Kawasaki is recalling Concours 14 police motorcycles for multiple problems

2013-kawasaki-recalls-police-concoursKawasaki is recalling 337  model year 2012-2013 Concours 14 police motorcycles. The improper installation of additional police accessories may cause multiple safety issues such as fuel leaks, reduction of braking ability and loss of electrical power to the engine, resulting in a stall.  Also installation of police accessories may cause the 30-amp main fuse to blow.the additional police wiring harness may chafe leading to a short, which may blow the main fuse. If the fuse blows, the engine may stall increasing the risk of a crash. Kawasaki will notify owners, and dealers will correct the electrical system problems, free of charge. Kawasaki has notified the affected police departments and will send trained factory personnel to the departments to repair the motorcycles.   Owners may contact Kawasaki at 1-866-802-9381. This campaign is an expansion of recall 12V-134. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Kawasaki Recalls 2011 ZX1000 Wiring

Vehicle Make/Model:                                         Model Year(s):

Kawasaki / ZX1000JBFL                               2011
Kawasaki / ZX1000JBL                                 2011
Kawasaki / ZX1000KBFL                              2011
Kawasaki / ZX1000KBL                                 2011

Manufacturer: Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.

Mfr’s  Report Date: July 07, 2011

NHTSA Campaign ID Number: 11V363000

Component: Electrical System:Wiring

Summary: Kawasaki is recalling certain model year 2011 Ninja ZX-10R/ZX-10R ABS (ZX1000JBF/KBF/KBFL) motorcycles. It is possible for a portion of the wiring harness to become pinched between the rear subframe and the bolt holding the seat cover. This can damage the harness and wiring and result in a short between wires and the frame or within wires, which could result in the engine stopping suddenly.

Consequence: If the motorcycle stalls while being  ridden, there could be a crash resulting in injury or death.

Remedy: Dealers will repair the motorcycle as necessary, and reroute the main harness; free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided an owner notification schedule. Owners may contact Kawasaki consumer services department at 1-866-802-9381

Notes: Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9152), or go to  HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV

 

 

Kawasaki Recalls Tire Tubes

Vehicle Make/Model: Kawasaki/VN900D                                                            Model Year(s): 2011

Manufacture: Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.                                                      Mfr’s Report Date: Jun 02, 2011

NHTSA Campaign ID Number: 11V313000                                                          NHTSA Action Number: N/A

Component: Tires:Tube

Potential Number of Units Affected: 436

Summary:
Kawasaki is recalling certain model year 2011 VN900D, Vulcan Classic LT, Motorcycles. The tire inner tubes have been pinched during the mounting of the tires. Damage to the inner tubes could result in loss of air pressure.

Consequence:
Loss of the air pressure could result in a tire failure, increasing the risk of a crash.

Remedy:
Dealers will replace any damaged tubes free of charge , The Safety recall is expected to begin during June 2011. Owners may contact Kawasaki Consumer Services Department at 1-866-802-9381

Notes:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to  HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV

The Everyday Bike for the Real World; 2011 Ninja 1000

“A purpose-built sport bike for the street.”

So you are getting older and your knees and back aren’t what they use be but you love sport bikes. You grew up with your wrists down, rear end up, and as far as you are concerned it’s how a real motorcycle should be. They were built for carving canyons, applying liberal doses of adrenaline through the vascular system when needed, and need to look like they are doing 100mph at rest. Sure, you can get a bike like the ZX 10R, and enjoy ten-year-old Moto GP quality performance on the street, but there is a price to pay in the levels of comfort, especially when you want to go somewhere or take a passenger for a ride. Up till now the choices have been a little slim lately. Move over to a sport touring machine, put a bikini fairing on a naked standard, or like the guy you saw at Target the other day in his jogging pants, just give up, and head out to buy a cruiser.

Well, if you find yourself at this life threatening crossroads, where waking up each morning allows you to replay the memory of all the accidents and injuries you’ve had over the years, Kawasaki has come up with a new form of therapy called the Ninja 1000. Looking like a sport bike, behaving like a sport bike when you twist the throttle or dive into a sweet series of fast corners, it’s designed to be ridden for long periods of time. Handlebars are high enough to not put any stress on your wrists, the foot pegs are low enough you don’t need a prescription for Celebrex to go for a weekend ride, and the seat comfortable enough to let you sit for longer than a 20 minute track session without pain. You can also add soft luggage and a tank bag, which will give you the ability to go sport touring. And I wouldn’t mind betting with some suspension tweaks and a stickier set of tires, it would do quite well at your local track day.

