The Vulcan is Kawasaki's only cruiser motorcycle, except for the Eliminator which was only made for three years in the mid-1980s. The Vulcan has been highly successful since its initial launch in 1984. Most Vulcans throughout the years have used the V-twin engine, a two-cylinder arranged in the shape of a V. The 1998 Vulcans included 750 and 800 cc models, but much more popular was the larger 1500.
Kawasaki originally offered the Vulcan 1500 in 1988. At that time, it was the largest V-twin motorcycle released. The 1998 Vulcan has a water-cooled, four-stroke engine with four valves per cylinder. This powerplant produces 64 horsepower at 4,700 RPM, with a torque of 82.6 foot-pounds at 3,000 RPM. The bike has a five-speed manual transmission. The Vulcan 1500 can go from 0 to 60 in five seconds and does the 1/4-quarter in 13.9 seconds. Braking distance at 60 MPH is 128 feet, and its top speed is just shy of 109 miles per hour. The engine's compression ratio for the 1998 model is 9:1. Bore and stroke are 4 inches by 3.5 inches.
Wheels and Brakes
The 1998 Vulcan 1500 rides on a 130/90-16 front tire and is equipped with a 150/80-16 on the rear. The front brakes are a 300 mm single-disc type with two-piston calipers, and the rear brakes are 270 mm single-disc, with one-piston calipers. The bike has a wheelbase of 65.4 inches in length.
The Vulcan 1500 has featured slightly different models over the years. Most Vulcans are painted basic black with chrome accents. A 1500 B version, with a different fender and round air intake covers, was sold in the United States up until 1990. But in 1998, Vulcan bodies were based on the 1500A. These 1998 Classic Vulcans featured a new frame and a sturdier chassis, with a bigger steering head, larger bearings and main tubes in a larger diameter. Fuel capacity for the 1500 Vulcan is 4.2 gallons. It also has a bouncy rear suspension, which makes going over bumps easy but basic handling, especially on corners, rather unpredictable. The 1998 Vulcan is a heavy bike, with a dry weight of 643.7 pounds. Nevertheless, this model has been favorably reviewed over the years; in fact, in a 1998 Motorcycle.com article, the staff compared that year's Vulcan to other cruisers, including the Suzuki Intruder 1500LC and the BMW R1200C, remarking that the Vulcan was "the most balanced package," offering "power, handling, comfort and style."
- Photo Credit Wilfried Krecichwost/Photodisc/Getty Images
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