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Discussion Starter #1
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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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
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.:)
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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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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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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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.
 

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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
 

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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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Discussion Starter #10
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.

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.

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.

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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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.
I think Kawi took a nose dive with the 1700 line. There's so much fake chrome (plastic) on these things... I was looking at a 1700 Classic the other day and was, yet again, surprised by its obvious lack of quality pieces. If the inside is like the outside, then "frail, weak" is an apt description.

If my next bike is a Kawi, it will be an '08 low-mile Nomad. Otherwise, I'm looking elsewhere, more than likely at an HD Road King.
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IntheWind
'06 1500 Classic
 

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Nomad quality

I think Kawi took a nose dive with the 1700 line. There's so much fake chrome (plastic) on these things... I was looking at a 1700 Classic the other day and was, yet again, surprised by its obvious lack of quality pieces. If the inside is like the outside, then "frail, weak" is an apt description.

If my next bike is a Kawi, it will be an '08 low-mile Nomad. Otherwise, I'm looking elsewhere, more than likely at an HD Road King.
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IntheWind
'06 1500 Classic
A few of my '09 Nomad's chromed plastic pieces are showing wear already. Harleys do have an advantage in that department.

Time and miles will reveal any weakness in my Nomad's mechanicals. I'm not worried. Everything can be fixed. Even the pricey BMWs that many of my riding buddies swear by. They like the look, feel and perceived prestige of their BMWs - so they're willing to endure some of the long-standing flaws that BMW refuse to correct.

One thing that I think is worth considering when deciding between a Road King and a Nomad - engine cooling. That was one of the things that tipped the Nomad in my favor. I thought it was a good idea to have an engine cooled by a radiator. I've asked Harley owners about that, and they don't think it's an issue.
 

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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.
I find this very laughable, Just did a 5500 mile trip on my VV, west coast and back.....what a great bike for a trip like this!!!
As far as the Harley doin a dance....your right....just watch any of em sittin at a stop light!! Got a buddy on a 2011 ultra limited (103 engine) ($30,000 w/mods) stage 1, pipes, and air kit befor he picked it up. He was able to just barley out pull my "Stock" Voyager....now that i've done cobra pipes, fuel control, and thunder air....lol.....leave him in the dust any time I want. Just so you know, it's not about the speed for me, or who's bike is faster.....but....when I see silly statements like "dance all over the 1700 (103) kawi's"....hard to let silly statements like that go, when I know the truth for a fact!!!! As far as your Kmart budget comment....i'm sure i'm not alone when I tell you, if there was a better bike in this class that cost more I would have no problem buying one....but...since there's not....I am sure glad I got such a great bike for this price. Ride safe and have a good day!!:)
 

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No apologies

You want power get a Strat (fugly) or V2K. Or new 103 Harley which will dance all over the 1700 Kawi's.
By "dance all over the 1700 Kawi's", are you referring to drag strip ET and mph, and road track elapsed times? I would be interested in reading the test reviews and results that have proved a stock Harley Road King to be quicker and faster than a Nomad.

I invite any owner of a stock 1700 Road King to ride with me for a day in southeast Arizona. If you can demonstrate a clear performance superiority to my 1700 Nomad, I'll buy you lunch. And I'll provide a report of our ride on this forum.
 

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I'm 62 yrs old now
Ha! I thought you were a kid...

I think when we are used to our own rides and try out another, our first impressions go a long way in the choices we make. Only you know the kind of riding that you like, the feel, need for power or speed, and the look. It is all personal choice!

I was on the way home from work one day and saw this fellow, prob about your age, on a bike ridng under the speed limit on the local highway. I was so envious! He looked like he was in hog heaven.

All the numbers, all the specs, it all matters but it is ultimately the ride. Which bike is going to put a smile on your face every time you mount it?
 

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A few of my '09 Nomad's chromed plastic pieces are showing wear already. Harleys do have an advantage in that department.

Time and miles will reveal any weakness in my Nomad's mechanicals. I'm not worried. Everything can be fixed. Even the pricey BMWs that many of my riding buddies swear by. They like the look, feel and perceived prestige of their BMWs - so they're willing to endure some of the long-standing flaws that BMW refuse to correct.

One thing that I think is worth considering when deciding between a Road King and a Nomad - engine cooling. That was one of the things that tipped the Nomad in my favor. I thought it was a good idea to have an engine cooled by a radiator. I've asked Harley owners about that, and they don't think it's an issue.
Solo,
That's the downside to the HD--no radiator... I don't really care about the 103ci... I'd be very content with the 95ci '08 Nomad. A 1600 is plenty big enough for me. There's a guy on the Delphi Road King forum who last week sold his Road King and bought an '06 Nomad. This is what he wrote: Got me a like new '06 Nomad 1600, man what a beautiful bike, ride likes a big old Buick Roadmaster!! Goes like snot too. Surprisingly, not one criticism from other forum members. They all praised him for his find and had nothing but good things to say about the Nomad.

I've already inquired about one ('08 Nomad), just waiting to hear from the owner.
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IntheWind
'06 1500 Classic
 

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I think Kawi took a nose dive with the 1700 line. There's so much fake chrome (plastic) on these things... I was looking at a 1700 Classic the other day and was, yet again, surprised by its obvious lack of quality pieces. If the inside is like the outside, then "frail, weak" is an apt description.

