Cruising with the LAMS

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ANOTHER call to arms to be a Ulysses test ride dummy, and of course I am always able to assist our great club members in search of the ideal bike for the ideal rider.

This time it was a machine from the green team of Kawasaki and one of their cruiser machines that is LAMS eligible. I collected it from the 'K' national headquarters in Sydney, where my first impressions were that it really looks the part as a cruiser. Metallic Royal Purple and Pearl Crystal White were 2015 colours, so one like our test bike might already be hard to find. The new 2016 colour choices are matte orange or matte carbon grey,

Milo, an enthusiastic marketing assistant at Kawasaki, gave me a thorough briefing on the ins and outs of the bike, mentioning that it has more factory accessories available than my vacuum cleaner.

Vulcan S gets A for 'Adjustable' to fit all shapes and sizes of riders by moving foot pegs, handle bars, and a choice of seats to suit your body and style.  This one had options including power outlet (cigarette lighter type), gear change indicator, driving/riding lights, windscreen, leather panniers, a bucket style soft seat and a rear luggage rack so, it was ready to "get on down the highway..."

Reality time

My first ride was back home in motorway peak hour stop start traffic so I was a little nervous. I took off and found this LAMS size Vulcan was so nice and easy to ride it reminded me of riding in my youth with the laid back cool Easy Rider style, I looked the part (I think anyway).

I just had to adapt to the cruiser forward mount foot peg position when stopping and starting, and lifting feet off the ground. Legal lane filtering was so easy and braking took no effort, so all the boxes are ticked as a commuter machine.

Now for the first real cruising test, on a not so sunny Sunday with the great guys and gals of Ulysses Nepean NSW branch.

Milo, an enthusiastic marketing assistant at Kawasaki, gave me a thorough briefing on the ins and outs of the bike, mentioning that it has more factory accessories available than my vacuum cleaner.

On the road

We set off to destination Bulga pub at the end of the infamous Putty Road with nine other bikes, mainly touring/sports types of the larger cc size.

With its 6-speed gearbox the Vulcan S performed well for its size and shape on the way to our first stop, Grey Gums coffee arrived very quickly.

My first real ride on a cruiser was a pleasant relaxing experience as there was no need to lean the machine, it just sways by itself through the bends from side to side like a big wattle tree in the wind.

The front single disc brake was effective in its role and the rear brake pedal was easy to use with the cruising footpeg position when I ran, should I say swayed, a bit wide.  The round accessory bucket seat which soaked up some vibrations was very comfy, and did not give me a numb bum at any stage.

Country cruising

Our second ride took us the long way out and around to North Kurrajong through hill and dale, passing many countrified towns.  I kept the revs up and selected the 6th speed cruising gear, then just laid back and enjoyed the scenic surrounds.  Up the mountains and down a gear, the Vulcan just powered onward without any concern whilst swaying around each turn.

Overall the Kawasaki Vulcan S is a great bike of the lightweight cruiser variety, ideal for those getting back into riding two wheels. If I was in the market for a cruiser I would have this one in a vulcan flash, so thanks to Kawasaki for the test machine. If this cruiser is matched by the other models I was shown they will be a force to be reckoned with in the market.

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VULCAN  S  Specifications Summary

  • Engine - Liquid Cooled, 4-stroke Parallel Twin   Displacement - 649cm3
  • Fuel injection: ø38 mm x 2 with sub-throttles.
  • Ignition Digital Starting Electric
  • Transmission Six-speed, return.  Final drive; Chain
  • Frame High-tensile steel double pipe perimeter frame
  • Overall length 2310 mm  Overall width  880 mm  Overall height   1100 mm
  • Wheelbase 1575 mm   Ground clearance 130 mm  Seat Height 705 mm
  • **Curb Weight 226 kg
  • Fuel capacity  14 litres
  • Warranty  24 months unlimited kilometres.

**Curb weight includes all necessary materials and fluids to operate correctly, full tank of fuel (more than 90 percent capacity) and tool kit (if supplied).

Recommended retail price (plus onroad costs) $9999.00

Review by Paul Cheetham #46164

My first real ride on a cruiser was a pleasant relaxing experience as there was no need to lean the machine, it just sways by itself through the bends from side to side like a big wattle tree in the wind.

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