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Discussion Starter #1
I am buying a bike to travel. I like the styling of the Vulcan and the Road King. There is an obvious difference in price, and I have read that the Kawasaki is more dependable. That aside, why should I choose a Vulcan over a Road King? There is a lot to like about a Road King. I want to be convinced by Vulcan riders why it would be a better choice for me when it comes to riding the motorcycle for days on end. So, why would I buy a Vulcan, and what size is most recommended for long trips? What makes you love your Vulcan? What great accessories do you recommend? I appreciate your honest input (the sooner the better).

Thanks
 

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You don't specify which Vulcan model you are comparing to the RK. For traveling, I would recommend no less than 1500ccs. This gives you additional torque for luggage and mountain inclines. As for reliability, all brands of bikes break down. The big issue (why I own a Harley Ultra Ltd), is availability of service & parts when traveling. There are literally hundreds of HD dealers across the country. Just try and find a Kawasaki dealer, (open & willing to make a repair) on a Saturday afternoon. As for accessories, well they are unlimited. I will add that to me the most important part of any bike for traveling is the seat. Almost always you will want to change from the factory seat. Ultimately the final decision is up to you, ride both before you purchase and weigh the options.
 

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You need to sell yourself on which bike to get. Ride both. Consider reliability reviews. Look for availability and costs of Kawi, Harley, and 3rd party accessories. Don't expect to get unbiased answers from owners of either.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
You don't specify which Vulcan model you are comparing to the RK. For traveling, I would recommend no less than 1500ccs. This gives you additional torque for luggage and mountain inclines. As for reliability, all brands of bikes break down. The big issue (why I own a Harley Ultra Ltd), is availability of service & parts when traveling. There are literally hundreds of HD dealers across the country. Just try and find a Kawasaki dealer, (open & willing to make a repair) on a Saturday afternoon. As for accessories, well they are unlimited. I will add that to me the most important part of any bike for traveling is the seat. Almost always you will want to change from the factory seat. Ultimately the final decision is up to you, ride both before you purchase and weigh the options.
Thanks. I'm currently looking at a 2013 1700 Nomad.
 

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I own an '04 Nomad. There really isn't much comparison as mine is a shaft drive and 1500 engine. I will say I do like the factory saddle bags and the ride and handling are fantastic. Have ridden 700 miles in a day on it, but as stated previously, first thing I did was change the seat. With the belt drive you won't have to worry about a bevel gear failure. Quite common on 15 & 1600s. 1700 should provide all the power you would need for touring.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You need to sell yourself on which bike to get. Ride both. Consider reliability reviews. Look for availability and costs of Kawi, Harley, and 3rd party accessories. Don't expect to get unbiased answers from owners of either.
I appreciate your response. I have ridden Road Kings. I've never ridden a Vulcan though I will next week, but not a long ride. I need critical information from people with experience on these bikes. Do you ride a 1700? Do you love the bike? Why? I only expect honesty, not an unbiased opinion.. I want to by a Vulcan, but not just because I can save on the purchase.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I own an '04 Nomad. There really isn't much comparison as mine is a shaft drive and 1500 engine. I will say I do like the factory saddle bags and the ride and handling are fantastic. Have ridden 700 miles in a day on it, but as stated previously, first thing I did was change the seat. With the belt drive you won't have to worry about a bevel gear failure. Quite common on 15 & 1600s. 1700 should provide all the power you would need for touring.
You don't specify which Vulcan model you are comparing to the RK. For traveling, I would recommend no less than 1500ccs. This gives you additional torque for luggage and mountain inclines. As for reliability, all brands of bikes break down. The big issue (why I own a Harley Ultra Ltd), is availability of service & parts when traveling. There are literally hundreds of HD dealers across the country. Just try and find a Kawasaki dealer, (open & willing to make a repair) on a Saturday afternoon. As for accessories, well they are unlimited. I will add that to me the most important part of any bike for traveling is the seat. Almost always you will want to change from the factory seat. Ultimately the final decision is up to you, ride both before you purchase and weigh the options.
If you are unfamiliar with it, here is an organization I belong to that is made up of Vulcan riders. Attached is a link to comments from 1700 owners and riders. Read over it and you should get some great information.
Thank you very much.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You don't specify which Vulcan model you are comparing to the RK. For traveling, I would recommend no less than 1500ccs. This gives you additional torque for luggage and mountain inclines. As for reliability, all brands of bikes break down. The big issue (why I own a Harley Ultra Ltd), is availability of service & parts when traveling. There are literally hundreds of HD dealers across the country. Just try and find a Kawasaki dealer, (open & willing to make a repair) on a Saturday afternoon. As for accessories, well they are unlimited. I will add that to me the most important part of any bike for traveling is the seat. Almost always you will want to change from the factory seat. Ultimately the final decision is up to you, ride both before you purchase and weigh the options.
I am looking at a 2013 Vulcan Nomad.
 

