Vaquero Test Ride w/Pic - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 12:46 PM Thread Starter
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Vaquero Test Ride w/Pic

Having spent over a year on a 2009 1700 Classic outfitted with a windshield, lowers, slim bags, air kit, throttle mod, FI2000r, slip on mufflers, and other bits, I had my first real chance at riding a Vaquero. (2012, Blue) Here is a perspective of the differences.

When I got on the bike and pulled out the first thing I noticed was how easy this thing is to move around. Much more so than the classic. The Vaquero has a slightly different frame and steering geometry than the Classic. It also has 1.25" handlebars that are not as far apart at the grips as the Classic. This, combined with the differences in geometry, was really pronounced when I got back on my Classic it felt like I had extra wide "beach bars." This has always been a gripe of mine as moving around at really low speeds with wider bars is always harder. The frame mounted fairing made steering a non issue and sliced through the wind at speeds in the upper 90's no problem.

The transmission is loud as ever. The transmissions got reworked in later years and I could tell during shift points. I was getting more out of gears than I can on the Classic. However, the clunk is still there.

The power was great and I really think a fairing makes all the difference when cutting through higher speeds. My big windshield cannot cut through the wind like this bike could. I felt NO throttle lag in this bike. Having Ray's mod I was expecting to feel it and did not for the 1/2 hour I rode it. HOWEVER, this bike was by far the worst stock bike ever to pop on decel and downshift. It was so bad I could hear it popping like crazy with the radio up loud. I thought of intake leaks and bet this bike had a very bad one. It did not translate to a loss of performance and I experienced no hesitation. More time would reveal that problem. I've discussed (complained) about my Classic popping but it never behaved like this at all when it was stock.

Speakers are useless. Bike does not turn down volume as you slow like a Street Glide which leads to messing with the controls as you come to a light. The shorty windscreen would need to be changed with a Cee Baily's 13" right of the bat.

Overall I enjoyed the bike and instrumentation. I was surprised at the performance for a stock bike which I'm sure has something to do with the more wind friendly fairing and transmission rework. When I got back on the Classic it felt like I was getting on a Concours or something with the difference in feel and steering out of the lot. The Classic is not as well balanced. I rode the bike for 1/2 hour, slow speed, traffic lights, and freeway.

I may consider one of these as I could use the bag space and like the instrumentation and styling. The price needs to be right and I'm in no rush. You don't see any blue ones. I'm not sure what to think of the color or why Kawasaki chose muddy 4-wheeler and Ninja sportbike colors to compete with other baggers like HD. There are literally thousands of color combos/colors that would like great on this bike. The blue started to grow on me though. At least it's different. I like the blacked out components. I want NO CHROME on my Vaquero. The more stuff that's blacked out the better!




Last edited by 1700Classic; 08-24-2012 at 12:50 PM.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 01:05 PM
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Have you considered cutting about an inch and a half off each end of your handlebars? Makes a nice difference on those beach bars.

Ron in Cincinnati

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1700Classic View Post
Having spent over a year on a 2009 1700 Classic outfitted with a windshield, lowers, slim bags, air kit, throttle mod, FI2000r, slip on mufflers, and other bits, I had my first real chance at riding a Vaquero. (2012, Blue) Here is a perspective of the differences.

When I got on the bike and pulled out the first thing I noticed was how easy this thing is to move around. Much more so than the classic. The Vaquero has a slightly different frame and steering geometry than the Classic. It also has 1.25" handlebars that are not as far apart at the grips as the Classic. This, combined with the differences in geometry, was really pronounced when I got back on my Classic it felt like I had extra wide "beach bars." This has always been a gripe of mine as moving around at really low speeds with wider bars is always harder. The frame mounted fairing made steering a non issue and sliced through the wind at speeds in the upper 90's no problem.

The transmission is loud as ever. The transmissions got reworked in later years and I could tell during shift points. I was getting more out of gears than I can on the Classic. However, the clunk is still there.

The power was great and I really think a fairing makes all the difference when cutting through higher speeds. My big windshield cannot cut through the wind like this bike could. I felt NO throttle lag in this bike. Having Ray's mod I was expecting to feel it and did not for the 1/2 hour I rode it. HOWEVER, this bike was by far the worst stock bike ever to pop on decel and downshift. It was so bad I could hear it popping like crazy with the radio up loud. I thought of intake leaks and bet this bike had a very bad one. It did not translate to a loss of performance and I experienced no hesitation. More time would reveal that problem. I've discussed (complained) about my Classic popping but it never behaved like this at all when it was stock.

Speakers are useless. Bike does not turn down volume as you slow like a Street Glide which leads to messing with the controls as you come to a light. The shorty windscreen would need to be changed with a Cee Baily's 13" right of the bat.

Overall I enjoyed the bike and instrumentation. I was surprised at the performance for a stock bike which I'm sure has something to do with the more wind friendly fairing and transmission rework. When I got back on the Classic it felt like I was getting on a Concours or something with the difference in feel and steering out of the lot. The Classic is not as well balanced. I rode the bike for 1/2 hour, slow speed, traffic lights, and freeway.

