MD First Rides: Kawasaki 2009 Vulcan 1700 Series — Including Voyager…

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Kawasaki VN 1700 Classic Light Tourer

MD First Rides: Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Series – Voyager, Nomad, Classic LT and

Vulcan 1700 Voyager

introductions for large-displacement cruisers quite what they to be. Perhaps it’s ancient now, but there was a time larger cruisers had a single, inadequate front disc (and sometimes even a brake in the rear), squishy wallowy chassis and severely ground clearance. Press for these beasts involved a orderly, pedestrian-paced, follow-the-leader-and-look-at-the-pretty-scenery

The contrast with a sport press introduction, where journalists frequently went full race mode on the couldn’t have been dramatic.

On the afternoon of my first day Kawasaki’s 1700cc Vulcan in Northern California a couple of ago, the old style of cruiser intro couldn’t have further from my mind. At the I was aboard Kawasaki’s new Nomad, and I was Kawasaki press representative Lasiewski (riding two-up on the dress Voyager) through a twisty road that the front gate to producer Lucas’ ranch.

The road is as Lucas Valley Road named for the famous Star producer). I had purposely put myself at the of the group of journalists I was riding right behind Greg, for an opportunity to press the pace a bit on fabulous road with its turns and overhanging trees. we were through, the rest of the needed a minute or so to catch up, but I think both Greg and I had big plastered on our faces.

Vulcan Nomad

Had Greg been a passenger, I know we could gone a fair bit faster, but the we carried was already impressive 1700cc, 800+ pound, styled v-twin cruisers. I probably ridden other that quickly through the (although not more than one or two times), but never with so drama. Trail braking corners, tossing the big machine one side to another when directions, and even casually just how much the floorboards folding up in the corners (in order to grounding something fixed), it was a walk in the park. “Confidence is the catch phrase, but in retrospect, would be an understatement given the and the weight of the machinery we were

This little anectode tell you more about Kawasaki is coming from its new Vulcan 1700 series all of the somewhat tedious detail I am to tell you. Kawasaki mince words these The company is focused on performance, and the involved doesn’t matter.

Of competition is fierce among all of the manufacturers, and the large displacement category presents some of the stout competition of all. had their work cut out for them trying to develop a line of that stood out from the available to consumers. One way to do this, of is to introduce a machine with simply unavailable anywhere

Kawasaki has tried to do that the new full dress tourer, the 1700 Voyager. Kawasaki that this is the first full-dress v-twin touring available for sale here. The key would be “metric” and “v-twin”. has sold a classically-styled v-four tourer for some time of course, Harley-Davidson has offered the Glide and associated family for decades.

But if you want a “metric” dress tourer with a Kawasaki is your only at the moment.

Kawasaki also the time to contrast the new Voyager Victory’s Vision Tourer by a domestic v-twin) from a perspective. Kawasaki correctly out that the Vision tends to a polarizing effect on consumers they love its looks, or hate it). It is also noted by Kawasaki that the is anything but “traditional” from a perspective.

More reasons feels the new Voyager has found a niche to call its own.

underpins the new Voyager, and each of new Vulcan 1700s, is new design and An entirely new 1700cc (yes, 1700cc or 103.7 cubic liquid cooled, 50 degree powers each of the four It is fuel injected and controlled by a electronic throttle valve

A powerful ECU is used to maximize and fuel efficiency.

Those big pulses get to the rear wheel a six-speed, overdrive transmission and belt final drive. belt more efficiently crank horsepower to the rear than the old shaft drive and Kawasaki claims the new 1700 out 15% more torque and 20% more than the old Vulcan 1600 a displacement increase of less 10%.

Vulcan 1700 LT

Interestingly, Kawasaki moved the around on the various models. The models, including the Nomad and the make their peak at 5000 rpm (vs. 4500 rpm on the models) and 108 foot pounds of at 2750 rpm (vs. that peak at 2250 rpm on the Classic

Although the Vulcan 1600 was criticized for poor handling (we it handled quite well, Kawasaki really tried to the goal posts with its new A massive 40% more rigid the old frame, that new chassis is more compact. A shorter combines with tweaked geometry to improve, according to both stability and turning.

The also allows more ergonomics, including a 30mm reach to the handlebar, and a 50mm reach from the seat to the

The 43mm inverted front are non-adjustable, while the rear allow adjustment of air pressure a stock 0 psi to 43 psi) and four-way damping.

New styling utilizes steel fenders, and incorporates a 5.3 gallon fuel tank. All of the (save the Voyager) have gas tank mounted instrumentation incorporates a fuel gauge, consumption read-out (including to empty and average mpg) clock, two trip meters and a position indicator. The ignition, with an integrated fork is mounted conveniently near the head.

Vulcan 1700 Classic

all these features is the simple model, available only in Diablo Black at a U.S. of $12,299. The Classic LT, on the other adds standard two-tone height adjustable windshield, seats, and passenger backrest.

The LT gets leather saddle that are reinforced in certain to better hold their and improve functionality. Paint available for the LT include Metallic Blue/Pearl Burnish Beige and Dark Green/Pearl Burnish U.S.

