Review Kawasaki VN 800 Classic

Test, Kawasaki VN 800

Kawasaki VN 800 Classic

If it was a chopper, then a Harley, they thought at Kawasaki.

Then the spit stays away for a moment. This is the summit – is so incredibly bold that it is already well received: Of course, in the case of the VN 800 Classic we are not dealing with the first Harley plagiarism, but with the most impertinent one.

There has never been a more shameless copy of the American dream, apart from – perhaps – the VN 800 without Classic, which celebrated its debut party in MOTORRAD 11/1995, at which it even survived the rigorous revision of two real Hells Angels unscathed. »Cheek wins «Says a clever, modernist wisdom.

At Kawasaki, a similar insight was probably struck when the young VN models were created: The designers did not even try to put something independent on the wheels, they did not secretly approach the Harley-Davidson chopper ideal, but rather obviously coped. True to the motto: honesty lasts the longest. And why not? Why should the Japanese be so stupid as to devise something else when most Easy Riders only want one thing: US custom bikes.

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Review Kawasaki VN 800 Classic

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Kawasaki VN 800 Classic

VN 800 Classic has undoubtedly made it – looks difficult like Highway, Burger-King and very good times. It differs from the ordinary VN 800 mainly in its 17 times better design. Classic. With the fat 16-inch front tire, the thickly coated, chrome-flashing fork and the bulging fenders, it looks similar to a Fat Boy. The full disc wheels, the toothed belt to the rear wheel and the shotgun sidepipes are still missing. But sooner or later the people from Nippon should work that out.

The fact that the Far East Harley has a good 500 cubic meters less than its model is neatly concealed: the mighty, water-cooled Vau-Zwo is surrounded by the aura of a displacement giant. There is also substance hidden behind it: with 56 horsepower, the four-valve engine moves in chopper circles at a high level. The measured values ​​show the beneficial effects of this striving for achievement.

Yes, yes, of course: A cruiser – this is the name of the VN in the USA, which is correct, because it is not a real chopper at all, although it is called a chopper in this country and nobody knows … where we were still same? Ah, now – so: a cruiser (or something like that), according to the popular opinion, does not have to get out of the quark at all quickly, does not have to haggle for seconds when accelerating, does not have to turn freely, does not have to and does not . But what if he does – what then?

Quite simply: you are happy. After all, there is worse than a living engine. Deadly boring, supposedly traditional claims, for example. What should be so terrible about it when a VN 800 quickly frees itself from the inertia of its 256 kilograms and in an emergency runs over 170 km / h? Especially since it doesn’t sag when it comes to the draft. Due to the long overall ratio, the numbers don’t look particularly rosy here, but the last gear from 40 km / h can still take on the role of solo entertainer.

On the engine side, there is nothing to be said against relaxed lazy tours, and on the chassis side the VN also offers a good basis for such activities: wide handlebars, low seat height, low center of gravity, forward footrests, easy handling – everything as it should be. At least for people from 1.65 meters. If you don’t wear your helmet that high, you have to stretch your legs quite a bit to get to the gearshift lever and brake pedal with the little bugs.

However, since gear changes do not play a major role when driving in butter and the drum on the rear wheel is one of the lesser sides of the UN, this story should not be overrated. If the lively engine encourages you to take turns, you just have to slide forwards, put your elbows out, clamp the handlebars under your armpits, and off you go.

The Classic can really be peppered with cheeky peppers, apart from the lack of lean angle. Compared to the older VN 800, it has a nice, fat plus in the agility category. This merit is due to the changed chassis geometry: smaller front wheel + steeper steering head + shorter caster = more maneuverability. In addition, the new 800 stands out more neutrally through curves, although it reacts to higher speeds – just like its predecessor – with touching movements. Yes, even if it goes straight ahead.

How bad a motorcycle à la Kawasaki VN is for the heated highway chase is well known. The eternal windjammer, the nagging about sore neck muscles, long arms, cramped hands, dogged jaws and so on should not cause boredom again here. Admittedly, but only marginally, you can fold up on the Classic-Liner quite easily – if you have to – because the handlebars are not that wide and high: nose hidden behind the tank console and lamp pot, feet on the pillion rests , Rearview mirror turned down as far as possible. It doesn’t look elegant, of course, but it helps.

The conversion of the front brake from single to double piston caliper also helped, even if the effect of the single disk system still does not give rise to any outbursts of enthusiasm. If the load is to come to a standstill quickly, unrestrained packing is still required, to which the 41 fork – who is surprised – reacts with twisting.

Overall, the spring elements leave a rather mixed impression. The machine does not act as hard as it seems due to the lack of visible rear shock absorbers, but it is not too comfortable. If the hidden central spring strut ironed deep, wide asphalt folds down fairly well, the VN twitches over nasty, bumpy slopes like a fish out of water. Every little tar pimple is presented to the crew. The mediators of these acquaintances are not least the wide, rock-hard tires that have zero self-damping.

A bike like the Classic doesn’t necessarily have the task of miming the softie: Even in the age of dentist cruisers and lawyer rockers, such a chopper can still have the flair of Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper. Should the VN 800 Classic be a bit rough. It’s just a shame that this mood fizzles out at the silencers. What escapes from the two whispered bags on the side sounds pretty silly. These tones have nothing to do with sound. That can – with all due respect – even a Harley better.

Kawasaki VN 800 Classic (T) (archive version)

Let yourself be smooched, you weird Harley, let yourself be hugged, hugged and admired. Don’t listen to those who call you silly just because you don’t have an American name. Forget those who are bothered by your lack of displacement – they don’t know any better. Rely on your inner values ​​and on your successful outfit: Because a chopper can hardly look better than you and certainly not drive better. You should still work on your pronunciation, but otherwise: everything’s okay – for a custom bike. Yes, exactly, the lamp, it’s absolutely great, really cruel, especially with a blue sky and so on, if you still need a cinema, you’re in the wrong film.

Successful and affordable Harley blend

Used Kawasaki VN 800 Classic in Germany

The Kawasaki VN 800 Classic is a class cruiser with a strong Harley Davidson orientation. At least externally. But where it moves very far away from the big model is the price. In contrast to the often astronomical prices of a real Harley, the Kawasaki VN800 Classic can be found on the used motorcycle market for as little as € 3,500: Used Kawasaki VN 800 Classic in Germany

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