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2011 Kawasaki Vulcan Vaquero First Ride

Friday, December 10, 2010
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2011 Kawasaki Vaquero First Ride Video
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See the new Vulcan bagger in action in the 2011 Kawasaki Vaquero First Ride Video.
A gaggle of V-Twins rumble through the Texas countryside along the farm to market roads north of Houston. The brown grass and pine trees don’t seem to mind the sound, nor do the grazing cattle. The Doors and Jimi Hendrix up the decibel disturbance further as music blasts out of the onboard stereo system – the red-backlighting of the retro-styled dash gleaming under darkened clouds. We’re cruising along, Vaquero style, enjoying our first ride aboard Kawasaki’s all-new production bagger.

Alright, so middle-aged journalists are a far cry from the original vaqueros, a Spanish term for the cowboys who roamed the open range. But the bike's moniker made Texas a fitting locale for our first ride introduction of Kawasaki’s 2011 Vulcan Vaquero.

We sampled the all-new Kawasaki Vulcan Vaquero on the scenic farm-to-market roads north of Houston  Texas.
We sampled the all-new Kawasaki Vulcan Vaquero on the scenic farm-to-market roads north of Houston, Texas.
The 2011 Kawasaki Vulcan Vaquero in Candy Fire Red.
The Vaquero bagger gets a freshened up look, sporting the Voyager's broad upper fairing but with revamped lower bodywork and all-new hard saddlebags.
Kawasaki pitches the latest steel horse in its Vulcan 1700 stable as a solo touring cruiser, splitting the difference between the Voyager and Nomad models. Styling takes center stage on this bike, with a bagger aesthetic Kawasaki describes as aggressive and sporty, with low, flowing lines.

We’ll concede the styling clicks, the glossy paint job of the black model is exceeded only by the Candy Fire Red configuration we snatched for testing duties. A broad upper fairing is ripped right off the Voyager, but benefits from a short wind deflector, as well as lower bodywork that streamline its new look. The upper fairing also houses the Vaquero’s most eye-catching trait - the finned fairing louvers (which can be swapped with accessory head lamps). The all-important bags anchor the new lines, more swoopy than the bulbous saddlebags on its Vulcan siblings. Overall the package works, with the Vaquero’s look familiar yet different.

The same could be said of the engine, a liquid-cooled 52-degree V-Twin. Power claims from the 1700 are unchanged with 108 lb-ft peak torque at 2,750 rpm. The internal architecture remains unaltered at 1700cc from its 102mm bore and 104mm stroke, but the powerplant does source a larger-volume intake manifold for a more linear throttle response and improved idle. Unique to the Vaquero mill the addition of a second piston ring to improve durability.

The six-speed transmission has been tweaked, a lower chain guide removed from the primary drive for a slight weight reduction. The Vaquero also sources the damper-less clutch found on the Vulcan Classic, as opposed to the smoother clutch configurations on the Voyager and Nomad models. The rationale for the damper-less system is to deliver a rawer, more pronounced torque feel from the engine. The first gear ratio has been altered (40/13 to 44/15). Third and fourth gear now feature taller tooth profiles, for smoother operation and reduced shift sounds. The final drive is a low maintenance carbon fiber belt that’s 2mm narrower at 26mm, with tighter fitting specs to reduce the squeaking sounds of loose belts on previous Vulcans.
Backroad fun at a cruising pace - 2011 Kawasaki Vulcan Vaquero.
Hustle around the bends  No  the new Kawi baggers not a sportbike  but dances around with some agility for its size.
The Vaquero handles moderate corners and transitions without trouble.
Backroad fun at a cruising pace, the Vaquero handles moderate corners and transitions without trouble.

Fire the big Vaquero to life and the single-pin crank churns with that characteristic shuddering V-Twin feel. Stomp on the heel-toe shifter and first gear still engages with a rather pronounced clunk, but the engine and transmission deliver easy shifts and acceleration. On road the Vaquero chugs along in the lower revs with ample power on tap. Hard acceleration down low brought a harsher choppier feel than we remember during our 700-mile Kawasaki Flat Track Calistoga Tour aboard the Vulcan Nomad.  We suppose this sensation stems from the aforementioned damper-less clutch, either way we preferred the smoother mid-range power thrumming out between 3000 to 5000 rpm.

