Kawasaki VN 900 Vulcan Custom


Make Model

Kawasaki VN 900 Vulcan Custom


2009 - 10


Four stroke, V-twin, SOHC, 4 valves per cylinder


903 cc / 49 cu-in
Bore x Stroke 88.0 x 74.2 mm
Cooling System Liquid cooled
Compression Ratio 9.5:1


2x 34mm ø Fuel injection with dual throttles


 Starting Electric

Max Power

37 kW / 50 hp @ 5700 rpm

Max Torque

78 Nm / 8.0 kg-fm @ 3700 rpm
Clutch Wet multi-disc, manual


5 Speed
Final Drive Belt
Frame Double-cradle, steel

Front Suspension

41mm telescopic fork with 7-way preload
Front Wheel Travel 150 mm / 5.9 in

Rear Suspension

Uni-Trak with 7-way adjustable preload
Rear Wheel Travel 103 mm / 4.1 in

Front Brakes

Single 300mm disc

Rear Brakes

Single 270mm disc

Front Tyre

80/90 -21

Rear Tyre

180/70 -15
Dimensions Length 2405 mm / 94.7 ub
Width 894 mm / 35.2 in
Heigh 1120 mm / 44.1 in
Wheelbase 1646 mm / 64.8 in
Seat Height 685 mm / 27.0 in


277 kg / 610.8 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

20 Litres / 5.3 US gal

Being found half way through the Vulcan lineup, the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 demonstrates it enjoys being caught in the middle. Proof of this fact is the bike’s clean lines inspired from the Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 and the mid-size agility which is characteristic for these kinds of motorcycles.

Like you’ve already gotten used to, 900s offer awesome roll-on acceleration with the help of good power and torque, but when these bikes receive their credit by featuring “big bike” looks that is when you know you have a successful product. This is also the case with this Kawasaki.

The Vulcan 900 isn’t a long-standing model in Kawasaki’s history but I do know it is one hell of a bike. Introduced in 2006, this mid-size cruiser was the first in Kawasaki’s lineup to ever feature a belt drive and a fuel injection system. These two features practically set it as a customer’s favorite from the first day it started being produced.

Also, the 900cc motor was appreciated by the motorcycle press for being a jewel and a great performer also, as the innovations clearly did their job.

Being good looking, awesome performing and marking a new beginning at Kawasakis, the Vulcan 900 remained unchanged but willing to further enjoy its success. It does just that as a 2008 model year.

The closest competitor for the subject of this review is the Suzuki Boulevard C50, a bike built by the same recipe and featuring almost the same success as the Kawasaki Vulcan 900. The bike features classic lines and a torque 50 cubic inch V-twin so it delivers strong low-end and mid-range torque for strong acceleration, just like the Kawasaki.

Honda’s alternative to the 900cc Vulcan is the Shadow Aero, a cruiser featuring full-sized looks and 750cc performance with the advantage of being cheaper than the Kawasaki. Honda aims at success by delivering a cruiser featuring a long and low chassis covered with retro-styled bodywork. As the Vulcan, the other most important feature is its engine, in this case a 750cc liquid-cooled 52-degree carbureted V-twin ready to be put to the test against the fuel injected V-twin found on the Kawasaki.

The Yamaha V Star Classic doesn’t quite dispose of a 900cc motor, but it is still a middleweight cruiser so it is suitable for the fight against the bikes I’ve just talked about. More important, it features belt final drive, so it is well worth mentioning it in this heading.

First, the Kawasaki Vulcan catches its future rider’s eyes with clean classic lines which are inspired from its bigger siblings and it then uses the comfortable ergonomics in order to get him completely. We all know that we like mid-size bikes to look bigger, more powerful and implicit more able, and that is what the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic does.

The bike gets its classic cruiser curves from its valanced fenders and nicely shaped fuel tank but what really speaks for itself is the chrome found all over this bike. On the headlight cover and the air cleaner, on the exhaust and signal lights cover, or on the rear fender ornaments, Kawasaki knows that it will have the needed effect.

The spoked wheels accentuate the old-bike look but what I appreciate most are the wide, pullback handlebars found on this thing.

If you are already thinking on picking a color, you will be glad to find out that it can be painted Ebony, Metallic Titanium, Candy Caribbean Red, or Candy Caribbean Blue. With so many colors available, it makes sure to look awesome both on the boulevard and down the highway.


- 903cc V-twin SOHC engine tuned to deliver healthy dose of torque at low rpm
- Smooth and reliable
- Gear-driven balancer allows use of single pin crankshaft without heavy vibration 

Four-valve Cylinder Head:

- Provides maximum valve area for optimum flow more power and low-end torque
- Single overhead cam design is simple, lightweight and practical
- Extremely efficient intake tracts feature ports that narrow near the combustion chamber to increase intake flow speed for more efficient filling and increased torque

- Long intake tracts for great low-end response

Liquid and Air Cooling:

- Exceptional thermal control with finned cylinders and head and liquid cooling combination
- Maintains consistent engine temperatures for long engine life and sustained power
- Automatic fan keeps things cool even in traffic
- Includes temperature warning light

Automatic Cam Chain Tensioner:

- Maintains precise valve timing with maintenance
- Assures greater reliability
- Hidden from view to preserve the engine’s clean, basic look 

Dual Slash-Cut Mufflers:

- Big slash-cut mufflers look great and contain honeycomb catalyzers to reduce emissions
Positive Neutral Finder:
- Just lift the shift pedal from first gear at a stop to find neutral easy, every time

Electronic Fuel Injection:

