The mid-size cruiser segment is not too crowded in India
right now. But that is not to say that there aren’t any interesting products
there. One of them interestingly is from a brand that is not exactly known for
catering to this segment. When I got to
know that I would be able to ride the Vulcan S, Kawasaki’s first cruiser into
the country, I was more than pumped. Special thanks to Aurum Kawasaki in
Chhattarpur Enclave, New Delhi for generously lending us the bike for
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS OF KAWASAKI VULCAN S
649cc liquid-cooled, parallel twin
Dimensions (L x W x H)
2310mm x 855mm x 1090mm
Fuel Tank Capacity
41 mm telescopic fork
Offset laydown single-shock, adjustable
300 mm Disc
250 mm Disc
120/70 R18 M/C 59H
160/60 R17 M/C 69H
Rs 5,48,400 (ex-showroom Delhi)
DESIGN AND STYLE OF KAWASAKI
The Vulcan S might not dress in the traditional Kawasaki
green but it still makes a statement. The simple and composed black colour
gives this bike a serious cruiser face. The matte finish is lovable and there
are certain panels on the side finished in glossy black that add a nice accent.
In case you would like your bike to have a brighter look then the company is
offering the Vulcan S in an orange colour for an extra Rs 10,000. Being a
cruiser, the bike is quite low slung and that means riders of all sizes can easily
hop on and feel safe with their feet planted to the ground. The seat height is
a mere 705mm. The curvy design begins with the rising fuel tank that depresses
into the rider seat which again rises as it reaches the pillion seat only to
taper off at the rear fender like a perfect wave drawn by a single brush
stroke. I did not fancy the halogen unit in the triangular headlamp much but
the tail looks decent. The fit and finish overall is very good and the bike
looks neat. Even the switches on the handlebar have a nice look and feel. The
meter console has a nice balance of giving you a retro feel as well as being
functional. You have a semi-circular analogue speedometer with a digital
display embedded underneath. The display shows an odometer, range, 2 trip meters,
average fuel economy and even an Eco indicator. The only chink in the armour
would be the not so flattering grab handles and saree guard (a compulsory
fitment as per ARAI norms).
A clever feature of the Vulcan S is Ergo-Fit. What this does
is optimize the bike just a little for riders of most heights. The handlebar,
seat and footpegs can be repositioned a little to allow for a different reach.
In its stock configuration, the bike is ideal for most average height people.
But if you are short then you can have the handlebars pulled back by an inch
and the footpegs and seat brought in closer. The opposite can be done for
taller people ( usually 6’2” and above). This is a feature that makes
Kawasaki’s product stand out among others. The two piece seat is plenty
comfortable with a very soft cushion and good amount of space for both, rider
PERFORMANCE OF KAWASAKI VULCAN S
The Vulcan S gets the same 650cc twin cylinder engine that
was also seen on the Ninja 650. The performance has obviously been tuned to fit
the cruiser nature of the bike. Despite that some of the Ninja character has
managed to slip through and I am not complaining. In fact it was refreshing and
I loved the feel of shifting at and above 7000rpm which is roughly where the
peak power of 60hp and torque of 63Nm reside. As you lift off on the first gear
and redline the machine to shift to the second, you are already close to triple
digit speeds and it is only a matter of pushing a bit in the third that you
achieve it. But adrenaline rushes aside, the bike does behave like a well
planted cruiser at steady speeds. Yes, the peak power and torque figures come
at rather high rpms, but at lower rpms the bike rides natural. You do feel the
bike’s length and weight while moving it around but you tend to get used to it
pretty soon. Despite that, the Vulcan S did not shy away from leaning on one
side as I took sharp corners. If you are a hardcore cruiser lover then the
sound of the exhaust on the Vulcan S might not excite you. The sound while
being low does not have the grunt that you would expect from a bike that looks
the way the Vulcan S does. Of course it can be easily fixed with an aftermarket
solution but adds to the total cost of the bike.
While the soft suspension setup does soak most of the
irregularities of Indian roads, you might want to slow down before crossing a
speed breaker or deep pothole as the ground clearance is very low. At 130mm, it
is the stuff of nightmares. Braking is spot on with the 300mm dual piston disc
at the front and 250mm single piston disc in the rear. You get a lot of bite
combined with the surety of ABS.
The Kawasaki Vulcan S is a capable and lovable cruiser. I
believe that Kawasaki has made a great first impression with this cruiser and
the price is quite justified at Rs 5.48 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
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