MD First Ride: 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Nomad …

29 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on MD First Ride: 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Nomad …
Kawasaki VN 1600 Nomad

MD First Ride: 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Nomad

For 2005, Kawasaki has finally updated its popular Nomad tourer to the same specifications as the Vulcan 1600 Classic introduced in 2003. Check out our review of the Vulcan 1600 Classic to see what those specs are – mainly a revised, larger-displacement motor, better-looking bodywork, and a revised chassis for better handling.

While at its heart the Nomad is basically a Vulcan 1600 Classic fitted with saddlebags and a windscreen, there are a few other noteable differences: passenger comfort is enhanced by a thicker passenger seat with a padded backrest, and the passenger footpegs are replaced with floorboards.

MD test rider Jeff Whitmer had a chance to ride the Vulcan 1600 Nomad at Kawasaki’s press intro, which happened to be scheduled on the day after Valentine’s Day. In the Valentine spirit, Jeff brought along his significant other to help test out the revised passenger accomodations (Jeff is such a sensitive guy!).

After spending most of the day riding the Nomad two-up, Jeff complimented most of the same traits we praised when we reviewed the Classic. The 1552cc V-Twin motor has an extremely broad, useable powerband, providing a good balance between low-end grunt and top end rush. It pulls smoothly and seamlessly from idle to redline, which is exactly what you’d want from a touring cruiser.

The motor also provides the traditional V-Twin pulse without much irritating vibration (thanks to a balance shaft that was missing from the older Nomad 1500). Jeff praised the transmission, which features well-spaced gear ratios that keep the motor purring.

The chassis is still as impressive as it was two years ago, with a well-tuned suspension that makes it a competent handler in the twisties while providing a smooth and compliant ride on all types of roads. Jeff was particularly impressed with the absence of wallowing or shock bottoming on bad roads, a characteristic common to many big cruisers.

The brakes are another bright spot, powerful enough to haul down the big Nomad without excessive effort.

As with the Vulcan 1600 Classic, the Nomad has excellent fit and finish on all parts, and the overall design is attractive and classy. The windshield fits well with the bike rather than looking like an add-on, and the bags in particular are well-matched to the overall shape of the bike. Besides being attractive, the side-loading bags are easy to use and can carry quite a bit of whatever it is that you like to carry.

The big bags will be necessary to carry supplies for two, as Jeff’s companion found the Nomad’s revised passenger accomodations quite accomodating indeed. The backrest is too short side for taller passengers, but it still provides a much more comfortable perch, especially when combined with the thicker seat and passenger floorboards.

Overall, Jeff found the Vulcan 1600 Nomad to be a comfortable, versatile, and attractive touring cruiser. As always, Kawasaki offers a large line-up of accessories to help owners personalize the bike to their tastes. The Vulcan 1600 Nomad carries a suggested U.S. MSRP of $12,999, and more information can be found at Kawasaki’s web site .

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