By Troy Siahaan
File this one in the “They still make that?” file. We’ve been bombarded with so many cutting-edge sportbikes and go-anywhere, do-anything adventure-tourers lately that it’s easy to forget about the cruiser segment of the market. And even among the cruising set, the sub-liter middleweight category hasn’t been getting much love. The attention usually goes to the big-displacement crowd because, let’s face it, cruiser riders have an image to uphold.
So recently, as we were browsing through the Kawasaki and Star websites, we came across two models that had us asking, “They still make that?” The models being the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic LT and Star V Star 950 Tourer. Then, as we thought about the attention we’ve been giving to sporty bikes and adventure machines, we realized there are a lot of you who have a limited budget yet want a comfortable touring cruiser with enough guts to get out of its own way.
Another tough day at the office.
Devoid of any of the technology becoming increasingly abundant on today’s motorcycles, both models represent bare bones, reliable cruising. They’re both affordable, start up every time, and will get you, your stuff, and your significant other where you want to go in style and comfort. Kind of the cruising equivalent of the Honda Civic, if you will – only more stylish. Similar in price, dimensions, intent and performance, let’s put these two old dogs to the test.
The Art of Cruising
At their hearts, both bikes feature the classic V-Twin engine architecture, with the $8,999 Vulcan housing a 903cc variant and the $9,790 Star a 942cc version. Neither engine is lacking for shiny chrome bits, though the Star is lacking something the Kawi does not – a radiator. On the dyno this translates into 47.3 horses and …read more