Kawasaki introduced the Vulcan in 1984 as an entry-level cruiser and has stayed on the market (in many different permutations) since. If the bike has Vulcan in the name, you should think of laid-back rides and eating up the miles in comfort. Not the fastest, but definitely full of style for you and probably a passenger.
The 900 series consists of:
- Vulcan 900 Classic
- Vulcan 900 Classic LT
- Vulcan 900 Custom
The LT and Custom have the same basic model as the classic but with a few tweaks according to your riding style and the use you’ll put the bike through. This article will look at the 900 Classic; if you decide it’s right for you, then look at the LT and Custom to see if they’ll suit you just that little bit better.
So is the Vulcan 900 Classic a good bike for a beginner?
The 900cc engine is a great size for a beginner. It’s got enough power that you won’t immediately need to upgrade to a more powerful bike as you gain more experience, but it’s not a huge jump from the small 600cc you’re used to. Riders also report that it’s a very easy bike to ride and will be more forgiving than others you might try.
A cruiser bike, like the Vulcan 900 Classic, is a good option for this size engine as well – they’re a bit more effort to get moving quickly, so you’re going to have more control over the power and still have those fun but more sedate drives while you’re getting the miles under your belt. The nippier sports bikes can easily give a thrill, and with a larger engine, they can quickly go to your head and get you into trouble. For a sportier bike, you should try a smaller engine to bridge the gap – for a cruiser, you can get away with this larger engine and potentially keep the bike longer.
Another point in its favour is that the Vulcan Classic has a low profile (like most cruisers), so it’s more stable and is more likely to stay upright. You’re going to roll your bike; as a beginner, that’s just inevitable, and it comes with the territory – having one that’s a bit more stable might be helpful.
A cruiser is a distinct riding style and might not be suitable for your daily riding – this will depend on the journeys you’re doing. As a beginner, you want to get as much practice on the bike as possible, and if you can’t commute on a cruiser and would have to save it for weekend joy rides, then go for a different bike. Cruisers can be good commuter bikes – they’re comfortable for long rides, and the low profile means you can often walk the bike in stop-start traffic.
Having mentioned stability above, note that the Vulcan 900 Classic is not a light bike, and given that, at some point, you’ll have to get the bike back on its wheels, you might want to go with something lighter and easier to manoeuvre.
As always, you should get on a bike and give it a go before deciding whether to go ahead and buy. The Vulcan 900 Classic is a great all-round bike and could be the beginner bike of your dreams. If a sportier model would work better for you, go for a smaller engine – the Kawasaki Ninja would be a good place to start looking.