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The 1700 engine was introduced in 2009 in all the large bike models and has been their mainstay since. The Voyager, Vaquero, Nomad, & classic all use the same engine.
 

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Thanks. I'm currently looking at a 2013 1700 Nomad.
Hi LoneRider61; I have owned several Vulcans. I owned a 1500 Nomad, a 1600 Nomad, a 1700 Voyager, a 1500 and a 1600 Classic.
For me, by far the best was the 1600 Nomad. I rode friend's Road Kings (several years) at different times and can say they are very good bikes, too.
I owned a 2006 Harley Davidson Road Glide (FLTRI), and can say the Nomad runs smoother and the bags work better, than the Road Glide. My friend's Road King (FLHR) are a closer comparison than my Road Glide was, but I mention the R.G. because I was disappointed in the "Shark Nose" fairing - the Vulcan Voyager has better wind deflection, if you want a fairing. I do not like the heat output or the lack luster performance of the VN1700, as much as I liked my 1600 Nomad. My second choice would be a 2000 - 2016 H.D. Road King. (But older Harley V-Twins idle rougher than Vulcans. At highway speed, they smooth out nicely, though.)
As far as a new bike choice : the new H.D. Milwaukee 8 Road King will run as good as my Kawasaki's did, and will hold it's value MUCH better. In fact, when I test rode an M8 H.D., I told the dealer it ran and felt like my 1600 Kawasaki Nomad!
That is why I recommend a well cared for 2003-2008 Kawasaki 1600 Vulcan Nomad or the Harley Road King.
 

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...and before you all jump on me about my 1700:
I don't recommend bikes that need an ECM flash upgrade in order to run decently. If you have a 1700 with IVAN's: I understand you may be happy.
I don't like to buy "molested" bikes - that's why I have a hard time finding good, used cruisers that haven't been cobbed-up, by previous owners.
If you are talking about a Nomad style bike new - the Road King with the Milwaukee 8 engine doesn't need to be fiddled with. That is why I posted the preference for a good, used 1600 Nomad. You get the same bike in a used, at a really low price, and the Kawasaki 1600 engine runs as good, if not better, than the H.D. M8. (No disrespect to 1700 owners).
 

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Funny you should mention the 1700 that way, Hathaway. The only 1700 Kaw I have owned was a Voyager and I was extremely disappointed in the performance of it. It was a 2013, and before the Ivan's flash was available. I am the type of person if I purchase something and am disappointed with it, it is soon gone. I had a similar experience with a 2008 V2K, and it didn't stay around long. With that said, I think I will go out and get on the Triumph Trophy and go for an afternoon ride.

 

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I have a 2012 1700 Nomad.
Before that I had a Yamaha 950 tourer. I will say I like Road Kings

I like the nomad for several reasons:
it is geared just right - you can take off from a dead stop in 2nd gear if you want, and if you are cruising at 55 mph in 4th gear and you have to slow down you don't have to down shift
it has plenty of HP and torque
The stock seat is comfortable, no need to change it. Long hours in the saddle and still comfortable.
Good suspension system with adjustable air shocks standard. I can hit a pot hole in the road and not worry about my dentures falling out.
Comes with an adjustable height windshield and lowers are standard as well
The bike is balanced pretty well. I've sat on a number of Road Kings and to me they are top heavy and not balanced as well as the Nomad.