The well sorted gearbox doesn’t deliver any surprises. Our only kvetch is mild, as two overdrive gears, fifth and sixth, feel redundant. We found them too tall for much work beyond freeway duties and even then found it necessary to downshift when passing cars. Instead we spent the majority of our mileage in third or fourth, keeping the tach pitched straight up in the laudable mid-range and the big engine on song. We’ll praise the heel-toe shifter as well, which didn’t cramp our size-12 boots unlike some designs we sampled.

The easy-to-use cruise control is much-appreciated as a standard touring feature. The CC is made possible by the Vulcan 1700 line’s Electric Throttle Valve (ETV) system, in which a standard throttle cable activates sensors read by the ECU, the electronics then metering fueling and controlling the throttle valves (for more details read our 2009 Kawasaki Vulcan Voyager First Ride).

We mentioned the cows didn’t mind our exhaust notes, and the new tapered silencers on the Vaquero are indeed quieter than previous models. Kawasaki confirms the new pipes reduce noise, but wouldn’t specify the amount. The exhaust tones aren’t bland, and we aren’t complaining, they just don’t jump out and demand the look-at-me attention that so many of the cruiser brood crave.

Get past the styling and the powertrain, there’s not much about Vaquero that we haven’t experienced before in our stints aboard the Voyager and Nomad. Handling wise the Vaquero isn’t built for tight technical terrain, but reasonable backroad twists and turns see the Kawi commend itself well enough. The 45mm fork (same as the Voyager) and air adjustable twin rear shocks deliver a plush ride and once pitched into a turn the chassis remains stable. One big caveat, and not unexpected, the floorboards touch down with alarming ease – standard fare in cruiser country.

Riding position on the Kawasaki is feet-forward cruiser typical  with a comfortable seat and easy reach to the backswept bars.
Riding position on the Kawasaki is feet-forward cruiser typical, with a comfortable seat and easy reach to the backswept bars.The Kawasaki Vaquero delivers a great deal of rider protection from its broad upper fairing  though its short windscreen produced ample buffeting for our 61 frame.
The Kawasaki Vaquero delivers a great deal of rider protection from its broad upper fairing, though its short windscreen produced ample buffeting for our 6'1" frame.
The dual front and single rear 300mm rotors are pinched by twin piston Tokico calipers. The braking package brings the 835-pound Vaquero to a halt but require heavy input. According to Kawasaki research the Vaquero demographic doesn’t want ABS. This is a shame, as we deem big heavy cruisers benefit from this safety system more than any other type of motorcycle. Expect to see ABS available as an option in the future, but not this model year.

As required by a bike with touring as its raison d’etre, the Vaquero delivers a riding position amenable to piling on the miles. Kawasaki promises an expanded rider triangle, again without any hard details, but the position felt like the Nomad’s. The feet-forward position rests boots on the floorboards, the pulled back handlebar well positioned for our tastes. Kudos to the 28.7-inch tall seat, not the lowest to the ground in the Vulcan line, but quite comfortable. A firmer accessory seat is available for hard-core tourers, the stock seat better suited for shorter day rides.

The frame-mounted fairing is stable and provides ample protection. However, we found the stock windscreen delivered tiresome buffeting to our shoulders and head. A taller unit, chosen from the six accessory screens, made a huge difference. We first sampled the tallest (18-inch), which required looking through the screen and blocked out airflow almost entirely. A quick run on one of the intermediary height screens proved the perfect balance, allowing us to look over instead of through the screen and delivering a stable airflow.

Reducing the unwanted buffeting not only increased rider comfort, it allowed us to appreciate the on-board stereo system, operated by inputs on the left switchgear. The Kawasaki stereo comes linked up with FM and AM, as well as XM satellite radio capabilities and CB radio. Breaker, breaker, anyone got your ears on good buddy? Yes, people apparently still demand and use CB communication. Lift up the seat and there are easy mounts for rider/passenger two-way communication systems (underseat access also required for adjusting the rear shocks and utilizing the pair of helmet hooks).
The 2011 Kawasaki Vaquero saddlebags.
The 2011 Kawasaki Vaquero saddlebags and red backlit dash with analog gauges.The 2011 Kawasaki Vaquero dash  also borrowed from the Voyager  but with a red backlighting.

