Hey everybody, it's Peter, and in this video we are gonna go really, really in depth with the 2023 Kawasaki Versys 650 LT. So the Versys 650. This is a bike where I think I reviewed the 2022 in September of last year. It's very late March of 2023. This is a bike where I've owned this bike. Now, slightly different version. The previous, uh, body style to this one, this is one of my favorite bikes. It's still probably one of the best bikes in lineup. Certainly one of the best bikes in its class. And in this video I'm gonna go over a lot of the things that the other videos aren't showing you about this bike because I think there's a lot missing and I wanna talk about sort of how it fits, how it works, uh, everything about it. So this is gonna be pretty in depth.From here you can watch Peters Video by clicking YouTube or read his transcript... enjoy...
I've sprinkled this bike in with, uh, comparison videos throughout, uh, compared to the Kawasaki KLR 650 compared to some other bikes along the way. But it deserves its full, its own full video again. So that's what we're gonna do. And again, if you wanna see this bike in person, I'm filming here at Jim Gilbert's Wheels and Deals. If there's a question that you have about this bike that I don't get to in this video, Jim Gilbert's Power Sports gives me complete access to their entire vehicle lineup. So if there's something you wanna know about this, let me know when the comments below and I'll make sure I get back to you both in the comments and in future videos because I can continue to make videos to make sure we fill out sort of a database of information. But every bike here, every vehicle here.
All right, let's get going with this review. So the first thing I wanna do is talk about where this fits in the 650 lineup within Kawasaki's lineup because there's actually a number of differences. Yesterday we did the Z650 and the Ninja 650, which are the most up to date versions of the six 50 class of bikes. This one actually has a slightly older frame involved and you can tell that because the shock over here is off to the right side of the bike instead of centered in there. Uh, this is actually very similar to the Vulcan S, which you'd never believe because a Vulcan S has that crazy low seat height, the cruiser style, and this one is the tallest seat height of the six 50 s with a, you know, very non cruiser style. That being said, even though it's a slightly older frame, this has been fully updated in 2022.
It includes a new dash new software, it's got traction control, whole bunch of little things. And we're gonna talk about some of the things are new and some of the things that aren't quite new on this bike, but it also has upgrades like a fully adjustable front suspension, which is necessary in this class and this bike does it well, again, having owned this bike, I could talk a little bit more in detail about some of those things. So we're gonna go through in detail some of those things. It's kind of mid pack for frame, it's a leading bike for um, things like technology in here. And then you know, there's some mixes and matches and then it's got a lot of leading pieces and parts when you come to accessories. This is a bike you could accessorize up very easily and we'll talk about the key ones that I think you may wanna consider if you're buying a bike like this.
But let's just first start with the front wheel, work our way back and then we'll get into the riding environment. So the first thing I wanna point out is something that becomes obvious when you look at the front wheel here. A lot of people think that this is an adventure class motorcycle. In other words, an on and off-road motorcycle. It is not. The tires alone will tell you and the rims as well, which are the alloy rims, they're not built for off-road riding. The tires are not off-road tires. What this is is an adventure style seating position in a sport touring bike. And it is excellent for what it does. So again, if you're looking more that adventure bike, you can look at the um, something like the Klr 650, which is a different six 50 engine, but it's really built, it has a legendary status and it's really built to go off-road.
This is an on-road bike and you've got a lot of great on-road components here. So there's a lot to look at. Let's just start, like I said, tires here. Sport performance tires, not super, super high end. They could be upgraded, but again for the price class for what you're doing with the spike, very, very good. Then you've got the dual disk brakes in here. Now they do have the pedal style rotors. We've talked about pedal style rotors in the past. I believe that these were originally brought out. You know, the theory was that the pedal style dissipates heat in addition to the um, drilled rotors here, I think it's more style. We have more high performance bikes, faster bikes than this, um, that have, you know, the round rotors now instead of the pedal style. And so that just tells me that this is pretty much style, but again, very good brakes here.
