Complete In Depth Review!
HI Everybody, it’s Peter. And in this video we’re gonna take a close look at the Vulcan S. Now the reason we’re doing this video is because you have told me in the comments that this is not a cruiser. And while I think it is a cruiser, I’ll give you that this is a different type of cruiser. So we’re gonna talk about this bike, what it is, what it’s not, what makes it great, and who it may be for, and also who it may not be for. So this is what we do on this channel. We go through these vehicles, we do in-depth reviews, and we can do that because we’re here at Jim Gilbert’s Power Sports. So if you have a question that I don’t get to in this video and you wanna know more about this vehicle or something like this, make sure you lemme know when the comments below and subscribe because I’ll answer your both in the comments and in future videos.
And I can do that because I have full access to the entire lineup here at Jim Gilbert’s PowerSports. So if you’re in Fredericton, New Brunswick, come on, check this out. It’s middle of February or middle of January right now there’s snow and ice everywhere, but there is a massive showroom of motorcycle scooters and all kinds of things to look at. So make sure you swing by there. Let’s go with the review. So the first thing I wanna talk about with the Vulcan S is the engine, because this is not your traditional cruiser engine. A lot of people think that a Vulcan or a cruiser bike has to have a V twin engine and this is a twin cylinder engine, but it’s a parallel twin. And Kawasaki’s not shy about telling you that this parallel twin comes from the ninja lineup. So it’s more than just the engine that comes from the ninja lineup.
From here you can watch Peters Video by clicking YouTube or read his transcript… enjoy…
This suspension piece down here shows you that you know, the previous model Kawasaki ver actually the current model Kawasaki versus still has this suspension in the same area. There are a lot of bikes that share the basic architecture of this within the Kawasaki lineup and a lot of bikes that share the engine. So absolutely this has some sport bike or sporty bike capabilities into this cruiser style. Now I don’t think we can argue about the cruiser style. I think they do a good job with that. But let’s talk about some advantages of this engine. First of all, most cruisers, the bigger cruisers, they’re very heavy and they have a lot of torque in their engine and they don’t rev very quickly. This is a little different, it has good torque for what it is, but it has more horsepower than torque, which is a lot more like a sport bike, a road going bike.
And what I think is good about this is, especially if you’re a new rider, it really gives you the advantage of having that cruiser style. But it takes you into the general motorcycling, motorcycling realm outside of cruisers. It allows you to experience something that can zip through the gears kind of quickly. And one thing that really surprises people about this motor is even though it’s a small two cylinder 6 49 cc, which is small for a cruiser, you actually have more speed, more acceleration than a whole lot of big, big cruisers because you have a quick revving engine, a wealth spaced gear ratio and a bike that’s made for something like the engine that’s made for something like the Ninja. So it’s a very quick bike and the nice thing is with the smaller engine you don’t have a huge insurance premium. So you have that ability, but it’s more than just the engine.
Let’s talk about some of the chassis benefits that give you a great handling cruiser as well, which to me really matters. So how do you make a cruiser handle? Well, usually cruisers have a really sort of laid out front uh, fork here. And this one is not like tight like a sport bike, it is still laid out so that can make a little bit more lazy handling, but nice straight line cruising. But you’ll notice there are pieces in here that allow it to handle better than the average cruiser. Fairly lightweight wheels Dunlap, sport max tires. Now again, these tires are a kind of tire that they would use on something like the Kawasaki Versys uh, even that style on something like the Ninja. So they have a nice tread here to it, uh, very uh, cruiser like. But the overall construction of the tire is more sport bike like even though it’s not fully sport bike and fairly lightweight wheels, large disc brake, you have good braking for a fairly lightweight cruiser and the type of tires that can really lean themselves over.
