In 2019, we were already able to test the Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE, now - a good two years - later we have the pleasure of taking a closer look at the 2021 model, the Kawasaki Versys 1000 S. The two motorcycles are almost identical, but the S does without the electronic suspension compared to the SE. Otherwise, the Kawasaki Versys 1000 S is just as lavishly equipped crossover travel bike as the SE variant. Rather unusual for this type of motorcycle is the smooth in-line four-cylinder engine, which triggered our first discussions right at the beginning of the test.
Dietmar and I were initially of the opinion that two cylinders would be appropriate for travel bikes. But already after the first meters of our test drives we corrected this not completely unbiased view. Because the seating position and appearance of an adventure bike combined with the supple in-line four-cylinder convinced us from the spot! And otherwise, the machine is very well equipped. So what do you get for your money if you put the € 14,595 called in the basic version on the table at the dealer?
The Versys S should be able to do almost anything or, to put it in the words of Kawasaki: "Any road - anytime"! And for your money you get a lot, because if you look around, it is not easy to find an equally lavishly equipped motorcycle at this price: The absence of the electronic suspension saves around 2000 € compared to the SE. In addition to the basic version for 14,595 € ex works, there is also the TOURER for 15,495 €, as well as the GRAND TOURER for 16,595 €.
For our test, we have a Tourer, which already contains the side cases (56 liters) including inner pockets and a tank pad in series. If you need even more space, use the Grand Tourer, which also has a top case with backrest (47 liters), LED fog lights and crash pads installed. The surcharge is noticeable, but still cheaper than booking the accessories individually. Alternatively, you can of course also fall back on luggage solutions from other manufacturers, then it should be a little cheaper.
The Kawasaki Versys 1000 S not only convinces with its solid workmanship, it is also very far ahead in terms of equipment: cornering ABS, incline-dependent traction control, three driving modes (plus an additional individually adjustable mode), a super-functioning quickshifter in both directions, LED cornering light and TFT screen including smartphone connectivity and Kawasaki Rideology app and above all with pointer rotary instrument.
The standard cruise control, the handle heating and the large, manually adjustable windscreen also work extremely well. Particularly impressive, although somewhat unusual, we find the silky soft 1,043 cc four-cylinder with its 120 hp peak power at 9000 rpm. The Kawasaki Versys 1000 S thus confidently places itself in the coveted segment of the upper middle class - actually amazing that the sales figures are not better.
Maybe it's because with its "only" 120 hp it falls a bit behind compared to others, such as a BMW S 1000 XR with its 165 horses. But hand on heart: 120 hp is more than enough for most people, isn't it? I was even, although I completed my test drive without realizing it in rain mode ;-), still impressed by the power of this machine. But be that as it may, it is undoubtedly a full-blown, very well-equipped touring motorcycle, on which it is extremely comfortable (both for the driver and for the passenger) to cover even long distances.
Driving pleasure, tour suitability, reasonable price-performance ratio and anything else? To be honest, there are hardly any points of criticism for us. The bike rides really extremely pleasant and smooth. The upright Adventure sitting posture in combination with the supple row quad is a great combination, which brings a lot of advantages on longer tours.
The optics can be discussed as always, but that's also a matter of taste here. By the way, the machine is available in the two color combinations Pearl Storm Gray / Metallic Diablo Black / Metallic Flat Spark Black & Emerald Blazed Green / Metallic Diablo Black / Metallic Flat Spark or in short Gray / Black & Green / Black. We find both successful and appealing.
Only a 19" front wheel instead of the 17 incher would be Dietmar and me perhaps still a concern. But even there, the spirits are divided, because the 17 inches in front of course ensure a good steering behavior. Either way, the Kawasaki Versys 1000 S is an excellently successful travel machine and Kawa does not promise too much! "Every street - At any time" we can sign with a clear conscience.
The test machine was provided to us by Heller & Soltau.
Pearl Storm Gray / Metallic Diablo Black / Metallic Flat Spark Black &
Emerald Blazed Green / Metallic Diablo Black / Metallic Flat Spark