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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking to get my first Kawasaki and it's gonna be a Vulcan Nomad. I've been riding sporting motorcycles for the last 20 years, before that I was more into the long distance stuff. I want to add the Vulcan to the sporting bikes I now have and am looking at a 2010 and a couple 2012's at the same dealer within a half hour from me. How lucky is that! Maybe it was meant to be, huh? Anyway the prices are about $1000 different and they all have less than 6000 miles on them, one with spot lights I really don't need and all three are different colors. Is there a reason as far as problems go, to chose one over the other? It will be used for highway trips with a ride to work once in a while. Thanks in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Geez thanks for all the replies! I understand this question has been asked to death but I'm trying to make the right decision on buying a Vulcan and figured I'd go to the people that should know for advice. I thought that's what forums were for.
 

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Geez thanks for all the replies! I understand this question has been asked to death but I'm trying to make the right decision on buying a Vulcan and figured I'd go to the people that should know for advice. I thought that's what forums were for.

All the 1700's are great bikes.... I would suggest asking in the 1700 forum... lots of goog knowledgeable folks there.....
 

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The 09-10 bikes had a recall for the computer, if you choose the 10, have them verify its been done. Dont think it applies to the Nomads, but in 2012 the KAMS system is standard on the Voyagers, its a heat management system to get heat away from riders. At 6000 miles, check the tires, the stock tires tend to wear quick, mainly the rear.
 

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The 2012 models will shift a little smother than the 2010. I am not sure if the 2012 Nomad has the KAM"s upgrade that the 2012 Voyager has but it makes a big difference in felt heat on the driver and passenger.

You say the driving lights/spot lights are unnecessary. My 2009 Nomad did not have them and every time I rode it at least 1 if not several people would pull out in front of me. I added the light bar to it after about 6 months and reduced the number of near misses to almost none.

You also mention the bike will be used for mostly road trips. Have you considered the Voyager? Many people use the Nomad for long range travel but the Voyager with more storage, better wind and rain protection with the frame mounted fairing, and the radio and guages is well worth the extra money.
 

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Newer is usually better. Better resale value, and manufacturers are often making small improvements to design, materials, and assembly methods that are not advertised. However, balance it out with the price, because you may be able to get a heck of a deal on an older model.

I agree with TS Tinker- look at a Voyager too. For me the convenience of the trunk, as well as the frame-mounted fairing and the additional spotlights are great benefits. Not knocking the Nomads because they are great bikes too! You cannot go wrong with a Kawasaki 1700!
 

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I owned a 2010 Nomad. I liked the bike, and it did make for a very good touring bike. However, it felt like the gearing was off, like it lacked in the mid range, and there was no power in 6th gear, but it was smooth. It is my understanding that beginning with the '11 models, the mid range gearing was changed to give it a bit stronger acceleration. I also believe that starting in '11, the KAMS mod was included as was the computer update to prevent engine dying at an idle.

As for how it is as a touring bike, I found the Nomad to be a good long distance mount. It is comfortable and decently smooth. Gas mileage could be better, but unless towing a camper trailer (something I don't recommend) it routinely got me about 40 mpg. The included hard bags are specious, and if you add an aftermarket top box, you storage space should be equivalent to that of the Voyager. What you will lack is a sound system, but that is something easily added at reasonable expense. It may not even matter to you. Many riders just prefer to plug earbuds into an IPod or other music device. I think external speakers are a waste, as over about 50 mph the sound is lost to the wind, anyway.

There is no way to get around the heat generated by the engine and exhaust headers. By the nature of the Vee Twin engine design, you are going to get a lot of heat. While Kawasaki tells us that the engine is liquid cooled, just remember that only the top end is. The rest just puts out lots of heat, which is noticeable when it gets hot out.

If the bike you end up with doesn't have crash bars, seriously consider installing a set, both for the obvious reason, and for adding a set of footpegs so you can stretch out your legs on a long ride. You may also want to add a set of wind deflectors that attach to the upper fork guards/tubes, depending on how annoyed you are with the amount of wind you experience coming up from that area.

Overall, were I to consider getting another cruiser, the Nomad would be near the top, if not at the top, of my bucket list. But I wouldn't consider one older than an '11 model. I also think that the Nomad is everybit as good a tourer as the Voyager. It just doesn't have the full fairing, fairing lowers and a trunk. I can live without all those things. Others feel they need the full-boat touring package.
 

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Don't dis the spot lights. They make a huge difference with regards to visibility. If only $1k diff then go for the newer models.
It's all relative though. I don't have spot lights on the Voyager, but it's single headlamp is way brighter than the RK with the spots on.
 

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The Voyager Custom as is detailed in my sig, known as the Vaquero in the USA doesn't come with spot lights as standard. I think I know if my own bike had spots or not.
 

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There were actually 3 Voyagers. The 1st was a 1200cc, 6 cylinder. The 2nd looks much like it but was a 1300cc 4 cylinder, this was a direct replacement for the 1200 and was made until about 04?. The current version is completely different, started production in 09, and is a 1700 V-twin. This is the only model with factory spot lights. At the time they were made, they competed with the Honda Goldwing, and Suzuki Cavalcade. The Voyager is said to be the better bike of the three, but was never promoted like the Goldwing.
 

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The Voyager Custom as is detailed in my sig, known as the Vaquero in the USA doesn't come with spot lights as standard. I think I know if my own bike had spots or not.
I was wondering if Voyager Custom was an actual model or just a customized Voyager. So it is actually a European Vaquero. That's what I like about this forum. You can learn new things without even trying.
 
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