Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE

Review: KAWASAKI VERSYS 1000 / VERSYS 1000 SE Crossover GrandTourer (Baujahr 2019)

More electronics, more functions, more comfort

image"Whether solo or as a couple, whether just around the corner or around the world: The combination of the revolving, flexibility-matched in-line four-cylinder and the agile chassis with dynamic suspension of this sports motorcycle ensures great riding pleasure. Sporty driving, touring or both – the new Versys 1000 is ready for any adventure." This is what Kawasaki promises on his homepage. Whether that is true, we have tested.

What's new about the Kawasaki Versys 1000

The Versys 1000 continues the versatility of its predecessor and continues to offer maximum driving pleasure in a wide range of driving situations on the road. Kawa is donating some revisions to the crossover models for the 2019 model year: The engine tuning of the in-line four-cylinder with 1,043 cm3 has been modified, which provides more power below. In addition, the throttle valves are now electronically controlled for better gas acceptance.

In addition to the normal Versys 1000, there is a better equipped Versys 1000 SE which we had available for this test. In both machines, the engine is now controlled by ride-by-wire. This is advantageous for the application of the standard cruise control, as well as the integration of the new Bosch IMU. The sensor controls the curve ABS, which is also standard. A ktRC traction control is also installed in series.

The KIBS brake system provides good deceleration values with radially mounted monoblock saddles and radial master brake cylinder. This was taken over by the Ninja ZX-10R and H2 supersports models and adapted to the longer spring travel of the Versys. The ABS system of the Versys has been extended to the curve function and the other control systems have also been fine-tuned.

With the significantly better equipped SE variant, there is also an electronically controlled chassis, a quick shifter and four selectable driving modes. The new cladding disc is now mechanically adjustable in height, the seat is more comfortable due to the new foam and also 20 mm lower for smaller drivers.

Bremse Versys 1000

The front mask has been slightly modified with two LED headlights. The rear light has also been switched to LED technology and there is now a 12V on-board socket as standard. The windshield is infinitely adjustable and the instrument cluster has been redesigned with an analog rev counter and LC display.

In addition to a smarter colour TFT display, the SE has a lot more comfort goodies than the basic model: the semi-active chassis KECS (including adjustment of the spring preload at the rear in three stages), LED curve light, the Quickshifter (up/down), four driving modes: sport, road, rain plus a configurable mode, the smartphone connectivity with "Rideology App", a paint job with self-healing function for small scratches, the Large Touring windshield as well as heating handles and hand protectors.

This is how she drives herself

The sitting position is great! At a height of 840 millimetres, you sit upright and comfortably on the Versys 1000 SE. Particularly pleasant here is the high passenger seat bench, which almost resembles a small backrest behind the driver. Even with faster accelerations, you don't slip a bit backwards that feels comfortable and safe. Thanks to the wide handlebars, corrections in the curve are well feasible and the windshield also performs its task reliably. It is a pity, however, that this can only be set manually and above all only with both hands - so this will unfortunately not happen during the trip. Nevertheless, the bottom line is that everything feels good and comfortable and you would like to start a longer tour directly. We were a little sceptical about the engine.

We would rather not have expected a four-cylinder in-line engine and found the combination unusual for a bike that is advertised as an adventure tourer. But: we have to admit the concept works excellently and really makes you feel. Shifting lazy drivers will have their joy when they gurgle through the village in the sixth gear at 50 km/h. There's nothing jerking about it - really nothing! And those who want to rush across the streets a little more sporty will also get their money's worth. Now it may give some to the 120 hp little - surely the competition has more to offer here. In our view, however, the performance is completely sufficient and we have not been able to detect a lack of strength at any point.

