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Discussion Starter #1
I'm getting closer (within 5 months) towards very possibly purchasing a new 2012 Vulcan Nomad. For the past 2yrs I've been riding a used Harley Dyna model. While I like Harleys and the way they ride, I'm just not convinced they are worth the extra money they cost. I like the way the Nomads look, but don't know much about them.

I would like all negatives you know about the Kawa engines, drive trains etc.

First off I'm wondering are the Kawa 1700 V-twin crankshafts pressed together like Harleys are, or are they one piece ?

If they are pressed together, have you heard of occurances of slippage with high compression pistons or cam installations?

Do they have any crank torque compensator issues? I.e. how do they deal with the torque compensation and does this wear out "sometimes" before 24,000 miles ?

Do they have any cam chain tensioner issues ? I.e. how often do the pads (or whatever meets the chain) have to checked and/or replaced ?

And also just anything you might want to give me a heads up on. I realize there is no perfect bike, just trying to make an intelligent buy.

The Honda VTX's look good too but don't offer any bags etc like Kawa's do.
 

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Nomad

Hi, I have a 2009 Nomad with about 15000 miles on it. I never road a dyna but I drove Road Kings at work HWY Patrol NYC for a few years. Road Kings are very comfortable and the 103 is pretty much same power as my Nomad. That said, the Nomad is a smooth Cadillac ride compared to HD. My wife has fallen asleep several times on Nomad. As far as maintenace I have not done too much. Oil and the stock rear tires don't last very long, change mine at 9500. Some people love the stock seat but I hated it, I shaved the back of it and now can go all day. I lovethe way Harleys look and are great quality but, toooo expensive. I got my Nomad with 1200 miles on it for$11,000. Nomads are great because they come with rear floor boards, rear passenger back rest, lowers and cruise control is awesome. I am very happy with my Nomad and will keep it til at least 50,000 miles. It is hot in summer but, what v twin isnt. I love the Nomad and so does the mrs. Good luck, hope this helped.
 

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G'day mate, I have owned 14 motorbikes over 40 years and the Vulcan Voyager ABS is by far the best.
Last year I rode down to the Australian MotoGP, around 2000 kms round trip and was able to carry all camping gear including a tent with ease and comfort. The cruise control was wonderful and on the way home sore backside sports bike riders were begging to swap. If you want a bike for touring with peace of mind reliability, comfort and style, look no further than the VV.
 

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I can answer these:

First off I'm wondering are the Kawa 1700 V-twin crankshafts pressed together like Harleys are, or are they one piece ?
One piece.

If they are pressed together, have you heard of occurances of slippage with high compression pistons or cam installations?
N/A

Do they have any crank torque compensator issues? I.e. how do they deal with the torque compensation and does this wear out "sometimes" before 24,000 miles ?
A Torque Limiter, no they do not wear out.

Do they have any cam chain tensioner issues ? I.e. how often do the pads (or whatever meets the chain) have to checked and/or replaced ?
No there are no cam chain tension issues... the pads should last the life of the engine, there is no inspection or periodic maintenance requirements in the owners/service manuals.

And also just anything you might want to give me a heads up on. I realize there is no perfect bike, just trying to make an intelligent buy.
My personal opinion is engine heat to the rider is the major issue with this bike. Kawasaki has addressed the issue over the years and may have solved it with the heat control Kawasaki Air Management System (KAMS).
 

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Nomad

I have a 2011 Nomad that I purchased new. The bike has been totally problem free. The seat is the best OEM seat I've ever had on a bike. I have had custom seats on some of my other bikes, but for now the OEM one is fine. The transmission is a little clunky but not as bad as the Harley's, I've never heard of any transmission problems. The engine heat isn't a major issue on the Nomad. The Voyagers with their full fairings do have a heat problem. If you get a chance see if your dealer will let you test drive one. The six speed is great especially on the highways at 70 MPH plus. Cruise control works beautifully as well. I don't think you'll be sorry if you decide to purchase one.
 

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I can answer these:
The Nomad doesn't have the KAMS, just the Voyager.

I have the 2012 Nomad and other than the stuff I chose to do to it, it has been problem free and is hands down the smoothest ride I have felt on a bike. I will say this, I would highly recommend you look at a Voyager if you ride 2 up or a Vaq if you ride single because they truly have ALL the bells and whistles. Let me say that the Nomad is not lacking in it's own bells and whistles but you can tell Kaw has shifted focus to the VV/Vaq these days.
 

