Welcome the Kawasaki Vulcan SS, a custom creation of the Gas Box workshop. The SS was commissioned by the Iron and Air magazine, and was one of the bikes that entered the official Breaking Boundaries Build-Off Kawasaki contest. The SS wasn’t the winner, as it looks like the inclination for the flat-track vibe is still strong, but to us, this bike was the best-looking machine, and that’s why we bring it to you.
When Kawasaki announced their ER-6-derived cruiser Vulcan S, the first impressions were neutral at best. Even we thought it was a no-good cruiser, because of its (apparently) diminutive size.
However, seeing the bike in the flesh at EICMA 2014 and throwing a leg over it shattered all fears. The Vulcan S can accommodate even larger riders and Kawasaki made a wonderful choice with its adjustable ergonomics. Still, all these had nothing to do with Gas Box’ build, as the SS was a completely new bike.
Reworking the metal is not that usual in OEM-commissioned builds, but Gas Box did a wonderful job
If anything, when a motorcycle manufacturer commissions a custom build based on one of their models, the bike retains much of its original parts. On this list, metal parts such as the tank or tail sections rank pretty high; some modifications are usually made, but it is only rarely when a builder crafts something completely different. Gas Box’ Jesse Bassett was not afraid to take risks.
One of the first and most important modifications was to revise the stance of the Vulcan S. A cruiser par excellence, the Vulcan S has a low seat that is lean and laid back. As Bassett wanted the bike to be a racer, he modified the offset rear shock linkage to raise the entire tail section by 5 inches (12 cm).
The Vulcan S now looked differently and more suitable for the final racey attire. The cruiser handlebars were replaced with a straightforward drag bar, and this new modification commanded more in its wake. The forward foot controls needed custom mounts and were relocated towards the rear and now the ergonomics are entirely different. The headlight was kept intact, as was the tail light, pipeburn reports. The overall vibe of the Vulcan SS strayed dramatically from what we used to know, even though the engine remained the same. A new tank and tail section were skillfully crafted from sheet metal, and their lines closely matched with the new fluid looks of the Vulcan SS.
With a perimeter frame, making such a bike look “natural” was not at all easy, but the result is as coherent as it gets. The tail section harks back to the racers of the ’70s and ’80s and will bring sweet memories to older riders. Finally, a retro reverse cone silencer and cast rims complete the build. Now we wish that Kawasaki could be convinced to offer such a modding in their shops… By: autoevolution