his article was originally published in the February 2002 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser. When I finally switched off the light in my office in Los Angeles it was 7:30pm on a Tuesday. I needed to be in Eureka Springs, Arkansas to attend the Vulcan Riders and Owners (VROC) Annual event on Thursday. Downstairs in our garage a new Vulcan Mean Streak was waiting in the fluorescent den—bone stock, except for a small Fire & Steel windshield that had arrived that afternoon. When I stepped into the mirrored elevator in my well-traveled Cordura suit, the thought of the enchanted hours ahead took my breath away. There are few things in life that flip my switch like mounting a bike for a long-distance ride. And even though the breaker wouldn’t be open long, the miles would be many and in their midst I knew I would find peace. The Mean Streak is Kawasaki’s latest edition to a line of 1500cc V-twin-driven cruisers that dates back to 1987, and it’s also a contestant in the current V-twin performance cruiser clash, which includes Harley’s V-Rod, Honda’s burly VTX and Yamaha’s Road Star-derived Warrior. The Mean Streak’s release into the mosh pit was shadowed by Harley’s delivery of its futuristic 1100cc hyper cruiser. Folks were bumping into this newest Kawasaki Vulcan on their dealer’s floor though, and desperately wanted to know more than the magazines had been able to find time to tell. We did perform a full test (October 2001 issue) and found the Mean Streak agreeable and well appointed, although not as strong as the V-Rod, VTX or Warrior when it came to off-the-line grunt. The result felt unfortunate to me. Yes, this new class asked to be judged in dyno graphs and dragstrip data, but should sheer output undermine all the other niceties we like in our cruisers? The Mean Streak was the most comfortable and one of the most well finished of the new class, not to mention the performance cruiser with the lowest MSRP ($10,999), yet it was coming out the underdog amidst the more aggressive designs.