Speaking of two-up the Vaquero may be pitched as a solo touring platform but a quick release two-up accessory backrest provides for a pillion in just seconds. A rider sissy bar is also in development, the mounting bracket evident under the seat. The quick release products, dubbed KQR (Kawasaki Quick Release), are tool-less and take nominal time to remove or add. Kawasaki’s accessory specialist, Paul Golde, noted one of the greatest benefits for these removable accessories the ease of cleaning. Kawasaki has also ramping up its accessory production, with 35 optional parts planned for the Vaquero, many of which will be available by the time the bike hits dealers showrooms (Team Green getting down-right Star-like in its prolific options).

The Vaquero bags, while looking good, are slimmer than the top-opening units on the Nomad and Voyager and can’t hold a full-face helmet (half-helmet brain buckets will fit though). The bags are easy to use, however, and can be accessed with the bike running, just stick it in Neutral with the kickstand down pull out the key from the ignition.

We’re suspicious of the Voyager’s range, as the LCD display range to empty fluctuated quite a bit. Depending on the throttle usage, we saw as high as 200 and as low as 90 with a mostly full tank. Considering the 5.3-gallon reserve, our fuel gauges dipped down quicker than expected during our test ride. Range in the neighborhood of 140-miles, which we observed in our Nomad tour, seems about right by our estimation.

Does the Vaquero harken back to a nostalgic era of days gone by  You know  the one where everyone saw in black and white  Well  this is a modern machine with technology like EFI  but it does deliver that cruiser aesthestic that willfully clutches an older style and lowered performance expectation.
Will the Vaquero win over the cruiser with its bagger style?
The Kawasaki’s fit and finish lives up to its $16,499 MSRP, which matches up favorably with its American V-Twin rivals (Harley-Davidson Road Glide $18.999, Victory Cross Country $17,999). The Vaquero also comes with a standard 36-month warranty, which can be extended to a full six years with Kawasaki’s Good Times Protection Plan.

Yes, the plastic housing on the top of the fuel tank is definite gaffe, but the primo paint job brings home the cruiser looks. One Vaquero feature that stood out as a personal favorite was the instrumentation, with its red backlit analog gauges reminding me of my old man’s clunker ’72 Chevy pickup that I blitzed around all summer long as a smug 16-year-old. It is features like this that may best explain the cruiser allure that baffle many a performance-minded rider. It is motorcycle as a vessel of nostalgia, not high-performance engineering.