However, at 257 kilograms, the machine has a not exactly delicate own weight. The semi-active landing gear works excellently and irons unevenness and other interferencesmooths smoothly and thanks to ride-by-wire, the Versys pilot steers his ship extremely confidently and safely into the next port. In addition to the four driving modes Road, Sport and Rain, which are already pre-configured, there is also a rider mode, which allows a completely own tuning. Very interesting: The rider has the possibility to specify his values such as his weight and the bike takes this information accordingly as the starting value for all settings. The KIBS brake system with radially mounted monoblock calipers and radial master brake cylinder works excellently. You already know this from the Ninja ZX-10R and H2, only to the longer spring travel of the Versys it had to be adapted.

And there is even more comfort: The Special Edition provided to us has a really lavish equipment with LED curve light, quickshifter (by the way, can also be retrofitted with the standard version for about 300 €), heating handles and on-board socket. There is even a self-healing varnish. We would have liked to have tried this too much - but then we did not dare. If you no longer feel how much you are in an inclined position, the so-called lean display in the display shows the current angle of inclination - nice but I personally prefer to feel the curves yourself rather than read them in the display ;-). Really crazy is the smartphone connectivity with the "Rideology App".

Here, for example, you have the possibility to make the settings of the motorcycle at breakfast in advance at the kitchen table. When it starts, the Versys takes over the settings and you save yourself annoying fumbles through the menu. Hmm - sounds great, innovative and forward-looking, but personally goes 2-3 steps too far and I find this feature unnecessary. But it can also record tours and recognize calls on the display, so who likes it...

Conclusion - what gets stuck

All in all, the Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE is a very successful bike, which in our opinion embodies less an adventure tourer than a sports tourer. In any case, you are well and extremely comfortably equipped with this motorcycle when the next big tour is coming up. Visually we also find the bike very successful and above all the bright green of our test bike makes a really refreshing impression on us. But all of this is, of course, as always a matter of taste. Therefore, in addition to Emerald Blazed Green / Pearl Storm Gray (SE), there are the following color alternatives: Metallic Flat Spark Black / Pearl Flat Stardust White (SE), Pearl Flat Stardust White / Metallic Flat Spark Black, Candy Steel Furnace Orange / Metallic Spark Black.

We see smaller shortcomings in the windshield adjustment as well as in the height of weight and price. However, the machine compensates for this with its very extensive equipment, the great electric chassis and the successful combination of the pointer instrument and the TFT. In any case, this bike is always worth a test ride, because it is really fun to glide on the thing through the area. And it will then be easy to determine whether this is the right companion for you or whether (as with me) it can be a little more adventure in the end. The test bike was kindly provided by Heller and Soltau.

Prices and equipment

Photo: Kawasaki

Zubehör für die
Versys 1000 SE

  • Moneta
  • Polo
  • Amazon

Pro & Kontra

  • Extensive equipment
  • successful semi-active chassis (KECS)
  • Combination of pointer instrument and TFT superbly solved and easy to read
  • quite high weight
  • Windshield only manually and adjustable with both hands
  • relatively high price
Von unserem Team geprüft:




2,270 mm
1,490 mm
257 kg
Ab. Weight
459 kg
840 mm
1,520 mm

Driving Performance & Range

0 to 100
3.5 s
60 to 100
3.7 s
Tank contents
21 l
5.2 l
404 km
226 km/h

Motor & Power Transmission

Engine design
Four-stroke in-line four-cylinder
Number of cylinders
1,043 cc
77 mm
56 mm
120 HP
102 NM
Number of gears

Suspension & Brakes

Double profile frame
Suspension front
43mm upside-down fork
150 mm
Strut rear
Horizontally arranged back-link gas pressure central strut
152 mm
Suspension rear
Two-arm swingarm
Brakes in front
Semi-floating 310 mm double petal brake discs. Brake caliper: Double radially mounted, Monobloc, opposite 4-pistons
310 mm
Tyres at the front
120/70ZR17M/C (58W)
Brakes rear
Single Petal brake disc. Brake caliper: single piston
Rear tyres
180/55ZR17M/C (73W)