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I also like the looks of the Nomad over any of the other 1700 Vulcans. I bought a new 2011 Nomad & am extremely pleased with it. No problems of any kind to date. I especially like the cruise & the 6-speed transmission. No expensive valve adjustments to mess with. It also handles at low speeds as good or better than most mid-size cruisers. One of the the best values in a large cruiser in my opinion. Like others here have said you need to take one for a test spin to see what YOU think.
 

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2009 - 19,500km, no real issues. Had a bad fork seal right out of the box. Had a bad tail light switch (foot) around 12,000km. Gear indicator started to get a bit goofy at about 14,000km but still works fine. Stock rr tire barely lasted 9,300km. Current ME880 has 10,000 and should last another 5000 mayby. A bit tough to find Nomad bling. Engine has great power. I get very good fuel economy even loaded up with gear and the wife. I run a thunder mfg tornado intake, slight pipe mod, engine heat is alot less with out stock pipe restriction plus is dosnt sound like a moped anymore but a real bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Wow thanks guys, these are some very informative replies.

Hi, I have a 2009 Nomad with about 15000 miles on it. . . . . . . . . . . the 103 is pretty much same power as my Nomad. That said, the Nomad is a smooth Cadillac ride compared to HD. My wife has fallen asleep several times on Nomad. As far as maintenace I have not done too much. Oil and the stock rear tires don't last very long, change mine at 9500. . . . . . . . . . . Nomads are great because they come with rear floor boards, rear passenger back rest, lowers and cruise control is awesome. . . . . . Good luck, hope this helped.
Yes it is a much better deal money wise, plus I really like the Nomad look.

G'day mate, I have owned 14 motorbikes over 40 years and the Vulcan Voyager ABS is by far the best.
. . . . . . . If you want a bike for touring with peace of mind reliability, comfort and style, look no further than the VV.
I've never really liked the front fairing thing. I'm sure it's very comfortable but as yet just kinda like the shield only in front. I already have an after market tourpak that I can take off my Harley and put on the Nomad.

I can answer these:

(--Originally Posted by R_W_B I'm wondering are the Kawa 1700 V-twin crankshafts pressed together like Harleys are, or are they one piece ? --)

One piece.
Thanks man, this was spot on as well as the other items answered. Where did you find this out ? I searched quite and bit and could not find any data on this, except that earlier year (non-V-twin) Kawa inline engines "were" pressed together.

The whole pressed together thing is to accomplish a less costly assembly procedure at the factory. But the Harley ones have been known to slip when higher HP mods were added. There is no spline on the HD shaft, it is simply pressed together. Some HD rebuilds will first true the shaft and then weld it so it's one piece. This requires more tear down to remove and install the shaft from then on, but I feel a better design.

I have a 2011 Nomad that I purchased new. The bike has been totally problem free. The seat is the best OEM seat I've ever had on a bike. I have had custom seats on some of my other bikes, but for now the OEM one is fine. The transmission is a little clunky but not as bad as the Harley's, I've never heard of any transmission problems. The engine heat isn't a major issue on the Nomad. The Voyagers with their full fairings do have a heat problem. If you get a chance see if your dealer will let you test drive one. The six speed is great especially on the highways at 70 MPH plus. Cruise control works beautifully as well. I don't think you'll be sorry if you decide to purchase one.
Great reply as well. I'm used to the heat issue. With Harleys the heat is as hot as any. I bought a TFI richener which cooled it down considerably. The EPA mandates a lean mixture on all bikes which causes them to run a bit hotter. I will probably put a TFI on the Nomad also. And yes front fairings or lowers will steal some cooling away (at least while moving).

The Nomad doesn't have the KAMS, just the Voyager.

I have the 2012 Nomad and other than the stuff I chose to do to it, it has been problem free and is hands down the smoothest ride I have felt on a bike. . . . . . . . .
The KAMS is that a Fan ? I have an aftermarket fan on my Harley (Lenale Fan).

I also like the looks of the Nomad over any of the other 1700 Vulcans. I bought a new 2011 Nomad & am extremely pleased with it. No problems of any kind to date. I especially like the cruise & the 6-speed transmission. No expensive valve adjustments to mess with. It also handles at low speeds as good or better than most mid-size cruisers. One of the the best values in a large cruiser in my opinion. Like others here have said you need to take one for a test spin to see what YOU think.
I plan to do this. Do Kawa dealers have demo days like Harley dealers do ? I've know some of the local dealers don't have much Nomad inventory. I guess I should call them up and ask them but do they allow you to actually ride one of the showroom sale bikes ?