A successful manufacturer builds bikes the public want to buy. And, as Vaquero Product Manager Croft Long explained to us, while the industry as a whole has suffered greatly, the bagger market has suffered less than most. Kawasaki believes it has built a winner in the Vaquero. Our brief spell in the Texas countryside aboard the new ride gave us no reason to doubt the claims. We look forward to sampling the Vaquero against its bagger kin for a more thorough judgment.
Kawasaki Vaquero First Ride Photos
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Kawasaki Vaquero Specifications
The Kawasaki Vaquero makes use of tapered exhaust silencers that reduce decibels by an unspecified amount.
2011 Kawasaki Vulcan Vaquero
Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, SOHC, four valve per cylinder, 52° V-twin
Displacement: 1700cc / 103.7 cu. in.
Bore x stroke: 102 x 104mm
Compression ratio: 9.5:1
Maximum torque: 108 lb-ft @ 2750 rpm
Cooling: Liquid, plus cooling fins
Induction: Digital fuel injection, dual 42mm throttle bodies
Ignition: TCBI with Digital Advance
Transmission: Six-speed with overdrive and positive neutral finder
Final drive: Belt
Frame: Steel, double-cradle with box-section single-tube backbone
Rake / trail: 30 degrees / 7.0 in.
Front suspension / wheel travel: 43mm hydraulic fork / 5.5 in.
Rear suspension / wheel travel: Swingarm with twin air-assisted shocks, with 4-way rebound damping / 3.1 in.
Front tire: 130/90x16
Rear tire: 170/70x16
Front brakes: Dual 300mm discs, dual twin-piston calipers
Rear brakes: 300mm disc, twin-piston caliper
Overall length: 98.8 in.
Overall width: 38.2 in.
Overall height: 50.8 in.
Ground clearance: 5.7 in.
Seat height: 28.7 in.
Wheelbase: 65.6 in.
Curb weight: 835.7 pounds
Fuel capacity: 5.3 gal.
Colors: Ebony, Candy Fire Red
MSRP : $16,499
Warranty: 36 Months
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Comments
Dduck   April 7, 2013 11:25 AM
Everything is not in the numbers. I am a jap bike guy 1st. After renting a Harley for a week I was able to test ride this vaquero. I had high expectations but it feels like a cheap imitation of the HD. The floor boards drag on every turn and the engine has no character. I went and purchases the street glide to go with my yamaha fz1. The vrod engine also has no character and isn't very fast. Ride a real Harley with an open mind and you cannot help but love the torque and handling it offers. Want a power cruiser go Diavel it is bad a$$. I haven't driven the 109 Suzuki yet but know it hauls, was keeping up with us on busa's and gsxr's on a ride that was very spirited up to 100 mph (20 min group test ride).
JLFyer -Mr.  January 24, 2011 02:30 PM
This seems to be a ongoing discussion about Harley V-Rod vs. Kawaski Vaquero. It doesn't matter about the Harley V-Rod motor ?I Ride a Harley Road King and I am very satisfied with the bike. I prefer to buy American, if I can. I have previously owned Japanese bikes and Harleys. If the product is comparable or better and if I can get a better deal. I like the looks of a the Vaquero and would like to try one out. If it fit my criteria I might buy one,if I was in the market for a bike .If possible I would keep Harley also. Waiting for shoot out between Street Glide,Vaquero, Victory and the upgraded Star Stratoliner. Everyone has their preferences.
Kyle818 -Kracerman  January 17, 2011 08:39 AM
@Vail, get used to the new seat heights. Kawasaki and all mfgr's are an equal opportunity builder and make motorcycles that are compatible for both genders. It's not about catering to the male rider anymore, women ride and now bikes need to benefit both. Go buy a Boss Hoss.
vail -vaquero seat height  January 16, 2011 11:25 AM
why do you guys think that low seats are comfortable? Have we gotten shorter over the years? No! This ridiculous fad needs to end and seat heights must return to normal. I have over 125 bikes to my name and I can't find anything new anymore that doesn't have such a low seat that you must be folded up like origami to ride it!!I am only 6 feet tall, but this Kawasaki feels like an 800 lb 250cc bike. C'mon, let's stop the insanity and get seat heights back where they belong, 32" should be the basic height for a street bike, just like they were in the 70's and early 80's. You could take a plain old GS750 and road race it, cruise around town or travel across the country, all in perfect comfort. Now you need 3 different bikes to do that?!? I hate the new "low seat height" fad and probable won't be adding to my arsenal until it stops.
Kyle818 -Kracerman  January 12, 2011 07:54 PM
@lone wolf thor, I agree, sort of about just ride and don't bash anyone's ride. However, your American ASSEMBLED bike may be put together here, but 82 cents of the dollar goes to Japan, this holds true for most Jap cars made here, as well. Secondly, every Harley has Jap made carbs or efi, Jap made electronics and shocks/forks and many engine internals are made by the Japs, as are the tires, batteries and other things as well. HOWEVER, only 24 cents of every H-D dollar goes overseas. I'd love it if more guys rode Harleys or any bike for that matter, it means less of us die on the roads, less congestion and more space, but, at least know the whole inside story.
Kyle818 -Kracerman  January 12, 2011 07:43 PM
First off, don't get me wrong, I am sooo pro American on all/every front, but, I get a kick out of disrupting the status quo. So, do you really want to piss cruiser riders off? First off, get a jap bike, secondly, make sure it's a sport bike and lastly, but MOST importantly..... make sure it's a 2 stroke. I roam around my part of the mid-west just casually riding around and when I see a guy on a cruiser or Rebel or Triumph or any number of machines, I always try to see where they are going and I am always nice first. If they treat me like I'm a second class citizen because of my wheels. I follow them around and when they get the chance, 99 out or 100 times, they always try to embarass me. I let them think this for a while, until we get caught at a light or stop sign. I make sure they see, my 350 emblem and my tiny motor and then when the light turns or we can go, I make it a point to wheelie away while they are breathing my 2 stroke exhaust. My little machine may only be 350cc, but it's a very strong motor, with good chambers and spot on jetting. It dynoed at 74 horse and weighs 305 lbs. with 1/2 tank of fuel. I can stay with a new H-D XR 1200 until about 110 and then I creep slowly away. One of life's greatest joys.
Not a harely rider -Who cares?  January 3, 2011 10:24 AM
Who cares about the v-rod motor? It is Porsche designed and the harley morons do not like it as it does not sound like the outdated v twin with no mufflers. You must remember the harley mentality. They seem to only care about the bikes sound without a muffler and how it looks with 3 foot tall handlebars. Don't forget the stupid harley pirate outfit either. A harley is a outdated and overpriced motorcycle. Harley has a great aftermarket supply of crap that the typical harley rider suckers for.
JerseyMike -milwaukee mike  January 1, 2011 06:53 PM
The V-Rod motor is not built or assembled anywhere near Germany. It is built in Blue Springs, Missouri, which is located right here in the USA. I know this for a fact because my cousin works in the plant where they are made. Also, it is made using ALL SAE fasteners and parts.
milwaukee mike -mike in WV  December 29, 2010 06:56 PM
Sorry to have to burst your bubble but the V-Rod motor is not built in the USA. It is built and assembled in Germany; the rest of the bike is assembled in the USA.