While Kawasaki is introducing this an all-new machine, the concept of this style of motorcycle has been with them for many years. Way back in 1983, they had the awe inspiring GPZ1100 and have carried on with a number of bikes like the GPZ 900R, the ZX-11 and even more recently the ZZR1200. They also had a bike called the Ninja 1000 back in ’86 which came during that odd period when someone thought 16 inch wheels were a good idea. It was never a bike I liked and seemed like a poor replacement for the Ninja 900 to me, but that’s all in the past, so let’s get back to the future.

For our test ride we headed to the mountains roads outside of San Francisco, and full marks to Kawasaki for giving us such a variety of conditions. I was amused to listen to one moto scribe who was not happy with the tight, twisting and bumpy roads in the morning. Partially strewn with pine needles and rotten branches I could see where it could have been a nightmare for someone who obviously did too many laps at the bar the previous evening. Allowing me to marvel at the wide bars, the superb balance, and excellent control available from the precise fueling, I was absolutely in heaven. Diving between fallen branches, swerving around piles of leaves and pine needles, and rattling up and down the gear box like a sax player practicing scales, I did a lot of bonding with the Ninja during this part of the day. “It’s a sport bike for the real world,” says Kawasaki’s Karl Edmondson. This was the real world, and the new Kawasaki Ninja 1000 was certainly living up to my expectations.

The suspension did a fantastic job all day, compliant over bumps, while also keeping the bike composed at speed. The Ninja started moving around speeds reached into the illegal zone on some bumpy sections of road, but it was more of a slow down signal than an alarm bell. Don’t start thinking of your old 1980 Z1000 trying to tie itself in knots when you past its limits. This is more of a gentle oscillation that says we are approaching the limit so back off. Imagine one of those gentle electronically generated female voices saying, “It’s time to slow down,” not Flo the insurance gal yelling at you to back off. Parking my Ohlins shod personal bike the day before riding the Kawasaki, I was most impressed with the way the bike would settle after hitting a bump or series of bumps. As one area of testing that always shows the quality of a suspension system, the Ninja gets extra bonus points as it was on stock settings.  For the technically minded, the Ninja uses a 41mm inverted fork featuring stepless compression and rebound damping with adjustable pre load. The rake and trail are 24.5 degrees and 4 inches respectively, and the bike rolls on a 56.9-inch wheelbase. To put this in perspective, the ZX 10R uses a 56.1-inch wheelbase. In the rear, the single shock is mounted in a horizontal fashion with just stepless rebound damping and pre load adjustments possible.

The new Ninja 1000 is highly deceptive in the weight department, feeling a lot lighter than its listed 502 pounds. Moving a liter bike around the garage manually or at low speeds with the engine running in a parking lot, reminds me of why track days can be so tiring on a bike of this capacity. These things are still pretty heavy. Performing the same maneuvers on the Ninja, you would bet money it’s 100 pounds lighter than the pure sport bike thanks to the wide bars, and low, narrow seat.

And it’s easy to maneuver, too. Turning for photos at a point where the road fell away from us, it was no problem to come to a rolling stop, let the bars fall to the steering stop before rolling down into the turn. Finding myself able to keep my feet on the pegs, with some juggling of the light clutch and throttle, it really put a smile on my face every time I turned. This can sometimes be a challenging part of the job on narrow roads when riding a heavier bike. It’s this balance and poise that made the day of sport riding on the California roads so much fun. I distinctly remember riding similar roads on Ducati’s Streetfighter, and feeling like I was a novice at a track day struggling to find my way. It was that difficult. The Kawasaki by comparison with its upright and set back bars, allows for super light input on these transitions, with no compromise to the bike’s stability. Never any nervousness, just precise, predictable handling.      Ride position is comfortable and apart from a 10mm change in the individual clip on bars, it’s the same as the Z1000, or Kawasaki’s naked standard that this bike is based on if you are not familiar with the model. After a long day in terms of riding hours not necessarily miles, the seat was starting to feel a tad firm, but nothing a quick stretch and a walk around wouldn’t fix.