MSRP is $13,799, and points out that adding the LT to the Classic would cost you $1,200 more than the of the LT.

Both the new Nomad and Voyager “tuned for touring” engine, suspension and floorboards that from the Classic models. The has these “tuned for touring” plus, in comparison to the Classic LT, a seat, lockable color-matched and cruise control.

The dual on the Nomad are mounted on each of the bike to keep them low and out of the way of the saddle bags. The Nomad’s and damping rates are higher those found on the Classic while the shocks feature the adjustability (air pressure and rebound). Ergos are tweaked on the Nomad with the floorboards 30mm behind those on the Classic models.

The hard on the Nomad appear well and durable. They open the top and feature chrome handles and latches. Capacity appears generous and is rated at 10 gallons They are lockable and keyed to the bike ignition.

The Nomad features standard front and engine guards.

The cruise found on both the Nomad and is pretty sophisticated, and worked during our testing. It features speed adjustment (one equals a 1 mile per hour It is easily overridden with or brake.

The Vulcan 1700 is available in Metallic Diablo at a U.S. MSRP of $14,399 and in Diamond Red/Pearl Lustre at $14,699

Kawasaki VN 1700 Classic Light Tourer

The new flagship tourer is the full-dress 1700 Voyager. With the market growing (despite the market for motorcycles shrinking), really pulled out all the stops on the new The frame mounted fairing wind forces from your steering of the big bike, and it is in a classic, yet unique “muscle theme that we found effective at providing wind on the highway.

It also incorporates two headlights.

All of the features of the 1700 migrate over to the Voyager, but adds quite a bit more. In to that frame mounted integrated lowers help wind off your legs and and a full array of instrumentation and features are exclusive to the Voyager.

The of the Voyager provides just every feature you would on a modern automobile. In addition to cruise control (controlled at the all of the instrumentation and gauges found on sport tourers is available a computer that provides average fuel consumption and fuel range). The main are analog and very legible, the LED screen in the center also good contrast and was easily even in bright sunlight.

The sterio is iPod ready, a rider-passenger intercom capability, and is designed to accept dual speakers, XM radio and CB radio. We the radio had good volume and although we had difficulty locating radio signals in the area of where we were testing. The can be controlled completely from the and is rated at 88 watts.

In addition to the hardbags found on the Nomad, the gets a large integrated capable of holding two full-face – rated at 13.2 gallons in It is also lockable, but, the side bags, can be left and accessed without the key. The has an integrated LED tail light/stop that supplements the standard light found on the other

While all of the new Vulcan 1700 feature 300mm dual brakes in front, only the has four-piston calipers (the bikes feature twin calipers). All the models have a 300mm disc gripped by a piston caliper out back. The is actually available with or a sophisticated ABS system developed by and called K-ACT.

K-ACT is a complicated system that I not attempt to explain fully Suffice it to say that it is not a simple braking” system; according to it is a “smart system” that numerous factors before braking forces optimally. We a K-ACT equipped Voyager and its braking performance virtually with no pulsing or other indications we were dealing a combined ABS system.

We rode all bikes over two days varied road conditions. high speed freeway to tight, slow twisty and everything in between. These handle extremely well for the and the engine performance was outstanding. response is crisp and fueling is without any jerking associated off/on throttle transitions.

The were obviously stiff for category of motorcycle, and contributed to light steering, even at speeds.

Brake performance was excellent throughout this of motorcycles, with both feel and power found on all We preferred the suspension setting on the models (the Voyager and which was a bit stiffer and allowed for spirited handling, but the softer found on the “Classic” models was not to criticize given its intended base.

Before I got on the bikes for the time, I thought the shorter between seat and floorboards on new models might prove I envisioned my knees bent at uncomfortable angles. In the end, my frame (and 31″ inseam) complain, even after fairly extended stints in the

Speaking of the saddle, I preferred the plush touring saddles on the Nomad and Voyager models, again Kawasaki designed the saddles on the Classic and Classic LT to well for their slightly missions (i.e. shorter None of the bikes provided spots” or significant discomfort after several hours of

Wind screen height is a very personal issue for myself included. I am not very but I sit fairly tall in the saddle, and preferred the screen height I on the Classic LT and the Nomad when to the new Voyager. Although the Voyager outstanding overall wind I did not like looking through the top of the and would have preferred a screen.

Kawasaki will have optional screens for all of bikes but as it stands the Voyager is fixed in place, while the on the Nomad and the Classic LT are height

The full dress Vulcan Voyager and Voyager ABS are featured in two schemes, including Candy Blue/Metallic Diablo Black and Titanium/Metallic Diablo Black. The Voyager is available at a U.S. of $16,799, while the ABS model for $17,899.

These new Vulcan combine the classic styling riders are looking for with modern engine and chassis that work together to riding performance virtually to cruiser enthusiasts just a few ago. For additional details and visit Kawasaki’s web site where you can browse some of the many Kawasaki has available to personalize new Vulcans

Kawasaki VN 1700 Classic Light Tourer
Kawasaki VN 1700 Classic Light Tourer
Kawasaki VN 1700 Classic Light Tourer
Kawasaki VN 1700 Classic Light Tourer

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