Now as far as metric vs SAE, the entire US aircraft industry and military requires suppliers to built all components in SAE. The same goes for all American locomotives trains and railroad cars. Catapillar and most every heavy equipment and Cranes are SAE. All Fire and Rescue equipment must use SAE fasteners.

Now why do you think that is? How about fastener grades and decades of testing, but maybe you could enlighten us why foreign made (chinese made metric) fasteners fail under severe testing? Would you trust a bridge (you being in WV) built using those metric fasteners.

Most questions can be answered by refering to the "Machinerys Handbook". And it gets updated yearly.
Vulcan Rider -Super Riding Bike  December 23, 2010 04:06 PM
I will take the Vulcan any day of the week over a Harley. First of all I prefer not to ride with a bunch of guys that look like the Village People and are just out to make a lot of noise on there outdated Harley's. One of my riding buddies has a Harley duce and he has to park it out in front of my house as I will not let him park it in the driveway as it drips oil all over the place. He also has to be the last rider in our group as his Harley blows smoke and it stinks and it is noisy. My Vulcan is smooth and I have not had one problem so far.
Lone Wolf Thor -I just bought a Vaquero so I think I can speak about it.  December 21, 2010 08:14 AM
I'm not here to bash Harley's or any bike for that matter of fact. I just purchased a Black Vulcan Vaquero. I owned a Valkyrie before that. I will tell you this....the bike handles very smoothly and shifts very smoothly. The manager of the Kawasaki dealer in AZ. owns a Street Glide. He wanted to ride the Vaquero because he really liked the look of it. Yesterday....12-20-10 he rode my Vaquero. Mind you now....he is a Harley rider. He came back from the ride and said.....and I quote "this bike just blows my Street Glide off the road." He said hands down it had more power, smoother shifting, more torque and had better handling then his Street Glide did. He said...."I'm going to buy one". Two more of my Harley buddies also loved the look of the bike. SO look....like I said, I don't bash any biker that rides. But I still stand by this saying...."the bike doesn't make the man, the man makes the bike"....because you bought a Harley doesn't make you a Harley man...it only means you own a Harley. If Harley had everything on this bike that this one does......I might have bought a Harley.....I also agree buy American......but let me ask you guys......what brand of TV or Refrigerator do you own....what kind of stereo systems do you own.....my point is.....it JUST DOESN'T matter to me what you ride.....JUST RIDE.....and respect each other.....whether my bike be it a Valkyrie (also made in America....Maryville Ohio) or Vulcan Vaquero, or whether it be a Harley......just be a man and ride.......PERIOD...........Merry Christmas my friends....
Mike in WV -Splitting Hairs  December 20, 2010 08:35 AM
OK...since Milwaukee Mike has never addressed this..."metric" is only the unit of measure for the parts. Since HD was one of the very few American made bikes made with "SAE" unit parts, all other bikes from other countries became known as metrics because that's what the rest of the world uses as their unit of measure. There is absolutely no difference in quality or performance when looking at SAE or metric. The quality comes down to who is making those parts and the production standards used to make those parts. The VRod was "designed" by Porsche, but is built here in the US. Now...as to where the individual parts come from...your guess is as good as mine.

