1700cc Nomad Power questions - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 62 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
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1700cc Nomad Power questions

I rode my first Nomad today on a test ride. It was a brand new bike. I love the way it looks, the way it sits, and handles, but .......

I need some experienced input here. I realize brand new engines are not quite as powerful until broken in and also the Nomad weighs almost 200lbs more than my Harley Street Bob. But with my Bob having only 1584cc and the Nomad having 1700cc I was kinda hoping for at least somewhere near the same power on acceleration from the Nomad.

My Harley has no cam, no internal mods at all. It does have the big Air cleaner kit, Vance & Hines Big Shots dual pipes and a Doebeck TFI fuel richener.

When I rode the Nomad I tried accelerating several times from 1st thru 3rd and I was extremely disappointed. My Harley would literally blow the new Nomad 1700 off the strip in the 1/4 mile. I am disappointed because I like the Nomad, but it just seems to accelerate like a sled compared to my Bob.

I wondering if after Nomad was broke in, with big Air and slip on's (to get rid of the CAT) and a Doebeck or something, it could add substancial kick to it. My Harley had quite a bit of kick even before I put the Doebeck on it.

Would appreciate any and all input on this and the experience you guys have had, especially guys that have road both the Nomad and the HD Road King. I surmise the Road King would be slower than my lighter Bob also, but have never ridden one. I'm even wondering if they have the Nomad out of tune. I told the salesman pretty much what I'm telling you but he had no comment.

I'm disallusioned at present.
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post #2 of 62 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 04:24 PM
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Well I've had my bike for three years now and it has come a long way. Mine is even heavier than the nomad and I would put it up against any stock Harley you could come up with. That's the difference I feel now than when it was brand-new. You can see the add-ons listed below. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


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post #3 of 62 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 05:43 PM
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Maybe need to wind it out a bit more than you're use to.

Size of the engine isn't necessarily the determining factor. Based on current specs, Harley lists the Street Bob at 92 ft-lb torque and Kawasaki lists the Nomad at 108 ft-lb. However, based on their listed weights and (presumably) peak torque, the Harley has a better torque to weight ratio than the Kawasaki; 0.137 for the Bob and 0.129 for the Nomad.

That said, we don't know the horsepower nor really know the power curve so a single point doesn't really tell us all we need to know. If the Kawasaki builds horsepower higher in the RPMs (which is my speculation) then it has to be wrung out more to show the true color.
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post #4 of 62 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsheek View Post
Well I've had my bike for three years now and it has come a long way. Mine is even heavier than the nomad and I would put it up against any stock Harley you could come up with. That's the difference I feel now than when it was brand-new. You can see the add-ons listed below. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
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Maybe need to wind it out a bit more than you're use to.

Size of the engine isn't necessarily the determining factor. Based on current specs, Harley lists the Street Bob at 92 ft-lb torque and Kawasaki lists the Nomad at 108 ft-lb. However, based on their listed weights and (presumably) peak torque, the Harley has a better torque to weight ratio than the Kawasaki; 0.137 for the Bob and 0.129 for the Nomad.

That said, we don't know the horsepower nor really know the power curve so a single point doesn't really tell us all we need to know. If the Kawasaki builds horsepower higher in the RPMs (which is my speculation) then it has to be wrung out more to show the true color.
Thanks, both of these replies are enlightening and help me decipher my adjustments to what I will decide on.

I also got some excellent replies on both a Harley forum and another Vulcan forum. They said the Harley Road King also suffers some from the added weight but they could not comment on the Nomad comparison to the RK. They did say that the EPA requirements has hurt Kawa just like many bikes and Kawa has a very restrictive intake and an issue with the throttle response that can be rectified with a big Air kit and a Mod to the throttle.

Anyhow this is easing my mind a bit and helping me to rationalize the change I am proposing for my ride and also what possibilities I have for pepping it up a bit for keeping up with group rides of all kinds of bikes. Or getting the heck out of the way of a Semi on a short access ramp.

I really don't want a race bike, but I guess I just never realized how much more power my Bob has than the touring bikes. It helps to hear you guys input though. Right now I'm just struggling with prices, options and what I need to decide on.

They have a used Kawa Classic 2000 Lt with 25,xxx miles on it and I know that thing will get up and move. But I just kinda really liked the looks and functionality of the Nomad a lot !.

