As one of the Vulcan series of cruisers that debuted during the 1990s, the Kawasaki Vulcan 800 reached its penultimate model year with the 2005 version. (Its manufacturer, heavy industry company Kawasaki, halted production in 2006). Unlike many other Vulcan variants, the Vulcan 800 in 2005 was offered in three different models. They consist of the regular Vulcan 800 (Vulcan Base), a slightly spruced-up model called the Vulcan Classic, and the top-level Vulcan Drifter. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices for the 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 models are $6,199, $6,549, and $7,299, respectively.
The 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 is built out of a steel frame, with a Candy Thunder Blue color finish. The Base model has front 21-inch and rear 16-inch aluminum wheels. Sixteen-inch aluminum wheels go on the Classic model, which is named for its more retro-inclined styling. Also, the one-piece seat, which provides space for the driver and a passenger, is placed at a greater height on the Classic than on the Base. The Drifter, like the Classic, has 16-inch aluminum wheels. However, it also gets a rear fender rail and its seat, which is big enough for only the driver, is placed higher on the bike than the Classic and Base models. Also, with a dry weight of 542 lbs. (245.9 kilograms), the Drifter is the heaviest; the Base and Classic weigh 496 lbs. (225 kg) and 516 lbs. (234.1 kg), respectively.
Each 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 cruiser is powered by a four-stroke, liquid-cooled, V twin (two-cylinder) engine. It has a total of eight intake valves, with four on each cylinder. The engine displaces at 805 cubic centimeters, hence the ""800"" suffix attached to the Vulcan nameplate. The bore and stroke is measured at 88 x 66.2 millimeters (3.47 x 2.61 inches), and the compression ratio is 9.5 to 1. Keihin Corp. supplied a 36-mm carburetor for fueling the engine, which is linked to the bike’s electric starter. A five-speed manual transmission and a chain drive complete the powertrain of the 2005 Vulcan 800. For fuel, each cruiser has a four-gallon (15.1-liter) gas tank.
For stopping power, the 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 uses a front-disc-brake rear-drum-brake format, which includes an 11.8-inch (300-mm) hydraulic disc. It isn’t as effective as disc brakes from front to back, but it beats having all-wheel drum brakes. The suspension on the 2005 Vulcan 800 consists of a front telescopic fork and a UNI-TRAK® twin-sided steel swing arm with rear shock.
Standard digital instrumentation on the 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 consists of a trip odometer, speedometer, and temperature warning light. A halogen headlight and pair of side mirrors provide enhanced visual perception to the driver when on the road.
Considering the series of Vulcan cruisers released since the 1980s, the Kawasaki Vulcan 800 is arguably the bridge between the lower-level and upper-level versions. Thus, entries like the 2005 models provide a great choice for intermediate bikers who lean towards the nameplate.