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2009 Kawasaki Vulcan Voyager Comparison

Thursday, August 27, 2009
Kawasaki brought back the Voyager after a six-year absence. Big Greens new touring motorcycle features a 52-degree V-Twin engine  an electronic throttle valve system  and Kawasakis Advanced Coactive Braking Technology.
Kawasaki brought back the Voyager after a six-year absence. Big Green's new touring motorcycle features a 52-degree V-Twin engine, an electronic throttle valve system, and Kawasaki’s Advanced Coactive Braking Technology.
Once in motion, the importance of bringing the big bikes to a halt is paramount. Harley improved its braking performance by leaps and bounds when it switched to four-piston fixed Brembo calipers and developed ABS for its tourers. The 2009 Electra Glide features dual 11.81-inch discs up front and a single fixed rotor on the back. The dual front discs provide a solid bite, and the independent system provides ample stopping power. The version we tested was equipped with ABS, a $795 optional upgrade, which helps keep the motorcycle upright under heavy braking situations but still pulses hard underfoot when engaged.
 
The 2009 Voyager has a linked braking system called Kawasaki’s Advanced Coactive Braking Technology that works in conjunction with its ABS. The front is anchored by dual 300mm discs with dual Tokico twin-piston calipers, while a single 300mm disc operates out back with twin-piston pinchers. Pressure sensors at each master cylinder detect braking force while the ECU is measuring speed. The ECU figures out the optimal amount of braking force needed for the situation and pumps the perfect balance of brake fluid to the front right caliper and rear caliper. Grab a handful of front brake, and the system will activate the right hand front caliper on the rear brake as well. The Voyager’s ABS kicks in only under hard braking, and its pulse is much less noticeable than the Harley’s. There’s also less front-end dive under heavy braking situations. To get a Voyager with anti-lock brakes, add $1100 to the $16,799 sticker price.
 
The Voyager has Kawasakis Advanced Coactive-Braking Technology and ABS that intrude with a quicker brake modulation.  The front end on the Electra Glide features a 17 in. front tire wrapped around a new  black 28-spoke cast aluminum wheel.
The Voyager has Kawasaki's Advanced Coactive-Braking Technology and ABS that intrudes with quicker brake modulation (top). The front end on the Electra Glide features a 17 in. front tire wrapped around a new, black 28-spoke cast aluminum wheel. It also has Brembo brakes and ABS.
“Both brakes on the Voyager are more powerful and deliver better feel than the H-D’s. The ABS system was also better with it intruding with a quicker brake modulation, resulting in shorter stopping distance,” said Waheed.

Now that we’ve discussed engines, handling, and brakes on the two V-Twin-powered touring motorcycles, it’s time to analyze ergos and amenities. The Harley-Davidson Electra Glide, despite having a 2.1-inch shorter wheelbase, features a roomier, more comfortable rider’s triangle. The thickly padded leather one-piece, two-up classic leather is one of the cushiest seats you’ll find on a stock motorcycle. If you’re trying to go ‘Iron Butt,’ then the Electra Glide’s saddle would be my saddle of choice. It sits 27.3 inches high and the forward-mounted, full-length rider floorboards allow for a comfortable leg stretch. The upright riding position situated my six-foot-tall frame so that the front windscreen sits right at eye level, and I often found myself ducking slightly on turns to get a clear field of view. The windscreen, vented lower fairings, and adjustable fairing wind deflectors adequately shelter a rider from windblast. Long highway stretches gave me plenty of opportunities to crank up the 80-watt, 4-speaker advanced audio system by Harman/Kardon. The fork-mounted front fairing features an electronic speedometer with odometer, clock on the CD player/stereo, dual tripmeters and a slew of indicator lights. I didn’t use the CB and intercom system that comes standard, but I did utilize the cruise control. Its housing on the right handlebar is easy to manipulate with gloved fingers, and the system kept speed constant and steady.

The rider’s triangle on the Kawasaki Voyager has the distinction of being the most compact ergos I’ve experienced on a touring motorcycle. The seat sits higher than the Electra Glides at 28.7 inches and the upright riding position is about the same, but it’s a short reach to the bars and the 5.3 gallon tank isn’t nearly as wide. The rider floorboards are in tight, leaving you in an attentive, almost studious-feeling riding position. It’s comfortable for short runs, but at six-feet tall, it became cramped over long hauls. Waheed, who is about the same height, conveyed the similar sentiments.