The view from the saddle shows a very well finished and clean cockpit without any clutter. The gauges taken from the ZX 6R work perfectly, with a nice big analogue tachometer to let you know what the engine is doing and an adequate digital speedometer. There is a good fuel gauge, easy toggle through odometer, trip counter and sensible practical switchgear that’s not clever for the sake of it. Plus a manually operated three-position windshield that is easy to operate, but it must be done while you are parked. This is part of the full fairing, which actually leaves a fair amount of your body out in the wind. Raising or lowering the windshield gave a small change in airflow, but nothing drastic. The mirrors are good, with the usual head and shoulder routine showing only half of what’s going on behind.

On paper the bike is identical in horsepower and performance to the Z1000, but with a slightly lower final gear ratio and a more slippery aerodynamic profile. The Ninja will get to its marginally higher top speed quicker. I gushed about the 1034cc engine in my review of the naked Z last year and still feel exactly the same. The fuel delivery from the 38mm Keihin throttle bodies is as seamless as anything I’ve ever ridden, and allows perfect on-off-on throttle response. It’s just so predictable at lower throttle openings. It’s not going to land you any trouble, especially if you unexpectedly hit a bump mid corner. And it differs from a sport bike with three power modes, where the lower power option, or rain mode as some people call it, feels like someone pulled a plug wire. The Ninja engine just feels right all the time and will pull cleanly from 2,000rpm. You can drop to around 35mph in top gear and still pull away smoothly if you are not into dancing on the gear lever in town. In 6th gear out on the highway with the engine spinning along minding it’s own business you are doing a comfortable 70-75mph. Dropping the bike into fifth gear gives a 500 rpm increase, so clearly sixth gear is just an overdrive. This makes for a nice relaxed feeling at highway speeds, with none of the dry mouth, anxiety associated with Superbikes under these conditions. To me, it seems like I spend the entire time all wound up waiting to just yank the throttle and take off and stressing about the potential problems it could cause. Not so on the Ninja.

Gear changing for the most part is very good and precise. I did have a couple of times where I was left waiting for it to be ready for the next up shift, but there were no false neutrals during downshifting or clutch-less up shifting. Clutch lever pull is sharp; engaging soon after the lever leaves the bar. It should be noted it is non adjustable, where the front brake lever has six position choices depending on the size of your paws.

Brakes are full on sport bike equipment, with a radial pump master cylinder, sending fluid to a pair of radial, four piston calipers. Wave petal rotors are standard stuff these days for Kawasaki sport bikes, and at 300mm, they are a tad smaller than the all out sport bike. Nothing earth shattering about the components or their action, just good solid equipment that gives all the stopping power you need. If I was being really nit picky, I would like the initial bite to be stronger on such a sporting bike, as I’m not comfortable having to apply so much pressure to the lever when the pace gets hot.  The rear brake is useful to keep the bike settled in the faster stuff with the more softly sprung front end. It can take a good, firm push before locking the rear tire, and this adds a degree of confidence during the fast braking process. The front wheel appears to be lifted from the ZX 6R and came wrapped in a sticky 120/70 ZR 17 Bridgestone BT100. This gave superb feel and grip, as did the 190/55 ZR 17 rear, so no surprises here.

The new Kawasaki Ninja 1000’s styling is certainly interesting. The front fairing has quite the beak, and coming from one who has a large personal fairing thrusting off my face, I feel qualified to comment here that it could be a love it or hate it feature. The rest of the fairing seems well integrated, and uses the side panel design to channel heat away form the engine with its unique rounded shape. During our test day the temperatures around the San Francisco Bay remained cool, so it never got hot enough for me to tell if they were doing their job as intended. It also seems to draw attention away from the stylish triangulated mufflers, which look larger on the naked Z1000. These are the last part of a 4-into-2 pre-chamber-into-2-layout with main and pre-catalyzers keeping the stuff we breathe cleaner.

