As part of the manufacturers’ continued quest for new riders, Kawasaki has chosen a tactic that could be a glimpse of things to come—a motorcycle with an easily customizable fit that can adjust to those outside of the 5′ 7″ to 6′ 0″ sweet spot where most American males stand.
Calling the system Ergo-Fit, Kawasaki gives the new Vulcan S owner the choice of three seats, two handlebars, and three-position footpegs—a total of 18 ergonomic configurations.
For instance, using the Reduced Reach seat and bars puts the grips almost four-and-a-half inches closer to the seat than the Extended Reach options. Further, the peg/seat distance is four inches longer in Extended Reach than Reduced Reach. This makes a huge difference.
The adjustability isn’t just for the outliers. At 5′ 10″, I’m pretty much the standard-sized guy. However, when getting on a Vulcan S with everything in the “mid” position, I felt that my arms were too straight when grabbing the bars.
I had Kawasaki install the Reduced Reach bars, and all of a sudden I had a perfect personalized fit. Oh, and I neglected to mention that the hand levers are five-position adjustable from the grips.
Part of the Ergo-Fit system is that the buyer can have the dealer configure the Vulcan when the purchase is made, with no additional charge for any choices selected. If the owner later wants a different feel, or the bike is sold to someone else, modifying the bike is not difficult. The footpegs can be relocated in minutes, and for under $10 in parts.
If you want a different seat, you will have to buy one, though it bolts on instantly. The bars take a bit of time to swap out, but you won’t have to make any changes to cables, hydraulic lines, or wires. You can even change out the rear subframe and start carrying a passenger.
After getting fitted, riding the bike is almost anti-climactic. The handling is as natural as the Ergo-Fit seating. At less than 500 pounds gassed up, the Vulcan S is a lightweight cruiser that is exceptionally nimble around town. It may have a relaxed 31 degrees of rake, but the 62-inch wheelbase is manageable, the sub-28-inch seat height (in all configurations) is agreeable, and the 160mm rear 17-inch tire is not resistant to cornering.
Using the basic parallel twin platform found in the Ninja 650 and retuning it for torque, the powerband is extraordinarily wide, thanks to a 9500 rpm redline. Take it into the canyons and prepare for fun. The Vulcan S has generous ground clearance, and with the Dunlop Sportmax D222 tires, it is pretty much a mid-size sport cruiser.
With customized comfort, unique styling, and solid performance, the 2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S has made it easier and more fun than ever to be a new or returning rider.