While the Kawasaki Versys 650 and Versys 1000 got their time in the spotlight at INTERMOT earlier this month, Kawasaki released an all-new cruiser called the Vulcan S via a fairly quiet press release. However, that doesn't mean Kawasaki isn't serious about stealing Star Bolt customers.
The 2015 Vulcan S is an all-new motorcycle for 2015, pairing classic Vulcan looks with a version of the Ninja 650 motor to fill out the entry level of the cruiser offerings. While the move is unsurprising, the styling is a bit unexpected, considering the "Sportster look" has become so popular. I actually got a sneak peek at the Vulcan S a few weeks back, and it looks more mini-Diavel than anything else. That will set it apart from the pack. Whether in a good way or not is yet to be seen.
Throughout the press release, Kawasaki focuses on this new Vulcan's appropriateness for a wide variety of riders, which, in non-PR speak, means it's designed for new riders and short riders — which is a good thing.
The Vulcan S uses a derivative of the Ninja 650 twin-cylinder engine, re-tuned for more low- and mid-range torque, and paired with a six-speed transmission to make it easier to pull away from a stop or navigate urban areas. While the Vulcan S definitely has a far different style, you can see the Ninja 650 parts in the frame and the offset, laid-down rear shock.
The slim chassis makes for a narrow-feeling motorcycle that should feel lighter than its 498-pound curb weight would indicate, and the seat is both low (27.8 inches) and tapered at the front, to make putting a leg down incredibly easy. If that doesn't make it inviting enough, Kawasaki Ergo-Fit parts are available to lengthen or shorten the reach to the bars or further raise or lower the seat. The brake lever and clutch are both adjustable to fit a variety of riders, and Kawasaki has even moved the exhaust pipes under the bike, to keep them out of they way of your feet.
Braking is handled by a single 300 mm rotor with a twin-piston caliper up front and a single 250 mm rear rotor with a single-piston caliper at the rear. ABS is available as a $400 addition to the Vulcan's $6,999 MSRP.
Which would you rather have, this or the Star Bolt?
2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S ABS
|Engine:||Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, parallel twin|
|Bore x stroke:||83 x 60mm|
|Fuel system:||DFI with two 38mm throttle bodies, with sub-throttles|
|Ignition:||TCBI with digital advance|
|Transmission:||Six-speed with positive neutral finder|
|Final drive:||Sealed chain|
|Frame:||High-tensile steel double pipe perimeter frame|
|Front suspension / wheel travel:||41mm telescopic fork / 5.1 inches|
|Rear suspension / wheel travel:||Lay-down offset rear shock with linkage and adjustable preload / 3.2 inches|
|Front brakes:||Single 300mm disc with twin-piston caliper, ABS|
|Rear brakes:||Single 250mm disc with single-piston caliper, ABS|
|Overall length:||91 inches|
|Overall width:||34.7 inches|
|Overall height:||43.3 inches|
|Ground clearance:||5.1 inches|
|Seat height:||27.8 inches|
|Curb weight:||498.3 pounds (wet)|
|Fuel capacity:||3.7 gallons|
|Colors:||Candy Lime Green, Pearl Crystal White or Flat Ebony|
|Warranty:||12-month limited warranty|