Kawasaki Vulcan Forum banner

1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
172 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Having been the satisfied owner of a 06' 900 Classic and with 68K on my bike I'm considering a touring bike and began to look at the Voyager. Let me tell you right up front that my 900 is staying with me always but I'm desiring more engine for the long hauls I sometimes get myself into during the nicer weather. Iv'e seen a nice pearl colored Voyager at a dealer I visited once and thought I may start more serious shopping. The Kawasaki website shows no bikes between the 900 and the 1700 so that narrows down the field for a touring bike to the Voyager. The only thing that sticks in my craw is the stated mpg's are 35! Holy Crap Robin! With a 5.3 gallon tank it seems that I'd be planning my long rides around the availability of gas stations. I'm not complaining so much about the poor 35 mpg's as much as I am the reduced range between fill ups.
Seems to me the bike would be well served with a 7 1/2 gallon tank. Maybe I'm just spoiled with the range I have with my 900 and apparently 35 or 36 miles per gallon are comparable to bikes of a similar size from other manufacturers ie Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki. My question to the forum is do these bikes actually get the rated mpg's or are they actually in real life getting closer to 40 ish? Perhaps I should be looking at a Nomad set up for touring but I won't be able to buy new. Looking for input on this please.
 

·
BOTM Winner, May 2015
Joined
·
740 Posts
intown riding and getting on it, I am around 26. to 30 MPG, when cruising 5th 6th gear, I have been as much as 47 mpg. 46mpg or so doing around 80..
 

·
BOTM Winner, May 2015
Joined
·
740 Posts
look at the thread that was just posted April 20th 2011.. Ray has 76K miles on it yesterday and you can see his MPG average of 48.6
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,221 Posts
I average around 37 mpg and can get around 40 on longer trips with lots of country highway miles.

During the first few thousand miles it will be low and will get better as it breaks in.
Performance mods will affect it as well.

But, don't expect to break 40 unless you ride lots of miles at 50 to 60mph.

Scott
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
I just recently purchased a new 2013 and have about 300 miles on it so far. The stock MPG calculator is indicating 41 MPG - riding mostly at 60 MPH or less.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,620 Posts
I spend a lot of time on 55mph roads and average 44 on my Vaquero. I think the Vaquero averages a bit more than the Voyager; so that's something to be consider.

It works out to about a 160 mile range. I got gas at 180 miles the other day and put 4.8 gallons in. That's cutting it close. So, realistically, I'll plan for 160 miles. That IS disappointing coming off of a 900 where 225+ miles range was typical. To put it in other terms, my 900 could ride for an hour or so more without stopping for gas. But it is what it is.

So you need to decide if that range is unacceptable or not. It's somewhat of a non-issue for me because I usually ride with my wife and she only has about a 160 mile range as well. So if she needs to stop anyway, whatever. But I do wish it was bigger.

Truth is though, that's kind of average for motorcycles. H-D's touring platform on certain models extends around 6 gallons and will get you 200 miles or so. Same with a Goldwing GL1800, you'll get 200~225 miles on a tank. And really, that's the top end of touring bikes. About 60 miles more than what you'll get on a Voyager; or about what you get on a VN900.

Unless you're in remote areas out west you probably aren't going to be 160 miles between fuel stops. And if you are, I'd suggest taking fuel on with you. 2 1-gallon saddlebag gas cans, one in each saddlebag, and one more in the trunk should get you another 100 miles, give or take. There's a guy on here who mounted a 5 gallon beer keg to his passenger seat and filled it with gas. Or for your long trips, get you a trailer hitch and a trailer and store your gear and toss a couple 5 gallon gas cans in there! There are options! And if you go the trailer route, you could get a Vaquero which comes in way cooler color options! (Because whadya need the trunk for?)

If range is end-all be-all, then you'll need to broaden your horizons to sport-touring bikes. The Kawasaki Concours has a 5.8 gallon tank and a fuel economy assist mode, and you can get 7 gallons into certain BMW models. Both flirt with around 40mpg.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
343 Posts
I'm with Scott, I get mid-30s round town and it jumps to 40 once a highway without stop and go is involved.

Now is a good time to look at Voyager. They are dealing. I also picked up a 2013 model in a close out and love what I was able to get for the money (liked the color as well).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,494 Posts
2010 nomad w 5k on it,getting low to mid 3os around town,up around 40 on highway,not quite what the 900 was averaging,but man I love the bike,what a ride,could not be happier
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,620 Posts
Curious if the Vaquero really does that much better on fuel than the Voyager (do the larger lower fairings and trunk make that much of a difference? I guess they could. Aerodynamics is everything.), or if guys like RACNRAY and myself are just going too easy on ours! I looked at mine today and with 900 miles on the clock I'm averaging 45.7.

