Kawasaki has just announced the new Kawasaki Vulcan S, a 650cc cruiser that’s based on the ER6 platform (ER6-n, Ninja 650, Versys 650) and will be released in the United States and Europe. Bikes like this are always tricky, especially in the United States where if you own a cruiser, you’re almost (unfortunately) expected to buy a Harley-Davidson. It’s also not the best market for learner bikes either, which the Vulcan S could be used for in some regions (albeit in a slightly detuned form).
Kawasaki’s ER6 range is a fairly solid if now somewhat aging platform, but the parallel twin engine is a solid and willing unit. It’s supposedly been modified for better low and mid-range performance, which seems slightly unnecessary as the engine was already pretty suited to that task. For myself who isn’t much of a cruiser fan, I gotta say I like the look. It’s modern looking without losing the cruiser style, with clean lines and a nice choice of colors – though I think the front light lets it down (a Kawasaki trait).
In addition to bringing the engine across from the ER6 bikes, it also brings their weight issues across – it’s a heavy bike given its output, weighing 500 lb with ABS. Sadly, that’s lightest bike in the class, which goes to show how poorly the market is catered for. It will retail for $7,399 and will be available in January/February of 2015.
Full press release below:
The 2015 Vulcan® S is a unique motorcycle that could only be a Kawasaki. It combines the low silhouette of a Vulcan cruiser and mixes it with Kawasaki sportbike-derived power and handling, as well as a custom fit concept, designed to comfortably fit a wide range of riders. The result is a package that offers comfort, confidence and adjustability, which combine to provide a very special riding experience.
The 2015 Vulcan S is the only motorcycle in its class with standard adjustable, forward-positioned footpegs, allowing a range of riders to get comfortable. It also has a low seat height, as well as optional seats and handlebar for the same reason. Furthermore, it boasts the lowest weight of any motorcycle in the category, and we all know what that means – easier to maneuver, quicker acceleration, easier to stop, quicker to turn and smooth suspension action.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 2015 KAWASAKI VULCAN S:
- Low cruiser design, narrow chassis and comfortable, tapered seat make it easy to reach the ground in stop-and-go city traffic
- Full tailored fit concept allows the motorcycle to fit a range of riders
- Lightest motorcycle in its class, smooth suspension
- Standard ABS brakes (ABS model only) for greater confidence
- Cruiser appeal with modern Kawasaki power and handling
- Proven 649cc, parallel twin engine provides smooth power delivery
- Standard adjustable footpegs to suit a range of riders, with Kawasaki Genuine Accessories seats and handlebar options to further tailor the fit
- Full range of Kawasaki Genuine Accessories to customize the motorcycle
Another stand out element of the 2015 Vulcan S is its 649cc liquid-cooled parallel twin engine. Derived from the Kawasaki Ninja®650 and tuned for more low- and mid-range torque, the engine is very smooth when pulling away from a traffic light and responsive when the rider wants to accelerate. This makes it suitable for novice riders, while its top-end power and nimble handling will keep more experienced riders entertained all day.
COMFORT & CONFIDENCE
There are many aspects that can influence the comfort and confidence of a motorcycle rider, and one of the most obvious is the fit. So, first and foremost, the 2015 Vulcan S has been designed to accommodate a wide range of riders.
Being a cruiser-style motorcycle, the seat has a low height and is conveniently tapered at the front for greater comfort. This means most riders will be able to place their feet firmly on the ground, keeping them stable when stopped, and helping to increase confidence in stop-and-go city traffic. What’s more, there is significant hip support at the rear of the seat to increase the level of comfort. And there are tailored fit options with different seats and handlebar to ensure a comfortable fit for a range of riders.
The 2015 Vulcan S has a slim chassis thanks to the narrow parallel twin engine, which has it engine cylinders positioned further forward than a conventional V-twin engine. The parallel twin configuration also enabled engineers to route the exhaust under the engine and away from the rider’s legs. A further benefit of the slim chassis is an increased lean angle when cornering.
The 2015 Vulcan S suspension has been designed to absorb the bumps and give the rider feedback.
