The Versys 1000 is Kawasaki’s flagship adventure touring motorcycle that received a major update during the 2018 EICMA show in Milan. The Versys 1000 has been re-launched in India via a CKD route, thus allowing Kawasaki to sell the motorcycle at a very competitive price. Undercutting its spec-wise rivals by a hefty margin as well as other competitors on the price front, we have shortlisted three motorcycles that are the Versys 1000’s closest contenders, the Ducati Multistrada 950, Triumph Tiger 800 XR and the Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin. Let’s see how these motorcycles stack up against each other.
The 2019 Versys 1000 has been given a complete styling overhaul. Featuring a striking design that is similar to other Kawasaki models, the motorcycle now comes with twin LED headlamps, adjustable windscreen and a wider pillion seat. Ducati's smallest touring bike, the Multistrada 950, continues to sport a beak-like design with an Italian flair which remains to be attractive. The Tiger 800 XR is Triumph’s recently updated range which carries the same styling but with fewer updates like different headlamps, sharper-looking body panels, and a smaller, lighter exhaust. The Africa Twin is Honda’s adventure tourer that has been styled keeping agility in mind. The motorcycle features a light-weight construction with minimum bodywork.
The 2019 Versys 1000 receives a new instrument console consisting of an analogue-style tachometer accompanied by a full LED screen. Other tech additions pertaining to the motor include Electronic Throttle Valves (ETV) which enables the bike's Electronic Cruise Control technology, two power modes, five-axis Bosch IMU, cornering ABS and Kawasaki Traction Control (KTRC) with three modes. For the Multistrada 950, the motorcycle gets full LED instrumentation packing a plethora of options to set up the motorcycle for features like four pre-set riding modes, 9.1 Bosch ABS with three-stages and eight-levels of traction control settings.
Coming to the Triumph, the Tiger 800 XR is the base-level variant offering limited features like switchable ABS and traction control beside features like seat height adjustment, 12v and USB power sockets and adjustable clutch and brake levers. In the case of the Africa Twin, the motorcycle has been updated with a redesigned instrument cluster and a lighter lithium-ion battery that is 2.3kg lighter. Besides that, the motorcycle offers four riding modes, a seven-step traction control system and ABS which is switchable for the rear. The motor has three pre-set riding modes with an additional fourth 'User' mode to setup the bike as per the rider’s preference.
The Versys 1000 is powered by the same motor that does duty in the Ninja 1000, a 1043cc four-cylinder engine has been updated to deliver a strong torque curve, especially in the low-end band, producing 118bhp and 102Nm. The Ducati Multistrada 950, with its 937cc Testastretta liquid-cooled L-twin engine, puts out a maximum power of 111bhp at 9,000rpm and maximum torque of 96Nm at 7750 rpm. Powered by the smallest motor in the lot, the Tiger 800 XR gets a new generation 800cc inline three-cylinder motor that registers 94bhp of max power and 79Nm of peak torque. In the case of the Africa Twin, the motorcycle is powered by a 999cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin mill that churns out 87bhp and 93Nm. In this lot, the Africa Twin is the only motorcycle to feature a 6-speed DCT gearbox. The remaining three bikes' engines come mated to a six-speed constant mesh gearbox.
With the 2019 edition, Kawasaki offers the Versys 1000 with fully adjustable suspension units at both ends. The front sports 43mm inverted forks while the rear packs a horizontal back-link gas-charged monoshock. For braking, the motorcycle comes with 310mm dual semi-floating discs with radially mounted four-pot calipers for the front and a 250mm disc with a single-piston caliper at the back. For the Multistrada 950, the motorcycle comes with fully-adjustable 48mm KYB inverted forks. The rear is also an adjustable Sachs monochock. The Multistrada 950 comes to a halt using twin 320mm front discs, squeezed by Brembo calipers and a 265mm rear disc.
The Tiger 800 XR comes with 43mm Showa inverted forks at the front and a Showa monoshock at the rear with preload adjustment. Being a more road-biased motorcycle, it comes with Metzeler Tourance tyres while braking is done by 305mm twin discs with Nissin two-piston sliding calipers and a single 255mm disc at the back. For the Africa Twin, it incorporated 45mm Showa inverted forks for the front and a Pro-link rear monoshock. Dual 310mm petal discs and a 256mm single petal disc do braking duty.
Coming to the most crucial part, the Africa Twin is the most expensive in the lot at Rs 13.23 lakhs. Next is the Ducati which carries a sticker price of Rs 13.95 lakhs. Coming in three in the list is the Tiger 800 XR, the most-affordable Tiger offering, priced at Rs 11.89 lakhs. Taking the last position is the new Versys 1000 which undercuts the rivals by carrying a price tag of Rs 10.68 lakhs, making it the most affordable adventure tourer in this competition check.
(All prices are ex-showroom, New Delhi)