Complete in depth review of our 2023 Kawasaki Vulcan Vaquero

Hey there motorcycle enthusiasts! In this video, I'll be doing a complete in-depth review of the brand new 2023 Kawasaki Vulcan Vaquero. This bike is sure to turn heads with its cutting edge style and performance. So whether you're looking for your first bike or are just curious about what's out there, make sure to stick around because you won't want to miss this.

Hi everybody, it's Peter, and this is the 2023 Kawasaki Vulcan Vaquero. This is a bike I've been waiting to review for a long time because it is super stylish. It's a great value and the big thing is it's got a whole bunch of features that other videos don't show and sometimes people just don't even know about. So I'm gonna go through this vehicle in detail to make sure that you know what this is all about and see if it's right for you. So I'm filming here at Jim Gilbert's Power Sports, and they are the number one Kawasaki dealer in the country and they allow me complete access to their Kawasaki lineup. So if you have questions about this bike that I don't answer in this video, make sure you subscribe and talk to me about it in the comments because I can come back to this vehicle again and again and make sure that I answer all of your questions, both in the comments section and in future videos. 
So make sure you subscribe for that. So let's get going with the review of this bike. So the first thing that stands out to people about this bike is the style. And although it's based on the Vulcan Voyager or they're both kind of built on the same basic platform, basically the exact same platform, they look completely different. And a lot of that comes down to this paint color here, which is kind of this sort of matte gray black, I'll put the name of it on the screen here for you cuz I don't even remember what Kawasaki calls some of their paint colors. But what's cool about it is this isn't just a paint color for other people to see. They carry it through to the dash side, which we'll show you in a little bit. So you get to enjoy that color yourself, not just on the tank, but right through sort of the interior of the dash.

From here you can watch Peters Video by clicking YouTube or read his transcript... enjoy...

Here you've got the little stubby windshield here. The nice thing with the accessories on this thing is you can accessorize it up any way you want to do anything you want to do with this bike, except for probably a track day, not really made for that. But of course this uh, windscreen here is just a few inches here. You can go up to 18 inches and I think every six or three or four inches, there's plenty of um, windshield options right from Kawasaki here. Same with the backseats and that kind of thing. You can get different types of seating there as well. We'll talk about that as we get to it. But yeah, overall style, this is a classic cruiser and for, you know me when I was growing up and I thought about Kawasaki, it wasn't this. And what's cool about Kawasaki is they're not just a great inline four cylinder motorcycle company. 

They do a really nice v twin here. So let's talk briefly about this V twin. They don't miss power specs uh, in North America for these bikes. So seems to be everybody agrees around. It's about 80 horsepower, which again, horsepower doesn't really matter in a cruiser so much. That's plenty of power for top speed, uh, for what you need in this bike. But the real big number here on this 1700 uh, V twin is about 107 foot pounds of torque. And you get that pretty low on the rev range around 27 50 or so is your max torque. So you're really not revving this bike out at all to have a tremendous amount of torque and that's the feeling that you want when you ride this bike. Now a lot of people have talked about, you know, this bike's been around for a while and I think that's for good reason. This is the kind of bike where it's not worth bringing it up to modern day standards cuz what are you gonna do? Are you gonna smooth out the engine even more? This is already a pretty smooth V twin but it has to have a certain amount of rumble. We'll talk about how that rumble is Translated into proper feel and where you can go wrong with that rumble and turns into vibrations. And this one handles all of that very well. So the fact that it's been around for a while I think is a good thing. It's fairly efficient. We'll talk about the transmission and how that helps it be efficient. We'll talk about uh, how it sort of deals with vibrations. But the nice thing about being around for a while as well is there's not just Kawasaki accessories that go with this. There's a number of aftermarket accessories where it's worthwhile for those aftermarket companies to build something for a bike like this, which means that in the true cruiser spirit you can customize this up any way you want. So before we get into some of those details, let's just start right off the bat with safety and we'll talk about the braking system on this, which is a fully mo modern braking system.

