Shaking up the world of custom doesn’t happen that often. You can do it violently, like when Harley created the V-rods; or with a mix of cheerfulness and freshness, such as this new 650 Vulcan S.
But Vulcan is the American name for Kawasaki customs. It is the green which will in turn give a boost to the small customs?!? However, the VN are among the very classic machines in their approach to the category: twin in V, cruiser appearance, bitter style. The new kid comes to unpin pieces of the roadster in a machine that smells of impertinence.
This Vulcan 650 S is not bad; it would even be provocative. From the start of the lighthouse, we feel that Kawa wants to shake up the segment. No question of equipping the traditional round lighthouse. The choice fell on an element in olive, focused on the style as would be a Suzuk ‘Gladius. Let go, it’s behind that it hits.
Side frame and engine, it smells like a roadster full nose. The shock absorber installed laterally under the saddle must have already put your mind to it. Indeed, it is a characteristic trait of the ER-6 family. Thus, the propulsion is provided by the sparkling block that few people would have imagined here: a parallel twin of 649 cm3 – the same as that of the Versys, ER-6n and F. At Kawa, it’s been a bunch of years, since the 500 EN, that we had not put a mill like that in a custom. Devitaminated to meet the canons of the category, the twin should not, however, deprive itself of giving character, and compensate for its "modest" displacement. It is true that we are more used to 883, 900 or 950 to learn about the world of "bikers". The bi ignores it: it still leaves 61 horses, and claims to be reviewed for more availability at low and mid-range. The torque peaks at 6.4 mkg; a little tight, but do not lose sight of the fact that this is finally here to make you discover the world of the Vulcan, not to compete with the mastodons.
A custom in the heart of a roadster, it promises some palpitations. And if you still doubted its sense of provocation, the Vulcan 650 S displays without restraint a chassis derived from the aforementioned ERs. The perimeter structure in steel tubes is clearly inspired by the diagram of the ER-6 phase II (2009->2011). However, the wheelbase is much larger, around 170 mm; a custom is long, it’s low, and it likes to extend its lines from one wheel to another.
It also likes low seats. Designed for the general public, beginners, and wanting to be particularly accessible, the Vulcan perches its saddle at only 705 mm. Take a seat while the Kawa harangues you about what it has planned for your comfort, such as the longer stroke of the shock absorber or the driver and passenger footrests adjustable to 3 positions.
The dashboard also has its originality … for a custom. No simplistic or vintage-inspired meter. Apart from a few minor alterations, the instrumentation is taken from the roadster – we would have appreciated something more distinctive. Braking is entrusted to a 300 mm disc at the front with a 2-piston caliper, and a 250 mm disc bitten by a piston at the rear. Very conventional and sufficient, supplemented by ABS as standard.
Kawasaki has a rather fun custom with this Vulcan 650 S. It is also now the only representative of this range in the European catalog, at a low price. We will appreciate the daring ingredients of the machine, we should more than be satisfied with an urban behavior both cruiser and probably pushed with a zest of joy..
M.B – Photos and manufacturer video
What you must remember
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650 VULCAN S 2018
Model marketed in
about 180 km / h
The technical aspect
Kawasaki 650 VULCAN S 2019
- Tank: 14 liters
- Width: 880 mm
- Height: 1,100 mm
- Wheelbase: 1,575 mm
- Dry weight: 229 kg
- Train before
- secondary by chain
- Rear axle
(83 x 60 mm)
at 7,500 rpm
at 6,600 rpm