“Ergonomics were mixed,” he says. “I actually felt a bit cramped on the Voyager as compared to the H-D. The seat also wasn’t as comfortable.”

The Voyager has its own soft, sculpted leather seat, but it doesn’t have the same amount of backside cushion as the Harley. Its large front windscreen, muscle-car styled front fairing, and leg shields with adjustable vents provided just as good a buffer from the wind as the Glide. The windscreen also sits at a better height for me and didn’t obstruct my field
The cockpit of the 2009 Voyager is a combination of dial speedo and tach gauges with a digital display for the odometer mpg  gear indicator  and standard clock.
The cockpit of the 2009 Voyager is a combination of dial speedo and tach gauges with a digital display for the odometer,mpg, gear indicator, and standard clock.
of view. Cranking up the tunes on the 40-watt system didn’t quite compare to the kickin’ audio system of the H-D, which is understandable considering it is a two-speaker system instead of four. The cockpit is a mix of analog and digital displays, with a dial speedo, tach, fuel and coolant temperature gauges combined with a centrally-located LCD display. The digital readout has a gear position indicator, clock, a display that tells you remaining range and tallies average fuel consumption and dual trip meters. Controls for the array of electronics are regulated by housings on both handlebars, and while they are more intuitively arranged than the Electra Glide’s, accessing the lower two buttons on the three-button tall housing requires long fingers. The cruise control is simple enough to manipulate and can be activated in third gear or above at speeds between 30 and 85mph, but the cruise control had a habit of surging on me.

I give Kawasaki’s styling department props for the hot rod-inspired design of the Voyager. The uniquely-shaped frame-mounted front fairing was the topic of many conversations during gas station stops. The rounded saddlebags add to the aerodynamics of the bike, and the top-loading bags are wider and easier to access than the Harley’s. The lockable, color-matched bags have a healthy 38 liters of storage each, but the latches are a little touchy and require a firm push to get them snapped into place. The trunk doesn’t quite have the capacity of the Electra Glide’s Tour Pak, but there’s still room for plenty of travel necessities with 50 liters of storage space. But the Voyager’s overall fit and finish isn’t as r
The Kawasaki Voyager has the most compact riding triangle of any luxury touring motorcycle Ive ridden.
The Kawasaki Voyager has the most compact riding triangle of any luxury touring motorcycle I've ridden.
efined as the Harley’s, as plastic bits and pieces don’t have the same luster as finished metal.

The Harley-Davidson Electra Glide’s fit and finish is top-notch. As Waheed notes, “Everything fits together perfectly and all of the individual components have a very solid, weighty feel.” From its ‘batwing’ fairing to its sweeping front fender down to details like the chrome crash guards on the saddlebags, the Electra Glide is classic and classy. Its seat and wrap-around passenger backrest are an unbeatable combination, and the GTX saddlebags, with 64 liter of total storage and the capacious, 70.79 liter Tour Pak topcase, provide plenty of long haul storage capacity. Its six-gallon fuel tank and better gas mileage equate to a few more miles in between stops.
 
The 2009 Kawasaki Vulcan Voyager is a strong new contestant in
Sitting on a mountain top overlooking Lake Elsinore  our man Adam Waheed contemplates taking up a new hobby - hang gliding.
The 2009 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide remains the king of the mountain in V-Twin touring motorcycles.
the classic-styled V-Twin touring sector. Its torque-filled engine, solid brakes, cool retro front fairing, and $16,799 price tag make it a great buy. The chassis is close to being dialed in but still needs a few tweaks, and the extra horsepower it produces comes at the expense of engine noise and vibrations. The 2009 Ultra Classic Electra Glide is down on power, but runs with fewer vibrations, gets better gas mileage, and its larger tank gives it better range. The Glide’s stability at both high and low speeds is impressive, and cornering can actually be fun. Its brakes aren’t quite as good as the Voyager’s, but the disparity is marginal. The differences in fit and finish aren’t so close, though, as the Electra Glide’s classic lines are time-honored and tempered with steel. And while the Voyager makes a valiant return, it lacks the refinement of the Ultra Classic Electra Glide, the V-Twin tourer that continues to be the industry standard.

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Passenger Notes
My wife has been a passenger on numerous bikes and offered her point of view from the pillion for our test.
• My wife Angie has been on her share of motorcycles, so I enlisted the services of my favorite passenger for her perspective from the pillion on both touring motorcycles. Here’s what she had to say.

