Born for the open road
Kawasaki’s new 2009 Vulcan® 1700 Nomad™ is for riders and passengers who yearn for the open road and nights away from home, but also like to cruise in style. With a large windshield, hard saddlebags, passenger floorboards, a sturdy backrest and standard cruise control, the Nomad is designed for miles of adventure with, or without a passenger.
The new Nomad supplies serious wind protection courtesy of an adjustable handlebar-mounted windscreen. A sub-windshield and fork deflectors further increase the Nomad’s ability to protect the rider and passenger from windblast. The sub-windshield covers the area between the windshield and headlight when the main shield is in the raised position, while the fork-mounted deflectors help direct air away from the rider’s legs.
Visually setting the Nomad apart from its Vulcan 1700 brethren are the color-matched, lockable hard saddlebags. These top-opening side cases each offer a bountiful 10 gallons (38L) of sealed storage space for overnight trips. The Nomad also features front and rear guards to help protect the bike’s engine and saddlebags in case of a tip-over. Helmet locks are conveniently located on the left- and right-side saddlebag guards.
Keeping the rider and passenger comfortable on long rides is a top priority and the new Vulcan 1700 Nomad delivers with deluxe seats that are sculpted to provide additional support for all-day rides. A special backrest with integrated grab bars and floorboards for both the rider and passenger further contribute to the Nomad’s long-distance capabilities.
The Nomad’s light, compact frame holds a newly designed 1700cc 52˚ V-twin engine based on that of the Vulcan 2000. However, it uses a single overhead cam in each cylinder head, rather than a push-rod actuated OHV arrangement. This permits higher revs and quick acceleration from the new engine – delivering superior passing performance at highway speeds. The new engine’s long-stroke design plus an increase in compression and displacement help it produce a significant increase in torque and power, all delivered with a distinct V-twin character.
The Nomad’s fuel injection system, like those in use on Kawasaki’s Ninja® 650R and Vulcan 900 motorcycles, utilizes one sensor in place of the usual three for less complexity and weight. Beside the obvious FI advantages like improved fuel economy and automatically adjusting for altitude changes, the system also permits easy hands-off warm-up and idle speed control.
The Nomad’s FI and exhaust are tuned to deliver its peak torque and horsepower at higher rpm – ideal for a machine that will spend much of its time on the open road. Additional touring functionality is provided by its clutch, which features six damping springs and a progressive three-stage engagement for easier shifting under hard acceleration.
More cutting edge technology is found in Kawasaki’s first fully electronic throttle valve system. Working with the rest of the Nomad’s fuel injection system, the electronic throttle valve helps to enhance the engine’s response without detracting from its distinctive V-twin feel. It also helps the ECU to deliver an ultra-precise metering of intake airflow to the engine and more-accurate idle speed control.
The system utilizes an Accelerator Position Sensor (APS) and a Throttle Position Sensor (TPS). Both units 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 that’s connected by cables to the throttle grip.
The Vulcan 1700 Nomad also features a water-cooled alternator with rare-earth magnets that produces a staggering 48.5 amps of electrical output; plenty to power a selection of electronic accessories to enrich motorcycle travel.
The new Nomad features an electronic cruise control system which is conveniently operated from the right side of the handlebar and can be engaged at any speed between 30 and 85 mph in any of the top three gears. Conveniently, the cruise control can be disengaged by any of the following methods: brake lever, clutch lever, rear brake pedal, or manually closing the throttle grip past the “closed” position.
A new six-speed transmission featuring overdrive mates to the nomad’s rumbling V-twin engine. The overdrive sixth gear ratio contributes to relaxed riding and better fuel economy at highway speeds. Torque is transferred from the transmission to the rear wheel through a carbon fiber final drive belt. The Nomad is able to use a thin and light 28mm belt, thanks to its carbon fiber construction which has a 40-percent higher tensile strength than current Kevlar belts.
