FJR v Versys 1000

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spectreman

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Now considering a return to the ST world and again looking at '13-19 FJRs but also '15-18 Versys 1000s. I've owned a '16 A model FJR but sold it so I'm familiar w/the bike. That was likely shortsighted on my behalf but what's done is done, right? These are the only 2 models I'm considering, NOT interested in any other suggested rides.

The FJR calls to me- it's a known commodity & worked well as a two-up bike, pretty much my sole purpose for buying it. But I'm a lifelong Kawi guy and I can see the practicality of the V1K. I prefer the amenities the FJR offers- the fairing, electronic windscreen, cruise control, shaft drive, but the weight always concerned me, especially at low speeds or pushing her around the garage. As ya'll know, she's a load, particularly when fully fueled.

The V1K is well over 100 lbs. lighter. The power differential between the two is not an issue for me. At this stage, comfort for me and the passenger are more important. If the '15-18 V1K versions had cruise control, I'd be making less of an argument here; a Kaoko throttle lock will helpful but it's still not CC. Once you go CC, it's hard to ride a bike w/out it!

Generally I think, the V1K would fit 90% of my riding needs/purposes. My rides don't normally exceed 100 miles and perhaps cross-state rides. Frankly, the FJR- as great a bike as it is- was often overkill for my riding needs, particularly when I was solo, but it was also the most comfortable bike I've ever owned. My daughter is my riding partner. She's at college now so we only ride 3-4x a year but I want her to be comfortable when we do. She LOVED the FJR; we've test ridden the V1K a couple of times and she liked it but... not as much as the FJR.

So I'm curious who has owned both bikes and can offer comparisons. I've done my research, watched the youtube vids, etc. so I'm looking for the personal experiences.

Appreciate any input!
Lee
 

BigOgre

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Lee, this isn't answering what you've asked but . . . your daughter will be riding with you 3-4x a year. How often would you be using the bike (which ever one you choose) aside from those three or four times with her? And could there be a difference in that answer depending on which model?
 

hppants

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Two of my closest riding buddies have Versys 1000 bikes. One of them went to the Versys from a Gen 2 FJR. I've ridden them quite a bit. My thoughts:

1. The Versys is a wonderful motorcycle. As you indicate, it's power is slightly less than the FJR, but MORE than adequate for anything you throw at it.

2. The weight difference is definitely noticeable, especially at lower speeds. The more upright position of the Versys is also noticeable. So is the lesser wind and rain protection, although the aftermarket makes a terrific windscreen for the V (Mastad or something like that).

3. Although they are technically 2 liters smaller in capacity (29 v/s 31), the saddle bags for the Versys will hold just as much because of their more "prismatic" shape.

4. Fuel mileage under the same conditions and speed is exactly the same. I've got plenty data on that. The V tank is slightly smaller, so the range is less than the FJR.

5. I'd strongly recommend you consider a '17 Versys or newer so that you can get the cruise control and perhaps more importantly, the electronic suspension. Here is where the FJR shines. The shock on the Versys, especially when loaded, is a bit lacking. So are the fork springs. But the E/S for the newer models addresses that in spades.

posting on an FJR forum will likely get you more positive for the FJR. That's what I ride, and if given the choice for ME, go with it again. But the Versys 1000 is a fine motorcycle with a bullet proof motor. You will not be disappointed either way.

My $0.02 worth. Money back guarantee if not fully satisfied....
 

Dunc

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Confirming all and adding to the last post, my wife rides a 19 Versys with ES and it is a wonderful place to spend a long time.
On a long ride I take a turn on her bike to give my legs a change of scenery, I'm on a 13 FJ no ES.

Steering is so light compared to the FJ, effortless.
Seat looks wide but still not the leg splitter the stock FJ has.
Ride position for the legs is nicer (34" inseam) on the V.
ES susp is so good you don't know it is working, till I switch back to the FJ and feel every crack in the road.

Wind hits more on the V, arms seem out in the airflow compared to the FJ.
Does not have the low end pull of the FJ but once you get the revs up it fly's and sounds nice.

I like how the FJ looks and feels when you twist it, but the longer the ride the more I would like the V.
Not sure how the 18 V compares to the 19.
 

