I did mention that we took a small road trip for this test. But, unlike smart and well-organised tourers, we didn’t leave in the morning. Instead, we came to work and then on a whim, left at peak traffic time. But, at least that way we learnt that neither bike here would end up baking your thighs. These do get warm, but never hot enough to make you jump ship.
And surprisingly, neither feels cumbersome to filter through traffic with either. But, yes, since it’s easier to put both your feet firmly on the ground on the Suzuki, it does give you more confidence to deal with bumper–to-bumper traffic when riding the V-Strom. The Kawasaki, on the other hand, has the lighter clutch pull. And though it has a crisper, more connected throttle response; we’d still pick the Suzuki’s slower setup because it comes with something called Low RPM Assist that prevents the bike from stalling at lower revs.
Much later, we were out on the highway. Now, both the bikes might use near 650cc, twin cylinder engines. And both might produce similar power and torque figures nearing 70bhp and 70Nm. But, the V-Strom uses a V-Twin, while the Versys is a parallel twin. Also, the Suzuki has a longer stroke.
Not surprisingly, the V-Strom impresses more with its low and mid-range grunt when on the highway. You always find yourself shifting sooner but pulling harder on the Suzuki. Add to it, the taller gearing overall, and at same cruising speeds in top gear, the V-Strom sits at lower revs. So, it’s quieter, less vibey, and more fuel-efficient.
The Versys 650 has a sweeter top end. It sounds best when revved past 7,000rpm as well. And more often than not, you end up doing much higher speeds than you intended. But, yes, it’s more vibey compared to the Suzuki, and you need to shift more often as well. Which means, it tires you out sooner.
As far as cruising speeds go, both bikes will do 120kmph – plus more – quite comfortably all day long.