Arguing that one bike is better than another is purely subjective. HD enthusiasts would have you believe that Harley's are an elite status symbol and that everyone else "immitates" their design. Well...you can look at everybike and see similar characteristics...there's only so much you can do with 2 wheels, motor, fairing, fenders and pipes. I tend to look at how a company puts it's products together...for example...one aspect is that HD's have approximately 62 rings and gaskets compared to Victory's 8. That's nearly 8 times the likelyhood that something will break down or malfunction. Some like the feel and sound of a HD...fine with me. Just don't look down at me for my choice of ride because if you do, I won't stop to help when you're pushing yours.
Real World -Harley is not a motorcycle company  December 18, 2010 12:11 PM
I really do not think that Harley Davidson has any engineers on staff. I believe that HD has a full staff of clothes and ash tray and belt buckle designers though. Evey year HD comes out with a new line of clothes, clocks, do rags, belt buckles, pants and chaps but no new bikes. Harley uses the bikes to sell there real product - motorcycle accessories. Why redesign or improve your line of aging bikes when all your customer really want is a new updated Pirate Outfit.
JerseyMike -Cruiser  December 17, 2010 07:21 PM
I just finished watching "Harley, The Birth of the V-Rod", which aired on the Discovery Channel, and it doesn't say that Harley paid Porsche to design the VROD motor. It was a pretty cool video though.
No Pork -Mike failed geography  December 17, 2010 08:47 AM
"And V-Rods are not American made motors; they are a metric product from europe" Last I heard, Kansas City, MO is still part of the United States. Lay off the porn sites and use the internet to gain some knowledge Mikey.
Cruiser -Vulcan is an excellent buy !!  December 17, 2010 06:25 AM
One of my friends has a V-Rod that his girl friend mostly uses. He has a video from HD about the design and build of the V-Rod and it very clearly describes how HD hired Porsche to design the V-Rod motor. It is a good motor and the best one in the Harley line-up and it should be there standard production motor. I also agree that the majority of the Harley buyers would not buy a Harley if it had the V-Rod motor due to the sound it makes without a muffler. It seems that Harley riders care more about the engine sound than the quality of the motorcycle. As for the Vulcan, I would buy one in a minute if I was in the market for a new bike. It has everything that a Harley doesn't. Quality and technology and a good price. I have to run as people are waiting to use this computer.
Milwaukee Mike -Is A Retard  December 16, 2010 08:03 AM
Need I say more?
CaddmannQ -urk!  December 14, 2010 06:36 PM
They took the classic Nomad styling and ruined it, while removing the driveshaft & adding a lot of weight. then they made it even worse with this model. Every time Kawasaki comes out with a real gem, refined by continual minor improvements to something really worth owning, they eventually go "over the top" in one huge bound and screw it all up. But then they're not the only ones....
Matt -Ain't no Sheriff here at M-USA.  December 14, 2010 05:45 PM
Howdy Mike. Unlike many other motorcycle forums this one doesn't require registration to post and there is minimal moderating so fair warning there is quite a bit more troll & spam traffic through these parts. It can be irritating or entertaining depending on how you look at it I suppose.
JerseyMike -I'm confused...  December 14, 2010 02:34 PM
Based on what I have read and what my cousin who works in the plant where they are made, the VROD motor is designed by Harley. Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought Harley took the VR1000 racing motor to Porsche, and in a joint venture, made a streetable version of that motor. In any case, I do know that is not a "metric" motor and that it is made in the USA.
As far as the reliability of Harleys, my 2000 SE Road Glide has over 130,000 miles and has had no big problems, leaks or engine overhauls. I change the oil with conventional 20w50 oil every 5000 miles, and the primary oil every 15k miles. The only major upgrade I've done over the years is the installation of a Baker DD6 and S&S gear drive cams. I have ridden it to South Dakota, Alaska, Califonia, Texas and 33 other states, and my only breakdowns was a flat front tire that happened in Indiana, and the stator just recently crapped out in Lancaster PA. I would have no fear of taking it out for a 5000 mile trip right now. My 2007 Springer Classic has been equally as reliable so far, with 27,000 miles. I have owned other brands of motorcycles over the years, and find that if you keep up with the general maintenance, all bikes are fairly reliable. The only brand that I would never own again would be Ducati. I had a 916 that was a complete nightmare with breakdowns.