2009 - 19,500km, no real issues. Had a bad fork seal right out of the box. Had a bad tail light switch (foot) around 12,000km. Gear indicator started to get a bit goofy at about 14,000km but still works fine. Stock rr tire barely lasted 9,300km. Current ME880 has 10,000 and should last another 5000 mayby. A bit tough to find Nomad bling. Engine has great power. I get very good fuel economy even loaded up with gear and the wife. I run a thunder mfg tornado intake, slight pipe mod, engine heat is alot less with out stock pipe restriction plus is dosnt sound like a moped anymore but a real bike.
Thanks for this post. This sort of stuff can happen with any bike, I'm not real worried about these type items. I will either cut the baffles out of the stock mufflers or just buy V&Hs slip ons. My Harley does not even have a gear indicator (except 6th gear).

Again thanks for these replies they have really helped in my decision process. Appreciate in advance any further answers to questions in this reply post or any other input on anything.
 

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KAMS is a cooling system that directs heat from the pipes, engine and radiator away from the rider. I test rode my bike, no demo days. I would just call around and ask, worst they can say is no and if they do are you willing to drive a bit to one that does?


Sent from my Incredibly large, but without the calling ability, iPhone
 

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I have the 2010 VV ABS. The seat did not work for me added a Corbin seat to it. I don't like tall windshields so added the 12 inch windshield (I can see over it). The Six speed is great and the engine pulls strong at all times. With me and the wife on back a little air in the shocks and all is fine (we are not small).

The ABS system really works smooth and has saved us once already. If your a rear braker then you will like the 70/30 split they have with the rear brake. It applies the right front disk and rear at same time. When you use the front brake both front brakes are applied. This bike will stop faster then anything I have ridden before and in a straight line (do to ABS).

I leave my vents open so dont feel any heat issues unless I am stopped.

Plenty of people have added air kits and exhaust slip on systems with a PCV or Cobra tuner. These engines will really breath if you go that way and make plenty more power.
 

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I have had my 2010 Nomad almost two years now. I am a previous GL1800 owner and also a two Valkyrie owner.
I love the seating position on the v-twin Nomad. No more cylinder heads in the way of extending my feet forward. The Nomad does not have the brute power of the Wing nor the hot rod action of the Valk, but thats ok too. I am happy being at a more relaxing pace.
It is a very reliable bike. I did have to have the ECU replaced under warrenty for the stalling issue though. The seat is probably the most comfortable stock seat that I have experienced, although I added an Airhawk two air pad to raise me up a bit. Thier optional seat also would raise you up somewhat I hear.
I have 7000 miles on the stock Bridestone tires. They are starting to show wear unfortunately. The rear tire is getting a flat spot across the center now. I am sure I can finish off the season with them though.
I run Mobil racing 4t synthetic oil, which I change once a year before winter storage.
I added the Showchrome comfort heated grips. They are top quality, but if I am wearing gloves, I can't feel a whole lot of heat coming through them.
Hope this helps you out. Take care, Eric
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Thanks man, this was spot on as well as the other items answered. Where did you find this out ? I searched quite and bit and could not find any data on this, except that earlier year (non-V-twin) Kawa inline engines "were" pressed together.
It's in the service manual.
Oh perfect. Later I also found a parts blowup that showed it with a bolt on rod cap, which would denote a one piece. I've heard all sorts of pros and cons of pressed cranks. Some will say that by having the crank pressed it allows the use of rod bottom roller bearings and the only reason not to press one would be "load" requirements being too much for it to hold.

I'm not sure about the logic in all of this. Granted roller bearings and solid forged rod bottoms are good, but what good if performance mods added raise the possibility of slippage. I feel like it's more of an assembly issue at manufacture. Most rebuilders weld the cranks.

In any case I am glad to hear the Nomad V-twin is one piece. I am really on the home stretch now of wanting to buy one of these pretty bad. My Harley buddies think I've become a bit touched. And the buy American guys go bonkers. Fact is last time I checked Kawasaki was still building the Vulcan and a few other models here in the US and was one of the first Japanese motor companies to bring production to America back in the 70's.

And what's even more hilarious is this, buy $100 of various parts from Harley. When they arrive, put them all out on the table and note where each came from (it's right on each packet). It's been my experience with this that only about 15% will say made in US, the rest will be just about everywhere from Mexico to South Korea and every where in between (even some parts from Viet Nam). Things are not always what they might seem.

Thank again for all the great information on this thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
New Question

I already own an aftermarket Tourpak trunk with Seat Pad, that mounts on a luggage rack. If I purchase a Nomad I'm wondering if the Sissy Bar Pad is removable, and still be able to mount the Kawa Luggage rack to hold said Tourpak ?
 
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