Kawasaki Versys / ER6 TYRE GUIDE

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I have recently purchased a Kawasaki 650 Versys and have already taken it on a supermoto only track day at Brands and tried some different tyres. This basic guide may be useful to ER6 owners as they share the same engine and cycle parts, although they are differently styled. Anyway this is what I've found with tyres so far on the Versys...

DUNLOP D221 OE

Original equipment on the Versys, they are very similar in the way they feel to the old D207's. Dry grip in normal conditions is adequate although the front will let go albeit in a controlled manner when the pace hots up. They seem to lose grip in very hot conditions, but never feel unsafe. Wet weather is a different story as they both front and rear need more care. If the weather is cold and conditions are slippery they are both lible to snap out, shattering confidence both on the brakes and on the throttle at even the mildest of lean.

DUNLOP D207RR THE RACER

Generally these tyres suit the versys down to the ground and are an instant cure to most peoples handling problems. They give good feedback in all conditions and are rarely troubled by the 650's chasis or engine power. Some care has to be taken in colder, slippery conditons, but in sensible hands they're safe as houses. They generally have way more grip than most ER6 or Versys riders will ever need in all but wet, cold wintery conditions, easily the best choice for summer and faster riders. If you can't find any or want a more modern tyre Michelin Pilot Power 2CT and Dunlop Qualifier RR would probably be the way to go.

BRIDGESTONE BT020  THE NOVICE

Another excellent tyre choice for these types of bike. There is generally less grip than the 207RR's, but more than the D221's and rider feedback are the 020's strong point. It doesn't matter how bad the conditions are the tyres allow you to save yourself from doom every time (so far). Both front and rear can be held right on the limit of adhesion for as long as needed even in wet, slippery conditions. They also seem to have as much grip as the 207RR's when it's really bad, so these are the choice for winter. Also they should give really high mileage as they are a sports/touring tyre and have a harder compound of rubber in the middle. Beginners and born agains that lack confidence will find these much easier to use than most other tyres, and probably find grip levels more than adequate until their riding improves. Again if these sound abit old hat the new Michelin Pilot Road 2CT may be worth a look.

Hope this little guide helps any fellow Versys riders, I'll update it as and when I try some different rubber.


MICHELIN PILOT ROAD 2CT    update

Just before the recession hit I decided to up sticks and live in Spain, I had some money saved up and thought I'd leave my job before being asked.

Before I loaded the Versys into the van for the trip I decided to buy some brand new Michelin Pilot Road 2ct ready for all the touring I was going to do.  BIG MISTAKE!!  As good as these tyres are on British tarmac they are nothing short of hopeless on the majority of Spanish highway.  After a few miles of both tyres constantly washing out at every roundabout or tight turn I'd had enough.  Fortunately I had another pair of wheels with my D207RR's attached for all the track days and mountain scratching  I was going to do.  Once fitted handling was restored to about the levels you get with the OE Dunlop 221's the bike came with in this country (well maybe not that good).

Fast forward to 2010 at Mallory Park when the D207RR rear finally gave up (tyre last ages on crap roads) I fitted the wheel with the 2ct back in.  For a sport touring tyre the grip was incredible on the dry track.  Knee and peg was down with ease around Gerards at about 110mph, anymore and the front D207RR was washing out a little.  It was past it's best but I couldn't be bothered to change it, I was having fun. 

I've not done that many miles overall on these tyres but they look like they should be on par with other sport touring tyres as far as wear goes.

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