2011 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero Released - Web Exclusive

Team Green's Newest Cruiser is a Bagger

Unless you've been living under a damp, mossy slab of granite, you know the hottest segment on two wheels is the semi-dressed, light touring category - or more commonly referred to as baggers. The bagger scene has certainly been dominated by Harley-Davidson over the last few years, with the Street Glide and Road Glide models topping most sales charts. No surprise then, that other manufacturers took notice: Victory stepped up with its Cross Country last year, while Star responded with the Stratoliner Deluxe. And this year, it's Kawasaki's turn.

For 2011, Team Green has stepped into the bagger fray with its Vulcan Vaquero, a dark bagger that joins Kawasaki's Vulcan 1700 line of cruisers. Kawasaki took a couple of pages from the Harley playbook in giving the Vaquero a sleek custom stance (a la the Street Glide) while also imbuing it with a blacked-out color scheme and an array of dark components (Dark Custom, anyone?).

On the Vaquero, all the usual suspects get the black treatment: the engine, wheels, fork assembly and fender, air-cleaner cover, and tank, though there is some contrast to be found in the details, with chrome accenting the engine guards, exhaust, mirrors and other smaller parts. The result is a brooding look that sets the Vaquero apart from its more staid Vulcan relatives (and if you can't handle all that darkness, it's also available in red).

The core of the newest Vulcan is a single backbone, double-cradle steel frame, with a beefy 43mm telescopic fork up front to reinforce its muscle-bound look. And like the rest of the 1700 clan, the Vulcan 1700 Vaquero is powered by the same 52-degree 1700cc V-Twin found on stablemates Voyager, Classic and Nomad.

Other similarities abound: the Vaquero's 28.7-inch seat height mimics that of the Voyager's and Nomad's, and the 5.3-gallon fuel capacity is found on the entire Vulcan 1700 lineup. And if the trimmed fairing looks familiar, that's because it's been borrowed from the Vulcan Voyager tourer and tweaked a bit. Arrayed inside the chunky fairing is an LCD readout, front and center, framed on either side by an analog tachometer and speedometer dials, with fuel and temperature gauges on the edges - similar to the Vulcan Voyager's. Also evoking the Voyager is the sound system - the familiar AM/FM/WX tuner is compatible with iPod, XM tuner or CB radio units, while the electronic cruise control switch is on the right side handlebar.

Out back, the new Vaquero's rear end is distinguished by newly-designed, lockable, side-loading bags. Kawasaki says each hard-shell case has a 10-gallon capacity (per bag). Also unique to the Vaquero, according to Kawi, is the bike's rear fender, seat and mufflers. And underneath it all are dual air-assisted shocks with spring preload and four-way adjustable rebound damping. The dampers work on a 170mm-wide rear tire.

Naturally, Kawasaki has also simultaneously released bushels of optional new accessories to help you personalize your Vaquero. The list is long, and includes: a dual gel saddle, solo saddle, heated grips, heated seat, rider backrest, quick-release backrest, passenger floorboard kit, saddlebag liners, luggage rack, rear engine guards, auxiliary riding lights, headset kit, billet handlebar clamp, saddlebag rails, fender trim and more.

The 2011 Vulcan Vaquero comes with a 24-month warranty and be available in either Ebony or Candy Fire Red. It should hit dealer showrooms by late October, with an as-yet unconfirmed MSRP of $16,499.

**2011 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero **
**Colors: **Ebony, Candy Fire Red
**Engine: **Liquid-cooled, 52 degree V-twin
**Displacement, bore x stroke: **1700cc / 102 x 104mm
**Valve Train: **SOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
**Compression ratio: **9.5:1
**Fuel System: **Digital fuel injection, dual 42mm throttle bodies
**Transmission: **Six-speed w/overdrive
**Final drive: **Belt
**Rake / trail: **30 degrees / 7.0 in.
**Overall length: **98.8 in.
**Wheelbase: **65.6 in.
**Curb weight: **835.7 lbs.
**Seat height: **28.7 in.
**Front suspension: **43mm fork; 5.5 in. travel
**Rear suspension: **dual air-assisted dampers; 3.1 in. travel
**Front tire: **130/90x16
**Rear tire: **170/70x16
**Front brakes: **Dual 300mm discs, twin-piston calipers
**Rear brakes: **300mm disc, twin-piston caliper
**Fuel capacity: **5.3 gal.

2011 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero Released

The new Vaquero is powered by the same SOHC 1700 engine found on the other 1700 Vulcans
The Kawasaki Vaquero's Cockpit features a mix of analog and LCD displays.
The 2011 Vaquero's side- opening hardbags are lockable.
The 1700 Vaquero's fairing.