2012 Kawasaki Preview
For 2012, Kawasaki returns with the Vulcan 1700 Voyager, a full-dresses machine ready to go the distance.
With this touring-savvy package arrives enough luggage space for a week’s worth of gear, frame-mounted fairing, electronic cruise control and a high-fidelity sound system.
Like previous models, the Vulcan 1700 Voyager retains that 1960s muscle-car styling and powerful 1700cc V-Twin, but arrives in 2012 with a few upgrades, most notably the innovative Kawasaki Air Management System (KAMS).
The KAMS system on the Voyager was designed to fight off those annoying engine heat problems present on the V-Twin due to high temps from the exhaust and rear cylinder. The first to use an air management system, Kawasaki designed the KAMS to increase comfort for riders on the 1700 Voyager, especially while at a stop.
Kawasaki says: "The primary part of the KAMS routes radiator heat to the ground, below the engine, while the secondary part of the system draws heat away from the rear cylinder and exhaust pipe and directs it to the ground on the left side of the motorcycle. This system is particularly effective in warm weather while stopped in traffic or for extended periods of low-speed operation, such as during staging for group rides or parades."
Paired with KAMS is yet another innovative slice of engineering – the second-generation Kawasaki Advanced Coactive Braking Technology (K-ACT), which is available on ABS models only. This K-ACT provides smooth and balanced braking by linking both the front and rear brakes.
Kawasaki says: "The front lever also activates the rear brake, and the rear pedal also engages the right front caliper: K-ACT ensures all this happens seamlessly and efficiently, and the second-generation system uses the same smaller, lighter ABS unit and faster, higher-spec brake ECU found on the Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS motorcycle for even smoother, more precise operation."
And K-ACT only activates when absolutely necessary; the Voyager’s ECU will not allow K-ACT to operate at speeds below 12 mph.
The other electronic highlight of the 2012 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager arrives in the fully electronic throttle valve system that works with the V-Twin’s EFI. These two systems utilize an Accelerator Position Sensor (APS) and Throttle Position Sensor (TPS), both which help the ECU deliver accurate and precise air-fuel mixture.
This EFI system, along with the exhaust, were revamped for slighter higher RPM power over previous 1700 Voyager motorcycles, allowing riders to have more power where needed while distance touring with the 1700cc, 52-degree V-Twin that features liquid cooling, a single-overhead cam and four-valve cylinders.
Engaging the clutch on this technologically advanced V-Twin is also set up for comfort during these long-distance tours. The Vulcan 1700 Voyager features six damping springs and progressive three-stage engagement for easier shifting under hard acceleration.
And this acceleration is welcomed on machine that weighs close to 900 lbs with fluids due to an optimal chassis design (steel, double-cradle with box-section single-tube backbone) that makes the bike feel much lighter. As for suspension, the Voyager has dual-air shocks out back that offer 3.1 inches of travel. The rear shocks also feature 4-way rebound damping adjustability to help "ensure predictable handling and a comfortable ride." Up front, a 45mm hydraulic fork provides 5.5 inches of travel.
For further touring amenities, the 2012 Vulcan 1700 features a six-speed transmission and electronic cruise control activated on the right handlebar; cruise will work in any of the top four gears between 30 and 85 mph. Since it’s electronic, disengaging it is as easy as pressing the brake lever, clutch lever, rear brake pedal, or by manually rolling off the throttle, Kawasaki says.
The Voyager also features a carbon-fiber reinforced drive belt for 40-percent more strength, a frame-mounted windshield and front fairings, and leg shields that feature venting to reduce heat on the legs during slow traveling.
Kawasaki says: "Mounting this beautifully sculpted fairing to the frame transfers any wind buffeting to the bike rather than the handlebar, which reduces rider fatigue on longer trips."
While the body is protected from wind, Kawasaki also designed the seat that features a passenger luxury backrest for all-day touring, and floorboards for both rider and passenger.
As for luggage, the Vulcan 1700 Voyager has enough space to more than cater to the long-distance traveler: sealed, lockable and top-opening side cases with 10 gallons (38L) of volume partner with a color-matched, 13.2-gallon (50L) lockable tail trunk that’s big enough to swallow two large full-face helmets, and a pair of lockable glove boxes up front that provide a handy place for storing small items and accessories.
The Voyager’s muscle-car styling is further enhanced by its dash, which has an image that is reinforced by the ‘classic font used on the large round dials of the instrumentation and a radio styled to resemble 8-track players from the 1960s."
Kawasaki says: "A multi-function LCD display is mixed in with the retro analog dials in the center of the instrument console. It’s controlled by switches on the right handlebar and features a gear-position indicator, clock, odometer, dual trip meters, remaining range and average fuel consumption."
And what’s a tourer without an intercom? Kawasaki says "the intercom headset-compatible, 40-watt, twin-speaker audio system features navigation audio prompts, a three-band (FM/AM/WX) radio that is also compatible with iPods, an XM radio tuner, or a CB radio unit. The audio system (and iPod) can be operated by an integrated controller on the left handlebar. In addition to volume, the rider can also adjust the bass, treble and balance levels of the system."
If the rider adds on a navigation system, the 2012 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager features an updated water-cooled alternator that produces 46.8 amps of electrical output. And if more accessories are needed, the Voyager features cigarette-lighter style power port on the dash, and two under the seat.
The Vulcan 1700 Voyager is Kawasaki’s answer to the rider who seeks a full-dressed, all-out touring machine. But although it features classical styling similar to that of a 1960s muscle car, the technology, luggage space and touring features engineered into the Voyager is anything but classic.
Let the Good Times Roll…
2012 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager Specs:
- Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, SOHC, four valves per cylinder, 52-degree V-twin
- Displacement: 1,700cc / 103.7 cu. in.
- Bore x stroke: 102 x 104mm
- Compression ratio: 9.5:1
- Maximum torque: 108 lb-ft @ 2,750 rpm
- Cooling: Liquid, plus cooling fins
- Induction: Digital fuel injection, dual 42mm throttle bodies
- Ignition: TCBI with Digital Advance
- Transmission: Six-speed with overdrive
- Final drive: Belt
- Frame: Steel, double-cradle with box-section single-tube backbone
- Rake / trail: 30 degrees / 7.0 in.
- Front suspension / wheel travel: 45mm hydraulic fork / 5.5 in.
- Rear suspension / wheel travel: Swingarm with twin air-assisted shocks, with 4-way rebound damping / 3.1 in.
- Front tire: 130/90×16
- Rear tire: 170/70×16
- Front brakes: Dual 300 mm discs, dual four-piston calipers, K-ACT II (ABS model)
- Rear brake: Single 300mm disc, twin-piston caliper, K-ACT II (ABS model)
- Overall length: 100.8 in.
- Overall width: 39.2 in.
- Overall height: 61.0 in.
- Ground clearance: 5.3 in.
- Seat height: 28.7 in.
- Wheelbase: 65.6 in.
- Curb weight standard / ABS: 886 / 895 lbs (with fluids)
- Fuel capacity: 5.3 gal.
- Warranty: 36 Months
2012 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager Color Options/MSRP:
- Metallic Graystone / Metallic Spark Black / $17,899 / $18,999 (ABS)
- Pearl Alpine White / Pearl Luster Beige / $17,899 / $18,999 (ABS)