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Kawasaki VN1700 VOYAGER Custom Motorbike Review

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MCN overall verdict rating is 4

On the back of the American trend to cut down large custom touring bikes into ‘baggers’, Kawasaki has launched the Voyager Custom – a scaled down version of their full-dressed Voyager. Meaner, sleeker and £1500 cheaper than the big Voyager, the huge 1700cc engine remains, as does the side panniers but far less bling and chrome makes it more manly and gives the impression of a lighter more manageable bike. It’s a good looking, cheaper alternative to the American competition but let down by huge bulk and the need to change down for fast acceleration.


MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 0

At the heart of the Voyager sleeps a mighty, liquid-cooled 1700cc V-twin – despite at first appearing air-cooled. The huge 8 v motor throws out a respectable70bhp with a huge 100ftlb of torque. However, due to the massive weight and tall top gear, overdrive, you still need to cog down for quick overtakes. Fuel consumption at quick touring speed is also rather poor, less than 35mpg if pushed hard.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 0

Despite not appearing as large as the full dressed Voyager, at 382kg the new Classic is far from light – that’s close to 60 stone in old money. Obviously trying to make 60 stone handle is not going to be easy and if you start to have fun with the motor it’s easy to find the handling limitations of the big girl: the foot boards will soon start to drag alarmingly. The brakes aren’t bad, far from it, and it’s not a nightmare, but similar bikes in this class out-handle the big Kawasaki.


MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 0

Even though the Classic is a scaled-down version, it’s littered with goodies and extras. A twin 40w speaker stereo comes as standard, complete with an Ipod connection. On the right bar is a cruise control for those longer journeys. At the rear, there are side bags, an LED rear light and twin exhausts. There’s a small fly screen to add a little comfort and, for safety, ABS as standard.

Kawasaki VN1700 Voyager Custom (2011-current)

Detail Value
New price £14,399
Engine size 1700 cc
Power 70 bhp
Top speed 115 mph
Insurance group 16 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 4 rating is 0
Engine rating is 4 rating is 0
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 0
Equipment rating is 5 rating is 0
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 0
Value rating is 4 rating is 0

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 0

The low-revving engine should be bullet proof and the shaft drive means maintenance should be minimal – reliability isn’t going to be an issue as it’s a proven engine. However there are a few niggling faults. There’s an annoying bit of plastic over the petrol tank which vibrates, and the clocks don’t fit flush in the large dash. This means at night, the dash lights light up not only the clocks but the rider too.


MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 0

This is an area where the Kawasaki scores highly. It’s considerably cheaper than Harley-Davidson equivalent, the Street Glide, and even cheaper than the Victory Cross Country. In fact the Kawasaki appears to be somewhat of a bargain. With the money saved over the competition you could easily accessorise and personalise the bike adding character and still save money over the American competition.


Insurance group: 16 of 17

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Model History

Kawasaki VN1700 Voyager, Classic and Classic Tourer (launched 2009).

Other Versions

Kawasaki VN1700 Voyager, Classic and Classic Tourer


Top speed 115 mph
1/4-mile acceleration secs
Max power 70 bhp
Max torque 100 ft-lb
Weight 382 kg
Seat height 720 mm
Fuel capacity 20 litres
Average fuel consumption 38 mpg
Tank range 169 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 16 of 17
Engine size 1700 cc
Engine specification 1700cc, 8v 102x104mm, 6 gears
Frame Double cradle steel frame
Front suspension adjustment 45mm non adjustable
Rear suspension adjustment Twin shock, rebound only
Front brakes Dual 300mm discs, 4-piston caliper
Rear brake Single 300mm disc twin-piston caliper
Front tyre size 130/90x16
Rear tyre size 170/70x16

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 0(0 reviews)

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Kawasaki VN 1700

Shaft drive, did you actually look at one let alone ride it?

22 April 2013 03:58

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