Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: Introducing...Pam the 2011 Kawasaki Versys 650!


Introducing...Pam the 2011 Kawasaki Versys 650!

So, with Eleanor having traveled back and forth to the "spa" (a.k.a. sick bay, personal garage at the dealership, etc. etc.) with the ongoing headlight issue that has haunted her for the last year and change, I found some room in the budget back in April to go pick up a little sidekick motorcycle to add to my vehicle fleet. I was looking for something that was utilitarian and not meant to replace my 2007 Yamaha FJR1300 by any means of the imagination. I thought about bikes that I had previously test ridden that were affordable and fit my personal needs, and one of the first that came to mind was the Kawasaki Versys 650.

I had first ridden a Kawasaki Versys 650 back in 2008 when it had just been released in the United States. At that time, the Versys was available to all states except California due to emissions requirements; California received the Versys in 2009 after Kawasaki fixed that. (I lived in Ohio at the time so that wasn't much of an issue.) Previous to that, I had ridden the Ninja 650R, a motorcycle that the Versys shares its engine with. I enjoyed that bike as well, but the Versys offered a taller and more upright positioning that harkened back to the adventure bike styling that I have always gravitated toward in my years of riding. Because of how popular the bike was in its first few years of release, finding one at a good price in great shape and with low miles is relatively easy.

So without further delay, here's Pam. She's a 2011 Kawasaki Versys 650 and was adopted with just over 9000 miles on her odometer. She's pretty much a stock bike except for the factory option, color-matched hard cases and a Two-Brothers Racing slip-on exhaust. I think the burgundy color on her adds a bit of class, and in some cases, makes her truly look like a little sister to Eleanor.

Now you may ask, why is she named "Pam?" Like Eleanor, there is an actual reason for it. In this case, it's quite personal as she is named after my late friend, Pam McCarty-Kroll, a wonderful person and an experienced long-distance rider with whom we had ridden thousands of miles together during my time on the Women On Wheels® Board of Trustees. We had been sidekicks to each other in our riding lives, and with this new bike acting like the trusty, dependable unit that it is, the name just fit.

I look forward to many years with Pam. Perhaps we can go somewhere far as well, but to be back to two motorcycles again has been a confidence booster and another step to recover from the personal turmoil of the last several years. Symbolically, the year 2011 was a trying time in my life, in both vehicles and in my work life. My trusty Subaru "Taxi" was totaled by an ex-roommate and I was forced to give up my 2008 Kawasaki Z1000 due to underemployment. In some ways, it's a nice reminder that the universe does figure itself out again!