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