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I read somewhere that the engineers at Kawasaki spent more than four years developing the engine to the 1700 Vulcan. It's quite an accomplishment, the engine, but as I see it, it has got a lot of issues. Now, I know that saying anything negative about a Kawasaki motorcycle in this forum, is like swearing in the church.
Anyway, if you look in the rear view mirror of time, you see a pattern of the same questions here. I'm talking about: "My belt is whining",
"Can't get rid of this decel popping", "My gearbox makes a lot of noise", and so on.
When Kawasaki replaced the 1600 with the 1700, these problems appeared.
No one has problems with a noisy gearbox in the older 1600, No one has got any belt whining on the older 1600, and I seriously doubt as many has got a decel popping on the 1600 as well?
Seems to me those four years could have been spent better...........
To make things clear, I own a 1700 Nomad, and I just love the bike because it has got a driving comfort no 1600 has ever had. It's easy to drive and has got a stability that's unsurpassed, fantastic brake system (ABS), and it looks gorgeous.
Just saying the bike could have been even better than it is, had those issues been adressed from the beginning.
Guess I better run for cover now, cuz the shitstorm is coming I guess.....:)
 

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I think you'll be fine. Those are common complaints. Though they aren't on every bike. I don't have any of those issues. Decel popping is common on a lot of motorcycles though; likely due to tighter and tighter emissions rules forcing the bike to run leaner. And keep in mind that much of that engineering time wasn't spent somehow making the best thing in the world. There are companies who do that; who focus entirely on making the best product they possibly can with no concern about supply chain, price, or even reliability. Companies like Ferrari and Koenigsegg. Price one of those sometime :) Every manufacturer, from Korean Hyosung to American brands like Harley Davidson and Indian need to balance cost, repairability, sustainability of components (It's one thing to find a great part, it's another to find a great part you can get a reliable steady stream of to your assembly plant) and so on and so forth. It's not just developing an engine platform, but developing a marketable one that allows the bike to fall in the right pricing market and has secured vendors, components, and raw materials that enable the engine to be produced for years to come.

The fact is, they've assembled quite a great bike at a very attractive price. A few little nuisances here and there are either non-issues or non-existant for most owners. (Remember that a forum is a cross section of the worst; people are significantly more likely to report a problem than report all is well). Frankly I'd much rather have a belt chirp or a clunky shifter over cam chain failure, transmission components shearing, rings wearing out prematurely, very costly and buried deep suspension, steering, and electronic components failing, and other "common issues" that exist on a number of other brands and a number of other models.

So no, it's not perfect, and I don't suspect anyone is going to argue that point with you or argue that there are a number of folks complaining about this issue. But the question is "why the 1700", well, frankly; because it's an excellent platform and the fact that we complain about the shifter being a little noisy is a testament to that. It means we can't find anything else to whine about. (Because, rest assured, humans will find something to whine about with everything).
 

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Anyway, if you look in the rear view mirror of time, you see a pattern of the same questions here. I'm talking about: "My belt is whining",
"Can't get rid of this decel popping", "My gearbox makes a lot of noise"
Not specific only to a Kawasaki 1700. Lots of other brands also...

Not everyone has those issues... I did have one.

Only thing I have is the clunky gear changing, but it is not nowhere as bad as it was when new .... Never had a belt whine. Mine never popped on decel. Over 40k miles....

Wrapping the pipes fixed my sizzling right leg issue. Did that right away when I got it 4 years ago. No oil spots anywhere. Had a little issue with idle but I think it was ethanol in the gas here. But been a while since that...

Nothing else to complain about.... other than that... it is a great scoot......
 

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Am I weird for LIKING the clunky gear shift? Coming from a bike that had real smooth "clicky" gears, I greatly prefer the very positive, very affirmative shifting of the 1700. A good amount of travel and a satisfying "clunk" when it goes into gear. It doesn't hurt anything.
 

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I test rode several Nomad 1600s and could not find one that didn't vibrate like crazy! Backrest, floorboards, etc. My wife lasted 5 miles on one of them. They also handled like a mack truck. LOL!

Looks like my engine issue was unique and a one off kind of thing. Engine sounds real nice now with the improved Hydraulic Lash Adjusters.

Of course I only have 51,000 miles on it so maybe I will experience the things you list at one point.

Those that have problems find forums like these to complain. Many others just ride and never let anyone know how great the bike is. Because of these complaints I would find it hard to replace my Voyager with another 1700 since I have been happy with it up until the KACR failed.
 

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Belt whine - yes
Fried right leg - yes
pinging - depends on gas i put in and where
clunking gear shift - yes, although when i first change the oil it's fine for the first shift thru.

Got 66K and a new problem popped up yesterday. the plastic guard around the front of the belt had shifted somehow and rubbing on the belt. I thought the tranmission was coming apart. anyone else have this issue?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The fact is, they've assembled quite a great bike at a very attractive price. A few little nuisances here and there are either non-issues or non-existant for most owners. (Remember that a forum is a cross section of the worst; people are significantly more likely to report a problem than report all is well). Frankly I'd much rather have a belt chirp or a clunky shifter over cam chain failure, transmission components shearing, rings wearing out prematurely, very costly and buried deep suspension, steering, and electronic components failing, and other "common issues" that exist on a number of other brands and a number of other models.
Yes, I agree, it's a very nice bike. And may I say, you have pointed out some important things to consider, pricing beeing one. When you take into consideration the high quality you are getting for a very reasonable price, let's just say you are willing to overlook some of the less charming sides of the bike. Shure, it clunks, it whines, it pops, but it RUNS! And it runs, and runs. I think "reliable" is the word i'm looking for here.....:)
 

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yep I have the clunk in the tranny, it pings and just ain't the same as my 2000lt. the 2000 had it's issues too, but just whis I could have that motor in this bike. I would be a happy boy !!!
 

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Romans,Agree with ya liking the clunky gears,don't mind them at all,really only first,no belt whine or decal pop,bike runs frkn awesome on ethanol free gas,station rite up the street.
 

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"No one has got any belt whining on the older 1600"

HAHAHA well I would hope not! ;)
 
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