The Harley vibrated more in the passenger seat at idle because of the way it’s connected to the rear end. At high speed, the vibrations experienced at idle disappear. Still a slight buzz felt in the feet, but not in the seat. It’s got a roomy seating area. Space between rider and passenger is a little large for me (5’5”) and the seat is slick so I slide forward and back when stopping and going. The height at which a passenger sits above the rider is perfect and gives me a great view of the road.

I liked having speakers all the way around on the Harley because I couldn’t hear the music on the Voyager. But the way the speakers are mounted on the back seat compromises the comfort of the seat. A little more support in the lumbar area would be nice because the speakers don’t allow my back to sit flush.

I loved the seat on the Voyager. It has great comfort, I stuck better to the material of the seat and didn’t slide around as much. For me, it had better leg positioning than the Harley. And I really enjoyed the way the floating pads on the footboards took vibrations away from my feet.

On the Electra Glide there’s not enough room for my feet. In order to make room for the rider’s feet, the passenger has to move their feet back. Then the crash guard bar that protects the saddlebags hits right above my ankle.
 
I liked that the Voyager was loud and that people could hear us coming. It had a nice sound but it had a whine at times. I liked the sound of the Harley better.

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Comments
Paul S -Money AND Service  June 20, 2010 07:23 PM
Here is the difference I see. I ride an 08 Vulcan 2000 its not perfect but I have not another bike like it. I have MANY friends HD and my wife rides a Road Glide (i do the wrenching on it). I like it but its OVERPRICED the hd dealer here is just like the Cadillac dealer. Everything takes forever and it costs alot, U have to have the expensive warranty (my KAW has two years unlimited miles). The Ultras R manufactured from foreign parts, HD jackets,hats,leathers,ect r NOT made in the USA. SO the American made IS BULL. I buy the Voyager save $10000 keep my payments down AND service at Struthers Brothers In Des Moines takes hours not days or weeks. Harley has gotten all they can out of 70's technology. They dont have much longer to go, water cooled is coming and the price WILL sky rocket.
Get your facts right -the facts just the facts  March 24, 2010 05:25 PM
I see that they are saying that the banks bailed Harley out? No back in the 80's when the Japs were flooding the market with low cost knock offs (of Harley's of course) tarrifs were introduced to even the playng field. If you think that is unfair check and see what it costs to get a Harely in Japan. The facts are Harley only had 14% of the market becuase the japs where selling better bikes at way better prices they never flooded the market with knock offs just great motorcycles Also when did people start hating the Harley sound?? And yes it is trade marked. And no it's not trade marked and never was Harley try to in 1994 but they gave up on 2000 when they figure out there was no way to trade mark an exhaust sound
Rus-Dog -Who the "F" cares  March 14, 2010 09:11 AM
We just bought our third Harley. A 1993 1200 sporty 1st, a 1995 Heritage 2nd, and now a 2010 Ultra Classic 3rd. Everything prior was Honda. We ride every year with our freinds, and this is the 1st year that some one in our group other than us, has a Harley. There are two Kawasakis, two Suzukis, one Goldwing, and one Triumph. (a mix of cruisers/crotchs). When we are doing 110km/h in our little group, there is a smile on every face. Sure, I am now prone to keep and ride a HD, and I still get the big question, "why a Harley"? All I can say when asked is, "if I have to explain, you wouldn't understand. I just love my bike. I know the guy with the (I think its 1984 Goldwing) is leading the pack, his grin gives him sore cheeks when the ride is over. And is that not what it's all about? For those of you out there brutaly knocking the "other bike" get over your self, and enjoy the ride. Get the "who the F cares attitude, find some good freinds, hit the road, and have some fun.
Kp1708 -I've owned both.  March 10, 2010 03:38 PM
