The Versys and concours battle it out! Which is the best bike for JAMIE AND i ?
I have been very fortunate to have owned multiple machines from both of these models. Jamie and I started our motorcycle journey together on a Kawasaki Concours C-10. We purchased a 2005 25th Aniversary Concours back in 2005 and we have been riding together ever since. We put 21K miles on that Connie before it met its demise on AR16, right outside of Boston Arkansas. We will always have a special place in our hearts for this wonderful machine.
In 2010 we can across a great deal on a 2008 C-14. It was used, with 500 miles on the clock. We jumped at the chance of purchasing the bike, as it also had a Two Brothers pipe, bar risers and a few other options already installed. Jamie and I had many great adventures with this Connie. We sold her with 74K of smile inducing miles aboard her.
When we sold the C-14 we purchased the new to the States, Versys 1000. I had been keeping track of this bike on the forums in the UK and was really hoping they would bring it here. My wish was granted in 2015 and I knew we had to get one. We purchased the first one sold in the state of Texas. We enjoyed 34K mile son her before upgrading to our current steed.
One day I was watching YouTube and the Kawasaki ad came on shouting out the virtues of the new state of the art Versys 1000 SE LT. All of the new electronics, including suspension, TFT, heated grips and cruise control. It was the total package.
Jamie and I started reading about it, and the more we learned the more we wanted one. So we called our friends at Plano Kawasaki to have them call us when they got one in stock. They called, we jumped in the Jeep and drove to Dallas to purchase the new Versys. We have enjoyed 16K miles of pure joy and excitement and look forward to many more adventures on her.
This brings us here. I get asked all of the time on why I chose the Versys over the C-14. I get that question in person, on the blog and even from my Youtube channel. I thought that the time has come to tell you all our reasons for jumping the “connie” ship. These are “Our” reasons for choosing this machine. This was based on our riding style, mostly two up spirited touring loaded up with gear. It was also about the stage in life we are currently enjoying. So without further delay, lets get on with it.
The C-14 was a great machine and very good on long road trips. It was amazing! A quick twist of the wrist and boom… we were grinning from ear to ear. The electronic windscreen was very convenient and is something we miss. The C-14 had large touring bags and with an additional top case we had space to hit the road for 9 days. Even loaded up with camping gear, the C-14 never missed a beat. That motor is a thing of beauty and was plenty powerful to make get us in plenty of trouble. This bike was fun on long trips and a blast on a sweeping, tight and twisty road. We shared many great memories together on this wonderful machine.
The riding position for me was fine, especially with the bar risers. Jamie was fine for the first 200 miles, but after that she felt cramped up and the seat was not her best friend. Even after having some work done on it, she never felt totally comfortable. We only had one mechanical issue when the starter had an issue and needed to be replaced. All covered under warranty. The C-14 was very hard on tires! Riding two up and spirited would wipe out a tire in 4000 miles. We spent a lot of hard earned money on tires for this big steed. The biggest downfall of the bike was the heftiness. This thing is HEAVY (690 lbs) and not easy to move around. With all of this said, we loved our C-14 and would have no issue riding another one in the future.
Next up the Versys, and true to its name “Versatile System” is just that! The Versys offers a fantastic platform for Jamie and I. The Ninja inspired engine is the heart beat of this machine. It will not thrust you down the road with the beastly push of the C-14, but make no mistake, it will give you all the excitement that you want and still ask for more. One of the reasons the 1000cc motor can still bring a smile to your face is the horsepower to weight ratio. The Versys comes in at 526 lbs, that is a 164 lbs lighter than the C-14. We feel that when it comes to pushing the bike around the garage or pushing the bike through the twisty roads here in Arkansas.
The Versys has a few creature comforts that are also nice to have. The cruise control and heated grips are wonderful. I always thought that these type of features were something I could do without. I was wrong. They are game changing. The technology of the bike is the true winner. The suspension and the braking is world class. The electronics make this bike so enjoyable to ride. They put you at ease and make you a better rider. I have never felt faster or safer on a motorcycle than I do on this Versys.
Thanks to Rider magazine for these great pictures.
The Versys is also the most comfortable platform that Jamie and I have ever ridden. The Versys is a tall machine and works well for my 6’2 250lb frame. Jamie enjoys plenty of room on one of the most comfortable pillion seats she has ever ridden on. We both have plenty of leg room. The bike offers great coverage from the elements, creating a nice bubble of clean air. No buffeting for the rider or pillion, I like having the quick shifter, especially when you have the revs up and are enjoying a spirited jaunt down you favorite back road.
As you can tell we love the Versys, but I also do not want to give you all the wrong impression. We loved the C-14 as well. Picking one over the other is all about personal preference. Here are a few questions that always come up about the differences between these machines.
Don’t you miss the ease and lack of maintenance of a shaft drive over the chain?
I have never really thought that chain maintenance was a big deal. Today’s chains are so easy to maintain and if you keep them clean and lubed, they will last 20-30K without needed changed. The shaft is nice and really easy to maintain, however I do not know if the added weight is worth it.
I bet you miss the power of the C-14.
Power is an awesome thing! the C-14 had gobs of it and was so much fun to ride. However when an object shoots down the road at high speeds, eventually you have to stop or go around a corner. The Versys has plenty of power and the brakes and suspension allow for the Versys to be ridden quicker than the C-14. This is the case based on my skill and talent level.
To bring this to a conclusion. The Versys is the best bike for us between the C-14 and the Versys. It might not be the same result for you. however for Jamie and I, the Versys is the best bike for our style of riding.
Tell us you thoughts. Have you ridden either of these great machines? Tell us your experience. Until next time, be healthy and safe.