The only things I can be sure of are:
- I’ll start regretting the two other bikes that I didn’t get almost immediately, for different reasons.
- In 2-3 years I’ll sell this one to get something else, then immidately regret selling it.
- The process will repeat.
Anyway, a Kawasaki Versys 650 LT. Last year’s model with an “it’s last year’s model” price on it. I’ve seen a bunch of these at various dealers in the area and I’m not terribly surprised. It’s a fun bike but this particular variant has been around for a few years at this point and it’s probably due for a restyling at some point in the near future.
The side cases came with the wrong color trim. The dealer has the right pieces on order.
It’s not the most powerful bike, but more than adequate for my purposes. It’s somewhat “adventure styled” but has pretty standard 17″ wheels and a fairly conventional, if slightly higher than normal, street-bike suspension. That will make it handle nicely, a lot like the Honda CB500x that I rode around New Zealand, but with a bit more power to handle US road speed and altitudes.
I considered the Yamaha Tracer 900 which is much more of a sport-touring bike with a lot more power and probably more comfort for long rides, but the extra expense and fuel consumption was tough for me to justify. Also looked at a last-year’s Suzuki V-Strom 650 (in bright yellow!), which would also be a better long-ride bike, more attuned to “adventure” riding with a big 19″ front wheel and higher suspension, but also a lot less fun to ride on the kinds of roads I’m most likely to want to ride on.
So, I’ve got this for a couple of years. If it turns out I’m doing a lot of long weekend-or-better tours, at some point I’ll readjust. For now, until lots of extra vacation time accumulates in the new job, I’m probably doing days and weekends.
Parts? Yes, I ordered a bunch of parts. I’m adding the rear top-case to the existing side-cases (all removable). Managed to save a bit by using the Givi mount rather than the Kawasaki-branded one and that’s already on the bike. These things are re-branded Givis after all. Also ordered a few auxiliary recognition lights: two low down on the front, one in the rear that also doubles as an extra brake light. And of course I’ll adde USB power outlet, a connection for my GPS and Oxford heated grips. That’s about what the power on this bike can safely handle without literally blowing a fuse and as much as I want to put on.
At some point, depending on my comfort level, I may spring for a Seat Concepts cushion and cover. I’ve used these before and they tend to be a great investment in seating.
But now it’s time to ride.