2019 Kawasaki Versys 1000 launch – first thoughts

Our man Al is in the Canary Islands (again) riding the new 2019 Versys 1000. Here’s what he reckons to it so far…

2019 Versys 1000

WE’VE BEEN having what you might call a mini-adventure over the past couple of days here on Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Kawasaki’s organised a bit of a road trip on its new 2019 Versys 1000, with a day of riding on each island, plus a ferry trip between the two and a night in a rustic Canarian hotel. The roads are amazing, the weather spot-on, and the Versys has been a very pleasant companion too.

For this year, Kawasaki’s thrown the kitchen sink at its 1,000cc inline-four adventure (ish) tourer. So we get all the bells and whistles from the likes of the H2SX and ZX-10R – electronic suspension on the SE version, IMU-based cornering ABS and traction control, quickshifter, cruise control, colour dash, lean-angle readout – the lot.  And on the £16,042 GT grand tourer versions we’re riding, there’s a full luggage setup, fog lamps, power socket and frame sliders.

All that tech makes the Versys very accomplished indeed – and a civilised way to cover big miles. It’s comfy, there’s decent wind protection, the colour dash is lovely, and the controls are all easy to work – once you get the hang of it. Kawasaki’s also introduced its new ‘Rideology’ phone app, which links to the bike and lets you log trips, tweak settings and much more, which is a sign of where we’re all heading for sure…

Under the new bodywork, self healing paint and extensive techery, the engine and frame are largely unchanged though – so the power and weight figures are a little on the steady side. A hundred and twenty bhp is a nice chunk of power, and it’s delivered in a torquey fashion, but competition like the BMW S1000XR and even the Ducati Multistrada 1260 have a lot more power. If having 150bhp+ is important to you, then the Versys misses the mark a little.

But for most folk, the smooth power, civilised accommodation (for two) and extensive tech add-ons will probably be far more important than a screaming top-end.

MORE – much, much more on the new Versys 1000 once Al gets back to Blighty!