Dual disk system with abs, you also have the upside down forks here. Now if you don't know a lot about upside down forks, a lot of times this suspension piece will be up higher. What this is in theory is a little bit stronger piece up here. What it is in actuality is it gives you less unsprung weight. So you'll notice on something like the uh, ninja 650 and the Z650 we looked at yesterday, this is actually a higher end component, both the upside down side of it. And again, we talked about the adjustability, which we'll show you in a second here. So front suspension's very good and you have longer travel than a lot of bikes. So while this isn't an off-road bike, it does give you the ability to go down rougher roads and feel totally secure, feel totally confident. So really good overall system in here.
Now when we say not an adventure bike, there is a little bit difference out here. You've got your oil filter right down here, it's in line with the wheel and that's really one of the reasons you don't want a gold crazy off-road. Now I used to own a versus six 50 with Answ Motech engine guard here. So in theory you could shoot dirt up and that kind of thing in there, but it is something to keep in mind. It's an on-road bike, just not just from the tires but the overall way it's designed. Let's move our way back to the engine area here and keep heading back from there. So this is a bit of a busy shot, but I wanna show it because it shows a lot of unique things on the Versys 650. So first of all, let's start with what's common.
This engine here is a twin cylinder six 50 cc engine and it is basically the same engine used in every other six 50 bike in the Kawasaki lineup, with the exception exception of the Klr very good engine. They talk about this being tuned a little bit differently. Uh, however it's not tuned as differently as something like the Z 900 and the Z 900 Rs, which are many, many, many horsepower apart. This one is within a couple horsepower either way. Of course Kawasaki doesn't list horsepower, but around the world, you know, generally agreed upon specs, uh, is that this is basically the same amount of horsepower either way and I call this engine the perfect street motor. It is plenty sporty. Um, you know, you could use it on a racetrack and even on a bike like this, uh, you wouldn't think of taking a bike like this to the racetrack. But I've seen, uh, videos on YouTube of people, you know, dragging saddlebags on a bike like this around the racetrack. So you've got all the Sport, You need reliability, it's a really good engine for what this is. Moving on back here, we already talked about the shock here Off to the side on this Model, it's a little more centralized in the um, Zen six 50 and the Ninja six 50, but you have upgraded suspension here over any other 650 in the lineup shown right here. You have that a remote preload adjuster. What's nice about this is you can take extra weight on the back, whether it's through luggage or extra passengers, you can dial up that firmer or softer suspension, uh, just right there on the preload and you can do it on the go, you can sit there, you can actually reach it while you're riding to just uh, dial it up or dial it down. So really nice piece there, sort of this trellis type frame here, uh, that you've got to carry up the back end and then down here as well, you've got a few features that you may not notice but they add to the riding enjoyment.
You've got the exhaust that comes out under the bike and cuts short. You don't have any big exhaust coming up that leads a lot of room for your gear up here, has no heat near your uh, luggage there as well. And it gives it a pretty cool look. You've got this cool looking swing arm down here, which is displayed out in the back. You've got the pedal style disc as well and you've got abs brakes all on the rear. So a lot of really solid components in here. And again, the big thing is front and rear suspension are upgrades over any other650 model in the Kawasaki lineup right now.
Alright, so we should talk about the luggage you have here. First of all, these are Kawasaki branded bags. They are part of the Kawasaki K Q R series. So Kawasaki quick release series of bags, they're standard on the verse six 50, standard on the verses 1000. You can get them on the ninja 1000 and I think that's the only one. The maybe other bikes that I'm not thinking of right now. Maybe the uh, XX 14 I believe. But the point of this is they are 28 liter saddle bags. They do uh, work with the uh, ignition key there. So they're all set up like that. You open them up, they can fit a full face helmet in there, no problem. They've got this little uh, elasticized thing to help hold things in here. If you wanted to, you could get accessory bags that fit inside there as well.
