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2009 H-D Electra Glide vs Kawasaki Voyager

Thursday, August 27, 2009
The Electra Glide has a 0.7-gallon larger tank  6 gallons to 5.3 and averaged about three more miles per gallon in comparison to the Voyager.
Look out, coming through! The 2009 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide and the 2009 Kawasaki Vulcan Voyager duke it out for bragging rights as king of the V-Twin-powered touring motorcycles.
Harley-Davidson’s Ultra Classic Electra Glide is the gold standard in classic luxury-touring motorcycles. Since its introduction in 1988, the Electra Glide has become an iconic image on American roadways. Easily identified by its big ‘batwing’ front fairing, with one of the cushiest perches around in the form of its wide leather seat, passenger accommodations that rival a La-Z-Boy recliner and storage galore courtesy of its Tour Pak system, Harley-Davidson’s top-shelf touring motorcycle has been a best seller for two decades. A recent trip to Sturgis validated these claims, as Electra Glide owners gathered by the thousands.
The Kawasaki Voyager is no stranger to the luxury-touring game either. Its inception stemmed from the development of Kawasaki’s KZ1300 in 1979, a liquid-cooled, six-cylinder, DOHC power cruiser that was eventually outfitted with touring accoutrements and marketed as Kawasaki’s first full dress touring bike, the ‘Voyager,’ in 1983. In 1986, Kawasaki trimmed the six-cylinder engine down to four. The new 1200cc Inline-Four Voyager enjoyed a lengthy production run up until 2003, when it was discontinued due in part to sagging sales numbers.

This year, Kawasaki reintroduced the Voyager, only this time with a V-Twin engine clearly chosen to appeal to the American V-Twin touring segment. Based on the preexisting powerplant developed in its Vulcan line of cruisers, the
The 2009 Kawasaki Vulcan VoyagerThe 2009 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide
Even with a retro-influenced front fairing, the 2009 Voyager sports a more modern, streamlined look than the classic countenance of the 2009 Ultra Classic Electra Glide.
new 52-degree V-Twin boasts 1700cc of highway-cruising power. The new Voyager also has been technologically updated with a fully electronic throttle valve system and Kawasaki’s Advanced Coactive Braking Technology (K-ACT). It sources muscle car-inspired styling to further appeal to its intended demographic and sports a lower selling point than its American counterpart.

Harley’s Electra Glide hasn’t been resting on its laurels, though. Last year, H-D took huge steps toward making its luxury-touring motorcycle even better. The time-honored, stamped and welded single-piece frame was replaced by a cast single-spar, rigid-backbone frame that gave the big tourer a 70-lb greater load capacity. The upgraded chassis has a wider, longer, stiffer swingarm to go along with a bolt-on tail frame. Modern conveniences like ABS and an electronic throttle control system also enhanced the motorcycle’s marketability. New mounts gave the vaunted Tour Pak system even greater load capacity, and a fourth rubber engine mount helped smooth out the ride. Evolution is necessary if you aim to stay on top of the game.
The motorcycle touring segment has always catered to the more affluent demographic of motorcyclists. Its average rider is older, has a bigger bank account and generally more leisure time to hit the open road. So reinvesting resources to tap into some of that market is a smart move by Kawasaki. But how does the first metric V-Twin-powered full dress touring motorcycle stack up to the ‘gold standard,’ Harley-Davidson’s Electra Glide? Motorcycle USA would spend five days finding out, cruising California’s Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Monica to San Diego, rolling through the hills of Ortega Highway, then finally scaling the mountain on the wondrous patch of pavement that runs up to Big Bear, known as the Rim of the World Highway. We stuffed the saddlebags and spent many of those miles two-up, because that’s how these motorcycles were intended to roll, right? In the end, the two match-up favorably, but only one gets the nod in this V-Twin touring motorcycle comparo.

