Giving the original Kawasaki Versys a bigger sibling, the 2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 brings liter bike capacity to Kawasaki’s adventure-sport offering. Based around the 1,043cc inline-four motor from the Z1000, Kawasaki has “tuned” the Versys 1000 for smoother power delivery and throttle response, rather than just outright peak power. Accordingly then, the Kawasaki Versys 1000 gets a modest peak horsepower rating of 116hp, while making  75 lbs•ft of torque. While it is disappointing to see such a low peak horsepower figure, it should be pointed out that the Versys makes more power and torque in the lower part of the rev-range than its sport-naked counterpart, which should also suit the intended purpose of the 2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 a bit better.

Packaged into a 527 lbs curb-side mass, the Versys 1000 certainly isn’t the lightest bike on the block, though it does rate as being more svelte than the newly released 2012 Honda Crosstourer, which will tip the scales at over 600 lbs with the DCT configuration. With 17″ wheels, Kawasaki is making no overtures about the Versys 1000 being a street-going machine, and while the Kawasaki Versys 1000 is ready for touring duty, the Japanese company is touting the bike’s sport appeal with its “adventure-sport” segment nomenclature.

As we noted with the Honda Crosstourer, Japanese companies are clearly coming at the adventure-style market with different approaches, along with varying degrees of on & off-street ability in each model. Going up against the Yamaha Super Ténéré, Honda Crosstourer, and Suzuki V-Strom, the 2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 has some stiff competition to contend with from its Japanese counterparts. Hoping to help differentiate the Versys 1000 from its competition, Kawasaki has tried to pack several key features into the otherwise vanilla machine.

The repurposed Z1000 engine gets several tools to better suit the four-cylinder motor to its new task, and the first of which is the power mode selector. Enabling riders to choose from full or 75% power, the Versys 1000 incorporates a more basic form of the now ubiquitous user-selectable riding mode module, which creates a milder throttle response when applied. The 2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 also features a new version of Kawasaki’s KTRC traction control system, and has a three-level traction control setup that is a combination of the KTRC found on the Kawasaki ZX-14R and the S-KTRC found on the Kawasaki ZX-10R. Also coming standard on the Versys 1000 are anti-lock brakes (300mm front, 250mm rear), as Kawasaki continues the industry-wide trend to incorporate the ABS braking technology on its motorcycles.

Suspension is fairly basic, with the revised 43mm KYB forks having only adjustable pre-load and rebound damping. The rear back-link shock also only features pre-load and rebound damping adjustment. While the rest of the 2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 is fairly straight-forward and basic in the rest of its description, the one remaining feature that does strike us as interesting is the Economical Riding Indicator, which uses bio-feedback, via an indicator on the dash, to help riders conserve fuel by noting when they are riding favorably for fuel consumption.

Like most of the Japanese adventure offerings, the 2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 doesn’t revolutionize the marketplace (with maybe exception being given to Honda for its DCT option), but it does promise to bring an honest get-you-there motorcycle. While pricing hasn’t been released in the US yet, we imagine on that point the Kawasaki Versys 1000 will shine for consumers as a bang-for-the-buck adventure-sport offering, that is of course if they can get over the radiator-mounting job that’s going on here.

Source: Kawasaki

  • Rexr


  • JJ

    kawasaki ELEPHANT 1000, err… no, maybe kawasaki GORILLA 1000 LOL

  • RSVDan

    That is one unfortunate looking motorcycle.

  • Jake Fox

    “Introducing the Kawasaki Versys 1,000 – The illegitimate lovechild of a naked sportbike and a Pontiac Aztec.”

  • Jake Fox

    err Aztek, sorry.

  • 4Cammer

    Is it possible for the big 4 to make an interesting and good looking motorcycle?

  • Tommy Lee

    Been riding my 2010 Versys 650 for a year and half now. Looks like they’ve finally refined everything on this new 1000 that I had to with aftermarket parts on my 650. Now, they just need to price it for the US, so I can buy one most rikki-tik!

  • MikeD

    Stone me…but i like it…specially since it doesn’t have the ” MANDATORY CLICHE ODD SILLY LOOKING 19″ on the front like each and every GS1200A CopyCat or wire wheels for that matter.
    Lets face it people, this things are not made to roll on anything softer than a hard packed gravel fire road…who are we kidding here ?

