Kawasaki’s middleweight Vulcan 900s come in three variations, all of which roll with the same foundation, but each visually (and ergonomically) offer three completely different takes. Got that? Like its chunkier brothers, the Vulcan 900 Custom rolls with a 903cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, V-twin engine and a low seat height on a full-size hardtail-look frame, but it boasts far more street attitude, starting with a tall, narrow 21-inch front tire, moving back to the forward controls, and ending with blacked-out mufflers bracketing a fat rear tire. It looks completely different from the other two Vulcan 900s, with carefully shaped bodywork to seal the custom look.
The 900 Custom delivers a surprisingly mellow ride with easy turn-in and good balance despite the big front wheel and 600-plus-pound weight, and our editors were all impressed with its manageable handling when they last rode it. As for competition, there’s not much in this class that’s arranged like the 900 Custom, though Yamaha’s Bolt comes close; in fact the Harley-Davidson Breakout is the only cruiser we can think of with similar geometry and tire sizes, though the H-D displaces twice as much (and more than doubles the price tag as well).
As far as we can tell, Kawasaki hasn’t made any changes to the 900 Custom for the last 13 years, and the same is true for 2020, though you do get a new color option, a somewhat head-turning Metallic Matte Graphite Gray/Metallic Flat Spark Black. MSRP is $8,499.