The Versys is quite a bit more compact than the Vstrom. A fact that you notice IMMEDIATLEY when you see it in the flesh. The V twin takes up a lot more room than the parallel design. The wheel sizes on the Versys are a lot more road friendly too. 17's on both ends with the more or less normal 160 rear and very standard 120/70 front.
This makes the Versys have more in common with sportbikes and the Ducati Multistrada than it does with adventure touring bikes. But don't let that stop anyone from taking it off road. There's some great tire options that are geared to taking 17's onto the dirt but can still lean to peg dragging angles on pavement.
They have 2 in SG in Victoria and I've heard 1 has already been sold. IMO it looks better in pictures but not too bad in real. It seemed comfy for my short 30" inseam. I have however heard of a new 650 ninja with the same motor grenading iself. I think it was repaired under warranty.
From what I've heard the motor has some kind of finish on the cylinder and not a liner.
One story shouldn't be enough to put anyone off. Shit happens. It's how the dealer and Canadian Kawi dealt with it that I would want to hear about. If the fix went quick and smooth then a big :thumbup is due. If the poor customer had to whine and weedle to get it dealt with then I'd be more interested in that than the simple fact that an engine blew.
I've been dropping in occasionally on the 650 Ninja forum at www.riderforums.com to see how the 650 has been doing and by far there's a very enthusiastic group of owners with nothing but good things to say.
I've read some in depth reviews on the bike, they say it is a genre busting bike that defies classification. Think of it as a mini-Tiger, in some ways they call it a better bike than the Ninja 650 even though it is 'tuned for torque'.
I sat on one in Terrace months ago, it has a surprisingly high seat so although it may look like a noob bike I'm not sure it fits that category. It would be neat if it was just a little more supermoto-like...
My 650 was almost too docile without a Leo Vince pipe, I'm not sure the Versys would have enough power to be worthwhile for experienced rider. As for how ugly that front end it, this is pure Euro naked, a little brother to the ER6 which is the naked Ninja 650 over there and sports the same bizarro front end styling.
They actually have been in the showrooms since last year. I like them, not really a dual purpose, not really a motard...kinda both. Make a great around town houligan bike that would be comfortable for longer rides as well. Spunky's has put several out with semi-knobby tires to make them better on non-paved roads.
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