While Kawasaki is touting the Ninja 1000 as an all-new bike, not a Z1000 with a fairing bolted on, in truth most of the bike is the same. From the lightweight aluminum frame to the five-gallon gas tank, both bikes share the majority of components. Priced at $10,999, the new Ninja 1000 is ready to be shipped to dealers and will be available by the time you are reading this. There are a number of accessory items in the works with saddlebags, frame sliders and a larger windshield already on the list. This will probably be one of the big attractions to this real world sport bike, as you can pack up and go away for a weekend or more in comfort. As one of the aging demographic that can’t tolerate long days in the saddle of hard-core sport bikes too often, the Ninja 1000 is talking my language.  Compliant suspension, a powerful torque loaded engine, and heaps of low down grunt, it has more handling and braking capabilities than you realistically need on the street. And, of course, looks to match. Reminding me very much of Kawasaki’s Ninja 900 and GPZ1100 from my early motorcycling years, Kawasaki has created another exciting adrenaline inducing motorcycle that is going to make a lot of sport bike enthusiasts very comfortable. Pun intended.

2009-2010 Vulcan Motorcycles Recalled

Check with your dealer to see if your Vulcan is on the recall list

Kawasaki is recalling certain model year 2009-2010 Vulcan motorcycles. The engine may stall if the rider is coasting with the clutch pulled in due to an improper setting of the engine control unit (ECU).  An unexpected engine stall could result in a crash, causing serious injury or death.  Dealers will replace the ECU with one containing revised settings to address the engine stalling. The safety recall is expected to begin on or before November 1, 2010. Owners may contact Kawasaki consumer services department at 866-802-9381.


2011 KAWASAKI NINJA® ZX™-10R

Power Is Nothing Without Control

Newer. Faster. Lighter. Better. You hear these descriptors all the time in this business.

Problem is, reality rarely lives up to the hype.

But Kawasaki’s new-from-the-ground-up 2011 Ninja® ZX-10R sportbike has no such credibility gap, going several steps beyond newer, faster, lighter and better by offering the most advanced traction-control system in all of production motorcycling.

Yes, in all of production motorcycling.

Not only are we talking about a complete redesign of the ZX-10R’s engine, frame, suspension, bodywork, instrumentation and wheels, but a highly advanced and customizable electronic system that helps riders harness and capitalize on the new ZX-10R’s amazing blend of power and responsive handling. The system is called Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control, or S-KTRC. It represents a whole new dimension in motorcycle performance, and the ZX-10R is the only production sport bike that can take you there.

Motorcyclists have forever been challenged by traction-related issues, whether on dirt, street or track. Riders that can keep a rear tire from spinning excessively or sliding unpredictably are both faster and safer, a tough combination to beat on the racetrack. And when talking about the absolute leading edge of open-class sport bike technology, where production street bikes are actually more capable than full-on race bikes from just a couple years ago, more consistent traction and enhanced confidence is a major plus.

The MotoGP-derived S-KTRC system works by crunching numbers from a variety of parameters and sensors – wheel speed and slip, engine rpm, throttle position, acceleration, etc. There’s more data gathering and analysis going on here than on any other Kawasaki in history, and it’s all in the name of helping racers inch closer to the elusive “edge” of maximum traction than ever before. The S-KTRC system relies on complex software buried in the new ZX-10R’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU), the only additional hardware is the lightweight speed sensors located on each wheel.

Unlike the KTRC system on Kawasaki’s Concours 14 ABS sport tourer, which primarily minimizes wheel slip on slick or broken surfaces as a safety feature, the S-KTRC system is designed to maximize performance by using complex analysis to predict when traction conditions are about to become unfavorable. By quickly, but subtly reducing power just before the amount of slippage exceeds the optimal traction zone, the system – which processes every data point 200 times per second – maintains the optimum level of tire grip to maximize forward motion. The result is significantly better lap times and enhanced rider confidence –exactly what one needs when piloting a machine of this caliber.

The S-KTRC system offers three different modes of operation, which riders can select according to surface conditions, rider preference and skill level: Level 1 for max-grip track use, Level 2 for intermediate use, and Level 3 for slippery conditions. An LCD graph in the newly designed instrument cluster displays how much electronic intervention is occurring in real time and a thumb switch on the left handlebar pod allows simple, on-the-go mode changes.

