The Versys and concours battle it out! Which is the best bike for JAMIE AND i ?
I have been very fortunate to have owned multiple machines from both of these models. Jamie and I started our motorcycle journey together on a Kawasaki Concours C-10. We purchased a 2005 25th Aniversary Concours back in 2005 and we have been riding together ever since. We put 21K miles on that Connie before it met its demise on AR16, right outside of Boston Arkansas. We will always have a special place in our hearts for this wonderful machine.
In 2010 we can across a great deal on a 2008 C-14. It was used, with 500 miles on the clock. We jumped at the chance of purchasing the bike, as it also had a Two Brothers pipe, bar risers and a few other options already installed. Jamie and I had many great adventures with this Connie. We sold her with 74K of smile inducing miles aboard her.
When we sold the C-14 we purchased the new to the States, Versys 1000. I had been keeping track of this bike on the forums in the UK and was really hoping they would bring it here. My wish was granted in 2015 and I knew we had to get one. We purchased the first one sold in the state of Texas. We enjoyed 34K mile son her before upgrading to our current steed.
One day I was watching YouTube and the Kawasaki ad came on shouting out the virtues of the new state of the art Versys 1000 SE LT. All of the new electronics, including suspension, TFT, heated grips and cruise control. It was the total package.
Jamie and I started reading about it, and the more we learned the more we wanted one. So we called our friends at Plano Kawasaki to have them call us when they got one in stock. They called, we jumped in the Jeep and drove to Dallas to purchase the new Versys. We have enjoyed 16K miles of pure joy and excitement and look forward to many more adventures on her.
This brings us here. I get asked all of the time on why I chose the Versys over the C-14. I get that question in person, on the blog and even from my Youtube channel. I thought that the time has come to tell you all our reasons for jumping the “connie” ship. These are “Our” reasons for choosing this machine. This was based on our riding style, mostly two up spirited touring loaded up with gear. It was also about the stage in life we are currently enjoying. So without further delay, lets get on with it.
The C-14 was a great machine and very good on long road trips. It was amazing! A quick twist of the wrist and boom… we were grinning from ear to ear. The electronic windscreen was very convenient and is something we miss. The C-14 had large touring bags and with an additional top case we had space to hit the road for 9 days. Even loaded up with camping gear, the C-14 never missed a beat. That motor is a thing of beauty and was plenty powerful to make get us in plenty of trouble. This bike was fun on long trips and a blast on a sweeping, tight and twisty road. We shared many great memories together on this wonderful machine.
The riding position for me was fine, especially with the bar risers. Jamie was fine for the first 200 miles, but after that she felt cramped up and the seat was not her best friend. Even after having some work done on it, she never felt totally comfortable. We only had one mechanical issue when the starter had an issue and needed to be replaced. All covered under warranty. The C-14 was very hard on tires! Riding two up and spirited would wipe out a tire in 4000 miles. We spent a lot of hard earned money on tires for this big steed. The biggest downfall of the bike was the heftiness. This thing is HEAVY (690 lbs) and not easy to move around. With all of this said, we loved our C-14 and would have no issue riding another one in the future.
Next up the Versys, and true to its name “Versatile System” is just that! The Versys offers a fantastic platform for Jamie and I. The Ninja inspired engine is the heart beat of this machine. It will not thrust you down the road with the beastly push of the C-14, but make no mistake, it will give you all the excitement that you want and still ask for more. One of the reasons the 1000cc motor can still bring a smile to your face is the horsepower to weight ratio. The Versys comes in at 526 lbs, that is a 164 lbs lighter than the C-14. We feel that when it comes to pushing the bike around the garage or pushing the bike through the twisty roads here in Arkansas.
The Versys has a few creature comforts that are also nice to have. The cruise control and heated grips are wonderful. I always thought that these type of features were something I could do without. I was wrong. They are game changing. The technology of the bike is the true winner. The suspension and the braking is world class. The electronics make this bike so enjoyable to ride. They put you at ease and make you a better rider. I have never felt faster or safer on a motorcycle than I do on this Versys.
