Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Nomad Motorcycle Reviews on Cycle Insider (17)
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2003-08-21 1999 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Nomad Motorcycles View Listings

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First the bad news – it ain’t a Harley. On the other hand, I haven’t ridden a Harley regularly since the shovelhead era, so that’s not a factor at my house. My 1999 Nomad is almost everything that I hoped my earlier bikes would be; stylish, reliable, and comfortable on the long road, as well as modestly priced. And it is certainly all of those things; but, frankly, engine power is only about on par with a good, healthy 80-inch shovelhead HD, in my opinion – and mine, like many 1999 models, refuses to shift fast. Performance wise, Goldwings and even Fathead HDs can usually walk away from me (mine is the carbureted model, and I weigh 270#s). On the other hand, the Nomad has almost no quirks from a comfort, maintenance or performance standpoint. Gas and an occasional oil-change is about all that is required. On a recent 2500 mile summer tour (a little over 1250# in touring trim, with passenger and gas), the Nomad consistently turned in 38-41mpg. Total oil consumption was less than a half a pint (about 200cc, 20W50 synthetic-blend). Out of habit from my Limey and Harley riding days, I carried a fairly large tool kit and spare parts inventory, but only used about 12 inches of parachute cord to replace a piece I had lost. Reliability was just wonderful. No pings (even when heavy, climbing through the Alleghenies) on 87-89 octane and nothing rattled loose. I did blow the air-shock balance tube, but that wasn’t a Kawasaki part, so I can’t blame the Nomad. Easy fix, anyway. We bought our Nomad used, after reading a lot about it. The first year we put about 7000 miles on it, replaced the rear Bridgestone with a Metzler (wonderful) and added a throttle lock. Otherwise we’ve done very little other than the most routine maintenance. With overhead cams, dual-plug heads, shaft drive and a quality finish, this is what Milwaukee should have been building. Oh, the brakes – wonderful! And while the top-end power isn’t breath-taking, the low-end torque means you can moonlight competing in tractor-pulls. Like some, I do wish my Nomad had at least a 5.0 gallon gas tank (like the newer FI models), but truthfully it has only been a factor once when I was trying to punch through a 130++ mile rain-squall, and even then 4.2 still left over a gallon and a half in reserve. It has always started easily (even in sub-freezing weather), and while I have in mind a few doodads, I’m not remotely in the market for a replacement.
- LFB, Fairfax County, Virginia

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2002-05-19 1999 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Nomad Motorcycles View Listings

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I bought a 99 green Nomad in May of 99. It`s a great looking bike and I get a lot of comments about how good it looks. While that sure makes a person feel good, quality and dependability has not been there for me. I`ve had the bike 3 years now and I`ve got 27000 miles on the bike. First, seal problems with the final gear case. Then oil leak sending oil all over right leg. Dealer fixed it. Oh well, try again. Oil leak started again. Got it back, and it leaked in another place. Back in shop. They kept bike two weeks this time. Fixed problem, for a little while anyway. During second year, clutch went out. First they said the clutch wasn`t covered under warranty. I called Kaw and raised heck. They took it apart and found it was an assembly problem and found out from kaw how to fix. Then struck another oil leak. Back in shop while they ordered parts again. Lost three weeks riding time. Now I seem to be having problems with the clutch again. I`m 48 years old and have been riding most of my life and till this bike I have never had to replace a clutch in a bike, but this bike is eating them up. It`s not a fast bike and it doesn`t take much to lean enough to send sparks off the floor boards. Not a big enough gas tank and lacks in MPG. The air shocks have never held air more than a day, and when I asked the dealer about it I was told that the shocks do not hold air long. So I just don`t bother putting air in them. The dealer told me that it wasn`t that kawasakis aren`t any good, but that It`s just my bike that`s basically substandard. He told me I needed to trade it in on another Kaw and the nest one would be better. Yeah Right. So I just started trying to trade the bike in for a new bike, and found that this bike doesn`t hold value worth a flip. I`m going to loose my shirt on this bike because I can`t seem to get much of anything for it in trade on any bike. Like I say, It`s a great looking bike but not much else to say for it.
- Dave Brewer, Navasota, Texas