The system also incorporates an advanced Power Mode system that allows riders to choose the amount of power – and the character of delivery – available from the engine. Besides the standard Full-power mode are Medium and Low settings. In Medium mode, performance varies according to throttle position and engine rpm; at anything less than 50 percent throttle opening, performance is essentially the same as in Low mode; at more than 50 percent, riders can access additional engine performance. All three S-KTRC settings are available in each of the three Power Mode settings.

And the motorcycle so capably managed by all of this trick electronic wizardry? It’s completely redesigned from 2010 to ’11.

It all starts with the 10R’s all-new inline-four, easily the most advanced engine to ever emerge from a Kawasaki factory. Like last year’s potent ZX-10R engine, the new powerplant is a 16-valve, DOHC, liquid-cooled inline-four displacing 998cc via 76 x 55mm bore and stroke dimensions. But that’s where the similarity stops, as the new mill boasts a handful of engineering changes designed to optimize power, power delivery, center of gravity and actual engine placement within the chassis.

A primary goal of Kawasaki engineers was linear power delivery and engine manageability throughout all elements of a corner: the entry, getting back to neutral throttle at mid-corner, and heady, controllable acceleration at the exit. Peak torque was moved to a higher rpm range, which eliminates the power peaks and valleys that make it difficult for racers and track-day riders to open the throttle with confidence.

Larger intake valves (31mm vs. 30mm), wider– and polished – intake ports, and completely revised exhaust porting all allow better breathing, more controllable power delivery and less engine braking, just the thing to smooth those racetrack corner entries and exits. Higher-lift camshafts built from lighter-yet-stronger chromoly steel (instead of cast iron) and featuring revised overlap further contribute to optimized engine braking and more controllable power delivery. Newly designed lightweight pistons feature shorter skirts and mount to lighter and stronger connecting rods, each of which spin a revised crankshaft made of a harder material and featuring stronger pins and journal fillets. Compression moves to a full 13.0:1.

There’s more, including a totally revamped crankshaft/transmission shaft layout that contributes to a higher center of mass – and improved handling via better mass centralization – by locating the crankshaft approximately 10 degrees higher relative to the output shaft. There’s even a secondary engine balancer assembly this year, which allows a number of vibration-damping parts to be simplified, contributing to weight savings. A smaller and dramatically lighter battery helps drop even more weight, as does a lighter ECU and fuel pump.

A race-style cassette transmission allows simple trackside ratio changes and offers a host of improvements for 2011. These include closer spacing for 4th, 5th and 6th gears and the fine-tuning of the primary and final reduction ratios for less squat/lift during acceleration and deceleration, which allows more precise suspension tuning in back. An adjustable back-torque limiting clutch assembly is fitted, which allows worry-free downshifts and an even higher level of corner-entry calmness.

Cramming all that fuel and air into this amazing new engine is a ram air-assisted fuel injection system featuring larger throttle bodies (47 vs. 43mm) and sub-throttle valves, a larger-capacity airbox (9 vs. 8 liters), secondary injectors that improve top-end power characteristics, and a large, redesigned ram-air intake that’s positioned closer to the front of the bike for more efficient airbox filling and increased power.

The final piece of the ZX-10R’s power-production formula is a race-spec exhaust system featuring a titanium header assembly, hydroformed collectors, a large-volume pre-chamber containing two catalyzers and a highly compact silencer. Due to the header’s race-spec design, riders and racers looking for more closed-course performance need only replace the slip-on muffler assembly.

With the engine producing a massive quantity of usable and controllable power, engineers looked to the chassis to help refine handling and overall road/track competency even further. An all-new aluminum twin-spar frame was designed, an all-cast assemblage of just seven pieces that features optimized flex characteristics for ideal rider feedback, cornering performance and lighter weight than last year’s cage. Fewer pieces mean fewer welds, which contributes to a cleaner, more aesthetically pleasing look. Like the frame, the new alloy swingarm is an all-cast assembly, with idealized rigidity matching that of the frame itself.

Chassis geometry was juggled to offer the best possible stability and handling quickness. Rake, at 25 degrees, is a half-degree steeper than on the 2010 machine, while trail has been reduced from 110 to 107mm. This slightly more radical front end geometry, and the quicker, lighter handling it allows, was made possible largely by the new engine’s more controllable power, engine placement and the CG differences it generated, and the frame and swingarm’s newfound flex characteristics.

