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Exploring the Kawasaki Vulcan Motorcycle with Emphasis on the Battery

2017 Kawasaki Vulcan S Motorcycle BatteryThe Kawasaki Vulcan motorcycle series has a rich tradition spanning four decades. We thought it would be interesting to highlight how the Vulcan battery has changed with the bike as we explore the history of this iconic name. Continue reading to learn something about these Kawasaki bikes or to discover which battery you should buy next. Each Vulcan series is listed in order of when it was first introduced.

1985 to 2006 Vulcan 750 Series

It all started in 1984/85 when Kawasaki launched the Vulcan VN700A as its first cruiser sold worldwide. To avoid American tariffs placed on Japanese motorcycles over 700cc Kawasaki actually introduced this bike as a 699cc. The tariff was lifted in 1986 and they increased the engine capacity to 750cc. The Kawasaki VN750 remained virtually unchanged throughout its 22-year production run.

The original battery was the Yuasa YB14L-A2 conventional style lead acid with the annoying acid drip tube. If you are tired of dealing with acid you can always upgrade to a sealed AGM by Moto Classic (YTX14AHL), East Penn Deka (ETX15L) or MotoBatt (MBTX14AU).

Vulcan 500 and Vulcan 454 Battery

1985 to 1990 Vulcan 400 Series

There were two series versions to the Vulcan 400 bikes. The first series was a belt driven liquid-cooled twin engine. The second series used a V-twin chain driven system produced in both the Classic and Drifter variations. The EN450 known better as the 454 LTD is considered by some as the forerunner to the Kawasaki Vulcan.

Interestingly enough the VN400 Vulcan motorcycle does not appear in the Yuasa battery application catalogue. From what we can determine from a national sales store it may use the YTX12-BS battery. That battery originally boasted 10Ah and 180CCA.

The Kawasaki 454 LTD called for the YB12A-A conventional battery. It is a 12Ah 165CCA battery.

1990 to 2010 Vulcan 500 Series

The Vulcan 500 had a 20 year production run. It was the successor to the 454 LTD and boasted an engine nearly identical to the Kawasaki Ninja 500R. The 500 series had two production runs. The EN500-A was produced between 1990 and 1996. The EN500-C or perhaps better known as the Vulcan 500 LTD ran from 1996 thru 2010.

Like many bike manufactures, Kawasaki thought it necessary to tweak the battery polarity between production runs. Yep, instead of leaving the polarity as a left side positive they flipped to left side negative for the 500 LTD. The EN500-A uses the YB12A-A. The EN500-C uses the YB12AL-A2. Of course you can avoid worrying about polarity and leaking acid altogether by purchasing MotoBatt’s MB12U sealed AGM. It was four terminals guaranteeing the correct polarity.

1987 to 2008 Vulcan 1500 series

The Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 was a beast of a machine when first introduced in 1987. The 1500 series had a 22 year production run spanning several versions. To read more about the 1500 check out and their article titled Big Twin Rumble: Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Classic.

To help simplify what battery you need for your Vulcan 1500 we have created the chart below.

VN1500 Vulcan 88, SE1987 - 1998Y50-N18L-A
VN1500-C Vulcan L1996 - 1997
VN1500-G, J, L, R Vulcan Nomad, Drifter1999 - 2005YTX20CH-BS
VN1500-D, E, N Vulcan Classic1996 - 2009
VN1500-P Vulcan Mean Streak2002 - 2003


Best Vulcan 800 Battery

1995 to 2006 Vulcan 800 Series

Again the VN800 Vulcan had several variations (A, B, C, E) in both the Classic and Drifter. Its production run ended because Kawasaki introduced the VN900 Classic in 2006.

In regards to the battery all models produced from 1995 thru 2003 used the YTX14-BS. It is a 12Ah 210 CCA battery. The VN800 bikes made from 2004 to 2006 used a slightly smaller battery. The YTX12-BS is a 10Ah 180CCA motorcycle battery. The MotoBatt MBTX12U is the perfect solution as it can replace both batteries and sports 14Ah and 200CCA.

2002 to 2009 Vulcan 1600 Series

Vulcan 1500, Vulcan 1600, Vulcan 1700 and Vulcan 2000 BatteryThe Vulcan 1600 Classic, Nomad and Mean Streak are all liquid cooled, 1552cc and five-speed transmission bikes. They do not produce that much more power compared to the 1500 so perhaps that lead to the relatively short production run that paralleled the Vulcan 1500.

The battery of choice for these newer and larger Big Twin motorcycles is the YTX20CH-BS. Sporting 18Ah and 270 CCA it handily beats the power of the same sized YTX16-BS and its 14Ah and 230CCA.

2004 to 2012 Vulcan 2000 Series

The VN2000 Vulcan motorcycle is a large cruiser. There is not much difference between Kawasaki’s Vulcan 2000 bikes aside from superficial body preferences such as the bug-eye head lamp. Affectionately called the V2K, this 2053cc V-twin engine claims 141 lb. ft. of torque at 3000 RPM.

All of the VN2000 Vulcan motorcycles utilize the YTX20CH-BS used in the later model 1500 bikes and all of the 1600 series. Our perennial favorite battery brand is the Moto Classic YTX20CH with its 30 month warranty 20Ah and 270 CCA.

2009 to 2017 (and perhaps longer) Vulcan 900 Series

The Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic motorcycle replaced the 800 in 2006. The Classic, Classic LT and Custom are virtually all the same aside from some passenger comforts and size of the tire on the Custom. They are a 903cc belt driven four-valve liquid cooled V-twin SOHC engine bike.

Like the later version of the Vulcan 800, the Vulcan 900 continues to use the Yuasa YTX12-BS sized battery.

2009 to 2015 Vulcan 1700 Series

With the Vulcan 1700 series Kawasaki introduced the Vaquero and Voyager to go along with the Vulcan Classic and Nomad variations. The 1700 series went to a 6-speed transmission from the 5-speed transmission used on the 1600 series. The VN1700 is a pleasure to ride on long road trips.

MotoBatt Vulcan batteryThe 2009 thru 2014 models all continue to use the YTX20CH battery. Apparently the 2015 model uses the old YTX16-BS-1 battery. This version of the YTX16 has its terminals turned outward vs. facing forward. Our best solution is to purchase the MotoBatt MBTX16U. It has 19Ah and 250CCA, but more importantly it utilizes a terminal system called the QuadFlex. These terminals are removable and can be mounted in several directions to suite your requirements. Plus it boasts a 2 year full replacement warranty.

As of this writing this is all the help we can provide reviewing the Kawasaki Vulcan Motorcycle Batteries. Should you have any questions about which battery you should purchase please feel free to call or email. Of course if you have other bikes you can always cruise over to our motorcycle battery page to start a search.