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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.