2019 Kawasaki Versys 1000
5th November 2018
1000 | 1000SE | Rider modes | KECS | ABS
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For 2019, Kawasaki has stood the already very worthy Versys 1000 on the launch pad, bolted on some boosters, pressed the GO! button and sent this machine into a significantly higher orbit.
The 1,043cc motor is, however, the same 118bhp (88.2kW) @ 8,900rpm inline four cylinder liquid-cooled lump with 75lb-ft (102Nm) of torque @ 7,500rpm. And the styling, although clearly reworked for the new season, is essentially the same animal albeit with a few new facets. But electronically speaking the Versys 1000 is a new machine that, okay, hasn't exactly overtaken the pack, but has certainly narrowed the gap.
Two versions are on offer for 2019; the Versys 1000 SE (image immediately above), and the standard Versys 1000 (image immediately below).
Versys SE features include a lean-sensitive engine/chassis package underpinned by its Bosch IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) which helps regulate everything from sophisticated traction control to cornering ABS, while Kawasaki's KECS semi-active suspension gizmo fiddles with the damping and springs and allows you to seamlessly make the necessary on-the-hoof adjustments as you switch from dry dirt to wet tarmac (or vice versa) to road ruts to whatever else slips under your wheels. And naturally, you can tweak the settings accordingly depending on whether you're riding solo, or two up, and/or with luggage.
Cruise control will ease your burden on those longer, more monotonous jaunts. An adjustable windscreen will help you slip through the breeze. And LED headlights will blitz the oncoming darkness.
And if that ain't enough to lubricate your purchasing gears, three rider modes have been programmed (Sport, Road and Rain); an up-and-down quickshifter will help satisfy those riders who obsess over nanoseconds); and there's even self-healing paint that repairs minor scratches (and note the qualifier "minor"). No, it's not the first time we've seen this chemical magic on a motorcycle (check out Kawasaki's 2019 H2 Ninja). But the Versys is certainly one of the forerunners of this still imperfect tech which can only get better as the paintologists [Hmm, that's a new word - Ed] get a firmer grip.
Still not satisfied? Okay, let's throw in cornering lights, a 12-volt power take off, a colour dash, centre stand, handguards, heated grips and pannier points.
Meanwhile, the standard Versys 1000 is less well endowed and is offered with a shorter screen as standard, but various features listed here are optional, and it still adds up to a very persuasive package. So okay, in the heavyweight touring market, these bikes are not serious contenders. But for all round urban and even semi-urban use, Kawasaki's latest one-litre adventurers will suit most adventurers.
The wheels, by the way, are 17-inchers front and rear; so you've got a good choice of rubber for those, ahem, special moments. The front calipers are radial. The tank holds 4.6 gallons (21-litres). And the saddle height (rider) is around 33-inches (840mm).
Lookswise, we think the Versys 1000 is ... well, okay. Not stunning, and not ugly. Just competent looking. But if the designers took a more organic route on the bodywork and thought more about curves and less about gratuitous slants and planes, we wouldn't bitch about it.
No prices yet, but the 2018 Kawasaki Versys 1000 Grand Tourer currently retails for around £10,499. We don't yet have a delivery date either.
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