Kawasaki revealed a new cruiser model equipped with the 649cc parallel-Twin engine from the Ninja 650. The result is an entry-level cruiser with sportbike-derived power retailing for $6999 ($7399 with ABS).

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The fuel-injected engine is tuned for smooth power delivery, with revised camshaft profiles, intake funnel length, throttle body spacer and air intake for better low- and mid-range power delivery. Using a parallel-Twin instead of a V-Twin allowed Kawasaki to route the exhaust under the engine and away from the rider’s legs. The engine is positioned further forward than a V-Twin’s placement, allowing for a slimmer chassis and increased lean angle.

101514-2015_Kawasaki_Vulcan S ABS_6.med

The new pipe perimeter frame resembles that of the new Versys 650 and incorporates a rear subframe with a slim spine that eliminates the need for seat rails. The 31-degree rake and 7.1” trail positions the Vulcan S’s front wheel further ahead than on the Versys, lengthening the wheelbase to more cruiser-ish 62”.

Kawasaki offers a number of adjustability options to suit a wide range of riders including adjustable footpegs. Unique for this class of cruiser, the footpegs can be mounted an inch ahead or behind its standard “mid” position. Kawasaki also offers two optional Ergo-Fit seats. Smaller riders can benefit from the reduced reach seat that moves the hip support further forward for an easier reach to foot and hand controls. Taller riders can opt for the extended reach seat which offers firmer foam and moves the hip support further back. Regardless of seat choice, the Vulcan S offers a low 27.8” seat height.

101514-2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S ABS -10.med

Like its Ninja and Versys 650 cousins, the Vulcan S uses an offset laydown rear shock that follows the line of the frame towards the rear axle. The shock has a seven-position cam-style preload adjuster offering 3.15” of travel. Up front, the Vulcan S uses a 41mm telescopic fork with 5.1” of travel.

The braking system consists of a twin-piston caliper gripping a single 300mm disc up front and a single-piston caliper with 250mm disc at the rear. As we mentioned, ABS is available as an option.

101514-2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S ABS -13.med

Other features include a 3.7-gallon fuel tank, LED taillight, 18-inch front wheel and 17-inch rear wheel. Kawasaki claims a 498.3-pound curb weight with ABS, and 491.7 pounds without. The 2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S will be offered in three color options in the U.S.: Candy Lime Green, Pearl Crystal White and Flat Ebony. European models will come standard with a passenger seat and a Metallic Royal Purple color option.

2015 Kawasaki S Specifications
Engine Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, parallel twin
Displacement 649cc
Bore x stroke 83 x 60mm
Compression ratio 10.8:1
Maximum torque N/A
Cooling system Liquid
Fuel system DFI® with two 38mm throttle bodies, with sub-throttles
Ignition TCBI with digital advance
Transmission Six-speed with positive neutral finder
Final drive Sealed chain
Frame High-tensile steel double pipe perimeter frame
Front suspension / wheel travel 41mm telescopic fork / 5.1”
Rear suspension / wheel travel Lay-down offset rear shock with linkage and adjustable preload / 3.2”
Front tire 120/70 R18
Rear tire 160/60 R17
Front brakes Single 300mm disc with twin-piston caliper, ABS
Rear brakes Single 250mm disc with single-piston caliper, ABS
Overall length 91”
Overall width 34.7”
Overall height 43.3”
Ground clearance 5.1”
Seat height 27.8”
Wheelbase 62”
Curb weight 491.7 lb (498.3 lb with ABS)
Fuel capacity 3.7 gallons
Colors Candy Lime Green, Pearl Crystal White or Flat Ebony
MSRP Standard $6,999 ($7,399 w/ABS)
Warranty 12 month Limited Warranty
Kawasaki Protection Plus (optional) 12, 24, 36 or 48 months
Wholesale distributor Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.9950 Jeronimo Road, Irvine, California 92618949-770-0400 www.kawasaki.com

Follow the rest of our 2014 AIMExpo coverage for more information on new 2015 motorcycle announcements.

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  • Kevin

    Nice option for people considering the H-D Street models, how soon b4 you guys think you can do the shootout?

    • RedDon

      It’s about time a manufacturer decided to try something other than an air-cooled V-twin in the cruiser market. It is a little heavier than I thought it would be but I still like the idea of a liquid cooled parallel twin if for no other reason than to show that there are alternatives. I’ve had the opportunity to ride the new Harley Street in the 500 cc version and I thought it was way down on power, maybe this Vulcan will have the stuff to push it down the road at a respectable pace.

  • On paper this seems like a much better bike than the H-D Street 750. It produces more power and if you choose the ABS option it is still $100 less than the no-ABS Street. Considering all the negatives I’ve read about the Street’s fit and finish, it’s a good bet the Kawasaki can win in that arena, too.

    I can’t quite decide how I feel about that headlight, but overall I’d say this looks a little less confused than the Street. And a whole lot less ugly than the Honda CTX700N.

    • I had my eye on the Street 750, and I had almost made up my mind to buy one. But then I ran across all these articles talking about the poor fit and finish and an appallingly bad front brake. Then I ran across the Vulcan S online. I think I’m at the point now where you couldn’t pay me to take the H-D. Like you, I’m slightly ambivalent on the headlight, and the feet-forward riding position is something I’ll have to get used to. But yeah, I think I’ve found my next bike.

  • Martin Buck

    This bike is strangely attractive. I normally find Japanese cruiser designs less than convincing, but the confluence of lines from the forks to the tank, to the rear fender, all have a symmetry and coherence that makes the Yamaha Bolt look spavined and clunky.
    There are still a lot of plastic panels, but at least they are part of the whole. By comparison the Honda CTX is ungainly and heavy, and looks awkward.
    I would love to take this bike for a test ride.

  • Martin

    If Kawasaki puts ZX14R engine with their KTRC ABS in a similar frame they will get my attention for sure. This looks like a fun and light bike to ride. Not all of us want to be on a sport bike all the time to get some performance riding. Comfort is a nice thing to have too. Heavy, slow, lacking technology cruisers are a big downturn. Look at BMW bikes, you won’t find any of that junk there. Light, powerful and fast is what keeps us excited
    and motivated to get one.

  • Razedbywolvs

    Strangely appealing.

    • Andrew

      That’s the best description I can think of as well. I’m not really into cruisers, but I do like the features of this little bike.

  • Reid

    This might just be the best use of the Versys/ER-6/Ninja 650 platform, considering it’s not really light enough or packing enough grunt to be the most competitive in the latter two classes anymore. I agree with some of the other posters here: this is a good-looking motorcycle, and I am not a fan of most cruisers at all. The multi-position foot-pegs is a good option to have as well. Now, if only Kawasaki might consider putting in the 1,000cc four-cylinder from the Z1000 or, as Martin pointed out, the ZX14R’s behemoth engine, we could at last have a proper V-Max slayer.

  • SRMark

    Mini-me(an) Streak.

  • cathries

    Go shopping in this store: http://www.aliexpress.com/store/203487

  • David Pettit

    I like the bike. Having modern tech in a entry level cruiser is refreshing. Off the subject, but why do Motorcycle video ads almost never reveal how the bike sounds? Just music+ noise.

  • thm4855

    mc-video or music-video?