Harley Rider Considering Voyager 1700 Purchase. [Archive] - Kawasaki Motorcycle Forums

Harley Rider Considering Voyager 1700 Purchase.

Just Tom
11-23-2015, 04:20 PM
Good afternoon. My name is Tom, I'm from So Cal and have been riding for over 30 years both on the street and the dirt. Throughout the years I've ridden/owned virtually every make and type of bike, however I've reached the point in my life where the type of riding that I enjoy is mostly geared towards touring, either by myself or with my wife. The last two touring machines I owned were HD's (Ultra Classic), a 2003 and a 2008. I recently sold the 2008 and I'm currently without a steed in the stable. So last weekend I attended the Progressive International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach where all the manufacturers were represented. Many of the manufacturers had a fleet of demo bikes available to take out on a 20-30 minute test ride along a predetermined route, on the street and highway. Long Beach is an especially nice event since the convention center is directly across from the ocean front where you can enjoy beautiful views and cool ocean breezes. The ride usually includes a mixture of street riding, harbor bridges and some highway. The ride is enjoyable, but always ends too soon!

Upon arriving, I goy myself registered and signed up for the demo rides with each of the brands I was interested. I went on 7 rides with different bikes, but only rode HD, Indian and Victory. Yamaha was there, Suzuki, Honda...even Can Am. Much to my surprise and disappointment, Kawasaki did not have any demo bikes available for demo rides. Bummer! With exception of HD and Indian, the only other bike I am interested in at this point is the Kawasaki Voyager 1700. I did have a chance to see one up close and sit one a display model with my wife though on the show floor. I was extremely impressed with what I saw overall. The Voyager has some of the nicest lines of all the Touring Bikes I've seen, bar none. It has a distinctive look all of its own that's not likely to be confused with anything else on the road and from a styling perspective it ranks high on my list when compared to the other bikes on my list. Probably the biggest surprise to me is the low $17,399 price. Comparatively speaking, a 2016 HD Ultra Classic sells for $25,000. That's a substantial savings ($7,600) which is money that could be spent towards upgrading and personalizing the Voyager...which leads me to my next point.

While I understand that Kawasaki had to minimize some of the upgrades that HD includes on their bike to keep it priced in the sub $18,000 price range, the one disappointment I've found so far is a lack of parts and accessories from the aftermarket. It just blows me away. There's a ton of parts and accessories available for other brands, but why so little for the Voyager? Seems bizarre to me. Kawasaki does offer a very limited selection and I must say, that I agree wth their approach by offering these accessories as add-ons. eg...cb radio, rear speakers, saddle bag liners, etc.... Again, these are all items included on the HD, but then again, that's also reflected in the price. I could easily see myself adding the aforementioned accessories a set of Vance and Hines pipes, a Power Commander and maybe a nice Corbin seat. Once that's done though, there's doesn't seem to be much else left to do, except for a handful of chrome parts available. I was surprised Kuryakan, didn't have more. There seems like an endless list of accessories for the Gold Wing or Harley....but again, very little for the Voyager.

I'm wondering what you Voyager owners have done to your bikes in the way of personalization. Also, how would you say the Voyager compares to the other competing models?

JD Hog
11-23-2015, 06:49 PM
Just Tom, welcome to the forum.

Like you I have owned two HD Ultra Classics in the past. The first one was an '01 that I had for 7 years and put on just under 50,000 miles. The second one was an '08 that I had for only 2-1/2 years and put on about 15,000 miles.

I was very lucky that I purchased the 7 year warranty with both bikes as it was used multiple times on the first bike and a once on the second one. I would not own a Harley without a warranty because they are very expensive to fix. The reason I purchased the '08 bike was because the warranty was going to be up and I didn't want to take a chance since it had breakdowns in the past.

I really liked both Ultras and was very upset when I had to sell the second one because of finances. I had all intentions of getting another Harley as soon as I could afford it again.

In early spring of 2012 I was able to purchase a 2005 Vulcan Nomad with 31,000 miles on the clock. I rode that bike for 15 months and put on over 11,000 miles including a 10 day road trip. I never had any problems with the bike other than changing oil and a rear tire.

After the good luck I had with the Nomad I started doing my research on Kawasaki bikes and found that the 1500, 1600 and 1700 were a very solid engines and bikes. That's when I started to look at the Voyager real close and do research on it.

In June of this year I was able to buy a 2015 Voyager and I have put on 4500 miles so far and have added almost $1300.00 worth of goodies to the bike.

I would not want to have a Harley again after riding the Nomad and the Voyager. The Voyager is a much better handling bike than the Ultra was. Like you say the CB, rear speakers and saddlebag liners are not included but I paid less than $20,000 OTD with a 6 year no deductible Kawasaki warranty. Here in California we pay much more than all the other states for our bikes so that price would be much lower elsewhere.

