2019 Kawasaki Vulcan S Review and Test Ride: Japanese Muscle Bikes

Written by The Duke of DC.
Written by The Duke of DC.

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Introduction

There are some motorcycles that I, regrettably, judge far before I’ve ever seen them in person, and as ashamed as I am to say, the 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan S (Sport) was one of them. What appeared to be an afterthought from Kawasaki turned into one of my most enjoyable test rides to date. I freaking LOVE this motorcycle. Seriously, Kawasaki has made what I would consider the first Japanese muscle bike, similar to how Ducati has won over Harley owners with their xDiavel S, the Vulcan shares a similar allure.

Overview of the 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan S

The Kawasaki Vulcan lineup consists of two main models, with various specs in the overarching models, the big brother, better known as the Vulcan 900 and the little brother, or Vulcan S. Each model shares design and styling cues, with the most notable difference coming in the form of either the 649cc parallel twin or the 903cc V-twin. Having only ridden the S model with the parallel twin, I can’t speak for the full size V-twin, but my god does the parallel twin pull. I have not experienced such a smooth pull of power in any sport, standard, or cruiser to date. Everything from the seating position to the “budget” suspension felt perfectly tuned for this riding style. What riding style might that be? Well, the Vulcan S is the perfect inbetweener, in that you can ride it like a sport bike or sit back and relax like you traditionally would on a cruiser. All packaged into a reliable Kawasaki.
 
Watch my first ride on the 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan S here:

 

The 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan S Top Speed, Engine, and HP

At 649cc the Vulcan S puts out an impressive 55.2 horsepower and 43.1 lb-ft of torque, translated to the rider via a ride-by-wire electronically controlled throttle. Both power and power delivery were beautifully received on my end, especially after having ridden the much faster, more powerful, and sportier Kawasaki Ninja 636 (watch here) just moments before this test ride. The Vulcan’s power would ultimately take me to a top speed right around 120 mph, although top speed will vary greatly dependent on the rider’s size and weight, as well as road and weather conditions.
 

2019 Kawasaki Vulcan S Price

The 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan S comes in three different trims:
 
The 2019 Vulcan S Base
– MSRP of $7,099
 
The 2019 Vulcan S ABS
– MSRP of $7,499
 
The 2019 Vulcan S ABS Cafe
– MSRP of $8,099
 
When you’re ready to see available pricing, don’t forget to check out the latest available rebates, which can save you thousands off MSRP. If you need to finance the 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan S, you should read the definitive guide to motorcycle financing to learn all the tips and tricks to get the best deal possible. If you have challenges getting financed, GoRollick has created a low credit financing guide to help you make smart decisions and get the best rates when buying your next bike.
 


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The 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan S Specs, Transmission, Tech, and Features

One of the star features of the Vulcan S is the extensive adjustability via Ergo-Fit for all shapes and sizes of riders. Everything from seat height and position of the handle bars and forward/mid controls can be adjusted to make this one of the most comfortable motorcycles you’ll have the opportunity to ride. I’m not joking when I say I’ve never considered owning a cruiser more than after stepping off of this Vulcan S.
 
The traditional 6 speed 1 down, 5 up transmission is very smooth, although down-shifting via blipping is a bit lethargic. Although the front suspension is fixed, the rear suspension has 7-way adjustability to provide a comfortable ride. I did not adjust the suspension to my weight and still had a wonderfully comfortable ride while maintaining a sporty, firm feel. We have both ABS and non-ABS models available, as well as a Cafe Racer spec. Aside from these wonderful features there really isn’t anything to write home about regarding technology.
 

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The 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan S Seat Height, Chassis, Weight, and MPG

Toted as an “Ergo-Fit” bike, the dimensions here are just as important as the fantastic power delivery. As this is a cruiser style motorcycle, we’re looking at a low 27.7 inch seat height, 62.3 inch wheelbase, and a 3.7 gallon tank, giving it that long, low, and narrow look. The beauty of a Kawasaki cruiser is that you’re going to be looking at a lower than standard weight of 498.3 pounds fully fueled (ABS version). The power-to-weight ratio gives you approximately 43pmg on average, so you’ll be saving money at the pump over your preferred cager.
 

Final Say

‘Never judge a book by its cover’ has never been more true than with the 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan S. I can say without question that my ride on the Vulcan S was one for the books. It was a piping hot day in the middle of nowhere with nothing but straight roads and low speed limits, and still, I was grinning ear to ear.
 
The best bikes aren’t the ones that you bomb around Circuit of the Americas at ten tenths speed and get off with a smile on your face; they’re the ones that you can sit in blazing hot traffic barely inching along and yet you still feel the need to look back at it once parked. I looked back at the Vulcan S that day, and I can definitively say, you will too. Do you like Kawasaki motorcycles? Check out my reviews on the Z125, W800, and Ninja 400.
 

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About the Duke of DC

You know, my father tells me that one of my first words was “carburetor” and after my 8th car and 5th motorcycle in my relatively short time on this earth, I’m starting to believe him. I’ve been riding motorcycles since I was 15 years old, and when I started DukeOfDC it was during a really difficult time in my life. I’m just an average Joe that loves anything on two wheels and wants to share that passion with the world. Check out my YouTube channel and follow me on Twitter.
 

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