So let's start by taking a look at the front wheel, front brake area and see everything that you've got here. So first of all, this is a 16 inch diameter rim, which is different than a modern sport bike, which is a 17 inch diameter but of course you have a little bit more tire there. So it's still a good size tire and rim and of course very wide plenty uh, you know, it's just the typical thing of what you're looking for on a cruiser like this. Now these disks here, they are 30, uh, 300 millimeter uh, disk across that's a di disk diameter. What's interesting is the rear disc is actually the same size, a 300 uh, millimeter diameter there as well. So that takes into account the heavier bike with the sort of, you know, weight sort of throw where a modern sport bike or something like that, something from Kawasaki's gonna have dual disks up front just like this, but only a single smaller disc in the back.
This one's got the same size disc in the back. Now they are a little bit different brakes front and rear and that makes sense because of weight transfer and everything else. So look, weight transfer is really what this K act is about. K dash a c t. This is an a BS braking system. So first of all you have a modern ABS braking system. It is tied to a computer and the computer does a couple things that of course help ABS sort itself out. Anytime you have ABS you need a computer anyways. But this one is a more advanced system with extra pieces in there that allow you to have a linked braking system depending on speed and everything else. So if you jam on the foot pedal brake, which would normally be just your rear brake, it's going to put power to the front to keep you, uh, keep the braking balance and it's gonna make a decision on that based on the number of factors, speed of the bike and that kind of thing. 
And the same thing happens if you grab uh, a whole bunch of front brake. It's gonna balance out that braking front and rear. So in an emergency situation with a heavy bike like this, that's often where you get into some trouble and this braking system is built for Kawasaki's heavier bikes. They don't use this type of braking system on anything else other than these bigger, heavier bikes and it allows you to keep better control. So it's ABS and a linked braking system, which means an emergency situation. If you grab too much foot brake, too much hand brake, whatever you're grabbing, uh, it will balance that out as best as it can and work with your ABS system to help you keep control. It's a pretty advanced braking system and braking is a big deal on a big heavy motorcycle like this. So really gotta give Kawasaki credit for this braking system here inside here there's some alloy style wheels. 
Hard to see there with those large brake discs, uh, but some extra little styling when you come up close. Let's take a look back and look at some of the styling on the front as we move through some of the features as well through the motorcycle. So taking a look at the front of the bike, you've got some nice sort of classic styling here. Now you do have options here. These are not actually functional vents, they look pretty cool, but you have the option of filling these in just like on the voyager with extra driving light. So you've got that option. If you don't do it, it looks cool, but again, just remember they're not functional vents coming down here. This is a liquid cooled engine that's gonna be good for all kinds of reasons. Uh, big thing is it's keeps that engine temperature consistent.

Um, but you know, it has the air cool look, but the liquid cooled mod modernity, it makes it more modern, uh, which is really good. And the way they do this, you've got a radiator guard on here but you also have the long fender on here so you're not really having your uh, tire kick up stuff in your radiator, which is very good. And of course it's kind of scooped in there. Even the uh, radia or the panel down here kind of comes out to scoop some air in there. So you've got good air cooling in there built into the or liquid cooling in there, built into the styling. So from the side it just looks like a air-cooled bike, which is the look that you're going for. So let's take a look at that engine for a second here. First of all, visually it's impressive.
Like I said, it's got that air cooled look to it, which is pretty cool. You've got a really good mix of black inside the engine to make the fin stand out black on here and then chrome as well. So you've got sort of that black, that dark gray kind of mix and the chrome all mixing together to really make the pieces stand out, give it some visual presence. It's just super cool up close. So again, big chrome pipes down here and the chrome does tie into other pieces of the bike front and rear, which is cool. But again, that sort of dark gray paint with the black engine really goes well together. Now one thing I wanna point out is let's talk about a vwe engine like this. They are supposed to have some rumble. So this is what I talked about when I started off with this uh, video is you can't make it so refined that it just doesn't have any feel to it.