I like having a nice touring bike that is not like all the other Harleys out there. Fit and finish is just as good as Harley. You don't get all the color choices that Harley has but that does not bother me because you don't see many other Voyagers on the road like you do for Harleys.

Like I said above, I have installed many items on the bike. For the items I can't find like an extended reach brake pedal and heel and toe shifter I am working with a gentleman that makes items for these Kawasaki bikes. He just finished my brake pedal and now is working on the heel and toe shifter. Here is a link to his Website: Chucksters Customs | Home Page (http://www.chucksterscustoms.com/) He is very easy to work with and has an outstanding reputation in the industry.

If you look hard enough there are aftermarket parts out there but not like you find for Harley. For me I'm not wanting to dress up the bike with chrome but rather have the comfort items. If you want a touring bike that you can put a lot of upgrades and chrome on then buy the Harley. If you want a great bike that is road worthy and easy on the wallet buy a Voyager.

Just Tom
11-23-2015, 08:25 PM
Jim,

Thanks for the reply. I appreciate your feedback. I agree, the Voyager is an excellent value...absolutely no argument there. Not haven ridden the bike, I can't say how it performs. One of the magazine publications did a comparison to the Ultra Classic and while they liked the Voyager in some areas, the one criticism against it was the handling. Three things mentioned were that it didn't feel as stable in the turns, less cornering clearance (scraping floorboards) and unstable/difficult slow speed maneuvering. Those are relatively easy fixes though. A set of Metzler tires and Progressive shocks would address the handling characteristics. Of course, you've owned a couple Ultras yourself, including the same year as my last (2008) and you believe the Voyager handles better, so it's hard to say how I'd feel about buying one, until I actually ride one. All that said, a buddy of mine is a recent Yamaha convert (he's owned Harley's in the past) and he always knocks HD for their quality. Now he rides a Star and will never go back. I assume the same is true with you and your Kawi. Another friend rides a Victory. I rode a 2016 Victory Cross Tour yesterday during the Long Beach event and I was completely unimpressed. Both he and my Star riding buddy have been trying to convince me to buy a Victory. They say, once you ride a Victory, you'll never want to ride anything else. Sounds like a nice tag line for a commercial advertisement, but in my case of all the bikes I rode at the event, the Victory Vision and Cross Tour were the only one's I disliked. For whatever it's worth.....the Indian Roadmaster rode like a dream. Soooooo smooth. The transmission was like velvet and the 111 cu in power plant was impressive. On the other hand, the price is much higher (approx $30k) too!

I guess I'll probably have to rent a Voyager for a weekend since that will be the only way I'll know for sure if that's what I want.

Demolition-Man
11-24-2015, 10:18 AM
Go with the Voyager. Thought about buying one for about 1 year. Finally this summer, went to a dealer, test drove it an bought a new 2015 model. I LOVE IT !

Cu,
Sven

JD Hog
11-24-2015, 11:42 AM
The last Harley I owned was the 2008 so I don't know if that is fair to compare to a 2015 Voyager.

I don't hot rod, drive fast (other than going over the speed limit to keep up with the traffic) or corner hard and have scraped the floorboards only a few times at lower speeds. I did notice instantly that at very low speeds the Voyager was much more steady than my older Ultras and Nomad. I do notice the seat height being higher than the Ultra was but I still can flat foot at a stop.

I was like you sitting on the fence not wanting to buy a Voyager without a test drive. The dealership that I purchased mine from did allow me to test drive the bike first. After all the research I had done on the bike I was ready to pull the trigger except for lacking the test drive. After the test ride I was very happy with my decision and have never had any buyer's remorse.

If you could rent one for a day that would be the best way to see how you like it. Test driving a new bike that is not broken in yet does not give you a true picture of the power the bike has. Now that I have over 4,000 miles on the bike it has a lot more power and torque than when it was new. You will get an idea how it fits you and handles at all speeds and how all the instruments are laid out though.

I test drove the bike with my wife on the back and we were very happy with the extra room we had compared to the Ultra. I also like the frame mounted fairing vs the steering mounted one on the Ultra.

Good luck in your shopping!

Just Tom
11-24-2015, 02:45 PM
The last Harley I owned was the 2008 so I don't know if that is fair to compare to a 2015 Voyager.

I don't hot rod, drive fast (other than going over the speed limit to keep up with the traffic) or corner hard and have scraped the floorboards only a few times at lower speeds. I did notice instantly that at very low speeds the Voyager was much more steady than my older Ultras and Nomad. I do notice the seat height being higher than the Ultra was but I still can flat foot at a stop.

I was like you sitting on the fence not wanting to buy a Voyager without a test drive. The dealership that I purchased mine from did allow me to test drive the bike first. After all the research I had done on the bike I was ready to pull the trigger except for lacking the test drive. After the test ride I was very happy with my decision and have never had any buyer's remorse.

