KAWASAKI VN1700 VOYAGER (2011 - on) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£400|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
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 & brakesNext up: Engine
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.
EngineNext up: Reliability
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.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
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.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
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.
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.
|Engine type||1700cc, 8v 102x104mm, 6 gears|
|Frame type||Double cradle steel frame|
|Fuel capacity||20 litres|
|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|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||38 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£101|
|Annual service cost||£400|
16 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||70 bhp|
|Max torque||100 ft-lb|
|Top speed||115 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||169 miles|
Model history & versions
Kawasaki VN1700 Voyager, Classic and Classic Tourer (launched 2009).
Kawasaki VN1700 Voyager, Classic and Classic Tourer
Owners' reviews for the KAWASAKI VN1700 VOYAGER (2011 - on)
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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£400|
Annual servicing cost: £400
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.
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 !
Excellent V Twin Engine, great fuel economy on a recent pack run i returned 52 mpg, average is around 45-47
@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
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!
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!