Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom
The Vulcan really captures the look and feel of a classic cruiser

As a follow up to my ride through Utah on a Kawasaki Versys-X 300, I wanted to spend some time with another one of the company’s great bikes. Now I’m riding the 2017 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom. With a nice 900cc V-twin (well, 903cc to be exact) and very cool classic styling, the only thing it lacks is that true Harley rumble.



Vulcan at the Palm Springs Art Museum
For some culture, I visited the Palm Springs Art Museum

I’ll be writing in more detail about my road trip and about the bike, but I just wanted to post some first impressions here. I’ve ridden the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy Lo and I find the two bikes very similar. The Vulcan has a nice low seat height (27 inches), drag bars and forward controls, which give it a comfortable riding position. The Vulcan Custom model I’m riding has very cool blacked-out parallel slash cut exhaust pipes and some Kawasaki green pinstripes and green-accented wheels, to remind you of its heritage. I also like the large, 21-inch front wheel with a super-wide, (180/70) 15-inch rear wheel, which again contributes to that classic look.

Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom
The Vulcan 900 Custom (Photo courtesy of Kawasaki USA)


Power from the fuel-injected 900 is smooth all the way through the power band, with the engine preferring high revs to low-end torque. I rode from Orange County to Palm Springs and the power was smooth on the freeway with great passing power, even at the top end. The bike loved to cruise at 80 without much effort and there was room to go a lot faster if I had been so inclined.

An update:
I’ve done some research and the 2017 Fat Boy is about the same dimensions as the Vulcan 900, with about the same length and wheelbase. The Fat Boy is about 100 pounds heavier, due to its much larger engine. Now there is a Vulcan 1700 Vaquero, but it’s dressed out more like the Street Glide. There’s also a Vulcan 1700 Voyager, which has a big front fairing and hardcase saddlebags like a Road King or similar Harley big freeway cruiser. It would be cool to see a Vulcan 1700 Custom.

I’m riding the Vulcan 900 Custom for another week and look forward to exploring more of Southern California on this cool, yet reliable, cruiser.

As a comparison, here is a walk-around I did of the Harley Softail Fat Boy Lo: