2005 Vulcan Nomad 1600 —

8 мая 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи 2005 Vulcan Nomad 1600 — отключены
Kawasaki VN 1600 Nomad
Kawasaki VN 1600 Nomad

2005 Vulcan Nomad 1600

Loyal MO readers might remember our Classic Tourer Comparo, where we proclaimed the 1500 Nomad to be a decent, though not terribly exciting motorcycle. So when I was invited to the press intro for the new 1600 Nomad, I was interested to see how Kawasaki might have improved their product in this important market segment.

The new Vulcan 1600 Nomad retains the elegant style of last year’s 1500, but features an 82cc displacement boost to 1,552cc. Don’t be deceived, big changes lurk beneath the familiar bodywork. In addition to the added muscle, Kawasaki also says the Nomad received revised steering geometry, enhanced passenger comfort and additional chrome.

However, after riding the new bike, it is patently obvious that there is more at work here than a few minor changes, as the 1600 feels like a vastly superior motorcycle.

Kawasaki downplays the updates for 2005, but if you examine the 1600 next to last year’s 1500, you’ll quickly notice that almost every detail is slightly different. From the front axle through the passenger seating, everything is similar, but slightly revised and I have a sneaking suspicion that there might be as little as 50% parts commonality between the two bikes.

Further snooping reveals the addition of an engine counter-balancer, revised crash bar mounting, revised cylinder heads, revised fuel injection ECU and innumerable esoteric differences. Fortunately, these updates don’t affect the bikes $12,999 MSRP.

The Nomad 1600 features additional chrome and comfort features, including new engine guards, polished fork tubes, a thicker passenger seat, new backrest, grab bars and new passenger floorboards. It also includes adjustable levers, self-canceling turn signals, and a five-gallon fuel tank. In addition to the updated features on the new Nomad, Kawasaki also offers a range of accessories through their dealer network and directly through the internet.

At normal cruising speeds, the lighter steering and more direct response allows for nice transitional maneuvers without requiring large steering inputs or straining your arms. In a parking lot, the Nomad is reasonably light on its feet, although the wide bars do require a long reach, while executing tight U-turns.

The engine’s powerband is relatively flat, which means that it offers a smooth, even delivery of torque and requires a minimum of shifting.

The bigger jugs breathe through a revised Mitsubishi digital fuel injection system, using dual 36mm throttle bodies mounted on separate intake tracts with four nozzle injectors sending two streams of fuel to each intake valve. The 16-bit ECU features specific programming for the new fuel injection system and does an excellent job of interpreting the rider’s throttle inputs. In other words, there were no hiccups, lurches or flat-spots as I modulated the throttle through our snotty test conditions.

Great, everybody appreciates a well-behaved engine, but who cares. right? You really want to know if the bigger engine is faster . Yes, it is faster and more flexible everywhere in the rev range. I wouldn’t mistake this powerplant for a Vulcan 2000, but its now in the thick of the classic tourer hunt, where last year’s bike hung around at the back of the pack.

Even with that barn door windscreen, the new Nomad is more than happy to accelerate itself into triple digits on level ground.

The engine’s powerband is relatively flat, which means that it offers a smooth, even delivery of torque and requires a minimum of shifting. Even on very tight mountain roads, shifting is purely optional once 4th or 5th is engaged. Like most big twins there isn’t really a top-end rush per se.

Instead, the motor simply pulls strongly through the midrange, and then tapers off like a lamb.

Speaking of the windscreen, the Nomad’s large old-fashioned screen seems to have been copied from a 75-year-old police bike. The problem is that 1930s cruising speeds were in the 35mph range, so it’s not surprising that the Nomad’s screen is nice and calm, offering great protection and smooth airflow up to 50mph.

Unfortunately, you can’t really stay below 50 on most of today’s highways and byways, and once speeds creep close to 60, the Nomad is in full-helmet-buffeting mode. I tried the adjustable screen in every position from full-up to full-down and was unable to find relief. After a half day of this, I was ready to get a hole saw and start cutting pressure relief vents in the pretty Plexiglas.

I know the Nomads emphasis is on classic style, but a few modern aerodynamic tricks would do wonders for its long haul comfort. Much like last year’s bike, the Nomad 1600 offers excellent rider and passenger accommodations, plus some of the prettiest and most functional saddlebags on the road. Those locking art deco hard bags are a distinct advantage for the Nomad, but the seat might be its best asset.

If you can deal with the buffeting (or fit a shorter windscreen) long enough to notice, you will find that the Nomad has what might be the single most comfortable riders seat in all of motorcycling.

When you first sit on it, you think no way is this soft fluffy thing going to be comfortable for an extended stay. However, after multiple hours in the saddle, the Nomad’s seat remains perfectly comfortable. Why can’t every bike come with a seat of this quality?

After my time on the Nomad, I’m convinced that Kawasaki has significantly improved the bikes functionality and blessed it with a bit more character than last year’s appliance-like 1500. If Kawasaki would fix the aerodynamics, the Nomad could easily contend for best-in-class honors. If you’re in the market for a large touring cruiser, you’d be well advised to take a spin on this new Nomad.

While you’re out test riding and comparison-shopping, keep in mind that the stylish Nomad remains the least expensive bike in its class at $12,999.


MSRP $12,999

Features and Benefits

V-Twin Engine

Engine displacement increased to 1,552cc for more torque

Digital Fuel Injection is revised to suit the larger engine’s needs and enhance performance

Dual mufflers allow more clearance for saddlebags

Liquid Cooling

Maintains consistent engine temperatures for long engine life and sustained power during hard use

Auxiliary fan keeps things cool during all operating conditions

Four Valves per Cylinder

Boosts low-end torque

Provides maximum valve area for optimum flow

Hydraulic valve lash adjusters require no maintenance

Gear-driven Engine Balancer

Counter-rotates at engine speed to cancel vibration

Allows use of single-pin crankshaft without the heavy vibration

Rubber-mounted Engine

All but eliminates engine vibration at all speeds

Five-speed Transmission

Great around-town acceleration with relaxed highway cruising

Positive Neutral Finder

Just lift the shift pedal from first at a stop to find neutral easily

5.3 Gallon Fuel Tank

Rounded-edge finish for clean, upscale look

Large capacity for extended touring range

Large, Adjustable Windshield

Large windshield gives excellent rider and passenger weather protection

Kawasaki VN 1600 Nomad

Windshield is adjustable up and down two inches

Heavy-duty chromed support hardware holds the windshield rock steady

Hard Saddlebags

Designed for easy packing, these saddlebags carry an amazing amount of gear

Lockable, side-open design for smooth looks and quick access

Soft, removable inner bags available as an optional accessory

Passenger Comfort

New floorboards, standard backrest and thicker seat provide maximum passenger comfort on long rides

More Chrome for 2005

New chrome engine guards help protect the engine

Triple Disc Brakes

Dual discs up front for maximum stopping power

Large, single rear disc because touring bikes carry so much of the load on the rear wheel

Shaft Drive

Reliable, clean and quiet low-maintenance system

Hydraulic Clutch Release

Easy to operate, requires virtually no adjustment

Adjustable Control Levers

Fits variety of rider sizes and styles

Electronic Speedometer

Eliminates conventional cable-drive system

Tubeless Tires

Lower operating temperature extends tire life

Air-Adjustable Rear Shocks

Rebound damping is 4-way adjustable to tailor fit the ride

Kawasaki VN 1600 Nomad
Kawasaki VN 1600 Nomad

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