The Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom, Custom Cruising

The Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom, while not everyone's cup of tea, occasionally a custom styled machine comes around that has to be taken seriously by all. After a development period of 13-years, the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom eventually grew into that machine.

We will take a look at why and how this was achieved, and explain why we all need one too. With a top speed nudging the 195km/h mark, the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom is no slouch on the open road, but the real fun is to be had at lower speeds. With 78 N.m of torque on tap, situated way low in the rev range, the Vulcan 900 Custom is a delight in and around town, effortlessly pulling away from a standing start and reducing the need to endlessly shift up and down the 5-speed gearbox.

On the move the laid back riding style is deceptive too, the development team at Kawasaki decided to equip this custom machine with a chassis on the sporty side making for a rewarding ride when the going gets a little twisty, the front end looks heavily raked but in effect isn't, while the rear end is held firm by a sporty Uni-Track suspension. Add to these attributes the relatively large fuel tank, and frugal engine, and you get a machine that makes for great kilometer muncher, just load up, add a pillion and away you go.
The Kawasaki engine does run out of puff once above 3,500rpm, it happily revs all the way to its peak power at 5,700rpm, with no tacho to refer to, you will have to rely on feel, but yields little in extra grunt once in that range. In any event doing so will take you well over the official Thai speed limit in top gear, in effect the maximum torque has been placed in the right speed range for safe overtaking and accelerating out of top gear corners without even having to think about it, indicating that the Kawasaki design team have for once taken out needs into consideration. For a custom machine the brakes work well too, the Tokico twin-piston floating-caliper grabbing the 300mm disc up front to great effect, hauling the cruiser up in the double quick time and with bags of feel too.

It's the same story at the rear too, with a similar design caliper doing its work on a 270mm disc rotor, easily overpowering the wheel if need be.

The only downfall would appear to be keeping such a machine clean, with such a great all round ability most Vulcan 900 Custom's will be used all year round and while the chrome is deeply applied there is a few nooks and crannies to get into to get the custom Kawasaki shinny again. That minor niggle apart, and the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom makes for a superb machine, able to carry out the day-to-day urban grind, or load up for a lengthy trip away from all the concrete in Bangkok, it looks great and, seeing as Kawasaki saw fit to keep the price down to 460,000 Baht (Special edition is 25,000 up in price), used prices are lower too.

The great finish and build quality of the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom will ensure that a well-looked after one will not only hold its value, but still look great several years down the line, it really could be all the cruiser you could ever need.
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