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2002-01-08 1999 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Nomad Motorcycles View Listings

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I bought a new 99 in 8-02 and painted it white for use as a funeral escort service because it closely resembled the Police harleys they use. It was always Dependable and Comfortable. It is Much smoother than the Honda 1100 Shadow I rented once. Minuses: Would soon go into a violent shimmy if I let go the bars above 35. Broke 5 speedo cables, all replaced under wty, no chg. Small oil leak from rocker cover area, required motor removal, 2dy downtime, under wty, no chg. shallow cornering angles before draging. Much worse riding double. Not very powerful in stock config. Saddlebags were very expensive to replace. One bag was $1100 plus $143 for trim strips. Top speed 105, and after hop-up, 115. Pluses: added hypercharger and Vance&: Hines bagger pipes, $900. Then it would keep up with the Police harleys on hard runs. Add saddlebag top rails. Good investment in bag protection from scratches, and adds to the looks. Add Running lights and visors for them and headlights. Adds a lot to the looks. Got lots of compliments on this bike.
- Mac McKnight, Memphis, Tennessee

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2001-12-18 1999 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Nomad Motorcycles View Listings

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I baught a used Green/Green 99 Nomad about 1 month ago. The bike runs smoothly and is easy to handle. I have had many positive looks, comments etc. The Gas Tank is a little small, I find that for around town - to/from work I am in the mid 30's MPG wise. From my research, I believe that this can be improved upon.. a few accesories/replacements of items for better tuning and MPG. Will find out more as time and money allow. I also found a great support site of fellow Vulcan owners - www.VROC.org - Stands for Vulcan Riders and Owners Club.
- Dave Polister, Alamogordo, New Mexico

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2001-10-09 1999 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Nomad Motorcycles View Listings

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I purchased the bike in June of 99. Being new to bike riding I started with a 600 Honda Shadow to learn on. Once I got used to riding for about 6 months I went looking for a bigger bike and all the ones I set on intimated me for they were nothing but big bruisers, for I am a short man. Then I set on the Nomad and I was hooked. This is the best balanced machine and the most comfortable on the planet. I have also talked with several people that own a Nomad and have ridden a host of other bikes and they agree. I believe it is the most bang for the buck, and for the price of a HD about $25 Grand, I could have the baddest Nomad in the State. But I must say that when you buy one you had better be in for the long haul because the resale value is very poor. I have $17 grand in mine and the blue book is only $7800. I must admit the gas mileage is not the greatest and the fuel tank could be bigger, and it could use a little more roll-on power in high gear. The truth is if you want to go fast buy a crotch rocket. If you are in a hurry to get where you are going and don't want to stop for gas every 100 miles take the family car. And if you want an over-priced status symbol get a HD. But if you want a good touring bike that wont put you in the poor house, and it can run loaded down and keep up with the traffic (but I suggest take the back roads) The Nomad is the best. I have learned 3 things about riding -- It is all about the journey, your prayer life will increase, and if you ever loose your fear of motorcycles get rid of them. In closing the Nomad is 750 pounds of gleaming steel and sex appeal, the tower of power the bike of the hour, too sweet to be sour. YOU GOTTA GETHA SOME OF THIS!!!
- Mark Irwin, Savannah, Georgia

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2001-09-01 1999 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Nomad Motorcycles View Listings

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I have a green 1999 Nomad that I purchased in 2000 for a savings of about $1000.00 I have been a Honda person for many years, but have now learned that not all great motorcycles are Red. My only complaint is that I go on reserve at about 110 miles when touring. I understand the 2000 or 2001 Nomads have .6 gal.larger tank. That helps, but probably not enough. I would recommend the bile to anyone who wants to tour, yet have a sporty bike around town. I have had great dealer support from my dealer in Wichita, Kansas.
- Dave Blackim, Hutchinson, Kansas