Kawasaki Genuine Accessories has several options to tailor the motorcycle to fit individual riders. The optional Ergo-Fit™ reduced reach seat, for example, moves the hip support further forward, making it easier for riders with a shorter inseam to reach the adjustable footpegs and handlebar. There is also a second optional Ergo-Fit extended reach seat with firmer foam that moves the hip support further back to accommodate taller riders.
For the rider who wants to take a friend along, the Vulcan S is even more customizable thanks to the optional Kawasaki Genuine Accessories passenger seat, backrest and passenger footpeg setup that will accommodate a second person.
The rider’s forward-positioned footpegs are mounted in a relaxed position that is typical of the cruiser riding experience. As an industry first for this class of motorcycle, these footpegs have three positions to accommodate a variety of different-sized riders. With an adjustment range of 1” forward and 1” backwards from the mid mounting points, the footpegs will be able to suit shorter or taller riders for maximum confidence and comfort. Please note that Kawasaki Genuine Accessory Ergo-Fit shift rods are required when the footpegs are repositioned.
It doesn’t stop there. Kawasaki Genuine Accessories also offers an Ergo-Fit reduced reach handlebar to help riders with shorter arms to comfortably reach the bar, which is brought 1” closer to the rider.
When combined with the low seat height, adjustable footpegs and range of accessory options, the 2015 Vulcan S ABS has been designed to instill confidence and increase the overall riding enjoyment, making it a good choice for novice and experienced riders alike.
Continuing with the tailored fit theme of the 2015 Vulcan S, both the clutch and brake levers are adjustable for easy reach to suit a range of hand sizes. The rider will also appreciate the Positive Neutral Finder, which makes it easier to find neutral when stopped.
The handlebar has a wide diameter for a positive feel and is rubber-mounted to reduce vibration and increase overall comfort.
The instrumentation consists of a compact analog tachometer with a multifunction dual-window. The digital display features speed, fuel level, clock, odometer, dual trip meters, range, average and instant fuel economy as well as an Economical Riding Indicator to show when the rider is optimizing fuel economy.
The liquid-cooled 649cc parallel twin engine is another important aspect of the 2015 Vulcan S. It brings many distinct advantages, which includes its Kawasaki sportbike DNA that enables superb flexibility at all engine speeds, a healthy power band and legendary dependability. It is also considerably smoother than the traditional V-twin engines used in most cruisers.
For the 2015 Vulcan S, the engine has been engineered specifically to make it cruiser-friendly and to inspire confidence in new riders, while still being fun and agile for experienced riders. There has been specific tuning to the camshaft profiles, intake funnel length, throttle body spacer and air intake to provide exceptional low- and mid-range power delivery. The aim was to create an engine with user-friendly characteristics that ensure the motorcycle is easy to ride, with a smooth power delivery that is responsive to rider inputs at low speed. It also has enough grunt at higher RPM to keep it entertaining, being considerably more powerful than most cruisers, without becoming intimidating.
Thanks to its use of Digital Fuel Injection (DFI®) to carefully meter the fuel used by the 649cc engine, the 2015 Vulcan S will sip fuel, providing more miles and smiles between fuel stops while also being kinder to your wallet. The motorcycle boasts a 3.7-gallon fuel tank to give plenty of range between stops.
The exhaust system has been routed under the engine to keep the motorcycle narrow for easy reach to the ground. It uses dual-wall pipe with a large diameter that is designed to look good and sound even better, having a distinctive growl that separates it from the typical cruiser.
The six-speed transmission drives an O-ring chain to efficiently transfer engine power to the road. It also has a Kawasaki Positive Neutral Finder, that allows you to simply upshift from first when stopped to select neutral every time.
With its cruiser appeal, the 2015 Vulcan S is long and low, with a wheelbase designed for increased stability at typical highway cruising speeds. And Kawasaki brought its sportbike expertise to create the slim, lightweight chassis that has a low center of gravity and centralized mass for even greater stability as well as nimble handling. These benefits will be felt as soon as you maneuver it out of the garage or in a tight space, but will be most appreciated on a Sunday morning ride.
The new perimeter frame adds to the unique styling of the 2015 Vulcan S and incorporates a rear subframe with slim backbone that eliminates seat rails. By keeping the motorcycle narrow, it helps the rider’s feet reach the ground more easily. There is also a “D” section steel swingarm that provides both style and strength.