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Ol' Dirty -Other Bikes??  July 22, 2010 10:13 AM
I had one of those other bikes, now I ride an HD Electra Glides from the past year. My other bikes had WAY LESS maintence issue and cost less on simple repairs....but my great looking HD, darn it...be ready to dig deep into your patckets for simple repairs and services. You will pay to own a Harley Davidson, you will pay Big. If sending lots of money is on issue....dawg be a HOG!!
Voyager Man -09 Voyager  November 29, 2009 07:58 AM
I have a 09 Voyager and now I wonder why I didn't get rid of my HD sooner. There is no comparison. My Voyager rides better, gets better gas mileage and the big plus, I do not have to deal with those HD dealers anymore. I also agree with Commander Crusty. The BMW R1200RT is one hell of a bike. A guy that rides in our group has one and I must admit that everyone is just a little envious of him. That bike has everything a Honda Leadwing has minus about 400Lbs.
Dan M -2010 ultra classic  November 11, 2009 02:50 PM
anyoyne feal the all the bumps the bone chilling shocks that go though your body,while just on surface streets?
milwaukee mike -HD is better than Kawasaki  November 7, 2009 08:59 AM
And here is the proof.
John Castelow -09 Kawasaki Vulcan Voyager 1700  October 13, 2009 05:15 PM
A Nice Riding Machine.
John Castelow -09 Kawasaki Vulcan Voyager 1700  October 13, 2009 05:03 PM
I love my new bike, and my wife goes with me and it makes it better, it rides nice and my wife likes how comfortable it is when she rides, plenty of power, the only complaint is it's a little heavy up front.
rainman -There is only 1 touring bike  October 7, 2009 07:41 PM
The valkyrie interstate is the only true touring bike. I have had goldwing's and that was like driving a ragtop with windows rolled up and the heater on. the HD I had will there was always something going wrong with it.
Bagger -Harley HP  October 6, 2009 11:51 AM
Woo ho - 68HP - No wonder those Harley morons put loud pipes on there bikes. At least they can sound like they have some HP. ha ha ha......
skeeter -GB  October 4, 2009 02:26 PM
how much hp do u need? where would u use it. does anyone know how much hp the Smart Car puts out? if u want hp and ride like an a**hole, GB, buy a crotch rocket or Boss Hoss. u r a moron!
GB -WTF??  October 3, 2009 03:19 PM
Harley with 68 horsepower stock!! hahahahahahaha, i'd be embarrassed to ride that thing
Commander Crusty -New Kaw is a Cow  September 29, 2009 08:26 AM
I owned a Kawasaki Voyager 1200 and it was a great bike. Comfortable. Fun to ride. My wife loved it and so did I. So, of course, we had to check out the new Voyager. What a disappointment! Too bike. Too heavy. Too clunky. Ick! My wife and I were both disappointed. To be honest, I don't think I want the Road Glide either, but the new BMW R1200RT looks pretty good. The BMW costs about the same, has more power, is just as comfortable, handles better and weights hundreds of pounds less. We certainly won't be buying a new Cow.
HDBreeze -Well...  September 20, 2009 05:22 PM
I have owned several Electra Glides over the years, and currently own a 2000 Road Glide with over 160,000 miles on the odo. The Kawasaki and the Harley are both great looking bikes. The pictures in the article don't do either bike any justice. You really need to see them in person before passing judgement. The Kawi obviously gets it's styling cues from the Harley, so if you don't care for the look of the H-D Ultra, you won't like the Voyager. I think we can all agree, they both look way better than the previous Voyager, and hands down nicer than that oversized scooter on steroids, Victory Vision! Luckily, there is such a large selection of bikes on the market to fit everyone's budget and tastes.
Bob Bennett -Touring bikes  September 9, 2009 04:53 AM
There is only 1 touring bike - Goldwing.
scooters -scootters  September 6, 2009 11:40 PM
The motorcycle touring segment has always catered to the more affluent demographic of motorcyclists.
Larry -Kidding me?  August 29, 2009 02:27 AM
The King of the V-Twin-powered touring motorcycles would be the Vision. Either of these bikes would be out-gunned if that bike were included in this comaparison.

As for the Cross Country, it would be more comparable to the Street Glide than the Ultra.

Tim B -Pete  August 28, 2009 08:41 AM
Pete, that's pretty much what I'm saying. They're both ugly, but the Kawi is even fuglier. The HD looks pretty when sitting next to the Kawi.
Pete -So Tim...  August 27, 2009 08:46 PM
"The Kawi is a fugly imitation. And, unless you're a bold-faced lying Kawi fan, there's no denying it modeled its bike after the HD".

So Tim, you're saying the Harley is ugly and Kawasaki did a good job or replicating that ugliness?
Glenn -Victory  August 27, 2009 02:12 PM
Would like to see this comparo with the Victory Cross country in this mix.
Tim B -Wow  August 27, 2009 09:11 AM
I never thought I'd say this about Harley baggers/touring bike, but the Harley is much better looking than the Kawi. The Kawi is a fugly imitation. And, unless you're a bold-faced lying Kawi fan, there's no denying it modeled its bike after the HD.