I average 38-39 in my car (42 or so on a long highway trip) with a 2.0L direct-injected I-4. Aerodynamics really is everything. If our bikes aren't as aerodynamic as a brick they'd be much better on gas. Really, a sub-1000lb vehicle with a 1.7L engine shouldn't be in the 30's! Unless that vehicle goes through the air like a parachute.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,232 Posts
I do a mix of surface and slab almost every time out and average 37 (when I'm not hammering some really good low mountain road)

When I was young and thought getting there faster was the only objective 160 miles per stop would have been unacceptable. I have stretched it to 200 a few times and never put more than 5 gallons on board. If you stop when the low fuel light comes on at about 160 it will only hold 3.5.

Now that I know if a 500 mile trip takes an hour longer because I stopped more often but I and any passenger are in better shape because of it. Who is to say the hour was wasted?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts
i went from the 900 classic to the voyager and id say about 15% more fuel usage but at the same time a heap more power and weight and comfort
changing exhaust and fuel processor (pc-v) has made the milage a lot better
i have 54k klm on it and love it
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,887 Posts
When my light comes on, it usually goes back out in 1/2 a mile or so and then comes back on, this all depends on if going up or down hill, amount of acceleration, and if stop n go or steady cruising. When I fill up, if I dont push it, I put in between 4 and 4.5 gallons. This is around 150 miles, so in theory I should be able to go at least 175-190 miles without having to push it to the push, this bike is too heavy for me to do that. My dash shows 41.7 mpg, at the pump today, I figured 37.8, normally is around 36.3 mixed stop n go and 55mph steady.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
172 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Curious if the Vaquero really does that much better on fuel than the Voyager (do the larger lower fairings and trunk make that much of a difference? I guess they could. Aerodynamics is everything.), or if guys like RACNRAY and myself are just going too easy on ours! I looked at mine today and with 900 miles on the clock I'm averaging 45.7.

I average 38-39 in my car (42 or so on a long highway trip) with a 2.0L direct-injected I-4. Aerodynamics really is everything. If our bikes aren't as aerodynamic as a brick they'd be much better on gas. Really, a sub-1000lb vehicle with a 1.7L engine shouldn't be in the 30's! Unless that vehicle goes through the air like a parachute.
I feel the same way Romans. My wife's Honda Fit will get 38 mpgs with passengers and cargo on her trips from NY to Omaha. Often down south speed limits are posted at 70 and doing 80 for long stretch's isn't unusual so my desire for a touring bike is warranted but it seems like buying a touring bike is more for gas station hopping. I don't want this to come off sounding wrong but when I get on my bike to ride I wanna ride. I'm not a speed freak but on occasion I do enjoy a bit of spirited riding as it were. I didn't expect what I consider to be poor mileage numbers out of Motorcycles that size so I'm really disappointed and may just put a fairing on my 900 and see if that makes a significant difference to me. Marine engine manufacturers have made great strides improving the performance and fuel economy on their equipment perhaps motorcycle manufacturers would be well served doing the same.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,620 Posts
I feel the same way Romans. My wife's Honda Fit will get 38 mpgs with passengers and cargo on her trips from NY to Omaha. Often down south speed limits are posted at 70 and doing 80 for long stretch's isn't unusual so my desire for a touring bike is warranted but it seems like buying a touring bike is more for gas station hopping. I don't want this to come off sounding wrong but when I get on my bike to ride I wanna ride. I'm not a speed freak but on occasion I do enjoy a bit of spirited riding as it were. I didn't expect what I consider to be poor mileage numbers out of Motorcycles that size so I'm really disappointed and may just put a fairing on my 900 and see if that makes a significant difference to me. Marine engine manufacturers have made great strides improving the performance and fuel economy on their equipment perhaps motorcycle manufacturers would be well served doing the same.
There's not a ton they can do really. Aerodynamics is what it's all about. I also ride a bicycle. Not putting around town; I ride for fitness. Yes, I'm one of those guys all lycra'd up, clipped into the pedals averaging 15+ mph! And when you ride a bicycle (and YOU are the engine) at higher speeds you start to realize just how much aerodynamics plays a role. Getting above 10 or 15 mph and you really need to tuck down or you'll just be killing yourself to go any faster. A gust of wind can slow you down by several MPH. When you start hitting 30+ mph all you're doing is fighting the wind. And you can feel it. But there are these things called "velomobiles" that are essentially a recumbent bike with a big shell around it, nearly or completely enclosed. Way heavier, way bigger, and way faster. They are slower up steep hills, where the lightest one wins; but everywhere else they can go 30-50% faster with the same amount of power. I mean seriously these guys can cruise around at 30mph like it's nothing.

