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Old 12-10-2010, 03:29 PM   #1
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Default 2011 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero Review


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2011 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero Review

Please discuss the Motorcycle.com article 2011 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero Review in our Motorcycle Forums below. Use the reply button to let others know your comments or feedback on the article. Constructive criticism is always appreciated, along with your thoughts and personal opinions on the bikes and products we have tested.
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Old 12-10-2010, 04:38 PM   #2
opie
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Default Overdriven?

I like Kawasakis. I don't own one right now but I've had quite a few, including sport bikes, sport tourers, standards and cruisers.

And I like the look of this bike, especially all in black.

When you're talking about the transmission you say that 5th and 6th gear are overdriven. Does that mean that even in 6th gear you think the revs are too high? Or the other way around? Do you feel like the bike doesn't have enough acceleration "on tap" as you'd like to see in 5th and 6th gear?

Thanks!
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Old 12-10-2010, 05:09 PM   #3
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Talking Maximum Overdrive: A bad movie staring Emilio Estevez.

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Originally Posted by opie View Post

When you're talking about the transmission you say that 5th and 6th gear are overdriven. Does that mean that even in 6th gear you think the revs are too high? Or the other way around? Do you feel like the bike doesn't have enough acceleration "on tap" as you'd like to see in 5th and 6th gear?

Thanks!
Overdrive. It's not just for titles of silly movies from the '80s! (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

To answer your question, opie, yes, it's the "other way around."

Although I don't have the Vaquero's gear ratios handy, generally speaking an overdrive gear uses a ratio of a little less than 1:1, with the premise being that it's more fuel efficient, better for cruising speeds, results in relatively low rpm, etc.

Sixth gear struck me as a bit tall when cruising down the freeway at the speed I noted in the story. While in top gear I got the sensation the bike was kind of "lugging," but this experience was over a fairly narrow range of road speed. However, it was approximately right in the range where I suspect most riders will, well, cruise. At higher road speeds everything was peachy. Fifth gear, while apparently also overdriven seemed less tall and worked well.

Editor Duke made an observation about the top gears when he rode the Vaquero's heavy duty touring brother, the Voyager:British SBK Champ Steve Hislop Dies

"An overdriven sixth gear is very tall, the Twin loping along at just 2100 rpm when cruising at 60 mph. Best response below 65 mph is from fifth gear, which is also an overdrive ratio." -- Kevin Duke

The thing to keep in mind is that this is merely an observation and by no means a deal-breaker for what is an otherwise well-sorted cruiser.

Thanks!

P.S. I've no idea why the link hyperlink next to Voyager for the Voyager review says, "Steve Hislop dies..."
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Old 12-10-2010, 05:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by opie View Post
I like Kawasakis. I don't own one right now but I've had quite a few, including sport bikes, sport tourers, standards and cruisers.

And I like the look of this bike, especially all in black.

When you're talking about the transmission you say that 5th and 6th gear are overdriven. Does that mean that even in 6th gear you think the revs are too high? Or the other way around? Do you feel like the bike doesn't have enough acceleration "on tap" as you'd like to see in 5th and 6th gear?

Thanks!
"Overdrive" is simply an arithmetic calculation that means that the transmission's ratios in 5th and 6th gears are less than 1:1, which lowers engine revs. The Vulc17 is quite torquey, so it pulls those lazy ratios fairly well.
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Old 12-10-2010, 06:15 PM   #5
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Default Nice look

You said it! "..when looking to move up to a bigger bike.." Funny how small HD's seem when parked next to new cruisers! And not really a fan of the Victory's styling, I think Kawi nailed it here! Now all I gotta do is figure out how to get that fairing on my Road Star!!! The Hoppes Industries "Batwing" seems like a consolation prize in comparison.... Did I really pay just 8 grand for my left-over 1700cc bike? Seems like just a few years ago you could buy TWO great HonYamaSuzuKawi's for the price of a single HD...not any more, eh?
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Old 12-10-2010, 07:12 PM   #6
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I would tell the author of the article that it is possible to bottom out the suspension. It seems Motorcycle Cruiser and other mags send smaller people for these tests which can be a different experience than even the average rider or someone that is above average (Mike Seate is an exception). I test rode the voyager and I can tell you it does have a bottom and it doesn't take a bad road to find it. If you go on a road with undulations at speed, you'll find the limitations quickly.

I have nothing against the Voyager per se, but I wish they'd get these bikes on a diet and add more steam. The Kawasaki 1700 is a very mellow engine power wise for it's displacement. I'd be surprised if it did much better than a 96.
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Old 12-11-2010, 09:31 AM   #7
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I enjoyed the article and photos. Nicely done. I haven't noticed the videos we were seeing a while back; have they been dropped?

About the bike: the dash has a retro-cool look to it. You have to go to the CVO option on HD to get the same color-matched motif. But what about those turbine intakes on either side of the fairing? Are those functional air vents? Leave it to Kawi (Z1000) to push the styling just a bit too far. The "plump" front tire is pleasing. It resembles the one I've been growing since I quit smoking.
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Old 12-11-2010, 09:53 AM   #8
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When you consider the 2005-2008 Nomads had a 150, the 130 ont eh Vaquero doesn't seen that big and probably helps low speed handling a bit.

I love the red vaquero. If I had some extra cash and could buy a second bike, I'd consider it. It's a lot prettier than the Nomad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morbo the Destroyer View Post
I enjoyed the article and photos. Nicely done. I haven't noticed the videos we were seeing a while back; have they been dropped?

About the bike: the dash has a retro-cool look to it. You have to go to the CVO option on HD to get the same color-matched motif. But what about those turbine intakes on either side of the fairing? Are those functional air vents? Leave it to Kawi (Z1000) to push the styling just a bit too far. The "plump" front tire is pleasing. It resembles the one I've been growing since I quit smoking.
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Old 12-11-2010, 09:57 AM   #9
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Nicely written article. I liked the break down of all the changes for the 1700 Vulcan line as a whole this year. I think they have been listening some owners concerns about shift and belt noise. I would like to point out though that the Nomad's floor boards are not pushed forward like the 1700 Classic & LT though. They share the same controls as the Voyager. (Unless there was a change for next year). I have to say for the price the Vaquero is a nice package. If my riding didn't require more storage and passenger comfort I wouldn't mind having that hot little red number in my garage =).
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Old 12-11-2010, 10:25 AM   #10
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While telling us all the changes and every little specification might be important to some, I found the article short on riding critique. Anyone can peruse the marketing literature and get most of the information and een discern differences if they are so inclined to do the research. What gets lost in a lot of writing is the experience. That is primarily why we read these articles as we can't test ride everything out there.

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Originally Posted by Matt7even View Post
Nicely written article. I liked the break down of all the changes for the 1700 Vulcan line as a whole this year. I think they have been listening some owners concerns about shift and belt noise. I would like to point out though that the Nomad's floor boards are not pushed forward like the 1700 Classic & LT though. They share the same controls as the Voyager. (Unless there was a change for next year). I have to say for the price the Vaquero is a nice package. If my riding didn't require more storage and passenger comfort I wouldn't mind having that hot little red number in my garage =).
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