2008 Kawasaki Vulcan 1600

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A Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 is THE machine for a rider to get on and remain hooked forever. It works her magic by providing a comfortable riding position, awesome torque, and easy steering. Just check it out!

 

Introduction

A very important piece in Kawasaki Vulcan lineup, the 1600 was introduced in order to satisfy all of your riding need starting with every day commuting and finishing with an awesome trip from coast to coast.

The Vulcan 1600 has made a name of itself by being reliable, user-friendly when needed and a threatening beast when a given situation requires. Here you have it! It is big, powerful, comfortable, and always ready to rock so don’t let it suffer too much in front of the local diner.

History

Kawasaki Vulcan 1600

The model year 2003 brought a new member in the Kawasaki family. It was reliable, good looking and, most of all, created for the long run. Yes you guessed what I am talking about… it was the Kawasaki Vulcan 1600.

Designed to replace the Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Classic FI, it was logical for the bike to be a step forward concerning the previous bike’s every single feature and it actually did as many 1500 riders didn’t made the big jump towards the Vulcan 2000, preferring to buy this upgraded machine introduced as being brand new.

Competition

Kawasaki Vulcan 1600

Suzuki uses the same recipe with their 2008 Boulevard C90 so this would be Vulcan’s 1600 closest competitor. By featuring a long-stroke, 45-degree V-twin powerplant delivering comparable torque and power output, a relaxed riding position both for you and your passenger, this bike becomes quite the alternative for the bike I am reviewing. Oh, did I mention the fit and finish on that thing? I am sure you’ll be caught up by the bike’s lustrous paint, and shining chrome.

Star motorcycles present their fuel-injected Road Star featuring a big-bore (102-cubic-inch) air-cooled V-twin delivering impressive acceleration and constant power all through the rev range. Even though your arms will be massively stretched, at least your bottom will be positioned in comfort in the wide seat. You only need pullback handlebars and a pair of floorboards in order to be ready to go. And you will do it in style as the Road Star features impressive Classic looks with loads and loads of chrome. Call it a slightly bigger nightmare of the Vulcan 1600 Classic.

Exterior

Kawasaki Vulcan 1600

Designing the Vulcan 1600 Classic Kawasaki engineers started with a low, sleek chassis which would form the base of this work of art. On that unit, they attached the 95-cubic-inch V-twin motor which apart from looking great covered in all that chrome, it determines the rest of the bike’s stylish parts to be positioned around it.

Between the down tubes of the frame we can find a masked radiator which gives us a clue on the performance delivered by the engine, but it is kind of cool to believe that your classic machine is powered by a liquid-cooled engine.

The gas tank is the central part and, no questions asked, it is the most beautiful part on this Vulcan. It also implements the instruments on board so good luck trying to beat this combination.

Its entire exterior design is dominated by sinuous lines but the tone is clearly given by the fenders which makes it look like its moving when you sit on a stop sign. Handlebars are pulled back and the seat is formed by two pieces.

You will have a hard time trying to find the spokes on this thing as the wheels are dished cast, but don’t worry about the chrome as you can find it all over this bike: on the engine, fork, headlight and signal lights covers, instrument ornaments, rear fender ornaments, you name it.

After all, the paint is important two so Kawasaki delivers it Metallic Diablo Black painted or featuring two-tone color such as: Metallic Diablo Black / Luminous Polaris Blue.


Test Drive

Kawasaki Vulcan 1600

A ride with the Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 is all you need to get all the stress down after a hard day at the office. In fact, it only needs the road back home in order to deliver you as fresh as a new born. The bike is that awesome and pleasuring to ride.

I had the opportunity to put some miles on the Vulcan 1600 and I’ve reached to the conclusion that this motorcycle is the ideal balance between performance, comfort and that special something that everyone searches when buying a motorcycle.

Even though imposing and pretty heavy, you will not feel tortured when lifting her up from the sidestand in the parking lot. Maneuvering it in the same are isn’t difficult either but when you put it into first and accelerate, that’s when you know you’ve made the right choice. The bike’s weight simply vanishes underneath you and riding satisfaction starts abounding yourself.

