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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I recently rode a Harley Street Glide Special, and while I really liked it, I wasn't a huge fan of the stock exhaust volume (a little loud for my tinnitus-ravaged ears) and the vibration at idle.

Today, I visited a local Kawasaki dealer, who had a Vaquero in his showroom.

The bike was comfortable to sit on, but he doesn't do test rides (although after an hour of talking, it sounded like he'd make an exception).

1. What I'm looking for, is what am I missing? What should sway me to or from the Vaquero?

2. How does the stock exhaust volume compare to the HD SGS?

3. Does the Vaquero vibrate at idle like HD bikes?

4. How does the stereo compare to the HD SGS "Boom Audio"?

5. Can I plug my phone (android) into the stereo and listen to music? Do the handlebar controls work on it?

6. Is this bike top heavy? I had no problem tossing the HD SGS around like I do my Vulcan 800.

7. Handling concerns?

8. Weight?

9. I'm 5'8", any other shorter riders on a Vaquero? What mods did you do, lowering and such?

One of the main reasons I'm close to pulling the trigger on the Vaquero is price ... it's almost $10k cheaper than the HD SGS.

I'd look at Victory bikes, but their dealer network sucks here in the Washington, D.C. metro area. The closest one is 25+ miles away from me. Also, my 05 Vulcan has been virtually problem-free for the 10k miles I've put on it in the last 6 years (I got it in 2010 with 700 miles on the odo).

I've tried to do a bunch of online research and ask around to my riding buddies, but none of them seem to know much about Kawasaki bikes.

Finally, the sticker is just shy of $17k, and the dealer is quoting me $15,300 out the door - is that a good deal, or should I ask for more off the price?

Thanks all, I know it was a long read, but this'll be the first bike I ever buy (my current bike was a gift from a friend who wasn't riding it).

-John
 

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I love my Vaquero...though I have heavily modified it at this point. Even with lots of upgrades (including custom paint) I am in for less than a stock Road Glide.

Stock it sounds like a sewing machine....I swapped out the exhaust and intake pretty quick.

No significant vibration at idle.

Stock speakers are kind of junk....adding and amp and some good 5.25" speakers will take care of that. Or you can get adapters for 6.5" speakers, including speakers in the bags if you want.

You need to get an adapter kit from Kawasaki to hook external audio into the stereo. The basic line in or iPod adapter is around $120. You can also add and XM Radio module...but that closer to $500. I have both installed, though listen to XM 90% of the time.

Harleys are generally lighter and depending on the model have lower centers of gravity. The Vaquero is close to 900lbs dry. and while I would not call it "top heavy"...it does have a high center of gravity.

That said it handles like a dream...or at least as good as can be expected from any mass produced bike. There are lots of options for changing the handling characteristics if you want.

You can lower the bike via adjustments to the stock shocks; replacing the stock shocks; or adding a lowering kit....I did the one from Luverne Kawasaki.

$15300 out the door is not bad....I got out the door with my '14 for just a bit over 16k....but included 2 years maintenance and 7 year warranty.

I had been considering a Vaquero in trade for my VN1700 Classic....I stopped into the dealer just to sit on it.....walked out with it that day :p
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Awesome, thanks for the info!

I rode a new HD Road Glide yesterday, and the stock windscreen on that thing was a joke! Anything over 35mph and I was getting so much wind buffeting that my eyes were watering.

It appears that the Vaquero's windscreen is more vertical, like a Street Glide, which had very little buffeting all the way to 70mph.

Hopefully I'll be test riding the Vaquero tomorrow night, then I'll make a decision on which to get.

-John
 

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Discussion Starter #4
A quick update ... my previously-quoted price of $15,300 was incorrect - it was $15,800 and change.

That said, I rode the Vaquero last night, and really enjoyed it!

On Sunday, I took a new HD Road Glide Special out, and was mostly miserable. Didn't matter if that slit in the fairing was open or closed, I got so much buffeting that anything over 35mph caused my eyes to water (half helmet and prescription glasses). The steering felt heavy, and I didn't like the reach to the touch screen, whether stopped or not.

