The Knuckle Challenge Open – 1000km / 1 Day

The last time I did this much mileage on an adventure bike was in the Australian Outback. This morning, let’s go to Val d´Or in Abitibi-Témiscamingue!

This time, I have the opportunity to venture into the la Verendrye wildlife reserve on a 2020 Versys 1000 SE. This one from Canadian Kawasaki Motors who accepted our Open Challenge and which we would like thank.

One of the first things that struck me when I took possession of the Versys was its rather sporty look. Which contrasts a little with the competitive models with looks, let’s say more off-road.

However, once seated on it, we quickly understand that we are dealing with an adventurer. The height is very good, compared to others which are often very high, this one allows me to put my feet on the ground enough to be confident.

Although I have never been a big fan of windshields, when the weather is less favorable I cannot deny the comfort that they can bring us … That being said, in the city, I don’t like having to look through an extra barrier, especially since I like to feel the wind on my face.

And indeed, the temperature will not be that predicted on the different weather websites… The temperature is much cooler than during our last Challenge. However, the design of the Versys itself gives us the assurance that I will be comfortable anyway!

No matter the weather

It is in the 10 degrees, a background of fresh air and rather strong winds that I take the road north. Without wasting time, the heated grips are turned on and our Challenge begins!

Another columnist mentioned that the Versys 1000’s seat was one of the most comfortable this year and I intend to verify that claim. In fact, after 1000km, it will be quite obvious if it is.

First Stop

First stop after more than 250 km, everything is fine and the many options of the SE allow me to try a few configurations. Electronic assisted suspension, driving modes, heated grips, hand guards, adjustable windshield, complete and programmable instrumentation, not to mention Cruise-control.

I even find myself using Cruise-control more than I would have imagined. With high winds, it gives a break to my right hand. Fighting the elements can burn a lot of energy, especially on long rides like today.

The Windshield does its job well, as does the fairing which protects me well from bad weather and keeps me dry and warm. The upright riding position is very comfortable and the controls are easy to access.

The gears are close together, which allows a very efficient standing drive. Moreover, speaking of standing driving, the change from sitting to standing is done effortlessly and without ambiguity.

The range of this beast seems endless … With a 21-liter fuel tank and consumption that, for now, is around 5L / 100, immediately gives us peace of mind to explore. An increased capacity that does not seem to disturb the balance or the maneuverability of it.

The “Bête Noire” Crossing is on its way and being a first for me, I’m very happy to do it on this Kawasaki. I didn’t really know this model and the Challenge gives me the opportunity to try it out well and to be able to appreciate all that it can bring to a future owner.

One thing is certain, the Versys 1000 SE makes fun of road imperfections and construction areas, which, let’s face it, are both ubiquitous in Quebec … With electronic suspension, not only can you choose your “pre-load”, you can also tweak this one according to your personal tastes and needs.

Already halfway

The temperature isn’t improving, but I’m not suffering too much for it. Fortunately, the view is pleasant in several places in the reserve! Around the 500 km mark, we even take a short break in one of the various stops available on the edge of a lake.

By the way, the Kawasaki Versys 1000 doesn’t just have a sporty look. When you decide to ignore the adventure title and twist the throttle, the engine’s full potential doesn’t take long to kick in. I can assure you that the ZX is not very far despite appearances!

There is even a tilt angle indicator in the instrumentation. I don’t know about you, but me, all I want is to increase the maximum incline to the left and to the right to have a new record… Hey, it wasn’t me who started!

I will still get some sun at the end of the day!

That being said, you have a bike that can ride smoothly and get you far over asphalt or other surfaces as well as a bike that can get your adrenaline pumping quite easily if a Rebel is slumbering in you.

Our Versys is also equipped with extra powerful side lights, which greatly increase our vision at night. In my humble opinion, it’s a must have for adventurers who travel less traveled paths.

«A multi-talented Adventurer. The Kawasaki Versys 1000 is great for versatile riders»


The Challenge is successfully completed and I have to admit that the Versys seat is indeed one of the best that I have ever tried. The geometry, steering and braking are very satisfactory. It will be easy and very pleasant for you to drive this motorcycle both during trips as well as in your daily commute.

The Versys SE is packed with options that I consider essential if you are serious about your Adventure goals. That being said, you will get what you pay for, the difference between the LT and SE model will be paid back to you in comfort, technologies and configurations.

The 1000km Open Challenge total cost was $ 63.28 for a consumption average of 5.1L / 100km with Premium between $ 1.18 and $ 1.24.

We would like, once again, to thank Canadian Kawasaki Motors for their participation in the Knuckle Challenge.

Thank you for being with us, and do not hesitate to share if you enjoy our Challenges.

I invite you to read our review on the BMW G310R

Let us know which bike you would like us to test and who knows!

Jean-Sebastien Mackay
Knuckle HQ