However, this is no cold, mechanical techno-marvel. The designers were able to infuse abundant technology into the new 1700 Nomad without sacrificing any of the charm and visual appeal that’s expected from a Kawasaki touring cruiser. Meticulous attention to detail and exquisite craftsmanship of the engine covers, bodywork design and side cases result in an eye-pleasing product that turns heads whether parked in front of a café or cruising down the highway.
Designed from the start to be as light and slim as possible, the new single backbone double cradle frame offers a weight reduction of 4.4 pounds, coupled with a 40-percent increase in rigidity. With a shorter seat to steering head distance, the new lightweight chassis is more compact and shorter overall, with a corresponding decrease in wheelbase. The easy-to-reach handlebars facilitate better low-speed maneuvering and help maximize rider confidence.
Adding to the light and easy handling of the low weight chassis design are the new suspension components – set to match the 1700 Nomad’s touring performance. Dual adjustable rear air-shocks provide 3.1 inches of travel, and include air spring pressure and four-way rebound adjustments to help the Nomad compensate for variations in passenger and luggage loading. Up front, a large 43mm fork offers precise steering feedback and 5.5 inches of travel.
The Nomad rolls on new nine-spoke cast wheels, which use tubeless tires and complement its open-road character. 130/90 front radial and a 170/70 rear radial tires are mounted on the attractive wheels. Dual 300mm front disc brakes with twin-piston calipers and a single 300mm rear disc brake with a two-piston caliper help bring this stylish machine to sure, powerful stops.
A stylish combination of traditional styling, sophisticated technology and touring refinement, the most difficult part of the new Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Nomad will be deciding which color option to chose; Metallic Diablo Black or two-tone Candy Diamond Red / Pearl Luster Beige.
- Powerful 1700cc V-Twin engine
– Liquid cooled, 4-valve per cylinder, fuel-injected 1700cc 52˚ V-twin engine
– Long-stroke 102 x 104mm bore and stroke helps deliver high levels of torque
– Single-pin crank accentuates the engine’s V-twin character by providing stronger
– A 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
– Features dual mufflers, one on each side of the bike
– Engine tuning offers superior acceleration in the 50-70mph (80-113km/h) range
– Even in overdrive, the engine pulls strongly in this speed range, facilitating overtaking at highway speeds
- Next Generation FI
– Based on systems already on Ninja 650R and Vulcan 900
– Utilizes one sensor in place of the usual three, for less complexity and weight
– The touring-oriented Nomad utilizes a FI and exhaust set up to deliver its torque and horsepower peak at a higher rpm
- On Board Diagnostics
– Diagnostic system allows self testing of the electronic systems on the Vulcan 1700
– Displays codes on the instrumentation, which can be read by owner; using accessory manual
- Electronic Throttle Valve System
– Kawasaki’s first fully electronic throttle valve system enables the ECU to control the volume of intake air (via throttle valves) and the volume fuel (via fuel injectors) delivered to the engine. Ideal fuel injection and throttle valve position results in smooth, natural engine response
– Control of both fuel injection and airflow enables precise cold-engine idling 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 throttle pulley on the throttle body actuating the Accelerator Position Sensor (APS), located on the throttle body, to send a signal to the ECU, which then actuates the throttle valves via a DC motor. Throttle position is confirmed to the ECU by 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
– Operation of the cruise control is conveniently from the right handle
– Cruise control can be activated between 30mph (47km/h) and 85mph (137km/h) in 3rd gear or above
– Operating the brake lever, clutch lever or rear brake pedal disengages the cruise control as will closing the throttle beyond the “zero-throttle” position
- Transmission / Final Drive
– Six-speed transmission
– 6th gear is an overdrive gear, contributing to stress-free riding and better fuel economy when cruising at highway speeds
– The clutch features six damping springs for three-stage progressive damping that contributes to smoother feeling under hard acceleration
– 28mm carbon fiber final drive belt has a 40 percent higher tensile strength than current Kevlar units nearly twice its width and allows the Vulcan 1700 to use a slim belt only 2mm wider than that on the Vulcan 900
