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2007 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom

Monday, January 1, 2007
Kawi 900 Vulcan Custom with MCUSA graphics.
What could be a more appropriate backdrop than a Vulcan sign as we sent Korf to Austin to handle riding duties aboard the 2007 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom.
For 2006 Kawasaki revamped its Vulcan line of middleweights and upped the displacement ante, dumping the Vulcan 800s for the new and improved Vulcan 900 series. Back in March, Hutch was granted the opportunity to throw a leg over the newly released Vulcan 900 Classic at Daytona Bike week and found out just how formidable the Vulcan 900 is on the road to cruiser nirvana.

Certainly not one to rest on its laurels, Kawasaki has expanded the Vulcan 900 line of motorcycles by adding the Vulcan 900 Custom to the middleweight fleet. As if the 900 Classic and LT weren't enough to entice riders, Kawasaki added a bevy of aesthetic changes to the Vulcan 900 and the result is impressive. After a day of touring the Austin, Texas, area on the Vulcan 900 Custom, it's clear Kawasaki is looking to dominate this cruiser segment with a machine that not only rips on the asphalt but looks good while doing so.

For years, fans of metric Twins have clamored for a cruiser with a 21-inch front wheel. Kawasaki has heeded the call and delivered middleweight cruiser fans with the 900 Custom. The most impressive aspect of this cruiser is not just the new shiny bits and pieces, but Team Green managed to change, dare I say improve, the appearance while retaining the appealing price tag.

Before we launch into the road test, a quick look at additions to the 900 Custom are in order to help delineate between the 900 Classic and its latest family member.

Fraternal Twins

Give Kawasaki credit for their ability to offer a machine that will appeal to new genre of cruiser lovers without sacrificing functionality or price. The differences are purely aesthetic and give customers a chance to tour the road on a bike that offers a different feel than its two brethren in the 900 Vulcan lineup.

The most obvious difference between the 900 Custom and the Classic is where the rubber meets the road. Up front a 21-inch cast wheel sets the tone with a distinctive spoked wheel. The final product looks great up close, with spokes that are tapered and flanged in two directions. At speed the cast wheel looks great, but it looks even better sparkling in the Texas sunshine.

Korf cruises comfortably over Austin s streets on one of the best bargains in the cruiser business. You get a lot of bike for  7 349.
Korf cruises comfortably over Austin's streets on one of the best bargains in the cruiser business. You get a lot of bike for $7,349.
Another significant change is in the controls of the Vulcan 900. Fans of the Mean Streak line will recognize the high-rise drag bars fitted to the 900 Custom. The draggers not only look good but provide riders of a variety of sizes equal opportunity for comfort. Shorter riders can still reach the grips and forward controls thanks to the extended reach of the chrome draggies.

Kawasaki outfits the Vulcan 900 Classic and 900 Classic LT with traditional floorboards. Those in the market for something a little sportier will appreciate the forward controls of the Custom where pegs replace floorboards. Aside from the visual upgrade, the 21-inch front wheel helps offer impressive lean angles for a cruiser. Inevitably, a new model comes with a new saddle of some variation and the Custom is no different. While the new seat doesn't offer a significant improvement while riding, my ass can attest the Custom saddle offers up impressive styling and plenty of comfort.

On The Road Again

I have to admit that since the first salvo in the big-bore cruiser wars was launched years ago, my appetite for large displacement and unending amounts of power at the twist of the wrist has distorted my sense of what is acceptable. Moreover, having just finished off a test of Harley-Davidson's 110 cubic-inch CVO lineup, my adrenal glands weren't exactly expecting to get a workout during my voyage to Austin. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the efforts of Kawasaki's engineers. They managed to convince my senses that 900 cubic centimeters can pack the punch of machines that are much larger.

Nestled in the double-cradle frame is a liquid-cooled 903cc 55-degree V-Twin SOHC engine. One of the Vulcan's impressive engineering feats is the fact they opted to deliver a bike that is liquid- and air-cooled which enhances visual and mechanical functionality. Kawasaki engineers did an admirable job of retaining the visual charm of a cruiser by tucking a slim radiator neatly into the frame. Additionally, old school remains in vogue thanks to cooling fins decorating the Twin.

Inside the cylinders a pair of pistons work within the confines of a 68mm bore and 74.2mm stroke with a 9.5:1 compression ratio. Despite the relatively small nature of this powerplant, the amount of torque and power delivered by this belt-driven steed belies its middleweight sensibilities.