I've owned Honda, Yamaha, and Harley. Yes jap bikes are smoother, faster, and less expensive. I am on my sixth motorcycle and it is a Road King Classic(my first Harley), yes it shakes,rumbles, and could use more power. All that said, I have put more miles on my Road King than all of the others combined, it is just more enjoyable. One thing I have noticed, I ALWAYS AND I MEAN ALWAYS get comments from strangers about what a great looking bike I have (it's 10 years old), something I never got with the other jap bikes. People like what they like, don't bash others just ride and enjoy them.
jcr -president  January 23, 2010 12:00 AM
God,
I never realized these kids hate Harley so much.
I see that they are saying that the banks bailed Harley out? No back in the 80's when the Japs were flooding the market with low cost knock offs (of Harley's of course) tarrifs were introduced to even the playng field. If you think that is unfair check and see what it costs to get a Harely in Japan.
I see again the "pirate thing" where has that come from???
Also when did people start hating the Harley sound?? And yes it is trade marked. The Japs have copied everything else Harley has, both the cut and style of every bike they make is trying to make the bikes they put out look like Harley. The paint on the Jap bikes is not as clean or in this mans opinion near as nice. The chrome is just pretty plastic.
I am not saying they do not make a "fast bike or a bike that is not mechanicaly sound. They put out the best sport bikes on the market. I started out on a Kawasaki. Rode across country in the early 70's when I was discharged afer just coming back from overseas.Very easy to work on and very dependable. This was during what I call the "bowling ball" years of Harley where they earned the reputation of being "crap" deservedly so, I might add.
Of course I come from the generation of get a Harley when you can afford one. I to wish they made a more consumer friendly motorcycle.
I like everyone else gets pissed everytime I see the price of one during these hard times!
These haters here are the same people who do not wave back on the road??!!
I could care less what someone else rides just that they ride.
My choice is a Harley, but I know that is not for everyone. Some of us enjoy rocketing down the road at break neck speeds, some lie to take our time and enjoy the view.
Also I see the mantrqa of Harley shold try racing to pick up the R & D side of things.
I believe that some of the peole making those comments are not old enough to remember the days when Harley was winning all the race classes!
I would think more of the Jap bikes if they dd not try and copy every single thing about a Harley. in the early days of my youth the jap bikes looked nothing like a Harley.
Now you really have to look and listen to see what the bike is. Also some of the Jap bikes do not even have the name of the bike anywhere you can see it. You almost have to walk up and pull out a magnifying glass to find the Name, which I find particularly funny.
Keep rding and stp caring about the next guy!
Jim -Observations  December 20, 2009 07:53 AM
First of all thanks for the laughs, it's painfully evident that idiots still abound on both sides of the fence. They're just motorcycles, get over yourselves already. It's past time to work together for the good of all types/brands of bikes to get more of the non riding public on two wheels instead of four. Harley is building it's best motorcycles ever, hopefully one day they'll even build one that I'll fit on well enough to buy. At least I've rented one for a day and know it's actually a lot better than the crap they built years ago, even if it still looks primarily unchanged. I loved my 1200cc inline four Voyager in '93, it even had an adjustable trunk. Kawasaki has missed the mark completely for me this time. It was so uncomfortably cramped for me to sit on I didn't even bother to ride it. Kudos to Victory for building a better (for me) Harley in only ten years. Now put ABS as an option on the Cross Country, replace the pirate paint scheme for a pearl white choice, and you'll sell one to me next year!
bikerphoto -Forget about resale value  December 5, 2009 06:25 PM
I buy bikes to ride them, not to resell them. How is the resale value on a 10 year old Harley with 150,000 miles? By the time I'm done with them, they are all worn out. Which bike stands a better chance of making it this far -- the liquid cooled Kawi, or the air-cooled Harley?
Pat Kittle -Different decade, different millenium, same alibi...  November 3, 2009 03:07 PM
Decades ago Americans car & motorcycle manufacturers sniveled that the Japanese somehow weren't "playing fair" and got the government to protect them with tariffs.

