Kawasaki joined the big-twin game in the 1980s with the original twin-carb Vulcan 1500. That bike carried the flag for 10 years until 1996 when, perhaps anticipating Motorcycle Cruiser would need a crowd-stopper for the cover of its premiere issue [Spring 1996], Kawasaki introduced its Vulcan 1500 Classic. The Classic was the first import to offer the sort of style and substance that Americans wanted from a big twin. Instead of the obviously liquid-cooled engine of the twin-carb 1500A, the Classic had heavily finned cylinders and its radiator tucked out of sight between the front frame tubes. It breathed through a single carb and was tuned for lots of thrust right off idle. It retained the single-crankpin design with its traditional sound (and continued to quell vibration with a counterbalancing system). However, the cadence of the exhaust was now backed up with traditional American lines—a big headlight, covered, fat-legged fork tubes, a fat fuel tank and seat, floorboards, a staggered dual exhaust and wide fenders curving deeply around wire-spoke 16-inch wheels. The bike retained features such as the clean, quiet, low-maintenance shaft drive. Though some pundits thought the Classic was a blatant attempt to copy Harley-Davidson, instead it was the company's response to research that said customers wanted a cruiser that looked, sounded and felt the way the Classic does. This bike promptly became the best-selling metric cruiser, a title that it continued to hold the last time we checked.