So you can take just the inside bags off, uh, and take that in with you to a hotel or something like that. However, these also come off now I'll be honest, when they come off the very, very new bikes, they can be a little sticky here. So we're gonna try to show you honestly how it is. And I'll tell you honestly if I made a cut, I think this piece right here is gonna stick on me a little bit on these brand new bikes, but I haven't really tried it yet. So let's try it. So you pull this up and you can see when that orange is up, I can't take the key out, I can't spin it because it's up there. So it's warned me that it is loose. Gonna give it a little nudge here Comes Back and then you're gonna try to pull it outta here. And exactly where I thought it would stick it is sticking. So usually I Stand on the other Side. Let's just see if I can get it out of there. And again, because it's a brand new, we're gonna make a little cut here, let's pull it right out. There we go. No cut. Let's just do that. So again, you're giving me a little bit of a shove here. What's going on is this little piece here sticks there when it's brand new you can kind of, you know, wear it in a little bit once they become new. But then you can close this down and you can carry that bag away. So again, very difficult or a little harder to do when it's brand new but very easy to do uh, after that, to put it back on, it's pretty simple. You're putting this piece in and this piece in that little orange label, if you see that tells you it's out of uh, whack.
And then this piece here has a little uh, area on the foot peg there that fits into. So again, we'll show you how that works by unlocking it, pulling up this piece here, dropping it in here, getting everything lined up and I didn't get the front in there. There we go. Front's lined up. Back's lined up. Give it a little bang and push it down and it locks in place. Pretty simple stuff. So having 2 28 liter saddlebags is quite a lot of luggage space for someone like me. That should be all you need. But there are two little holes here on these nice little handles that again are mounted to hold those Kawasaki quick release bags. Uh, two little uh, handles here. Have two little sections right here where you can add a rear rack and then a top case on the back. So the top case on the back can do two things for you.
Obviously give you a lot more luggage space, but it also works with this really comfortable rear seat. And this is probably the best angle to fill in the rear seat here, but this is a, the one of the largest, most comfortable rear seats in the six 50 class. And if you had that uh, back uh, top case on, you would have a backrest for that person as well, which makes this a very capable two up touring bike. So now we're gonna move to the cockpit driver's environment, handlebar section, whatever you want to call it. We're gonna work through a number of features that you see here bit by bit because they do things very, very well on the verses six 50. Now again, I used to have a verse six 50 with an adjustable windshield. It used to have little knobs on the outside, very difficult to operate, obviously you can't operate, you shouldn't be operating while you're driving.
But they did create a simpler system to adjust this um, uh, windshield. Now there's a little button right down here and I believe it's fully high, so we're gonna raise it down like that. I was a little aggressive with it there and then it locks in place. This is a big deal because you can press it and adjust it and lift it. You shouldn't do it while you're driving and that's why it's kind of difficult to do. It's a two-handed matter. They don't want you trying to do that when you're driving. But it is a very quick release, very simple to use system and this is very good because when you're riding on a touring bike, the way the wind hits you can really vary based on the strength of the wind, the angle of wind, all kinds of things. So on a hot day you can lower it down, but also you can get sometimes some weird buffering off a windshield depending on how tall you are, where you're sitting and the speed of the wind, the speed of the bike. So being able to move this uh, windshield up and down really allows you that full comfort, uh, in, in all kinds of weather, in all kinds of winds. So you can adjust where that buffeting hits you so it goes smooth over your helmet or smooth into your helmet or that kind of thing and it just really makes a difference to be able to adjust that. But they've done some nice things here,
This little bar right here, something that you don't really see on camera that is a bar where all kinds of mounts fit. And you could put things like a GPS up here, uh, foam mounts, other kinds of things and it gives you a little bit of strength I'm sure, but it also becomes a mounting point separate from your handle bars, which just gives you options for having, you know, something like a GPS behind the windshield right in line with your TFT display here. So let's continue to look at all of the features in this area and we'll kind of put it all together as we go. So let's look a little bit uh, at some of the accessories you can put on. So we're looking down on the left side of the dash here. You can see that we're gonna zoom in here if I can do this the right way.
