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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
We (Me and Wife) rode a 1700 Nomad single and 2-up last weekend in Detroit at the Kawa Demo Days. We needed to compare it vs. a Road King with passenger back rest that we had rented maybe a few months ago for a day.

We are relatively new to Motorcycle riding and have reduced our selection down to these two bikes. We have to have comfortable 2-up capability for weekend trips out and back over 2 or 3 days. Single riding will occur with regularity. Riding 2-up half across the country is not yet planned but could happen down the road if we really get to like riding distances.

We had thought that we would like the Nomad but were not prepared for how much better it was for us (IOHO, as Newbies testing over an hour's time) than the Road King. The reasons:

1. Wind turbulence was much less with Nomad. You sit closer behind a wider screen. This is a huge advantage in our book. Our Nomad's screen was fine even at its lowest setting and it could be adjusted upwards by 2 inches if desired.

2. Little shake with engine at idle is more comfortable for both riders, and I expect the comfort difference to increase over longer rides. Again, it is a huge advantage in our book to have a balanced engine rubber mounted to the frame. [As Newbies to riding, our concept of a good engine is one that runs smooth. This basic belief is unlikely to change as it was honed over lifetimes of driving everything else but motorcycles.]

3. Better rear view through mirrors. One can see clearly at idle when stopped, with more peripheral view through appropriately shaped mirrors. The mirror shape is clearly more functional on the Nomad. Harley has shaped its mirrors for style and lost some function.

4. Passenger seat was wider and more comfortable on the Nomad, with hand rails for gripping.

5. Hard bags each hold a full face helmet on the Nomad. The size of the hard bags means that one may not need a tour pack.

6. Self-cancelling turn signals are actuated with only the left thumb on the Nomad, whereas on the RK one has to use either thumb. This is an advantage in our book.

7. Gear indicator for 1 thru 6 and N on the Nomad. Not so for the RK.

8. Passenger back rest, passenger foot plates, passenger hand rails, and cruise control are standard on the Nomad.

9. Exhaust note was less pronounced on the Nomad. [As Newbies, we don't yet appreciate a loud "Look at Me" exhaust.]


There seem to be multitudes of those who prefer the RK but we just don't see it. The Nomad appears to be a better bike all around for a considerably lesser cost. Can somebody tell us if we are wrong?
 

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I've spent some time with HD this season. The Nomad will offer a smoother ride and more room. There is more rear suspension travel in the Nomad. Once you fill the shocks with air and set the rebound the ride is even better. If the concern is buying a lesser bike in terms of functionality that would be incorrect. Each make has its pros and cons. The Nomad would make a good 2up bike and you won't outgrow it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, 1700Classic

Forgot about rebound adjustment (as well as air adjustment) of the shocks. You're quite right that the ride might have been smoother yet had we tuned the shocks for 2-up riding. Will try to do that at the next opportunity!
 

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We (Me and Wife) rode a 1700 Nomad single and 2-up last weekend in Detroit at the Kawa Demo Days. We needed to compare it vs. a Road King with passenger back rest that we had rented maybe a few months ago for a day.

We are relatively new to Motorcycle riding and have reduced our selection down to these two bikes. We have to have comfortable 2-up capability for weekend trips out and back over 2 or 3 days. Single riding will occur with regularity. Riding 2-up half across the country is not yet planned but could happen down the road if we really get to like riding distances.

We had thought that we would like the Nomad but were not prepared for how much better it was for us (IOHO, as Newbies testing over an hour's time) than the Road King. The reasons:

1. Wind turbulence was much less with Nomad. You sit closer behind a wider screen. This is a huge advantage in our book. Our Nomad's screen was fine even at its lowest setting and it could be adjusted upwards by 2 inches if desired.

2. Little shake with engine at idle is more comfortable for both riders, and I expect the comfort difference to increase over longer rides. Again, it is a huge advantage in our book to have a balanced engine rubber mounted to the frame. [As Newbies to riding, our concept of a good engine is one that runs smooth. This basic belief is unlikely to change as it was honed over lifetimes of driving everything else but motorcycles.]

3. Better rear view through mirrors. One can see clearly at idle when stopped, with more peripheral view through appropriately shaped mirrors. The mirror shape is clearly more functional on the Nomad. Harley has shaped its mirrors for style and lost some function.