So anyway, I'm pretty new to this sight and I find it interesting that you can be reading a review on a utility quad, and the posts are all about Harleys. I love Harleys, but I love all motorcycles as well. What's the problem? Who really cares about the yen or which brand holds it's value better? Is't the idea of motorcycling to get out there and ride? Some guys like blondes, some like redheads and some like brunettes. I like them all! This review is about the Kawasaki Vaquero, right?
javajoe -milwaukee mike re: metric  December 14, 2010 02:21 PM
i have several friends that are harley wrenches and one in particular, even though he owns 2 harleys, is a huge fan of the kaw nomad which he also owns.. he also informed me that h-d motors are no longer made in the u.s.a. .. he's always been right to my knowledge.. before you sling any anti metric dialogue my way, i own an '08 fatbob and an '83 shovelhead that's draws attention wherever i go.. i've owned them all and reserve the right to ride whatever, whenever..
Kev -Tim  December 14, 2010 01:19 PM
The Bonni is a fine motorcycle for it's intended purpose Geezer, but personally I wouldn't want to try hauling 400 lbs of rider, picky passenger,and luggage across 5 states on it. I'll keep my Anchor. ;)
Tim -Old Geezer  December 14, 2010 11:35 AM
I'm sorry but anything that weighs 835 lbs. is not a motorcycle. Since I am not into "Snoozers" I assume they are all rather portly and would be suitable boat anchors for large and small ships alike. Does it come with a free supply of pirate costumes? Oh never mind that is relegated to the frightfully scary Harley crowd. I'm sorry people but motorcycles were designed to be all around transportation, fun in the twisties but still capable on the interstate, I'll keep my Bonneville.
Scooter -Harley sales?  December 14, 2010 09:46 AM
If Harley sold 200,000 bikes last year then you should cut that is half because Harley counts a bike sold when it leaves the factory. I would guess that at least half of the 2010 production is sitting is warehouses and or dealers showrooms. Harley Davidson is the only company that counts sales this way and they have always done that to pump up there sales figures. The vrod does not sell only because the motor sounds like crap with straight pipes and 90% of Harley riders do not have a muffler on there bikes. The only reason they buy one is because they seem to think they will look like some kind of bad ass on there Harley. What the public really thinks is "Moron". The vrod will never sell and I would think Harley will pull the bike like they did Buell. Iam looking forward to the new 2011 Harley line of belt buckles and fingerless nose picker gloves. It seems Harley has plenty of money to design a new line of there sucker clothes each year but no money to improve there bikes.
Woodco100 -reply to Scooter  December 14, 2010 05:21 AM
Dude, Harley sold 200,000 motorcycles last year. Mostly big air cooled V tiwns. If folks want V Rods they would be buying V Rods. They don't want V Rods.

