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.
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.
Very different indeed.
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.
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
- 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
- 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
- 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!
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.