2018 Kawasaki Vulcan® S ABS SE
300 mile reviewBy (I am an Owner) on Aug 25, 2019
I purchased this bike as my second motorcycle, trading in my 2008 Kawasaki Vulcan 500. Starting off with the looks, this bike is rather unique with its sport-cruiser hybrid kind of looks. The paint on my '18 ABS SE is a beautiful "Pearl Lava Orange" with a very flaky metallic grey that beautifully ... glistens in the sunlight. Moving onto the comfort of riding the bike, the Vulcan S used the Kawasaki Ergo-fit system which has the choices of two different handlebars, three different seats, and three different foot peg positions. This helps ensure that whoever rides the bike can get whatever mix match of parts fits them. Contact your local Kawasaki dealership in see if they have an ergo-fit system demo at their store for you to try out. Going on to the ride of the bike itself, we'll start with the power plant of the bike. The Vulcan S uses the 650cc parallel twin pulled from the Ninja 650. With this you get a smooth power band across the entire rpm range. This motor paired on the cruiser frame makes for a great combination for twisty roads and long distance riding alike. For myself, coming from a dual carbureted 500cc vulcan, to the EFI 650cc Vulcan S, there was a rather big adjusted getting use the to very snappy throttle with instant response. This paired with the smooth power band makes this bike a blast to take through twisty roads, but makes start and stop, or slow moving city riding a bit challenging for someone like myself with less than a year riding time under my belt, and coming from a much more groggy feeling throttle of the 2008 Vulcan 500. Cruising on the highway with this bike, though fatiguing with no windscreen, is very nice. With the 6-Speed transmission you will cruise at 55mph and 4,000 RPM in 6th gear, a little less than have of the overall rev range. There is very minor vibration in the handlebars and a bit more noticeable vibration in the foot pegs even with vibration reducing boots on. When it comes to highway riding this bike has more than enough power to make passing any vehicle in 6th gear a breeze.
I have ridden this bike 300 miles of twisty and long straight highway stretches and can safely say it is made well (with the exception of wind buffeting from a lack of a windscreen). Overall, I am impressed with everything the Vulcan S has to offer with its price tag, and would easily buy it again if I could go back.
Here I'll now explain my rating of the bike.
Performance - For a cruiser, especially a cruiser not using a large v-twin engine, is amazing and paired with a sub 500 pound weight, makes this bike a blast to ride.
Quality/Reliability - I can't say much for this yet as I have only 300 miles ridden but from what I can tell so far, the quality of the bike feels and looks great. Reliability will have to be determined a few thousand miles from now.
Ride/Comfort - With the Ergo-fit system you can ensure the bike fits as you need it. However, the seats are somewhat known for being a bit uncomfortable after about an hour of riding, and I can attest to this. After a little over an hour, I have noticed I start to get pretty uncomfortable.
Value - This is where I feel like this bike gets a lot of points. With a base model price of about $7,000 USD, you won't find many other bikes that can compete