2004 Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 — Road Test & Review — Motorcyclist Online

10 Июн 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи 2004 Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 — Road Test & Review — Motorcyclist Online отключены
Kawasaki KD 80 M

Kawasaki’s new 2053cc Vulcan is the biggest V-twin, but does make it the best?

The Verdict

8 Smooth, big torquey—but no king.

7 Clunk, sometime balky

Handling: 8 Steers great, or fast.

Braking: 8 Harley should ride this.

7 Choppy rear needs travel.

In the never-ending race to the biggest V-twin, Kawasaki has fired a big-inch salvo the bows of the worthy oppositions’ cruisers. Imaginatively dubbed the 2000, this two-barreled displaces a full 2053cc of manhood. To put that in perspective, cylinder displaces more the whole engine of Kawasaki’s new literbike.

Why so big? Well, that’s what V-twin riders want. They the look, the feel and the bragging of having the biggest one on the block—and if do it with their motorcycle, don’t have to risk drugs, enhancement surgery or annoying indecent-exposure charges.


The Kawasaki folk on about consumer testing and groups, by way of explaining the design and styling cues of the Vulcan But one look at it tells the tale than any focus group: The told ’em to make it like a Harley-Davidson. And Kawasaki did so right down to the twin-cam, valve actuation, separate-looking cases, hardtail/softail rear end and final drive.

It has a big-guy, look all its own—but if the badge on the said Harley rather Vulcan, nobody would too surprised.

The Vulcan 2000 was and a half years in development, from the start to be the biggest V-twin—King of the Cruisers, as Kawasaki it. But this would entail more than a bore and job on an existing engine. The Vulcan is all from stem to stern.

The 52-degree, way-undersquare engine was with a nearly normal, bore, but a huge 123.3mm Those Harley-esque pushrods a somewhat-less-Harley-like four valves per Even so, the intake valves are a 40mm in diameter, the exhausts across. The cylinder heads and the top of the cylinders are cooled by water, is cooled, in turn, by an unobtrusive radiator snuggled between the downtubes.

Fuel is injected the dual 46mm throttle and computer-actuated sub-throttle plates, of the wrist-actuated throttles, give the system a CV-carb air-metering Roll-on power was crucial to the appeal, and the sub-throttles help the engine pulling at large openings and low revs. Dual one in front and one in back, soothe the and the one-pin, side-by-side crank the clamato, clamato cadence so by the V-twin faithful.


With such a long the engineers had to work hard to overall engine height to achieve the right look, an seat height and a parking-lot-friendly low of mass. This is one of the practical for the shorter, pushrod-actuated head—and a torque-monster engine designed to rev to 5250 rpm, pushrods work just as well as look. Hydraulic lash are built into the rocker making the engine pretty maintenance-free.

It’s also Kawasaki claims a crank-measured 141 of torque, at 3000 rpm, and 116 horsepower at 5000 rpm.

The Vulcan shaft is replaced by a and it’s not likely to be missed—the is lighter, smoother, reduces mass and is probably less Another capitulation to the forces of orthodoxy? Not so, say Kawasaki’s spokespeople—Kawasaki beat Harley to the toothed-rubber punch with the not-quite-legendary LTD, in 1980.

But wasn’t the first Harley, in belt-driven? Oh, bother. Time to hit the bar for a of our own.

Big Wheels Keep On

A big, bigger, biggest such as this would an equally stout chassis. And delivered, from the 49mm, fork, to a rigid, cast-steel head and swingarm pivot to the four-piston-caliper, 300mm front and two-piston, 320mm rear. is a stable-but-conservative 32 degrees, and triple with just a 10mm are designed to nail the compromise light, predictable steering at low and rock-solid stability at high

The rear suspension, with a 3.9 inches of travel, is controlled by a shock under the seat. adjustable for rebound and preload, but to the latter, you’ll need a tool—or a hammer and punch—to the shock body’s threaded Wheels are 16-inchers, and the rear at 200mm across, is said to be the tire yet offered on a production distinction the Vulcan will for at least a week if current in tire-width one-upmanship continue.

But as you might ask of a prospective date, she do?

Big Is As Big Does

If you didn’t grasp fully until now, pay attention: This thing is The long, 5.5-gallon tank is wide at the back, 16 inches at the forcing your legs in a way that only expectant can fully appreciate. The air-cleaner on the right, bumps into leg, but with your already splayed wantonly, the discomfort is minor.

The handlebar back, tiller-fashion, to bridge the of gleaming-chrome dashboard and fuel And the seat, at approximately 27 inches, is as low as but much firmer and more shaped than you might expected from such a laid-back, comfort-oriented machine. The the designers targeted is a 5-foot-10, male.

But for anyone taller, the seat out of room quickly at the back, you to sit more on your tailbone on your actual rump.

gave up a few things in its quest for a low height, and one of them was a seat the shape and padding to suit riders. It’s downright A computer-controlled compression release starting easy, and the big guy rumbles to with a surprisingly obtrusive and bark.

