Typical conversation at a gas station

Warning: When you are on a Versys, the following conversation could happen with you in any language in any state and almost every gas station you may stop to fuel up. 

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Me: Tank full, please.

Staff: How much did the motorcycle cost?

Me: Around seven lakhs.

Staff: Wow! that much for a two-wheeler?

Me: Yeah but…

Staff: What’s the mileage you get?

Me: About 20 if I’m lucky.

Staff: You could have got a car no sir? It would have cost you as much and would have given you same mileage.

Me: Yeah but…

Staff: Tank full done.

Me: Thank you

I’m just glad I have to have this conversation only once every 400km. Merits of the large tank capacity really appreciated. 

The first service blues & greens…

One of the big worries of buying a recently launched or even a higher capacity motorcycle is what really happens after it’s been purchased. It’s more like a relationship – days leading to the proposal are always more exciting than what really happens post that. No one around you actually cares from then on. They just assume a fairytale ending.

I’m continuing to have a tough time trying to keep my KTM Duke 200 running and was definitely concerned about it when buying a Kawasaki Versys 650 considering both are run by Bajaj. But hey, how can one miss an opportunity to be the psychotic rickshawalla of one’s dreams.  The sales experience was surprisingly smooth and some wonderful people through the entire process.

A service at 1000km was going to be my first experience on how things would look like in the coming years. Booked an appointment. Went in early. Waited for everyone to turn up and then the service manager took over. While I was waiting for the work to get done, I couldn’t stop drooling over the greens in the showroom. Were they trying to indicate something?

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The overall experience was impressive and I wish it continues to be so. Guess it helps when you are still an exclusive customer.

Washing was clean. Oil and filter changes were swift. The final checks were thorough. I loved that they allowed me to watch the work being done and even answered some curious questions. They were full of smiles, excited, and willing to listen to my concerns. Such a joy! (Note to self: Get a paddock stand)

I was taken aback when the service manager decided to fix a broken indicator himself (remember I put it down on first day?). He ensured it was all sorted and even asked me not to bother changing it. All this, more than enough for me to feel that I could be in good hands.

When I was riding back after spending a few hours, five thousand rupees, and some good discussion , I knew it was all worth it. At least for now, the blues have gone and the green lights are in!

6000km or 6 months from here… Something tells me that the kilometers will come sooner.

A thousand kilometers later…

Of what use is telling how the Versys 650 feels after a few hundred kilometers. Isn’t it supposed to do those hundreds in a day?

Versys 1000km Ananthagiri.jpg

Now that thousand is here and the hundreds are behind me, it’s time to break the truth on whether Versys lives up to the excitement or ends up being a very expensive buyer’s remorse?

Height & Weight: Two things that intimidated me so much in the first few days. With the right technique for mounting, a complete clarity on which leg to put the weight on, and a newly acquired smartness in how to park the motorcycle (so there is minimal requirement to pull/push it), means I can now leave these fears behind and focus on the riding experience.

In the city: Riding in the city isn’t too difficult but my heart continues to skip a beat every time one of those ignorant/stupid Activa rider (without helmet & in most cases riding triples) comes too close to my comfort zone. Of course, he’s the hero of his life with nothing to lose. I’ve got a lot to lose in one fall, especially time waiting for a spare parts to arrive if something breaks. Such paranoia!

On the highway: A completely different story here. There is so much space on the roads and ample horsepower to play with. The real joy of the Versys is when you are by yourself cruising at 90km/h at 4,000rpm. To know that you’re merely using only a third what’s on offer will make you grin.  By the way, wait until you hear the engine grunt when you hit that magical 5000rpm – that’s when the beast inside wakes up. Turbo boost!

The trips:

Srisailam Temple: 500km round trip over a weekend. This trip was supposed to take care of the engine breaking-in and check how well it fairs in a typical Indian terrain that includes good & bad roads, national & state highways, straights & curves, plains and hills too. Throw in the tropical heat.

In a typical corporate rating, I’d give it a “Consistently Exceeds Expectations”. The motorcycle is stable & comfortable, eager  & responsive. A real joy.  The fact that I could do a 90 mins non-stop ride on the second day afternoon at speeds consistently close to 90km/hour is a testimonial. First returns for the massive investment!

Bidar Fort: 300km in a day. The Mumbai roads for some reason are eternally in bad condition and under construction. Having a pillion did seem like a burden when the roads went missing. But, when the roads were back, it was as good as riding alone. A different route back meant unknown roads and a real test. Ended up being an amazing idea. Fantastic state highway with limited traffic was just perfect to cruise at 90km/h for hours again. Oh, so lovely!

Ananthagiri Hills: 160km in an afternoon. With 800km behind me and a road I’ve traversed enough times in the last decade, I hand enough confidence to push the boundaries a little. I’ve never ridden a horse but this is the closest I’ve come to riding one and that wonderful feeling of taming a mustang – the reins were in my hand and I finally felt in control.

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Time to go wild but also happens to be the time to get it serviced.

Many firsts with the Versys 650

So many firsts that come with this motorcycle…

# First Versys 650 in Hyderabad and all of Telengana they said. Could have been first across Andhra and few other states too. Who really cares.

# First mid-weight segment motorcycle I’ve owned. It’s definitely much more heavier than I’d anticipated.

# First motorcycle I tried with ABS and it stops just about fine. Here’s to safer rides in the highway.

# First fall wasn’t when I was riding it. I just put the motorcycle down trying to pull it back. Such a bummer.

# Easily the tallest motorcycle I’ve been on. But the height is a concern only until you start riding it, just like the weight.

Versys 650 height

# First road trip too is done.  Srisailam was just the perfect getaway for a weekend ride and some good highway and ghat roads. Sweet.

Kawasaki Versys 650
# “Saurashtre Somanathamcha Srisaile Mallikarjunam” First of the 12 Jyotirlinga covered. 11 more to go.