As the name implies, the Kawasaki Vulcan 500’s engine has a displacement of 498 cc. It has a bore and stroke of 74 by 58 mm. It’s an eight-valve, DOHC, four-stroke engine and is liquid cooled, ensuring that the temperature in the engine remains constant, whether the motorcycle is moving or sitting at a red light. This reduces wear on the engine and decreases maintenance compared to air-cooled engines. The parallel-twin design is based on Kawasaki’s 500-cc sport bike, the Ninja 500R.
The 32-mm CVK semi-flat slide carburetor ensures rapid throttle response and precise fuel metering. The final drive uses an O-Ring chain.
If you leave out the weight of fluids, the Vulcan 500 weighs 439 pounds. Add fuel, oil, transmission and brake fluid, and that goes up to 472 pounds. There are lighter bikes, but the Vulcan 500 comes nowhere near some of the 800- or 900-pound touring bikes.
The Vulcan 500 comes with a four-gallon tank with tank-mounted speedometer. Kawasaki doesn’t provide official mileage data, but WhyBike.com’s review of the starter cruiser estimates that it can get between 45 and 50 miles per gallon on the highway, providing a respectable 180 miles between refueling stops.
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