The Kawasaki press was staged at a quiet, tasteful resort hotel, and the sound of a or so Vulcans, being started and about at 6:30 a.m. wake-up calls for the snoozing other peace-loving hotel redundant.

The engine is all torque and no signing off for good at 5250 The rush of acceleration is solid, and gratifying, let there be no doubt. But as said many times about many big-inch cruisers, this thing is no

The short-winded engine, for all its low-rpm runs up quickly against its necessitating a quick shift to off the soft electronic rev limiter, and the of a tachometer makes this to gauge than it should be.


We find it ironic these XXL V-twins are designed, to be ridden free of the oppressive of excessive shifting. But the bigger get, the slower they making them, in some actually harder to ride. The folks talk about the wide powerband, but it’s not true—it just has a low, powerband.

A V-Max, or any self-respecting GT or will pull its stylized wings off in a 60—80-mph top-gear and happily keep going, in the of a ZX-12R or Hayabusa, to three the starting speed. Yes, to get acceleration, a smaller, higher-revving may need to be downshifted now and then. But a revver such as this, or any of its has to be upshifted at least as frequently, to keep from overrunning its operational range.

We know we’re getting way too here on a subject that is visceral and emotional in nature. But you’re trying to pass a and you have to bang a panicked or two just to keep accelerating, all the and visceral sensation in the world gonna help ya.

The heel-toe and footboards are a little awkward, and the is occasionally balky, at least for our left feet—it hung up in a time or two, and we find it’s hard to lift an foot and leg off the board to stomp our way the next higher gear, with redline (and a bread van) coming at us a runaway locomotive. We mostly the front half of the shifter, up to upshift as God and Kevin Schwantz

Kawasaki says the Vulcan accelerate harder in any one of its five than any other V-twin on the market. Hmmm. Yes, it more torque on our impartial dyno (121.4 foot at 3250 rpm) than any bike we’ve tested, or not.

But because of its low-revving it makes just 96.8 horsepower at its 5000-rpm peak. And it’s so hard to run it that because of the need to upshift 250 later, we usually found working around 3000 How much power does it at 3000 rpm?

Approximately 70 as much as a good-running Suzuki at its peak. Add the Vulcan’s massive, uh, wet weight is 820 pounds—and you’ve got a routine number of Clydesdales a very large beer

A Harley-Davison V-Rod, with 1130cc of displacement, shreds it in the the V-Rod running 11.31 at 114.95 mph vs. the Vulcan’s 12.43-second, performance. The V-Rod also it in a top-gear roll-on from 60 to 80 taking 4.05 seconds vs. the 4.10 seconds. Even VTX beats the Vulcan in the quarter-mile, at seconds and 107.48 mph—and right with it in the top-gear roll-on, at 4.12 seconds, 0.02 seconds behind.

And if you want to put the size-is-all-that-matters concept perspective, consider this: no cruiser, but the aforementioned SV650, a with less than a of the Vulcan’s displacement, runs about even in the quarter-mile, seconds at 104.76 mph.


The conservative geometry, low of mass and rigid chassis do their job admirably, making parking ballet moves predictable and painless. And as speed the chassis continues to steer just as smooth and predictable at over 100 mph as at 20 mph. Cornering is limited, with the footboards’ pads touching down even in ho-hum urban

But most of the guys who ride big-boy twins actually the sound of grinding metal—along the bark and rumble of the exhaust, kind of like riding own, personal Monster Put it this way—if the looks get you noticed, the cacophony of noises will.

Suspension action is on the smooth stuff, but sharp or seriously rumpled pavement can the rear shock’s limited and damping limits. Would a suspension setup, with than the Vulcan’s 3.9 inches of …, help here? You

Out on the open road (cue Steppenwolf equivalent), the Maximum is smooth, cooperative and generally livable. The seat hurts us, and often, but for shorter riders it may work just fine. And the waist up, everything’s copasetic: The big nacelle does a good job of and taming the airflow, and the long handlebar ends in the right and at the right angles, for everything downtown trolling to Interstate

The big mill pumps out approximately 36 mpg at a 80 mph, yielding an effective cruising range.

All in all, we the Vulcan 2000 more our niggling gripes would one believe. It’s a big, manly feeling motorcycle, as its intended, a sort of Mr. Toad’s Ride, but one developed and refined typical Japanese engineering and attention to detail. And a long at the engine might well be a into the future of Harley-Davidson, in

At some point, even Harley riders must tire of air-cooled, 75-horsepower no matter the size, and this far more than the fast, but un-Harley looking V-Rod, might have slipped under the Milwaukee chauvinists’ We’re not suggesting that will ever have any connection to any Japanese manufacturer—but somebody else is building trademark type of bike this kind of slick, style, big-inch motor, polish and generally satisfying any competitor would be wise to pay

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