2012 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom Preview

2012 Kawasaki Motorcycle

For 2012, Kawasaki returns with the Vulcan 900 Custom and Custom Special Edition, both bikes featuring a full-out factory upgrades on styling.

From the cast 21-inch front wheel and rear 15-inch wheel with 180mm rear tire, the largest in its class, to the flat handlebars and forward footpegs, the 2012 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom has that aggressive style bring motorcyclists back to the early days of customized motorcycles.

Powering the Vulcan 900 is a 903cc engine with fuel injection bolted into an chassis that provides smaller-bike agility, although all the big-bike styling is there.

For 2012, Kawasaki offers the unique special edition for those seeking additional styling.

Kawasaki says: "The Vulcan 900 Custom SE comes with all the trappings of an expensive handmade creation for a fraction of the cost and none of the maintenance headaches. It features a special black-out treatment on the air cleaner, engine cases, and exhaust.

"To go along with the special black-out treatment, this year's Special Edition features solid black wheels. The 2012 Vulcan 900 Custom SE is finished off with a Special Edition Candy Sparking Orange paint scheme with a tribal pinstripe graphic on the tank and rear fender."

Following are the highlights, specs, color options and MSRP for the 2012 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom.

2012 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom Highlights:


  • Smooth and reliable engine tuned to deliver a healthy dose of torque at low rpm
  • Gear-driven balancer allows the use of a single-pin crankshaft without excessive vibration
  • Rubber mounted to reduce engine vibration at all speeds

Four-Valve Cylinder Head

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

Liquid and Air Cooling

  • Finned cylinders and heads combine with liquid cooling for exceptional thermal control
  • Maintains consistent engine temperatures for long engine life and sustained power
  • Automatic fan helps keep things cool


  • Big slash-cut mufflers look great and contain emission reducing honeycomb catalyzers

Positive Neutral Finder

  • Just lift the shift pedal from first gear at a stop to easily find neutral, every time


  • Superb performance and rideability thanks to dual throttle bodies with sub-throttles
  • The ECU-controlled sub-throttles are located behind the main throttle valve, allowing the DFI system to provide more precise throttle response, similar to a constant velocity carburetor
  • Fine-atomizing fuel injectors produce a fine fuel mist for optimal acceleration, combustion and fuel consumption

Double-cradle Frame

  • Very rigid, large-diameter box section backbone allows space for a larger fuel tank, and offers high stability and lightweight handling at low speeds
  • Fork offset and frame geometry combine for light, low-effort handling at ultra-low speeds
  • Long wheelbase contributes to highway stability
  • Triangular swingarm has a hardtail appearance, but utilizes a single shock hidden beneath the seat
  • Long and low chassis for minimal seat height, maximum visual impact

Belt Drive

  • Lower unsprung weight than shaft drive to improve ride quality and suspension action
  • Low maintenance and low noise

41mm Front Fork

  • Offers excellent rigidity and 5.9 inches of travel
  • 33 degrees of rake and 7.2 inches of trail for excellent straight line stability


  • A 300mm front and 270mm rear disc are both gripped by twin-piston calipers for some of the best stopping power in the class

21-inch Front Wheel

  • The wheel's 18 "spokes" are arranged in pairs
  • Tapered and flanged in two directions, every line and surface of each 3D spoke is exquisitely curved

Rear Wheel/Tire

  • 180mm rear tire provides added stability while projecting a powerful image
  • Wider tire than that found on most large-displacement cruisers
  • Custom cast 15-inch rear wheel contrasts the "light," tall front wheel

Tank-Mounted Gauges

  • Provides riders crucial information at a glance
  • Compact design matches the bike's clean look

Sculpted Bodywork

  • Fuel tank features a twin valley design, with a dynamic tension and presence all its own
  • Designed to be pleasing to both the eye and to the touch, the tank is composed exclusively of curves with constantly varying radii; the twin valley design theme continues to the rear fender and its hand-sculpted contours
  • Bottom of the rear fender features a relatively straight cut, to balance the lines of the motorcycle


  • Chromed headlamp, headlamp mount, lower triple clamp and turn signals as well as footpegs, shift lever and rear brake lever
  • Clean headlight design is compact and isolated without a central fork cover or headlamp bar
  • Small, minimalist fender and lack of front fork covers also contribute to the slender appearance of the front end
  • Sporty, straight-style handlebar adds to the bike's custom styling. Instead of handlebar clamps, twin tubes elegantly curve back from the upper triple clamp. Both the handlebar and twin tubes are completely chromed
  • Forward-mounted footpegs instead of floorboards add to the custom image and improve rider control
  • One-piece "gunfighter" style seat is designed for comfortable rider and passenger accommodation and a custom-style look
  • Matte black frame emphasizes the chrome finishing
  • Standard toe-operated shift lever instead of a heel-toe shifter complements the forward footpegs for a more open rider position

Special Edition:

  • Black-out treatment on air cleaner, engine cases, handlebar, headlight and rear fender struts
  • New for 2012, solid black wheels enhance blackout look

2012 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom Specs:

  • Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, SOHC, four valves per cylinder V-twin
  • Displacement: 903cc / 55.1 cu. in.
  • Bore x Stroke: 88 x 74.2 mm
  • Maximum Torque: 58.2 lb.-ft. @ 3,500 rpm
  • Compression Ratio: 9.5:1
  • Cooling System: Liquid
  • Fuel System: DFI with dual 34mm Keihin throttle bodies (2)
  • Ignition: TCBI with Electronic Advance
  • Transmission: 5-Speed
  • Final Drive: Belt
  • Frame: Double cradle, high-tensile steel
  • Rake/Trail: 33°/7.2 in.
  • Front Suspension / Wheel Travel: 41mm hydraulic telescopic fork / 5.9 in.
  • Rear Suspension / Wheel Travel: Uni-Trak swingarm, 7-way adjustable spring preload / 4.1 in.
  • Front Tire Size: 80/90x21
  • Rear Tire Size: 180/70x15
  • Wheelbase: 64.8 in.
  • Front Brakes / Rear Brakes: 300mm hydraulic disc / 270mm hydraulic disc
  • Fuel Capacity: 5.3 gal.
  • Seat Height: 27.0 in.
  • Overall Length: 94.7 in.
  • Overall Width: 35.2 in.
  • Overall Height: 44.1 in.
  • Curb Weight: 610.8 lbs.
  • Good Times Protection Plan: 12, 24, 36 or 48 months
  • Warranty: 12 Months

2012 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom Color Options/MSRP:

  • Pearl Purplish Black Mica / $8,699
  • Candy Sparkling Orange SE / $8,999


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