My cousin rode bikes for over 50 years. He belonged to a bike club in a nearby large city. Members had sport bikes and cruisers from every brand imaginable.
For 30 years my cousin wouldn't own a HD. My brother once asked him why. He said I would rather ride than wrench.
HD's reliability has come a long way since then and for the last 20 years my cousin rode HDs.
Bandit101 makes a good point that you will be able to find a HD dealer open easier than a Kawi dealer, but you may need to use that HD dealer a little more often.

As for accessories and aftermarket parts there is no comparison. Parts and accessories for any HD are abundant, easier to find and cheaper in price than comparable Kawi parts and accessories.
 

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...and before you all jump on me about my 1700:
I don't recommend bikes that need an ECM flash upgrade in order to run decently. If you have a 1700 with IVAN's: I understand you may be happy.
I don't like to buy "molested" bikes - that's why I have a hard time finding good, used cruisers that haven't been cobbed-up, by previous owners.
Yikes, I need to call the bike police.
My motorcycle has been molested.
Now I have to hire a bike lawyer. Where does it all end?

😬 🤣😇
 

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Yikes, I need to call the bike police.
My motorcycle has been molested.
Now I have to hire a bike lawyer. Where does it all end?

😬 🤣😇
Ha!
No need to call the fuzz! You are married to her, so you got her the way you want her - good for you! She may like all that kinky stuff you did to her, but just don't divorce her ( the alimony is a b___h)!
😉
 

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The 1700 engine was introduced in 2009 in all the large bike models and has been their mainstay since. The Voyager, Vaquero, Nomad, & classic all use the same engine.
I do have good points about the 1700, I just responded to the O.P. about the Nomad. I liked the 1600 engine and the Nomads original bags. My Voyagers bags and the 2009+ Nomad bags are the same, but the Vaquero's bags are like my 1600 Nomad's, which I prefer. Another point about my opinion that I will concede, I don't really care about having the sixth gear. I am happy with a 5 speed. My Voyager and '08 Harley both have 6 speeds, but I like to toodle along on 2 lane highways and county roads. I find my use of sixth gear is limited to rare occasions, when I ride the interstate. I should have made that point, because LoneRider61 may have a different riding style than mine. Cheers!
 

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I appreciate your response. I have ridden Road Kings. I've never ridden a Vulcan though I will next week, but not a long ride. I need critical information from people with experience on these bikes. Do you ride a 1700? Do you love the bike? Why? I only expect honesty, not an unbiased opinion.. I want to by a Vulcan, but not just because I can save on the purchase.
I have a 2010 Voyager. While I do all my own maintenance, including tire changes now, I'm not the best person to compare strength and weaknesses of the 1700s to other bikes. The only other bike I've ever had was a 2003 Honda Sabre 1100C2. The only bike I ever rode besides the Voyager and Sabre was a Victory Boardwalk on a test ride before I bought the Voyager. The Sabre was a lot more fun to throw around in the twisties. The Voyager is much better for long distance riding. The Sabre was easier to do much of the maintenance on, but it didn't have all the Tupperware (what my old boss called the fairing, etc.) the Voyager has.

Do I love the Voyager? Yes, but I would probably have loved a Victory Cross Country Touring, an Indian Chieftain or Roadmaster, or a Yamaha Star Venture more, but I could not afford one of those. Bang for the buck, though, I think it is an excellent bike.

Pros of the 1700s: Reliabiltiy (as long as you ignore some of the factory specs and make certain upgrades). Plenty of room for my 6'3" and bad knees. With a air-gel seat cushion and a back brace (for my bad back), I can and have ridden all day. Roomy saddlebags and some folks have put Voyager or other top cases on Nomads to add to the storage. Plenty of power to haul a reasonable size trailer all day long. Water cooled. I don't think I would ever want an air/oil only cooled engine, personally. With either a fuel controller or Ivan's flash most folks are quite satisfied with the power and performance.

