2006 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 And Vulcan 2000

The oft-rumored Kawasaki 900 Vulcan finally arrives in the company's 2006 lineup. The new liquid-cooled V-twin engine displaces 903cc. It uses digital fuel injection and inhales through dual 34mm Keihin throttle bodies. It has four valves per cylinder operated by a single cam in each head. The transmission has five speeds and drives the rear wheel via a belt, instead of the chains previously used on middleweight Vulcans. The 900 Vulcan, with a 65-inch wheelbase, is also physically bigger than the 805cc Vulcan 800A and 800 Classic (63.6 inches) that it replaces. (The 800 Drifter remains in Kawasaki's 2006 model lineup.) It uses the same 41mm diameter fork legs and retains the single-shock rear suspension, but now each wheel stops with a single disc. The front tire remains a 130/90-16, but the rear is now a 15-incher instead of 16 and has a fat 180/70 profile. It gets more fuel capacity than the 800 too, with 4.8 gallons onboard instead of just 4.0.

There is no direct replacement for the skinny-front-tire Vulcan 800A, although the Vulcan 900 Classic does fill the niche of the 800 Classic very well, with the same full fenders and classic style. It's priced at $7299, which is $100 less than the 800 Drifter. There is also a version with windshield, studded leather saddlebags, a passenger backrest, and studs in the seat, designated the Vulcan 900 Classic LT. It's priced at $8499. The 900s are due to arrive in March.

Kawasaki has also added two models to its Vulcan 2000 series, both of which use the same chassis and 2053cc V-twin engine. The Vulcan 2000 Classic differs from the original primarily in its headlight design, which is more conventional than the huge nacelle of the Vulcan 2000 and the Vulcan 2000 Limited. Other changes include a reshaped passenger saddle, tank-top ignition lock, and its own speedometer face. At $12,999, the suggested price is $500 lower than the original. Kawasaki says it weighs the same at 750 pounds dry. Also new is the Vulcan 2000 Classic LT. As with the 900s, the LT adds a windshield, leather saddlebags, passenger backrest and seat to the Vulcan 2000 Classic. The gear raises the price by $1500 above the 2000 Classic's.