At this point in the presentation, a Kawi executive conceded that the market for large-displacement cruisers is challenging. But he quickly added that cruisers make up 35 percent of the motorcycles (street and dirt) sold in the U.S. "When you have an opportunity to develop a cruiser good enough to capture significant share in that market," he said, "you don't let a temporary market slowdown to stop you from giving your dealers the very best products you can."
He then introduced the 1700 Classic. The model's liquid-cooled SOHC engine, he claimed, produces 15 percent more torque and 20 percent more horsepower than the engine used in the three discontinued Vulcan 1600 cruisers. More of that power reportedly reaches the rear wheel thanks to a belt-drive system whose carbon fiber belt is 40 percent stronger than Kevlar. The bike is shorter, and the reach to the handlebars is less compared to the outgoing 1600s. Other features: a fully electronic throttle valve system, fuel injection, and a six-speed transmission with overdrive. The 1700 Classic comes in metallic diablo black and luster beige/pearl crystal white. Kawasaki has not determined pricing for this model or for the following versions.
The Vulcan 1700 Classic LT is the touring version. It comes with a passenger backrest, leather saddlebags and a height-adjustable windshield. The Classic LT will be available in metallic nocturne blue/pearl burnish beige and metallic dark green/pearl burnish beige.
The Vulcan 1700 Nomad gets an adjustable windshield (with a sub-windshield and deflectors), hard saddlebags, passenger floorboards, a fancier backrest, and Kawasaki's brand-new electric cruise control. The latter can be activated between 30 and 85 mph in third gear or higher. The 1700 Nomad comes in metalic diablo black, candy diamond red/pearl luster beige and metallic nocturne blue/pearl luster beige.
The crowd warmly applauded the new cruisers, but hard-core applause didn't erupt until the fourth and final Vulcan 1700 model: the full-dressed Voyager. "The return of the Voyager motorcycle has been one of the most highly anticipated events in our history, both by our customers and our dealers," a Kawasaki executive said. Classic cars were the inspiration behind the bike's looks and automotive-style dash. The Voyager has cruise control and an audio system that's compatible with iPods, MP3 players and other systems. An ABS version comes with the OEM's new K-ACT (Kawasaki Advanced Coactive Braking Technology), which uses sensors and control valves to distribute the ideal amount of brake force. The Voyager will be available in candy diamond red, candy plasma blue/metallic diablo black, and metallic titanium/metallic diablo black.
The Kawasaki executives ended the meeting with the Teryx. Dealers across the country have told Dealernews that they've had trouble selling the 2008 version. Kawasaki corroborated these reports by mentioning the Teryx in particular when announcing special financing for leftover stock. Much of the blame for slow sales was put on the vehicle's carburetor, so dealers were thrilled to learn about the 2009 Teryx 750 FI 4x4 with digital fuel injection. Other upgrades include a digital instrumental panel and a tilting bed. In addition to the standard model, the Teryx comes in five other versions: LE, LE Camo, NRA Outdoors, Sport and Sport Monster Energy.