Plenty of roll-on power in every gear, but I mostly appreciate the way the enormous amounts of torque are exploited resulting in excellent low-end grunt and an attitude far from being cruiser-like. You will not hear any horns behind you, but if you do, that hurrying driver will be amazed by the small dot in which you have transformed.

I definitely appreciate the riding position as the pullback handlebars don’t require stretching and the floorboards are excellently positioned. Did I mention the seat? It is simply awesome! You will feel like it is a bit firm the first time you sit on it, but on the long run, you will be the one resulting in advantage.

Kawasaki has put a lot of hours in creating a great handling machine and the results are more that satisfying. A 41mm telescopic fork and the stout frame was what this bike needed in order to steer like no other and radically improve life on board. After a few hours on it you will feel like you’ve been riding it forever (especially if you’ve just sold the Vulcan 900) and you will never feel the need to swing the leg back of it.

But cruisers are all about the open road and wind in your face (if you don’t go for the optional windshield) so I was now riding down the highway where I noticed that the gearbox is perfectly set to keep things calm or interesting, depending on the rider’s attitude. Both ways, the engine offers sufficient power and torque for you to go home with a suspended license and it doesn’t even need the fifth gear to get you in trouble.

I decided to get the best out of it and the numbers are very impressive. With a TopSpeed of 130 mph, the Vulcan 1600 is the perfect machine to drive on your long way home. No bothering vibrations as the single-pin crankshaft and gear-driven counterbalancer do their job spotless and keep things calm and reassuring.

The suspensions soak up the bumps properly so you are guaranteed to ride in comfort all day long. Gas mileage is also good so you won’t have to stop frequently to gas up.

But what goes fast also needs to stop fast so Kawasaki made sure that this bike won’t be an exception. It provided it with dual 300mm discs up front and a single 300mm disc at the rear. You will totally feel satisfied with the brakes but frankly, you won’t feel the need to hit them very often as this bike goes like no other.

Price

The Kawasaki Vulcan Classic is a lot of bike but its biggest advantage is that it doesn’t require a lot of money in order to become the newest toy in your garage.

2008 model year is being offered for the suggested retail price of $10,899 and if you are not decided to buy a motorcycle yet, I say don’t get on it because you will surely take it home.

Conclusion

If you were long looking for the perfect machine for your riding demands, it is very likely that you have found it with the 2008 Kawasaki Vulcan 1600. The bike has everything a biker could desire and more: loads of power and torque for great acceleration, cool styling, and a lot of attitude for those highway incursions and slow boulevard passes.


SPECIFICATIONS

 

Engine and Transmission

Displacement: 1,552cc / 95 cubic inches
Engine Type: Four-stroke, air/liquid-cooled, SOHC, four valves per cylinder, V-twin
Bore x stroke: 102.0mm x 95.0mm
Compression ratio: 9.0:1
Cooling: Liquid
Induction: Digital fuel injection with dual 36mm throttle bodies
Ignition: TCBI with digital advance
Transmission: Five-speed
Final Drive: Shaft

Chassis and Dimensions

Frame: High-tensile steel, double cradle
Rake / trail: 32 degrees/ 6.6 in.
Front suspension / wheel travel: 41mm hydraulic fork / 5.9 in.
Rear suspension / wheel travel: Dual air-assisted shocks / 3.7 in.
Tire, front: 130/90 x 16
Tire, rear: 170/70 x 16
Brakes, front: Dual 300mm hydraulic discs
Brakes, rear: 300mm disc
Overall length: 98.6 in.
Overall width: 40.9 in.
Overall height: 44.5 in.
Ground clearance: 5.1 in.
Seat height: 27.1 in.
Dry weight: 675 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 5.3 gal.
Wheelbase: 66.1 in.

