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Old 01-28-2011, 03:37 PM   #1
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Default 2011 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero vs. 2011 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Custom


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2011 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero vs. 2011 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Custom

Please discuss the Motorcycle.com article 2011 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero vs. 2011 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Custom 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 01-28-2011, 03:54 PM   #2
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What a well-written shoot-out. Nice to see the Fonz snapping shutters again. I still like the HD bustus, maybe it's just the lines and all that, because from far awaw the Kawasaki looks like a plastic model. Maybe it's the color, if it were turned out in dark green or black I think it would look better myself, and not something glued together by a 12 year old.
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Old 01-28-2011, 04:00 PM   #3
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Red face Aw, shucks.

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Originally Posted by mscuddy View Post
What a well-written shoot-out. Nice to see the Fonz snapping shutters again. I still like the HD bustus, maybe it's just the lines and all that, because from far awaw the Kawasaki looks like a plastic model. Maybe it's the color, if it were turned out in dark green or black I think it would look better myself, and not something glued together by a 12 year old.
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Old 01-28-2011, 06:25 PM   #4
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Agree, nicely written objective article about a type of bike that evokes a strong emotional response in it's owners.

Given the state of the US economy, I am a bit baffled how HD can charge 22K for this bike, especially with Victory on the scene. The US dollar is tattered compared to the Yen. Harley could be in the historically unusual position of being a "bargain" compared to the foreign competition. The SG as tested "Power Pak" and all should cost at least 3K less. At 18.5K say, paying a bit extra for the Harley over the Kawasaki is viable. 6K plus more feels like they are ramming it where the sun doesn't shine. No thanks, no sale.

In marketing consumer items, there is a perception that when you pay more, you get more. Even if something is really good, if it is priced too low, consumers perceive it as "cheap" and they buy a more expensive item. You see a lot of this in the grocery store. In most cases, I buy the generic store brand and pocket the savings. That cereal is all made by General Mills anyway. In the SG's case it would seem that when you are buying a Harley you are simply paying more for the "image". All well and good, but 6K plus more, well that is just too much of a reach. Don't care that much about "image".

The Vic Cross Country splits the difference. More expensive than a Kawasaki, less than a Harley, quite a bit more powerful and better functioning than both, but perhaps lacking some engine character compared to the HD, but it is an American machine.

If buying today, I would buy the Victory hands down. I want to buy American. I really do. If buying a new car or truck, I go Ford all the way. I am proud of Ford. HD just makes it impossible for me to feel that attachment. Victory? Hell ya. I feel it. I likely will buy a bike of this type in about 10 years when I have more of an opportunity to ramble long distances on a bike.

I found Victory is using the entire MO comparo between the SG, Vic and Strat on their website. You guys should be flattered The MO writeup is the 3rd link down, on the left.

2010 Victory Motorcycle Community : Community Blogs

Pretty straight up of Victory to do that, because not all is roses with their bike. As a package though, it seems like quite a machine. Also straight up of Victory to acknowledge in their marketing that Harley created this segment.

Oh well. Those are my thoughts. Nice writeup guys. Enjoyed seeing the Rock Store. Used to hang out there from time to time back in the day!

Last edited by Duken4evr : 01-28-2011 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 01-28-2011, 06:43 PM   #5
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Well-reasoned thoughts, Duken. Thanks for classing up the joint!
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Old 01-28-2011, 07:19 PM   #6
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I say the Kawi gets a ten point deduction for the name alone.

Alliteration ain't that important when you end up with Vulcan Vaquero.
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Old 01-28-2011, 08:24 PM   #7
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Great review boys. You guys should have guest riders more often.

I agree with Cuddy. The Kawi looks a little chintzy. OTOH, it's a shame H-D feels the need to slam everything. I'd never buy any of the lowered offerings and I like the RG.

This also puts to rest the "modern engine" argument. Same displacement. Same specs.
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Old 01-28-2011, 09:15 PM   #8
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My humble suggestions to Kawasaki:

1} Lose the torpedo tubes on the fairing. It is a bike, not a submarine.

2) Fire whoever named this thing. Lose the "Vulcan" name too. It is just silly.

3) Find another 10 to 15 hp in that more modern engine design. It can't have the character and sound of the Harley, so it needs to significantly out power it to stand apart.

4) Take a cue from Victory. Add inverted forks and a bit more travel to smooth the ride. On an 800 pound blunderbuss of a bike, the more rigid inverted forks add steering precision. They look good too.

Do the above and the "as yet to be renamed Kawasaki Bagger" would be "fixed". As the ever hilarious John Hodgeman on the Daily Show would say "You're Welcome!"

Last edited by Duken4evr : 01-29-2011 at 07:30 AM.
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Old 01-30-2011, 01:36 PM   #9
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Default The lamer the engine the more character it has

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Originally Posted by Duken4evr View Post
The Vic Cross Country splits the difference. More expensive than a Kawasaki, less than a Harley, quite a bit more powerful and better functioning than both, but perhaps lacking some engine character compared to the HD, but it is an American machine.
Victory has substantially more power and torq so how could it be possibly lacking engine character compared to HD? Looks, sound, smell, touchy-feely surfaces? Does the color match your handbag? Engine's main purpose is to produce some movimiento for crying out loud.

- cruiz-euro
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Old 01-30-2011, 02:10 PM   #10
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"We like the shape of the Kawi’s bags and how well they integrate with the bike’s styling"

I was with you the whole way until I hit this line. Riva has one of these in the showroom, and the bag/bike interface was so weird looking I actually stopped and stared at it. Did you not notice the goofy shape they made the back side of the bag trying to get it to fit? And didn't the bags have a really ugly gap if you sight down the length of the bike?

HD's top-loading bags are indeed worth their weight in gold. I'm so sick of trying to cram gear into the low side Givi bag on my bike. Why are top loading bags so hard to make?

Raja, did a Harly rider run over your dog when you were a kid? Did your Mom run off and leave the family on the back of a Road King? Geez, it's just a motorcycle.
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