Sunnyorlando

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I agree, I've also owned a Versys 1k (2015). I like it too, and would own another one. My only issue (as commented to Lee via PM) is with high speed stability, just does not compare to the FJR. For most, that's a non-issue. And the one oner less of an issue, chain maintenance.
Otherwise a great bike.
 

scutrbrau

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I have a 2015 Versys 650, not the 1000. The biggest negative for me is there's a lot of vibration at highway speed. Long rides are pretty exhausting. On the plus side, it's really nimble and great in the twisties.
 

justacrossthehill

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I have a Road King for 2 up so the FJR feels like a featherweight when I'm on it.
Everything is a compromise and I decided long ago that "dual purpose" really means not being great at anything.
A friend owned a Versys 650 and after riding it, I want no part of anything "Versys". It wasn't a good street bike and certainly wasn't an off road bike either.
The FJR is a very hard bike to equal and I doubt if it can be beaten for what you want to do. It worked for us until my wife's knee problems started. For her, the Road King is much more comfortable.
The FJR is staying though, I did over 300 miles on it today and it's a keeper for sure.

BTW, here's your answer, "She LOVED the FJR".
 
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fastpappy

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I have a Road King for 2 up so the FJR feels like a featherweight when I'm on it.
Everything is a compromise and I decided long ago that "dual purpose" really means not being great at anything.
A friend owned a Versys 650 and after riding it, I want no part of anything "Versys". It wasn't a good street bike and certainly wasn't an off road bike either.
The FJR is a very hard bike to equal and I doubt if it can be beaten for what you want to do. It worked for us until my wife's knee problems started. For her, the Road King is much more comfortable.
The FJR is staying though, I did over 300 miles on it today and it's a keeper for sure.

BTW, here's your answer, "She LOVED the FJR".
My wife used to complain about her knees also. Peg lowering brackets took care of that. Sadly she won't ride any more but the brackets solved knee problem at the time. As always YMMV. ;)
 

justacrossthehill

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My wife used to complain about her knees also. Peg lowering brackets took care of that. Sadly she won't ride any more but the brackets solved knee problem at the time. As always YMMV. ;)
She's had both knees replaced but they still give her a lot of trouble.
I have a set of those on the FJR too and they helped a lot but it's more than just the peg height, the RK is easier to get on and off, has a great backrest, has full passenger floorboards plus a better seat, and overall more room in the back. On the FJR I could feel her squirming all the time trying to get comfortable but on the RK I hardly ever feel that plus when I ask if she wants to rest, most of the time she says she's OK.
The HD is growing on me too but I do wish they had put less emphasis on chrome and more on the suspension. I'm certainly not recommending for everybody to trade their FJR for a HD but if you can deal with the weight, they're awfully good bikes for 2 up riding especially after everyone puts on some weight and no longer fits into the clothes they wore when they were 50 years old. She rode with me for years on a 05 FZ1 until that was no longer practical and I'm just trying to adapt so she can keep on riding with me. So far, it's working.
 

fastpappy

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Yeah I hear ya. My brother in law had an Ultra Classic and my sister in law used to fall asleep on the back. He has a soft tail now and the wives haven't rode with us for awhile. :(
 

Bill Lumberg

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The versus feels way lighter. It doesn’t feel like a 1000cc bike. Very smooth, but much less wind protection, and not as stable at speed.

If you’re primarily solo and don’t do a lot of highway at speed, the versys is a great bike. It could never be my lrimary. But they’re very nice.
 

spectreman

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Lee, this isn't answering what you've asked but . . . your daughter will be riding with you 3-4x a year. How often would you be using the bike (which ever one you choose) aside from those three or four times with her? And could there be a difference in that answer depending on which model?

I can only own one bike at a time. In a perfect world, I'd own more but I don't live on that planet. It is more important to me to have a capable, comfortable bike for me/my passenger if/when she gets to ride- no matter how infrequently that may happen- than for me to own the latest/greatest/coolest/prettiest bike. And therein lies the problem. As I stated, I think the V1K would satisfy my 90% rule but... the FJR...
 

spectreman

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The versus feels way lighter. It doesn’t feel like a 1000cc bike. Very smooth, but much less wind protection, and not as stable at speed.

If you’re primarily solo and don’t do a lot of highway at speed, the versys is a great bike. It could never be my lrimary. But they’re very nice.

Even though most of my riding is generally on local thoroughfares, I've always got this 'dream' in my head that someday I'm actually going to go out and tour on the bike. Could be intra-state (FLA is a damn big state to get out of) or inter-state (highly unlikely) but it's my dream and I don't have to justify to anyone, except maybe the wife.

I did, however, sell my brother on an FJR and he picked a sweet '16 ES about a month back. 'Course, he's across the state in Sarasota and he wants to ride. I ain't taking the Z over there- that's too far a ride for me on that bike but I could easily take an FJR or V1K over.
Lee
 

SouthernCruizer

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I have a 2015 Versys 650, not the 1000. The biggest negative for me is there's a lot of vibration at highway speed. Long rides are pretty exhausting. On the plus side, it's really nimble and great in the twisties.
?? The ONLY thing the V1K and the V650 have in common is the name. The 650 is a parallel twin, and the V1K is an inline 4. The 650 is not comparable to the FRJ in any way shape or form.
 

