2023 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager a bike that's authentically unrefined on purpose

With its powerful V-twin engine and long list of features, this bike is perfect for anyone who wants an uncompromising ride. So check t out  and see for yourself why the Voyager is one of the best bargains on the market today.

Hey everybody it's Peter. And in this video we're gonna do a complete in-depth review of this Kawasaki Vulcan Voyager 1700. Now this is the 2023 model. I have reviewed this in the past, and to be fair, I made a mistake on that one. So we're gonna correct that here. But the point of this video is to go through this bike in detail to make sure that you see all the things that you would want to see, the obvious stuff and maybe the less obvious stuff that not every other video shows. And if you have questions, I can come back to this bike again and again and again because I'm here filming at Jim Gilbert's Power Sports, where they gimme complete access to their entire vehicle lineup. So if you have questions or you're interested in this bike, make sure you hit subscribe and follow up with questions and comments in the comments section.

And I'll answer those in both the comments section and in future videos. So let's get going with this review. So when I start my reviews, I usually point out my biases at some point. If there's a bike that I absolutely love, I let you know right off the bat. And this is a bike that it's just not a style that I would buy, it's just I'm not a big cruiser guy. However, since being here researching this, doing videos on it in the past and doing videos, now I've really come to appreciate what this bike is, who it's for and what it's all about. And what I like about it is it is not a modern bike on purpose. So things like the Honda Gold Wing, if you want your apple car play in the display, if that's what a motorcycle is to you, this isn't that.

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This appeals to a whole different crowd. This is gonna be more of that classic cruiser style, classic cruiser feel. You've got some nice sort of gauges that give you that sort of old timey kind of feeling. And what I like about it is in the automotive world, every time you have a new vehicle, they try to increase and improve and, and make it more refined and better and better and better. Whereas with this, they understand what's better. There's an unre refinement to this bike that is crucial to its character and that is what's really cool about this bike. You've got great reliability, you've got a great value, and you've got the right amount of unre refinement to make it a exactly what you want it to be. But it's not so unrefined that it becomes uncomfortable or problematic to drive or anything like that. So we're gonna talk about some of those lack of refinement pieces that give it its character, as well as talking about some of the important safety and updated things that give it that, you know, ability to ride it all day long and make sure you're comfortable and make sure you're safe.

So let's dig into the details here. We're gonna start with the front brakes and then work our way back through here. Work our way to the dash, the storage, the luggage, and we're gonna talk about some of the character in this throughout the whole video. So taking a look at the front wheel here, you've got typical cruiser stuff, 16 inch wheels, not seventeens like a super sport bike or something like that. But you've of course have a lot of sidewall here that's gonna contribute to some of the ride of this, uh, as well. And nothing too fancy from the looks of it. Of course you've got the dual disks, you've got good stopping power, but where you get some fancy things is in the things you can't see. So of course this little sticker sort of tell us all, but of course you have abs which Is Analog braking system that's, You know, typical in this Kind of class. But this K act system Is actually a really interesting

System where, you know, most of this bike is classic, but this is a Pretty advanced system. So on bikes over 300 kilograms or about 661 Pounds, that's what this System is designed for. And essentially it's a linked braking system that monitors your speed and can link the brakes front and rear. So where it becomes a big advantage is if you Hit that, you know, grab A whole bunch of front brake lever, it will balance the brakes front and rear. So it can link front and rear brakes, it will, you know, apply some rear brakes. Same thing if you use that brake, the foot pedal brake, uh, with your right foot and you give maybe a little too much there. It will also balance. So it is speed related, it can tell what's going on, but the whole idea is on these larger bikes, you wanna make sure that everything's kind of kept in control, kept, uh, in place. So it can link the brakes at any point and it will, but really where you have that advantage is in the harder braking, that emergency braking, you've got that real balance braking so it's not pitching too far forward, it's not, you know, locking up rear wheels and that kind of thing. So between the abs and the ability to have those linked brakes, you really have a confidence inspiring braking system designed for these bigger, heavier bikes.

So braking is one piece of the balance and control and suspension is a really big other piece here. Now I can't really get the camera to view this correctly and this is where I made an error in my last video about this uh, bike. And it's really no excuse, I just didn't read the owner's manual. There is an air adjustable suspension here. So there's a little uh, shrader valve right there where you can adjust the suspension. Now I mentioned that you could go to a gas pump just sort of flippantly. Do not go to the gas pump, go to uh, get a low pressure, um, pump here and you could put air back in here. Now the reason you'd want to do that is if you're loading this bike down, lots of luggage, passengers, uh, weight, everything else back here, you can restore that sort of ride height and restore that suspension performance, whether you've got a whole bunch of weight back here or very little weight back here.