– The drive belt is quiet and efficient and helps reduce maintenance chores
- Lightweight handling chassis
– A more compact package than its predecessors, the new frame features a shorter wheelbase, and shorter distance between the seat and frame head pipe, for improved rider ergonomics and easier maneuverability
– Designed to be as light and slim as possible, 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
– The new frame is 4.4 pounds lighter than its predecessors, and has a 40% increase in rigidity
– The compact design contributes to light handling and facilitates handling at low speeds, especially when executing precise slow speed maneuvers like parking or making U-turns
- 43mm Telescopic Fork
– Provides superb steering feedback and excellent ride quality
– Features 4-way preload adjustment
- Dual Adjustable Rear Air-Shocks
– Feature Air adjustable spring preload to match the load
– 4-way rebound damping for a smooth and comfortable ride
– Settings are specific to the touring needs of the Nomad
- 9-Spoke Cast Wheels
– Allows the use of tubeless tire and complement its new muscular styling
– 130/90 front and 170/70 rear radial tires offer good traction, smooth ride and classy style
– Tire choice and suspension settings augment the light handling characteristics
– Dual 300mm front disc brakes and single 300mm rear disc brake, both with twin-piston calipers provide smooth, powerful stops
- V-twin Visual Appeal
– Basic engine structure has a great impact on a V-Twin engine’s appearance.
– The line created by the top of the airbox and the cylinder heads forms a curved lined that continues to flow through the bike.
– Deeply chromed engine covers have curved upper surfaces. Their three-dimensional form adds volume and gives a quality appearance.
– The edges of the fins receive a special NC treatment that makes them gleam in sunlight
– All the non-chromed parts of the engine have a matt black finish that further accentuates the chromed parts
– The fuel tank’s hand-sculpted contours employ constantly varying radii, giving the bike a dynamism that is pleasing both to the eye and to the touch
– Its lines flowing through the rest of the bike, the elegantly shaped fuel tank contributes to the Nomad’s curvaceous figure
– Ignition switch allows on-position key removal; preventing key bunches from scratching the instrument cluster or tank while the bike is in operation
– Turning the ignition switch collar 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
– Simple design of the seat cover balances rich visual tone of the bodywork
– Motif from the front fender continues on the rear fender, which features an elegant LED taillight
- Wind Protection
– Adjustable handlebar-mounted windscreen offers smooth airflow and cruiser style
– Strong chrome plated steel supports
– Two-position height
– Sub-windshield and deflectors further increase wind protection performance
– The sub-windshield covers the area between the windshield and headlight when the windshield is in the raised position and the fork-mounted deflectors help direct air away from the rider’s legs
- Seat and Passenger Backrest
– Rider and passenger seats are sculpted for greater all-day comfort
– Luxury backrest with integrated passenger grab bars contributes to passenger comfort
– As a final contribution to passenger comfort, the Nomad features passenger floorboards
– The Nomad features hard, lockable, top-opening saddlebags that each provide 8.6 gal. (38L) of sealed storage space for overnight touring
– Front and rear guards on the Nomad help protect the bike’s engine and hard side cases in the case of a fall
– Convenient helmet locks located on the left- and right-side saddlebag guards
- Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, SOHC, four valve per cylinder, 52˚ V-twin
- Displacement: 1,700cc / 103.7ci
- 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° / 7.0 in.
- Suspension, Front / Wheel Travel: 43mm hydraulic fork / 5.5 in.
- Suspension, Rear / 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
- Brakes, Front Dual 300 mm discs, dual twin-piston calipers
- Brakes, Rear: Single 300 mm disc, twin-piston caliper
- Overall Length: 98.4 in.
- Overall Width: 40.4 in.
- Overall Height: 57.7 in.
- Ground Clearance: 5.5 in.
- Seat Height: 28.7 in.
- Wheelbase: 65.6 in.
- Curb Weight: 833.5 lbs.
- Fuel Capacity: 5.3 gal.
- Colors: Metallic Diablo Black
- Two-tone: Candy Diamond Red / Pearl Luster Beige
- MSRP Standard / Two-tone: $14,399 / $14,699
- Warranty: 24 Months