Highly advanced suspension at both ends helped as well. Up front is a 43mm open-class version of the Big Piston Fork (BPF) found on last year’s comparo-dominating Ninja ZX-6R. Featuring a piston design nearly twice the size of a conventional cartridge fork, the BPF offers smoother action, less stiction, lighter overall weight and enhanced damping performance on the compression and rebound circuits. This added compliance results in more control and feedback for the rider – just what you need when carving through a rippled sweeper at your local track or negotiating a decreasing-radius corner on your favorite backroad.

There’s big suspension news in back, too. Replacing the vertical Uni-Trak® system of the 2010 ZX-10R is a Horizontal Back-Link suspension design that positions the shock and linkage above the swingarm. Benefits include better mass centralization, improved road holding, compliance and stability, smoother action in the mid-stroke (even with firmer settings), better overall feedback and cooler running. The design also frees space previously taken by the linkage assembly below the swingarm, space now used for the exhaust pre-chamber, which allows a shorter muffler and, again, better mass centralization. The fully adjustable shock features a piggyback reservoir and dual-range (low- and high-speed) compression damping.

All-new gravity-cast three-spoke wheels are significantly lighter than the hoops fitted to the 2010 bike. Up front, Tokico radial-mount calipers grasp 310mm petal discs and a 220mm disc is squeezed by a lightweight single-piston caliper in back. The result is powerful, responsive braking plenty of rider feedback.

Finally, Kawasaki engineers wrapped all this new technology in bodywork as advanced and stylish as anything on this side of a MotoGP grid. Shapes are more curved than edged this year, and the contrasting colored and black parts create a sharp, aggressive image. Line-beam headlights enable the fairing to be made shorter, while LED turn signals are integrated into the mirror assemblies and convenient turn-signal couplers allow easy mirror removal for track-day use.  The rear fender assembly holding the rear signal stalks and license plate frame is also easily removable for track days. High-visibility LED lamps are also used for the taillight and position marker.

Instrumentation is totally new as well, the unit highlighted by an LED-backlit bar-graph tachometer set above a multi-featured LCD info screen with numerous sections and data panels. A wide range of information is presented, including vehicle speed, odometer, dual trip meters, fuel consumption, Power Mode and S-KTRC level, low fuel, water temperature and much more. For track use, the LCD display can be set to “race” mode which moves the gear display to the center of the screen.

The new ZX-10R’s ergonomics have been fine tuned for optimum comfort and control, with a slightly lower saddle, adjustable footpegs positioned slightly lower and more forward relative to last year, and clip-ons with a bit less downward angle. This is a hard-core sportbike you can actually take on an extended sport ride – and still be reasonably comfortable doing so. And because it’s 22 pounds lighter than last year’s bike, the new ZX-10R will be quicker and more nimble in any environment you choose to ride it in.

The old saying, “power is nothing without control” is certainly apt where open-class sport bikes are concerned. But when you factor in all the engine, chassis and ergonomic control designed into the 2011 Ninja ZX-10R, you begin to realize you’re looking at one very special motorcycle – one that can take you places you’ve never been before.

Newer. Faster. Lighter. And better. Reality really does match the hype.


2011 KAWASAKI VULCAN® 1700 VAQUERO

The dictionary defines vaquero as a Spanish-origin word meaning “cowboy” or “herdsman.” Well, if that cowboy happened to be independent, adventurous, undeniably-cool and sported handmade boots and a custom hat, he’d probably ride a 2011 Kawasaki Vulcan® 1700 Vaquero.

Baggers are arguably the coolest cruisers these days, and it’s not a stretch to see why. The really good ones are low, long, ultra stylish and, with their chopped fairings and hard-case side bags, plenty functional.

The new Vaquero bagger is all that – and much more. Kawasaki engineers and designers didn’t just throw custom paint and a blacked-out motif on a Vulcan 1700 and call it done. They digested valuable owner and market research, and scrutinized every system – engine, chassis, features, bodywork and appearance – to ensure that the bike being developed squared nicely with what cruiser buyers wanted.

