2019 Kawasaki Versys 1000 and SE released

Impressive high-tech update for Kawasaki's big-bore adventure-style tourer

2019 Kawasaki Versys 1000

KAWASAKI'S COME up with some cracking premium machines over the past few years, and now it’s giving its Versys adventure tourer the same treatment. A wheels-up revamp means the 2019 Versys has a whole new, high-tech feel, while a special SE version adds even more cutting-edge kit – including electronic semi-active suspension as seen on the ZX-10R SE.

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The fundamentals remain: a strong, 120bhp inline-four motor, based on the Z1000 unit, and tuned for grunty torque. But for 2019, it gets a ride-by-wire throttle, allowing cruise control, and much more advanced rider aids, including power modes and traction control. There’s a up/down quickshifter on the SE model , and optional on the standard bike too.

That engine is bolted into a stiff cast aluminium frame, with long-travel suspension and 17-inch wheels. While not really suited for offroad use, Kawasaki reckons the Versys performs well on less-than-perfect road surfaces. The SE version gets a variant of the Showa semi-active electronically adjustable suspension from the ZX-10R Ninja, which is linked into the power modes, IMU systems and ABS, for an integrated overall chassis stability setup. New radial-mount calipers up front offer stronger brake performance, with a more advanced ABD package.

On the equipment front, the SE version goes to town, with a colour LCD dash, cornering lights, Bluetooth smartphone integration, standard-fit hot grips, larger windscreen, and the self-healing anti-scratch paint pioneered on the latest H2 and ZX-10R. The stock bike has a monochrome LCD dash, and can have the larger screen as an option. Both versions have adjustable windscreens, 12V power sockets, centrestands and built-in pannier mountings for optional luggage.

The new Versys also gets a hefty cosmetic makeover, with new bodywork giving a much sharper, more dynamic look. LED lighting all round and smart hand guards round off a really sweet looking big touring machine…