Kawasaki Canada presented the Versys 1000 at its display at this past weekend’s North American International Motorcycle Supershow in Toronto, for the new “adventure sport” model’s debut on this side of the Atlantic.
While he can’t speak for Kawasaki USA’s decision making, Bob Calwell, district manager for Kawasaki Canada, he does note that the Canadian company does have a history of making different product selections.
Kawasaki Canada first imported the original 650cc Versys in its 2007 model year lineup, a yeara ahead of Kawasaki USA. Canadians also had a different version of the venerable Ninja 250R from 2000-2007 (from 2002 onwards it went by the name “ZZ-R250”),with a different fairing, a lateral aluminum frame, larger wheels and adjustable rear suspension and levers.
Calwell says Canada’s terrain and a more European sensibility were factors behind the decision to import the new Versys 1000.
“The European flair of the Versys 1000 – We think it would do well here in Canada,” says Calwell, about Kawasaki Canada’s approach compared to its southern neighbor. “Our terrain’s a little different, we do very well with our KLR650, and this is like a step up from the KLR650.”
The Versys 1000 is powered by a variant of the Z1000’s 1043cc inline-Four engine, retuned with a claimed maximum output of 116 hp at 9000rpm compared to the Z’s 136 hp claim at 9600rpm. Torque also takes a dip, with Kawasaki claiming a peak of 75 ft-lb. compared to the Z1000’s 81 ft-lb. peak.
Gear ratios were selected for a range of riding situations, with shorter first and second gears compared to the Z1000. The Versys also comes with two power modes as well as a three-mode traction control system as found on the Ninja ZX-14R.
The aluminum twin-tube frame is similar to that of the Z1000, with the engine as a stressed member, as well as a steel pipe trellis rear frame. The Versys 1000 uses KYB 43mm inverted fork with adjustable preload and rebound damping. Rear suspension is also preload and rebound damping adjustable, but unlike conventional setups, the rear shock and linkage are placed above the swingarm for a larger pre-chamber, which allows for shorter muffler and improved mass centralization. Both front and rear suspension offer 150mm of stroke.
The riding position is fairly upright, with the footpegs lower and farther forward than those on the Z1000. Seat height is 33.3 inches, the same as the 650cc Versys.
Other features include standard ABS brakes, 5.5 gallon fuel tank and adjustable windscreen.
Kawasaki Canada is offering the 2012 Versys 1000 in metallic magnesium gray with an MSRP of CA$13,999, the same price as the Ninja 1000.
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