys 650 at INTERMOT in Germany earlier this month, and now we have the full details on the updated version of this beloved bike.

The Verys 650 is a special motorcycle. Along with the KLR650, it's one of the few bikes you will be hanged in the streets for slandering. Luckily for those of us who are charged with writing about such things, it's also an amazing motorcycle and performs far better than you would ever think, given its spec sheet. I rode one to Arizona and back this year and fell in love with it (read: please don't kill me, Versys owners).

2015 Kawasaki Versys 650
2015 Kawasaki Versys ABS. Kawasaki photo.

For 2015, the Versys 650 gets a facelift that looks much more Ninja, of which I am unfortunately not a fan. I loved the snub-nose. The footpegs have been repositioned 15 mm lower and 20 mm forward, which Kawasaki claims makes the Versys more comfortable. The rear subframe is new, and in addition to the reworked rear suspension, should make the Versys capable of carrying slightly larger loads — which is great for guys who pack like me.

2015 Kawasaki Versys 650
Remote adjuster for the rear shock. Kawasaki photo.

The front Showa fork is all-new and now splits the damping and spring functions. The spring is in the left fork tube and the damping components are in the right tube. Kawasaki says this reduces weight and it should make adjustments a little faster, since you only have to adjust one side. The rear KYB shock is also new and includes a new remote-mounted adjuster to make it easier to adjust preload when you're adding a passenger or gear.

2015 Kawasaki Versys 650
Quick-release panniers come stock on the LT model. Kawasaki photo.

The Versys' brakes have been updated too, getting the same petal-type discs as the sportbike line and new front and rear block-style calipers, master cylinders, and brake pad material to improve braking performance.

The gas tank has been increased from 5 gallons to 5.5 gallons, adding a bit more range to the already economical Versys 650.

2015 Kawasaki Versys 650
Handguards and an adjustable windscreen add to touring capability. Kawasaki photo.

The Verys 650 ABS is the standard model, while the Versys 650 LT comes with Kawasaki Quick Release 28-liter hard side bags and hand guards. MSRP on both models has yet to be released.

2015 Kawasaki Versys 650

Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, parallel twin
Displacement: 649cc
Bore x stroke: 83 x 60mm
Compression ratio: 10.8:1
Cooling: Liquid
Fuel injection: DFI with two 38mm Keihin throttle bodies
Ignition: TCBI with electronic advance
Transmission: Six-speed with positive neutral finder
Final drive: Sealed chain
Frame: Double pipe diamond frame constructed from high-tensile steel
Rake / trail: 25 degrees / 4.3 inches
Wheelbase: 55.7 inches
Front suspension
wheel travel:
41mm hydraulic telescopic fork with stepless adjustable rebound and preload
5.9 inches
Rear suspension
wheel travel:
Single offset laydown shock with remote adjustable spring preload
5.7 inches
Front tire: 120/70-ZR17
Rear tire: 160/60-ZR17
Front brake: Dual 300mm petal-style rotors with two-piston calipers and ABS
Rear brake: Single 250mm petal-style rotor with single-piston caliper and ABS
Overall length: 85.2 inches
Overall width: 33.1 inches
Overall height: 55.1 inches (windshield low) / 57.1 inches (windshield raised)
Seat height: 33.1 inches
Curb weight**: 476 pounds
Fuel capacity: 5.5 gallons
Colors: Candy Lime Green, Pearl Stardust White
Warranty: 12 months