2014 Kawasaki Vulcan



Remember 1984? That’s the year Apple launched its Macintosh computer during the Super Bowl and Kawasaki introduced the Vulcan 750 cruiser (as a 1985 model), giving birth to a model line that’s still going strong today, three decades later. Vulcans are available in three sizes, powered by a 1,700cc V-twin (Voyager and Vaquero; the Nomad has been discontinued), a 903cc V-twin (Custom, Classic and Classic LT) or a 649cc parallel twin (the new-for-2015 Vulcan S).

The Vulcan 900 Custom ($8,499) is a blacked-out street rod, the Classic ($7,999) has traditional cruiser styling with floorboards, chrome exhaust pipes and wire-spoke wheels, and the Classic LT ($8,999) adds a windshield, saddlebags and a passenger backrest. Kawasaki left prices unchanged for 2015, but colors are new. Our 2014 Classic LT test bike wears Metallic Spark Black/Metallic Titanium two-tone paint, and Candy Mystic Blue/Pearl Crystal White is also available; for 2015, the only choice is Metallic Carbon Gray/Metallic Spark Black.

A single-pin crankshaft gives the Vulcan’s liquid-cooled 903cc 55-degree V-twin a nice rumble, a gear-driven counterbalancer reduces vibration and a belt sends power to the rear wheel. On Jett Tuning’s dyno, the Kawasaki produced a broad spread of torque that peaked at 52.0 lb-ft at 3,400 rpm, and horsepower rose linearly to 46.0 at 5,600 rpm. The Kawasaki’s 5.3-gallon tank is the largest in this test, and based on our 47.7-mpg average, it has the longest range at 253 miles.