Cons: Weight - these are heavy bikes. The Voyager is quite top heavy. Not much fun for slow maneuvers, OK for twisties, but great handling when it gets up some speed. Not sure of the weight or balance of a Road King in comparison. The 1700 front end really needs help. The OEM steering stem bearings are not great and many people end up replacing them (search this forum for threads on the subject). Many of us feel that the front end allows too much flexing in the forks. There is a fork brace available that works wonders for that. These beast are HOT, as in temperature, to ride, but the Nomad is probably not as bad as the Voyager because it is more open, but still hot.

Another pro: I had shoulder replacement last year. At 67 and after not riding for nearly 2 years, getting back on the Voyager has been hard due to the weight and cumbersome slow handling. Unlike a lot of bikes, there are options for converting it to a trike, both normal and reverse. Very soon, I'm afraid, I will either have to convert it, get a Spyder, or stop riding depending on what me and my wife decide we can afford.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Sabre-t,

Thank you very much for you insight. My wife and I ride a spyder, and enjoy it very much. I'm going to ride the Nomad 1700 tomorrow. If I like riding it, I will probably drop the money on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hi LoneRider61; I have owned several Vulcans. I owned a 1500 Nomad, a 1600 Nomad, a 1700 Voyager, a 1500 and a 1600 Classic.
For me, by far the best was the 1600 Nomad. I rode friend's Road Kings (several years) at different times and can say they are very good bikes, too.
I owned a 2006 Harley Davidson Road Glide (FLTRI), and can say the Nomad runs smoother and the bags work better, than the Road Glide. My friend's Road King (FLHR) are a closer comparison than my Road Glide was, but I mention the R.G. because I was disappointed in the "Shark Nose" fairing - the Vulcan Voyager has better wind deflection, if you want a fairing. I do not like the heat output or the lack luster performance of the VN1700, as much as I liked my 1600 Nomad. My second choice would be a 2000 - 2016 H.D. Road King. (But older Harley V-Twins idle rougher than Vulcans. At highway speed, they smooth out nicely, though.)
As far as a new bike choice : the new H.D. Milwaukee 8 Road King will run as good as my Kawasaki's did, and will hold it's value MUCH better. In fact, when I test rode an M8 H.D., I told the dealer it ran and felt like my 1600 Kawasaki Nomad!
That is why I recommend a well cared for 2003-2008 Kawasaki 1600 Vulcan Nomad or the Harley Road King.
I have a 2012 1700 Nomad.
Before that I had a Yamaha 950 tourer. I will say I like Road Kings

I like the nomad for several reasons:
it is geared just right - you can take off from a dead stop in 2nd gear if you want, and if you are cruising at 55 mph in 4th gear and you have to slow down you don't have to down shift
it has plenty of HP and torque
The stock seat is comfortable, no need to change it. Long hours in the saddle and still comfortable.
Good suspension system with adjustable air shocks standard. I can hit a pot hole in the road and not worry about my dentures falling out.
Comes with an adjustable height windshield and lowers are standard as well
The bike is balanced pretty well. I've sat on a number of Road Kings and to me they are top heavy and not balanced as well as the Nomad.

My cousin rode bikes for over 50 years. He belonged to a bike club in a nearby large city. Members had sport bikes and cruisers from every brand imaginable.
For 30 years my cousin wouldn't own a HD. My brother once asked him why. He said I would rather ride than wrench.
HD's reliability has come a long way since then and for the last 20 years my cousin rode HDs.
Bandit101 makes a good point that you will be able to find a HD dealer open easier than a Kawi dealer, but you may need to use that HD dealer a little more often.

As for accessories and aftermarket parts there is no comparison. Parts and accessories for any HD are abundant, easier to find and cheaper in price than comparable Kawi parts and accessories.
Sixth Gear,
I appreciate very much your input. One of the reasons I was considering the HD was that a dealer is always close, and of course the accessories. Then of course there is the bike that rides so well...and the nostalgia. The reason I'm questioning the HD is they are overpriced, seem to be somewhat less reliable, and that's what so many people want. I want the 1700 Nomad to be a better choice.
Thank you very much for sharing your experience.
 
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