Don t worry  no flamingoes were injured in the shooting of this photograph.
Don't worry. No flamingos were injured in the shooting of this photograph.
When the ignition is thumbed, the Vulcan springs to life and the tympanic drum is greeted with a nice little lope that only a single-pin crankshaft can deliver. The slash-cut pipes deliver a muffled rumble at idle, but hop on and twist the throttle and the pipes spit a nasty little roar from this nine-hundo.

The 900 Custom delivers plenty of giddy-up with the help of a 5-speed transmission and electronic fuel injection delivering ultra smooth doses of power through a pair of 34mm throttle bodies. Gears one through five feel a little short, but some sacrifices are required when you want a 900 to feel several hundred cubic centimeters larger. All the clicks in the tranny feel smooth and I was pleasantly surprised at the revving capabilities of the Vulcan. Beyond 3500 rpm the engine loses some of its pep, but if the rider keeps it under 3000, the Vulcan will give the competition in its class fits. At highway speeds, even when the speedo reads 75, buzz is absent and the Twin continues to deliver a silky-smooth ride. I never encountered a missed shift or false neutral, and for those who are newbies, locating neutral is a breeze.

For those unfamiliar with Austin, images of long, boring, flat stretches of asphalt might spring to mind and question whether we were able to test the suspension and handling. Much to my delight, the region offers plenty of curvaceous roads and hills to test the pull and push of the Kawi 900 Custom.

Throwing the Custom into corners is another impressive attribute of the Vulcan 900 experience. Exchanging floorboards for forward controls increases the available lean angle on the 900 Custom. Scraping metal parts is rare unless the pilot really pushes to accomplish asphalt-induced sparks. Stability is a key characteristic of the Custom thanks in large part to the 41mm front fork which offers 5.9 inches of travel. In an effort to accommodate the 21-inch front wheel, Kawi sets up the front-end with 33 degrees of rake and 7.2 inches of trail for impressive straight-line stability. Out back the rear end stays planted thanks to a Uni-Trak swingarm rear suspension that offers seven-way adjustable spring preload and 4.1 inches of travel.

Bringing the 900 to a stop is an impressive 300mm hydraulic disc up front, while out back is a 270mm hydraulic disc. As with many of the components on the 900, the binders fitted on the Custom do an admirable job of slowing the chrome and steel. The front binder provides nice feel and stopping power without being grabby or too harsh. The rear functions as one would expect, providing aid to the front when the needle on the speedo starts to turn clockwise. The brake lever (as well as the clutch) provides buttery-smooth action and can be actuated by the daintiest riders. Levers are non-adjustable.

Kawasaki made sure the Vulcan 900 Custom was decked out with more than its share of chrome.
Kawasaki made sure the 2007 Vulcan 900 Custom received the requisite amount of chrome for a cruiser
Ergonomically, the 900 offers comfort for a wide range of riders. Shorter pilots will appreciate the low 27-inch seat height. However, the forward controls might uncomfortably test the elasticity of riders under 5'6". On the opposite end of the spectrum, riders who are larger than 6'2" will likely find the 900 to be a little cramped, even with the forward controls. For individuals who fall in said range, the 900 offers a comfy ride in all situations. The 900 also accommodates a passenger with a gunfighter-style seat that is designed for comfort and style.

Those who are looking to ride long distances will be eternally stoked with a 5.3 gallon fuel cell. We managed close to 85 miles of goon riding before we stopped for lunch. Doing a little math off the top of my head, one could expect to cruise for close to 200 miles on a single tank if they kept their throttle hand under control (no easy feat, even on this little 900).

The existence of the Custom version of the 900 Vulcan is proof that Kawasaki is interested in delivering a beautiful machine, but the attention to detail with a keen eye on functionality is proof Team Green is listening to the customer. Need proof? Look no further than the instrument cluster which not only offers classic styling but also all the requisite dials and lights to keep the pilot informed, including a fuel level indicator and a digital clock.

Into the Sunset

At the end of the day, the setting Texas sun began dipping below the sky scrapers and historic buildings, signaling the end of my time with the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom. Having cruised the scenic region of Austin, filled my belly with world famous barbecue courtesy of The Salt Lick, and felt the effort of the Kawasaki engineering team, I was on sensory overload. Aptly, this is how the Vulcan 900 feels.