4. Passenger seat was wider and more comfortable on the Nomad, with hand rails for gripping.

5. Hard bags each hold a full face helmet on the Nomad. The size of the hard bags means that one may not need a tour pack.

6. Self-cancelling turn signals are actuated with only the left thumb on the Nomad, whereas on the RK one has to use either thumb. This is an advantage in our book.

7. Gear indicator for 1 thru 6 and N on the Nomad. Not so for the RK.

8. Passenger back rest, passenger foot plates, passenger hand rails, and cruise control are standard on the Nomad.

9. Exhaust note was less pronounced on the Nomad. [As Newbies, we don't yet appreciate a loud "Look at Me" exhaust.]


There seem to be multitudes of those who prefer the RK but we just don't see it. The Nomad appears to be a better bike all around for a considerably lesser cost. Can somebody tell us if we are wrong?
A well written assessment. I agree about the wind buffeting, It's perhaps the Nomad's most underrated feature. I sometimes forget how minimal it is till I try ride somebody elses scoot. Both are solid bikes but I am glad you were able find the one that was right for you.
 

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Great post and assessment. I would disagree with the bags holding full face helmets though. Mine will hold half helmets but no way would they hold full face helmets. Also, the gear indicator is a great feature but many of us have had it not work correctly once in awhile or quite often. But all in all, I agree, the Nomad is a great bike to ride with lots of bang for the buck. I ride two-up a lot and my girlfriend hated riding on the back of my 900 Custom but she loves the Nomad's back seat. Personally, I had to get a driver's backrest because the combination of my poor posture and the setup of the Nomad seat makes my back sore if I ride too much without that support.
 

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Thanks for this much-needed camparo. I've test ridden two RKs, I've yet to test ride the 1700 Nomad, but I have no doubt the Nomad's ergonomics are a lot better. The ergos on the RK were completely off for me. Another plus for the Nomad is the liquid-cooled engine. The RKs I tested were very smooth on the freeway, but I can't imagine how they'd hold-up in 2 hours of stop & go traffic without a radiator...

I like the RK's fit and finish over the Nomad's but from what I can tell that's the only thing going for the HD.
_____________
IntheWind
'06 1500 Classic
 

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Great review. As newbies your opinion is based more on the differences you noted rather than any pre-concieved bias, and what amounts to the facts for the two of you.
Thanx for the review.

RACNRAY
 

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What ultimately matters is which bike you both prefer. If you don't feel a need to pay a couple extra thousand for the "HD Lifestyle" they want to sell you on, then you will not go wrong with the Nomad.
 

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I tried putting my XXL FF Shoei Qwest in the saddlebag today and it was't even close. I guess maybe if you wore a small side FF it might fit, but no way on the big Shoei.

Good breakdown though on your opinions between the two, I agree with you on just about all of them, which is why I bought a nomad over a RK.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hey you're all tremendous!

Thanks for your constructive comments! You're right -- I had read or was told that a full face helmet would fit into a Nomad hard bag but didn't actually try it myself. I will do so soon.

And I forgot to mention the liquid cooling of the engine on the Vulcan but that was because we didn't get to ride in stop&go traffic on a hot day -- on the Nomad or the Road King -- to see if there was a difference in the amount of heat felt by the riders. I am certainly willing to believe that the difference under these conditions is significant. I was unaware of any heat problem on the Nomad when we rode it last weekend, on a warm day, but did notice some warmth on my right leg and knee with a demo Voyager that I rode a few minutes later on the same route. This I attributed to the leg fairings that kept the air flow from taking the heat as effectively away from my leg on the hotter side of the engine.

There are so many Harleys out there and they are organized such that we wonder how we will be received riding up on a Vulcan.

Again, thanks for all of your comments.
 