I may consider one of these as I could use the bag space and like the instrumentation and styling. The price needs to be right and I'm in no rush. You don't see any blue ones. I'm not sure what to think of the color or why Kawasaki chose muddy 4-wheeler and Ninja sportbike colors to compete with other baggers like HD. There are literally thousands of color combos/colors that would like great on this bike. The blue started to grow on me though. At least it's different. I like the blacked out components. I want NO CHROME on my Vaquero. The more stuff that's blacked out the better!



Just go get you one of those "Other" bikes and quit comparing them.

But for real, I would not have thought there would have been that much different between the Classic and the Vaquero. Which I have never rode any of the 1700 line of Kaw's. That is good info to know, thanks for a detailed review. The Vaquero was a bike that I would have like to considered when I got the V2K just was not in the price range.

1985 Honda Nighthawk 650 (First Bike)
2004 Vulcan 1500 Classic (First Big Bike)
2007 Vulcan 1600 Meanstreak (Love Affair)
1999 Yamaha 1100 V-Star Custom (Right Price at the Time)
2008 V2K Classic (Favorite Vulcan)
2014 HD Ultra Limited (Bells and Whistles)
Who would have thought I would grow up to become "Spatially Educated" and play Connect-the-Dots for a living.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pacomutt View Post
Have you considered cutting about an inch and a half off each end of your handlebars? Makes a nice difference on those beach bars.
That's an option. Not sure how everything would mount back up, have to eye it down.

There were enough subtle differences between the two to know I was riding a different bike. I like them both though and you always want what you don't have.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 02:58 PM
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Speakers are useless. Bike does not turn down volume as you slow like a Street Glide which leads to messing with the controls as you come to a light.

Don't be dissing the Vaquero because you didn't operate it properly... the AVC, the automatic volume control system works perfectly if you do your part... the Street Glide is a pale reflection of the Vaquero...

The twisties – not the superslabs –separate the riders from the squids...

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 03:02 PM
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Good writeup. Hey just to let you know, the radio volume will go up and down with the speed of the bike but you have to go into the menu and enable that feature. I have a 2011 Voyager and I'm sure it's the same radio. Also about the transmission clunk thing, all the 1700's do it but it's a little more so on the Vaquero as you noted and it's by design. It appears that Kawasaki removed the clutch dampener still leaving the rear pulley dampeners to give it a more muscle feel. I didn't know this until I was reading a past review of the Vaquero on the Internet. I think I would prefer a little less clunk from all the 1700's, but that's just my preference.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 03:07 PM
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Good writeup. Hey just to let you know, the radio volume will go up and down with the speed of the bike but you have to go into the menu and enable that feature. I have a 2011 Voyager and I'm sure it's the same radio. Also about the transmission clunk thing, all the 1700's do it but it's a little more so on the Vaquero as you noted and it's by design. It appears that Kawasaki removed the clutch dampener still leaving the rear pulley dampeners to give it a more muscle feel. I didn't know this until I was reading a past review of the Vaquero on the Internet. I think I would prefer a little less clunk from all the 1700's, but that's just my preference.

Exactly right, Kawi deleted the clutch damper to give the Vaquero more 'character'... I've ridden several Voyagers, most recently a 2012 my dealer would truly love for me to buy and I rode it fresh out of the crate and put 50 miles on it. A Voyager owner can never convince me their transmission 'clunks', the Voyager feels smooth and buttery compared to the Vaquero...

Edit to add: Here's an article discussing the differences in the transmission... http://www.motorcycle.com/manufactur...iew-90206.html

The twisties – not the superslabs –separate the riders from the squids...


Last edited by DarkStar; 08-24-2012 at 03:11 PM. Reason: Link
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 03:19 PM Thread Starter
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Don't be dissing the Vaquero because you didn't operate it properly... the AVC, the automatic volume control system works perfectly if you do your part... the Street Glide is a pale reflection of the Vaquero...

I was on a test ride. I did not have the owners manual on my lap as I was driving. Nice to know it's just AVC I was ignorant of. I'm glad you are proud of your bike. I like patriotism. How could I have operated the lousy speakers any better? I've yet to see the thread about the Vaquero's stereo being outstanding. You'd also think for the price of the bike they wouldn't leave some wires locked in a fairing with the "option" of adding the iPod connection.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 03:21 PM Thread Starter
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Edit to add: Here's an article discussing the differences in the transmission... http://www.motorcycle.com/manufactur...iew-90206.html
Good link discussing the Vaq
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 11:17 PM
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You'd also think for the price of the bike they wouldn't leave some wires locked in a fairing with the "option" of adding the iPod connection.
These things are priced waay below the competition normally. I paid $13k for my 2011 in 2011. Far below retail sticker price and really far below most of the other baggers. That leaves quite a bit of room to add the $100 ipod connector and a bunch of other mods too. Personally I think the Vaquero is a steal, especially for what you get. Although I do agree about the new colors - what the hell were they thinking...looks good on the Ninja lineup, but the Vaquero? Betcha there will be a lot of basement priced leftover deals in Oct...glad they offered black last yr
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