That's not what you're going for in a motorcycle. So making this more modern and softening out everything is not what you want, but you do wanna make sure that that rumble is something you feel and not vibrations. And what they do is they have these sort of floating foot pads here which are really, really good for just helping take some of that vibration out. So you've got that whole feeling of that classic feel but you're not gonna tire from it because both in your hands and in your feet you find that the vibrations don't carry through. So again, that proper rumble, that feel of, you know, it's not a inline force, smooth Kawasaki like other bikes, it has that sort sort of feel of a true motorcycle, but it does dampen out those vibrations. You've also got the crash bars along here, something like the Voyager has a little bit of extra body workout here with vents that come through here. 
The body work is a little bit closer so your feet are out in the wind, which on a hot day I think is a little bit nicer. Uh, you can obviously, you know, do a number of things to keep warm on a cool day or that kind of thing. But having that crash bar come out and protect without the body work I think makes this look a little bit sleeker, a little bit sportier rather than something that uh, Voyager, which is more of a tour, although there's no difference in this bike, you can tour just as easily with that. Just wanna come around to the other side. I didn't point out this V twin 1700, that's of course on the other side as well. It's an identical badge there. Down here on the other side you had a Kawasaki badge, but here is a six speed and that six speed is something I want to talk about in those six gears. 
Of course, one down five up is uh, and if you have a heeled toll shifter here as well, but the gearing here is first through fourth or building gears fifth and six are overdrive gears. Now with all the torque you have, you can still pass in fifth gears still pass in six gear, not a problem. But really first through fourth are what you're gonna use to get going, to get moving anywhere you need to go. And those overdrive gears are gonna give you efficiency as well as sort of, you know, dial it down on the highway to just give you that nice sort of, you know, calm feeling, which is what you get with a 1700 cc v twin bike is that ability to just have that calm highway cruising. But like I said, you've got the power where you need it and uh, that six speed really just makes it a nicer vehicle to drive.

So worth mentioning and again, worth putting that badge on there. So we're working our way to the driver's compartment or driver's. So we're working our way to the driver's area of this. But let's continue working down through the rear seat and the bags over here. So first of all, the rear seat, we'll show you a better angle of it in a minute here, but a lot of people feel like it's not that big because this seat from the top looks so wide, it does narrow over here, but you can see when you see it from the top and we'll show you in a second, it's plenty wide and it comes back a long ways. Now you can get backrest for this and that kind of thing. The one thing that some people might complain about if you're taking passenger regularly is this just has the foot pegs here. 
Now you can get the floorboards if you want. That comes standard on the Voyager. They're an accessory from Kawasaki. So don't let that deter you. If you are taking a passenger regularly, uh, you can do that. And again, there are multiple seat options. There's more of a solo seat, there's more of a um, like a gel seat. There's options to, to change this up to be whatever you need it to be. If you're riding solely, you're probably never gonna worry about this cuz you can take a passenger, we need to. But if you're doing longer tours and you want to get, you know, a back wrist on here or other things, uh, and you know, set it up for a passenger, don't worry, you can do that. A little hard to see on camera here, but you've got more crash birds here that come out beyond your luggage. 
And I'm gonna try to do the luggage on camera here. Now let's just show you one thing with the key here. The keys to me don't match the motorcycle as far as the size of it. There's a little thicker key to a lot of Kawasaki keys, but that's not gonna matter and I'll show you why in a second. But the shape of it you can sort of see there is very similar to the shape of your bags there, which is kind of cool. So this is the ignition key, it's a key matched here. I'm gonna turn it in here, we're gonna unlock it. And then this is a handle you pull up and you have pretty good uh, storage in there. Can you see it there? Yeah, perfect. You can sort of see it. So you have this uh, bungee stored here. You can get as an accessory, an inner liner bag. So if you weren't concerned about things that you know, you have that fall outta here, you can get an inner bag that fits there. So you can just take that entire bag out if you want. Uh, also to take your stuff inside. That might be

Good if you're doing a tour, that kind of thing. But you know, overall with this kind of thing, I've had no issues with uh, this in a previous Kawasaki I had this type of system in the bags where things don't fall out and you have really good space in here, like it's quite long and there is sort of a soft padding on the bottom here. Fairly firm soft padding, but again that's gonna keep things from rattling along. So you've really got all the space you need to take a weekend's worth of stuff away without any issues without going full onto the voyager with a top box. So good space in there and uh, simple to use. And of course it's um, color matched as well, uh, to the bike and the key matching as well makes it super convenient as we move to the driver's area.