Note to all other MC companies. Dont tell me what I want, sell me what I want.
Scooter -skip1380@yahoo.com  December 13, 2010 03:54 PM
Somebody better tell milwaukee mike that the vrod motor is the only real motor that Harley has. It was designed by Porsche and should be in all the HD motorcycles. Of course the Harley morons don't like the vrod because it doesn't sound cool without mufflers. If Harley had to use the vrod motor they would be out of business in 6 months. Almost all the Harley buyers like to buy the bike only because they think it sounds cool without a muffler. The Vulcan is a good example of good v twin technology. What do you think it would be like if the other manufactures followed Harley and just renamed there bikes every year and changed the colors. Buying a Harley is buying a 1970's bike at 2011 prices. Of course no one else could come up with the cool Harley names like fat bob and fat boy and night train - give me a break. I am glad there are bikes out there like the Vulcan because if I decided to buy a cruiser that and others like the Victory and Yamaha Star would be a good choice for a safe modern motorcycle. If you want a Harley look in the want ads. The newspapers are full of used Harleys that can be bought cheap.
Morvegil -MOre reliable  December 13, 2010 12:57 PM
This would be better and more reliable then a Hardley-Ableson Roadglide
Jack -Yet Another Wheelborne Economist  December 13, 2010 09:38 AM
The yen is 83.9 to the dollar today, up from 80 earlier in the week. For decades, a dollar would buy 110-115 yen, and if the yen rose higher the Japanese finance ministry would buy up hundreds of billions of dollars, balancing the currency at that level to keep their export industries, like cars, motorcycles, and electronic stuff, healthy. That lasted until recently when their government dissolved in acrimony and scandal, and no credible opposition took control. Taking their hands off of their economy's handlebars for just a moment was all it took to run their economy off of the road and now their stuff isn't any cheaper for the same quality as US or Euro stuff. Dang!
JStallion -Another sad attempt to mimic Harley.  December 13, 2010 05:43 AM
This thing looks like an abortion when parked next to a Street Glide...imitation is the ultimate form of flattery...if you wanna pay 16-17k for this and a yr later will be worth 5k maybe, then go right ahead!!...:)
JerseyMike -AWESOME!  December 12, 2010 08:17 PM
I love this bike! The look is hot, sort of like a custom Street Glide or Cross Country. I haven't ridden it yet, but I have ridden the Voyager, which I really liked. I have owned several Harley Electra Glides, and currently own a 2000 SE Road Glide with 133,000 miles. In my experience, I feel that the fixed fairing on the Road Glides is superior to the fork mounted batwing fairings. That's one of the reasons the Vaquero appeals to me. There are a few things that I would change, but I always seem to find things on any bike that I would change anyway. I would never sell my Harley, but I think the Vaquero would make a great everyday/touring machine. Prior to first hearing about the Vaquero, I was considering either a Victory Vision or a Cross Country. I finally was able to ride both of them at Delmarva Bike Week this year, and I was not impressed at all. That combined with the bad experiences with two local Victory dealers completely turned me off. I have ridden a Vision, a Street Glide and a BMW with abs brakes, and I really liked them all. That would be one thing that I really want on my next bike. Hopefully Kawasaki will make abs an option on the Vaquero for 2012.
milwaukee mike -Why a Kaw?  December 12, 2010 07:51 PM
Why not spend va bit more and just buy the HD Road Glide?
One year later you'd probaly buy it at 60% less.

And V-Rods are not American made motors; they are a metric product from europe. If you buy a big HD it comes with an American engineered power train built by American labor.
Scottie -Hmm  December 12, 2010 12:57 PM
A lot of bike for the money, but it won't sell to the crowd that hates radiators on a v-twin. The v-rod has H-D's best motor, but they've sold about two of them.
RT Rider -Very Nice Bike!!!  December 12, 2010 10:19 AM
If I was to buy a new cruiser this year this would be the bike for me. I took one for a test ride and it was a great ride. The only thing I would change would be the windscreen and I would add a passenger back rest for the wife. There is also a detachable rear top box. The ride is comfortable and I love the XM radio. I took it for about a 80 mile test loop on 4 land and the twisty s and it handled like my sport tourer. Love the red color also and for 16 grand this bike can't be beat.
Mitch -Because Economists Ride Too  December 11, 2010 07:05 AM
The Vaquero is definitely the looker of the 1700 line. Red is not usually my color of choice but I have to admit this bike wears it well. Some of the style ques are certainly Road Glide inspired but I think attributes like the sport fairing and side load bags evolve the classic style to an even more custom look. Like the author stated the Vaquero will never out ride a Cross Country or out run the Star Deluxe but these days there is a lot to be said about offering the best value and for what the Vulcan offers I have to admit I am impressed with what you get for $16500.
Ace -To irksome  December 11, 2010 01:26 AM
The current format for presenting article is fine.What's wrong with having some pictures and text along with the report?.It's a bonus if you ask me.
Nick -Will It Pass the West Texas Test?  December 10, 2010 09:43 PM
The West Texas test is 80 miles per hour into a 30 mph headwind for 125 miles on one tank of gas.


irksome -just out of curiosity...  December 10, 2010 07:20 PM
I'm just wondering when you guys will quit with the whole text-over-pictures thing. Very unprofessional.