Kawasaki has delivered the latest expression of their ‘Any Road, Any Time’ mantra in the form of the Versys 1000 SE tourer.
A step up from the Versys 1000 that’s been part of Kawasaki’s lineup since 2015, the Versys 1000 SE takes that base and adds a bunch of new tech and new touring-friendly features, including electronic throttle valves, electronic cruise control, electronically-controlled suspension and Kawasaki’s own advanced rider support systems.
Some of these have also been applied to the standard Versys 1000 for 2019, but the higher-grade tech is exclusive to the SE variant.
The Versys 1000 SE’s base is similar to that of the non-SE version - a 1043cc inline four engine and twin-tube aluminium frame, long-travel suspension and ergonomics designed for touring.
As applied to the Versys 1000 SE, the 1043cc four, delivering 88.2kW and 102Nm, has been retuned for stronger torque throughout the rev range, but the addition of electronic throttle valves allows the ECU to more precisely control the volume of fuel and air delivered to the combustion chamber.
The result, says Kawasaki, is a smoother, more linear engine response to throttle input, improved fuel economy and reduced maintenance with the deletion of the traditional throttle cable, while the new valve system also allows for an electronic cruise control to be added.
Reshaped connector pipes on the headers improve performance at all rev ranges, while a 3-way catalyser has been added to reduce emissions. The assist and slipper clutch for the 6-speed transmission carries over from the Versys 1000, but the SE adds a Kawasaki Quick Shifter for clutchless shifting - up or down.
Kawasaki Traction Control (KTRC) is standard, offering three levels of intervention, while Kawasaki Cornering Management Function (KCMF) is a new feature for both models that modulates engine power and braking force through the entirety of a corner, from entry to exit.
The KCMF is also linked to the Kawasaki Electronic Control Suspension (KECS); a feature that debuted on the ZX-10R SE, but is exclusive to the 1000 SE in the Versys range. KECS adapts to road and riding conditions in real time, providing the ideal amount of damping every time.
This system also includes electronically-adjustable rear preload that can be set to suit solo, solo with luggage and two-up with luggage riding. A new Showa BFRC rear shock features here, too, that’s both lighter and more compact than the previous version.
Riders can still control their preferred settings via the integrated riding modes – Sport, Road, Rain and Rider – which have been adjusted to suit the new and additional electronics on the Versys 1000 SE.
Braking upgrades include new 310mm petal front discs with radial-mount monobloc calipers, and a modified Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Braking System (KIBS). These upgrades have been applied to both the Versys 1000 and Versys 1000 SE.
Some of the less-technical inclusions on the Versys 1000 for 2019 include an adjustable windscreen, choice of two rider seat heights (820mm or 840mm), a more comfortable pillion seat, durable paint that “heals” from minor scratches and full LED lighting. On the SE, this includes LED cornering lights that are automatically activated by the bike’s lean angle for safer cornering at night.
The previous accessory DC socket is now standard, with the SE adding standard wireless smartphone connectivity, thanks to a Bluetooth chip built into the instrument panel.
Using the smartphone app ‘Rideology: The App’ a number of additional functions, like phone notices, can be added to the instrument display, while GPS route information, riding mode settings, riding logs, bike information and even service reminders can be viewed on your smartphone.
On the Versys 1000 SE, this full colour TFT LCD screen can also display information graphically, with two different display modes – one for touring and one for sports riding – prioritising different information to suit the riding mode, which is selectable via handlebar switches.
From the saddle, there’s a new, larger windscreen that can be adjusted without tools and adds a vent to reduce negative pressure behind the screen. The upper cowling has been redesigned, too, with wider fairings for better wind protection.
Styling overall is a departure from the current model, with features like the front chin spoiler, new silencer design and more prominent subframe being the most obvious changes. The overall look brings a strong touch of the ZX sportsbikes to the litre-class tourer, but is still very “Versys”.
The new Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE is now available, finished in Emerald Blaze Green with Pearl Storm Grey, priced from $22,4999 (+ ORCs). See your Kawasaki dealer for more details.