Let me just show you what it's like to sit here. This is a very, very wide seat. It's the widest one on any Kawasaki that I've seen. So it doesn't show on video great. But of course this is as comfortable as you're gonna need. This is just a great seating position overall. We'll show you what it's like for me to sit on the bike and a little bit, uh, later. But like I said, a lot of people feel like because this narrows like this isn't a comfortable seat, but this is, and maybe cuz it doesn't have the styling, but this is a full size rear passenger seat back here. Plenty of space as is. But of course again you can customize some of these things up there. So good seating space, a little strap there, but other um, accessories you can put on to hold on as well if you don't want just that strap.
And of course the rider as well. Let's take a look at the driver's environment now because there's a lot going on in that area that we don't always talk about. So the very first thing I wanna show you, and this is something that I think people leave out sometimes is the ignition. Of course you can turn it on with the key like that and then you can pull your key out and take your key and put it in your pocket or wherever you want. And the reason that's nice is because you don't have all your other keys or other your things, um, dangling around, clicking around, scratching around anything else. So you can take that key out, it's designed to do that. And you can see here I can easily turn it back, uh, and turn it off by myself without the key. So really cool design there.

That's why this ignition looks different is you need the key to turn it on, but you don't need the key to turn off and you don't have to ride with the key there, which is pretty cool. Now one thing to remember is of course if you do take that key out, don't set it down anywhere than other than on your body because if you were to turn this off, uh, if you were to drive away from your house and uh, turn it off two hours away from your house, you're stuck. So make sure you put that key on your body when you take it out. But remember that you don't have to leave the key in it, you can take it out. It's designed to work like that. And in fact we're gonna film some of the dash sections here with the key out. So let's look at some of the dash. 

Alright, so we tried to kind of get everything in here. Obviously the handlebars are turned sharp. I should mention that those handlebars do turn sharp 35 degrees each way. So again, they're really, uh, for a bigger bike it does maneuver very, very well. Certainly unlike uh, modern Kawasaki sport bikes which don't turn nearly as sharp. So for the length of this bike, you can still do comfortable u-turns. Obviously it's a big heavy bike so you gotta be aware of what you're doing, be used to riding. But again, the steering, it all works with you. Now taking a look at the gauges here, you can see the sort of red backlit gauges, very cool font design here. Uh, know, very easy to read. Uh, I could zoom in a little bit better to show you some more. I'm gonna walk around to the, uh, driver's side or you know, the right side of the bike here.

And I'm gonna show you there's a, uh, toggle switch I'll show you in a second when we show you the handlebars. But I want you to look sort of over here and over here there's a switch where if I move to the left, I will switch this stuff up here, your odometer right now. So right now it says odometer and hopefully you can read that it's now switching to, um, oops, I'm going the wrong way. So <laugh>, we're actually down here. Uh, let's go to the top side. If I pull it to the right, the switch that I'm gonna talk about, if I pull it to the right, I can go through odometer, trip A, trip B and that's it. Now if I push it to the left, you probably already saw this, there's a couple things in there. There's the average kilometers per liter, I believe you can change that to leaders per hundred kilometers if that's what you want. 