Nowadays the American manufacturers freely admit they made crap back then, but want us believe that's all changed, and NOW they're making great stuff.

Well they were obviously lying then, and even a close-up look at what's in the showrooms tell me not much has changed. I too wish Americans made quality stuff but (with the exception of a few cottage industries) wishes don't make it so.

Let's face it, East Asians study hard in school, and that has consequences.
Grandma's coming -harley ultra limited  November 3, 2009 04:35 AM
I bought one of the limited ultra's. After 30+ years of riding honda, yamaha and suzuki, I started riding a harley. I started with the 1200 sportster, then two road kings, then an electra glide, then an ultra and now a limited. After 30+ years on jap bikes and only 9 years on harley's (I still have a v star I must admit) the harley tour is the clear winner. I'm barley 5'5", a lady rider, my 12 year old son still rides with me (my older one is tooo cool)and we will take the harley to Canada, Florida, Ca or Alaska, it matters not, the comfort, control, sound (music and pipes)harley tour is the clear winner. The resale on Harley is not just because of the name, the commitment of the company, the enjoyment and comfort they provide to the rider can not compare to any other bike in the tour category. You can squat and ride like a ninja when you're twenty (or think you are) but you won't make the miles us old farts make riding those jap jobs. And the memories collected on my old harley's make me smile every time I recount the stories. As for performance, the 103ci on my old road king out performed any bike I have ever ridden so when the ultra came out with the 103ci, I bought one right off the delivery truck, and I haven't slowed down since. Watch out guys Grandma's coming and she'll be riding a harley.....
Not HD Rider -Harley  October 15, 2009 08:52 AM
The pool of people willing to spend too much money for the opportunity to ride slowly and dress up like one of the village people is not bottomless and Harley better pay attention. What happens when all the credit boomers stop dressing up like pirates and can't hold up a 900-lb bike? Loud pipes save lives and other BS like that is what makes decent people hate HD.
Einstein -Clash of the Boat Anchors  October 14, 2009 09:02 PM
Shame on Kawasaki for dummying down their technological evolution to match wits with a dinosaur. Harleys have had their run with the know little or nothing about motorcycle crowd but lets face it that well has run dry. Resale is now laughable, all one needs is a visit to craigslist to verify that. Besides, what good is resale when the asking price was way out of line for what you get anyway. For the same money as the Electra Sled I can have a Gold Wing that is more comfortable, way better built, light years more reliable and efficient and as a bonus comes with a tow strap to help your buddy's HD make it over the Continental Divide as the Wing packs twice the horsepower and way more torque. Looking forward to the day when we here in the US can build a true performance based motorcycle and leave the underpowered bling-anchors back on the under used drawing board. Wouldn't hurt HD to give racing a try again to improve the breed like every other manufacturer on the planet instead of giving up when your bikes break or under perform. Yes that costs MONEY, but if you want to be mentioned in the same breath with Honda in terms of just about every standard a motorcycle can be measured, you have to start somewhere. We all saw what a real V-Twin can be when Italy and Japan decided to build them, 1000cc gems that we here in the US seriously do not even have the technological know how to CLONE, let alone develop. My mom always told me that if you can get a motorcycle that is half the displacement and weight with twice the horsepower and cool factor for half the money buy it. And I did.
Einstein -Clash of the Boat Anchors  October 14, 2009 09:01 PM
Shame on Kawasaki for dummying down their technological evolution to match wits with a dinosaur. Harleys have had their run with the know little or nothing about motorcycle crowd but lets face it that well has run dry. Resale is now laughable, all one needs is a visit to craigslist to verify that. Besides, what good is resale when the asking price was way out of line for what you get anyway. For the same money as the Electra Sled I can have a Gold Wing that is more comfortable, way better built, light years more reliable and efficient and as a bonus comes with a tow strap to help your buddy's HD make it over the Continental Divide as the Wing packs twice the horsepower and way more torque. Looking forward to the day when we here in the US can build a true performance based motorcycle and leave the underpowered bling-anchors back on the under used drawing board. Wouldn't hurt HD to give racing a try again to improve the breed like every other manufacturer on the planet instead of giving up when your bikes break or under perform. Yes that costs MONEY, but if you want to be mentioned in the same breath with Honda in terms of just about every standard a motorcycle can be measured, you have to start somewhere. We all saw what a real V-Twin can be when Italy and Japan decided to build them, 1000cc gems that we here in the US seriously do not even have the technological know how to CLONE, let alone develop. My mom always told me that if you can get a motorcycle that is half the displacement and weight with twice the horsepower and cool factor for half the money buy it. And I did.
Einstein -Clash of the Boat Anchors  October 14, 2009 09:00 PM
Shame on Kawasaki for dummying down their technological evolution to match wits with a dinosaur. Harleys have had their run with the know little or nothing about motorcycle crowd but lets face it that well has run dry. Resale is now laughable, all one needs is a visit to craigslist to verify that. Besides, what good is resale when the asking price was way out of line for what you get anyway. For the same money as the Electra Sled I can have a Gold Wing that is more comfortable, way better built, light years more reliable and efficient and as a bonus comes with a tow strap to help your buddy's HD make it over the Continental Divide as the Wing packs twice the horsepower and way more torque. Looking forward to the day when we here in the US can build a true performance based motorcycle and leave the underpowered bling-anchors back on the under used drawing board. Wouldn't hurt HD to give racing a try again to improve the breed like every other manufacturer on the planet instead of giving up when your bikes break or under perform. Yes that costs MONEY, but if you want to be mentioned in the same breath with Honda in terms of just about every standard a motorcycle can be measured, you have to start somewhere. We all saw what a real V-Twin can be when Italy and Japan decided to build them, 1000cc gems that we here in the US seriously do not even have the technological know how to CLONE, let alone develop. My mom always told me that if you can get a motorcycle that is half the displacement and weight with twice the horsepower and cool factor for half the money buy it. And I did.