    Standard ABS, TC, PowerModes, Remote rear preload adjuster + a bunch of factory options(Hard side cases and top case) and accesories.
    What’s not to like, styling ? That’s alright…moving along, nothing to see here…LOL.

  • MikeD

    P.S: That fugly muffler has to go…quick fix albeit xpensive…(-_- )

  • lester

    i like it
    i might even buy it over the new 1199

  • This has got to be the ugliest bike of 2011 – 12.
    Designed by marketing managers with no sign of love whatsoever.

  • GaryT

    I own the 650 Versys. No thanks to this one. Muffler is TOO big and fugly. Forks appear wimpy. Radiator has the aerodynamics of a door. The swingarm being a 650 Versys aesthetic trait is missing. Power is too low for the class and weight too high.

  • J.P.

    Perfect ! A comfortable version of the Ninja 1000.

    When can I buy one ?

  • MikeD


    When u are trying to “replicate” the “same” bike but on a bigger scale but using a completely different “core”…Yeah, that’s what happens. (^_^ )

    I too like the Gulwing swinger and the underbelly xhaust better but… ?

    Spaghetti fork ? That’s basically the universal size that most of Japan’s OEMs use on their hardware, even the heavy ones.
    The 2012 ZX-14R at 584lbs uses 43mm units.


    U said it, this looks 5x more comfortable than that “compromised” Ninja 1000.

  • Gary

    Come-on guys, let’s get with the program. A motorcycle can’t *possibly* be taken seriously in the adventure-“style” segment unless its grotesquely featured.

  • MikeD

    @Gary: ROTFL

  • Gary wins today’s prize for the best A&R comment.

  • MikeD

    “I give in. I now accept and embrace the fact that modern motorcycles are ugly. I feel better now and can move on with my life.”

    I took the above from another site’s Versys 1000 tread (written by Philip).

    Almost as good as Gary’s or better. ROTFL. Gotta love free open forums and it’s users.

  • Rick

    To Gary re:”grotesque…adventure bikes…”
    I’ll have you know that while purring along, peering over the pitted windshield of my V-Strom, the only ugly thing in my line of sight are the mirrors and the accompanying blurred image of my shoulders.

    Somebody has to love the phat girls!

  • conchop

    Ghastly styling! It took some time for my Ulysses styling to grow on me. It never really did. The entire field of ADV bikes has been styled by some crack heads in an effort to upstage the most hideously styled GS 1200.

    ADV bikes are like having a girlfriend with a beautiful and athletic body connected to a face that would cause a train wreck. Great ride, but the ugliest thing on earth.

    This is nothing less than corporate Sadism.

  • I’m still at a loss as to what these “adventure bikes” are actually for. There’s the Ewan and Charlie effect, but the only reason they rode the GS was that KTM wouldn’t give them the bikes they really wanted because they’d fall off them so often that it would make KTM look bad. They then proceded to fall off the GS’s every few feet and made them look like trying to ride baby african elephants who were high on PCP. In a turn of events that baffles me to this day, tens of thousands of people thought that looked like great fun and rushed to buy their own baby elephants. I ride in the dirt a lot. The difference between an empty tank and carrying that extra 10kg for a full tank is dramatic. Yet even with a full tank, my bike is 130 kg lighter than this!!!!!! When I’m actually sitting on my bike, full of fuel, helmet, boots, toolkit and everything. I’m still 40 kg lighter than this bike is dry!!!!!! That’s right, me plus my bike plus fuel is lighter than this thing! I could add my daughter on the back and I *still* wouldn’t match this lump (or any of the other equally strange “adventure bikes”)

  • Silvio

    still lighter than ducati multistrada or triumph…




  • Wheelo

    Gee guys. Harsh much? It looks about like all the other bikes in the class. I’m very excited to see it, because I LOVE my 650 Versys so much, that I am finding it hard to get motivated to get a new bike. I kept saying to my friends, “I just wish there was a ‘Versys 1000′” My best riding buddy rides a Multistrada and wants to add in some dirt roads to our rides. Looks like the big V would be up for prepared dirt roads okay. 125 ponies is plenty of power in this class. The best part is going to be the price/performance ratio. Kawasaki will make you think hard before buying Ducati, Triumph, Yamaha, or Honda. I for one welcome this bike with open arms and will seriously consider purchase.