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I spent lots of time on RK and really like it but, I can't afford all the HD T shirts, jackets, hoodies and boots and gloves that is mandatory when you buy even the smallest sportster. I also didn't want to conform to what all my friends drive. They all have HD and most have RK's. Different colors though so I guess they are individuals.
I'm just kidding about all that I really do like the road king but in stop and go the clutch lever is a much harder pull and can get exhausting and RK's are just as hot in summer as my Nomad. I can not say how comfortable it is for passengers but, I can not imagine it is even close to the Nomads passenger seat. My wife loves it and can do a 6-8 hour day with no complaints. Also as previously stated a RK with passenger backrest and cruise control ect has got to be at least 5k more and if you find a leftover Nomad probably 7 k difference. You will want a tour pack for weekends they add so much room. The only problem with my 09 is the pieces of aluminum on the air cover, clutch cover and left side cover look scratched up and horrible after 4 years.Everything else holds nice though. Good luck. You can not go wrong with either motorcycle.
 

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There are so many Harleys out there and they are organized such that we wonder how we will be received riding up on a Vulcan.
Won't be a problem with the majority of people, but there will always be one or two you run into now and again that just have to cock off. Often though, for those types, you have the advantage of actually having ridden both and made your choice as you deemed best for you.

The most common ones are "Couldn't afford a Harley, eh?" or "When you gonna get a real bike (or when you gonna "step up")?".
 

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Won't be a problem with the majority of people, but there will always be one or two you run into now and again that just have to cock off. Often though, for those types, you have the advantage of actually having ridden both and made your choice as you deemed best for you.
If anyone says anything just tell them you are a non conformist. It is funny to see two guys riding street glides right next to each other especially if they are the same color.lol.
Yesterday I was riding down highway and noticed a motorcycle riding behind me. We hit some rush hour traffic and he pulls up next to me on his heritage with mini apes and looks at the Nomad and says "what is it Honda?" I say "Kawasaki" he smiles and says "Its nice" I say "thanks". Then traffic let up and we were on our way. I have had people on Harleys come up and check it out before. Never had a bad experience that way. But if your friends ride HD they will bust chops. One guy at work was breaking mine one day I told him his little 96 was adorable he then said its not a 96 its a 103 I said oh sorry its so slow i just figured it was a 96. Haha. I do like the fact that I don't have to pretend to be a badass though.
 

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I have had people on Harleys come up and check it out before. Never had a bad experience that way. But if your friends ride HD they will bust chops.
That's largely been my experience too. Went to a bike night out of town just the other day and had a number of Harley riders checking out the VN2K in a complimentary way. The only one to really try to bust my chops is a guy I know pretty well.
 

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. . . . . . .
3. Better rear view through mirrors. One can see clearly at idle when stopped, . . . ..
. . . . . . .
5. Hard bags each hold a full face helmet on the Nomad. The size of the hard bags means that one may not need a tour pack.

. . . . . . .
Mojo those are some excellent reasons. I know since I just bought a new Nomad myself and also test rode other bikes in my decisions.

Your pretty much said it all. But I must comment on the two of the above.

On item 3, for you those of you that have never ridden Harleys, he is talking about the vibration making your mirrors shake so that the image looks like a shaky movie. Only on my Harley it did that at speeds also. I now have mirrors I can actually "see" the image clearly.

On item 5, I did not know that nor have I tried it yet. But that woujld be a big plus.

. . . . . .
The most common ones are "Couldn't afford a Harley, eh?" or "When you gonna get a real bike (or when you gonna "step up")?".
Ha yea, I have lots of Harley friends and they know me and how I decide on things. Some of um are a bit one sided, others very open minded and some have even owned metrics in the past.

But I can't wait till one asks me if I couldn't afford a Harley. I will just say, Nope, wanted a Nomad instead.
 

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I was at that event too, test rode a vaquero, and a concour 1400, in lust with the concour 1400, it will be my next bike, but keeping the v2K. Was kind of underwhelmed with the vaquero
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Y'all are Incredible

I really appreciate examples on how to handle the Harley enthusiasts. I'd/We'd like to ride with them if they are accepting.

We think that you're right, to ride the Nomad would be more individualistic and show some independence from the pack.

If cost is taken out of the equation, we think that the Nomad is a better bike for us than the RK. That the Nomad can be had for less, well, that's great.

If they talk smack we can give smack back, jokingly, and worry only about those few hardcore extreme loyalists that truly resent anything non-Harley. Myabe there are strategies for staying away from them!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Question on Tour Pack for Nomad

..... You will want a tour pack for weekends they add so much room .....
GCSteve, are you suggesting the tour pack like what is on the Voyager, or a tour pack placed behind the passenger backrest? What did you do here?
 
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