Einstein -Clash of the Boat Anchors  October 14, 2009 09:00 PM
Shame on Kawasaki for dummying down their technological evolution to match wits with a dinosaur. Harleys have had their run with the know little or nothing about motorcycle crowd but lets face it that well has run dry. Resale is now laughable, all one needs is a visit to craigslist to verify that. Besides, what good is resale when the asking price was way out of line for what you get anyway. For the same money as the Electra Sled I can have a Gold Wing that is more comfortable, way better built, light years more reliable and efficient and as a bonus comes with a tow strap to help your buddy's HD make it over the Continental Divide as the Wing packs twice the horsepower and way more torque. Looking forward to the day when we here in the US can build a true performance based motorcycle and leave the underpowered bling-anchors back on the under used drawing board. Wouldn't hurt HD to give racing a try again to improve the breed like every other manufacturer on the planet instead of giving up when your bikes break or under perform. Yes that costs MONEY, but if you want to be mentioned in the same breath with Honda in terms of just about every standard a motorcycle can be measured, you have to start somewhere. We all saw what a real V-Twin can be when Italy and Japan decided to build them, 1000cc gems that we here in the US seriously do not even have the technological know how to CLONE, let alone develop. My mom always told me that if you can get a motorcycle that is half the displacement and weight with twice the horsepower and cool factor for half the money buy it. And I did.
Einstein -Clash of the Boat Anchors  October 14, 2009 08:59 PM
Shame on Kawasaki for dummying down their technological evolution to match wits with a dinosaur. Harleys have had their run with the know little or nothing about motorcycle crowd but lets face it that well has run dry. Resale is now laughable, all one needs is a visit to craigslist to verify that. Besides, what good is resale when the asking price was way out of line for what you get anyway. For the same money as the Electra Sled I can have a Gold Wing that is more comfortable, way better built, light years more reliable and efficient and as a bonus comes with a tow strap to help your buddy's HD make it over the Continental Divide as the Wing packs twice the horsepower and way more torque. Looking forward to the day when we here in the US can build a true performance based motorcycle and leave the underpowered bling-anchors back on the under used drawing board. Wouldn't hurt HD to give racing a try again to improve the breed like every other manufacturer on the planet instead of giving up when your bikes break or under perform. Yes that costs MONEY, but if you want to be mentioned in the same breath with Honda in terms of just about every standard a motorcycle can be measured, you have to start somewhere. We all saw what a real V-Twin can be when Italy and Japan decided to build them, 1000cc gems that we here in the US seriously do not even have the technological know how to CLONE, let alone develop. My mom always told me that if you can get a motorcycle that is half the displacement and weight with twice the horsepower and cool factor for half the money buy it. And I did.
jess -Of course the Harley is a better buy  October 9, 2009 03:09 PM
Harleys are just like Toyota Camrys. Is a Toyota Camry better than, say, a Mazda 6? Nope. Is it better than a Nissan Altima? Nope. So why is the Camry a better buy? Simple- because it retains a good resale value. People buy Camrys. Which becomes the rationale for other people buying Camrys.
Same with Harleys. You buy them because you know there are plenty of other people who would do the same, thus reassuring the resale value.
critter -why waste youre money  September 25, 2009 05:15 PM
why waste youre money on a weird model from the orient; my memories of them are built by cheap labor ; pot- metal ; mass produced; throw - away bikes. has any thing changed???weird to work on and nobody knows how to service them-
JimBob -Trademarked?  September 3, 2009 11:48 AM
"The synchronicity between engine and pipes results in an exhaust note so recognizable it has been trademarked by Harley-Davidson" You'd figure a guy named Harley would know that H-D was refused its request to have its sound trademarked. Must be all that beer drinking with Willie G!
Harvey Connection -Why so Expensive?  September 3, 2009 11:42 AM
I have friends who have both bikes and I rode both. Both are great bikes. I would buy the HD if the prices were close. The HD is not worth $6,000 more.
Styride -What it tales  September 2, 2009 01:03 PM
My experience is 53 years now of riding all types of bikes but mainly tour-cruisers of many makes since 1990 as I aged and sports bikes are fun but my reflexes are not up to full or even 8/10 usage on my R1 or GXR 750 . I lived 23 years in Europe ( over 18 nations)both East-West. Asia 8 years, and So.America 2+. So am I qualified to discuss the 2 bikes compared here.Well, I own both in slightly different formats. Realize that the standard bikes WILL BE MODIFIED by a high percentage of owners. An after market exhaust, a fuel-ignition PC add on,and air filter (larger), perhaps a choice of fuel maps.What is the outcome?. Well since I knew the Kawi needed to have the noise( caused by solenoid reed valves)removed, or blocked. The out come GREATLY moves towards the Kawi.Power and Torque really move up in absolute terms and smoothness for both bikes but the pleasure factor is in favor of the Kawi.trust me.both are fine ,H-D is moving in the right direction ,just too slowly because they can't offend the base.
cary -hd's  September 2, 2009 12:51 PM
Haven't read the article yet! I own two HD's (FLH,and FX). Out of the box you have to spend more money on an HD depending on the type of riding you do. Also, HD is still operating on old technology. Having said that I would buy no other bike than an HD. I just wish HD would come up to speed as other manufactures have. Thanks!
Frank -Some rider and Kevin  August 31, 2009 01:22 PM
Some rider and Kevin you’re wrong. Harley’s bikes have both metric bolts and standard bolts in them. Anyone who has worked on a current Harley would know this.

