Difficult to explain and impossible to categorise, the Versys is one of those machines that exceeds the sum of its parts. Its name, derived from “vertex” (Latin for pinnacle, summit, top) and “system,” hints at its development goal of offering a truly superior platform from which riders can maximise riding fun in any number of street riding situations. One ride is all it takes to confirm that the Versys does indeed deliver on its any-street promise.
Tuning of the 649 cm3 Parallel Twin engine focused on achieving a throttle response that balanced a powerful feeling and a quick-revving character. To optimise performance for everyday riding, care was taken to maximise low-mid range torque. When opening the throttle, riders will notice an extremely smooth and powerful engine character that offers both a high level of control when making minute throttle adjustments and a gratifying rush of acceleration in the lower rpm ranges. Engine updates result in increased high-rpm performance and improved fuel economy.
When engineers considered the kind of riding they wanted to offer, and the speed range most often used in everyday riding, a naturally relaxed posture and high controllability care of a slim, upright position with wide handlebars was deemed ideal. Because it would have a great impact on rider control and enjoyment, a substantial amount of development time and effort was devoted to fine-tuning the riding position.
Not all streets in the real world are made of circuit-smooth pavement. Road imperfections (bumps, potholes) are far from rare, and some streets are not even paved (such as cobblestone, etc). While the Versys 650 was not designed for off-road use, its long-travel front fork and rear shock were specially selected to cope with any street conditions it may come across, and, along with its 17” wheels, enable aggressive sport riding. Further, the long-travel suspension provides an added dimension of controllability: the ability to consciously control the bike’s front-rear weight transfer gives riders an additional riding element to explore.
The key to the Versys’ sleek chassis is its compact Parallel Twin engine, which allows the use of a slim, lightweight frame. Together with the forward-located seat position and the under-engine muffler, this engine-frame combination delivers a highly centralised mass distribution, which contributes to the highly agile package. High priority was given to chieving chassis settings that deliver a high level of feedback, better enabling the rider to recognise the bike’s limits.
A larger adjustable windscreen helps reduce wind noise and helmet buffeting, creating a serene space behind which to enjoy high-speed riding. And the new cowling design helps direct airflow away and around the rider.
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