If you could rent one for a day that would be the best way to see how you like it. Test driving a new bike that is not broken in yet does not give you a true picture of the power the bike has. Now that I have over 4,000 miles on the bike it has a lot more power and torque than when it was new. You will get an idea how it fits you and handles at all speeds and how all the instruments are laid out though.

I test drove the bike with my wife on the back and we were very happy with the extra room we had compared to the Ultra. I also like the frame mounted fairing vs the steering mounted one on the Ultra.

Good luck in your shopping!

Thanks JD. I must admit, the frame mounted fairing is a nice feature and has proven to be very stable when compared to batwing models. Having ridden the HD Road Glide with the frame mounted shark nose fairing and comparing it to the bat wing mounted fairing on the Ultra, I can safely say the frame mounted fairings are superior. That's especially true when riding in high winds.

So have you done anything from an engine management standpoint? eg....pipes, power commander, stage I/II kit? Curious to know what has been done and what options are available. I really like the Vance and Hines Touring Ovals. It would look great on the Voyager.

JD Hog
11-24-2015, 04:39 PM
I have not done any mods to the engine or pipes. I live in California and I have heard rumors from dealers that a yearly inspection will be coming soon. For that reason I will only change the mufflers if they are CARB approved. I will leave the air cleaner stock and that way I will not have to deal with a tuner.

If I can't get any CARB approved slip ons I will leave the pipes stock as they are actually louder now that I have over 4,000 miles on the bike.

Most of all my riding is in the Sierra back roads around Placerville where I enjoy listening to my iPod so I don't want loud pipes.

rbentnail
11-25-2015, 05:23 AM
Considered the sport touring side of things? It ain't for everyone, I know, but mine's an '07 (bought brand new in '08 ), currently has 86,xxx miles. Best bike I've ever owned. It's taken me to Maine, to Mobile and to uncountable places in between.

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y107/rbentnail/New%20FJR/DSCN0564.jpg

I've added gps and a trunk for traveling, handlebar risers and a larger wind shield for comfort, and aftermarket exhaust cans for noise, and a few other things here and there. Lots of options available. Yamaha FJR.

Olddoger
11-25-2015, 07:06 PM
Hey Tom, I completely understand your concerns. After riding H.D. for 25 yrs, I am now riding a 1700 Vaquero that I bought last Jan of 2015. My best friend has a '12 Voyager that I've had the opportunity to ride several times. The only reason I didn't buy a Voyager is because I wanted the different look, the bikes are the same otherwise. They do ride and handle different than the H.D. but that's because you get used to the way the H.D. handles. After riding the Kawi a while, I don't miss the H.D. at all. I ended up buying this bike because of price. I purchased a 2014 Vaquero in Jan '15 for $12,900 plus t&t. My friend purchased his at year end and paid $13,450 plus t&t. The $10k difference was definitely worth it. I still ride with my Harley buddies without shame. Many times I get the looks and they get upset. And I also can out run them! Would I buy another Harley, sure. Someday. Am I happy when I ride now, absolutely.
Good luck in what ever you choose and ride safe

Olddoger
Pt St LUcie FL

MeanT
11-26-2015, 11:38 AM
I ride a 1600 Vulcan. Rode the 1700 voyager three times, once with the wife at the motorcycle show before Kawasaki stopped attending. I really wanted to like it. So far I still prefer the 1600, lighter and better handling. Sure does not have as much power but the seat of the pants difference is not dramatic and the 1600 feels like a better motor. I think Kawasaki was trying to make the bike more like a Harley which in my opinion was not the best choice. After riding both I would choose a Harley over the voyager if it where not for price.

johnborsellino
12-06-2015, 09:49 AM
Big and heavy cruisers are not for everyone, I recently purchased a Red 2002 Mean Streak, which is a joy to ride and easy to handle, I have never owned a big HD or Metric cruiser, but have ridden many of my friends bikes and I find them too heavy at slower speeds and parking. Some of my friends have a hard time with the extra weight and some others have no difficulties at all. Here is an interesting link about big heavy motorcycles.

How to handle a heavy motorcycle - Motorbike Writer (http://motorbikewriter.com/how-to-handle-a-heavy-motorcycle/)

I meant to post this on another thread

johnborsellino
12-06-2015, 10:05 AM
Big and heavy cruisers are not for everyone, I recently purchased a Red 2002 Mean Streak, which is a joy to ride and easy to handle, I have never owned a big HD or Metric cruiser, but have ridden many of my friends bikes and I find them too heavy at slower speeds and parking. Some of my friends have a hard time with the extra weight and some others have no difficulties at all. Here is an interesting link about big heavy motorcycles.

How to handle a heavy motorcycle - Motorbike Writer (http://motorbikewriter.com/how-to-handle-a-heavy-motorcycle/)

I meant to post this on another thread

OOOPs, actually this post is in the right place!