18,000km in 18 months. Even my college-going self would have been proud of such an achievement. Although, I must admit that this is no feat compared to the 17,000km that I did in the first year of owning my humble 110cc Yamaha Libero during my college days.
As a middle-aged mid-life crisis filled person that the world now sees me as, it continues to get very complicated to explain to anyone why I’m burning away money in fuel, rubber, and whatever energy is left of me on this motorcycle. Apparently, that money was better invested in a car or house.
Once in a while, I try to explain how one’s need can be unique and that’s completely fine. After a few failed attempts, I rode on hoping to find like-minded people. In due course, I did meet a lot of like-minded people, some much older than me who found happiness in doing just this. It was reassuring, to say the least. Here are some new friends I’ve made in these 18 months who have made this journey a priceless one in spite of all the expenses.
According to the Versys 650 manual, every alternate 6,000km is a minor service and 12,000km a major service. Minor being top-ups of fluids, cleaning, and lubricating the necessary components like drive chain and brake pads. Major meaning changes in fluids and parts as recommended. Just to be on the safer side, I change the engine oil every 6,000km and it increases my cost by a grand every service. I can live with that and ride in peace knowing it’s the best way to achieve 2,00,000km on my odometer.
It’s surprising how poor maintenance or riding skills of a bigger motorcycle accentuate the wearing out of parts and make the ownership experience expensive. Several stories here but not the one for today.
At 15,000km, I did my most expensive pit stop to change from the “ever-so-slippery” stock Dunlop tires to “always-sticky” stock size Metzeler Sportec M7. I shelled out more than 22K INR on these rubbers hoping to put as many kilometers on them. Another 9K INR on replacing the brake pads. In retrospect, I could have waited until this service and maybe gone for an aftermarket brake pad set rather than the stock just to experience how much better can these brakes can get. All this in preparation for a monsoon ride to Arakku & Lambasingi. What a fantastic ride it was!
The 18,000km was a minor service after all and I was relieved to see a bill of 5K INR including the engine oil change. This was my first proper service center experience after Orange Kawasaki (under IKM) came into operations (both my 12,000km service and 15,000km parts change were done out of their basement) and what a grand experience it was. Every other motorcycle showroom/service center in the city can bite the dust right now!
While they did a fantastic job at the regular tasks (oil & oil filter change, coolant change, air filter cleaning, chain adjustment & lubrication, and even the brake cleaning), there were a couple of things they couldn’t do (spark plug change – I wanted the NGK Iridium ones & engine vacuum synchronization) that left me a touch disappointed. Although it was promised to be done soon, I don’t plan to visit them until the next service at 24,000km.
The staff was courteous as alway. Small things like a cup of coffee and being able to stand close to the motorcycle when it’s being serviced make for such a great experience and good use of my Saturday morning.
I have been trying to capture the service costs of owning the Versys and below is a table that shows how expensive/inexpensive it has been depending on how you see it.
Of course, there are the accessories and riding gear related expenses that I’m definitely not going to add here. Those are personal choices and up to the individual based on their touring needs and personal safety comfort levels.
Long awaited & much needed service at 12,000km (June 2017)
SFF mess up during the service at 6,000km (Feb 2017)
First service blues and greens at at 1,000km (Mar 2016)
A year with the Versys 650 (Mar 2017)
My first review of Versys 650 (Sept 2016)