The only thing the manufacturers could do is put us in a much more tucked position and put a big ugly shell around us. Something to manipulate the airflow to reduce our drag. So 40-45mpg is about what one can expect. Few motorcycles, except for really small 250cc or smaller bikes, exceed that. But the thing is, bigger motorcycles don't get much worse. Going to the Vaquero I only lost a couple MPG but gained better wind protection, much much better suspension, a bit more stability on the highway and more power. The kicker though is that I lost 30~60 minutes of ride time per tank. I do wish Kawasaki had put a larger tank on it. The 900 shouldn't out-range their touring bikes!

But, at the end of the day, it's not that bad. I mean it's not ideal, but it's not that bad. I'm spoiled with a car with a 400+ mile range, so when the light comes on at 150~160 miles it's a little annoying. But it's not the end of the world. And a small price to pay for a really comfortable ride that puts a smile on my face every time!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,221 Posts
Curious if the Vaquero really does that much better on fuel than the Voyager (do the larger lower fairings and trunk make that much of a difference? I guess they could. Aerodynamics is everything.), or if guys like RACNRAY and myself are just going too easy on ours! I looked at mine today and with 900 miles on the clock I'm averaging 45.7.

I average 38-39 in my car (42 or so on a long highway trip) with a 2.0L direct-injected I-4. Aerodynamics really is everything. If our bikes aren't as aerodynamic as a brick they'd be much better on gas. Really, a sub-1000lb vehicle with a 1.7L engine shouldn't be in the 30's! Unless that vehicle goes through the air like a parachute.
The computer on these things are VERY generous when figuring the MPG.

I usually calculate about 4 mpg lower than the computer when dividing miles by gallons.

Also, if I'm not commuting; I'm riding 2-up.

The best I've ever gotten was 2-up on some VERY relaxed back roads. Spent several hours between 45 & 55 and got about 44 mpg.

The mileage doesn't really bother me when I'm riding distances.
Stopping at the 2 hour mark for a drink and stretch is welcome.
It is a pain refueling more than once a week commuting though.

Ride safe,
Scott
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
172 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
There's not a ton they can do really. Aerodynamics is what it's all about. I also ride a bicycle. Not putting around town; I ride for fitness. Yes, I'm one of those guys all lycra'd up, clipped into the pedals averaging 15+ mph! And when you ride a bicycle (and YOU are the engine) at higher speeds you start to realize just how much aerodynamics plays a role. Getting above 10 or 15 mph and you really need to tuck down or you'll just be killing yourself to go any faster. A gust of wind can slow you down by several MPH. When you start hitting 30+ mph all you're doing is fighting the wind. And you can feel it. But there are these things called "velomobiles" that are essentially a recumbent bike with a big shell around it, nearly or completely enclosed. Way heavier, way bigger, and way faster. They are slower up steep hills, where the lightest one wins; but everywhere else they can go 30-50% faster with the same amount of power. I mean seriously these guys can cruise around at 30mph like it's nothing.

The only thing the manufacturers could do is put us in a much more tucked position and put a big ugly shell around us. Something to manipulate the airflow to reduce our drag. So 40-45mpg is about what one can expect. Few motorcycles, except for really small 250cc or smaller bikes, exceed that. But the thing is, bigger motorcycles don't get much worse. Going to the Vaquero I only lost a couple MPG but gained better wind protection, much much better suspension, a bit more stability on the highway and more power. The kicker though is that I lost 30~60 minutes of ride time per tank. I do wish Kawasaki had put a larger tank on it. The 900 shouldn't out-range their touring bikes!

