2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S | FIRST LOOK

A mid-size Vulcan cruiser with Ninja DNA is unveiled at the 2014 AIMExpo.

Just when you think it can't get any better, it does. This was supposed to be the year of the naked bike and with the outgrowth of world-class standards including the 1190SX, S1000R, FZ-07 and our 2014 Motorcycle Of The Year, the 1290 Super Duke R, 2014 was shaping up to be just that. A good year indeed.

But it was only just beginning. Adventure riders began to steal some of that streetfighter mojo marked by a notable upsurge in new sales of both big-bore and mid-size ADV touring machines. And now we're seeing yet another category morphing before our eyes into a class with some very exciting options. We're talking about middleweight cruisers, and the most recent entry to this growing group of in-betweeners is a new Vulcan S from Kawasaki.

For a mid-size to appeal to a wider range of riders means that it has to accommodate the tall guys as easily as it does the shorter ones. The concept of tailoring the fit is something that Indian Motorcycles has accomplished with reduced- and extended-reach handlebars, foot controls and seats. Kawasaki goes one better by offering standard three-way-adjustable foot pegs that work in conjunction with their optional Ergo-Fit seats and bars.

The Vulcan S footpegs have three positions with an adjustment range of 1” forward and 1” backwards from the mid mounting points. The ability to switch out to the optional Ergo-Fit reduced-reach handlebar or one of the two optional seats (for extended or reduced reach) adds several degrees of adjustability. (Note that Kawasaki Genuine Accessory Ergo-Fit shift rods are required when the footpegs are repositioned.)

Displacement-wise, the Vulcan S relies on 649cc of proven Ninja 650 water-cooled parallel twin for power with performance that Kawasaki promises to be healthy, dependable and smoother than a traditional V configuration. Worth noting is a price point of $6,999 for the standard model, which puts the Vulcan S inline with Yamaha's V-Star 650. That's a good thing!

Hard specs and our riding impression will be forthcoming in a future First Ride review.

2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S ABS in Flat Ebony
TECH  
PRICE $6,999/$7,399 (ABS model)
ENGINE 649cc, liquid-cooled paralel twin
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 6-speed/chain
CLAIMED HORSEPOWER n/a
CLAIMED TORQUE n/a
FRAME High-tensile steel double pipe perimeter frame
FRONT SUSPENSION 41mm telescopic fork / 5.1”
REAR SUSPENSION Lay-down offset rear shock with linkage and adjustable preload / 3.2”
FRONT BRAKE Single 300mm disc with twin-piston caliper
REAR BRAKE Single 250mm disc with single-piston caliper
RAKE/TRAIL n/a
WHEELBASE 62 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 27.8 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 3.7 gal.
CLAIMED WEIGHT 491.7 wet
AVAILABILITY January 2015
CONTACT [ [kawasaki.com][]
2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S ABS in Flat Ebony