2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S First Look

October 15, 2014
Byron Wilson
Byron Wilson
Associate Editor|Articles|Articles RSS

Byron's sure to be hunched over a laptop after the checkers are flown, caught in his own little version of heaven. Whether on dirt, street or a combination of both, MotoUSA's newest addition knows the only thing better than actually riding is telling the story of how things went down.

Kawasaki made some big announcements during the recent Intermot Show in Germany in the sportbike and touring segments with its H2R and Versys 1000. Team Green saved some news for the 2014 AIMExpo as well, revealing a brand new model in the Vulcan S. Powered by a 650cc liquid-cooled, Parallel Twin the Vulcan S will be available in ABS and non-ABS versions. It boasts a wide variety of custom ergonomic settings via three-position adjustable footpegs and different Ergo-Fit seat and handlebar options. Kawasaki also touts the Vulcan S as the lightest in its class, weighing in at an claimed 491.7 pounds (498.3 pounds with ABS). The 2015 Vulcan S starts at $6999 ($7399 w/ABS).

The 2015 Vulcan S engine is derived from Kawasaki’s Ninja 650. Changes to the camshaft profiles, intake and throttle body spacer are geared to improve low-end and mid-range performance for its cruiser application. Kawasaki is positioning the Vulcan S as a bike-for-all, highlighting that changes to the engine make for smoother power delivery, which makes it “suitable for novice riders.” Kawasaki goes on to say that “its (the Vulcan S) top-end power and nimble handling” will also satisfy the demands of more experienced riders. It features a six-speed transmission with Kawasaki’s Positive Neutral Finder, “which allows you to simply upshift from first when stopped to select neutral.”

The bike-for-all theme continues in the Ergo-Fit options which give riders a variety of configuration options to create a comfortable seating position. The Vulcan S comes with a 27.8-inch seat height, slim 3.7-gallon fuel tank, and a narrow chassis with exhaust pipes routed underneath the bike for an easy reach to the ground. From there riders can choose between an Ergo-Fit reduced reach seat and extended reach seat. Footpegs are three-way adjustable, moving one inch forward and back from the mid position, and the reduced reach handlebar option brings the hand controls one inch closer. Brake and clutch levers are both adjustable as well.

The Vulcan S has a high-tensile steel perimeter frame, 41mm telescopic fork with 5.1 inches travel and an offset rear shock with linkage, adjustable preload and 3.2 inches travel. Braking is provided by Nissin components, a single 300mm disc, twin-piston caliper set-up at the front and a single 250mm disc, single caliper configuration at the rear. It rolls on 18-inch front and 17-inch rear cast alloy wheels with a 120/70 R18 front tire and 160/60 R17 on the back.

In addition to the Ergo-Fit options, there are a number of accessories to make the Vulcan S more able on longer tours. Luggage racks, saddlebags, windscreens, passenger seats and more will be available. Color options will be Candy Lime Green, Pearl Crystal White or Flat Ebony.

2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S ABS Specs
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
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 inches
Overall width: 34.7 inches
Overall height: 43.3 inches
Ground clearance: 5.1 inches
Seat height: 27.8 inches
Wheelbase: 62 inches
Curb weight: 498.3 lb
Fuel capacity: 3.7 gallons
Colors: Candy Lime Green, Pearl Crystal White or Flat Ebony
MSRP Standard: $7,399
Warranty: 12 month Limited Warranty
Kawasaki Protection Plus (optional): 12, 24, 36 or 48 months