So you’ve got something that handles and can be leaned over much better than a typical cruiser that you know, oftentimes you only ride fairly straight up and down. It does make a more playful ride. It does make for a more fun ride in my opinion. Take a look at the back end here. We did mention this shock here. This is a preload adjustable shock. So that means that if you were to add an extra passenger or if you’re heavier or lighter, you can sort of adjust that preload so it can handle the weight without a real big sag when you get weight on there. I like the way this bike is set up to, to maintain its real kind of sporty kind of feel. It’s a great single person bike. When you add a second person on there, you are gonna notice that it turns into more of a cruiser.
It’s gonna lose some of its playfulness, but again, you can adjust that preload to handle extra weight. So it’s not the end of the world. You can absolutely take an extra passenger and there are all kinds of accessories for the back. But looking through here, you’ve got this shock which is forward mounted that keeps the um, weight forward, keeps everything kind of in line for which is what you see in a lot of sport bikes. Instead of having the shocks kind of back here and again lightweight wheels, large disc brake in the rear as well, given the weight distribution of this bike, it’s a fairly large rear disk brake compared to some bikes which just sort of balances that uh, front and rear braking capability out and a nice kind of smooth cruiser look. But you still see these big tube frames in there, very sport bike look if you look through to some of the details, but very cruiser feel when you’re sitting on the seat.
And let’s talk about sitting on that seat for a second. So the first thing you’re gonna find when you approach this bike is this is a low low seat height compared to all the other bikes that share this engine. And there are a lot, there’s a ninja 650, there’s a Z 650, there’s a z650 Rs, there’s a Versys 650, there’s this, there might be more. All of those bikes that share this engine have a taller seat than this and you have a nice rider position here, but if you don’t like this rider position, you can change it. So if you’re very short, you can lower the seat, you can bring foot pegs in, you can bring the handlebars forward. If you’re very tall you can extend all of those pieces out as well. What I think is cool is you can mix and match
Those things. So let’s say you want your feet kind of in this position but you want more of a reach you can have that where you have a more of a, you know, traditional, you know or longer style reach, you can shorten the reach up. So again, for a single rider, this is a very comfortable position and because this is a 650 cc bike for a cruiser especially, it’s very light between your legs, very confidence inspiring. So whether you’re a new rider or an experienced rider because that cruiser style gives you that feet to the floor uh, style easily, it just makes it really comfortable. And this is a bike that you can use on long trips. So again, being that six 50 sporty engine, a lot of people think oh it’s an around town country road bomber. It’s great for that but you can really accessorize this up like you can with any other cruiser and that’s why I still say this is very much a cruiser.
Couple of accessories that I really like on this is you can get little tiny windshields here, sort of cafe, just sort of style windshields, but you can also get quick release, medium and tall windshields, uh, or permanent medium and tall windshields. So you can take ’em on or off with Kawasaki’s quick release system, which I really like back here. You can get like a luggage rack here. You can get a rear seat with a luggage rack behind. You can get saddlebags, you can get all kinds of things that allow you to customize this bike up the way you want and in many cases kind of tweak it around for the type of riding you’re doing. You can put that rear seat on or off on your own. Same thing with the rack, but this is a bike that you can use for commuting to work back and forth just zipping around town.
And again, that quick revving engine makes it fun doing that. But it’s also something that you can stretch its legs out and go on the highway. So I’ll show you that ergo fit what they show on the website here. There’s three different triangles here. There’s sort of a red, a green and a blue that sort of shows the different, uh, small, medium, large type, uh, sizes that it has. But keep in mind as well, you can mix and match some of those pieces and that’s what makes it really versatile as far as fitting different riders and turning it into the bike that you want. There’s not another Kawasaki bike with this engine that allows that versatility and seating position, uh, right from the factory. So that’s one of the things that really kind of appeals to me about this bike. Very comfortable, great visibility, sporty for a cruiser.
Good uh, support here. Very, very good. Let’s take a look at some of the controls here. You’ve got nice simplistic controls which is again very cruiser like as well. So taking a look at the dash, there are bikes with this engine such as the versus six 50 which have a TFT display. Sort of looks like your cell phone display. I kind of like for the cruiser that they haven’t updated this yet but you do have good information here. So the key just below the shot here, right just ahead of the tank. And then you’ve got this uh, situation right here. So a lot of really good information. We are battling a little bit of glare up on the right hand side here. You have your odometer, there’s an oil light on the red light and the oil indicator just because the vehicle’s not running but it is turned to the opposition fuel uh, gauge.