Custom, blacked-out details are your first clue to the new Vaquero’s mission, and there’s plenty to see. It all starts with the beautiful Ebony or Candy Fire Red paint on the abbreviated fairing, sculpted tank and curvaceous bodywork that looks as if it could be a half-inch deep. Luxurious chrome accents (engine guards, exhaust, mirrors, etc.) provide a beautiful counterpoint to the glossy paintwork, but it’s perhaps the multi-textured blacked-out engine and chassis treatment that best highlights the Vaquero’s radical aesthetic look. The engine, air-cleaner cover, wheels, fork assembly and tank cover all get the blackout treatment, which gives the bike a true custom look that’s beautiful and menacing at once. It’s definitely not a motorcycle you’ll easily forget.

Beneath all that beautiful bodywork, paint and chrome is a superbly engineered motorcycle, one that blends power, handling, durability and confidence-inspiring character in a massively functional package. It all starts with the Vaquero’s 1700cc liquid-cooled V-twin, which powers all four Vulcan 1700 models for 2011 – Voyager®, Classic, Nomad and Vaquero. A thoroughly proven design, this 52-degree Vee boasts the very latest in engine technology yet looks like a throwback to the past, a time when the V-twin was the engine to have powering your motorcycle. Features include an overhead cam design, high compression and a long-stroke dimensional design that results in the sort of effortless low- and mid-range thrust that’s so desirable and useful in a big-inch cruiser.

Vaquero’s throttle valve system works with the advanced electronic fuel injection to optimize engine response without detracting from its distinctive V-twin throb. The system utilizes an Accelerator Position Sensor (APS) and a Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) that 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 connected by cables to the throttle grip. Besides the obvious FI advantages such as improved fuel economy and automatic adjustment for altitude changes, the system also permits easy hands-off warm-up and idle speed control. Vaquero also features a water-cooled alternator that produces a staggering 46.8 amps of electrical output – plenty to power a selection of electronic accessories to enrich motorcycle travel.

The result of all this new-think engine tech is a massive quantity of usable torque spread out over a shockingly wide rpm range. With 108 foot-pounds of torque, a mere twist of the Vaquero’s throttle delivers arm-stretching acceleration for freeway passing or spirited riding, and the smooth wave of low-rpm grunt is always ready to please when you’re just boppin’ down the boulevard, checking out the scene and chillin’.

Speaking of just cruisin’ along; the Vaquero offers true touring-bike convenience in the form of its electronic cruise control system, conveniently operated from the right handlebar and usable at any speed between 30 and 85 mph in any of the top four gears. The cruise system can be disengaged in any of the following ways: usage of the brake lever, clutch lever, rear brake pedal, or manually turning the throttle grip past the “closed” position.

Additional touring acumen shines through the engine’s six-speed transmission with overdriven 5th and 6th gears, which contributes to a relaxed ride and excellent fuel economy at highway speeds. Power is routed to the rear wheel via a narrow carbon fiber-reinforced drive belt that has a 40 percent higher tensile strength than current Kevlar belts. And that chopped, custom-look fairing? Although lower than a traditional windshield or full fairing, it still cuts a decent-sized hole in oncoming atmosphere, giving the rider a useful still-air cocoon in which to enjoy the ride.

Lockable side-loading hard bags set the Vaquero apart from its Vulcan 1700 brethren. They’re beautifully integrated and spacious, and styled to highlight the bike’s long, low look. A scooped saddle offers a comfortable rider perch, while a minimalist passenger pad sits atop a wildly shaped rear fender that integrates equally stylish taillight and turn signal assemblies.

The frame holding all this hardware together is a single backbone, double cradle unit designed to be a slim and light as possible for an easy reach to the ground and optimal handling. Bolted to the steering head is a mammoth fork assembly offering 5.5 inches of wheel travel and a thoroughly compliant ride. Suspension in back consists of twin air-assisted shocks with spring preload and rebound damping adjustability working through a beefy steel swingarm. Nine-spoke cast aluminum flat-black wheels hold fat, 130/90 front and 170/70 radial tires that offer light handling characteristics, superb traction and long life. Braking hardware consists of dual 300mm front discs with twin-piston calipers and a 300mm rear disc with a two-piston caliper.