There we go. As we zoom in, you'll see this can be set up for a couple different things. These are dummy switches right now there's nothing to them but this could be a 12 volt or USB port right there, which of course could power a device up on the windshield. It could power device over on your handlebars. And then this is where you could put an extra switch. Now that switch is commonly used for extra set of fog lights which you could mount to the front of the bike here. Now the nice thing about adding some of these accessories is that something like fog likes when you buy 'em here at Jim Gilbert's Wheels and Deals, if you wanna buy 'em up front, of course you'll save some money on that, you'll save some money on labor, but you'll save the same percentage off of the um, parts and the labor as you would if you bought it new if you buy it a year down the road, five years down the road.
So you can add those accessories in, you don't have to add them right up front. And of course buying wheels and deals doesn't cost you anymore. Either way you get that v I p discount once you've bought a bike here you can add them with the bike when you buy it or you can add 'em later. So nice on this side. There's also one more on the other side. Let's try to show you that right now. So on the right side of the bike here, the exact same positions we just showed you on the left side you have this very large piece here. This is uh, something that comes standard on the K L R adventure sort of filled in. This is a soft rubbery cap when you have it filled in with a U USB port inside. So it's like a rub water resistant cap with another water resistant cap inside of that for USB port. So again, 12 volt port extra switches, USB port, it's all preset and ready to go. And a lot of the wiring is there for just sort of a plug and play accessory install with the Kawasaki systems, which is really nice to have. So you're already set up with a great windshield, a mounting point for a gps, PowerPoints, lights, all the kind of things you might need to add. And we didn't even talk about the suspension up front. Let's show you that while we're looking in this area. So what I found is although you can easily reach this suspension area here, it's tough to get a good filming angle in there. So this is adjustable suspension and it's different on each side. So we're gonna call it tension because that's what it's called on the uh, bike here. You can adjust the tension over here and you can adjust the preload on the other side there, which has a different style cap to it.
Maybe we should just show you that cap in a second here. We'll take a picture of it and throw it up on screen. The idea here though is when I bought my verses six 50, I found the front suspension to be relatively soft. So I was able to firm up that suspension, dial it in exactly the way I want to. And on a touring bike where you're taking lots of different types of roads, you're taking lots of different weight, whether you're taking a passenger, no passenger gear, no gear, that kind of thing, having adjustable suspension really makes a difference to dial in the ride to the type of ride you want. And it's a bit of a luxury that people don't see in the six 50 class and like I said, no other650 bike in the Kawasaki lineup for 2023 has the adjustable suspension.
So you've got some nice things here that you wouldn't expect that make a difference in the writing environment. Now we're gonna see if we can zoom out here just a little bit to the risers here. Let's just kind of zoom back here again. There we go. Those are the risers for the bars. The verses six 50 is a fairly tall bike but it also has a very upright seating position. And again, when you're sharing platforms across various things, you uh have to make adaptions adapt, you have to adapt a little bit. So the risers here are sort of custom for the verses. So there's not any other uh, six 50 bike that has these, but it makes for a very comfortable riding environment. We're gonna show you what it looks like to sit on the spike in just one second. Uh, but yeah, again, unique risers, unique suspension, very good job here on the Versys 650.
So I have the camera a long way back because a lot of people want to know about, you know, the ride height here. This is a taller bike, it has a fairly wide rear seat rear of the seat here and narrow enough through here. I'm about six feet tall. I think it's about a 32 inch in steam or so this is a bike where I can easily just about flat foot. I mean yeah, both my feet are flat footed now comfortably wise, when I sit back a little bit, you know, I'm a little bit tippy toe there kind of thing, but it's not as intimidating as some people think. The weight is balanced down low. Again, that exhaust down low helps with that weight balance down low. When you have a full fuel tank it is a little bit more noticeable. Something like the uh, Zed six 50 I believe has like a 15 liter tank. This is a 21 liter tank. So filling that fuel tank does add significant weight up top because it's such a good size fuel tank, which is what you want for touring. But let's just generally talk about the riding position here. So couple things when I'm up like this, again, as a fairly tall rider, very, very comfortable. Even if you're shorter rider, you're gonna be comfortable that adjustable windshield makes a difference to a lot of people. The other thing that people don't realize is the advantage of these hand guards here, both for wind and weather protection as well as debris protection, it does keep you a little bit more comfortable in the cooler weather. And one thing that people don't realize is this body work does a pretty good job of putting your legs inside of the wind blast, which means that for a cold weather bike, this is a very capable bike.
