The 903cc liquid-cooled v-twin engine powering this beautiful mid-size cruiser provides enough “oomph” to get the Vulcan 900 moving, which the sleek and sexy styling is quick to impress. For someone looking to get into a cruiser, but is somewhat apprehensive of a “big bike”, the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom is our ideal choice. It’s beautiful, it’s powerful, and it’s damn fun to ride. What more do you want in a bike?
Our 2010 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom Review
Riding the Vulcan 900 Custom was like cruising on a cloud. The suspension is comfortable, yet precise enough to provide ample warning should you decide to be a little overzealous in your lean-in. The pipes project a deep, throaty roar that is satisfying each and every time you give the potent twin some gas. It’s hard not to be “that guy” at the stop light revving the engine.
Alas, not all Vulcans are created the same. In the case of the Kawasaki Vulcan 900, there are three different varieties: the classic, classic LT, and custom. Each is based on the same excellent hardware and chassis, with mostly cosmetic changes defining the differences among the different types. In the case of the Vulcan 900 Custom, the cosmetic differences are astounding.
The 2010 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic features traditionally styled wheels, body panels, and fenders. The smooth, round lines are accented by tasteful chrome, including a “3D” chrome accent on the gas tank, handlebars, and instrument cluster.
The Vulcan 900 Classic also features a two-piece seat, allowing for more comfortable passenger riding. The Vulcan 900 Classic does not have a passenger back rest as standard hardware. It also does not have a windshield or saddlebags as standard hardware, either.
For those looking for a more touring-oriented motorcycle, the Vulcan 900 Classic LT is likely the better choice.
The 2010 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic LT adds a windshield, a passenger back rest (with saddlebags), and two-tone paint. Otherwise, it features the same steel-chassis at the Vulcan 900 Classic, as well as the same wheels. The appearance is not quite as “traditional” as the Classic model, but rather more touring oriented (and obviously so).
The Vulcan 900 Classic LT is a great choice for a new rider who is looking for the comfort and riding qualities of a cruiser, but also needs the versatility of a more touring-focused motorcycle.
The two-tone paint comes in a variety of colors and shades.
The 2010 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom is much more aggressively styled, with a large 21″ wheel on the front and the widest rear tire in the class. The headlight is smaller, the windshield is removed, and the more passenger friendly two-piece seat is replaced by one-piece design. Several accessories can be ordered from Kawasaki for the custom as well.
The Vulcan 900 Custom seems to appeal to a younger crowd, where the motorcycle is more for leisure than for transportation. It’s affordable price tag, combined with great looks and fantastic riding dynamics, have made the Vulcan 900 Custom quite popular.
So, how does the 2010 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom ride? Beautifully. Sublime, in fact. It’s a balance between brisk acceleration and a smooth, relaxed ride. Bumps in the road aren’t as jarring as they would be in a sport bike, and thanks to the relative light weight of the Vulcan chassis, the custom is easy to manipulate and control.
During our ride, the only hiccup that we had was when we had to mash the brakes to avoid running a red light. The rear end slight slightly sideways when we accidentally locked the rear brake. We imagine that, as you become more comfortable with the bike and it’s limits, the chances of you locking up the rear tire when coming to a stop would be pretty low.
The Vulcan 900 Custom exudes an image of comfort and style, and when you’re commanding it there is a sense of belonging and place. The bike just feels good, and at no point did we find it intimidating or menacing. For a new rider, the ability to carefully manipulate the throttle and not have to worry about sudden power spikes or wheelies is a beautiful thing.
That’s not to say that the Vulcan 900 is a bike for learners only. With nearly 60lb-ft of torque on tap, the Vulcan 900 can certainly get up and go (and sound damn fine while doing it). Many riders find the Vulcan 900 to be their first, and only, motorcycle. It’s track record of proven reliability, ease of maintenance, and comfort have made it a popular choice among those who value those qualities in a motorcycle.
The Bottom Line
It’s not a big Harley, nor is it a 1,500cc cross-country cruiser. At 903cc, the Vulcan 900 Custom provides all the jam, all the pizazz, and all the style of a larger cruiser, but at a fraction of the weight and cost. The fuel-injected v-twin is smooth, and vibrations are kept to a minimum thanks to a series of design innovations from Kawasaki.
Is it a great bike, and would I recommend one to someone looking for an entry-level cruiser that doesn’t appear or sound entry-level? Whether you’re just learning how to ride a motorcycle, or you’re looking for something that will keep a smile firmly planted on your face, the answer remains the same: oh, yea.