Kawasaki announces Vulcan S

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As predicted, Kawasaki has unveiled a new mid-sized cruiser based around their 649 cc parallel twin.

A few weeks ago, rumours started swirling after photos circulated around the Internet, showing a bike built around Kawasaki’s 649 cc twin, but sporting forward controls. Everyone knows the 650 Versys and Ninja 650 ain’t built for forward controls, so the guess was that Kawasaki was about to revisit their history and once again power a cruiser with a liquid-cooled motor from their Ninja lineup.

Many readers will remember the Vulcan 500, another bike from Team Green’s history that followed this pattern, with savvy owners using its power to embarrass riders on cruisers with more displacement along the way …

Now Kawasaki has built another cruiser with a Ninja motor, the Vulcan S. The motor has a few tweaks that change power delivery from the Ninja and Versys platforms (revised intake system, new camshaft profiles). It still has a six-speed gearbox, but there’s no word as to whether any ratios have been revised.

The chassis is similar to the new Versys 650, but there’s more rake and the wheelbase is longer, for a more traditional cruiser stance. However, unlike most traditional cruisers, there’s a single rear laydown monoshock in back, like you’d find on the Versys and Ninja. That monoshock is adjustable for preload, with 80 mm of travel. The 41 mm front forks (standard telescopic units) have 130 mm of travel.

There are two different seats for this cruiser, in an attempt to make it easier to achieve optimal fit. Both seats are 706 mm high, even though one offers more legroom, while the other makes it easier for shorter riders to reach the controls.

There’s only a single 300 mm disc brake in front, with dual-piston caliper. There’s a 250 mm disc brake in back, and ABS seems to be standard for Canada

Other details: There’s a 120/70 R18 tire in front and a 160/60 R17 tire in back; wet weight is 226 kg with ABS. Fuel capacity is 14 litres. From their Canadian website, it seems Kawasaki will offer the bike in green/black, purple and black for our market. MSRP will be $7,999 here.


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