If my next bike is a Kawi, it will be an '08 low-mile Nomad. Otherwise, I'm looking elsewhere, more than likely at an HD Road King.
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IntheWind
'06 1500 Classic
Sure. No doubt some fake chrome is one of the reasons a new Nomad cost 1/2 as much as a comparably equipped HD of a similar model.

As far as long term durability of the power train goes, well, that's open to debate either way. Given the considerable cost difference, personally, I'd just as soon get a different bike probably than rebuild it every 10 years or whatever. Others may see it differently, of course.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
This is why I belong to so many forums, all the information has to be weighed and rationalized but none the less where else can you get so much insight into a subject.

I find this very laughable, Just did a 5500 mile trip on my VV, west coast and back.....what a great bike for a trip like this!!!
As far as the Harley doin a dance....your right....just watch any of em sittin at a stop light!! Got a buddy on a 2011 ultra limited (103 engine) ($30,000 w/mods) stage 1, pipes, and air kit befor he picked it up. He was able to just barley out pull my "Stock" Voyager....now that i've done cobra pipes, fuel control, and thunder air....lol.....leave him in the dust any time I want. Just so you know, it's not about the speed for me, or who's bike is faster.....but....when I see silly statements like "dance all over the 1700 (103) kawi's"....hard to let silly statements like that go, when I know the truth for a fact!!!! As far as your Kmart budget comment....i'm sure i'm not alone when I tell you, if there was a better bike in this class that cost more I would have no problem buying one....but...since there's not....I am sure glad I got such a great bike for this price. Ride safe and have a good day!!:)
This is very encouraging to hear. I have an appointment to ride a new 103 Road King Saturday so I will see for myself. But to read your post it amazes me how the new unbroken in 1700 that I rode could seem so sluggish. With my wife on the back, my Harley Street Bob is very close to the weight of a Harley Road king (that has the same engine as my Bob). And I know how my Bob runs, it don't feel no where near sluggish. Anyhow I'm soaking all this up.

I'm also looking at the economical Yamaha Stratoliner model with the 1850cc engine. Not as nice a setup as the Nomad but a strong running tourer with a shield and lockable bags.

. . . . . .
I invite any owner of a stock 1700 Road King to ride with me for a day in southeast Arizona. If you can demonstrate a clear performance superiority to my 1700 Nomad, I'll buy you lunch. And I'll provide a report of our ride on this forum.
I was able to find "one" quarter mile drag strip run on a Nomad (posted by a the owner on a forum). It was 14.1 seconds. That's definitely faster than what I rode yesterday cause I use to have an Olds 442 that would turn 14.x and it felt fast doing it.

I could not find any drag times on the Road King, there was one on a OEM Street Bob at 13.5. This was only a "review" posting, so whatever.

One thing that I think is worth considering when deciding between a Road King and a Nomad - engine cooling. That was one of the things that tipped the Nomad in my favor. I thought it was a good idea to have an engine cooled by a radiator. I've asked Harley owners about that, and they don't think it's an issue.
"Some" Harley owners say heat is not an issue. They ones that have been stranded with an overheated CPK sensor don't say that. I've never heard of an engine seizing up at traffic light, but do know some that overheated in "non-moving" situations and sensors went bad and the motor quit and had to be hauled in.

I have a Lenale Fan on mine, I turn it on for those long traffic lights. For over 3 mins I turn the bike off. I have heat gauge that reads straight off the front jug head sensor. If you run the bike very long sitting stationary or even in 10mph traffic jams and it climbs into the 320*F plus range. If I did not turn on the fan I don't know how high it would climb.

I ride with the Patriot Guard and I can always tell who has water cooled and how has air cooled. The water cooled guys will crank up as soon as we mount up, the rest of us air cooled guys crank up only when the Hurse is moving.
 

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I find this very laughable, Just did a 5500 mile trip on my VV, west coast and back.....what a great bike for a trip like this!!!
As far as the Harley doin a dance....your right....just watch any of em sittin at a stop light!! Got a buddy on a 2011 ultra limited (103 engine) ($30,000 w/mods) stage 1, pipes, and air kit befor he picked it up. He was able to just barley out pull my "Stock" Voyager....now that i've done cobra pipes, fuel control, and thunder air....lol.....leave him in the dust any time I want. Just so you know, it's not about the speed for me, or who's bike is faster.....but....when I see silly statements like "dance all over the 1700 (103) kawi's"....hard to let silly statements like that go, when I know the truth for a fact!!!! As far as your Kmart budget comment....i'm sure i'm not alone when I tell you, if there was a better bike in this class that cost more I would have no problem buying one....but...since there's not....I am sure glad I got such a great bike for this price. Ride safe and have a good day!!:)
A MAN brother to what you just said.
 

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Sure. No doubt some fake chrome is one of the reasons a new Nomad cost 1/2 as much as a comparably equipped HD of a similar model.

As far as long term durability of the power train goes, well, that's open to debate either way. Given the considerable cost difference, personally, I'd just as soon get a different bike probably than rebuild it every 10 years or whatever. Others may see it differently, of course.
The 1500/1600 line was also 1/2 the price of the HDs but they didn't have any of these fake chrome pieces. To put plastic on the 1700 line was an unwise and unnecessary decision by Kawi, and in the long run it's going to cost them. JM2C.
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IntheWind
'06 1500 Classic
 
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