Hey there motorcycle dreamers, Peter here and I love nothing more than a hot bike review on a cold winter day. In this video, I’m comparing two of motorcycling’s most affordable cruisers – the 2023 Kawasaki Vulcan Custom 900 and the 2023 Kawasaki Vulcan Classic 900. Thinking about buying a bike, or are just curious how they compare, stick around because I’ve got answers for you.
And today we’re gonna take an in-depth look at two different Kawasaki Vulcans. Now I say different, but they are very, very similar. But we’re gonna go through the differences between the Vulcan Classic and the Vulcan custom. So these are 900 cc v twin classic styled cruisers and there are actually quite a bit of differences more than just for instance, the front wheel and the hammer bars. So we’re gonna talk about what’s different. We’re gonna talk about what makes them great, and if you have questions, you can let me know in the comments section below, or you can also subscribe because I have the ability here at Jim Gilbert’s PowerSports to go back to these vehicles again and again on video. And we’ll try to answer your questions on video. So make sure if you’re interested in these bikes, you hit subscribe and you follow along because we’ll come back to these to make sure your questions are answered right now let’s go with the review.
From here you can watch Peters Video by clicking YouTube or read his transcript… enjoy…
So before we go too far with these bikes, let’s set it up in the lineup. The other day we did the Vulcan Vaquero. We’ve done the Vulcan Voyager as well. Those are both 1700 CCV twins. Those are the torque monsters. Much bigger bikes, much heavier bikes. Then on the other end you have the Vulcan S. The Vulcan S is an interesting bike because it is a smaller cruiser and uses the Ninja 650 engine. So interestingly, the Vulcan S, which is the entry level vehicle, is actually a little quicker than these in that parallel twin uh form. So if you are looking for the sort of the faster inexpensive Vulcan, that Vulcan S is probably going to be the quicker one with more horsepower. The reason you move to these is because this is a true cruiser. The V twin engine gives you the torque and it really feels like the traditional cruiser.
And again, these are designed to be exactly that, that traditional cruiser. So you’ve got the full look here and of course you can customize these all up with options to make them look like each other or look different from what they are. But these two are sort of set up from the factory in a real custom setting. So let’s go through in detail some of the similarities and some of the differences between these two bikes. So before we talk about the differences, let’s talk about what’s the similarities are between these two bikes. And really it’s all right here. The engine is shared. Even the coloring of the engine, you’ve got a little 900 cc or it says 900 up here indicating this is a 900 v twin. We’ll get you a little picture of that so you can see that a little clearer. And then these look like they’re air cooled there.
It’s a black, uh, casings here with the brushed uh, sort of silver look to the uh, to the fins there. So it looks like it’s air cooled, but they are a liquid cooled engine. So liquid cooled of course gives you that consistent performance. It uh, keeps that engine at the right operating temperature, which is what you want for longevity as well. In here, like I said, everything’s identical. This uh, plastic panel right up through here and the tank, everything’s identical. The only real difference you’re seeing right here are that the pipes here are black. We’re gonna talk about the controls cuz you’ve got foot boards versus foot pegs here. So we’ll talk about that. But that is the similarity. There’s actually a lot of differences between these two. So now let’s start digging into all of those differences.
So to show you some of the differences, I’m gonna be free handing my camera because again, a lot of people assume that the wheels are really the difference in the handlebars and we’ll get to them as well. But let’s talk about everything that is different between these two. So starting over here on the classic, obviously the white wall tires on this one, you actually have in addition to the uh, the wheel size and uh, shape, this one is uh, different, um, fender there as well.
So it’s a little bit wider fender. You’ve got the spoked wheels there, obviously it’s the traditional look. This one rides like a traditional cruiser Coming over to the classic, you have obviously the much bigger wheel. This is a 21 inch wheel and it is an alloy wheel with the different type spoke design. The other difference here, we think anyways, the suspension is the same, the travel is the same between these two.
We can’t find a way that these are really different but they look completely different. So of course we’ll show you here the sort of top tube on down, very traditional suspension. Look on the custom where you actually have a different sort of casing to the suspension right here. So a different look right there. All the fork tubes are covered up, which is something that we didn’t really notice at first. Same thing with your signal lights in here. You can see they’re connected by a sort of dipped bar there. And this is a larger headlight than you have over here where the signal lights are sort of clamped on there. No connecting bar other than the suspension bar and a slightly smaller headlight. We’ll talk about the handlebars in a second from the other side. But you can see they come straight up and relatively flat bar there.