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2001-04-24 1999 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Nomad Motorcycles View Listings

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I have just over 15000 miles on my Nomad. I love the way it handles and lots of power. Mileage is a concern but with a new breather and pipes that should improve. I have had some problems with oil leakage from the valve covers twice now. I am told that rocker gaskets did not make it. I have not torn it apart since the warranty still holds. What really bugs me though is that when I have brought it to the dealer for repair it takes two to two and a half weeks to get it back. The service is what will make think twice about another Kawasaki.
- Larry, Las Vegas, NV

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2000-12-08 1999 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Nomad Motorcycles View Listings

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Purchased new almost 12 months ago, my Nomad does almost everything right! Excellent "comfort" machine. Did a 3,000-mile trip out west and a 2,000-mile trip to Oklahoma this summer, and the bike never missed a beat. Luggage quality and capacity is way above average, and really contribute to this machine's appearance. Probably have received more compliments on the looks of it than any I've owned (and that's a few!). Easily adjusted windshield and good seating/bar/board relationship make for quite a comfortable rig, although the addition of 4x1" risers and Kurayakan Hi-Way boards was necessary to make it "Perfect." Unfortunately, the bike is not perfect. High 30's to low 40's mpg and a 4.3 gallon tank is definitely NOT the right combination. I'm told the '01 FI version addresses both of these issues, but haven't read a test yet. Performance is lacking in stock trim and even after adding V&H exhaust, different air intake system (Hypercharger), and fooling with the jets, it's just barely "acceptable". The Mods I've made have improved the mileage, though. Now I at least crack 40 sometimes! Only 2 warranty problems thus far: "Crazing" of the plastic chrome gear case cover. 1st one started at about 7,000 miles and the replacement has started doing it again. Also a leak around the rear diff case throws oil on the rear wheel. I'm sure they'll be taken care of by the dealer, but it's just a bit "out of character" for normal Kawasaki quality. All in all, there's not a better looking cruiser on the planet, in my opinion, and it does what it's supposed to do very well. With a few minor improvements, it COULD BE PERFECT!!!
- Jack, Wisconsin

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2000-12-05 1999 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Nomad Motorcycles View Listings

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Bought a 1999 Green Nomad May 1999, after 21,000 miles have had two warranty services, no problem, no dealer hassles! Have gone on trips from "to the store" up to a 3,200-mile family emergency trip over a five-day period. After 12,000 miles I found the seat is starting to give me reasons to look at replacement, but only after six straight hours of riding. Outstanding dependability! Those that worry about heat off the engine should try riding it more than 10 miles an hour -- the problem goes away. The only time you feel the heat is in traffic when the radiator fan kicks on. Have ridden in every conceivable weather condition except snow, NO complaints! The stock tires are somewhat noisy so I'd go to another brand when they wear out. I've been riding over 35 years and have owned 13 bikes, no comparison! Does not hold value as well as other brands, but then again when I was faced with a $5,000 (Harley) extortion fee over list it more than makes up for it! P.S. for those brand sensitive folks, that was the fee imposed by 6 different dealers in North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida! It wasn't just ONE dealership. Happy riding and "Keep the Dirty Side Down" Mark
- Mark, Jacksonville, Florida

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2000-11-27 1999 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Nomad Motorcycles View Listings

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The only real complaint is the smallish fuel capacity. It's just right for taking a break to stretch, but when trying to eat up the miles it slows you down. It's a little under powered even with the reed valve plates, Cobra pipes, high performance air intake, and jet kit. The ride is great for one or two riders, but could use a little better wind protection. I have added about $4000 in extras. Kawasaki has done this bike right with making lots of accessories available for it. It's a real looker! Kawasaki's customer support has been second to none... much improved in the last few years. I would buy the Nomad over any HD even if they were priced the same!
- Bob, New York