The 31-degree rake and 7.1” trail of the front fork contribute to the light handling and easy control of the motorcycle, with the fork prioritized towards comfort and control. Similarly, the laydown, offset rear shock uses a back-link to provide a longer stroke for increased comfort. This setup also creates more space for the exhaust muffler.
The suspension was designed to absorb bumps and provide plenty of feedback. In fact, it has 3.15” of rear wheel travel, which is more than most of its competitors and this contributes to the greater comfort.
The rear shock also includes a seven-position, cam-style preload adjuster. It can be easily adjusted to suit the rider or when carrying a passenger and luggage, such as when the Kawasaki Genuine Accessories passenger components and luggage rack are fitted. This means the 2105 Vulcan S rider will enjoy confidence thanks to its suspension technology that is neither rough nor fatiguing, as it can sometimes be on motorcycles with short-travel suspension.
The 2015 Vulcan S is fitted with stylish cast wheels that feature a five-spoke design with twin spokes. These measure 18” front, 17” rear and exemplify cruiser style. The wheels are fitted with modern, high-performance radial tires to provide responsive handling.
The brakes comprise a single 300mm rotor and twin-piston caliper up front, with a 250mm rotor mated to a single-piston rear caliper. The Vulcan S ABS model also adds anti-lock braking (ABS) technology, which adds to the rider confidence in the motorcycle’s stopping ability because it assists braking under certain conditions.
As with any cruiser, style is very important, and the 2015 Vulcan S doesn’t disappoint. It incorporates elements such as the teardrop-shaped, 3.7-gallon fuel tank, inverted triangular headlight and black mirrors to match the black frame and exhaust muffler.
The distinctive front headlight design works in conjunction with a bright and compact LED tail light. The rear light is incorporated into the rear fender, which is supported by the separate rear subframe.
The 2015 Vulcan S will be available in three distinctive colors, including Candy Lime Green as well as Pearl Crystal White and Flat Ebony.
Kawasaki Genuine Accessories has developed a host of options to maximize the ownership experience of the 2015 Vulcan S. Owners can customize the fit, comfort and style of their motorcycle to meet their needs. Some of the standout items include Ergo-Fit™ seats and the Ergo-Fit reduced reach handlebar to tailor-fit the rider fit. Additionally, KQR™ (Kawasaki Quick Release) large and medium windshields, saddlebags and passenger backrest options allow for tool-less installation and removal of these classic cruiser accessories.
Other notable accessories include a DC power outlet, gear position indicator, LED light bar and helmet lock.
Kawasaki Genuine Accessories will have more than 25 parts available for purchase at your Kawasaki dealerships in early 2015.
TIME TO RIDE
With its unique blend of cruiser style and sportbike performance, as well as its customizable fit that instills greater confidence in the rider, there is only one thing left to do: Ride!
With its affordable purchase price, low running costs and easy parking, the 2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S is the perfect motorcycle for any rider to get across the city to meet friends. And while it has plenty of practical uses, the 2015 Vulcan S is fun, above anything else. It allows you to drop everything at a moment’s notice and take-off with a smile. So whether you’re a new rider looking to buy a first motorcycle, or an experienced rider looking to rekindle the reason you started riding in the first place, the 2015 Vulcan S is the perfect reason to visit your local Kawasaki dealer.