Obviously metric can be converted from cc to cu. in. Books and websites do this for easy reference for the reader. Harley’s big twins have the cu. in. size labeled on their engines and so does Victory. But, the sportsters have a metric label for their engine size because that bike was originally intended to compete with bikes from Europe. Now Suzuki is labeling their cruisers with cu. in. (ex. M109r) in an effort to appeal to American tastes.

Kevin B. -Victory "Engine Size"  August 31, 2009 07:26 AM
Even this website lists engines in both standard and metric measurements. See the comparo between the Vision and the Glide: http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/10/992/Motorcycle-Article/2008-H-D-Ultra-Classic-vs--Victory-Vision.aspx They call the Vision's power plant a "1731cc Freedom 106/6 V-Twin" and the HD's engine a "1584cc Twin Cam 96" (ditto this article). Metric conversions of engine sizes have been going on for decades. Bolts/fasteners make a bike metric or standard, not the bore of the engine.
Some rider -Metric  August 30, 2009 07:49 PM
Bikes are called metric because they use metric bolts, it has nothing to do with the way they state their motor size. HD uses SAE, Victoy uses metric, I have one of each brand in my garage, one gets ridden a lot more than the other, take a guess on which one.
Frank -Metric, cu. in.  August 30, 2009 04:57 PM
Agreed tom, Victory has always referred to their engine size in cubic inches. First it was 92 cu. in. then 100 cu. in. and now 106 cu. in. Also, I don't think anyone was trying to avoid saying Japanese because bikes made in Europe use metric and so does Buell.
Tom -Metric  August 30, 2009 08:22 AM
As far as I can tell, "metric" is used for every bike not being measured out in cubic inches, and more in general to indicate bikes from territories outside the USA (which use NORMAL and logical standard units for measuring stuff) That makes the Vision not at all metric, since it's made in the USA (more than Harley by a lot) and the engine designation is 106 cubic inch
Kevin B. -Voyager Not "the first metric V-Twin-powered full dress touring motorcycle"  August 29, 2009 07:33 AM
"But how does the first metric V-Twin-powered full dress touring motorcycle stack up to the ‘gold standard,’?" Obviously, the author forgot that the Victory Vision is metric. He seemed to have wanted to avoid using the word "Japanese". Metric does not = Japanese.
Brandon -You know...  August 28, 2009 04:06 PM
You know they really don't do a lot of bike comparisons on the cruiser section of MotoUSA; and when they do one the Harley has to win naturally. Of course you have to understand, MotoUSA has to work very hard not to alienate the Harley crowd; because if anyone so much as hints that that Harley-Davidson is not the best and greatest motorcycles ever; the harley crowd would probably go into apoplectic shock. Now a Harley-Davidson is just a fashion accessory that is worn between the legs when you're insecure about what you have down there.
Desmolicious -Expected result  August 28, 2009 10:49 AM
Yet another test that shows Harley is the best.
Nice work fellas.

