Hit town on the Vulcan and its slick gearbox, light clutch and low seat makes it ideal for dealing with a lot of stop/starts.
After a while the slightly abrupt throttle response at initial opening is an irritation, but the engine is peppy and sounds surprisingly deep and throaty through to its low-slung exhaust.
The Kawasaki’s handling is sure-footed and with little bulk to haul around, the Vulcan is surprisingly nippy. Out of town the suspension is a bit soft and squishy, but this is to be expected on a cruiser.
The Kawasaki ER-6 engine is very smooth, but when you fire up something like a Harley’s V-twin and feel it shake and pulse it fills the bike with character that you simply don’t get on the slightly synthetic Vulcan.
That said, it is hard to fault its power delivery or ease of use and it is also fairly rapid away from the traffic lights with a lovely light clutch action. Maybe not the best motor in terms of cruiser feel, but a very practical power plant and one that is very easy to live with on a day-to-day basis and economical.
The ER-6 motor is a tried and tested unit and as such there should be no nasty surprises on the horizon. Build quality is a little dubious on other ER models, especially when it comes to items such as fasteners, so use anti-corrosion spray liberally and often.
It is hard to put a price on the Vulcan as it is somewhat unique. At £6499 it is cheap, especially when compared to the £8895 a Harley 883 Iron will cost you or the £8699 Yamaha want for the XV950R, but it is also less of a motorcycle.
The Vulcan’s main rival is probably the Harley Street 750, which is £6045, or Street Rod at £6795. In this context it is about on the money.
Where some cruisers make a point of their substance through lots of metal components, the Vulcan S does feel a little plastic-fantastic with its less pretty parts (exhaust, frame spars) covered by plastic shrouds.
You only get one front disc and the dash is pretty cheap-looking (it does have a fuel gauge and gear indicator), but on the plus side the footpegs are three-way adjustable and the levers can also be altered in their span.