Touring Motorcycle Achievment in Design
Touring cruisers are not the first genre that comes to mind when contemplating design advances, but Kawasaki’s new Vulcan 1700 Voyager is bringing some welcome technological wizardry to this popular class.
Starting with the fuel injection, Kawasaki’s new Electronic Throttle Valve (ETV) system actuates the throttle via electronics, though it is not fl y-by-wire; the throttle tube is still attached to a cable. The cable controls a throttle pulley that sends information to the ECU, then DC motors take over from your wrist to command the air and fuel flow.Redundant monitors keep the system operating in the case of a sensor failure.
The slightly undersquare motor utilizes a SOHC design (rather than the traditional pushrods) with 4 vpc and liquid cooling. In concert with a 6-speed transmission, the power-band enhances acceleration in the crucial 50-70 mph range. Cruise control is available between 30 and 85 mph.
Braking has received considerable attention. Kawasaki Advanced Coactive Braking Technology (K-ACT) is available on the ABS version of the Voyager. K-ACT employs an ECU that evaluates input from pressure and speed sensors, and then sends instructions to motor-driven hydraulic pumps so they deliver the proper amount of pressure to the brake calipers. According to a Kawasaki spokesman, the "speed sensitive system provides a progressive engagement and disengagement that delivers a natural feel to the rider."
Communications and entertainment are enhanced by an intercom-headset friendly audio system with a 3-band radio (FM/AM/weather) that is also compatible with an iPod, an XM radio tuner or a CB radio unit. An integrated controller on the left handlebar commands the audio system (including the iPod). Conversely, the system’s styling is retro, recalling the days of 8-track players, though LCD read-outs are mixed with large analog instruments for an effective combination of style and function.