Whereas you come over here, they come out and obviously swing right back. So we’ll get to that a little bit in a better detail there as well. The other differences are paint colors. Now paint colors never show up perfectly on camera or on the screen that you’re watching at, but I can tell you that both of these colors have really sort of stopped traffic in the showroom. People really like this sort of brown with the gold pin striping into that metallic black Kawasaki is really well known for their paint, especially up close. You can really see that metallic sparkle. And then you go completely different here. So this is a greener color and I can already tell it doesn’t quite match um, what I’m seeing with my eyes on the screen that I’m filming with. So it’s gonna look a little different to you in person.
But this is another color that has really sort of impressed people when they see it up close and this one doesn’t have that metallic. This is more of a flat color, uh, which looks pretty cool as well. The other difference is we’re gonna point out here, this seat here appears to be a little different from the front here, but the reality is that the seat cover actually doesn’t quite fully touch the actual seat. So you can see here if you’re looking at it at least in person, there’s much more of an upright rear end to the seat there. Whereas over here it kind of slopes down, but the way it feels on you is identical. You will notice a difference in the rear seat here. There’s a slightly smaller seat here on the custom than you would have on the classic. So again, a lot of differences there.
The other thing you’re gonna find here is the fender on the classic is a different fender than the one here on the custom brakes are the same. Rear wheels are the same. Obviously some chrome differences with the pipes there as well. All of this is the same, the same thing you’re gonna have with the gauges, everything’s the same there. So we’re gonna come and show you those a little bit closer as well as the controls. And then we’re gonna do a seating comparison where I’ll try to line up the bikes together so you can see what it looks like with me sitting on the bike and then we’ll fade into the next bike. So you can see the differences in seating. The interesting thing to me is that you know again the obvious differences of the handlebars and the wheels, but none of the specs are the same.
So you have a different rake and trail to the front angles here and that’s probably due to the wheel, slightly different ground clearance, slightly different Uh, seed height, the width, height and length are all different between these as bikes as well. So even though they really share the main components, the tweaks that they’ve made have changed them slightly from the other. There is definitely a different feel to each bike. So let’s go through now and I’ll show you what it looks like with me sitting on the bike as well as all the controls. So what I’m gonna do with the seating position here is I’m gonna hop on this bike and I’m gonna try to put the other bike in the exact same spot and fade between the two so you get a sense of the differences. But while I hop on this one, let’s just talk about what you find.
First of all, low step over height and low seat height. You sit down, you are very low, so I’m about six feet tall. Feet are easily on the ground, very low, very comfortable. It’s a heavy bike at around 600 plus pounds but it’s not so hard to handle because again it is so low. Mirrors are out, they clear my shoulder and this handlebar sweeps back a lot further than the other one will. So you can see I’m sitting up here. The other big difference is the foot peg or the instead of foot peg, it’s the floorboards down here. So you’ve got a larger brake pedal here. You’ve got a heel toe shifter here on the other side. So you won’t have the heel toe shifter on the custom, but you do have it on the classic CD position here. Very in command. Very upright, very comfortable, really doesn’t matter what size you are, the seat is very, very large. So I’m gonna sit here and uh, try to line it up here. Let’s see just where the wheels are. We’re a little bit off center but that’s okay. We’ll see if we can do something similar with the last one. So right there is where I see the kickstand. I’m gonna look forward for a second and you should see us blend into the next model right now. So there you can see the difference between the classic and the custom. Hopefully I line them up close enough. Overall the feeling is kind of similar, but this sweeping back handlebar uh, sweeps back a little differently because it’s more of a flat square bar here as opposed to a lower bar that comes right back out. But it either one is very comfortable to me. These handlebars feel like they’re a little bit closer, but you’ll probably be able to tell better by seeing back to back than I haven’t even seen what you’ve seen yet. Uh, there’s a difference between the floorboards and the foot pegs, just depends on what you want. Obviously you can put the floorboards on this one if you wanted to. Um, you know, if you prefer one over the other you have the option to switch that back and forth. But for the difference of all the differences in them, the biggest thing you’re gonna notice is in slow speed maneuvering. There is definitely a difference
In the larger wheel here. So you can decide if you like one better than the other. Uh, it’s not just style. They do have a different feel to ride certainly at slower speeds. Uh, higher speeds to be very honest. Haven’t taken this bike Kevin. I’m not sure how it feels compared to that one yet. This is a 2023 model we’re filming in February in Canada. So uh, don’t have a writing experience on this one, but obviously if you have some experience with the cruisers you may know the difference but you can sort of feel just sort of moving around that it does have a little bit different feel certainly in the slower speed maneuvers. So let’s take a look at the dash here. Not a whole lot to show you. What I like about this bike is either one, kind of as a throwback bike, keeps things simple, gives you what you need, nothing you don’t, it’s all about the style, all about the feel and not uh, you know, not overdone with technology or TFT displays or anything like that.