But, at the end of the day, it's not that bad. I mean it's not ideal, but it's not that bad. I'm spoiled with a car with a 400+ mile range, so when the light comes on at 150~160 miles it's a little annoying. But it's not the end of the world. And a small price to pay for a really comfortable ride that puts a smile on my face every time!
Your point about wind resistance is well taken. Not wanting to get far off topic but Iv'e done a Bicycle ride twice now from Key Largo to Key West and had an awesome time doing it. Okay back to Kawis now. I think Scott may have the very bike I was looking at, really attractive paint. Scott points out the generous computer on our bikes and I remember when my bike was less than a year old I put a one gallon plastic gas can in my sabblebag and filled up my fuel tank. So I rode until my bike actually died and was out of gas and I went 297 miles. I took my spare gallon and made it back to the gas station to refuel. Afterwards I became aware of the inaccuracies in the odometer/speedometer and I put a speedohealer on it and using a gps I calibrated my bike so it was within .5 miles on 100 as compared to my Garmin. If I think I can get reliably get 43-44 mpg's I will pull the trigger and make a purchase otherwise my 900 will have a new fairing on it to help with the buffeting etc.
 

·
BOTM Winner, October 2015
Joined
·
476 Posts
...Also, if I'm not commuting; I'm riding 2-up.
Same story here on my 1700. Longer rides are almost always 2-up. I'm 250 and my girlfriend is less than half that. On the longer non-highway rides I and eek out 42 MPG if I try.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,620 Posts
The computer on these things are VERY generous when figuring the MPG.

I usually calculate about 4 mpg lower than the computer when dividing miles by gallons.

Also, if I'm not commuting; I'm riding 2-up.

The best I've ever gotten was 2-up on some VERY relaxed back roads. Spent several hours between 45 & 55 and got about 44 mpg.

The mileage doesn't really bother me when I'm riding distances.
Stopping at the 2 hour mark for a drink and stretch is welcome.
It is a pain refueling more than once a week commuting though.

Ride safe,
Scott
I need to figure it up the old fashioned way then. I do like that you can stick the nozzle in and fill it 'like a car' and when you pull it out, it's full. The VN900 required holding the nozzle and feathering in another half gallon to a gallon if you wanted to fill it.

I use an app called "Road Trip" with my car. From the moment it rolled off of the truck from Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant with my name on it, every drop of gas, oil change, etc. has been recorded. But I've never paid as much attention with the bike. I still record maintenance but not fuel. What's cool is it's "cost per mile" feature so, with mine, you can see the decline (and now return) of gas prices on a handy chart of what it cost each time I got gas (since you can input the price you paid).

Your point about wind resistance is well taken. Not wanting to get far off topic but Iv'e done a Bicycle ride twice now from Key Largo to Key West and had an awesome time doing it. Okay back to Kawis now. I think Scott may have the very bike I was looking at, really attractive paint. Scott points out the generous computer on our bikes and I remember when my bike was less than a year old I put a one gallon plastic gas can in my sabblebag and filled up my fuel tank. So I rode until my bike actually died and was out of gas and I went 297 miles. I took my spare gallon and made it back to the gas station to refuel. Afterwards I became aware of the inaccuracies in the odometer/speedometer and I put a speedohealer on it and using a gps I calibrated my bike so it was within .5 miles on 100 as compared to my Garmin. If I think I can get reliably get 43-44 mpg's I will pull the trigger and make a purchase otherwise my 900 will have a new fairing on it to help with the buffeting etc.
Either one will be a good solution. Just as an FYI though; I wouldn't make a habit of running the tank dry on an FI bike. Too much potential for various things that have 'settled' to get sucked in through the fuel pump. In theory there's a filter and a screen, and in theory the pump won't run dry. In theory!

You probably could reliably get 43 mpg if you ride nice and keep it below 65. Especially if you keep it on the 55mph roads. But you'll never get the range you're getting on the 900. It just won't happen. I do miss my 225-250 mile range, gas light not coming on until 200+ miles, etc. But take it from me, it's a "fair trade".

So I went from my beloved 900, that I put 30,000 miles on, that had an H-D TourPak, hard saddlebags, tall windshield and lowers, Mustang seat, highway pegs, Rick's stator, etc. etc., it was a 900 touring bike. And I was in the same spot as you. I loved that bike. And I did a lot of long distance touring on it, including 4 digit multi-day trips two up with the saddlebags and tourpak stuffed to the gills and two big duffel bags strapped to the saddlebags. Call me whatever you want but we had clean clothes every day of those trips, our laptops, our DSLR, even a stinking tripod for the Camera. All packed on that 900 and man she just purred along. Now I've got a Vaquero. And I can honestly say, I love it more than my 900. The 900 is clearly the best bike in it's class and even puts other big bikes to shame, but the Vaquero is everything the 9 is and more.

