Although Kawasaki has been promoting their H2 superbike with a seemingly endless torrent of marketing videos in the last few months, the supercharged sportbike isn’t their only new model.
Kawasaki unveiled the new Vulcan S cruiser at the AIME show; it didn’t get the fanfare of the the H2R’s Intermot launch, but it’s an interesting move back into the company’s history. While everyone says they want that sportbike and its kajillion-rpm redline, real-world usability might be a bit low, and the price tag will certainly prohibit many from ownership.
On the other hand, bikes like the Vulcan S might not be sexy, muscular or even particularly cool (although the hipster-laden marketing – shades of Yamaha and Royal Enfield! – below seems like they are trying to spruce up the Vulcan’s image). But if you want a reliable cruiser that’s still relatively nimble with a good power-to-weight ration, the mid-sized cruisers Japan built around repurposed engines have always been a good bet.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Vulcan fares once it hit markets. The success of the Yamaha Bolt showed there’s still a market for a well-designed Japanese cruiser. The real question is, has the resurgence of bad-biker television (cough cough, Sons of Anarchy, cough cough) killed the market for cruisers without V-twin motors? Judging by the marketing below, it seems Kawasaki’s betting younger, hipper buyers will show interest.