And then the range to empty. So range of course is um, ed to empty calculated based on how you've been driving. So keep in mind if you're in a, you know, heavily mountainous area or that kind of thing, you know, that's, that's making a guesstimate based on how you have been driving. Now some lights down here, your AB BS light is on, there's a red warning light on, again, the engine's not running neutral light's up there as well. You've got two separate signal lights, a high beam light up top. There's also a light that's gonna come on right now that's your cruise control light. So I can turn the cruise control on, but I can't set it until it gets up to speed. So the set button would be a green light down here. Cruise control is super simple to have, but again, having these two lights on at a glance, you know if it's on or off the dash here is simple but super effective, very, very easy to read. 
So you've got a 6,000 RPM red line on this engine here and of course your max torque is about 27 50. So it's way down here. So you're just revving this bike in about a thousand RPM range to get most of your idle through, you know, pretty good torque. Uh, and that just is part of the fun of these bikes is they don't have a quick revving four cylinder engine, but you've got that torque that builds that sound that builds. And again, rear real clear gauges there. Temperature gauge over here. So just in case you didn't see it, fuel gauge, uh, speedometer, tachometer temperature gauge. And again, you may not notice it on your screen because it's sort of the grayish color, but this grayish color is the same color that's on the front and the sides of the bike. So you don't just see the color on the tank, you see it throughout the dash here, which you know you're paying for that for a reason. 
Taking a look down here, you've got your stereo system. The stereo system is actually very clear. I haven't got it, uh, turned up very loud right now just cause I don't want it to jump into my microphone here. But you've got FM am you've got a weather band radio, uh, and then you can add communication system, you can add other, uh, things like a Bluetooth device as well. And that of course, uh, allows you to uh, connect different things like communication systems, connect, uh, CB radio, you can connect up to this bike. Uh, so all those things that's sort of pre-wired for and pre-set up for, but of course am FM radio with the speakers there is standard. Let's zoom out a little bit and get a little view of the overall dash and then uh, we'll take a look at some of the individual pieces of this dash as well.
So taking a top down look at the bike, just uh, zooming out a little further. You can see those speakers right there. They're well placed. You do have two little storage compartments here. Now they're identical except this one here has the wiring in there. Can you see the wiring? Yeah, there we go. The very bottom, you can see the wiring in there. Uh, obviously you can leave the bike running. Take your key out to open those up if you need. This wiring is basically for audio type connections, whether it's a communication system, Bluetooth, uh, enabled devices, that kind of thing. Uh, you've got that in the left side pocket. The right side pocket is identical without the wiring in there. So just something to keep in mind. Um, and again, some people have said in uh, other reviews that, you know, they wish those weren't lockable.
But again, you don't have to turn your bike off to get them because you can pull the key out while it's running. Get inside and outta there, no problem at all. The other thing I'll really quickly point out is both sides have the speaker, then they have this door, and then below that is a little potential 12 volt port. So this one here is uh, just a blank right now and it's the same thing on both sides. Below these little doors on both sides of the vehicle, you can add a little USB or 12 volt port, I assume just 12 volt port by, you know, other cows hockey bikes have USB options as well. So haven't checked into that, but definitely a 12 volt port down there. Now let's look at the handlebars and the controls there because you get extra functions on a bike like this. 
So taking a look at the left side here, this is your clutch lever here. First of all, you've got a nice sort of meaty clutch feeling there. So larger, uh, clutch handle, like the clutch lever there and larger grip here. These aren't carryover pieces from other, you know, Kawasaki sport bikes or something like that. They feel the part, you know, they're, they do their job. Same thing with the horn button here, different horn button, it's large, it's up there. Different lights over here or different buttons for the lights here. So on some of the sport bikes you have a trigger to flash your hive. Don't have that here. I would've liked to see that, but you know, it is what it is. You do have low and high beam right there, signal lights right there. And then you have this set of controls here. This is your volume for your stereo, this is your tuning for your stereo and then you have your squelch for a CB that you could add at a later time.

So you've got all of those controls built in there. The ones you're gonna use the most volume and tuning are easy to reach and I'm on the wrong angle to have my hand on the right angle cause I'm standing beside the bike. But you can see the CB is hardest to reach but still within reach to adjust that as well. So simple controls there. Let's look at the opposite side hand grip where you also have a number of controls, right side controls, throttle side controls, same thing. You've got those big grips here, which are again fitting for the style of bike. This is, you've got the front brake liver right there, which feels good. Kill switch is fairly large. And interesting thing is your hazard lights, your four-way flashers, they're on the right side on this bike on a normal Kawasaki on other Kawasakis, they traditionally put that on the left side.
But because you've got those volume and those tuning those other controls, you've kind of got enough controls there. So they move it over here. There's a start switch down there right below the kill switch. And then you've got the switch right here, moving it left controls the, I think the middle section, moving it right controls the upper section of that dash that we showed you. So that was the odometer, the fuel efficiency type gauges in that center display screen, uh, dash, uh, you can just, uh, quickly get at a glance. So again, left side is I believe the middle. Moving it to the right side here is cycles through the top section of the

