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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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!



 

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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.
 

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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.:p

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.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
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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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...
 

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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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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/manufacturer/kawasaki/2011-kawasaki-vulcan-1700-vaquero-review-90206.html
 

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Discussion Starter #8
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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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? :eek: Betcha there will be a lot of basement priced leftover deals in Oct...glad they offered black last yr :)
 

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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? :eek: Betcha there will be a lot of basement priced leftover deals in Oct...glad they offered black last yr :)
I bought a 2011 in Oct 2011 for $11,000, plus tax...do not pay anywhere near sticker for one of these and you are getting a hella bargain. I have loved every mile of the 12k miles I have on mine
 

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I've ridden every Vulcan in the 2011 lineup, and yesterday I rode a 2011 Vaquero back to back with a 2009 Street Glide. The Vaquero has more amenities and here is what I wrote up.

Had a blast!

The bikes:

2011 Vulcan Vaquero with 2800 miles

2009 Harley Street Glide with 2800 miles. Yeah same mileage, go figure

The route: Combination of hills, curves, tight and sweepers, fast state road, and a little in town riding.

Fit and Finish:

I am going to have to go with the Harley on this (and I am a Kawi fan). The Harley felt solid and well put together. Even though it shook like a paint shaker at idle I heard no rattles. Even over bumps there were no unwanted sounds. The Vaquero on the other hand had a lot of shake in the fairing going over bumps and the accessory passenger backrest was rattling like crazy. The Vaquero was definitely more plastic in appearance and feel.

The Ride: The Harley definitely felt smaller than the Vaquero. Both bikes had positives and negatives. Of course the Vaquero is much smoother at idle. The Harley transmitted more vibration to my feet. The both felt like they accelerated about the same. The harley was smoother on hard accelerations while the Vaquero you really felt the power pulses. The Vaquero won hands down in the tight curves. It felt planted and easy to turn in. The Harley on the other hand felt uneasy in the tight stuff. Kinda like it was hinged in the middle. The Vaquero was more comfortable for me and the Harley actually started to make my lower back sore.

The price: Vaquero $12450 Street Glide $13500. Of course the Harley is two years older and doesn't have all the amenities of the Vaquero.

Bottom Line: I wouldn't mind owning either bike, but neither would replace my Mean Streak. I rode all three on the same route and the Mean Streak by far was the best ride and the bike is just a nicer bike.

Definitely love the opportunity to ride different bikes. I'm glad my local dealer will let me do that. I guess the mean streak will be with me for a while longer.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Slow and Toy!

I must be a terrible shopper because no one around here will budge on these bikes! I've offered 12,900 out the door at several places for 2011 leftovers and have been laughed at. I was told by another dealer that Kawasaki has changed how they do things this year and getting a dealer to budge on a 2012 is almost impossible. 15k plus fees on a 2012 and they did me a major favor.

There is a place in Salem Il with a Blue one and I heard they might not be bad to deal with.

If anyone knows a place to buy one of these within a few 100 miles of STL let's hear it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
2wheel,

I too have ridden the V and SG. I rented a 2012 SG and put 400 miles on it in less than 24 hours. I would much rather own the V. The problem I have is finding a dealer that will sell me one at a price many others have got. So far no luck.
 

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I found one 2011 Vaquero on the internet in Sept of 2011 and it was 12,400.00 + ttl. That was $4000.00 off list so I bought it and have loved every minute of it. It was a dealer about 75 miles out of town but that gave me a nice ride home.
 

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2wheel,

I too have ridden the V and SG. I rented a 2012 SG and put 400 miles on it in less than 24 hours. I would much rather own the V. The problem I have is finding a dealer that will sell me one at a price many others have got. So far no luck.
I know that last fall the Kawi dealer in Salem, IL was pushing Vaquero's out the door for a real bargain. I picked up my almost new (1700 miles) '09 Nomad there last fall. Sold it to a riding buddy this spring. He wanted it more than I wanted to keep it and now I get to enjoy looking at it everytime we ride. :)
 

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Slow and Toy!

I must be a terrible shopper because no one around here will budge on these bikes! I've offered 12,900 out the door at several places for 2011 leftovers and have been laughed at. I was told by another dealer that Kawasaki has changed how they do things this year and getting a dealer to budge on a 2012 is almost impossible. 15k plus fees on a 2012 and they did me a major favor.

There is a place in Salem Il with a Blue one and I heard they might not be bad to deal with.

If anyone knows a place to buy one of these within a few 100 miles of STL let's hear it.
Got mine at midsouth motoplex (http://www.midsouthmotoplex.com/Inventory-2012-Kawasaki-Touring-Vulcan-1700-Vaquero-Clarksville-Tennessee-12638), was about a 800 mile round trip day for me to pick up. I had been watching ebay when I wasn't quite ready to buy, and saw them sell one for 11k, which at the time was 1k less than anyone was letting them go for. a Month later I finally got the OK to buy, emailed them and asked if they had another they would let go at that price, and they responded yes. I called ASAP to confirm and discuss!

Local dealer who has a bad rep at making deals dropped from 16k listed on the bike to 12k when I told them I was buying today, and had a deal for 11K but would stay local if they could get close. He said 12 was best they could do, didn't know how the dealer could do 11k. I said I didn't know either, but didn't care :). I told them I would give them 11.5, or was buying elsewhere. Took a little roadtrip with a buddy to pick it up in TN. I apparently was very lucky, not seen anyone around the forums get this low.
 
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