Kawasaki kicked off the 2011 selling season this past Tuesday in Las Vegas with a big bash for more than 800 dealers. Sales and marketing heads Bill Jenkins and Chris Brull tag-teamed on the large x-shaped stage to deliver an upbeat message of renewed commitment backed by bright lights, thumping music and, more than once, smoking rubber.
Addressing the crowd, Hiroshi Takata, president, consumer products and machinery, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, said, “The last two years have been extremely challenging. This ‘new normal’ has demanded focus and strategic action. Other manufacturers have shifted focus to emerging markets. I believe this is a mistake. The U.S. is an important market.”
Among the two-wheel highlights were the much-anticipated ZX-10R repli-racer, sporty Ninja 1000 and Vulcan 1700 Vaquero—“cowboy” in Spanish. While the 1043cc Ninja 1000 is essentially a fully faired version of the Cycle World Ten Best-winning Z1000, the Vaquero is an all-new, hard-saddlebag-equipped touring cruiser.
Like the current Vulcan 1700 Classic, Nomad and Voyager models, the steel-framed Vaquero is powered by a fuel-injected, liquid-cooled, sohc, 1700cc, 52-degree V-Twin making a claimed 108 foot-pounds of peak torque at 2750 rpm. Other features include a six-speed overdrive transmission, belt final drive and electronic cruise control. A liquid-cooled alternator produces a maximum of 46.8 amps to power accessories. Sixteen-inch wheels front and rear wear 130/90 and 170/70 tires.
Offered in Ebony or Candy Fire Red, the Vaquero is fitted with a frame-mounted fairing housing an iPod/XM satellite/CB radio-compatible twin-speaker AM/FM stereo system. Side-loading bags are color-matched, while a black-out treatment is applied to the air-cleaner cover, engine, fork, frame, tank cover and wheels. Engine guards, exhaust and mirrors, among other items, are chromed. Claimed full-tank (5.3 gallons) curb weight is 835 pounds.
Suggested retail price for the 2011 Vulcan 1700 Vaquero is $16,499.