So let’s take a look at some of the technology and con or some of the uh, controls and display here. So taking a look at the display here, one interesting thing is that the ignition key of course is very cruiser, like it’s down by the seat and the tank. So we’ll turn that on instead of turning it on up near the dash. Now over here you’ve got a good large display here. You can kind of sort of see based on my hands there. Very simple display. Now of course in Canada only shows kilometers per hour. Uh, nice sort of retro style font there. That’s quite nice. Quite easy to read as well. Underneath this uh, digital display where you have the clock right now it’s more simple than almost every other bike we have. Usually there’s a trip computer in here, trip A, trip B, but right how right now you have the clock there, the odometer there and just the plane trip meter.
There’s no trip B in here. No fuel efficiency numbers, no anything else like that. Just throwback styling all the way. Now you do have some good information here. Of course a fuel gauge is nice to have. This little red light is exceptionally bright. If that comes on you will see it. It will draw your attention away, uh, from the road because uh, it is much better than for instance, the neutral light down here you can throw on the signal light and of course you just have the single light for either signal here. Again, that’s not very Kawasaki light. Most of their Kawasaki bikes have the two signal lights. Now as you can differentiate between left and right high beam light, I can’t turn on unless the vehicle’s running, but of course that’s what’s down there. And then you have a low fuel light over here.
So no uh, the fuel gauge and the low fuel light, no temperature gauge, but there is a temperature light down there as well. So you have the information you need but in a super clear, super clean display, nothing that you don’t need in there at all. Take a look at the left side controls. Again, the controls are identical on these. So you’ve got nice thick grip here and very basic stuff. A lot of the Kawasaki like sport bikes for instance, they’ll have a little trigger here to flash the high beam. You don’t have that. You have on off, you have the signals there and you have the horn there. That’s it. The other thing you have compared to some of the sport bikes, they throw in a slipper and a cis clutch, which is a performance type uh thing. But of course down here on the cruiser you have a nice heavy clutch pull that makes it feel like a classic cruiser. So everything about this uh, bike, both the look, the feel, even the controls, they’re going with that classic feel on both the custom and the classic. And you’ve got that sort of traditional cruiser feel. So if it’s you’ve been dreaming about a bike like this, this has got what you’ve been dreaming about. I do
Wanna show the controls up first here. So again, we’re staying with the custom. This is the one with the tall and narrower front wheel. And you can see of course there’s your uh, foot pegs there. Again, big rubber padding. So you’ve got some vibration resistance in there and uh, the brake pedal there. Now hopefully it’ll show different. Yeah, it’ll show different here. We’ll go over to the other bike and just compare brake pedals and then we’ll also go compare shifters as well. So fading into the classic here you see the floorboards, which a much larger brake pedal. Again, I don’t know if it’ll show on screen, but it’s uh, you know, the sort of this size brake pedal. Now it’s much larger here with those floorboards on the classic. Now let’s look at the shifter side. We’ll start again with the custom on the shifter side here again on the class or sorry on the custom.
Again, sometimes they on video they, these look smaller than they are. So you’ve got a good big meaty shift. You hear much bigger than the typical sport bikes or typical Kawasaki, what they’re known for outside the cruisers. This is a good meteor thing and that’s the really the big thing that you should point out about these bikes is that just because Kawasaki is known probably for their sport bikes and stuff, they continue to understand the motorcycle market where they’re in. And this of course is exactly what you would want on a cruiser here. Let’s just take a look at how it looks with the floorboards. And you have the heel toe shifter, heel toe shifter here again, you’ve got sort of the similar style of the brake pad on the custom. You have that as a uh, heel shifter on the classics. So again, same idea here.
