With the largest V-twin engine in a mass-production motorcycle, amazing torque, unique style and superb craftsmanship, the Vulcan® 2000 truly is the king of cruisers.
As the editors of Rider magazine wrote, “In naming Kawasaki’s Vulcan 2000 Cruising Rider’s Bike of the Year, we offer a hearty round of applause for its brawny styling, its powerful engine, excellent fit and finish, and top-notch running gear.”
Their comments were echoed by the editors of Cruising Rider: “Simply put, none of the contenders for our MOTY [Motorcycle of the Year] did everything they are supposed to do as well as the Vulcan 2000. Cruising, touring or stoplight-to-stoplight drag racing, the big Kawi is unmatched.”
Power for this stylish cruiser comes from a massive V-twin engine featuring a bore and stroke of 103 x 123.2mm, forged pistons, alloy-steel connecting rods, huge 220mm flywheels, dual cams located within the one-piece crankcase and right-side pushrods actuating four valves per cylinder. Notably, Kawasaki engineers chose to utilize a push rod design in order to reduce engine height, which directly contributes to the Vulcan 2000’s low center of gravity and relatively low seat height. Plus, hydraulic valve lash adjusters automatically maintain zero valve clearance for smoother, quieter operation.
Cruiser aficionados will appreciate the Vulcan 2000’s classic V-twin sound thanks, in part, to the single-pin crankshaft, while dual counterbalancers and rubber engine mounts keep it running smoothly.
To provide sharp throttle response at any rpm, the Vulcan 2000’s electronic engine control unit (ECU) manages electronic fuel injection with its dual 46mm throttle bodies and sub throttle valves, as well as the iridium spark plug ignition system. The sub throttle valves provide the Vulcan 2000 with a smooth, linear power band, while the highly sophisticated fuel injection system’s fine atomizing injectors deliver an ultra-fine mist of fuel/air mixture to the cylinders for greater combustion efficiency, increased power and optimum fuel economy.
The top quarter of the V-twin engine is liquid cooled, while temperatures for the bottom three-quarters of the engine are managed by stylish and highly functional cooling fins. Plus, the engine and transmission feature built-in oil and water pumps, with the transmission also serving as the oil tank.
The fuel injection system’s air cleaner is nestled between the cylinders, which feature a black matte finish, and the cooling fins are polished to a bright metallic shine. Dual exhaust pipes and mufflers emit a distinctive V-twin rumble, and include honeycomb catalyzers to reduce emissions.
A Hyvo primary drive chain transfers torque from the big V-twin engine to the five-speed transmission case, which houses a multi-plate wet clutch. To fully benefit from the Vulcan 2000’s advanced electronics, a gear position sensor in the transmission sends signals to the ECU, further enhancing fuel injection volume and ignition timing, and thus improving performance. Final drive to the rear wheel is provided by smooth, quiet and low maintenance belt drive.
The V-twin engine is utilized as a member of the Vulcan 2000’s steel, double-cradle frame, which features a large-diameter, box-section single-tube backbone. Coupled to the frame is a simple but elegant rear steel pipe swingarm suspension with a direct-action single shock. The rear suspension provides 3.9 inches of travel, and includes spring preload and rebound adjustment. Up front, large 49mm forks provide precise steering feedback and 5.9 inches of travel.
Styling queues that put the Vulcan 2000 at the forefront of cruiser design include a powerful four-bulb, projector-type headlight encased in a signature chrome Nacelle headlight – the first for a production cruiser. Adding to its high-end status is the chrome instrument panel with its large-face speedometer; mounted on a stretched, 5.5-gallon fuel tank, the V-shaped panel keeps the rider informed with an LCD display and warning lamps. The bucket-type saddle with locking passenger seat complements the Vulcan 2000’s long, curving silhouette while providing all-day riding comfort.
The Vulcan 2000 motorcycle rides on bright, cast aluminum 16-inch wheels with a 150/80 front radial tire and a huge, 200/60 rear radial tire – the biggest stock rear tire on a production V-twin cruiser. Dual 300mm front disc brakes with four-piston calipers and a single rear disc brake with two-piston caliper bring this big cruiser to smooth, powerful stops.