So it's just a really nice feature, both, uh, shocks on the either side, have a little nozzle there, you can get a little pressure pump, add some uh, pressure to that and make sure you've got the suspension performing as it should and as it would, whether it's empty or full. So really nice feature to have right there. And again, like I said, I'll cover up that mistake in the last video. Do not use the gas, uh, hose pump or uh, gas station, uh, air valve. Just use that uh, low pressure air pump. Now since we're back here, let's take a look at some of the luggage back here, which is really one of the main reasons you're buying a bike like this. So talking about luggage, luggage should be simple on a bike like this. And really that's what this is. It's got some nice features in here. You've got good storage and a lot of length in here. So you know, fitting Something like my tripod in Here quite easily fit. So a lot of space here. There's no real compromises around the bike or anything, it just comes in a little bit around the suspension type area, but nice wide spaces and they open from the top, not from the side. So you don't have anything falling out the side. You know, typical stuff, you've got the double latch system here, there, so it's a really secure close, you know, works very, very well, fits what you need. And of course there's the top case as well. So let's take a look at that right now. Again, simplicity is the key here. There's nothing too fancy about this. One thing I will note is that this antenna is a little bit adjustable. I like leaning it just to hair back for styling, but it also clears this uh, case as it pops up. Now of course you can lock that right here. It does move the passenger back rest. So you're probably not gonna wanna have your passenger sitting there when you open this up, but if you open that up, it'll clear that antenna like that. And you have simple space here. So again, that's what you're looking for. Nothing too complicated. Nice and simple. You've got the solid clasp here. You do have a gasket running along here along with the design of the top going over the bottom.

Should have good water resistance in here as well. A waterproofness, uh, you know, I think it would be pretty solid for any kind of trip you'd wanna take. And again, flat and open, you know, simple, simple to use. Of course it leans like this has this extra wire to catch the top and it leans this way. So as the bike is leaning on the side stand, everything that could fall out is gonna fall towards your top here. So, you know, simple design, nothing fancy and that's really what you want. Something that's simple works open design. There you go, it works very well. So let's stay with the back of the bike here. Obviously it's on its side stand there. You can see some of those pipes on the bottom here. Nice styling, but let's focus on the lights for a second. So as we turn the bike to the on position, I really like that you've got the standard kind of brake light down here, taillight, but then you also have these cool lights across here. Now the way they film isn't exactly the way they look, but you get the idea that this whole area lights up. And then when I say the way they, uh, look, uh, on film, you see exactly the sort of the dots in there. You see a little more of a diffused look in person, but it's really impressive. Look, it looks nice and modern, but you still have the classic turn signals so you don't have the l e d turn signals. It's kind of the glowing on, glowing off, which to me fits the overall feel of this bike. Not super, super modern, not super, super fancy, you know, gives it that character. But for safety's sake, having a lot of rear light is really good. But l e d lights are instant on and instant off. So when I tap the brake lever there, you've got a whole lot of breaking power and a whole lot of brightness there. So you're very, very visible, which I think is really important. You could be traveling on a bike like this in poor weather, you know, if you're traveling across the country or doing a vacation or something like that, you can't always plan for perfect weather like you would in, you know, a bike that zips around town. So having those really, really bright lights and the entire rear end of this thing lighting up I think is a really nice safety feature as well. So really nice modern look here. Really, uh, you know, well done to go along with sort of all the classic lines, the classic pipes and that kind of thing. So now let's talk about the real heart of this bike, what makes it special. And this is where we talk about that whole refinement versus unre refinement type thing. Now you have some nice, uh, just overall coverage right here.

