Kawasaki's VN1700 'bagger' rolls into UK

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The new, chopped-down, touring VN1700 Voyager Custom is the third bike in Kawasaki’s Voyager line-up to hit the UK and neatly fills a gap between the fully-dressed touring Voyager and laid-back, unfaired Classic.

Effectively it’s jumping on the ‘bagger’ bandwagon – a bagger being a cruiser with panniers (bags) and decent comfort. That means you can have your cake and eat it, ie have lashings of custom style in a machine that’s comfortable and practical, too. Harley’s Street Glide, essentially a chopped down Electra Glide, was the first to enter mainstream production a few years ago but since then Victory, and now Kawasaki, have followed suit.

So, with the Voyager Custom the touring screen is stripped down to leave a small area of fairing with a low deflector screen for that ‘in the wind’ effect. Elsewhere, the 1700cc V-twin has enough cooling fins to look old-school but is in fact water-cooled and, for this reason is incredibly quiet – quiet enough to hear transmission whine in third gear when throttling off. To be fair to Kawasaki, the noise started to quieten with use.

At 60mph in top – an overdrive gear – the lump is hardly working and necessitates shifting down a gear for an overtake or a steep hill;. At B-road pace fuel consumption is minimal with 48mpg.

Read the full test in this week’s issue of MCN (3 August) – on sale now. Get MCN from only £1 an issue when you subscribe today.


Trevor Franklin

By Trevor Franklin