So if you want my unsoliscited advice on going to a Vaquero or Voyager; Pricing is really similar, I went with the Vaquero because of the color and styling, the painted instead of black-plastic dash, the smaller lower fairings, and despite having a trunk on my 900; the only thing I learned from that is that I actually didn't really need it. Even on long trips it sat mostly empty with just odds and ends in it, and the saddlebags and saddlebag-top luggage held everything. But some people can't live without them. I DO miss being able to lock away my helmet (I wear a full face). But I definitely like the lack of top-heaviness I enjoy.

Here's what I lost when I bought the Vaq:

Range.
Parking Spaces. (Can't back it up a hill like I could the 9)
The satisfaction and smile-factor that comes from having a nimble-but-manageable powerplant, in which one can run it WOT all the time like a hooligan without getting into trouble (powering out of corners at WOT. You have to be a bit more 'respectful' of the 1700).


What I gained when I bought the Vaq:

A frame mounted fairing. You can get a handlebar mounted fairing for the 9, it's true! But they have more buffeting and in heavy winds will pull on the handlebars. It is so nice having the light and easy feeling of a windshield-less bike and the wind protection of a full fairing. You only get that with a frame mounted fairing. Personally, bikes with Batwing style fairings I rode had a lot of buffeting. That narrowed me down to a Road Glide or a Vaquero/Voyager. The Vaquero's integrated lower fairing also helps. It's smooth, clean air.

Electronic goodies. Stereo and cruise control. Both are fantastic and I love them more than I thought I would. Being able to rest your hands, use your right hand, etc., is really nice. And the stereo cuts out superslab boredom, and who doesn't love tunes? It's also really nice to be able to listen to the Cardinals game.

ABS and much, much stronger brakes. Really confidence inspiring. I feel a lot safer on the Vaquero because it has really strong brakes and I can mash them with confidence. My 900 is the last bike I'll ever own without ABS, period.

Much bigger, much better saddlebags than anything aftermarket offered on the 900.

Ridiculous good looks.

And a dashboard that just makes me grin ear to ear. Chrome trim, bright orange paint, gauges that work and make sense and are visible when riding. Self canceling turn signals, hazards, sweet!!

Infinitely better suspension. I wasn't bothered by the 900's suspension, but now it is so nice to have the Vaquero. Smooth smooth smooth. The biggest difference, actually, for me, was on the superslab. Without every bump and pebble transfered to me, and without the high RPM's, it's a much more pleasant experience.

So you just need to prioritize before you make a decision. How important is fuel economy and range? If it's more important than everything you'll gain moving to a full touring bike, then you need to stick with your 900. If you'd be willing to give it up to gain better suspension, electronics, ABS, instrumentation, and overall comfort; then it's time to move to a touring bike.

I've been a champion defender for the 900's and I still will be. It's way more bike than anyone who hasn't owned one realizes and now that I own and ride a big full touring bike, my opinion on that hasn't changed. But, like I said, the Vaquero feels as 'at home' as the 900 but is just so much better. (For the kind of riding I do).

The only time I wished I had my 900 was riding with my parents :) They've got a BMW sport-touring bike with "adventure" tires. We rode about 200 miles. I suddenly realized that I cannot go where they can go like I used to. I love places off the beaten path, and I get it from them. Going to some bar with great food in the middle of nowhere is a lot of fun. But suddenly, while they have no problem parking in the grass or in a shoddy gravel parking lot (and I didn't either in the 900); I'm realizing that I cannot back up, I can't maneuver, I can't get in or out of here, and I sure as heck am not leaving a nearly 900lb bike on a side stand in this stuff! Ha! My stepdad got a chuckle out of watching me try to find a place to park.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,620 Posts
Same story here on my 1700. Longer rides are almost always 2-up. I'm 250 and my girlfriend is less than half that. On the longer non-highway rides I and eek out 42 MPG if I try.
Well my wife rides her own. Fuel economy goes out the window when you're on two bikes. I buy about as much fuel on a long trip on two bikes as I would if we'd taken the Mustang. We rode 120 miles last weekend and I figured up our 'combined' MPG based on distance and the amount of fuel we bought to be about 25mpg.
 

·
BOTM Winner, May 2015
Joined
·
740 Posts
Well my wife rides her own. Fuel economy goes out the window when you're on two bikes. I buy about as much fuel on a long trip on two bikes as I would if we'd taken the Mustang. We rode 120 miles last weekend and I figured up our 'combined' MPG based on distance and the amount of fuel we bought to be about 25mpg.
Hahaha, same goes for fishing too, cheaper to go to the market.. but it's just not the same..nothing like riding, better when your significant other rides as well.
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top