Monday, February 9, 2009

BMW F650 GS vs. Kawasaki Versys

If I say BMW, what do you think of? Most think of rock solid machines at a premium price. The mention of Kawasaki conjures up images of high performance motorcycles dating back to the Kawasaki Z1 in 1972. But BMW makes affordable bikes, and Kawasaki makes practical bikes. The Beemer 650 and the Kawasaki Versys are where fun, reliability and affordability come together in one package.

At a price tag of about $7K, the Versys is certainly affordable. It's hard to get your hands on one of these machines. Dealers sell them as soon as they can get them. This 2008 motorcycle of the year is perfect for zipping around town, daytrips to the next county, and riding back roads with fishing tackle strapped on the way to catch your dinner. It is comfortable on the highway, back roads, dirt roads. The smooth tread OEM tires don't really inspire off-road riding, but graded non-pavement roads are a snap. The Kawasaki isn't really billed as an off-road bike. It is better suited to urban riding, IMHO.

Motorcycle of the Year 2008

With a base price of about $9K, the BMW F 650 GS is the premium priced choice of these two. BWM offers lots of options that I am not sure you can get easily for the Kawasaki, such as lowered suspension, heated grips, abs, on board computer, anti-theft alarm and others. With these options, the price can rise to over $11K. The OEM tires on the BMW are better suited for off road riding. If you plan to do a lot of riding off pavement, the BMW is probably the better choice.

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