RideApart Review: 2013 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom RideApart

2 Апр 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи RideApart Review: 2013 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom RideApart отключены
Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Nomad
Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Nomad

RideApart Review: 2013 Vulcan 900 Custom

It’s to believe Kawasaki’s Vulcan has around for almost 30 years. In time it has developed a loyal and following. Today Kawasaki’s selling cruiser is its entry-level 900 Custom.

We thought it was time to out why it’s so popular and if it really is a alternative to Harley-Davidson’s Sportster.


Back in 1984, the Vulcan 750 was first ever American-styled cruiser and it spawned a whole of motorcycles (Mean Streak, Classic, Nomad and Voyager) all on the same cruiser/tourer theme engines ranging from right up to 2,000cc.

Fast to 2013 and Kawasaki’s Vulcan is going strong. Today an eight model line up up of cruisers and tourers – three v-twins and five 1,700cc All of them though bear an resemblance to those bikes come from Milwaukee and in its Vulcan 900 Custom, which on at least, squares up to the Harley Sportster.

And like the H-D, not a lot has in recent years on this v-twin Kawasaki. It got a slight in 2006 with an engine increase from 800 to 903cc since then, it has continued on its way only minor cosmetic for each new model year.

For you get a choice of two paint colors – Flat Platinum Grey a Kawasaki ‘green stripe’ orm in the case of our test bike, Flat Stardust White Flat Ebony. Who thinks up color names? It’s a fancy way of saying the bike is black and white.

Biggest on the Vulcan? The badges used on the for the bike’s name. They awful and if this was our motorcycle would be the first things to go.

Not it says, “Vulcan Custom” that the stickers look something you’d normally on grocery packaging.

That on first inspection the Vulcan is actually quite a good-looking even if it is a mass-produced cruiser. And easy to see why some people confuse it with a Harley-Davidson as are several similar design such as the shape of the gas tank, the rear wheel and the blacked out and flat black, slashed pipes.

Up front, there’s a 21-inch front wheel with a ‘pizza cutter’ tire. with the slim 41mm forks, it gives the Vulcan a front end. There’s of travel in the forks and, the skinny front tire, it well and gives a lot of direct to the rider.

It’s a shame, that Kawasaki has not tidied up the cables around the bars a better instead of using odd fastenings to bunch them all But, to route them all the bars, which is what expect to find on a true bike, that would the Vulcan Custom’s price up. Kawasaki therefore is really a bike in name only.

we do like the fact that has tried to capture the street

stripped down image at an price. And, in places, been done really such as the gas tank’s shape and the front fender. But, the is that this minimalist leaves the Vulcan Custom’s and oil cooler much more and even more noticeable you look at the bike head on.

The ‘bobber style’ headlight is executed too and fits in well the ‘street custom’ look as do the handlebars with eight risers that are well and bring everything within reach of the rider.

The Vulcan’s position is terrific. At 27-inches, everyone will have no getting both feet on the at a stop. Vertically challenged may struggle a bit with the Vulcan’s forward controls but there is a of after market accessories out so you should be able to set-up the exactly how you want it.

At the rear, got a solid-look, cast 15-inch with a 180mm tire. And like a Sportster, the Vulcan a little too to high with a big gap the top of the rear wheel and fender. of that is due to the hardtail look Kawasaki has tried to achieve by a concealed Unitrak swingarm and suspension layout.

The spring can be adjusted at seven and there is an adequate 4.1-inches of Combine that with the forks and this is a sensible set up on the It’s not the most dynamic of but, for a learner or inexperienced they will find the confidence inspiring, smooth and agile.

At 610lbs the Vulcan does sit in the middleweight cruiser And although it weighs 28lbs than a Harley Davidson it feel top heavy like a The Vulcan has 903cc, four-…, cooled, SOHC, four per cylinder v-twin, that’s mounted low down in the bike’s cradle steel frame.

doesn’t issue engine output figures but we’d there’s around 50hp but is an official torque figure of of torque at 3,500rpm. None of is tarmac-ripping performance, but it’s to hustle the Vulcan around quickly without any problems.

One of the of the Vulcan is its super smooth, transmission. It’s far better some of the real clonkers experienced on other bikes. drive is via the traditional cruiser set up of a to the rear wheel.

Partly as a exercise and to maintain the stripped feel on this Kawasaki, a lot of the is very simple and straight The brakes are in this category A single two-piston 300mm up front and a 270mm at the rear. work well enough on a bike that we think has appeal for learner or new riders, the could be a whole lot better, precise and with better

This could be done by adopting twin front or just larger diameter front and rear.

Kawasaki skimped on the Vulcan’s fuel capacity. At 5.3-gallons, which is than any Sportster, and at an estimated you should be able to ride than 200 miles between

One of the biggest plus points for the Vulcan is that it’s a bike. On a cruiser you really need a lot of equipment or fancy to make it an enjoyable ride. is often more.

The Vulcan’s broad seat, labeled gunfighter’ by Kawasaki, is really For this rider the small support worked really and you’ve got a reasonable amount of to move about when on the go. There’s a small squab for a and a pair of foot pegs.

