The Biggest & Meanest: 2007 Kawasaki 2000 Vulcan
The Ultimate V-Twin For The Ultimate Coast-To-Coast Ride
When you are sitting astride the largest V-twin motorcycle engine any manufacturer has ever placed between the frame tubes, you have to acknowledge some measure of respect and awe. After all, you've got the displacement equivalent of about three Smart cars between your legs and all that power is at the disposal of your right wrist. You hit the throttle, the magnificent kick of 141 lb-ft. of torque hauls you from the stoplight and you go chugging off on down the highway, with that mighty V-twin barely turning over at freeway speeds.
"There aint no substitute for cubic inches" the old time drag racers would say, and in a world of 13,000 rpm sportbikes that squeeze a zillion horsepower out of ever cc, that dictum may still be correct. You don't turn the throttle of the Kawasaki Classic LT 2000, you nudge it. And that's all that is necessary to get the attention of all those 125 cubic inches (2053 cc) to make the road rotate faster under your wheels.
The engine itself is a thing of beauty to behold. An automotive forged piston bore and stroke of 103 x 123.2mm, 220mm flywheels, dual cams down in the crankcase and old-skool righteous pushrods making those four valves per cylinder dance. The cadence that issues from the way-too-large dual exhausts is nowhere near loud enough for ears raised on Hawg straight pipes, but this is the Politically Correct 21st century after all...
The old-time theme runs through the bike's styling, especially the faux rigid rear end (there's a direct-action single shock hidden where you can't see it.) The rear is a nice, chunky 200/60-16 (how I'd love to see at least a 240 back there) and the whole 800 lb. hurtling mass of metal is hauled down by front dual 300mm discs with four-piston calipers and a single rear 320mm disc with a two-piston caliper.
From my perspective the Classic LT 2000 is the best example of a Metric Cruiser on the market today, not just because of its overwhelming displacement. The Yamaha StratoRetroLiners are just too busy and Art Deco for my tastes. The Honda VTXs crossed the styling line by introducing an excess of funky modern design onto a vintage template where it just doesn't fit. And the Suzuki Marauders, Boulevards and Intruders leave me a bit cold (even though they are using Kawi engines.)
As much as I love the Classic LT, I wouldn't pass by a basic Vulcan 2000 without taking an eight-pound sledgehammer to that War Of The Worlds headlight: one of the biggest styling goofball moves to come out of Japan since the Honda painted the frame black and the engine brown on their first CR250 Elsinores. Fortunately, somebody at Kawi came to their senses and equipped the Classic LT with a real headlight.
There's not much I want in this world. Just an Exxon credit card with an unlimited limit and a Kawasaki Classic LT 2000. I've already done the East to West coast and back again trip at least 20 times in my life. With the LT 2000, I could easily do 20 more!