Thanks a bunch and appreciate any other input from anyone. I don't mind being the stupid, I'm only interesting in learning the low down.
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post #5 of 62 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 06:10 PM
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At this point I'd be hard pressed to say in general the Bob has more power, but you're use to making power for your driving needs with the way you've become accustom to driving it.

As an extreme example, if I try to do a throttle roll-on on my crotch rocket at 3,000 RPM there isn't much there, but if I roll on the throttle on the Vulcan 2000 at 3,000 RPM it pulls like a freight train.
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post #6 of 62 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 07:17 PM
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The Nomad is designed to cruise and pulls well at 80 MPH. The gear ratios also got changed in '11 because folks complained about clunky shifting. The '09 / '10 bikes are faster off the line.

Even my 650cc parallel twin blows away any of the big cruisers. They are what they are. If you want real acceleration buy a ZX14.

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post #7 of 62 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 08:35 PM
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My experience with a Nomad

R_W_B, you haven't reported any performance numbers (0-60 mph, 1/4 mile times, etc.) for your Bob and the Nomad. Your subjective assessment of the Nomad is that it's slower than your Harley, but wouldn't it be a profitable exercise to run some actual tests of the two bikes before you invest in performance mods?

I rode a '97 Road King when I was a motor cop. When I retired I thought I would buy one for myself. But I discovered I could buy a '08 Nomad, with comparable specs to a '08 RK for about $6,000 less.

My Nomad seems a little slower accelerating than my police Road King was. Since the Nomad engine has 300 cc more displacement than the RK, and the bikes weigh about the same, I think the quicker acceleration of the police spec RK was because it had more performance oriented gearing, and less restrictive EPA requirements.

The other difference I notice is that the Road King handled a little better than the Nomad in slow speed maneuvers. That's because the RK has a slightly shorter wheelbase and significantly less rake (26 degrees) than the Nomad's 30 degees.

With 13,000 miles on the odometer, I'm more than satisfied with the Nomad's performance. I ride with guys who have quicker machines and they like to ride fast, but I have no trouble staying with them on my Nomad. And it's a comfortable bike, too. The ergos fit me like a glove, and the seat is the most comfortable of any bike I've ever owned.

One more thing. Check out maintenance intervals and costs compared to the H-D. I think you'll find that the Nomad wins in that department.

Last edited by SoloSgt; 07-25-2012 at 08:42 PM. Reason: added a word
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post #8 of 62 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 09:08 PM
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Nomad dyno figures

A follow up to my previous post.

According to a dyno chart (see URL below) published by D&D Performance, a 2009 Nomad (like mine) develops max 83.5 lbs/ft torque at 2750 rpm. At that rpm it's putting out 47.5 hp, which is about 65 % of its max 73.3 hp which it achieves at 5500 rpm.

My '09 Nomad tops out at 115 mph according to the speedometer. Police radar has revealed that my speedo reads 6.5% too fast, so the true top speed would be about 108 mph. That's exactly what my old police Road King would do.

That's interesting, though - because I was chasing speeders on my Road King at sea level. I live in the Arizona desert now, at 4,700 ft elevation and I ride in much higher average temperatures. That's gotta adversly affect performance. So, maybe at sea level, the Nomad would actually accelerate just as quick as the Road King and achieve a higher top speed.

http://www.danddexhaust.com/catalog/2009/09/554-12.htm

Last edited by SoloSgt; 07-25-2012 at 09:28 PM. Reason: corrected errors
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post #9 of 62 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 09:31 PM
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Your initial impressions are correct. While everyone else will probably apologize for the 1700 I'll tell you it's a feeble motor. Frail. Weak. You can get power it should have stock by doing all the standard mods. If you can break 80 hp after spending big bucks on mods consider yourself lucky. The 1700 is a smoother ride than any Harley though. If you're on a Kmart budget you'll get what you pay for in the 1700 line. You want power get a Strat (fugly) or V2K. Or new 103 Harley which will dance all over the 1700 Kawi's.
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post #10 of 62 (permalink) Old 07-26-2012, 07:34 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whoaru99 View Post
At this point I'd be hard pressed to say in general the Bob has more power, but you're use to making power for your driving needs with the way you've become accustom to driving it.

