Priced at Rs 15.75 lakh (on-road, Mumbai), the Versys 1000 LT is hard to shy away from if you have been bitten by the wander bug.
The Kawasaki Versys 1000 is not only fast but conquers any kind of terrain with ease without making the rider break a sweat, says Indian motoring website MotorBeam.
High-end motorcycle touring is still an extremely niche segment in India that very few manufacturers have presence in. With the growing breed of travel enthusiasts though, the tourers are just starting to arrive. Having brought most of its performance line up in the country, Kawasaki was due to bring in the Versys to the market and so it did earlier this year.
Nothing short of mesmerising on several counts, MotorBeam decided to do a 700 kms tour to understand the capabilities of this Japanese offering with an aim to answer the questions of the litre-class performance lovers who have sport touring on their mind.
With the 2015 update, the Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT is more in-line with the company's family design. The newly styled dual headlamps are quintessentially Kawasaki, holding a strong appeal on the bike. The tall profile boasts of a healthy road presence and at no point does the design feel overdone with the lines neatly tucked in. Right from grab rails to the saddle mounts and LED tail light, the balanced design at the rear ensures a functional design that appeals to the eye. Quality on the Versys 1000 feels top notch and gives you confidence that the bike will be able to take a beating or two.
Similar to other Kawasaki offerings, you get an analog tachometer and LCD unit displaying the odometer, trip meter, average fuel consumption, range, fuel gauge, temperature, thermometer and clock. All the other tell-tale lights are located on the top.
The switchgear quality is superb and there's a lot to play around with. The left handlebar gets the selector switch to control the KTRC (Kawasaki Traction Control) and allows the rider to choose between different modes -- 3 for rain, 2 for street urban riding and 1 for aggressive street riding.
You can also toggle between H (for full power) and L (cuts power by 25 per cent) options. The right handlebar gets the engine kill switch and ignition start. Owners can further add a 12V power socket on the Versys 1000, a boon over long rides.
The Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT is one of the most comfortable bikes out there and the seat, slim in the front and wide at the back, accommodates the rider and pillion with ease.
Given the overall height of the bike, tall riders will tend to enjoy the Versys more, but even average or short riders won't have much trouble in handling this tourer.
The rubber mounted foot-pegs and foot-peg plate keep the vibrations to a minimum and the rear view mirrors are big and give a clear view of everything that you've left behind.
Despite a kerb weight of 250 kgs, the Versys 1000 isn't cumbersome.
The Versys 1000 uses a 1.0-litre in-line four-cylinder engine that now packs in 118 BHP and 102 Nm of torque. The motor is smooth and the abundance of power makes you want to push the bike to its limits, redlining in no time at 10,000 RPM.
If you do get a little excited, the KTRC will quickly intervene and cut power minimally to avoid wheel spin. The 6-speed gearbox offers seamless shifts and gets a slip function for better downshifts.
Surprisingly, the clutch is on the lighter side and makes shifting a little less painful.
The Versys 1000 does the 0-100 km/hr run in about 3 seconds and will reach the 200 km/hr in no time. We managed to achieve a fuel efficiency figure of 16 km/l over our 700 kms ride, decent for the bike's performance levels.
One issue though is the heat dissipation that hits directly on the legs. While it isn't much of a hassle on long rides, the problem arises during traffic snarls.
The twin-spar aluminium frame has worked perfectly for the Versys 1000 and offers plenty of ground clearance. The suspension is one of the strong points of a tourer and Kawasaki has equipped the bike with KYB inverted front forks and a rear monoshock. The travel range is longer and you can also adjust the rear suspension as per your requirement.
The Versys responds well to rider inputs and more of it is needed around corners. The Bridgestone Battlax tyres do justice to the tourer's potential and works well with the KTRC modes.
Braking performance is fantastic with the 310 mm discs at the front and 250 mm rear disc coupled with ABS.
The Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT offers style, performance, a distinct characteristic and a refreshed new look for 2015, making it one of the best tourers on sale today.
The styling is just spellbinding while the overload of power and fatigue-free cruising ensure that you will be riding with a very wide grin on your face throughout.
Then there is that distinctive Kawasaki trait to this litre-class tourer, which gives it an edge over rivals along with trustworthy reliability. Priced at Rs 15.75 lakh (on-road, Mumbai), the Versys 1000 LT is hard to shy away from if you have been bitten by the wander bug.
Faisal Ali Khan is the editor and founder of MotorBeam.com