KAWASAKI VN1700 VOYAGER (2011-on) Review

Published: 12 September 2011

"A scaled down version of their full-dressed Voyager. Meaner, sleeker and £1500 cheaper than the big Voyager"

KAWASAKI VN1700 VOYAGER  (2011-on)

"A scaled down version of their full-dressed Voyager. Meaner, sleeker and £1500 cheaper than the big Voyager"

  • At a glance
  • 1700cc  -  70 bhp
  • 38 mpg  -  169 miles range
  • Insurance group: 16 of 17
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  • Low seat height (720mm)
  • New: £14,399

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

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.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

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.

Engine 4 out of 5

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.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

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.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

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 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 5 out of 5

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.

Owners' Reviews

1 owner has reviewed their KAWASAKI VN1700 VOYAGER (2011-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your KAWASAKI VN1700 VOYAGER (2011-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

Kawasaki VN1700 Voyager Custom

02 June 2016 by Harry

The best features of the bike are, Style, Comfort, Brakes and MPG. I ride hard and still get 45 plus to the gallon. Worse features, Poor clutch slave cylinder position, Poor quality paint finish especially on speaker grills. Stereo very quiet. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
I really like the ride on this, it handles very well. I replaced the stock pipes for Vance and Hines and removed the emission control system restrictions with a bypass. which resulted in better response more power and better MPG. It handles the corners very well for a bike this big, just got to watch the footboards !
Engine
5 out of 5
Excellent V Twin Engine, great fuel economy on a recent pack run i returned 52 mpg, average is around 45-47
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
@8000 miles severe corrosion on speaker grills, mild corrosion on fork covers hydraulic connectors and casing bolts. signs of corrosion starting on welds around the chrome engine guards and passenger foot guards
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
I self service for the most part. Parts for the bike are not cheap, it would seem the days of Jap bike being a cheaper option to Harley are well and truly over!
Equipment
3 out of 5
Given the potential and the cost of the bike somethings should come as standard. The IPOD connector should be included as standard as should the power socket. These two items will cost you an additional £200 which is outrageous for what they are! the KQR sissy bar and rack will cost another £700 and can only be purchased in the states!! Kawasaki UK stock answer was to buy an aftermarket one instead! It would seem that Kawasaki are going dow the route of Harley Davidson !
Buying experience

I got the bike as a used bike from Somanybikes.com It was very, very cheap and well under book price. when looking around i could not find one cheaper than 11000 with 18k on the clock. I got mine for 7800 with 2700! so for that reason i got a bargain!

Read all 1 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2011
Year discontinued -
New price £14,399
Used price -
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 16 of 17
Annual road tax £82
Annual service cost £400
Performance
Max power 70 bhp
Max torque 100 ft-lb
Top speed 115 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 38 mpg
Tank range 169 miles
Specification
Engine size 1700cc
Engine type 1700cc, 8v 102x104mm, 6 gears
Frame type Double cradle steel frame
Fuel capacity 20 litres
Seat height 720mm
Bike weight 382kg
Front suspension 45mm non adjustable
Rear suspension Twin shock, rebound only
Front brake Dual 300mm discs, 4-piston caliper
Rear brake Single 300mm disc twin-piston caliper
Front tyre size 130/90x16
Rear tyre size 170/70x16

History & Versions

Model history

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

Other versions

Kawasaki VN1700 Voyager, Classic and Classic Tourer

Photo Gallery

  • KAWASAKI VN1700 VOYAGER  (2011-on)
  • KAWASAKI VN1700 VOYAGER  (2011-on)
  • KAWASAKI VN1700 VOYAGER  (2011-on)
  • KAWASAKI VN1700 VOYAGER  (2011-on)
  • KAWASAKI VN1700 VOYAGER  (2011-on)
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