2012 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad | Preview

2012 Kawasaki Motorcycle

When the Kawasaki designers went to work designing the 2012 Vulcan 1700 Nomad, flexibility was at top of the list.

The Nomad was to appeal to not just the long-distance tourer as the name implies, but also the boulevard cruiser due to its custom-bagger styling.

For the tourer, the Vulcan 1700 features a classic windshield, hard saddlebags, floorboards, a backrest and standard electronic cruise control.

For the cruiser, it’s that classic-American two-tone paint styling combined with the punch of the liquid-cooled, 1700cc 52-degree V-Twin. The Nomad’s engine is packed with technology, including Electronic Throttle Valve system and a water-cooled alternator that produces 46.8 amps – enough juice to power any electronic accessories.

Speaking of the engine’s performance, Kawasaki says: “There’s not only loads of torque down low – the range you’ll spend most of your time in while aboard – but there is also plenty of grunt all the way to 5,000 rpm.

“Just twist the throttle and the Nomad generates forward thrust without hesitation, providing ample acceleration for spirited riding and waves of low-rpm torque when you’re just thump-thumping along in top gear, checking out the scenery and relaxing.”

Cradling all this power from the Nomad’s 1700 engine is a single backbone double cradle frame that offers a short seat-to-steering head distance, with a correspondingly short wheelbase. Up front, the 43mm fork offers 5.5-inches of travel for comfort, and out back there are twin air-assisted shocks that provide 3.1 inches of rear suspension travel, the rear featuring air spring preload and four-way rebound adjustment.

Stopping the Nomad 1700 that rolls on nine-spoke cast wheels are dual 300mm discs with twin piston calipers up front, and a 300mm rear-disc brake with a two-piston caliper.

The Vulcan 1700 Nomad pairs this engine/chassis performance with long-distance amenities, such as the color-matched hard saddlebags that hold 10 gallons of storage each, and floorboards for both rider and passenger.

The 2012 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Nomad features everything needed for that open road, whether cruising downtown or heading out for a weekend – tech-savvy sophistication, classic styling and all the touring needs to go the distance.

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

2012 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Nomad Highlights:

Adjustable Windscreen

  • Adjustable handlebar-mounted and optically correct windscreen is shaped for optimum airflow management without compromising the Nomad’s cruiser styling
  • Strong chrome-plated steel supports
  • Two-position height
  • Sub-windshield and deflectors further increase wind protection
  • The sub-windshield covers the area between the windshield and headlight when the windshield is in the raised position, while fork-mounted deflectors help direct air away from the rider’s legs

Touring Seats & Passenger Backrest

  • Sculpted rider and passenger seats offer all-day comfort and support
  • Sturdy backrest with integrated passenger grab bars contributes to passenger confidence
  • Passenger floorboards add extra comfort to the 2-up equation

Hard Lockable Side Cases

  • The Nomad features hard, lockable, top-opening side cases that each provide 10 gallons (38L) of sealed storage space for overnight touring
  • Front and rear guards help protect the bike’s engine and hard side cases in the event of a tip-over
  • Helmet locks are conveniently located on the left
  • and right-side saddlebag guards


  • Liquid-cooled, four valves per cylinder, fuel-injected 1,700cc 52-degree V-twin engine
  • Long-stroke 102 x 104mm bore and stroke helps deliver high levels of torque with a distinct V-twin feel
  • Valve system uses a single overhead cam arrangement instead of pushrods for quicker revving and enhanced mid-high rpm power
  • Semi-dry sump design allows a lower crankshaft placement and a longer piston stroke without increasing engine height
  • Single-pin crank accentuates the engine’s V-twin character by providing stronger 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
  • Dual mufflers, one on each side of the bike, allow maximum clearance for luggage
  • Engine tuning offers superior acceleration in the 50 to 70 mph range
  • Even in overdrive, the engine pulls strongly in this speed range, facilitating overtaking at highway speeds
  • Utilizes one sensor in place of the usual three for reduced complexity and weight
  • The touring-oriented Nomad utilizes FI and exhaust systems tuned to reach peak torque and horsepower at a higher rpm than the engines used in standard Vulcan 1700 cruisers On Board Diagnostics
  • 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 using accessory manual
  • 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 using accessory manual
  • 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 fuel injector timing and throttle valve position results in accurate, powerful engine response
  • Control of both fuel injection and airflow provides easy starting and precise cold-engine idle speed control
  • From the rider’s perspective, the ETV works like a standard cable-operated throttle; the throttle grip is still 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