2015 Kawasaki Vulcan® S ABS
Features and Benefits
- Comfortable, cruiser riding position with forward-positioned footpegs
- Adjustable footpegs to suit a range of riders are unique in this class
- Low seat height increases rider confidence
- Optional Ergo-Fit™ reduced reach seat and handlebar as well as extended reach seat
- Narrow perimeter frame and engine
- ABS braking system as standard (ABS model only)
- Proven 649cc parallel twin engine tuned for torque and responsiveness, with Ninja® 650 DNA for smooth power delivery and high-RPM grunt
- Adjustable rear suspension to increase comfort or compensate for a passenger and/or luggage
- Large number of optional Kawasaki Genuine Accessories available including Ergo-Fit™ seats and handlebar, leather saddlebags with KQR™ (Kawasaki Quick Release) mounting system, larger windshields, helmet lock, passenger seat, DC power socket for mobile devices, gear position indicator, etc
Smooth, Torquey, 649cc Parallel Twin Engine
- Liquid-cooled, DOHC, eight-valve fuel-injected twin cylinder engine derived from the Kawasaki Ninja® 650 sportbike
- Engine delivers smooth, responsive performance, especially in the low- to medium-RPM range thanks to Vulcan S-specific tuning of the camshaft profiles, intake funnels, air intake, throttle body, exhaust and ECU
- Increased flywheel mass makes the Vulcan S easier to pull away from a stop
- Strong mid-range power produces exceptional roll-on response and impressive passing performance
- A 180-degree crankshaft-driven balancer shaft minimizes vibration and pulls double-duty as the water pump drive
- Oil jets on the connecting rod big-ends spray oil on the underside of the pistons to aid cooling
- Lightweight plug-mounted ignition coils deliver a hot spark and save space
- High-capacity radiator for optimum cooling efficiency
- Engine coolant travels directly to the engine cases, then follows internal passages to the cylinder and head for minimum external plumbing and a simplified cooling system
Digital Fuel Injection
- Digital Fuel Injection (DFI®) settings boost the engine’s bottom-end power while still letting it rev freely
- Sub-throttle valve-equipped 38mm Keihin throttle bodies offer optimum performance and smooth throttle response
- Lightweight fuel pump is mounted inside the fuel tank
Six-speed Transmission / Final Drive
- 6-speed transmission with chain drive
- Positive Neutral Finder allows the rider to easily find neutral when stopped
- 5-position clutch and brake lever adjustment to tailor lever reach
- Single 300mm front rotor with twin-piston caliper
- Single 250mm rear rotor with single-piston caliper
- ABS fitted as standard (Vulcan S ABS model only)
- High-tensile steel perimeter frame with slim rear subframe backbone, no seat rails
- “D” section steel swingarm
- Long wheelbase to increase stability at freeway speeds
- Separate subframe supports rear fender
- Narrow frame allows generous lean angles
- 31-degree rake, 7.1” trail
- 41mm telescopic front fork contributes to the comfort, light handling and easy control
- Laydown, offset rear shock with back-link to provide longer stroke for increased comfort, with 15” of travel
- Rear shock has seven-position, cam-style preload adjuster to compensate for a passenger, luggage or to suit the riding style
Wheels and Tires
- Cruiser-style 5” front, 17×5.5” rear cast alloy wheels with twin-5-spoke design
- 120/70 R18 front, 160/60 R17 rear tires
Styling and Bodywork
- Teardrop-shaped, 3.7-gallon fuel tank
- Inverted triangular headlight, rounded turn signals
- Compact LED tail light
- Black mirrors, frame and muffler
- Available in Candy Lime Green, Pearl Crystal White or Flat Ebony
- Comfortable cruiser-style riding position with forward-positioned footpegs
- Low seat height
- Seat is tapered at the front to help rider’s feet reach the ground
- Seat is sculpted at the rear for increase comfort
- Slim chassis and narrow parallel twin engine
- Standard adjustable footpegs are unique in this class
- Adjustable footpegs can be mounted 1” forward or 1” backwards from the standard mounting point to suit a wide range of riders
- Optional Kawasaki Genuine Accessories “Ergo-Fit” seats and handlebar for a range of riders
Warranty / Kawasaki Protection Plus
- Standard 12 month warranty
- Optional 12, 24, 36 or 48 month KPP available
- Kawasaki Genuine Accessories are available through your local authorized Kawasaki dealer. They include the following:
- Ergo-Fit™ reduced reach seat and handlebar for shorter riders
- Ergo-Fit extended reach seat for taller riders
- KQR™ (Kawasaki Quick Release) large and medium windshields for improved wind protection
- Passenger seat, KQR passenger backrest and footpegs to accommodate a rear passenger
- Ergo-Fit extended reach passenger seat for taller passengers
- KQR leather saddlebags and brackets
- luggage racks
- clutch cover plate, clutch cover mark and tank decal for added style
- helmet lock
- DC power outlet to power personal devices
- LED light bar for extra illumination
- gear position indicator