We're gonna work our way to the engine here, but let's just talk about where we are first. You've got some body work down here to the cover. Something like the Vulcan Vaquero doesn't have this lower body work and this will keep the wind off of you, but what's cool is it sounds like it's breaking on camera, but it's actually not too bad in person. There's a little lever here and you have four little levers there that can allow this venting to fully open up, allow cool air to come across your feet or you can close it on down and stay a little warmer with no air coming through there. So kind of nice to have that. You've got the crash bars here that come outside. One of the things I like here is these foot pads are rubber mounted, but they sort of are floating foot pads. So that's gonna deal with vibration. And when we talk about the heart of this, the engine, remember we started off the video, we talked about not overly refined, intentionally unrefined in some ways, and that's what a big vwe is. It's designed to give you a little bit of a shake to sort of have that feeling of that motor, uh, underneath you. This is not an inline force cylinder, which is, you know, smoothing out. This is designed to give you that feel, but you want that sort of shake. You want that sort of the movement there without the vibrations. So you've got the, you know, ability to, you know, dampen the vibrations in the foot pegs there, but still have a feeling of a true v twin that you know that rumble that you want. So again, rumble, yes, vibrations no really well designed. So this V two and the 1700 c c big engine does not have to rev hard to work.

And then you've got a six speed transmission on this. The top two gears are overdrive gears. So you can really bring those revs down on the highway first through fourth is really your acceleration gears, uh, to sort of drive in. And then those, like I said, those two gears of overdrive help with just overall fuel efficiency and also just taming things down as you're going down the highway. Again, when you've got a rumbling engine, you wanna make sure that it's um, you know, very comfortable on the long drive and this absolutely is. So it's a torque monster. The Vulcan lineup really has a lot of variation. The Vulcan s is a parallel twin, you know, Kawasaki ninja engine. It's a, it's a twin cylinder from the six 50 Ninja. Then you move up to the 900, which is a V twin. And then you move up to this and this is the real torkey, you know, the engine to have if you want a true big, you know, strong cruiser.

That's what this is. Now what's cool about it is it is a fully liquid cooled engine, but you have the styling here with the deep vents. These aren't just sort of drawn on. They have a deep uh, sort of fin there. So very much looks like an air-cooled engine, but the convenience and the reliability of a liquid cooled engine, which is quite nice to have as well. Moving back here, I don't know if it's in the shot, lemme just take a look at the camera here. Yeah, you can see that rear foot peg here or the rear foot board here. Same idea with these. Um, they have that floating foot pad there. So you've got that real ability there to have the vibrations damped but not to have to deal. Um, you know, you still have that feeling of you're on a true classic motorcycle.

So before we get to the controls, let me show you what it's like to sit across this bike. Now, one thing I didn't show on this side is there's a heel toe shifter. Of course that's kind of standard stuff. This is a big bike and it is something that you feel that when you're pulling off the side stand, but once you get it level very comfortable, the weight is very balanced. It's, you know, it's something you can move around on your legs left and right without a whole lot of worries. Again, I'm not familiar with riding these bikes as much, uh, you know for, I really like the lighter nimbler bike, but the surprise to me is once you pull it off that side stand, it's very comfortable, relaxed, there's no real concern. The seat is nice and low but still nice and wide and comfortable.

So it's not that intimidating sitting here, even though when you approach it you're going, wow, that's a big, big bike. So you know, obviously if you're in the market for this bike, this is probably not your first big bike and uh, you'll be fully familiar with it, but it is quite comfortable and you know, while I wouldn't call it nimble, it's lighter than it might feel in that upright position. So show you the overall seating position here. You're gonna keep my left foot down on the ground there and uh, you know, quite comfortable seating position. This one of course, unlike the Vulcan Vaccaro, you have the full windshield up here. So that is, you know, four head height at least or so. So it's gonna pull the wind right over your helmet and uh, whether you want to go with an open face helmet or anything else, you're looking through the windshield on this Vulcan Vaccaro similar design, but it has much, much shorter windshield of standard.

Now of course you can swap all these things out, there's accessories everywhere so you can decide kind of what you want to do. But seat position's very good here. This handlebars come back to you nicely and we're gonna show you the controls on this bike because again, you've got that real classic feel here, but there's a couple nice modern touches and a couple little sort of, I call them secret features that you maybe not realize right away if you're just glancing out in the showroom. So we're gonna dig into this area here and talk about all the features right now. So the first thing I wanna show you here is the key. And instead of just showing you the key, I'm gonna turn the bike to the on position like that and then I'm gonna pull out the key to show it to you. Now there's two reasons I'm doing that.

