I'm considering getting a Z650 and I wanted to get some advice from owners. This will be my second year riding, last year I started on a Versys 650 until I had an inadvertent horizontal adventure in October in the Delaware Water Gap right inside of Pennsylvania.
I'm all healed now, nothing too serious - minor road rash on my left calf and some more serious road rash on my butt. Was wearing everything except for moto jeans, I'm a born again believer in ATGATT. My Progressive insurance handled everything well, they totaled the bike and I took a bit of a hit but that happens. Now I've had time to heal and learn so I'm thinking about my next bike.
I am considering a couple of bikes. Another Versys is possible. I loved a lot about it - it's well regarded by owners, has a reliable, predictable engine with power that won't rip your face off, it's sporty but comfortable for longer distances, has good range per tank (200-250 miles per tank), and has good wind protection.
My issues were that I couldn't flat foot it, it was a bit top heavy, the front forks dived too easily (I commute into Manhattan, so this is a problem), and it was honestly more bike than I needed or could properly utilize as a first year rider. Since I don't have a lot of money, paying for more bike than I need seemed wasteful.
I've been looking at the CB500X. It has very similar characteristics to the Versys, but it's more economical and I'm less likely to get a very expensive ticket, since it tops out a little past 100 mph. The problem is that in the greater NYC area, there aren't a lot of the ABS models available, and ABS is a must for me given the insanity of drivers in NYC. When I shopped for the Versys, higher availability meant that dealers were more willing to compete on price. My out-the-door price was $8070, and I got quoted almost the same price for the Honda, a bike with an MSRP $1200 lower.
That has me considering the Z650 now too. My riding is mostly commuting and weekend day trips in the tri-state area. I stay in the saddle for 5-7 hours usually, so comfort is important. I've sat on the bike and it feels really nimble and gives me that all-important emotional connection. I feel like the Z650 would be a better machine in daily traffic, but I am worried about the wind. I do a fair amount of freeway riding, and I see my buddies on sportbikes getting really worn out after 3-4 hours. A lot of that has to do with the seating position but a lot of it is wind, too. It's not a dealbreaker, though. I'm not a speed freak or doing 600 mile days. A lot of my riding is slow cruising and enjoying the scenery.
The other concern I have is a top case. I park outside and have to walk up a hill to get to where I park, so I kept the bike under a cover, then put the cover in my top case and rode to work. I tried a backpack for a while, but my back is bad and it bothered me to lug around that weight.
So what are the top case and windshield options like? Aesthetics are important to me, and putting a cruiser-style barn door on a naked bike like this would be horrifying. I don't expect there will be anything that gives it as much wind protection as the Versys, but it would be nice to have something that'll limit getting my ass kicked by wind that fits with the bike's aesthetic. I see that there are some manufacturers with top case mounts for the bike. What are everybody's experiences with these? The mounts available for the Z650 look a little flimsy, do they hold up alright? More generally, do you think the Z650 would be a good fit overall?