SouthernCruizer

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Now considering a return to the ST world and again looking at '13-19 FJRs but also '15-18 Versys 1000s. I've owned a '16 A model FJR but sold it so I'm familiar w/the bike. That was likely shortsighted on my behalf but what's done is done, right? These are the only 2 models I'm considering, NOT interested in any other suggested rides.

The FJR calls to me- it's a known commodity & worked well as a two-up bike, pretty much my sole purpose for buying it. But I'm a lifelong Kawi guy and I can see the practicality of the V1K. I prefer the amenities the FJR offers- the fairing, electronic windscreen, cruise control, shaft drive, but the weight always concerned me, especially at low speeds or pushing her around the garage. As ya'll know, she's a load, particularly when fully fueled.

The V1K is well over 100 lbs. lighter. The power differential between the two is not an issue for me. At this stage, comfort for me and the passenger are more important. If the '15-18 V1K versions had cruise control, I'd be making less of an argument here; a Kaoko throttle lock will helpful but it's still not CC. Once you go CC, it's hard to ride a bike w/out it!

Generally I think, the V1K would fit 90% of my riding needs/purposes. My rides don't normally exceed 100 miles and perhaps cross-state rides. Frankly, the FJR- as great a bike as it is- was often overkill for my riding needs, particularly when I was solo, but it was also the most comfortable bike I've ever owned. My daughter is my riding partner. She's at college now so we only ride 3-4x a year but I want her to be comfortable when we do. She LOVED the FJR; we've test ridden the V1K a couple of times and she liked it but... not as much as the FJR.

So I'm curious who has owned both bikes and can offer comparisons. I've done my research, watched the youtube vids, etc. so I'm looking for the personal experiences.

Appreciate any input!
Lee
Careful, you are getting some inaccurate info here. The Versys 1000 did NOT have cruise control or Electronic Suspension until 2019,

The Versys 650 and Versys 1000 are not comparable, other than the name. The V1K is an inline 4 (like the FJR). The Versys 650 is a parallel twin. Neither are designed for off road or even off pavement use. They are 100% road bikes, despite the way they look.

Just my $.02 worth - I've had (3) FJR 1300s (2004, 2008, & 2013) for a total of about 248,000 miles. I've had (2) Versys 1000s(2016 & 2019) for a total of 78,000 miles, and (1) 2016 Versys 650 which I still own (20,000 miles), I agree with most of the points HPPANTS made. I went from the FJR to the Versys 1K for the simple reason that my left knee is going bad, and even with peg lowering on the FJR, I was in pain too often. The V1K fixed that, and kept the comfort and sporty performance I prefer.

You will probably miss the electric wind screen of the FJR for a while, but if you are like me (5' 10", 32 in inseam), you will find a sweet spot on the V1K wind screen.
You will miss the CC unless you get a 2019 or later V1K. Be aware, the V1K cruise control is inferior to the FJR CC....it does not hold speed as well and is slower to respond to inputs.
The shaft on the FJR is great, whereas the chain on the V1K will require a little maintenance, but I have never minded the couple of minutes to lube during a long trip. I only adjust the chain few times a year, probably about every 5K miles or so.
The ES on the V1K is GREAT for rough roads here in south Louisiana. I have not had ES on my FJRs , but assume it would be comparable.
The V1K Quick Shifter is FANTASTIC. Now that I am used to it, will have a hard time settling for a sporty bike without it.
The V1K Cornering Lights are also great for night use. Very helpful on dark nights on curvy roads.
You will appreciate the lighter weight of the V1K, and unlike other posters here, find it very stable at high speeds. No problems with side bags and rear pack cruising at 80+ mph.

Good luck with your choice.
 
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Atlas_Aus

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If you love Kawasaki have you considered the FJR clone, the GTR 1400 ?

I have both (long story) and not much difference TBH

I have had an FJR (3) since 2003...just love it.

To me the V1K is a different bike all round.

Perhaps as a 2nd bike.

😃
 

BILI

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I have a 13 FJR that I've ridden 45,000 miles in the past 4 years. Recently acquired a 2016 Versys 1000. I've ridden them back to back many times to really analyze how they compare ("comparison is the thief of joy" -TR); so many differences. If anyone is interested in digging into this, ask me some specific questions. Too much to give all my thoughts right now. One major difference: the F requires a lot of focus at 0-10 mph, the Versys feels like a bicycle in comparison.
 

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