2005 Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Nomad

May 2007 pictures - Tour pak and fairing.

November 2006 pictures - Tour pak, no fairing.

Update 6/6/2010: Today the Nomad left for a new home in Oklahoma. The Nomad is gone...long live the Nomad page.

For years I have enjoyed riding and fixing up my 2002 Honda Shadow. I've added engine guards, saddlebags, a windshield, and recently a Sabre rear fender...my Shadow was slowly changing from the chopperish Spirit into a bagger. In addition, for the last few years my eye has been wandering to bigger, more modern bikes. John has a Yamaha Royal Star Tour Classic and it is very versatile.

After looking around for awhile I decided I wanted a Kawasaki 1600 Nomad. I liked its specs. I didn't care much for the 2006 color choices (black or green/silver), but they offered a nice blue/silver in 2005. I decided that's what I would look for. I checked the cycle ads on the internet and found several from Pennsylvania to Texas. I emailed every Kawasaki dealer in a 150 mile radius.

One day I found one on Ebay almost by accident. It was a couple hundred miles away in southern Kentucky. Low mileage, a couple nice add-ons, mostly stock, and well maintained. I bid the reserve price. Then I noticed the time remaining...9 days, 22 hours. I had placed my bid 2 hours into a 10-day auction. I would have a long wait!

A day or so later the seller contacted me to see if I would like to end the auction early. He was listing the bike for his uncle and my bid was the price his uncle was hoping to get. The earliest I could come and get the bike was the day after the auction ended so he decided to let the auction terminate normally. As the final moments of the auction finally wound down I was concerned some bidder might outbid me in the last seconds. The auction ended and the bike was mine! I was the only bidder.

I borrowed a friend's motorcycle trailer (thanks Dusty!) and Sarah and I headed out the next day in my diesel Jeep Liberty for southern Kentucky. I had some concerns on the way down. This was BY FAR my biggest Ebay purchase. Would the Mapquest maps be accurate? Would the bike be as nice as it seemed in the pictures? Would I strap it down good enough so it wouldn't fall over on the way back? As we neared our destination the Mapquest maps were dead on. We came down a hill into a scenic valley. About a quarter mile across a field I saw a beautiful house with a sparkling blue/silver motorcycle sitting outside. We were here!

My future bike in front of a 4-car garage. Heavenly.

The Blankenships were great people. He showed me the bike and we loaded it into the trailer. His sister is the county clerk and lives next door. She brought the title over, filled it out, and notarized it. What could be handier?! He also has a very nice garage! With our business completed we said goodbye and headed back to Indiana.

The house on the hill is the seller's sister's.

The trip back was fairly uneventful. At every gas/food/restroom stop I checked the bike to make sure it was riding as it should. It did fine. The Jeep did a great job of towing the trailer and got 18 mpg in the process. Sarah got a little car sick so went had an extended stay at a Cracker Barrel until she got better.

Here is the bike:

Click on the above picture for more pictures.

I took the bike for a short ride past my parent's house. I loved the power, handling, and the feel, but I noticed one thing I didn't like...the handlebars. I'm used to the mini apehangers on my Shadow and these bars are low and far away. I felt like I was riding a crotch rocket. That will have to be changed. I also removed the dealer and factory stickers/decals for a cleaner look.

Motorcycle adventures

Trips and Adventures page


Windshield bag - put on by the previous owner. A convenient place to store stuff.
Driving lights - Also put on by the previous owner via the Kawasaki dealer. These seem to be nice halogen lights.
Luggage rack - One of the most used items on my Shadow...I knew I'd need one on this bike.
Roadhouse Dooley exhaust - They sound great! (Sound clip of my exhaust - 890K)
Lightbar rewire
Factory choke install - Takes 30 seconds.
Head light rewire - Higher voltage to the headlight and accessories.
Modified air intake - The popular 'Caddman mod'.
Techlusion TFI install - Needed when you open up the air intake.
Under seat connections - Information only.
Battery tender - Inexpensive peace of mind.
Phat II risers - Makes a world of difference in handlebar position.
Kuryakyn LED gauge - A nice little gauge.
Garmin GPS.
Bag shuffle - now I have more storage space.
Reed valve removal.
CWI Driver backrest - ended up sending it back.
Kuryakyn engine guard pegs - comfort for cruising.
Saddlebag T-bolts - makes removing the saddlebags much easier ($15 on Ebay).
Apehanger handlebars - I really like this style bar.
Kuryakyn ISO grips - Much nicer than factory.
Speed-O-Healer - Corrects speedometer error.
Harley Tour Pak trunk - More lockable storage.
AudioVox cruise control
Auxiliary lights - "ditch lights".
Hoppy converter - protected lighting for the trunk and trailer.
Mustang seat w/backrest - Very comfortable...my butt gives it two thumbs up.
Kewl Locks - grip-based helmet locks.
Rifle windshield - larger replacement windshield for better wind protection.
Moxy lowers - larger lowers for better wind protection.
Sage Brush engine guard chaps - protection for your feet and legs.
Trailer hitch
Progressive air shock balance kit - an inexpensive, simple to install kit.
Triple Holdster windshield bag
Brake pedal upgrade
Motorcycle trailer
Steering stem nut adjustment
Harley ElectraGlide fairing
Fairing gauges
Gauge senders
Fairing brackets
Fairing storage bags
Relocated helmet holders - Moved to the tour pak rack. Works better than the factory locations
Dragtron air filter kit
Dragtron mod
Progressive shock upgrade
Progressive front springs
Headlight modulator
Stebel air horn
Crankcase air filter - quick and easy mod
Auxiliary fuse block
Chrome stuff:
Chrome radiator cover - Bling and extra protection.
Chrome reservoir covers - Simple and looks good.
Chrome side covers
Lower saddlebag rails - Chromed protection.
Upper saddlebag rails - Chromed protection.
Trunk trim - Chromed protection.

Future upgrades/projects - Stuff I plan to do as time permits.

Meanie clutch spring
New tires - Dunlop Elite 3

I'm sure I'll think of other things, so check back.

Nice Nomads - Nice, accessorized bikes from around the web.

ExoticSportbike.com - Motorcycle Parts and Accessories for all types of Sportbikes

Good links

Vulcan Riders Owner's Club (VROC).
Kawasaki Cruiser's Forum.
Gadget's Fixit Page - a HUGE collection of Nomad information.
RideThatBike.com - More great Nomad information.
KPMH page - Like me, transitioned from a Shadow to the Nomad.

Motorcycle trip stories

Trips and Adventures page

Places I like to purchase from

Cruiser Customizing - they don't have the lowest prices, but they ship quickly, have a large selection and a very informative website.
Scootworks - large selection of metric parts.
Summit Racing - a good source for engine related parts.

E-mail me