The Versys is also the most comfortable platform that Jamie and I have ever ridden. The Versys is a tall machine and works well for my 6’2 250lb frame. Jamie enjoys plenty of room on one of the most comfortable pillion seats she has ever ridden on. We both have plenty of leg room. The bike offers great coverage from the elements, creating a nice bubble of clean air. No buffeting for the rider or pillion, I like having the quick shifter, especially when you have the revs up and are enjoying a spirited jaunt down you favorite back road.
As you can tell we love the Versys, but I also do not want to give you all the wrong impression. We loved the C-14 as well. Picking one over the other is all about personal preference. Here are a few questions that always come up about the differences between these machines.
Don’t you miss the ease and lack of maintenance of a shaft drive over the chain?
I have never really thought that chain maintenance was a big deal. Today’s chains are so easy to maintain and if you keep them clean and lubed, they will last 20-30K without needed changed. The shaft is nice and really easy to maintain, however I do not know if the added weight is worth it.
I bet you miss the power of the C-14.
Power is an awesome thing! the C-14 had gobs of it and was so much fun to ride. However when an object shoots down the road at high speeds, eventually you have to stop or go around a corner. The Versys has plenty of power and the brakes and suspension allow for the Versys to be ridden quicker than the C-14. This is the case based on my skill and talent level.
To bring this to a conclusion. The Versys is the best bike for us between the C-14 and the Versys. It might not be the same result for you. however for Jamie and I, the Versys is the best bike for our style of riding.
Tell us you thoughts. Have you ridden either of these great machines? Tell us your experience. Until next time, be healthy and safe.
Nice read and glad that you’ve found the bike that suits you guys. I’ve had my Connie 13 years and 163,000km and always say that I’ll never sell it – I just love that motor and she is just so reliable. Agree on the issue of it eating tyres though.
But, I can see why you like the Versys as I also have a Super Tenere. I’ve now done 40,000+kms on the Ten and am totally in love with it. The riding position is perfect and it’s actually more comfortable than the Connie. The Connie wins in weather protection and of course HP but they both eat miles with ease.
I believe that Adv bikes (and the more roady versions like the Versys) offer a great riding position and are really easy to flick around – they certainly are the weapon over here in NZ on our windy and often bumpy/crappy roads.
I’m still keeping the Connie but if it was somehow removed from my ownership then I don’t think I’d replace it – I’d keep running the Tenere or something like it.
Thank you for visiting. We are so jealous as NZ is on our bucket list. Ride safe and take care.
Jerry – thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic. I have a similar story: I was a proud owner of a 2006 Goldwing that I put over 133k miles on from new. My wife and I used to ride 2-up a lot (hence the purchase of the wing) but as time has gone on and our schedules changed, I was doing more riding solo and just felt like I wanted something more sporty so I bought a 2012 Concours. I loved the Concours for day trips as it was much easier to wheel around and the acceleration was DEFINITELY intoxicating!! I kept the wing for long trips as it was much more comfortable for multi-day trips. Late last summer I suffered a lower back injury and could not ride at all for 6 months!! At the end of this, I decided that I would no longer be able to physically muscle the 1,000 pound wing any longer so I sold it and bought a 2019 Versys SE LT+ with only 400 miles on it!! I have now outfitted the Versys with the color-matched trunk and a J&M communication system to allow me to continue to enjoy music and CB radio comms with other riders! I have decided that I need to focus my attention on just one bike so my Concours is now up for sale with only 22k miles on it. I had bought the Sargent touring seat for it and added the Keiko throttle lock to TRY and make it more comfortable and better for long distance riding…but to no avail. I am excited to hopefully get the chance to start logging LOTS of miles on my new Versys once this weather (in VA) clears up!
Thank you for sharing your story. I am sure you will love the Big Versys, it is a great solo and 2up machine. My wife loves the seat on the Big V so I do not see any changes happening there. We have the matching truck and we use Sena as our communication tool of choice. I have new tires and we are ready to ride. Hopefully our paths will cross somewhere on the road. Take care and Ride safe!