Other

Colors: Metallic Diablo Black, Two-Tone: Metallic Diablo Black / Luminous Polaris Blue
Warranty: 12 months
Good Times™ Protection Plan: 12, 24, 36 or 48 months

Features

 

Engine:

- 1,552cc / 95 cu. in. SOHC, V-Twin


- Tuned for low- and mid-range power to deliver gutsy acceleration in the typical cruising range


- Oversquare 102 x 95mm bore and stroke helps ensure punchy response and a broad spread of satisfying power

Liquid-Cooling:

- Maintains consistent engine temperatures for long engine life and sustained power during hard use


- Uses quiet and efficient ring-type cooling fan

Four-Valve Cylinder Heads:

- Compact combustion chamber for increased compression ratio without detonation on today’s lower-octane gasoline


- Dished piston crowns allow for 9.0:1 compression ratio


- Boosts low-end torque


- Provides maximum valve area for optimum flow

Fuel Injection System:

- Digital control for maximum accuracy


- Produces easy starting, smooth running, high performance and reduced exhaust emissions

Gear-Driven Engine Balancer:

- Counter-rotates at engine speed to cancel vibration


- Allows use of single-pin crankshaft without the heavy vibration

Five-Speed Transmission:

- Five-speed transmission combines great around-town acceleration with relaxed highway cruising

Positive Neutral Finder:

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

Hydraulic Clutch:

- Easy to operate and maintain

Chamberless Dual Mufflers:

- Dual slash-cut mufflers give increased power feel


- Catalyzers built into each muffler to meet emissions regulations


- ECU controls the electromagnetic solenoid valve of the secondary air system to further reduce emissions

Dual Alternators:

- Dual alternators provide enough output to power additional electrical accessories

Frame:

- Uses twin 40 x 40mm square cross section tubes to create single backbone


- Single backbone accommodates larger capacity fuel tank

43mm Telescopic Fork:

Kawasaki Vulcan 1600

- Provides superb steering feedback and excellent ride quality

Dual Shocks with Four-Way Rebound Damping:


- Deliver first-class comfort and high stability

Brakes:

- Dual 300mm diameter discs and 300mm single rear disc supply abundant stopping power

Dished Cast Wheels:

- Allow the use of tubeless tires


- Large tires and wheels give 1600 Classic a tough look

Integrated Instrument Cluster:

- Features LCD screen and tank-mounted ignition switch


- Incorporates fuel-injection warning lamp, fuel gauge, odometer, tripmeter and clock

Details:

- Self-canceling turn signals automatically shut off after eight seconds or traveling 213 feet


- Wider fenders enhance style


- Chrome-backed mirrors are stylish and corrosion resistant


- Locking left-side cover holds tool kit and provides space for small items


Models Available

 

Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Classic

We are facing a modern classic that leaded to the creation of two wonderful looking and performing motorcycles. The Vulcan 1600 Classic is the most popular of them all as it provided the engine, chassis and all the basic features required for the other two wonders.

It is also the bike on which I based my review so its features are clearly noticeable by reading the writing I’ve done above.

Let’s proceed with its two sisters!

Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Nomad

Kawasaki Vulcan 1600

Here we have the touring version of the Classic you’ve already read about. This motorcycle is defined through its sleek saddlebags and protective windscreen, two wonderful features which make it an absolute joy down the open road.

This bike is designed for the long run so it implies the best from the Classic model (model, transmission, chassis, and overall design) and takes it to a whole new level of comfort riding feel.

The rear suspension is air-adjustable so carrying a passenger wouldn’t become your every day nightmare.

Colors available are: Metallic Diablo Black, Two-Tone: Metallic Ocean Blue / Neutron Silver, Two-Tone: Candy Fire Red / Metallic Diablo Black.

MSRP: $12.999-13.199.

Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Mean Streak

Kawasaki Vulcan 1600

I kept the best at the end! This is one special cruiser which enters the scene once the first two didn’t catch your eyes. This one will definitely do it with loads and loads of attitude apart from the already know features encountered on a Vulcan 1600.

The Vulcan 1600 Mean Streak individualizes itself with the help of 43mm inverted forks and a reinforced swingarm with dual air-assisted hydraulic shocks. Also, this bike is famous for its excellent stopping power coming from a pair of radial-mount front disc brakes and four piston calipers.

You will have no problems stopping but you will definitely have some problems taking your eyes off it as it can be sold in two different appearances. You will immediately begin to appreciate the coolness given by the polished valve covers and cooling fins.

If you feel like you’re more into customizing and one-of-a-kind-appearance than you should go for the black and red version of the Mean Streak.

Regardless to your choice, the bike will be fitted with 17-inch aluminum wheels and radial tires, just for those special tastes of yours.

MSRP: $11,099-11,299.


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