Along the bottom here you have the gear indicator to the left, which is something that I really like. They didn’t always put a gear indicator on these classic bikes and that’s right there. Clear big speedometer clock up top and you can cycle through various uh, things over here as well. So you’ve got a trip B kilometers per liter, uh, average kilometers per liter, which I uh, range as well. And back to the odometer. Now the kilometers per liter, I’m almost positive that you can take it and do the liters per hundred kilometers if that’s what you wanna do. If you’re in Canada, obviously if you’re in another area is miles per gallon, that kind of thing is available. So you have a nice little selection of really good information that’s clearly laid out and not distracting. And again, because this bike can rev out, it’s not your typical cruiser, which you know, like I said in the conversation, some people battle it wasn’t a cruiser at all.
I think it’s just not a typical cruiser goes up to 9,500 RPM before your red line. You can really rev it out. There’s good power in the mid-range there. So having that tack right there, clear and visible is nice. You’ve also got a few other features here on the handlebars that I wanna show you that I think make this bike stand out just a little bit. Take a look at the left side handlebar here. You do have a little trigger right here, which is very hard to see. That is your flash to pass. So that triggers your high beam only while you’re holding it so you can just kind of get people’s attention by flashing that multiple times if you need to. There’s your high beam and low beam, right? There’ll see if you can get the camera to focus again by getting my hand outta the way.
You do have um, four-way flashers as well, which I think is really nice, especially if you’re doing like a trip or a tour. You just wanna stop figure out where you’re uh, if you’re on the side of the road, nice to have four-way flashers on a bike like this. Signal lights there of course horn down there. One thing I wanna point out here is you have an adjustment for reach. So to adjust the reach on this is very simple. You push it forward, you switch this around, so I brought it from three to four. Let’s bring it right up to five. So five is a closer reach I believe, and uh, level one is a further reach. Yes. So level one is further reach. So you can see I have, you know, average size hands. It’s a little bit of a reach for me to get to uh, the clutch out there.
So we’re gonna bring it down to number three for me there. Oops, that’s number five. Let’s go right to number three. Right to number three there. And that kind of puts it in the mid range. So whether you’ve got small or larger hands, this is very easy to adjust the reach on and you’ll have the same thing, uh, not just on the clutch lever but on the brake lever over on the other side. So let’s just take a look at that for one second. So throttle side here, of course throttle right there, kill switch and start switch on this side and nothing else. You’ll see a little bit of uh, orangey goop in there. It’s not rust, it’s actually some a lubricant in there. But here is your adjustment here on the brake side as well. So again, whether you’re taller or short, large hands, small hands, doesn’t matter.
This bike’s gonna fit you just perfectly, which is a real strength to this Vulcans. So I know we touched on the engine to start, but let’s just look at a couple other things here. First of all, to get that cruiser look, you’ve got these false fins. Again, it looks like it’s air cooled, it is not. It’s liquid cooled, which I think is what most riders are now looking for. It gives you the ability to have a little bit more performance, really controlled, uh, environment in the engines, which gives you that good power. Which again, six 50 cc, not much for a uh, cruiser, but again because it’s lighter weight, because it’s high revving because it makes good power and torque numbers because of the way it’s designed. Again, built for that ninja six 50. This thing is absolutely a faster bike than a lot of cruisers, which is really kind of cool. So liquid cooling out front here, that fin look over here. You’ve
Just a nice clean blacked out look here. Large sport tubes kind of coming through here to give you a little bit of engine protection. If anything ever happened, uh, the frame just wraps right around it. So again, different look but just good technology, good performance outta that. So I’ve talked a lot about the sportiness of this bike, but not everything is sporty. There’s always a blend of classic cruiser styling and convenience with uh, extra sort of uh, sporty stuff. And I think the foot peg, here’s a good example of that. So it still folds up like a typical sport bike. Like most bikes do. You still have a feeler on the bottom, which this feeler again, if you lean too far, that’s gonna rub before the foot peg does. Typical stuff. I don’t know that you’d have to lean a long ways to get to that, but you still have this meaty rubber cover here.
