Kawasaki Versys 650 Vibration Front Sprocket 16t Conversion

Conclusion

This is how the Versys should come from the factory. The bike cruises better (freeway) and using the throttle in the sweepers is improved because the greater effect the wheel has in turning the engine.  You're not fighting the bike as much. A change is coming down from 4K isn't as harsh when off throttle. It feels more like an inline 4. I need to ride a lot more to really get used to this and will provide a longer term review or edit when I've done so. You still get the anchors deployed effect when you hit the 3K mark (if you've ridden a twin you'll understand how this feels.)

NOTE: I am going to install the 'Booster Plug' which I hope will help this, as well as, smooth the off/on transitions so the bike will be less like a light switch from the fully closed throttle to back on at slower-ish speeds (IE: around town or tighter corners.)

The bike still accelerates strongly, it just comes on a little higher in the rev range which is an improvement as the bike then enters into the sweet spot of the torque curve before you feel like you should change up. It's feels less "peaky"; What I'd call stronger. I know the actual engine power hasn't changed, just trying to find the right way to describe it. My BMW Rockster was a bike like this. It didn't rocket away, but it pulled and pulled.

Background/Introduction

Like a lot of people riding the Kawasaki Versys 650 I have found extended highway/freeway riding (over 70mph) to be the one area where the bike let's me down. It's geared just a little bit low for this kind of riding. Granted, it's not designed to cross continents on the super slab and I don't want it to be. I ride freeways only when it's expedient to do so, not as a first choice. At 60mph (local freeway limit) it's perfect, but as you get away from the population centers freeways speeds increase and so I thought I'd look for a solution - besides buying a different bike.

Research

I spent a lot of time looking at possible bar weights only to discover my bike already has pretty heavy ones. I researched things such as bar snakes and pellets inside of silicone that people slide into their bars. It did sound like those things worked to different amounts, but when I pulled my bar ends off, I can't find a way "into" my bars. The threaded bit seems to be welded in place so kept looking.

On the Kawasaki Versys forum site I did some research and found a few people doing sprocket swaps to try and lower the RPM of the bike at those speeds and was able to get confirmation from one user that the desired effect was in fact achievable.

The two options were either change the front to a 16 Tooth (bike comes with a 15) or change the rear (reducing the teeth by 2 or 3 from what you're bike has stock). The math suggests 1 tooth up front is almost the same as 3 in back but don't quote me on that.

I recently swapped my rear sprocket as part of a make the bike look cooler project (I installed a black Driven steel sprocket which does look really cool) when I replaced my chain at around 16K miles. Because of this, I didn't want to spend that money again so I chose to do the front.

I was also encouraged to buy the Kawi sprocket that comes with a rubber damper embedded as that is supposed to reduce vibration over one that does not have this. The stock sprocket on both my Suzuki and Kawasaki both have that feature.

I bought a $17 Sunstar off eBay figuring I can replace it with a better sprocket if my experiment proves a success otherwise I'll put the stock 15 back on and change the rear (Andy Man Cam, a Youtuber I follow, did the rear with a 2 tooth reduction and he liked the effect it had.)

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