BUILT FOR INDEPENDENT-MINDED RIDERS

This bike  doesn’t brag or boast about its looks or power or agility, quietly confident that once you ride it, you get it

KAWASAKI’S VULCAN S Tourer is not your average cruiser. For a start it doesn’t conform to any type of herd mentality, any trend however outdated or, indeed, lifestyle for that matter. Designed for independent-minded riders, it is perfectly capable of standing apart from the crowd with its parallel twin engine, unique frame and suspension layout.

Kawasaki Vulcan S Tourer
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Its versatility comes about with the addition of luggage panniers and added wind protection from a large screen, so if you want to switch from a pleasant day ride to an overnighter, no problem. It also offers an excellent riding platform, with its compact engine and slim frame resulting in a design that is narrow at the knees and feet. There’s no need to tuck those knees under your chin either, giving yourself cramp after a long ride, because the forward-positioned foot pegs are perfect for relaxed, cruiser-style riding.

There I go again… cruiser. I’m getting to that age where I like a change of ride occasionally, and the sculpted design and thick padding offered on the Vulcan S offer both excellent comfort and good hip support. So yes, whilst I love café racers and am always happy to throw my leg over a Royal Enfield Continental GT or the glorious Triumph Thruxton, there’s nothing wrong with having a few options in the garage, depending on your mood for the day.

Kawasaki Vulcan S Tourer
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I rode it both with any without the windshield, and removing the panniers gave it a completely different look. I would say wind protection is adequate with the screen in situ, but having spent a couple of minutes removing it by four bolts, sans windshield, the ‘naked’ look is a winner, giving the bike an even more non-conventional look, with more of the wind blast hitting you in the torso as opposed to round the helmet, a bonus to my mind. But the mere fact of having those two large luggage panniers available to drop in camera, waterproofs, and anything else you might need, rather than having to carry a rucksack or belt pack, are a bonus.

The Vulcan comes in three variants, the Standard, Tourer and Performance. They all boast the flowing, long-and-low stance and that impressive 650cc engine. My first thought was whether it would be in a position to put out enough power from the off. Bonus number one, and they kept on coming. Tight turns were no problem, even with the low centre of gravity. I didn’t manage to scrape the pegs, but I’m sure I wasn’t far off on occasion.

Torque was impressive throughout the range, and that parallel-twin liquid-cooled engine offered up hardly any vibration, so on longer rides it was always comfort first and foremost. Interestingly, whilst there is plenty of power from the lower rpm range, wind it up above 5000rpm and the bike takes on a new persona, not quite sports bike, but not far off. Extraordinary. Yep, this bike definitely has attitude, even if it looks chilled on its side stand.

The ABS-controlled braking comes via a single 300mm disc up-front with a twin-piston calliper, and the rear is taken care of by a single 250mm disc with a single-piston calliper.

Kawasaki Vulcan S Tourer
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It is clear that the Vulcan was built to inspire confidence across the riding spectrum, offering a smooth take-up from the start, and a satisfyingly smooth acceleration. Twist that throttle and traffic merging and overtaking is no problem.

The instrumentation cluster features an easy-to-read analogue-style tachometer and multi-purpose LCD. Other features include a 14-litre fuel tank capacity and good fuel economy, meaning those long rangers amongst you can go longer between fuel stops, a reassuring quality when on daytrips.

Kawasaki Vulcan S Tourer
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SPECIFICATION

KAWASAKI VULCAN S TOURER

  • PRICE: (starting from) £8199
  • ENGINE: LIQUID-COOLED, 4-STROKE PARALLEL TWIN
  • POWER: 44.7kW {61PS} @ 7,500RPM
  • TORQUE: 62.4Nm @ 6,600RPM
  • TRANSMISSION: 6-speed
  • FRAME: TUBULAR DIAMOND, HIGH-TENSILE STEEL
  • FINAL DRIVE: Sealed chain
  • FRONT BRAKE: SINGLE 300MM DISC. CALLIPER. DUAL-PISTON
  • REAR BRAKE: SINGLE 250MM, CALLIPER, SINGLE-PISTON
  • FRONT SUSPENSION: 41MM TELESCOPIC FORK
  • REAR SUSPENSION: OFFSET LAYDOWN SSINGLE-SHOCK, LINKAGE EQUIPPED, WITH 7-WAY ADJUSTABLE PRELOAD
  • FRONT TYRE: 120/70 R18M/C 59H
  • REAR TYRE: 160/60 717M/C 69H
  • GROUND CLEARANCE: 123MM
  • FUEL CAPACITY: 14 LITRES
  • SEAT HEIGHT: 705MM
  • WEIGHT: 229KG
  • CONTACT: WWW.KAWASAKI.CO.UK