The last time I did a multi-day trip, it was a completely different story.
8 days long trip with two cars and another motorcycle with me. Safety net was always there with one car ahead and the other behind. But I must say, riding 2,700km on a Yamaha r15 on India roads is a feat of it’s own. In a way, it was the prelude to me understanding why different genre of motorcycles existed and why I need a tourer! That was is 2012 and a younger version of me.
Buying the Versys 650 was almost like culmination of all of my riding experiences. A realization of what Indian conditions really need and a little comfort my body deserves when my heart longs to go on and on. On a side note, my heart also longs to ride a few other motorcycles – BMW R1200GS, KTM Adventure 1050, Tiger 800XRx (only the lucerne blue color), and maybe even the Ducati Multistrada 1200!
So, here’s what a real adventure looks like. Knowing just the destination and riding with absolutely no safety net. It was just my nephew (who was doing his first multi-day ride) and me on the Versys and 4 days of riding! So many things could have gone wrong, but they didn’t. So, I’ll take it.
4 back-to-back days of riding. Started with some really good state highway. Followed by detours that took us through enough villages and non existent roads. Then, some really steep ghat roads in the rains. Finally, we hit a good patch of National Highway before under-construction roads that tested my riding skills, patience, and aging body. It’s what anyone would call ‘a complete package’.
How did the Versys fair?
10/10 for rider comfort: The seats are a joy and no you don’t need gel padded shorts. I could ride for another 4 days and not feel a thing. I even did 2.5 hours of non-stop riding without any discomfort.
10/10 for the ABS: There were multiple instances where I know that the ABS helped me navigate through a sudden appearance of some animal, or a crazy road crossing by our intelligent mankind, and the unexpected speed breakers. It stops and how!
9/10 for the handling: It is steady and remains planted. Even the worst of roads don’t make it nervous and you can just keep riding like it didn’t matter. Wish I could lean with a little more confidence around the corners.
7/10 for the gearbox: It’s a very unforgiving gear box. It makes you feel like an armature rider just by the sound it makes when you miss the timing of a gear change even by a fraction. It demands nothing more than perfection in your gear changes and while you can master a smooth upshift at 4K RPM, you will have to deal with the clunky sound not matter how you downshift.
7/10 for pillion comfort: My nephew had a great time as a pillion behind but after a while, he hated getting on & off it. He’s all but 17 now imagine taking a slightly older or unfit pillion. The struggle is real – the height is a pain.
6/10 for the instrument cluster: I sorely miss the gear indicator. Occasionally, the tank range goes blank instead of showing much how much more I can ride at low fuel. The fuel indicators can act a little crazy once in while.
I can definitely say that this trip really tested the worth of investing in the Versys 650. When I reached home, just before sunset on day 4, after having done 1700km, I knew it had faired the test really well. The fact that I didn’t have any withdrawal symptoms and wanted to ride the motorcycle to office the very next day meant that it had passed the test in flying colors too.