2010 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Classic vs. 2010 Triumph Thunderbird –

25 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2010 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Classic vs. 2010 Triumph Thunderbird –
Kawasaki VN 1700 Classic

A flight of two fancies

Photography by Alfonse Palaima

With some choices in life—especially non-essential issues—it seems the heart always has a voice on the matter. Desire and the strong urge for instant gratification often bully our impartial, logical side, leaving us perplexed and frazzled when we would otherwise make a snap but prudent decision.

A scenario plays out in our head: “Should I go with affordable and sensible, or shiny and expensive?”

On the matter of looking for a new motorcycle, well, that’s when the heart adds its passionate complexity.

To get a sense of what some manufacturers other than Harley-Davidson think the American consumer wants in his or her cruiser, we looked to Kawasaki ’s Vulcan 1700 Classic and Triumph ’s Thunderbird.

Yet with the Kawi you get a bigger engine and the benefit of liquid cooling, saving $3000 in the process when choosing the Vulcan over a Fat Boy. However, you could potentially save the $3Gs by considering Harley’s Dyna Super Glide Custom that matches the Kawi’s $12,999 tag. But the ‘Glide’s styling is considerably different, and the Vulcan and Fat Boy are closer in claimed curb weight than are the Vulcan and ‘Glide.

Kawasaki’s entrant in this two-way battle better fits the traditional cruiser mold. It seems best suited for casually bopping down the boulevard on Saturday night, or drifting leisurely and laidback for long stretches on the interstate.

For the rider who’s got an eye for value but wants the traditional H-D look, the Vulcan 17 is an easy path to near Harley-ness.

The Vulcan’s plusher overall than the T-Bird. Roomy floorboards accompanied by a heel-toe shifter, thick seat foam, a tall sweptback handlebar and forgiving suspension welcome lots of easygoing miles. But that’s not to imply the Vulcan can’t hang when the going gets twisty.

Steering is neutral with moderate effort required for initial turn in. And despite what seems like a shallower lean angle when compared to the T-Bird, the Vulcan’s chassis doesn’t protest with excessive wallow and wobble if you dig the outer edges of the floorboards into the asphalt.

However, like a woman suffering tight-fitting shoes for fashion’s sake, the Vulcan’s chubby front tire (130/90 x 16) hinders ultimate agility at parking lot paces.

“The newest Vulc’s handling is better than average by cruiser standards, but clumsy steering response below 5 mph is a bit of let down for what is otherwise a good-handling cruiser,” Kevin Duke remarked.

. like a woman suffering tight-fitting shoes for fashion’s sake, the Vulcan’s chubby front tire hinders ultimate agility at parking lot paces.

One advantage the Vulcan 17 can claim is better springy bits out back. Although both bikes use twin coil-over shocks, the Vulcan provides easily accessed 4-way rebound adjustment at the top of the shock body, and preload adjusted with air pressure. The ‘Bird also uses twin coil-overs, but only provides for spring preload via the more traditional ramp-style adjuster.

Neither bike accommodates for adjustments to front suspension.

More to know about the Vulcan

Kawasaki VN 1700 Classic


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