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Touring Comparo: Electra Glide vs. Voyager

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Motorcyclist Online has the results of their big-tourer comparison between the Harley Davidson Electra Glide Classic and the Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager.  I’ve long wanted to see a head-to-head match-up between the king tourer from Harley and Kawi’s new flagship tourer, and here it is.

Harley Davidson Electra Glide Classic and Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager

Harley Davidson Electra Glide Classic and Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager

The Electra Glide sports Harley’s now touring frame, which is supposed to noticeably increase stability and handling, while the Voyager is a brand new version of the Vulcan, with a brand new frame, too.

The Harley costs significantly more than the Voyager, and reading the write up, that extra money pays off in a better, more refined handling, greater rider and pillion comfort, and better brakes and luggage.  The Kawasaki, on the other hand, seems to have the Harley beat in wind protection, engine power (slightly), and lighting (a lot).

Overall, the Harley has better fit and finish–which is unsurprising to me, since I’ve always thought Kawasakis are a little rough around the edges.  They aren’t bad bikes, but, I’ve just never been a big Kawasaki fan.  But, it’s nice to see that it’s not just an unreasoning opinion on my part, and others seem to think Kawi could use a little improvement in the finishing touches.

Still, for $3,000 less, the Voyager’s no doubt put together adequately.

Both bikes, of course, are massively underpowered from my point of view.  But then, I’m riding an FJR with 200 pounds less weight, and twice the horsepower, so take that into consideration.

I will tell you where I would throw my lot in with the kawi on this one, though, and that’s the fixed fairing.  I’ve never liked the batwing fairing on the Harley’s.  They look great, but having 40 or 50 pounds of plastic hanging off the front fork never appealed to me.  And I’ve ridden the Electra Glide, and confirmed that opinion.

That’s why my next Harley will be a Road Glide.

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One Response to Touring Comparo: Electra Glide vs. Voyager

  • I got a good look at the new Voyager at the last Long Beach Motorcycle Show, and wasn’t impressed. An awful lot of plastic where Harley has steel. The trunk and bags also have a very flimsy feel, as if they wouldn’t last 50 opening & closings. It’s actually a nice looking bike, just too flimsy.

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