Review Kawasaki VN 1500 Classic

Review Kawasaki VN 1500 Classic

Space ship

Inspired by the elasticity of its powerful engine, the Kawasaki VN 1500 Classic casually roams the vastness of the room.

The question of whether it should be a little more has always been happily answered in the affirmative at Kawasaki: more bite in the two-stroke engines of the early years, more power in the first four-stroke four-cylinder engines and – what wonder – more displacement in the large V2 chopper engine, in its main features now 10 years old, with 1.5 liters of working volume still holds an exceptional position.

More displacement is better than a lot of displacement – this much-cited rule of engine construction has a lot to offer, but it reaches its limits if the number of cylinders does not keep up with the size of the space. The VN 1500 Classic engine is such a borderline case: only two pots, which come under combustion pressure at irregular intervals due to the cylinder angle of 50 degrees, defend themselves against smooth concentricity at low speeds. Unless they are helped, as is the case with the VN 1500 engine, with proper flywheel masses: A fatter alternator rotor gives the crank drive 25 percent more momentum compared to the VN 15 engine.

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Review Kawasaki VN 1500 Classic

Review Kawasaki VN 1500 Classic
Space ship

Kawasaki wings.

On the other hand, the VN 1500 starts to fly high with fuel consumption. Anyone who strolls between the columns of trucks on the autobahn at 100 km / h will allow almost five and a half liters of fuel per 100 kilometers to seep into the depths of the displacement; those who frequently turn the throttle up to the stop have to be prepared for consumption of well over ten liters – a lot too much in view of the objectively offered performance. The fact that they are not more befitting is due, on the one hand, to the restrained willingness to perform of the test machine with measured 57 instead of the promised 64 hp, and on the other hand to the very long final gear ratio, which paralyzes the character of the VN 1500 especially in the upper gears during intermediate sprints.

As a result, the four-speed transmission experienced more gear changes than would be expected given the displacement giant of the V2 engine. The fact that this does not affect the driving pleasure is thanks to the archaic-looking rocker on the left step: It arouses machinist feelings and translates careless kicks into safe and low-noise gear changes – it’s cool, man.

In general, handling the VN 1500 Classic is characterized by casualness – in giving as in taking. The old-fashioned steering lock, the cold bloodedness of the engine after really cold starts, the underhanded position of the choke lever and ignition lock have to be accepted with a shrug. The casual sitting posture on a deep, soft cushion, the beautiful view of the tank console and chrome headlights, the ease with which the machine can be raised from the sloping side stand rest position despite its considerable mass is gratefully accepted.

The handling of the thick ship is also characterized by surprising ease. Without showing any unauthorized steering behavior, the machine circles around the tightest bends and can be directed precisely down to walking speed – good prerequisites for stress-free cruising in the hustle and bustle of the big city.

The VN 1500 also likes brisk gliding on winding roads when enjoyed in moderation. That means: with adapted cornering speed. Because as easy as it is to bend the motorcycle, the running boards turn into plowshares. So it is a good thing that the front single-disc brake – unlike on the machine used during the presentation – applies enough bite with reasonable hand strength to make the tire scream.

Long wheelbase, large caster, flat forks – the VN 1500 thus offers all the prerequisites for fearless bolting straight ahead. There are actually no noteworthy chassis unrest – apart from uncritical hammering movements, which the driver induces via the holding forces on the handlebars when the condition decreases. Everyone has the opportunity to avoid the pulling wind forces in their (right) hand. The rousing effect of the VN undercarriage, on the other hand, is firmly established: Despite the soft suspension elements, there is no question of rolling comfort over joints and edges – which ensures that the spacecraft never gives its crew the impression of having lost the ground under the wheels.

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