- Dual throttle bodies with sub throttles provide optimum performance and rideability
- The sub throttles, located behind the main throttle valve, are controlled by the ECU so that the DFI system retains more precise throttle response, similar to a constant velocity carburetor

- Fine-atomizing fuel injectors produce a fine fuel mist for better acceleration, combustion and fuel consumption 

- Lower unsprung weight than shaft drive to improve ride quality and suspension action
- More efficient so more power reaches the rear wheel
- Low maintenance and low noise

Double Cradle Frame:

- Very rigid large-diameter box section backbone allows a larger fuel tank, and helps contribute to high stability and lightweight handling at low speeds
- Triangular swingarm looks like a hardtail design, but acts on a single shock hidden beneath the seat
- Long and low for minimal seat height, maximum visual impact
- Fork offset and frame geometry combine for light, low-effort handling at ultra-low speeds
- Long wheelbase contributes to highway stability

Low Stepped Seat:

- Ultra-low 26.8-inch seat height allows riders to easily plant both feet on the ground at stops
- Laid-back riding comfort for two 
Tank-Mounted Speedometer with Turn Signal Indicators and Caution Lamps:
- Gives you the information you need at-a-glance
- Compact design complements the bike’s clean look 

41mm Front Fork:

- Excellent rigidity and 5.9 inches of travel
- 32 degrees rake angle for excellent straight line ability
- Wide fork pitch for classic look 

Front and Rear Disc Brakes:

- A 272mm front and 242mm rear disc have twin-piston calipers for some of the best stopping power in the class

Custom Spoke Wheels:

- Chromed steel rims and spokes
- “Spool-style” polished aluminum front hub 

Wide Rear Tire:

- 180mm rear tire provides added stability while projecting a powerful image
- Wider tire than that found on most large-displacement cruisers


Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom
Cruiser comfort in a sporty, custom package
By Genevieve Schmitt

To understand where Kawasaki's new for 2007 Vulcan 900 Custom fits in the Vulcan family, read through Teri Conrad's article on the Vulcan 900 Classic, the sister to the Custom. The Custom is the sporty, custom version of the Classic.

Genevieve shows off the aggressive, sporty ride of the 900 Vulcan Custom.

The best way to experience the Custom's finer points is to ride the Classic first, which I did. The Custom feels sleeker and lighter and rides much more deliberately – just like a sportbike going right where you point it. I really like the Custom. Where the Classic lumbers through the turns, the Custom really carves them up.

Genevieve demonstrates the 27-inch seat height. She stands 5 feet 6.5 inches and is wearing two-inch heels. Her inseam is 30 inches.

The seat height is slightly higher than the Classic at 27 inches, but still relatively low for a cruiser. The bike and seat are not too wide, so you don't lose leg inches in the spread. The riding position has your feet reaching forward to meet the footpegs and foot controls; arms are outstretched to meet the flat, drag style handlebars. The ergonomics remind me of a custom Pro Street -- to borrow terminology from the custom bike world -- sleek and long with a low profile.

The new 903cc Vulcan engine on the Custom is the same one described in our review of the Vulcan 900 Classic. Engineers started with the Vulcan 800 engine making significant improvements, including eliminating the carburetor in favor of fuel injection. The fuel injection is the same system developed for the Vulcan 2000 motorcycle, including the "automatic fast idle system" that makes for easy starts in cold weather. High energy ignition coils like the ones on the Vulcan 2000 provide a hotter spark at low rpms. This produces a consistent output of power at any speed.

The front tire is stretched around a custom cast wheel with designer styling. Arranged in pairs, the 18 "spokes" are hand-designed. This striking accent is one of the bike's finer points, in our opinion.

The Custom also has that "big bike" look Teri writes about with the Classic, but comes in a manageable middleweight package – ideal for very confident beginners and intermediate riders. Styling and ergonomics are where the bikes differ. The Custom has a 21-inch wheel versus the 16-inch on the Classic. The skinnier 80mm tire wrapped around it-- common on custom motorcycles -- contributes partly to the Custom's different ride. Less rubber up front gives you the feeling you can whip the bike around more easily, which you can. Keeping you planted throughout the ride is the big 180mm tire in the rear wrapped around a 15-inch rim, the same set up as on the Classic.

The fenders on the Custom are shorter than the Classic's to expose more of the tires.

In addition to the shorter fenders on the Custom, the passenger section of the seat is shorter. The Custom's saddle is what's called a gunfighter style, a solo seat that narrows as it extends to the rear, only really good for quickie passenger accommodations. I say quickie because, passengers will find they won't be able to spend too much time on this narrow strip of flat-cushioned rubber.

If regular riding plans include a passenger, opt for a saddle with better back seat accommodations.

I had a great time riding the Custom. It zipped along feeling much lighter and quicker than the Classic. I also felt more power on roll-on coming off the line than with the Classic. This could be attributed to the lighter weight of the bike as the engine is virtually the same. The Custom weighs only eight pounds lighter than the Classic's 549 pounds, but it skirts along like it's much more lighter than that. I can't say enough about much fun I had with this bike.

The drag-style handlebars on the Custom with integrated risers that bring the bars up toward the rider.

I found the brakes did a good job at stopping me when and where I wanted to, A large 300mm disc in the front, and a 270mm disc in the rear are slowed by twin-piston calipers.

If you like the ergonomics, ride, and styling of this minimalist bike more than the Classic or Classic LT, Kawasaki offers a lot of accessories to outfit the Custom for touring. Two different size windshields are available as well as a luggage rack, saddlebags, a lightbar, and a backrest if you decide to take a passenger. Don't forget to spring for a better passenger seat first, though.