Held in San Pedro, California, the Kawasaki Breaking Boundaries Build-Off sought to find the creative potential of the company's Vulcan S cruiser in the design-happy hands of four separate outlets/shops: RideApart, Austin Speed Shop, Iron and Air Magazine, and Tracker-Die. If you don’t know much about the Kawasaki Vulcan S, it's a cruiser built around the company’s popular 649cc engine available in their Ninja and Versys, but specially tuned to provide better low-end and mid-range torque profiles.

Build-Off Beginnings

Emcee for the evening and PR Manager + Brand Experience for Kawasaki Motor Corp. USA, Kevin Allen, explained that the Breaking Boundaries Build-Off was first conceived in the Kawasaki marketing department as a fun experiment for the Vulcan S.

The Vulcan S is a fairly affordable cruiser that comes in just under $8,000 and has the potential to serve as a promising platform for customization. What better way to see what could be done with the Vulcan S than to give it to a few folks eager to cut some metal and turn a wrench?

Intrigue Under the Sheets

Under each individual veil, each Vulcan S possessed very different profiles very different from the stock version.

The Kawasaki Vulcan S - Breaking Boundaries Build-Off
The Kawasaki Vulcan S - Breaking Boundaries Build-Off

Very different indeed.

The Kawasaki Vulcan S - Breaking Boundaries Build-Off
The Kawasaki Vulcan S - Breaking Boundaries Build-Off

The Contestants Unveiled

The judges finally pulled the covers off the competing builds, and the judging began in earnest. Lets have a closer look at them.

The Kawasaki Vulcan S - Breaking Boundaries Build-Off

Austin Speed Shop Kawasaki Vulcan S Custom

Austin Speed Shop Kawasaki Vulcan S Custom
  • Exhaust: Two Brothers Competition 2-1 Exhaust
  • Handlebars: ProTaper high-rise ATV bars for tracker look
  • Battery: Shorai Ultra Light Lithium
  • Upholstery: Mario's on South 1st Diamond Stitch Design
  • Taillights: Vintage Dash with LED internals
  • Grips: Motocross-style grips
  • Tail Section: One-inch O.D tubing. Includes custom oval seat section with wiring routed through tubing.
  • Rearsets: Relocated 10 inches rearward.
  • Headlight: Hella LED six-inch, 18-watt, 1080 lumen bulb.
  • Electrical: Wires minimized to clean up appearance. All connections soldered and covered in heat shrink for a cleaner look.
  • Battery Box: Custom Fabrication.

Iron and Air Vulcan SS

Iron and Air Vulcan SS
  • Handlebars: Drag bars
  • Foot Controls: Relocated to mid-mount
  • Custom Tail Section: Cafe-style tail with stock taillight and modified shock mounts
  • Tank: Custom-made tank with old-school Kawasaki visual cues
  • Paint: Two-tone gloss black and Kawasaki green 

RideApart Vulcan S Flat Tracker

RideApart Kawasaki Vulcan S Flat Tracker
  • Paint: Anaheim Rod and Custom
  • Wheels: Retro cast KZ1000 wheels anodized gold
  • Front Suspension: Kawasaki Ninja
  • Rear Swingarm: Kawasaki Ninja
  • Pegs: Biltwell, with custom fabricated mid-controls by RideApart
  • Handlebars: Biltwell
  • Tires: Metzler Lasertech
  • Battery Relocation
  • Seat: Designed by RideApart, built by Al's Upholstery
  • Exhaust: Designed by RideApart

Track-er Die Vulcan S Dirt Tracker

Track-er Die Kawasaki Vulcan S Dirt Tracker
  • Paint: By Bondo
  • Tires: Pirelli MT60rS
  • Guage Mount: Custom fabricated
  • Custom Headlight Fabrication
  • Machined solid riser bushings
  • Risers: Biltwell six-inch Gordo risers
  • Handlebars: ProTaper Contour
  • Levers: ASV
  • Hand Guards: Acerbis
  • Exhaust: Two-Brothers Racing
  • Suspension: Progressive
  • Seat: Re-shaped and re-covered by The Seat Guy
  • Wires routed through handlebars

And the winner is...

Based on votes tallied on-site. The winner of the Breaking Boundaries Build-Off is....The RideApart Vulcan S Flat Tracker!

The Kawasaki Vulcan S - Breaking Boundaries Build-Off

Congrats to our Senior Editor Jesse Kiser for putting together a winning build! Because I was going to write a brief article, I abstained from voting. However, if pressed, deciding which of these bikes was my favorite turned out to be difficult. In the end, if I had to live with one in my own garage, I would run the Vulcan SS by the Iron and Air boys because it fit me. I’m a bit of a sucker for comfort and a little cafe styling. I do really love the scrambler pipe and that high seat on Jesse's build, and the weirdness of the Austin Speed Shop and Track-er Die bikes. Great builds all around.

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