2012 Kawasaki 1700 Vaquero | Preview

2012 Kawasaki Motorcycle

Last year, Kawasaki thrust itself into the bagger market with the Vulcan 1700 Vaquero. The Vaquero, Spanish for "cowboy," offered the features needed for a 21st-Century bagger – aggressive styling and a powerful 1700cc V-Twin.

The Kawasaki bagger received positive reviews from the moto-media, mostly for its practicality combined with a muscular stance. And wanting to go head-to-head with other big-V-Twin baggers, Kawasaki continues offering the Vulcan 1700 Vaquero for 2012 as a carry-over model.

The Vaquero’s only upgrades is new paint and an SE edition – Candy Plasma Blue or the SE edition, which features Candy Lime Green with Ebony paints, and chrome accents (engine guards, exhaust, mirrors, etc.).

Everything begins with the technologically-advanced 1700cc , 52-degree V-Twin. The liquid-cooled engine powers many of Vaquero’s big-twin siblings, including the Voyager and Nomad, and features an overhead-cam design with high-compression and a long, 104mm stroke for low- and mid-range power. And without taking away that V-Twin throb, the electronic fuel injection system works with a throttle valve system.

Kawasaki says: "The system uses an Accelerator Position Sensor (APS) and a Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) that feed data to the ECU, which adjusts the throttle plates to tailor intake airflow accordingly. The system offers a natural throttle feel, because the APS is activated by a throttle body pulley connected by cables to the throttle grip.

"Besides the obvious FI advantages such as improved fuel economy and automatic adjustment for altitude changes, the system also permits easy hands-off warm-up and idle speed control. Vaquero also features a water-cooled alternator that produces a staggering 46.8 amps of electrical output – plenty to power a selection of electronic accessories that enrich motorcycle travel."

When all is said and done, the Vaquero releases 108 ft. lbs. of torque, allowing for easy passing on the highway to those fun light-to-light situations downtown.

And with all this muscle arrives the amenities of a "true" touring bike – six-speed transmission, electronic cruise control, carbon-fiber reinforced belt drive, full front fairing and side-loading hard bags that offer almost 10 gallons of space each.

The Vaquero also features a high-tech chassis/suspension design, from the single backbone, double-cradle unit to the 45mm forks to the twin air-assisted shocks with adjustability out back. Meanwhile, stopping is taking care off through dual, 300mm discs up front with twin-piston calipers, and a single 300mm disc out back with two-piston caliper.

The 2012 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero is a true cowboy with mega-muscle power and styling, but with a road-worthy chassis and all the touring essential needed to get away for a while.

Following are highlights, specs, color options and MSRP for the 2012 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero.

2012 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero Highlights:


  • Liquid-cooled, four valves per cylinder, fuel-injected 1700cc 52-degree V-twin engine
  • Long-stroke 102 x 104mm bore and stroke dimensions deliver high torque levels with a distinct V-twin feel
  • Valve-actuation system uses a single overhead cam arrangement instead of pushrods for quicker revving and enhanced mid-high rpm power
  • Semi-dry sump design allows lower crankshaft positioning and a longer piston stroke without increasing engine height
  • Single-pin crankshaft accentuates the engine’s V-twin character by providing strong power pulses
  • Large-capacity airbox is located on both sides of the engine
  • Small-diameter iridium sparkplugs reach deep into the combustion chamber for high combustion efficiency, especially during low-load operation
  • Engine tuning, combined with long-stroke design, offers superior acceleration in the 50-70 mph range
  • Even in overdrive (5th and 6th gear) the engine pulls strongly, making highway passing easier
  • Fully electronic throttle actuation system enables the ECU to control the volume of intake air (via throttle valve angle) and fuel (via fuel injector timing) delivered to the engine
  • Optimized injector timing and throttle valve position results in accurate, powerful engine response
  • Control of both injection and airflow provides easy starting and precise cold-engine idle speed control
  • From the rider’s perspective, the ETV system works like a standard cable-operated throttle; the throttle grip remains connected to cables, so the feel at the grip is the same
  • Twisting the throttle turns a pulley on the throttle body, which triggers the Accelerator Position Sensor (APS) to send a signal to the ECU, which then modulates the throttle valves via a DC motor
  • Accurate throttle position is relayed to the ECU by a Throttle Position Sensor (TPS)
  • APS and TPS send two sets of signals to the ECU for system redundancy in the unlikely event of a sensor failure

Cruise Control

  • System maintains a desired speed even on uphill climbs
  • Cruise control can be engaged and adjusted entirely from the right handlebar
  • Cruise system can be activated in 3rd gear or above at any speed between 30 mph and 85 mph
  • Pressure on the brake lever, clutch lever or rear brake pedal automatically disengages the cruise control, as does manually rolling off the throttle

Self Diagnostic System

  • Diagnostic system allows self testing of the electronic systems on the Vulcan 1700
  • System displays codes on the instrumentation, which can be read by owner


  • Durable and easy-shifting six-speed transmission with positive neutral finder
  • 5th and 6th are overdrive gears for excellent fuel economy when cruising at highway speeds
  • Carbon fiber-reinforced final drive belt offers a 40 percent increase in tensile strength compared to current Kevlar belts
  • Belt drive system is quiet, efficient and offers reduced maintenance compared to a chain

45mm Telescopic Fork

  • Provides superb steering feedback
  • 5.5 inches of travel for excellent ride quality
  • Optimized damping and spring settings for a plush but controlled ride

