How the Rogue Got Its Name

The Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 has a nickname – it’s called the Rogue. Here’s how the Rogue got it’s name…

This posting originally appeared here:

How the Rogue Got Its Name
by Bob “Joker” Denny

When Kawasaki introduced the Mean Streak, they flew me out to California to ride it and write it up for VROC. That happened even before the dealer show. In a nutshell, they’d brought out some motorag writers in June and had them sign non-disclosure agreements saying they wouldn’t release any info until after the dealer show in September, but a Canadian website published some pretty insulting, albeit untrue, things about the bike in the beginning of July. The internet was buzzing, including VROC.

They decided that they’d bring me out and let me ride it with the understanding that I’d give it an honest write-up, call it as I see it. They were confident that I’d like it. This was pretty unprecedented. I went out, rode it for the weekend and did the write-up, mostly complimentary ’cause it was mostly a good bike.

Anyway, the biggest rap on the Streak was the lack of power. So…..a couple of years later, after I’d taken some surveys in VROC about what they wanted in a new cruiser, I decided to take the VROC requests and roll them into a bike. I wrote up another story about Kaw bringin’ me out west again, this time to ride their soon to be introduced “power-cruiser”. I decided to name it the “Rogue” since that was the personality I’d given it. Doesn’t hang with the pack, doesn’t necessarily work and play well with others, kinda goes it’s own way. It had a belt drive, lotsa power, big inches, seamless tank, softail frame, etc. People ate it up. ‘Course I had to admit I’d made it up, none of it was true. I caught a lot of shit for that one, but all in good humor.

About 8 months later, the rumors started and then the leaks came, Kaw had a new power cruiser. It was at Eureka Springs as a “look but don’t ride” bike, and at Daytona the same way. I was talkin’ to some of the engineers and marketeers at Daytona about how much I liked it and they said I should, it’s the bike that VROC asked for. It was also called the “VN2000”, which was about a bland a name for an exciting bike we’d ever heard. We all decided that the “Rogue” was a far more appropriate name for the bike, especially considering that the personality was fitting. I think Wiliedog was one of the first to put it pretty simply, “I don’t care what Kawasaki calls it, I’m buyin’ the “Rogue.” This bike really wasn’t gonna be part of the pack. I rode it in November, a pre-production model, and decided it really WAS a Rogue. I wrote it up for VROC and posted it that week, and the lust that had started with people seeing it, grew once they heard how it rode.

Thus was born the “Rogue.” Understand that I’m not sayin’ for a minute that my “Rogue” story back in the beginning of ’03 had anything to do with the development of the bike, the timing is way wrong for that. I’m just saying that my story about the “VROC” bike was close to the bike Kawasaki already had in the works. We were all looking for the same bike.


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Matthew Dragiff

A Goldwing rider from Jacksonville, FL.

3 thoughts to “How the Rogue Got Its Name”

  1. Had a Goldwing and found it ok for long trips but has its own set of factory problems like popping out of gear.

    My 2006 Vulcan 2000 makes a large bang shifting gears like a Harley, any fix to this?


    1. My ‘Wing has been absolutely trouble free. What year was yours? My Vulcan2000 also made a noticeably clunking sound when shifting, but I never had any problems with it. I think it’s just inherent in the design.

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