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GT-tracer 900 vs Versys 650 (no ABS) as a first big bike

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Ongoing thanks to everyone for their points. Part of the big bike licence acquisition process in Malaysia is about 20hrs of training (biometric log in log out) going round an obstacle course on a kawa z650 (with Abs), followed by a test on that obstacle course.

You have to get through 6 obstacles when you take one of the three in total tests required for the licence (theory, slow skills obstacles, and road driving) : the obstacle course consists of  (1) complete a tight figure of 8 twice, around a double roundabout with a radius of about 6m; (2) drive onto and over a 'bridge' - a raised bit of concrete about 6 inches off the ground and 8 inches wide 10m long taking over 7 seconds to get over it - a lesson in balance and slow speed / clutch control, dragging the back brake, using revs to push the flywheel to keep balance. (3) wiggle through a series of cones, (4) emergency stop - hit About 40-50 km/hr then brake sharp (hello abs), and stop within a set space without stalling. (5) manoeuvre around a series of 90 degree turns within about 1.5 m wide road without putting your foot on the ground, (6) go over a series of 15 concrete bars on the road and not let your wheels move out of the two lines around them (generally easy, but even more so if you stand on the pegs a little).

All of it can be done in first gear. Takes about 8 mins to complete it all. I have now logged 15 hrs on this so have done the course about 80+ times and so far never dropped the bike. It's good for giving you first gear riding skills I guess. The forced, repeated practice has definitely developed some strong muscle memory at low speeds manoeuvring.

Apart from it being fun, I particularly like the fact that there are 4 different bikes that you practice on, all with quite different amounts of play in the clutch, front braking response, effectiveness of a back brake - so having to adjust to them is good.

There is also an 'on the road' course going around traffic lights, roundabouts, intersections - not on a real road, but full of newbies trying to drive their cars round it. About third gear max on this one.

To segway back into the point of this thread - do I feel this training prepares me well to take on gt or a versys? Not really, but it will have greatly reduced my chances of dropping the machine at low speeds (though at 187kg for a z650 vs 215 for the bikes I am considering buying, a little more to contend with). Also, the emergency stop routine shows the advantages of abs clearly to me. +1 for the tracer. The z650 is not to my liking comfort wise, so the sports tourer remains a good target.

After this though I think I need some more urgent training probably, some track time to get me more comfortable on higher speed cornering than I have done so far. Dirt bike recommendations I can also see the point of. Have read a twist of the wrist II,  and Motorcycle Roadcraft now so looking forward to putting those wise words into practice. With my learners licence now in the bag with the theory test passed, alarmingly I can now go out on the road solo :) so about to complete my purchase.

 

 

 

 

Edited by AtoB
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I'm very impressed with the technical nature of that test - should prepare almost anybody for the next steps in a safe riding career.

Best of luck with the purchase, and with riding it, whatever 'it' may be!

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Australian Lava Red MT-09 Tracer, 06/ 2015 build model, first on-road 21/ 12/ 2018, with many farkles.   Redland Bay, Queensland, Australia

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just sold my versys 650 for the 900 gt. but only because i could, not because i needed to. my versys was 2012, which didn't have ABS, not sure why the new ones don't where you are. and ABS was a big deal for me. all the extra electric gizmos like cruise control, etc, etc. are great. and, as i discovered during the break in period, below 5000 rpm, which is a high as you need to go, it doesn't feel that different than the versys - plenty of power but not hyper fast. so it is a relatively easy, tame bike at that rev range. on the street, if you are making a pass that requires all 115 bhp, you probably shouldn't be making the pass anyway. suspension is definitely an upgrade on the 900 gt.

but having said all that the versys is amazingly close for way less money , probably the best bang for your buck out there.IMG_20180818_125008105.thumb.jpg.54bdfa6bd36b9ee4a3b0cd84e6c79a6b.jpg

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Thanks harraseeket. Good to hear on both cases. Totally agree that if versys had abs, would be clear decision. No idea why it doesn't here. Nearest other bike here in seating comfort that does is the suzuki v-strom 650, but it definitely doesn't feel quite as comfy and very few around here, hence resale will be harder. Plus, i just dunno - not loving it at all. Slightly wider as well. Getting a lot closer on price to the gt also, so vstrom is a pass for me.

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On 4/12/2019 at 1:25 PM, chitown said:

ABS, TC, and modes aren't purchase decision points for me until everything else is more or less equal.

I agree with you on this, they didn't sway my decision one way or the other, they just happened to come with the bike.  What ever happened to learning basic rider skills?  Electronic aids rule every facet of our daily lives, from auto tuned music to voice activated TV's to cars that parallel park for you, you dont have to know how to do anything any more, let the computer take care of that for you.

 

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