Now you can also add heated grips to this. I don't know that you would need heated grips with these, um, with these uh, extra uh, wind guards. But keep in mind if you just wanna wear thinner gloves, you have the wind guards and heated grips, you could ride this into very cold weather and I've done that. So again, wind and weather protection is very good. We talked about the suspension riding position is also all day comfortable. You're sitting square and upright, you've got fairly high foot pegs means you can still lean the bike over in turns, you can drive it fairly aggressively. And my argument is for most people on the road, this is as sporty as you would need for something like a ninja 50 if you're driving it on the road. So this is a very sport capable bike, very uh, you know, fun to flick back and forth even though it's a taller bike.
So think of this less as an adventure bike and more as a taller sporty bike sport tour. That's what it is. The other thing you have is your mirrors, unlike the ninjas, they're not mounted out here on the ferrying, they are mounted up close to you, they clear your shoulders. Anytime you have the mirror close to you, you have a little bit wider angle view. So that gives you that street performance to you. If you were to go into a full tuck, of course they'd be behind you, but you don't really need to go in a full tuck because you've got this adjustable windshield that's going to give you that clearance. So all of this is very, very good for touring, very good for city riding as well because it's a very manageable bike and you know, any kind of riding you'd wanna do, this is good.
Let's take a look at the dash. Now. The one big upgrade that I really like is this TFT display. It's just got a lot of good things. So the verses that I had was the model year before they brought in a gear indicator but it still had the old style dash, the same dash brought in the gear indicator. This one is all new and it's good in a whole bunch of ways. So first of all, really clean display. If you want to invert the colors, you can easily do that. So the white can be black, the black can be white. Uh, this uh, tack shows a little bit more blue on camera, it's actually gray. Uh, you can see where it revs to. You can set this to blink. So for instance, when you're doing the break-in process, I think it's set to about 4,000 rpm.
It'll start to blink on you. Um, you can set it wherever you want. So if you wanted it to blink, not necessarily at red line but at like 8,000 rrp, you can set that uh, to kind of blink a little bit. Gives you a visual warning in your peripheral vision without having to glance down attack where you're at. So lots of nice features just in the overall display gear indicator. Of course there right now it says neutrally. You still have a neutral light, uh, one through six, it's a six speed transmission. Uh, speedometers there as well. And then we're gonna go through the odometer here and the uh, um, displayed on there. So odometer is pretty basic stuff. You've got the trip a, trip B and the regular odometer Down at the bottom you've got an instant fuel efficiency rating. So it's currently set to kilometers per liter.
You can do liters per a hundred kilometers, you can do miles per gallon us, you can do miles per gallon in uk, all kinds of things. But that is your instant readout that you're looking at right now. So instant fuel efficiency, average fuel efficiency and then you have range. So that's range to empty it, it can change based on how you've been driving. Again, 21 liter fuel tank is gonna take you a long, long, long ways. So um, having that range there is really kind of nice, especially for longer trips. And you've got your average speed, which actually is very nice on a longer trip. Um, that average speed gives you a sense of you know, are you making the time you wanna make total time you've been out there, the battery at 12 volts right now and then back to the instant fuel efficiency.
So really nice dash here. You have the controls that I'm using on the handlebar, which can use it. We can also set uh, various settings using the buttons over here, uh, when you're parked. So again, you can operate that no issue. Let's take a look at the hand controls here as well. I'll show you the switch that I was using to change everything up there. Alright, so pretty simple stuff here. Typical, um, high and low beam right there, there is a little trigger switch here off camera that allows you to flash your high beam, which is kind of nice to have. Um, just sort of triggered on and off. Uh, signal lights there, horn button there. You do have hazard warning lights, which on a touring bike is quite nice. And then again to adjust that odometer. So odometer trip a, trip B, you select up here the lower display, which was the average fuel efficiency range, uh, average speed, those kind of things you're using this to cycle through.