Back to the Vaquero: There was some buffeting, but WAY less than the HD RGS, so a taller windscreen will fix that. The steering felt lighter also, and I came away a lot happier with it than I expected. You're right, the stock speakers are junk, and the side-opening bags are a little silly, but I'm assuming I'll get used to 'em.

Cards on the table, I asked the dealer to do $15,500, and he said OK to that, and he'll throw in a windscreen ... the klockwerks one was $200!

I'd say it's a pretty good deal on a bike they've had sitting in their showroom all year, haha.

I should be getting it in the next week or so, looking forward to it!

Oh, and yeah, it rained during my test ride, so no high speed hijinks, but I still liked it. And I won't need ear plugs all the time like I would on any Harley.

My wife even sat on it, and had serious trouble standing it up, lol!

-John
 

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Went from an 05 800 myself, but to the 2012 Voyager. Thought I would need time to adjust to the weight difference, but felt right at home on it by the time I rode it 35 miles home. Did ride my brothers 09 Ultra Glide Classic 87 miles, due to a mishap he had in the wrong gear and stalled in a hairpin turn.Was very glad to get it parked in his driveway and off it, just did not fit me. The stock speakers are ok with an amp, but not great. I did add the speaker adaptors and 6 3/4" kickers, big improvement. You may want to wrap the pipes if you will be riding in much stop and go, city riding. The Ivan reflash of the stock computer has been praised from day one. I got a Gman bully fuel controller for mine before this was available. All told, I probably have less than $600 invested in functional mods on mine. By the way, I still ride the 800 when solo. I have 110,600 miles on the 800, and 53,000 on the Voyager. The dependabilty of the 800 was a huge factory in me deciding on the Voyager and have not been disappointed.
 

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Now I want to compare a Vaquero to my 2011 Nomad. I know I absolutely love the stock seat and riding position, and the bike handles beautifully. Granted, I think the bike I have fits my needs better than the Vaq would, but still, I am curious now.

I went from a 1200 V-Max to my Nomad. Night & day difference, and I have zero regrets.
 

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Love my Vaquero! Not a bad deal! Though before you pull the trigger, look around to see if there are any 2015 leftovers available. It's still brand new, it's still the same 3 year warranty, and the bike is identical. But you could save a couple grand.

As to the stereo; the line in adapter is your only Android option. You can't control the music with your handlebar controls; only the volume of the stereo. BUT, if you don't stream music, you could go on eBay and get any number of used iPods; and plug that in with the iPod connection kit, and get full handlebar controls. Skip tracks, select playlists, song title on the screen, the works. If you get a newer device with the new lightning connector; you'll need Apple's official adapter. The cheap ones on Amazon don't convert the digital lightning audio to the analog 30-pin dock connector audio, which the Kawasaki needs. The reason it won't play music off of your android phone via USB, is the Kawasaki stereo has no means for playing digital audio files. The 30 pin Apple dock connector does that for it and sends the audio. The only digital info it passes through is title and track info, and sends back track skip, etc. signals. It's a big oversight in my opinion; but I bought the bike to ride it; I could've saved a lot of money if all I wanted to do is listen to the radio! Ha!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yeah, there are no 2015s sitting around, and the deal on this 2016 is good enough :D

As for the radio, yeah, I've got an android phone, but I have plenty of iPods laying around that I don't use, and can permanently leave on the bike.

-John
 

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Used iPods are like $8-$15 on eBay. I bought one that was beat to hell...but worked for $8 shipped. Ya never see it anyway.
 

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Hi John. Congratulations on your new bike!! I also interested in the Valquero and I am also 5' 8". How was your test ride? Did your feet reach the ground okay? The closest dealer that has one in stock and allows test rides is 4.5 hours away. Trying to get feed back before I embark on that ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hi John. Congratulations on your new bike!! I also interested in the Valquero and I am also 5' 8". How was your test ride? Did your feet reach the ground okay? The closest dealer that has one in stock and allows test rides is 4.5 hours away. Trying to get feed back before I embark on that ride.
OK, so I picked up the bike Saturday, and spent 4 hours on it. Rode another 3 hours on Sunday. Both days were close to 100 degrees out, with heat indexes in the 110 range. To say it was hot was an understatement!

