Kawasaki wants first time cruiser buy­ers to have a good time. And the Vul­can S of­fers bags full of it


A Ja­panese naked street bike in Amer­i­can cruiser cloth­ing. Seems like an in­ter­est­ing idea

KAWASAKI SAYS THAT YOU must ‘let the good times roll’ and that is what re­flects in its prod­ucts, be it the Nin­jas or the leg­endary ZX-10 or the ma­ni­a­cal H2R. How­ever, when a Ja­panese bike­maker tries to do things the Amer­i­can (read laid­back) way, it doesn’t al­ways go well, does it? That is one of the rea­sons why none of the other Ja­panese bike­mak­ers have launched a mid­dleweight cruiser in the coun­try yet. Can the Vul­can S beat the Amer­i­cans at their own game? This Kwacker re­ally does have the po­ten­tial. Let us find out why.

The Vul­can S isn’t a new prod­uct from the ground up but a cruiser form of the now de­funct ER-6N or the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion Ninja 650. And it is very un­like a cruiser, yet is more cruiser-ish than the Har­ley-David­son Street 750, its clos­est ri­val. It looks the part for sure, with its wide stance and long wheel­base. The raked out front and ape han­dle­bars give away its lazy in­tent. The foot­pegs are mid-set but can be moved rear­ward or for­ward, de­pend­ing on the rider’s choice. The matte dark theme runs through the body parts and that shot­gun like, low-slung ex­haust. Wish it also had the sound­track to go with the theme.

The 649cc, liq­uid-cooled en­gine makes 60bhp and 63Nm and is re­tuned for bet­ter low and mid-range torque. The power de­liv­ery is very lin­ear; how­ever, the en­gine’s char­ac­ter is typ­i­cal of a par­al­lel twin. The main ac­tion be­gins af­ter 6000rpm and it cleanly pulls all the way to 10,000rpm. Fit that onto a sport tourer and it’d make per­fect sense and that is the rea­son be­hind the Ninja 650’s suc­cess. But how does it fare on a full blown cruiser like the Vul­can S? Not well. In fact, the en­gine is the only chink in this ‘cruiser’s Ja­panese ar­mour. Hope you’re lis­ten­ing Kawsaki.

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