As mentioned in the first impression ride article, I have to admit that the MY 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic is indeed quite large and longer in length over most other motorcycles, including both the Z250 Streetfighter and Ninja 400 supersport which I had also tested on that day, leaving me wondering if I might have handling issues managing it on the same routes.
During flag-off from the venue the media members had assembled, Bangi Golf Resort, it was a bit cautious on my part due to the Vulcan’s overall weight but that feeling lasted as far as the main road once out of the zone of the Resort’s compound. The sheer speed/acceleration and handling of the Vulcan 900 Classic made riding it a joy.
Pretty soon, I had the Vulcan 900 Classic cruising at a speed I was comfortable with including keeping up with the lead marshal as well as finding myself doing the usual overtaking of the slower media riders upfront one by one. They were slower approaching each corner while I just negotiated the curves like a duck to water.
One thing for sure, the majority of cruisers isn’t designed for low lean angles of cornering and the Vulcan 900 Classic is one such bike. I had its left foot rest (as opposed to a footpeg) scrapping the tarmac during a left hander cornering at the Putrajaya segment, and made me slowed the bike’s speed to force it upright from the lower angle.
In this individual test ride, there’s one hilarious (valid for myself) moment which I had discovered about the Vulcan 900 Classic when it comes to making a turn or a 1-pointer U-Turn with it, I was unable to complete such an effort with ease. This has something to do with the Vulcan 900 Classic’s generous steering angle available, coupled with my extra long pair of arms.
The bike’s generous steering angle means the handlebars could extend rearward on either side but thanks to my long pair of arms, both my elbows have prevented me from completing a 1-pointer turning effectively as they would interfered with my body, hard pressed against my side ribs area.
That was not a major issue anyway, to be told. Doing a 1-pointer U-Turn or any extreme left/right turning was not a regular aspect of this test ride. It was only required like 5% of the period during the entire length I had the Vulcan 900 in my care. Getting the cruiser up to speed and enjoying the ride took up the balance of my time with it.
I have a knack of taking all types of motorcycles which I have reviewed previously to the infamous bike lanes in the Klang Valley, located along the Federal Highway, Guthrie Corridor Highway as well as Kesas Highway. I had time to just assess the Vulcan 900 Classic’s performance at the Guthrie Corridor as the other two routes weren’t along the way I had subjected the bike to go for in my review plans.
For The Record: The width of each bike lane is enough to accommodate motorcycles of various sizes and shapes including models like the Honda Gold Wing and even the Spyder Cam-An 3-wheeler type. So the infamous myth being said about the bike lane wasn’t built for bigger motorcycles is just that… a MYTH!
The Vulcan 900 Classic just breezes thru the entire length of the Guthrie Corridor Highway with ease. There’s some difficulties in getting it to cruise around the sections that are currently have ongoing roadwork but it was just a matter of slowing down for these areas. The biggest obstacle in riding on the bike lane was with the numerous morning-period cyclists utilizing it too.
I am pretty sure they could hear the Vulcan 900 coming up from behind but as I had widely expected, one or two cyclists would invoked the overtaking maneuvering move when the Vulcan was just about to overtake them. Typical of those cyclists’ attitude but the bike was able to avoid torpedoing them, thanks to its ability to do so even at the last moment.
What about lane filtering/splitting during the morning/evening rush hours? Both of these periods are best avoided with the Vulcan 900 Classic. This is not to say the Vulcan isn’t capable of maneuvering its way thru but it really takes some effort and guts to do it. I had the Vulcan being subjected to rush hour traffic on MRR2 link, and the bike actually went much better than most mopeds in the process.
That took both skill and utmost confidence to so, and if your are among the bikers who still have the notion that the bike lanes aren’t built for larger bikes, then the ability to negotiate rush hour traffic riding the Vulcan 900 Classic isn’t going to fare that well either as it did with me riding on it.
During the first impression ride, the bike’s top speed achieved was close to 170km/h but for this individual test, I didn’t go faster than 140km/h, with 90-120km/h been the norm. Since it is a cruiser motorcycle, traveling at speeds of 90-110km/h felt quite nice, and there’s hardly a need to go any faster. For sure, these kinds of speeds, one could rest assured that getting snapped on speed cameras would be the least of worries for a biker astride the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic.
Top speed wasn’t an issue but acceleration-wise was a tack on the slower side, if compared against naked sports/supersports and modified 150cc mopeds. Well, it is a cruiser bike after all; for sure it is not designed for 0-100km/h acceleration against these afore-mentioned motorcycles!
Twisty old roads cruising – how did the Vulcan 900 Classic performs?
Riding it along the favoured Jalan Batang Kali-Goh Tong Jaya (GTJ) old road was not an issue: neither was it any tricky on the way down from GTJ via the Genting twisty access path toward Karak Highway. The actual challenge was riding the Vulcan 900 Classic along the twisty old Jalan Gombak road back to Kuala Lumpur instead.
It’s full of uneven surface as well as minor potholes but the only hassle was me subjecting the Vulcan 900 Classic to a massive low cornering angle at one point as I got carried away with negotiating the various left/right handers, and scrapped the left footrest once. However, the process of completing that stretch (until the first village house) was accomplished in 18 minutes!
That wasn’t so hard after all by the end of that stretch. In fact, lining up alongside the Gombak Toll Plaza coming from the old Jalan Gombak only took me approximately 28 minutes since starting from the Genting Sempah R&R roundabout! This proves that the MY 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic is just as agile despite being a Cruiser, which makes it an attractive investment for those eyeing it.