Here’s what we love about the Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero
When we think of big, bulky baggers and cruisers, Harley Davidson and Indian Motorcycles are the instant names that spring to mind. Japanese motorcycles were never known for casual cruisers, but we have our favorites among Kawa’s little cruiser potential. Corn Kawasaki changed that way in 1984 with the Vulcan 750. It more or less remained behind the curtains as iconic as the Ninja and Z ranges were the ones in the spotlight.
As it evolved, the Vulcan proved to be quite the capable tourer and cruiser that could lock the horns with the prestigious Harley-Davidsons. And the Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero took matters into its own hands by adding a clean bobber flavor to the recipe. This is an underrated bobber style cruiser that is a good combination of Japanese precision, artistic form factor, and lots of chrome! The Vaquero was launched in 2011 by Kawa to take on the very dominant Harley-Davidson Street Glide.
It was certainly a risky move, but they kept going anyway. Calling him a Harley killer would be a wacky statement, but it sure doesn’t fall off. This mid-range touring cruiser is a fine fusion of Japanese engineering and the muscular appeal of the old-school American 2-wheeler. It’s a rare combination and a crucial part of what makes the Vulcan 1700 Vaquero a beautiful machine.
The Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero combines modern engineering and old school vibes for a comfortable nationwide experience.
Races a ‘smooth’, punchy V-Twin engine
Large bulky baggers are usually characterized by cranky V-twin with lots of torque. The Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero also has the same characters but also added smoothness. This is not surprising, because a Japanese motorcycle engine is always known for its smoothness and refinement.
The Vaquero is powered by the same Voyager’s same 1700cc SOHC 52-degree SOHC V-twin engine, but adds more oomph to the performance graph with 81 HP and 108 lb-ft of comfortable torque and is mated to a gearbox at 6 speeds. Horses added in relation to Voyager are with an ECU card set. Its 5.3 gallon fuel tank is also sufficient for long highway trips. The performance offered by this big boy is quite manageable for the size.
Airy and comfortable, even on long winding roads
This Jap weighs 836 pounds, which is heavier than a basic Harley Davidson Street Glide that weighs 827 pounds. But the Vaquero impresses us with its agility and inspires confidence even in the corners. Lightweight aluminum wheels with 130 section front tires and 170 section rear tire combined with its manually adjustable dual rear shocks give plenty of ground to play in and instill confidence.
The rider’s triangle is well preserved and despite this Kawa having an eponymous visor, you are not that tired. Plus, the blast of the wind hits the torso and legs, and the overall experience and does not feel muted. Both rider and passenger are fairly comfortable despite the saddle feeling narrower towards the rear. Although it is derived from the Voyager, Kawasaki has improved the ergonomic situation with the seat pushed back a bit and the floorboards move more than an inch.
A modern and stylish Bobber based on the Voyager
Baggers are the coolest cruisers and feature understated body panels. And this is the major aspect with which Voyager can be distinguished from Vaquero. There’s more wind on the face, and the small windshield, while non-functional, adds greatly to the aesthetic drama.
The shortage of chrome adds a spooky vibe to this pretty cool bagger. Perfectly integrated saddlebags and storage under the saddle for helmets! For 2022, the Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero comes in one color – matte graphene steel gray metallic.
Technological features are as important as the bicycle
Kawasaki has equipped the Vaquero with features to keep it ready for the long haul. It comes with unified ABS braking, electronic cruise control and a cockpit filled with buttons and LCD screens. The instrument cluster is still a fully analog layout, which makes things quite nostalgic in the age of TFT displays. It has a healthy radio / stereo unit that tries to create an old-fashioned vibe, but its LCD screen gives it away.
This unit comes with FM, AM, WX bands and is also compatible with optional Apple iPod, XM tuner or CB radio. The huge analog dials in the instrument cluster layout sandwich a large LCD console with switchable displays that include a gear position indicator, fuel gauge, clock, odometer, two tripometers, the remaining range and average fuel consumption. There is nothing like too much data!
A practical bagger that is also a good touring companion
It’s very difficult to put “cruiser”, “corner carver” and “smooth engine character” on the same page, but the Kawasaki 1700 Vulcan Voyager does it quite well. The smoothness of the engine is still on the table for an argument, but its character contrasts sharply with its rivals like the Yamaha Star Eluder and the Indian Challenger, except for its nemesis – HD Road Glide. The addition of saddlebags and storage under the saddle makes this Kawasaki a very practical bagger, always ready for the rides.
Sources: Kawasaki.com, Cycleworld.com, Ultimatemotorcycling.com, Wikiepdia.org
The 2022 Kawasaki Versys 1000 adds 2 new trims and adds more “value for money” to this versatile ADV tourer.
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