As an extreme example, if I try to do a throttle roll-on on my crotch rocket at 3,000 RPM there isn't much there, but if I roll on the throttle on the Vulcan 2000 at 3,000 RPM it pulls like a freight train.
Well that's a good point. I did not seem to "feel" much increase above 3500 rpms on the OEM test ride. The Torque however was acceptable starting out but felt unresponsive comparatively. Once the Nomad went past say 3200 rpms it just didn't have much that I could tell. In fact about that point I could hear the hydraulic tappets making noise. I surmise since they just added fluids they were not adequately pumped up yet. But it almost felt like a govenor kicked in around 3500 and it just lacked any further noticable punch. It kinda felt like it was "trying" to find it's power band.

Quote:
Originally Posted by twowheeladdict View Post
The Nomad is designed to cruise and pulls well at 80 MPH. The gear ratios also got changed in '11 because folks complained about clunky shifting. The '09 / '10 bikes are faster off the line.

Even my 650cc parallel twin blows away any of the big cruisers. They are what they are. If you want real acceleration buy a ZX14.
Oh ok, this is good info. I surmise wider ratios make the synchronizers smoother ? Anyhow I will say the 2011 I rode shifted like a dream, not near the hard clunk of my Harley. I could still hear it but it felt much softer.

No I'd rather ride a slow Nomad than blasting ZX14. I'm 62 yrs old now, (this will be my 5th bike in my entire life) and the type of highway riding my wife and I do is much more suited to a cruiser.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoloSgt View Post
R_W_B, you haven't reported any performance numbers (0-60 mph, 1/4 mile times, etc.) for your Bob and the Nomad. Your subjective assessment of the Nomad is that it's slower than your Harley, but wouldn't it be a profitable exercise to run some actual tests of the two bikes before you invest in performance mods?

I rode a '97 Road King when I was a motor cop. When I retired I thought I would buy one for myself. But I discovered I could buy a '08 Nomad, with comparable specs to a '08 RK for about $6,000 less.

My Nomad seems a little slower accelerating than my police Road King was. Since the Nomad engine has 300 cc more displacement than the RK, and the bikes weigh about the same, I think the quicker acceleration of the police spec RK was because it had more performance oriented gearing, and less restrictive EPA requirements.

The other difference I notice is that the Road King handled a little better than the Nomad in slow speed maneuvers. That's because the RK has a slightly shorter wheelbase and significantly less rake (26 degrees) than the Nomad's 30 degees.

With 13,000 miles on the odometer, I'm more than satisfied with the Nomad's performance. I ride with guys who have quicker machines and they like to ride fast, but I have no trouble staying with them on my Nomad. And it's a comfortable bike, too. The ergos fit me like a glove, and the seat is the most comfortable of any bike I've ever owned.

One more thing. Check out maintenance intervals and costs compared to the H-D. I think you'll find that the Nomad wins in that department.
Excellent reply and I've read enough elsewhere to know is all true. I surmise your Nomad is 1500cc since you say 300cc more than the 97 RK (at 1200cc).

I don't have any drag strip time sheets on my Bob but you can definitely feel a "dramatic" difference in seat gripping acceleration. I've ridden it now for 2 yrs and getting on the unbroken in Nomad was a bit of a shock.

But your numbers are correct, it would be at least 6K more to get a Harley with bags (new) and that probably (depending on inventory, and dealer need to move bikes etc) would end up being a Heritage Softail with soft bags. A Road King would probably be closer to 7.5K to 8K more than the Nomad.

And I especially like this part of you reply
[--------
With 13,000 miles on the odometer, I'm more than satisfied with the Nomad's performance. I ride with guys who have quicker machines and they like to ride fast, but I have no trouble staying with them on my Nomad. And it's a comfortable bike, too. The ergos fit me like a glove, and the seat is the most comfortable of any bike I've ever owned.
--------]

I too feel the same way about the ergos and feel of it, and the looks.

These replies help guys, this is an adjustment for me, but one I have come to the point in my life that I'm gonna have to make one way or the other.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1700Classic View Post
Your initial impressions are correct. While everyone else will probably apologize for the 1700 I'll tell you it's a feeble motor. Frail. Weak. You can get power it should have stock by doing all the standard mods. If you can break 80 hp after spending big bucks on mods consider yourself lucky. The 1700 is a smoother ride than any Harley though. If you're on a Kmart budget you'll get what you pay for in the 1700 line. You want power get a Strat (fugly) or V2K. Or new 103 Harley which will dance all over the 1700 Kawi's.
Sounds spot on. It does ride terribly smooth and feels like touring would be very enjoyable. And I am most definitely on a Kmart budget no sense lying about it.

Thanks again guys, you gave me "exactly" what I was looking for. Now it's up to me to decide.
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