Nice big beaten, beefy controls, uh, really fit what this bike is all about. Staying with the classic. For this shot, I do wanna show sort of a little closer view of the seats here. We did mention that, you know, this one has that sort of steep rake here, big wide seat from my eye and my feel, it feels like this section of the seats are identical between these two back here. You do have a much larger seating area on the classic than you would have on something like the custom. So maybe again, hard to show on video. Now remember there is a bagger version of these where you have the bags inside and you can get the backrest. So if you’re taking a passenger, this works well. You can add accessory backrest if this is the model you wanna stay with. Uh, but again, if you’re taking a passenger, this one is going to have a little bit more space for them and we’ll just show you the custom right now using the same basic view here.
Again, I don’t know if I showed this clearly before, but again, the padding of this seat is really kind of the same. So this feels the same, obviously a different texture here, but this is a little bit smaller. Now this is not sport bike small by any means. You can still fit a passenger here, they can be quite comfortable, but the other one is a little larger, is likely gonna be a little bit more comfortable. So you’ve got options, uh, to do what you need to do. Uh, just they are, there are some slight differences there. So let’s talk about who these bikes are for. Well the first thing you have to point out with these is these are incredible values. The overall fit and finish, the quality of these bikes is really, really good. That’s what Kawasaki does well. But the price point is obviously significantly less expensive than other similar looking models from other manufacturers. So value is a big piece.
But of course these aren’t the entry level bikes. You still have that Vulcan s So let’s talk about some of the speed and the power. I mentioned the Vulcan S is likely quicker. The way the Vulcan S works is it is a high revving powered motorcycle. So you get your power up high in the revs and it has more horsepower. It has less torque than these though. So if you want more than just the cruiser style, you want everything to be the cruiser feel and everything. These 900 s are really good for that because they have that low down, low revving torque. You don’t even have a tack on here. You don’t need one because again, you’re not revving up near red line to make power. You can sort of feel where that power comes on low in the res. And that’s what these do.
They sound really good, they feel really good. And that v twin motor, that’s why it’s a V twin, it gives you that little bit of a rumble. And the trick with the V twin is to have that rumble but not have the vibrations. And these are smooth, but with that rumble. So that’s kind of the nice sort of balance there. So again, who buys these bikes? Well, there’s a whole bunch of versions of these. You can have these two versions here. The classic and the uh, custom, the classic look is also available in that bagger model. You can accessorize these up with big windshields with all kinds of things. You can travel as far as you want to go, but again, at the size point they are in that 600 or so pound, which sounds like a lot. It’s signi significantly less than the 844 pound Vaquero that we filmed just a couple days ago.
So it’s that nice big meaty styling with the big bike feel without being massive. So again, bigger than that Vulcans. But it allows you to have what you need. And again, because of these bikes, just the overall seating position, the comfort, these are bikes you can do anything with. You can drive around town, you can take ’em to work, but you can also travel long, long distances with them and be comfortable. So really versatile bikes here. Not sports bikes, but they’re not designed to be. You kind of know what you’re getting when you come into this. So are these right for you? Well, let me know when the commons below what you think about ’em, if you have one. Tell me about what you think about it, what it’s like to ride. I’ll be honest, I’m not a cruiser guy. These aren’t bikes that I’m super, super familiar with, but I wanna make sure that I’m giving you the information you need.
So if there’s something that you wanna know about these, let me know cause I’ll continue to come back to these over and over again. And make sure you hit that subscribe button. Wanna thank Jim Gilbert’s Power Sports. This is the number one volume Kawasaki dealer in the country. We’ve got these in stock right here in February and they’re selling, there’s a bunch of bikes all around me here that are all sold. So if you’re looking for these bikes, it’s a 20,000 square foot showroom and it is feeling up right now. There are bikes coming in every single day. These are new 2023’s my first chance to look at them. So again, make sure you swing by the dealership here and if there’s something you wanna see on online, now’s a great time to ask for what you wanna see because we can get them online right now. Thanks everybody for watching.