But doesn’t look quite so and, whoever was last on the of our test bike left nail polish where had clearly tried to hang on to the strap.

We really liked the low seat position and the way the bars are set up, everything closer to the rider. It take long to get to grips this bike, as it’s an motorcycle and really straight Just swing a leg over and it.

The five-speed transmission is one of the best we experienced on a bike of this Smooth, precise and a lot fun to use. nothing to be scoffed at either the Vulcan’s relatively small v-twin.

Low down it’s and delivers its modest amount of in a linear way. It gets a buzzy at the top end if you really start to on hard.

Out on the road, the Vulcan’s light weight and good set-up makes it a comfortable It will do whatever you ask of it. It’s and smooth thanks in part to a long wheelbase (64.8-inches) and compliant suspension settings.

In corners, it leans over and you can ride it smoothly and quickly having to think too much. corners are no issue either despite that skinny up front, you get a really good feedback through the bars all the

In rush hour traffic the squeezes easily between and is quick off the line at a stop Clutch and brakes are easy to use and really no hardship riding bike around town. It ask a lot from you as a rider to keep it

That doesn’t mean not involving. It’s just not a motorcycle to ride.

Like capacity v-twin motorcycles you can on and off the Vulcan’s throttle reasonably Low down it pulls well and is very little vibration. It starts to get a bit buzzy and fussy 65mph and in actual fact probably do with an additional gear, instead of the five-speed to act as an overdrive.

The Vulcan Custom may not be the motorcycle out there but it feels and solid whether you’re on the or cruising a side road. You do feel pretty exposed in traffic as there’s no screen or so you’re open to buffeting and winds, which can make the wander around a little. You wouldn’t want to ride bike for hundreds of miles on the

We mentioned the brakes before. are not a disaster and, while do the job of pulling the Vulcan up, we have far better on other bikes. Key for this to be our number one choice as a new cruiser would be for Kawasaki to a better braking system. as it stands you’ll learn quickly how to ride with the set-up.

It’s just we think it could be improved.

In with the Vulcan theme of things simple, instrumentation is too. The speedometer is mounted on the gas along with three lights (neutral indicator, signals and headlamp beam). the speedo is clear and easy for a to read the three others are on impossible to see in daylight.

Other that, the Kawasaki Vulcan exactly what it says on the It’s a simple, likeable

Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Nomad

For close to 30 years, the Kawasaki has quietly carved itself a in the market. Clearly those who bought one knew they onto something good.

It’s not hard to see why Kawasaki’s selling Vulcan model is the Sure, it’s not going to to everyone but as a sensible alternative to down to your nearest to buy a Sportster as your first this Kawasaki makes good arguments. It’s and fun to ride.

And to our eyes it’s not a bad bike, at a reasonable price.

The are not the best. They are not terrible It’s just that could be better, particularly if the 900’s appeal lies novice rider who we think appreciate a bit more stopping

Overall build quality is on this Kawasaki but there’s a few cost saving items the wire clamps used for down the cables on the handlebars.

The tank badges. Kawasaki to ditch the cheap sticker on the gas for something that truly 30 years of Vulcan heritage.

We looked at how you would do some maintenance on the Vulcan. An oil change like it could be quite consuming. The filter is stashed behind the oil cooler and radiator and not impossible to get to, there are some that would have to be before getting anywhere the filter.

You wouldn’t have problem on a Harley-Davidson Sportster.


At $9,199 the Kawasaki Vulcan sits right in Harley-Davidson For $7,999 you could consider entry level Sportster It has some nice retro but is only available in black.

Or the Sportster Low-Rider at $8,099 the larger engined Sportster starts at $10,499.

And, of there are Triumphs and similar to the Vulcan out there available the other Japanese manufacturers. But if in the market for your first we would suggest you do all your first and don’t go straight to the Harley-Davidson dealership. There are options to consider that are as as good such as this and it’s worth trying all to find the bike that you.

What Others Say

“With looks-particularly in the blacked-out SE trim some additional accessories-and that may catch folks on bikes flatfooted, the Kawasaki 900 Custom SE is not only an alternative to mid-size bikes, it is also of consideration by anyone who values as much as style.” — Ultimate

The Verdict

We have looked at of the websites set up for Vulcan owners who love their bikes and hear a bad word said them. They don’t about anything from but do want a motorcycle that is well built, and reasonably After nearly 30 years, it the Vulcan is still ticking all boxes.

But, is it actually than a Harley-Davidson Sportster? On of levels it is. The Vulcan is nicely put and is probably a more rewarding But it’s a case of horses for

People will still go out and buy a rather than look at else. So the Vulcan is never to be a serious threat to Harley-Davidson sales

And, like the the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom is no breaking motorcycle. It’s not fast nor does it have a ton of or technology. But that on this we think is a good thing.

As a cruiser for a new rider you’ll be pressed to find anything that’s as comfortable or as easy to

Ride Apart Rating .

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