With a price tag of $7,349 the Vulcan delivers aesthetics, performance, and refinement that are normally found in motorcycles that cost thousands more. It's available in three colors: Candy Plasma Blue, Candy Fire Red, and Ebony.

Over the past few years Kawasaki has created an impressive portfolio of cruiser options. Now there's another steed in its lineup to give the competition fits on showroom floors and, more importantly, to provide riders with an outstanding machine at a reasonable price.

Let us know what you think about the 2007 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom in the MCUSA Forum. Click Here
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Bob -VN 900 is a cool bike  December 6, 2010 04:52 PM
I've got the custom 900 and have accessorised it with debaffled pipes, screen, crash bars, scootworks pulley, carry racks,sidebags and bar risers. Would love a bit more power though with the pulley I can cruise at 75mph (120klms) smoothly. I can get between 50 and 60MPG depending on how hard I'm riding. I've done several long trips (in Australia every trip is big)camping out in the bush and the 900 handles it easily and is very reliable. Its a perfect size but I'm tempted to move to a yamaha xvs 1300 for that extra torque and top speed. I've had big road bikes (FJ1200) and plenty of off road thumpers but the 900 is by the far the most enjoyable. Not sure what to do about the bigger bike as I'm more a weekend warrior and in reality dont need a bigfger bike. Guess we are never satisfied.

Jimmy Mitchell -Great bike  November 27, 2010 11:32 AM
I got my '07 Kawi Vulcan900Custom 2 months ago. It only had 2K on the odo and the prev owner had Cobra pipes and full`chrome front rim installed on it. It's the 5th street bike I've owned and I have loved it from jump, none of my prior bikes could compare. It has more than enough power, the ride position is perfect for my 5'8"/175lb frame, and the big gastank means few stops for fuel.
Thinking of adding saddlebags and a small windshield in the future.
My only complaints are that the front end feels slightly loose every now&then, and the seat can get just a tad uncomfy on longer rides.

The Cobra exhaust roar is devine, the factory chrome package is near perfect, and the Candy Plasma Blue color is simply beautiful.

I would highly recommend this bike to anyone looking for a cruiser in the 750-1100cc range.

the night rider -900 custom/classic  September 23, 2010 11:53 PM
I have researched the lite middleweight Yamaha's and Honda's and suzuki's and I am convinced the Kawasaki Vulcan is the top choice over all the others.the water cooled engine is the way to go. the new for 2009 Yamaha 950 new style custom its a looker but it is air cooled and will roast your legs in town traffic, and stop and go.Everyone I have had with air cooled mills, the heat sinks through to the frame and the seat and handle bars. Only feeling OK as long as the tank is full and during the winter months of cold wind. wind and rain. the Kawasaki 900 will not over heat and loose power like a air cooled mill will do.Firm choice for me
KDBPearl -VN900 good old maid  April 26, 2010 11:10 PM
I´m from Germany and have a 11 years old W650 Kawasaki (Good old maid!). But since a little more than a week I have a VN900 too.
A dream on two wheels. Very smooth to ride and convenient with my wife behind me. Needs few juice and has power enough.
Costs fewer than an small HD (883), but can be driven with the feeling of a big one. Although I tested a 1200 HD-Nightster and an Street Bob too my heart beated for the VN 900 from the first moment on.
Great bike! I love it!
Greets from germany ;-)
Lou Christie -900 Classic 09  January 23, 2010 04:57 PM
WoW Stopped riding about 30 years ago... bad wreck . not my fault.. Finaly got back on.. Looked around but when I sat on my 900 Classic 09 that was it. Took my sons Sporster to have work done on it and was num in about 5 miles. Being 5'6" 165lbs fits perfect. Lots of get up and go and almost no voberation. Yes the stock pipes are quiet, so rather than by new expensive pipes I drilled two 3/8 holes stright thru into each baffel sounds nice and mellow with still good back pressure,I love the look of the stock pipes. Read in another blog that down in front of the rear tire there are three bolt holes you can use to lower or raise your VN 900 they must mean the Mono shock bolts.
bike-crazy -Vulcan 900 classic/V Star 1300 classic  November 16, 2009 05:11 PM
has anyone tried the two bikes together to give a choice between the two love the looks of both the bikes thanks BC
Wayne rhodes 2009 -Vulcan 900 classic/V Star 1300 classic  November 12, 2009 08:15 PM
I'm torn between the two bikes I can get the V13 for $7294.00 otd or I can get the Vulcan for the same price! no brainier but I'll have to drive to Tennessee from Alabama to get the good deal now November is the last month for sales to go back up reliability and looks are more important than speed good day WR
mja -Kaw 900 Custom  September 10, 2009 09:45 AM
My '73 Sportster is garage candy since the Kawasaki moved in. I am 6'1" and the bike fits just fine. The bike feels good and looks great, so I am 95% satisfied. [My last Kaw was a 750 H2, so this is like a smooth and quiet Cadillac compared to that blue banshee!] Love the forward controls, and even bulky boots handle them well. I do feel the need to upgrade to a more supportive seat for longer rides, and I am wondering if anyone has tried out one of those $480.00 "ultimaterider" brand ones. I think a sixth gear would be nice, as I have gone for another gear a few times only to discover that I am out of them. Finally, I am on the lookout for a small but easy-to-read lighted tach to mount on the front right of the handlebars, because my half-helmet often results in wind noise louder than the engine. These could just be problems for me, but if you don't already own a Custom then you might want to ask about the seat and tach upgrades as you close the deal.
Spencer T Walford -900 Custom  August 28, 2009 03:21 AM
I am mchanging from a Triumph Tiger 1050 to a cruiser and uncertain which one to go for. I can afford an Suzuki 1800R Intruder, but find myself drawn to the 900 Custom is it the best choice. What pipes and seat would you recomend for the 900

