It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I doubt that Harley-Davidson is pleased by all of the other manufacturers that have intended to chip away at their market share over the years by replicating their most popular models.
Even the untrained eye can surmise that the new-for-2011 Kawasaki Vulcan Vaquero
found inspiration in Harley’s Road Glide
and the connections don’t end with the shark-nosed fixed fairing. Does the big-bore bagger from Team Green beat Milwaukee’s best at its own game or come up short? Read on.
|Even the untrained eye can surmise that the new-for-2011 Kawasaki Vulcan Vaquero found inspiration in Harley’s Road Glide. (Photo: Dustin A. Woods/Moto123.com)
Visit any biker rally and you will immediately realize that Harley riders are a loyal breed. The iconic shield can be found on everything from belt buckles and sunglasses to copious amounts of tattoos. Their brand allegiance runs deep because, try as other companies might, only a Harley can give you the Harley experience.
Fanatics who have consumed the proverbial Kool-Aid will likely never stray from the Milwaukee bike builder, but manufacturers like Kawasaki build bikes like the Vaquero with high hopes that they can attract new riders by offering similar packaging at a lower cost of entry.
This liquid-cooled, 1,700-cc Candy Fire Red tester tipped the register at $19,999, where a Road Glide Custom with an air-cooled, 1,534-cc Twin Cam 96B would ring in at $20,999. Checking the CVO box would get you an air-cooled Screamin’ Eagle 110 good for 1,802 cc and a price tag of $33,689. That also includes custom paint, enough chrome billet parts to sink a ship and plenty of other custom goodies, so it isn’t entirely apples to apples.
Thumb the starter button and the liquid-cooled V-Twin eagerly roars to life before settling into a familiar idle that is predictable and nearly free of vibration in the handlebars. Also found in Vulcan 1700 models Voyager, Classic and Nomad, the electronically fuel-injected V-Twin boasts 108 lb.-ft of torque that comes in at 2,750 rpm, making acceleration confident and brisk on the 835-lb tourer.
|This liquid-cooled, 1,700-cc Candy Fire Red tester tipped the register at $19,999. (Photo: Dustin A. Woods/Moto123.com)