So it's the same switch, top display, lower display. And then I didn't show you the traction control. The traction control is on this bike as well. It's level one, level two or off. And you can hold this down to get it flashing and go up or down to move between your level ones and level two. So you can adjust the traction control on the fly, which is really nice. Now what I found is I didn't really need traction control on this bike when I had it. Uh, although in uh, certainly in poor weather it'd be very nice. So traction control level one is probably where I would drive this bike all the time. Level two, if you're in slippery conditions. And again, you have the ability to turn it off if you want, but you can adjust that very quickly. From here while we're at this view, I should point out that both levers, both the clutch lever here and the brake lever can be adjusted for reach.
Now the one thing on this bike that they don't have that they do have on many of the other six 50 s is the slipper and assist clutch. So this is not a heavy clutch by any means, but you will notice it is a little bit heavier clutch than the slipper and assist clutch on most of the other six 50 s in the lineup. I think only the Vulcan does not have that slipper and assist clutch. Now, uh, the Zed six 50, Zed six 50 Rs and the Ninja six 50 s certainly have it. So, um, again, not a heavy clutch, but you will notice the difference between the clutch bowl between this and something like a 2023 Zed six 50. It just is kind of what it is. So with the redesign that happened in 2022, there are a few things. Obviously color schemes change.
The beak over here kind of modernized up a little bit. The biggest difference you're gonna find on this bike compared to the one that I owned previously is you have l e d headlights. There is an l e D taillight, which is unchanged, which was nice, but the headlights are a big upgrade. You used to have one side on and one side off for your low beam and the, so it's low beam on one side, high beam on the other side. Now you've got high beam and low beam on both sides here. And then l e d lights of course have that cleaner white light. That white light is closer in color to daylight. And what that does is helps your eyes identify what it sees, which makes this a better lighting environment. I had the accessory lights on on my bike, which I could set up a little bit wider.
Gimme a really wide view with the extra switch here. This one's got the switch area built into the body work, which I didn't have on mine, but that can really give you a ton of light for traveling in all conditions. So let's talk about where this fits in the verus lineup and where it fits overall in motorcycling. The verus lineup for Kawasaki is a little bit confusing because all the bikes look very similar, but the 300 is a Versys 300X that X indicates it's a little bit more of an off roadie style bike. And if you look at the tires, they've got those tires that are a little bit better for dirt roads than something like this. Then at the other end of the spectrum you have the thousand cc in Canada. That thousand cc has everything electronic cruise control, electronically adjustable suspension, and overall that bike loses some of the sporty character of this bike.
It's a little bit more of a long distance cruiser because it's a bit heavier bike. Its immediate responses aren't quite the same as this. What I like this bike for is a really good do-it-all. I've called this in the past, the ultimate one Person sport tour. Now just because you can tour with two people, putting the second person on does lose some of the playfulness of this bike. But again, you can absolutely take that second person. Where this is good is exactly in that. It's hard to find a sport tour that is both playful, like something like the Ninja six 50 but capable, like something like the versus 1000. And that's the sweet spot of where this hits the engine is perfectly capable. Take you the oversized fuel tank, the seating position is comfortable. You've got rubber pegs for your, uh, for the um, driver and the passenger.
Everything about this is really done well for its intended purpose. The updated dash, the traction control, all those things are key components to keep this really competitive. And there's probably no better bike in motorcycling in this class to do what this bike does. That's why it's one of my favorite bikes. So if you have questions of something I didn't cover in this review, make sure you let me know when the comments below and subscribe to the channel because we'll keep coming back with this bike and other bikes just like it. And if you wanna see this bike in person, you can swing by Jim Gilbert's Power Sports, that's Canada's number one volume Kawasaki dealer. They have these in stock, you can check 'em out for yourself. Thanks Eric for watching.