Odometer kind of thing. You'll figure that out pretty quickly. And then down below here, you've got a cruise control. Again, I'm on a wrong angle to really, you know, this isn't the angle that we'll be riding the bike on, I'm standing beside the bike. So this is much easier to reach than it looks like in the camera here. That turns your cruise control on and off and the switch sticks in. So you can tell both by feel as well as by looking at your dash, whether your cruise controls on, and then of course the set switch and resume switch down there as well. Very automotive like. So now I'm gonna jump across this bike. First of all, you probably have realized this already. I'm not really a cruiser guy myself. I like a lot of the other bikes. That doesn't mean that I won't study this bike and give you everything you need to know. 
But the fun thing for me is every time I sit on a cruiser, there is nothing that feels like these bikes and I, that's why you guys are buying these things. So the overall comfort on a bike this big is really, really good. Even with this like, you know, very small non-existent windshield, you've got great wind protection overall, which makes long cruising, long, you know, highway rides super simple and of course you can put the big windshield up there and have it, you know, completely no wind at all if you wanted to. Overall, I'm about six feet tall, you can see pretty comfortable here. It's a nice wide uh, tank here. But again, very, very, very comfortable. And again, being six feet tall, my feet are easily on the ground. And of course these are pretty heavy bikes. So if you stop in a spot where there's a pothole or something like that, you want to have some room to put your feet down. 

Even if you're well shorter than me, you're gonna be easily able to get your feet flat. And you wanna keep these bike bikes, you know, fairly upright. You don't wanna have let them start leaning one way or the other. And you can easily do that. So again, not being a cruiser guy, I get it. As soon as you sit on here, yeah, this is comfortable. It's a position of power here, really wide handle bars, but very, very, you know, easy to ride in all day long no matter what you're doing. So, style of the bike looks great, comfort is great. Technology's pretty good as well. Let's talk about who this bike is for. So the one thing that I haven't shown in the video is just the absolute value of this bike. It is priced really well in that cruiser marketplace and gives you so many things.
It's the kind of thing where you can buy the new Kawasaki without having to worry about did the previous owner do oil changes, did the previous owner take care of it? Do the things that you should do to a bike. You can buy this new for the price of other bikes used and you have a really, really good bike. Does it have the brand name that you want on a cruiser? Well, maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. The Vulcan Vaccaro though has a pretty good legacy in history, all on its own. So keep in mind there's, this is not a beginner bike. There are other cruisers in the lineup. The Vulcan S is a great first cruiser. It is very sporty and much lighter weight, much smaller. Then you can move up to the Vulcan, the 900 cc uh, engine, which really kind of is that in between bike.
It's really good for a lot of people. But this is kind of the king, that 1700 cc, it gives you that big engine kind of feel, that big engine sound. And again, it gives you that Kawasaki reliability Kawasaki dealer network and it's just a better value. So there's a lot of reasons that you would wanna buy this bike outside of the fact that it's a great value. Now people talk about, you know, has this been updated in a while, has it not? Well, I would argue that you don't really want to update this as the Kawasaki updates bikes traditionally in the rest of their lineup. You're getting things like a smoother engine. You're getting things like, you know, maybe a tiny bit more power here and there. But even on some of the top end bikes, there's not a ton of extra power over some of the nineties bikes and earlier. 
And that's the thing with this, the 80 horsepower number, if that's about what it is, doesn't sound crazy impressive. But it doesn't matter on this because it's that 107 foot pounds of torque that actually is what you feel on any of these bikes. And it is an absolute torque monster compared to other bikes in lineup and other bikes that you could buy with similar styles. So really good, smooth revving, but still having that V twin feel, this is a cruiser that will satisfy your cruiser need and it's the kind of bike that you can just ride all day anywhere you want to go. And again, having the ability to add both the Kawasaki accessories, whether it's taking a passenger, whether it's larger windshields, whatever it is that you wanna do with this bike that's available. But having a bike that hasn't gone through as many changes allows the aftermarket to know that they can build stuff for this and get their return on their investment. 
And there are so many accessories that you can get for this thing, both Kawasaki and otherwise. That mean that you can really take your cruiser and make it yours. The reality is, for me, the way this bike looks and it's, it's proven itself in this showroom, every time someone walks in and sees us, they're like, wow, that's a sharp looking cruiser. The Vaquero, the way it's laid out looks really good. So whether it's looks, whether it's style, whether it's the type of engine, whatever it is that you want, the Vaquero delivers and it's a great value. Is it right for you? Let me know when the comments below and if you have questions, make sure you let me know. Cause like I said, I'm here at  Jim Gilbert's Power Sports, and I can come back to this bike again and again. This one is sold, but there is more coming in so you can come see them. And if you wanna see it in person, Swing by Jim Gilbert's Power Sports here in Fredericton, new Brunswick. And grab 'em for yourself. We'll talk to you in the next one.

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