First Ride on '09 Kawasaki Voyager Nears
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I'm headed to Northern California next week to get my first ride on the 2009 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager.
I can’t wait. Next week I’m headed to Mill Valley above San Francisco to ride Kawasaki’s 2009 lineup of Vulcan 1700 Cruisers. This means I get my first chance to throw a leg over Kawasaki’s fully-dressed touring motorcycle, the 2009 Vulcan 1700 Voyager
. According to Motorcycle USA’s VP, Ken Hutchison, the Voyager raised the most hubbub at the dealer expo when it was introduced. I know it has generated a spirited response in our forum, so it appears that Kawasaki dealers aren’t the only ones eager to see the motorcycle’s return.
Will the new Voyager have the same easy-handling nature as the old? How good will its linked braking system be? Are the ergos dialed in for the long haul? I hope to bring you the answers to these questions and more.
I do like that Kawasaki chose a frame-mounted fairing, for handling’s sake. I’m sure the 1700cc single overhead cam V-Twin will provide ample punch. The front fairing and the saddlebags are aerodynamically sculpted, so we’ll see what type of hole we can punch in the wind. If we head toward the nearby Pacific coast, there will be no shortage of wind to test how well it protects the rider.
I also get to ride the 2009 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Classic LT, so I will have a chance to note any differences between the Voyager’s full touring setup versus the Classic LT’s mix of assorted touring accessories.
Greg White of Kawasaki Motors Corp. said that the Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Classic LT engine is all-new and has 15% more torque than the 1600 from last year. He also said that it has a new frame that is lighter and more compact. More pop in a sharper-handling package – now we’re talking!
Besides riding two Kawasaki touring motorcycles, I’ll get a quick change of attitude when I switch to riding the 2009 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Classic. Stripped down, beefed up, big engine, big pipes, and hopefully big fun. There’s something about grabbing the grips of a classic cruiser motorcycle, sitting upright in the saddle with your legs kicked out in front, the pulse of a V-Twin beneath you. Zen, Nirvana, Valhalla, Dishwalla – whatever you want to call it, you know the feeling I’m talking about.
Finally, I’ll get some saddle time on the Vulcan 1700 Nomad as well. Like the others, the Nomad has the new frame with a shorter wheelbase and a shorter distance between the seat and steering head. Kawasaki claims it’s more rider-friendly at slow speeds. I want to see how it handles at
speed, and I know there are plenty of curve-filled, hilly roads just waiting for us around Mill Valley next week.
Follow Bryan Harley on Google+