Dual Air-Adjustable Rear Shocks

  • Air-adjustable shocks can be tuned to match varying rider and passenger loads
  • 4-way rebound damping adjustability helps the shocks compensate for changes in spring pressure

Nine-Spoke Aluminum Wheels

  • Light and strong wheels allow the use of tubeless tires, while flat black paint nicely complements the Vaquero’s styling treatment
  • Fat and long-wearing 130/90 front and 170/70 rear tires
  • Tire choice and suspension settings augment the chassis’ light handling characteristics

Bodywork & Styling

  • Basic engine architecture supports the Vaquero’s factory-custom look, while its blacked-out color with machined and bare-aluminum accents sets off the bike’s color scheme
  • Gloss and matte finishes on the engine highlight aesthetics even further
  • Hand-formed body-part shapes create a highly customized appearance
  • Many of the parts are exclusive to the Vaquero, which add to its factory-custom look and feel. These include the engine shrouds, rear fender, one-piece side covers, saddlebags, fairing and seat
  • Cut-down fairing looks like a true custom piece, right down to the abbreviated smoked windscreen and headlight cover
  • Louvre-style fog lamp covers can be replaced with accessory lamps
  • Sculpted strut covers seamlessly fill the space between the rear fender and saddlebags
  • Mufflers are tapered at their ends for a thoroughly retro look
  • Sculpted, custom-look seat looks good and cradles the rider for maximum comfort
  • LED taillight is attractive and highly conspicuous when lit for added safety
  • Large, wide fairing with abbreviated windscreen and integrated lowers provides substantial wind and weather protection for riders
  • With the fairing mounted to the frame, any wind buffeting is transferred to the bike rather than the handlebar, helping to enhance highway stability and reduce rider fatigue


  • The Vaquero features hard, lockable and sealed side-opening side cases that provide nearly 10 gallons of storage space each for overnight touring
  • Their flowing, rounded shape is an attractive alternative to the square, boxy luggage found on other bagger models
  • Up front, lockable glove boxes provide a handy place for storing smaller items
  • Dual under-seat helmet holders


  • Instrument layout and large round dials give the Vaquero’s console a custom look with a retro flavor
  • The radio/stereo unit features a classically custom look from the 1960s
  • Multi-function LCD display in the center of the instrument console is controlled by switches on the right handlebar. Features include a gear position indicator, fuel gauge, clock, odometer, dual trip meters, remaining range and average fuel consumption
  • Analog displays include speedometer, tachometer and coolant temperature gauge
  • Audio system with twin speakers features radio (FM/AM/WX) and compatibility with optional iPod, XM tuner or CB radio units
  • The audio system (and your iPod, which plugs easily into the left fairing pocket) can be operated by switches on the left handlebar
  • Ignition switch allows key removal in the on position, which prevents keys from damaging the black finish tank cover during operation
  • Turning the ignition switch collar to the ACC position allows accessories to be used while the engine is off; turning it to the "OFF" position turns the engine off and necessitates re-insertion of the key to restart


  • Sculpted seat blends a stylish shape with ideal foam density for all-day comfort
  • Scooped shape allows an easy reach to the ground
  • Upright riding position and rubber-topped floorboards contribute to substantial riding comfort
  • Dual adjustable rear air-shocks use settings optimized for a compliant ride and higher-load carrying when needed

Long Range

  • 5.3-gallon fuel tank offers a substantial range, helping to minimize fuel stops when out on the open road


  • Kawasaki offers a large number of optional accessories, including iPod connector, XM radio module, standard gel seat, dual gel saddle, saddlebag liners, auxiliary lights, DC power sockets, GPS mount, billet handlebar clamps, engine cover trim, saddlebag top rails, custom cover and more. See your Kawasaki dealer for more information

Vaquero SE

  • Deluxe two-tone Candy Lime Green with Ebony paint complemented by a custom marbleized paint graphic for a distinctive look

2012 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero Specs:

  • Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, SOHC, four valve per cylinder, 52° V-twin
  • Displacement: 1700cc / 103.7ci
  • Bore x Stroke: 102 x 104mm
  • Compression ratio: 9.5:1
  • Maximum Torque: 108 lb-ft @ 2,750 rpm
  • Cooling System: Liquid, plus cooling fins
  • Ignition: TCBI with Digital Advance
  • Induction: Digital fuel injection, dual 42mm throttle bodies
  • Transmission: 6-speed with overdrive and positive neutral finder
  • Frame Type: Steel, double-cradle with box-section single-tube backbone
  • Rake/Trail: 30° / 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 Size: 130/90×16
  • Rear Tire Size: 170/70×16
  • Brakes, front / rear: Dual 300mm discs, dual twin-piston calipers / Single 300mm disc, twin-piston caliper
  • Overall length: 98.8 in.
  • Overall width: 38.2 in.
  • Overall height: 50.8 in.
  • Seat height: 28.7 in.
  • Curb weight: 835.7 lbs.**
  • Wheelbase: 65.6 in.
  • Fuel capacity: 5.3 gal.
  • Warranty: 36 months
  • Good Times Protection Plan: 12, 24 or 36 months

**Curb weight includes all necessary materials and fluids to operate correctly, full tank of fuel (more than 90-percent capacity) and tool kit (if supplied).

2012 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero Color Options/MSRP:

  • Candy Plasma Blue / $16,799
  • SE: Candy Lime Green / Ebony / $17,199