That said, I had an absolute blast. My initial apprehension at muscling around over 800lbs was minimized by my seat time. Switching over to my Vulcan 800 was refreshing in its lightness, but far less comfortable.

They threw in the 9" KlockWerks screen, which is a few inches short, unfortunately. I have a call in them to see if they'll take the 9"er back and give me a 12" screen from the same manufacturer - we'll see how that goes. They're giving me 20% off any accessories I order through them, so I went ahead and got the saddlebag liners and if it comes down to it, I'll pay for the 12" KlockWerks screen, unless someone knows of a perfect screen for a 5'8" tall person like myself.

To answer your question about flat-footing the bike - if I move forward on the seat as far as my man-parts will allow, I can just about flat foot it. Generally, I find myself putting my left or right foot down, or resting on the balls of my feet. It's not as bad as it sounds.

I looked at a pic of my wife sitting on the bike at the dealership, and she scooted forward until she flat-footed it, and she's 5'3" tall, so it's just a matter of seating position.

Other than that, without ear plugs, I hear a lot of belt whine, trans whine, and wind, so I will be wearing plugs all the time on this sucker. Even at idle, standing next to the bike, the low blat-blat-blat of the exhaust is enough to annoy my tinnitus (I suffer from severe tinnitus, so I'm always stocked up on 29db ear plugs). With the plugs in, the stereo sounds great and the ride is comfortable noise-wise.

The seat is good for at least 1.5 hours, but I may end up putting a custom (read: lower) seat on it, one built just for me and my comfort.

The side-opening saddlebags are kickass.

The handling is better than my Vulcan 800, and I already find myself leaning harder into corners than I expected, not to mention carrying more speed. I caught myself going into a few corners hot, and remembering the 300 mile break-in for tires (sales staff said not to drag knees in the first 300 miles, lol), I did intermediate off-loads to keep the bike more vertical.

Power is good, but could be better - I'm sticking with the recommended 2,500 RPM break-in speed for the first 500 miles, then 3,500 RPMs until 1,000 miles, which nets about 60mph in 5th gear and close to 70 in 6th. Plenty fast enough for all the riding I do.

I may be sitting too far back on the seat, so I'll have to play around with that.

Overall, I love the new bike, and will definitely pile on the miles! My old Vulcan will stay around as long as Mrs. DraKhen doesn't complain, lol. Actually, I'm hoping she sells her 2000 Honda Shadow 600 and rides the Vulcan instead. Then I can really justify both ;)

-John
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Quick update - got off the phone with the dealer, they're ordering me the 12" KlockWerks screen and they'll swap it out - for free! Awesome people to work with over there.

The dealer is Heyser Cycles of Laurel, MD, for anyone who's interested in a bike, parts or accessories! Give Will, Ronnie, or Ollie a phone call (Backend Sales, Finance, Frontend Sales).

I can't say enough how easy and smooth this transaction was, and the after-sale support has been surprisingly good! I'm used to getting responses like, "well, you bought it, that's all the contact we wanted." Instead, Heyser is responsive and really looks out for its customers.

Tell 'em I sent ya!

-John
 

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Oh, and I ordered the auxiliary driving lights from them too, to go along with the saddlebag liners... we'll see how difficult an install the lights are :D

Hopefully everything comes in next week and I can get a few hours to sit down and do the install.

-John
 

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... we'll see how difficult an install the lights are :D
-John
The Manual says to remove the fairing, but you don't need to go that far. Simply remove the storage compartments instead, and reach in from the back.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The Manual says to remove the fairing, but you don't need to go that far. Simply remove the storage compartments instead, and reach in from the back.
Thanks for the heads-up!

-John
 
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