Hello from Westchester NY - 2017+ Kawasaki Z650 Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-20-2018, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
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Hello from Westchester NY

Hello all,

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.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/YUuIRoKPjw3DMRMM2

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?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-20-2018, 06:19 PM
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You commute to Manhattan every day? Metro North! Let someone else do the driving!
I don't think I could use the Z650 for that commute. But I'm probably considerably older than you, so that may have something to do with it.
Honestly, I think the VerSys would be a better bike for what you are considering. More upright seating position etc.
I'm not knocking the Z650, but I think there are better bikes for your commuting needs.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-20-2018, 08:20 PM
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The z650 is perfect for when you're in the city... probably more nimble and easier to park in tight spaces since you'll be able to put your feet down completely. The z650 and Versys 650 have the same engine but the z650 doesn't have rubber engine mounts. The buzz you feel in the handlebars isn't bad but it does bother some people when on the highway at a constant speed for awhile. I have the MRA double dome windscreen and recommend it.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-20-2018, 10:41 PM
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You commute to Manhattan every day? Metro North! Let someone else do the driving!
I don't think I could use the Z650 for that commute. But I'm probably considerably older than you, so that may have something to do with it.
Honestly, I think the VerSys would be a better bike for what you are considering. More upright seating position etc.
I'm not knocking the Z650, but I think there are better bikes for your commuting needs.
I agreed, Versys or Suzuki Strom (ABS standard) is more suitable for 5-7 hrs riding. Z650 is more of a street fighter and max 4-5 hrs cruising/highway (. Top case will look ugly maybe sidecase better)
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-21-2018, 01:06 PM
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welcome to the forum!
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-22-2018, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the input guys.

Me2, I do mix Metro North commuting in with the motorcycle, particularly on rainy days or when I just feel like it. You're right that sometimes it's nice to have somebody else drive. Some days I ride my bicycle to the next town and then from Grand Central to my workplace, too. I like having choices for the commute.

jcarcinogen and Shamsul Kamal, good to know about the rubber mounts and agreed on the top case for Z650 being ugly. Something about fairing and a windshield on the front of a bike balances out the aesthetics of a top case on the back.

Alright, there's some more thinking to do now
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-22-2018, 01:48 PM
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I watched your versys crash... glad you're healed up. What exactly happened? You were accelerating as you were coming over that little hill... did you hit something in the road or did the hill launch the bike?
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-22-2018, 05:37 PM
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I would like to know also what happened?
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-01-2018, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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I hit the gas too hard coming into the hill. I wasn't thinking about how much speed would be necessary to lift off. The bike, me, and the gear together weighed a little over 700 pounds, and apparently 50 mph was enough. I'm pretty sure I lifted off. I think the rapid kick to the right that happened may have been because the back wheel only slipped rather than fully lifting off.
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