You get what you pay for.
Frank -dgover  August 28, 2009 10:48 AM
That $6K saved could buy you an entirely "extra" Kawasaki like an ER-6n!!!...or two ninja 250s. With that extra $6K you pay for the Harley you get uhmm...tradition, for what ever that's worth and a stereotype hung over your head as being a "Harley guy". And with that stereotype comes the burden of explaining to anyone who asks why you paid $6K more for the Harley was because of the fit & finish (taken right out of the Honda marketing play book) and the tradition.


dgover -Price Delta  August 28, 2009 10:01 AM
So is the HD really worth paying $6,000 more than the Kawasaki? Seems like I could do a lot to the kawasaki with another $6,000.
Brandon -Yeah 2  August 28, 2009 06:19 AM
For everyone else it's just called "poor engineering"
Brandon -Yeah  August 28, 2009 06:18 AM
Harleys are the only bikes in the cruiser segment that are allowed to have "character" or "soul"
Frank -comparison  August 27, 2009 09:10 PM
Wow, for Harley’s first 90 yrs in existence their bikes were the “noisy and vibey” bike. The import bikes were smooth and refined to a point that they were considered “soulless”.

When Harley’s bikes vibrated like pant shakers journalists said this bike has character and the excessive mechanical noise “distinguished” it from the boring metric cruisers.

So now Kawasaki’s bike vibes a little and its is intrusive and the noise is distracting
What happened to these short comings giving the bike character and soul?

Either way if the Harley made the same power output the Kawasaki does, it would put out more heat, noise, and vibes.

bryan harley -on the payroll  August 27, 2009 03:11 PM
Yeh, I'm also on the Harley payroll. And I'm dating Karen Davidson. And me and Willie G. hang out and drink beer every weekend. :)
Yeah -Wow  August 27, 2009 02:32 PM
Harley says that Harley is better, so we better listen
bryan harley -who said it has better handling?  August 27, 2009 02:07 PM
Ian,

Who said it has better handling? It's because of its handling, noisy,vibey, hot-running engine, and less polished finish that the Voyager doesn't quite measure up. The Electra Glide is also more comfortable and more efficient, so yes, in this comparo, the Harley is the better bike.

The Voyager is a great bike for the price. It needs a few tweaks on the chassis to make it more stable in turns and the surging cruise control needs to be addressed. So yes, the Harley is clearly the victor.
Ian -Really?  August 27, 2009 12:03 PM
Can you really say that its the best bike? Even if you narrow it down to the highly competative "lumbering 900lbs chunk of steel with a v-twin and stereo that looks like a harley davidson" catagory, is it really undeniably the best bike? The kawa has better brakes, more power, more torque, better handling, and it costs less. I'm not just trying to hate on HD, but given their bikes in the past I simply cannot believe this thing will be as reliable as the kawa either. The Kawa even looks cooler to my eye. I'm really not in the market for anything like these bikes, so I realize my opinion is irrelevant and they aren't aiming these at me. I'm just saying I don't get it. How can you say the HD is the best bike?
milwaukee mike -HD versus more jap crap  August 27, 2009 10:55 AM
It's quite clear that Harley is far and away the better bike.

And two years down the road, the Harley will still retain (or increase) its residual value.

Dollar for dollar and mile after mile, Harleys will always prove their superiority.
EAB -No excuses needed  August 27, 2009 07:30 AM
It's been a log time coming. I have been ridiculed by the "Buy American" establishment for riding and driving Japanese. But I always told the people "Hey, I'll buy the better product every time." My Fords of the late 90's were flat out junk, and while HD's reliability improved, it was always constricted by "tradition." But that's all in the past. While Ford is rolling out some of the best automobiles in the WORLD, here's Harley manufacturing top flight stuff that makes no excuses. Don't buy it for the poseur aspect or because it's American. You can now buy it because it's the best motorcycle of it's category. The sportsters no longer rattle your teeth and the touring models no longer overheat in traffic or roast the rider. The chassis is perfect, and the bike shows a level of degree and refinement that takes a backseat to no one. But yes, there are the traditionalists that are bitching about the lack of carbs and the plastics being used. For them, go buy a 75 Shovel...and make sure you have a good tool kit and newspaper to put on the leaking POS. I want a quality machine, not a friggin trophy!! So, if I get a touring bike, and I am looking very hard at getting one, I will get either a sport tourer or a basic tourer. The ST will be an ST1300, but if I decided on a basic tourer, it will either be a Road King, an Electra Glide Standard, or Road glide. Not because they are Harleys, not because they give me "street cred", but because they are, at this point in time, the best bike in that class. And honestly, isn't that refreshing to say? Good work Harley.