So again, much larger than any of the other 650 bikes. It’s gonna help dampen vibration. It’s gonna give you a cool look. And same thing with the brake liver here. You’ve got that rubber pad on here. A lot of the uh, bikes with this engine just have that metal lightweight, uh, kind of metal pad or metal um, pedal here. So now you’ve got that rubber pad on top. So you’ve got some more meaty looking pieces here along with again, that blend of sport with cruiser comfort. And that’s really what this bike is all about. It’s not designed to be a traditional cruiser. There are the regular Vulcan is a traditional cruiser, but this gives you something a little different that I think it really appeals to a lot of people. So let’s talk about who this bike is for and let’s directly address the comments on my previous Vulcan S video.
If you need a traditional cruiser, this probably isn’t your cruiser and that’s fine to me. This is still very much a cruiser. And if you think of motorcycling and you think a cruiser is a motorcycle, cause for a lot of people this style of bike is really what you’re looking for. This is a good option. This is also a good bike for beginners it. The 650 engine is one of those things where it’s a little more powerful than something like the Ninja 400, but that Ninja 400 is very lightweight as well. So I often recommend, uh, that 400 to a wide range of beginners because I don’t think it’s something that you get tired of or you want a whole lot more speed of in that 400 class. There’s no 400 cruiser class, but there is this six 50 with the low seed height with a much lighter cruiser weight than typical.
Again, with this powerful engine, it’s the kind of engine that’s easy to drive. So it’s good to learn on, but again, you’ve got a lot more speed than even the full size cruiser, so it’s not something you ever have to move up from. It does offer quite a bit to both new riders and experienced riders. As far as versatility, again, windscreens cargo capabilities, and again, one of the reasons that I recommend it to newer riders is if you’re unsure of the ti kind of riding you want to do. If you just get a traditional cruiser, you’re kind of locked into a typical cruising style, whereas this, you can discover a little bit more of a sporty riding and you can make the decision later on if you want to keep this or if you wanna move something a little bit more sporty. Again, cruisers don’t really give you that sporty ride like this does. So you don’t really get to experience the different styles.
Motorcycling, if you’re looking for a traditional bike and you like this engine combination, you’re not sure where you want to go. That Z650 Rs is another option that has that classic style shares an engine, a little more upright seating position. Again, a little sportier again with a classic look. And of course there’s lots of other options in there, but those are two bikes that kind of have this classic style look. All cruisers have a classic look that give you the ability to, whether you’re new or experienced, to have a bike that you can stay with for a long, long time. So new riders for sure, experienced riders, also shorter riders. This is the shortest way to get into this engine. It’s all the engine that most people need. And again, because you can add all the things on whatever type of riding you want to do, you can do and you can feel very comfortable.
It’s also a fairly economical cruiser to get into us. A lot of people think with that engine size it’s economical and it’s just way slower. That’s not the case as well. So it really fits a lot of, you know, versatility as far as who is this gonna be for and who rides it. So is it right for you? Well, you can let me know when the comments below. If it’s not right for you, no problem, that’s fine. Maybe it’s not your bike. But for a lot of people this gives you that versatility and that cruiser style that I think a lot of people are working for or looking for. And again, that the ability to add the Kawasaki accessories right to this makes it something that you can really diversify your type of riding with. So there you go. We’re gonna thank Jim Gilberts PowerSports for giving us access to this, to this uh, complete line of vehicles. And if you’re, uh, looking to look at this, make sure you subscribe. We’ll do more videos on this and swing by Jim Gilberts PowerSports There’s a whole showroom full of these even in the middle of the winter. Thanks everybody for watching.