I have enjoyed reading the review.
Mark -2009 Vulcan 900 Custom  August 18, 2009 01:27 PM
I shopped around very throughly for my first cruiser, at 6'3" there were alot of bikes eliminated quickly by the fact of what would fit me. I shopped HD, but moving beyond a sportster frame the prices moved drastically up, and the engine sizes more then I thought a beginning cruiser should be. Financing with great credit at HD was shockingly high rates only adding to the bottom line.
The first time I saw the custom, sat on the custom, rode the custom, everything fit comfortably including the price. 1st on my list was a 650 V star,(My starter was a SECA II) but for $500 more and 250cc more there was no contest.
I love this bike! ample power to keep my interest for years to come, handles like a sportbike. Today 90% of the questions I am asked about it come from Sportster owners, of them just sitting on it brings many more questions and interest. Great Bike!
Greg Kerchner -900 Classic 08  June 7, 2009 08:44 AM
I shopped around for a cruiser with out breaking the bank and dollar for dollar its the best buy.I wanted a 750 but Honda was my only choice and it was $6800 the Vulcan I got was $7000 with a gel seat on it.I got a bigger more comfortable bike for $200 its a know brainer. Test drive one you will be inprest by the bike and its value.
Tony -(00 Custom v. Suzuki C50  March 14, 2009 08:15 PM
With the price of the base C50 being raised to $7,799, the 900 Custom (and Classic) will seem to be a more attractive buy. How does the handling of a 900 (either Custom or Classic) stack up to that of a C50?
Dave -900 custon  January 28, 2009 01:36 PM
I would agree w/ you 100%. Sportsters are overpriced P.O.S.!!! I have an '07 900 Custom and I love it. The Cobra pipes sound great too! Next mod is 3" drop with a 200 rear tire!!!
Andy Woods -2007 Vulcan  December 25, 2008 10:09 AM
The Vulcan is a great fit for me. I am 5'9" and weigh 170lbs. The accerleration has been impressive even though my former bike was a vstrom 650 with more oomph than the average cruiser. The styling is awesome. The shadows do not come close to the look, though they are relatively priced. I had a vulcan 800 years ago and this has been more than an upgrade. It is superior in every way.
InsolentMinx -perfect  November 13, 2008 07:06 AM
After testing various versions of the HD 883 and 1200 Sportsters, I made the obvious choice of opting for the 900 Custom. It's a bigger bike, a prettier bike, a cheaper bike, a more comfortable bike, and a more economical bike to run... plus it's liquid cooled! I've had mine for nearly a year now, customised it further, and now it's the best looking, loudest and fastest 900 on the road. I'd not swap it for anything. The only criticism of the stock bike is the very quiet pipes and the uncomfy seat. But these are 2 easy fixes. I would highly recommend this bike to anyone.