Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic
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The Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic motorcycle (Model VN900B) is a mid-sized motorcycle cruiser made by Kawasaki, first introduced in 2006 and is still in production today. The cycle follows the formula of a smaller yet capable engine fitted into a one-size up frame, a popular combination also in use by Honda, Suzuki, and Yamaha in their respective cruiser lines.
The VN900B is a boulevard-style cruiser, similar in appearance to the Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe or the Fat Boy. It is powered by a liquid cooled 903 cc (55.1 cu in) in V-Twin engine, with a five speed transmission. Overall, it measures 97.0 inches (2.46 m) in length, has a wheelbase of 64.8 inches (1.65 m), and possesses a seat height off the ground of 26.8 inches (680 mm).
Other installed standard equipment are a 5.3 US gallons (20 L; 4.4 imp gal) tank (also the largest in its class), floorboards, front and rear disk brakes, electronic fuel injection, and a belt for the final drive.
Up until September 2008, the engine displacement of the Vulcan 900 lineup was the largest in the midsized cruiser game. This changed with the introduction of Yamaha's V-Star 950 (both standard and touring models), which uses an air-cooled 942 cc powerplant. While the media has yet to officially draw conclusions, many VN900 owners have already formed the opinion that this particular Yamaha is now the chief competitor to the Vulcan 900 line.
Other than the VStar 950, the next closest physical competition to the VN900B is the 805cc Suzuki’s C50 Boulevard. Honda rounds out the game with their own offering in the form of the Shadow Aero (745cc displacement). Both use shaft drive and rear drum brakes, which - while can be considered more user friendly - are negatives in the minds of some due to their bulky appearance.
Press and owner reviews
Upon its unveiling, the press generally regarded the VN900B favorably. Numerous references were made to its physical presence, aesthetics, and it possessing equipment normally reserved for larger bore machines. Ride quality was also rated positively, as was its ability to accommodate shorter riders due to the low seat height. Countering these were mentions of limited cornering clearance (due to the floorboards), a relatively weak rear disc brake, and in some articles, an uncomfortable stock seat. In an overall online comparison review, the Suzuki C50 was identified as the potential equal to the VN900B, with the Vulcan being stronger in some areas, and weaker in others.
|Engine Type||4-Stroke, Liquid-Cooled, SOHC, 4-Valve Cylinder Head, V-Twin|
|Bore and Stroke||88 x 74.2 mm|
|Fuel Injection||EFI with 34 mm Keihin Throttle Bodies (X2)|
|Ignition||TCBI with Digital Advance|
|Front Wheel Travel||5.9 in.|
|Rear Wheel Travel||3.9 in.|
|Front Tire Size||130/90-16|
|Rear Tire Size||180/70-15|
|Front Suspension||41mm Hydraulic Telescopic Fork|
|Rear Suspension||Single Shock|
|Front Brake Type||Single 300 mm Disc with 2-Piston Caliper|
|Rear Brake Type||Single 270 mm Disc|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||5.3 gal.|
|Seat Height||26.8 in|
The VN900D is the touring edition of the basic VN900B. The major additions made to accommodate this new role include factory installed windshield, saddlebags, and a backrest. Additionally, a studded seat replaces the standard unit.
Also available is the VN900C Custom, which is regarded as the more aggressively styled sister of the VN900B. Major changes are cast alloy wheels (solid on the rear, and spoked for the front), a much larger diameter 21 in 80/90 front wheel, redesigned fenders, forward controls with pegs (as opposed to floorboards), a smaller headlight, and drag-style bars. Also different is the slimmer one-piece seat, which is still capable of carrying a passenger, but not quite as comfortably as the VN900B.
In March 2008, Kawasaki issued a general recall notice (NHTSA Campaign ID: 08V114000) to certain VN900B owners for model years 2006 to 2008 for a fuel hose connector issue. The possibility of failure of this component existed, which could result in the fuel hose coming loose from the fuel injector pipe. This possible defect was also present in the many VN900D models produced in the same timeframe, as well as certain 2008 VN900C's. Per the notice, 31,789 units were potentially affected. Inspection and/or replacement of the affected component was to be conducted free of charge at authorized Kawasaki service centers.
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