It all adds up to a truly top-of-the-line bagger that encompasses a perfect combination of traits: It’s functional in a wide range of environments, from inner-city cruisin’ to running down the open road. It’s got highly advanced technology. And it’s knee-shakingly beautiful, a bike that’ll put goosebumps on your arms and neck every time you open the garage door to take a peek. We’re sure any hombre would appreciate this one. Custom hat and all…

Authentic Kawasaki Accessories are available through Kawasaki dealers.

US Still Mired In Sales Slump

Four motorcycle manufacturers, Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Ducati are reporting a mixed bag of numbers regarding profits and sales for July.  Ducati reported a 7.5% July sales increase over last year in all three North American countries, US, Mexico and Canada.   In the United States, Ducati increased 4.75% increase over July 2009.  Kawasaki said it’s sales of all powersports divisions was up 12 percent over a year ago.  That number, however does not signal out motorcycles.

Suzuki said that overall motorcycle sales were down, because of the continued sales slowdown of large motorcycles for Europe and the US, but it’s profits improved after a reduction in expenses which offset it’s operating loss.

Yamaha also cited falling sales in the US but overall reported a profit for the period ending June 30th due mainly to robust sales in Asia, (excluding Japan.) Net sales increased 16.7 percent from the same period of the previous fiscal year, however, sales in North America and Europe decreased, due mainly to falling demand and market stock adjustments in the United States, along with a decrease in demand from Europe.


Kawasaki Recalls ZR1000 D A F For Brake Line Problems

2010 ZR1000's Recalled for Brake Line Problems

KAWASAKI is recalling a number of  2010 ZR100DAF/L models for brake line issues.  Under severe riding conditions, the left front brake hose may contact the front brake rotor during extreme application of the front brake. If this happens, it may cause the brake line to develop a leak which could cause the motorcycle to lose the ability to brake and cause serious injury or death.

Dealers will (free of charge) inspect the front brake hose and replace it if required, or adjust the position of the hose to prevent contact with the brake rotor.

This recall begins this month, July 2010. Owners may contact their local dealer or Kawasaki at  866-802-9381.

Ride a new Kawasaki at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is pleased to announce that Kawasaki will have a full complement of sportbikes and cruisers on hand for attendees to test ride at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days this July 9-11 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

The fleet includes a wide range of Kawasaki motorcycles, including many of the company’s most popular models, such as the all-new Z1000, the Concours™ 14 ABS, the ultimate touring machine; the Vulcan® 1700 Voyager®, plus many more.

“Kawasaki is bringing our entire streetbike demo fleet to AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days in support of our local customers, dealers, guests and the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame,” said Manager, Corporate Events, Kawasaki Motors Corp. USA Sherry Drzewicki. “This is your chance to take a demo ride on any of our highly acclaimed 2010 Kawasaki streetbikes.”

Held at the world-class Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days features vintage and post-vintage national championship competition in motocross, trials, hare scrambles, roadracing and dirt track. In addition to demo rides of current production bikes, the event includes North America’s largest motorcycle swap meet, educational seminars, bike shows, the Federal Companies/Allied Used Bike Corral, motorcycling seminars, the new product Manufacturers’ Midway, and club corrals featuring marque and regional clubs. For 2010, Husqvarna is the event’s Marque of the Year, while off-road racing legend Malcolm Smith is serving as grand marshal.

Proceeds from AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days benefit the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. The goal of the Hall of Fame, located on the campus of the AMA in Pickerington, Ohio, is to honor the distinguished men and women whose competitive spirit, passion, vision and entrepreneurship have played a vital role in shaping the sport, lifestyle and business of motorcycling. For more information, call (614) 856-2222, or visit the Hall of Fame’s website at MotorcycleMuseum.org.

For tickets to AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, see MidOhio.com. For more information about the event, visit AMAVintageMotorcycleDays.com.

About the American Motorcyclist Association
Since 1924, the AMA has protected the future of motorcycling and promoted the motorcycle lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life, and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. As the world’s largest motorcycling rights organization, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists’ interests in the halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations, and the court of public opinion. Through member clubs, promoters and partners, the AMA sanctions more motorsports competition and motorcycle recreational events than any other organization in the world. AMA members receive money-saving discounts from dozens of well-known suppliers of motorcycle services, gear and apparel, bike rental, transport, hotel stays and more. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, the AMA preserves the heritage of motorcycling for future generations. For more information, please visit AmericanMotorcyclist.com.