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2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000 ABS LT Preview


by Pascal Bastien ,

Three years after its debut, Kawasaki's stunning Versys 1000 crossover gets a first major update and becomes more dynamic and more functional, much to the delight of touring enthusiasts.

With a new, aggressively styled fairing that's more in line with the brand's signature styling, the new 2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000 ABS LT also features a tubular rear frame like most other bikes in the segment. The designers did a good job of giving it more presence, more flair, and more sex appeal.

2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000 ABS LT
Photo: Kawasaki

Geared for longer trips
The slightly revised frame incorporates new rubber upper engine mounts for reduced vibrations, while reinforcements to the rear frame add strength and rigidity to suit the two saddlebags (28L each) and accommodate the greater top case load capacity (47L). By the way, a new clean-mount system positions the saddlebags much closer to the bike centreline for improved balance. A new centre stand comes standard, as well.

Kawasaki says the riding position on the 2015 Versys 1000 ABS LT provides more comfort thanks to a 20mm raised handlebar, a wider and thickly padded seat, and a new windshield with increased adjustability (+/- 45mm in height). The firmer springs should make for a better ride on pavement, while the revised damping (30% less compression) should preserve a decent amount of comfort on rough surfaces. This bike also features heated grips, standard hand guards, and available LED fog lamps.

The rider's seat is now perched at 840mm (14mm lower than the outgoing model), and the added equipment pushes the weight up to 249kg (versus 239kg). The instrument panel now displays external air temperature and can be fitted with a gear position indicator.

Two more ponies
The Z1000-derived, 1,043cc, inline 4-cylinder engine receives Kawasaki's famous slipper clutch system that acts as a back-torque limiter and requires a 30% lighter pull at the clutch lever. Power goes up from 118 hp to 120 hp at 9,000 rpm, while peak torque is 75 lb-ft at 7,500 rpm.

To manage this output, riders can count on the excellent three-mode Kawasaki Traction Control (KTRC) system as well as Full Power and Low Power modes. There's a button for that on the left-hand grip, but you must release the throttle in order to switch modes on the go.

The new braking system with Bosch 9.1 ABS on the 2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000 ABS LT consists of a larger front disc (310mm versus 300mm) and stronger pads, which should appease journalists all around the world who have criticized many Kawasakis for their poor braking power. Meanwhile, fuel consumption is said to hover in the 6L/100km range, which would allow you to travel approximately 350km with the 21L tank.

Bottom line
Available in Candy Burnt Orange or Metallic Spark Black, the new 2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000 ABS LT has all the ingredients to be a dynamic light-touring motorcycle on any type of surface in any weather condition. With the looks of an adventure bike and the heart of a sport bike, plus generous ground clearance and a 17” front wheel, this machine keeps altering standards and goes head-to-head with other crossovers like the Aprilia Caponord and Ducati Multistrada.