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2000-11-06 1999 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Nomad Motorcycles View Listings

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Bought a 1999 Nomad new in May 2000. After 5000 miles still getting 34-35 mpg with two up. I complained from day one about fuel mileage. Riding this summer in 100-degree heat it would roast the operator with engine heat, must be 30 degrees hotter than the air. Price wise paid $12000 and six months later same dealer offered me $7200 trade in on another brand (HARLEY). This is my last Kaw, and I've ridden for 40 years, Its back to Harley
- Steve, Topeka, Kansas

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2000-10-12 1999 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Nomad Motorcycles View Listings

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I purchased my Nomad 8-99 and have 9,000 miles on the clock. The more I ride the nomad the more I like it. It handles great around town as well as on the freeway. I did two five-day trips over 1500, miles each this summer. I'm averaging 40 mpg. It could use an extra gallon of fuel in the tank though. My changes this winter will be to add Vance & Hines pipes and jet kit. I also would like to compliment the dealer support in northern CA, they have been great at service times, and otherwise I have had no mechanical problem with the bike. I also receive more compliments on the nomad than any other bike I have owned in the last 23 years, and I have owned many.
- G,Gdog , North Carolina

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2000-08-14 1999 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Nomad Motorcycles View Listings

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I have almost 10,000 trouble-free miles on my 99 Nad. I have owned several bikes over the years and none compare to the Nomad in price, quality, comfort and looks. It's smooth and easy to handle on the road and in the parking lot. I get more positive comments about my bike than the group of Harley riders that I ride with. I highly recommend this bike for anyone who wants a touring/cruiser. I ride in the Southwest and the bike has always performed flawlessly even when the temperature reaches 110 degrees. Try that with an air-cooled machine.
- Mark, VROC #3611, Las Vegas, Nevada

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2000-08-11 1999 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Nomad Motorcycles View Listings

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I have a 1999 Nomad (Red) and I love it! This bike is very dependable (never seen the shop for trouble), comfortable and great looking. The clutch is smooth and shifting a breeze, especially with the heal-toe shifter. The breaks are good but the back wheel will lock-up under very hard breaking (could just be me). The hard bags are great looking and can hold a lot of stuff. Riding two up is easy and passengers find the rear seat comfortable - even on long rides. The only complaint I have is with poor gas mileage. I'm lucky to get 100-110 miles per tank when touring (65-70+ mph). Power is good but I was able to get 5 more horses by installing Vans-Hines pipes, jet kit and Dyno adjusted. I would highly recommend this cruiser to anyone.
- Manny Orozco, Wisconsin

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2000-07-26 1999 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Nomad Motorcycles View Listings

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Great ride, but the gas tank is too small for this type bike. It rides best if you use the factory backrest with highway pegs. There are a lot of great accessories available from the factory by way of their Internet site. I would recommend this bike to someone who does not want to spend the money for an HD .
- Anonymous, Conway, Arkansas

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2000-06-26 1999 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Nomad Motorcycles View Listings

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I like saving the $10,000 buying the Nomad over the Road King. I liked the Nomad bike but the dealer network around Atlanta isn't good and the USA Kawasaki people are useless. I hate being lied to and paying for in-warranty work. All this bike needs is a factory/dealer support network and Harley would have a run for its money. I'm selling the Nomad and buying a FLHT.
- John Mays, Jr., Norcross, Georgia

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2000-05-15 1999 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Nomad Motorcycles View Listings

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I bought the bike new in April of 1999, I have 6,000 miles on it, would have had more but lost 3 months' riding when I was out of the country. The bike has not been back to the dealer since I rode away. I have the service done at the local Yamaha dealer, the bike hasn't needed anything else. It's great to go out, pull the choke and press the start, let it warm up a couple of minutes and go! I live in Colorado and ride most of the year around, this bike hasn't let me down yet.
- Nick Hedensten, Longmont, Colorado

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