  • Cruise control can be engaged and adjusted entirely from the right handlebar
  • Cruise control 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 will automatically disengage the cruise control, as will manually rolling off the throttle


  • Six-speed transmission with positive neutral finder
  • 5th and 6th are overdrive gears for excellent fuel economy when cruising at highway speeds
  • 28mm carbon fiber final drive belt has a tensile strength that’s 40 percent greater compared to current Kevlar belts, allowing the Vulcan 1700 to use a slim belt only 2mm wider than the Kevlar unit on the Vulcan 900
  • Belt drive system is quiet, efficient and offers reduced maintenance compared to a chain


  • The frame features a short wheelbase for optimal ergonomics and easy maneuverability
  • Lightweight and slim, the frame minimizes the number of forged parts and trims any unnecessary metal. The only forged parts are areas that require additional strength: the down-tube joint, engine brackets, side-stand bracket, and rear fender/shock absorber bracket
  • This compact design contributes to light handling and facilitates low-speed handling, especially maneuvers such as parking or U-turns
  • Provides superb steering feedback
  • 5.5 inches of travel for excellent ride quality
  • Optimized damping and spring settings for a plush but controlled ride
  • Air-adjustable shocks can be tuned to match varying rider and passenger loads
  • 4-way rebound damping adjustments help the shocks compensate for changes in spring pressure
  • Chrome shock covers contribute to the bike’s overall luxurious finish
  • Allow the use of tubeless tires, and nicely complement the Nomad’s styling
  • 130/90 front and 170/70 rear tires
  • Tire choice and suspension settings selected augment the chassis’ light handling characteristics Classic V-twin Styling

Classic Styling

  • Basic engine architecture positively impacts the V-twin’s overall appearance
  • The line created by the top of the airbox and the cylinder heads forms a curved shape that continues to flow through the bike
  • Deeply chromed engine covers have curved upper surfaces; their three-dimensional form adds volume and gives a high-quality appearance
  • Cooling fin edges have a special NC treatment that makes them gleam in sunlight
  • All the engine’s non-chromed parts have a matte black finish to accentuate the chrome
  • The fuel tank’s hand-sculpted contours employ constantly varying radii, giving the bike a dynamic flowing style which is pleasing both to the eye and to the touch
  • Elegantly shaped fuel tank contributes to the Nomad’s curvaceous figure
  • Front fender design continues through the rear fender, which features an elegant LED taillight


  • Ignition switch allows on-position key removal, which prevents keys from scratching the instrument cluster or tank while the bike is in operation
  • Turning the ignition switch to the “OFF” position turns the engine off and necessitates re-insertion of the key to restart
  • Multi-function LCD displays on the tank-mounted instrument cluster are controlled by switches on the right handle. Features include a gear-position indicator, fuel gauge, clock, odometer, dual trip meters, remaining range and average fuel consumption
  • Liberal use of chrome on the engine, fender brackets, light stays, saddlebag accents and front and rear guards contrasts nicely with the bodywork’s deep, lustrous paint

2012 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad 1700 Specs:

  • Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, SOHC, four valve per cylinder, 52-degree V-twin
  • Displacement: 1,700cc / 103.7ci
  • Bore x Stroke: 102 x 104mm
  • Compression ratio: 9.5:1
  • Maximum Torque: 108 lb-ft @ 2,750rpm
  • Cooling System: Liquid, plus cooling fins
  • Ignition: TCBI with Digital Advance
  • Induction: Digital fuel injection, dual 42mm throttle bodies
  • Final Drive: Belt
  • Frame Type: Steel, double-cradle with box-section single-tube backbone
  • Rake/Trail: 30° / 7.0 in.
  • Front Suspension / wheel travel: 43mm 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 300 mm discs, dual twin-piston calipers / Single 300 mm disc, twin-piston caliper
  • Overall length: 98.4 in.
  • Overall width: 40.4 in.
  • Overall height: 57.7 in.
  • Seat height: 28.7 in.
  • Curb weight: 834 lbs.
  • Fuel capacity: 5.3 gal.
  • Wheelbase: 65.6 in.
  • Color Choices
  • Metallic Imperial Red / Metallic Phantom Silver Pearl Boulogne / Metallic Spark Black
  • Warranty: 24 months
  • Good Times Protection Plan: 12, 24, 36 or 48 months

2012 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Nomad Color Options/MSRP:

  • Metallic Imperial Red / Metallic Phantom Silver / $15,799
  • Pearl Boulogne / Metallic Spark Black / $15,799