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The new performance class is rapidly heating up in the highly competitive cruiser segment, and Kawasaki is ready now to get in early and grab the lion’s share with the new Vulcan 1500 Mean Streak.
This new machine truly sets the overall mark when it comes to power cruisers. Recently introduced to the media, the magazine editors said things like: “This is a cruiser where everything works like it’s supposed to. At last!”, “I’ve ridden the other power cruisers that are available and this offers the best handling”. and, “The brakes on this thing are better than the other machines in the class”.
New for 2002
When set side-by-side to other machines in the power cruiser class, the Mean Streak is a clear winner. Compared to Honda’s new VTX 1800 and Yamaha’s recently announced Road Star Warrior, the Mean Streak MSRP is priced between $1,000 and $1,500 less. The Mean Streak is the only machine with self-adjusting hydraulic valve lifters; air and damping-adjustable rear suspension; has the longest fork travel; the biggest, most powerful front disc brakes and a low, low 27.5-inch seat height.
The “Mean Streak” comes from the relationship to the Vulcan models developed since 1996. The Classic, Nomad and Drifter are all based on a more retro look and feel. They are “your father’s Vulcan” and in comparison the “Mean Streak” is a Vulcan with attitude. It is the Vulcan with a “Mean Streak” that offers a more aggressive styling and performance.
The “Mean Streak” will have broad appeal – a true factory custom emphasizing; handling performance, superior braking and unbelievable comfort with an engine that provides dependable, predictable performance, through a linear power curve, smooth operation and high technology features.
The wheel-base is a long 67.1 inches but with a 32 degree rank and 5.66 inch trail the bike turns very quick. It does have a true sportbike feel in the corners. The twin 6 pot caliper front brakes are serious so don’t think you have to grab a big hand full to stop the 637 lb. Mean Streak. Two fingers are more than enough to bring the bike to a stop. The handling is very neutral and you do not have to fight the bike to go through a fast corner or slow parking lot. You’ll be very pleased with how this bike stops and handles and compared to the VTX, the Mean Streak is far better. In addition, the inverted 43mm front forks provide 5.9 inches of travel, which is more than the VTX and the Warrior. The rear adjustable air shocks allow you to adjust the ride height and comfort level depending on the type of riding you plan to do. If you want to go through the twisties without dragging the pegs just add air to 15 to 20 psi to both rear shocks. You’ll be amazed how well it handles. The adjustable air-shocks are key features as no other bike in the performance cruiser category provides this feature.
The overall styling is the best in the category. Enthusiasts that have seen the actual bike had a first impression that the Mean Streak is a custom, one-off and not a production model. The key features that give this impression are the exhaust pipes, paint, wheels, seat, fenders, handlebars and front end.
The seat is very comfortable and still maintains a very sporting look. You can ride all day without feeling the seat is too hard or uncomfortable.
Aftermarket exhausts are available through Vance and Hines and Cobra since the mounting point are the same as the Vulcan classic. There will be other pipes with designs specifically for the Mean Streak.
The ”Mean Streak” delivers 30% increase in horsepower over the Vulcan Classic FI. It has 72hp at 5500 rpm and 85lbs torque at 3000 rpm. This is accomplished by adding many new and upgraded features to the 90ci engine. The new fuel injectors are dual-throat 40mm that provides great acceleration in the mid-range. The new and larger valves are similar in design to our Ninja motors. The new cams provide higher lift and more duration for increased power. The ECU is new and allows the engine to rev well past the indicated red-line of 6000 rpm before the limiter is activated. The new clutch utilizes paper-based plates instead of cork-based plates to provide smoother engagement from a standing start. These plates are the same materials used in most high performance sport bikes. The new plates also prevent the clutch from grabbing when cold.
The new close ratio 5 speed transmission has wider gears that allow smoother, positive shifting at all speeds. The new flangeless fuel tank is a large 4.5 gallons and provides good range up to past 175 miles. The swing-arm is lengthened 1.5 inches for a smoother overall ride and the wheels are 17 inch cast with 220 Dunlop Radials.
Major companies like Muzzy and Thunder are hard at work making upgrade performance products for the “Mean Streak” to make this the meanest and best V-twin on the street.
Kawasaki Vulcan® Cruisers
By introducing the KZ900 LTD in 1976, Kawasaki was an early metric leader in what has become today’s cruiser movement. When the Vulcan® 750 cruiser debuted 10 years later, it was Kawasaki’s first V-twin-powered cruiser and featured high-tech items such as liquid cooling, double overhead cams, shaft drive, dual disc front brakes and mag wheels. In 1995, Kawasaki unveiled the Vulcan™ 800, one of the industry’s first V-twin metric cruisers to feature modern cruiser styling.
For 2002, the Kawasaki cruiser lineup is 10 models strong and ranges from the entry-level Eliminator® 125 to the brand-new Vulcan 1500 Mean Streak. The venerable Vulcan 500 LTD, Vulcan 750 and Vulcan 800 models retain the stylish characteristics that have made them popular, and are now available in new hues.
Also available this year are the Vulcan Classic and Drifter™ models. The Classics include the 800, 1500 and 1500 Fi, and provide a choice in both displacement and technological advancement without sacrificing style. Similarly, the Drifter 800 and Drifter 1500 provide a stylish retro appearance, but in both the mid- and heavyweight-cruiser genres.
In addition to the bikes, a key element to the cruiser lifestyle is customizing the motorcycle to fit individual design tastes and performance needs. Fortunately, Kawasaki offers its own extensive line of genuine Fire & Steel™ accessories. Motorcyclists can choose from literally hundreds of parts to customize their Kawasaki Vulcan motorcycles, and in doing so, make their own bold statement. Customers can find Fire & Steel accessories at their local Kawasaki dealer or shop online at buykawasaki.com.
Bore x Stroke
102 x 90 mm.
Carburetion Digital Fuel Injection, Dual 40mm
Valve System SOHC, 4 valves x 2 (Hydraulic lash adjustment)
Digital with K-Tric
5-speed / positive neutral finder
Rake / Trail
32 degrees / 5.7″
43 mm. inverted telescopic fork
Dual rear shocks with 4-way spring preload adjustment
Dual Disc / 6 piston caliper
Disc / 6 piston caliper
Mystic Black or Gold Spark or Red
Specifications are subject to change without notice, in accordance with national regulation and legislations.