First of all, the key is shaped pretty cool. It's kind of matching your side bags there so you can get it in focus there a little bit. But what's cool is this bike could be running right now. I turned it to the on position and I took the key out. That is a feature of this bike. You can see the ignition switch is kind of shaped a little differently. This is the kind of bike where you don't have to sit there and let all your keys rattle around in front of you. You can uh, turn it on, plug it in, pull the key out, throw the key in your pocket and do make sure that you keep the key in your pocket. You don't wanna pull it out and you know, put it on a desk and drive away because once you go over your fuel stop you will need the key to turn it back on. But being able to pull that key out allows you to have that sort of clean look there. No rattles, no nothing. And when you want to turn the bike off, you have a design here where you can just do that as well. So pretty cool design like that. Let's go on and show you the rest of the controls now. Great. So once the bike is on, again, this is not an apple car play kind of advanced automotive display. This is really what you want on a classic motorcycle, but there's good information here. So fuel gauge over here, speedometer, tachometer and temperature gauge. There there's a digital information display which we'll get to in a second here. We'll try to show you some of that information and get a different angle there. And then down below is your audio system here so we can turn it on and uh, the Kawasaki area disappears Right now it's set to auxiliary so we can change that to different modes.

We've got uh, uh, FM there, we've got am there. We've got the weather band over here and there's lots of other stuff as well in here. Uh, the ability to set up a communications system in here. So just uh, off camera down here, there's a little hatch there with some wiring in there which you can hook up various components for, whether it's communications, cell connectivity, all that kind of stuff. Uh, it's all pre-wired and set up ready to go. If you turn this system off, it just reads Kawasaki like that. And then again that display in the center, which I'll try to get a better angle actually, we'll just sort of freehand some of that angle here for a second to show you what's in that dash and then we'll go over some of the controls on this motorcycle. All right, I've decided to kind of freehand this a little bit. I've got a little uh, steady camera mount here. Hope, hopefully be clear enough. So again, we'll turn it back on here and let's talk about this display here. Now as we turn it on there, let's just turn it off one more time. I want you to look at the left side right here. Cause as it comes to life you'll get a really good view of what you're gonna see while you're actually riding this bike. So turn it back to the opposition. There is your gears first, neutral, 2, 3, 4, 5 and then od up top overdrive. So really fifth gear and six gear overdrive. But you know that six gear is much more of an overdrive and you've got some good information in here. So let's just sort of cycle through some of that right here. Uh, where am I on the control side here? Oh, I'm on the wrong side.

So what we're gonna look at is you see leaders per hundred kilometers is the average right now. Now I've got to range right there and then you've got uh, the average in there. So, uh, that is your um, center display. Then I'm gonna go this way on it and you can see everything up top your trip A and I'm using the wrong hand here cause I'm holding the camera. So there we go. Trip a, trip B and then your odometer up top. So you've got just basic information left and right and all of that is being controlled right over here on your right side. So I'm moving this thing that way for one display that way for another display. Very intuitive, uh, to control that in right there. So again, nothing too fancy here. You've got your lights up there, low fuel signals, high beams, that kind of thing.

Cruise control as well. We can turn the cruise control on right now. That cruise control light lights up in orange once it's set, that set light lights up in green and get a little tough to read the camera's having trouble adapting there. But you can see that cruise light, I can read this, this is abs, um, that kind of thing. I can read that in person. You can't really see it on camera. So pretty simple controls. Let's just take a look at those controls here. Again, I'm filming with my right hand so I got the wrong hand on the throttle lever over here. Uh, you've got your um, your hazard lights right up on this side. Now that's different than just about every other Kawasaki and that's because they're making room for some of these controls over here, including your cruise controls. Cruise control just works just like a car.

Let's see if I can get up in there. There we go. You can see set and resume on or off button right there. Your start your kill switch and of course that control compl controls that center display coming around the bike here. Let's just uh, come back and go, whoops, here we go. Almost had my antenna touch my microphone there. Over on this side you've got a lot going on, but it's pretty simple stuff as well. So you've got your high beam here, low beam right there, your horn up top there, signals, and then you've got your audio control. So volume right here, tuning right there and your squelch for a CB radio, which you could put in in the future. So taking a look here, there is some storage over here on this side here, speaker there, little bit of storage there, we'll open it up for you in a second. And then you have a 12 volt port that's all standard. Let's come back around to this side here where you have something similar speaker there as well. So visually these are identical from oops, cameras. My camera mount here is adapting. There we go Visually, you see an identical side here, but this is the one that has that wiring for that extra connections. Um, you know, the wiring's inside for things like your, uh, communication system, that kind of thing. And then there is one button way down here for your driving lights. So that is down here. Uh, we can just turn them on. Actually why don't we just come around there as we turn them on. Headlight is not on right now, but there are your driving lights, which again are quite bright. If we get down into the view pattern there, you'll see they're nice and bright, so they give good visibility, help you be seen as well as see others as well.

