Switched from 390 Duke to Vulcan S: Review with 6 pros, 8 cons & 5 FAQs

I think with the Vulcan S, Kawasaki wasn’t trying to make a typical cruiser motorcycle like a Harley.

BHPian marcussantiago recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I bought a Kawasaki Vulcan a little over a year ago.

The newer color scheme brings just a bit of life into the otherwise drab flat all-black color (which I also kinda liked but those deep red pinstripes are just tasty IMHO).

Was saving up for the 35L Givi hard cases when I stumbled across an absolutely killer deal: 22 L Shad cases for just 14 k (including the mounting brackets!) Really completes the cruiser / tourer look.

So here’s my experience so far: absolutely amazing.

I mean yes, there’s been some downsides. Barely one month in, I was on a road trip with my club and we had to cross an absolutely colossal speed breaker that was more like two humps with a third one on top to absolutely guarantee destroying the underbelly of anything lower than an adventure bike. And I beached it and broke the exhaust (header pipe things specifically). No other damage so we carried on and I took it in for repairs. Kawasaki West Delhi was able to bend it back into shape without needing to order a full exhaust replacement, so that was lucky.

I want to eventually sit down and write a long-term review for this forum now that it’s been with me for over a year, but I’m also lazy lol. So for now, here are the highlights:




  • Q1: What’s the average? (standard Indian question lol)

A: Honestly surprisingly good for a 650 cc parallel. I get roughly 23 kmpl in city / daily riding. On longer highway rides it’s gone up to 27 or so but I didn’t do really heavy calculations. Also, I failed maths in school, there’s a reason I’m an artist. But yes, overall it’s quite decent with fuel consumption.

  • Q2: Can you handle it in traffic?

A: It’s quite a long bike, but I’ve had a few problems needling it in traffic. Again, I tend not to do the typical thing where bikers shoehorn their bikes into impossibly tiny gaps between cars and whatnot, I tend to just stick behind the car in front of me and relax even if it means I get home later. It’s just too stressful. On a Duke it was stressful because I’d be tip-toe-ing it, on the Vulcan with the hard cases I can’t be bothered trying to squeeze through a gap, seeing I’m too wide, and then holding up the impatient uncles in honking scooters behind me because I can’t squeeze through a gap that everyone else can. So I don’t really care lol.

  • Q3: What’s it like on the highway?

A: Just blissful. Exactly what I was imagining when I’d gawk at it in the showroom before I finally bought it. I’ve done all-day-long highway runs without any fatigue or cramps or butt ache or anything like that.

  • Q4: How fast does it go?

A: If I wanted to go fast and set land speed records, I’d have bought a Ninja instead. But I’ve taken it up to some properly heady speeds and there’s no sense of drama or vibration or anything. It’s just solid and smooth, you just have to deal with the wind buffeting and wind noise, which a windscreen would probably help with. Haven’t installed one so I can’t say.

  • Q5: Why did you buy a Vulcan when you could have bought [insert bike here]?

A: I have an answer for that but it’s so long it would be a college-level thesis.

So aside from everything I’ve already said so far, I’ll save the pontificating and philosophizing for a long-term review if I ever get off my lazy butt and actually write it.

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