Back to Kawasaki Reliable Used Motorcycle Buyers Guide Index Page

Manufacturer: kawasaki…….TOP
Model: Z440*, EN450, EN454, 454LTD, EN500 Vulcan, VN500 Vulcan LTD, EN500
Years Made: 1977-1984 Z440, 1985 – 1990, 1991- Present (2003+) VN500 Vulcan/LTD
Style: Custom Cruiser
Engine Type:
443/499cc Parallel Twin
Seat: 715mm
Weight: 410/405*lb HP: 50/40*
Top Speed: 100/105*mph MPG: 50
New Cost: $ 3,400 (1985) – $ 3,700 (1986) – $ 4,049 (1987)
Average Used Costs:
Low $1,089 Medium $1,884 High $3,465


Vulcan 500 LTD: Kawasaki’s answer to the entry-level cruiser question is the Vulcan 500 LTD. This economically priced motorcycle combines the style, fit and finish, and laid-back riding position of a larger cruiser with a versatile, powerful engine.

The LTD gets its 100mph from a 498cc parallel-twin, based on the engine that powers the sport-oriented Ninja 500 sportbike. As such, the motor has a slew of performance features that include liquid cooling for consistent operating temperatures, no power fade on hot days and longer engine life. The engine has also been tuned to deliver power that’s as suited to boulevard cruising as it is to more spirited riding. The six-speed transmission, complete with Kawasaki’s own Positive Neutral Finder, allows any type of rider to use the engine to its full potential.

Equally user-friendly is the chassis, the backbone of which is a long, low steel frame that contributes to the 500 LTD’s classic cruiser looks. Providing support for a saddle that’s just 28 inches from the tarmac, it puts just about any size rider at ease during full stops.

As for the stylistic features, the Vulcan 500 LTD’s nod to the custom crowd includes a stepped seat, bobbed rear fender, tank-mounted speedometer and chrome-plated wire-spoke wheels. Admire it as is, or select enhancements from Kawasaki Fire and Steel accessory line. – Kawasaki

– In-Line twin-cylinder engine with efficient 4-valve heads and digital ignition for smooth, consistent power delivery.
– A gear-driven engine balancer, efficient liquid cooling and easy-maintenance final chain drive help ensure worry-free smoothness and proven reliability.
– The 6-speed gearbox features a Positive Neutral Finder to simplify finding neutral when you stop.
– Straight flow exhaust designed to boost low and mid-range power. Small diameter pipes help low speed pulling power.
– With a 3.3-gallon (700 litre) fuel tank, low 28.1-inch (715 mm) seat height and a powerful front disc brake for more predictable braking, the Vulcan 500 LTD is a perfect platform for your first cruiser experience.
– The Vulcan 500 LTD looks long, low, lean and clean thanks to its raked front fork, its tank-mounted speedometer, the wide handlebar bend, the thickly padded stepped seat and bobbed rear fender.
– Riding comfort is enhanced by the sophisticated twin adjustable rear shocks and the plush 41mm front fork.

With a low seat height and classic cruiser styling, the Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD provides the perfect starting point for those who want to join the popular cruiser segment of the motorcycle experience. The smallest of the Kawasaki cruisers combines many of the features found throughout the Vulcan cruiser line-up into a compact package with an economical price. The frame is low and long to help give the 500 LTD its classic cruiser looks. It also drops the seat height to just over 28 inches to put the rider in a relaxed cruising position and allows sure footing at stops.

The first Japanese mass-produced belt-driven motorcycle, the KZ440LTD, was manufactured for the US market. This was one example of Kawasaki’s “Spirit of Embracing Challenge”.


MBG Says: Vulcan 500 LTD (Rating 6.5/10) While the little Vulcan is not a bad motorcycle, it is a difficult choice to justify. If the amount you are ready to invest absolutely can not be over its price, the maybe… Otherwise, other options such as the Shadow VLX600 which Honda sells for only a few hundred dollars more, or especially the Shadow ACE 750 and V-Star 650 – both at approximately $1,000 more – are much better choices.

UMG Says: Rather odd custom with a nice enough motor (though too complicated for the level of power) if you can get used to the gearchange (especially clunky in the 500 version). Handles okay. Grey import 400 Vulcan. Engine’s generally reliable, top end first to go; plenty of low mileage examples on offer. Chassis corrodes if used during winter.

UBG Says: Z440 best of the bunch with few problems. Heavy vibes mean the chain driven balancer is on the way out. 440 in limited guise is very capable up to 85mph. Later 440s were equipped with Kawasaki’s belt drive, improving drive life and general cleanliness.
C1 £750, C2 £400, C3 £100

IGM Says Vulcan 500 (Best buy, Best first bike): This bike has the distinction of being the only Vulcan that doesn’t use a V-Twin engine. Rather, it relies on the parallel twin appropriatd from the 500 Ninja. Which is not a bad thing, since the little Ninja engine is a famous overachiever.

IGM Says (EN450, 454LTD, EN500, Vulcan 500): These ancestors to the new Vulcan 500 LTD are fast little cruisers, but many people question their styling. If you don’t mind the way they look, they are useful bikes.