And you can see that the signal lights are also part of that. Um, sort of always on lights anyways, if I started the vehicle, the headlight would start, but of course indoors here, I'm not gonna be running it right now. So I'm gonna continue to freehand this. And this might be a mistake because usually I like to work with my right hand, but my right hand's on the camera. Now remember, because you can take the key out of here. I have seen some people complain that they feel like this shouldn't have a key lock. But remember you don't need the key in the vehicle to uh, drive it. So you could pull your key out anytime here and you can open these up. Now obviously you're not gonna do that while you're driving, but both these, uh, pockets are pretty deep here and they're uh, basically identical on both sides.

But this one is the one with your wiring to connect various uh, components. There again, all pre-wired for communication system and other uh, audio tapes, uh, systems there, all of that you can get the Kawasaki accessories to match it out there. So, uh, again, same thing on both sides, but again, like I said, some people said, oh, I wish I didn't need the key to use that. And I get that. But again, you don't need the key in the vehicle. So it's not like you have to turn it off, you know, do that. You can be at a gas stop, leave it running, get that back in. I wouldn't do it while you're driving, but certainly, um, it's not hard to get into there. There's your, uh, key as well for your gas tank there as well. So we're gonna turn this uh, thing off and let's talk a little bit more about it.

So let's talk about who this bike is for. Well obviously this should not be anybody's first cruiser or first motorcycle. It's a bigger bike, it's a heavier bike. And you know, first cruiser, Vulcan, s first cruiser, even just a regular Vulcan 900, these ones get into a more heavier class. If you are regularly taking two people, this is amazing. If you wanna go across the country, this is amazing. But all of that, you know why this cruiser over other cruisers? Well first of all, if you look at the Honda bmw, that style of bike route, you're getting into a higher technology, higher price range, which to a lot of people, some of those technologies don't matter. And even further, the buyer of this bike, some of those technologies actually take away from the riding experience that you want. Again, you know, like motorcycles, they should make a little bit of noise.

These aren't Honda Civics that you want to be more and more and more refined. You want some of that lack of refinement that gives you that feeling of driving something that's sort of true to what it is. And that's what this is. And what I love about what Kawasaki does is they build all these, you know, high refined bikes, high technology bikes, TFT display bikes, uh, with the, you know, full uh, screen display. They add all kinds of technology into the bikes and they get more and more. But then the design team of these kinds of bikes allow them to be true to what they are. You don't have to update this every year because it is, you know, it's true to what it is. This is a bike that's going to give you that v twin rubble, that nice torque down low that really gives you that power to accelerate. But it's not something that is, you know, high revving screamer like Kawasaki might be known for. The other thing that's nice is the wind protection here is very effective. It's not just classic styling, it's very well done. This is a bike that's easy to ride a long, long time, but still gives you that true character if that's what you're looking for. It's that and it's a really good value compared to other more classic type cruisers. You can get a new bike with warranty compared to buying a used bike that who knows what's been done to it, who knows how many times the oil's been changed, that kind of thing. Then that's a real thing here. There's a real value equation to this bike as well. You've got the style, you've got the feel, but you can get it in a brand new bike as well.

So again, I'm not a cruiser guy, this is not a bike I'm gonna buy for myself, but I understand it. I think it's, you know, I understand the people who buy it. And again, you guys in the common section, let me know again, when you caught my mistakes in the past, if there's things that you want to know about this bike that I'm not pointing out, or better yet, if you are an owner of this bike and think that I should add things to a future video about this bike, let me know in the common section below so we can kind of build a database of information for the people that are interested in this bike. Again, remember I'm filming here. Give Jim Gilbert's PowerSports. I can come back to this bike again and again to make sure we get all your questions answered on future videos. So make sure if you're interested in this bike, you hit subscribe. Lemme know when the comments, uh, what you think about this bike, especially if you're an owner of this bike. Let me know, uh, why you love it. And uh, yeah, we'll just leave it at that. We'll tune in for the next one. Thanks everybody for watching.

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