cruiser motorcycles

Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Vs. Harley-Davidson Iron 883: A Detailed Comparison

Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Vs. Harley-Davidson Iron 883: A Detailed Comparison

1. Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Vs. Harley Davidson Iron 883

Harley Davidson is one of America’s most popular motorcycle brands, but the motorcycles they produce tend to be more expensive compared to Kawasaki and Honda models. To give an example, the 2022 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 has a bigger engine size, better all-round performance, and is $2,250 cheaper than the Harley Davidson Iron 883. Both the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 and Harley Iron 883 are entry- and intermediate-level motorcycles that provide a smooth riding experience and better handling.

The Kawasaki Vulcan 900 is bigger in terms of engine size and overall weight and is designed for all kinds of riders, including taller, smaller, beginners, and experienced riders. The Harley Davidson Iron 883 weighs 255.8 kg, much more than the Vulcano 900’s overall weight of 281 kg. However, the Iron 883 is too small for tall and heavy riders. The Iron 883’s heavy overall weight is mainly due to its metal parts.

To find out which is the better motorcycle between the two, this article provides a detailed comparison between the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 and the Harley Iron 883.

2. Detailed Specs Comparison of Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Vs. Harley Davidson Iron 883

Motorcycle Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Harley Davidson Iron 883
Maker Kawasaki Harley Davidson
Model Year 2023 2022
Trims/Models 2023 Vulcan 900 Classic 2022 Iron 883
2023 Vulcan 900 Custom
2023 Vulcan 900 Classic LT
Base Price 2023 Vulcan 900 Classis: $8,999 2022 Iron 883: $11,249
2023 Vulcan 900 Custom: $9,499
2023 Vulcan 900 Classic LT: $9,999
Colors Available Vulcan 900 Classic: Gunship Gray
Metallic Magnesium Gray / Metallic Spark Black Black Denim
Vulcan 900 Custom: White Sand Pearl
Flat Ebony / Pearl Matte Sage Green
Vulcan 900 Classic LT:
Ebony / Pearl Storm
Engine, Performance, and Transmission
Engine Displacement 903 cc 883 cc
Engine Type 55° V-Twin Evolution® V-Twin
No. of Cylinders Four Two
Valves Per Cylinder Four Two
Cooling System Liquid-Cooled Air-Cooled
Transmission Five-Speed Gearbox with Positive Neutral Finder Five-Speed
Torque 78.9 Nm at 3,500 rpm 73.21 Nm at 3,750 rpm
Horsepower 50 hp at 5,700 rpm 54 hp at 6,000 rpm
Stroke 74.2 mm 96.8 mm
Bore 88 mm 76.2 mm
Fuel Efficiency N/A 51 mpg
Fuel Injection System DFI 34mm Throttle Bodies, Electronic Fuel Injection Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Final Drive Kevlar-Reinforced Belt Belt Drive
Compression Ratio 9.5:1 9:01
Dimensions and Weight
Seat Height 26.8 in 25.7 in
Curb Weight 281 kg 255.8 kg
Ground Clearance 5.3 in 5.5 in
Wheelbase 64.8 in 59.6 in
Fuel Tank Capacity 5.3 gal 3.3 gal
Trail 6.3 in 4.6 in
Rake 32° 30°

3. Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Vs. Harley Davidson Iron 883: Looks

3.1 Kawasaki Vulcan 900’s Looks

The Kawasaki Vulcan 900 is a classic cruiser designed with a wide frame. The 2023 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 comes in three trims: Classic, Custom, and Classic LT (Light Touring). The Vulcan 900 Classic and Custom have similar looks. Meanwhile, the Vulcan 900 Classic LT is equipped with a tall adjustable windshield, passenger backrest, leather saddlebags, and stylish rider and passenger seats.

The Kawasaki Vulcan 900 closely resembles the Honda Shadow 750. Both have an attractive cruiser style and comfortable riding ergonomics. The Vulcan 900’s finishing is top-quality and has wide, swept-back handlebars, a small front, and a large back fender. Its fuel tank has a capacity of 5.3 gals with the instruments also mounted on top.

The Vulcan 900’s rear 180/70-15 tire is thicker compared to the 130/33%-16 front tire. The round headlamp towards the front and the classic tail light installed on the rear fenders give the Vulcan 900 a vintage look. There is a huge dip in the rider’s seat section which allows a low seat height and the footrests are installed towards the front to ensure an ideal riding position. The Vulcan 900 Classic is fitted with chromed two parallel slash-cut mufflers, and the Custom has the same exhausts in a blacked-out matte finish.

3.2 Harley Davidson Iron 883’s Look

The Harley Iron 883’s look has not changed much since its introduction in 2010. The 2022 Iron 883 is available in three colors and has the same slim look. Though this motorcycle falls under the cruiser category, it has sportier ergonomics quite different from standard cruisers.

The Harley Iron 883’s design is kept simple with no fancy extra parts attached. Two separate and parallel blacked-out mufflers are installed on the motorcycle’s ride side. A small round-shaped headlight, a handlebar-mounted speedometer, side mirrors, and a solo tuck and roll seat inspired by the bobber is fitted on the Iron 883.

4. Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Vs. Harley Davidson Iron 883: Engine and Performance

4.1 Kawasaki Vulcan 900’s Engine and Performance

The Kawasaki Vulcan 900 is powered by a 903 cc V-Twin engine that can produce a horsepower of 50 hp at 5,700 rpm and a torque of 78.9 Nm at 3,500 rpm. The engine is equipped with a liquid-cooling system that works better than the Iron 883’s air-cooling system in hot weather conditions. Its five-speed transmission turns the driving wheel with its Kevlar-reinforced belt, helping the Vulcan 900 motorcycle attain a top speed of 115 mph.

The Vulcan 900 may not hold any records, but it performs better in all departments than the Iron 883. It provides a smooth ride and comfortable riding position for both taller and average-sized riders.

The Kawasaki Vulcan 900 is better for long-distance rides and produces less vibrations at highway speeds thanks to its quality suspension. One thing the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 lacks is horsepower. Despite having a larger engine, the Vulcan 900 produces 4 hp less than the Iron 883. Otherwise, it is a good package overall.

A beginner can easily ride a Vulcan 900 if s/he knows the basics of riding a motorcycle. Also, it can be a good second motorcycle if you previously rode a motorcycle with a smaller engine. It is safe to ride and handle thanks to its low center of gravity.

4.2 Harley Davidson Iron 883’s Engine and Performance

The Harley Iron 883 is equipped with an 883 cc V-twin engine with an air-cooling system. This motorbike can produce a torque of 73.21 Nm at 3,750 and a horsepower of 54 hp at 6,000 rpm. With its five-speed transmission, this motorcycle can reach a top speed of 105 mph.

The Iron 883 is different from standard cruisers. If you are looking to buy a cruiser, then the Vulcan 900 is the better option between the two motorcycles. However, if you are a Harley Davidson fan and want a motorbike to ride on the city roads, then the Iron 883 is the better choice.

The Iron 883 is not very comfortable for longer rides because of its sportier riding ergonomics and mid-mounted foot controls. On longer rides, the lower back starts to hurt because you are slouching.

Overheating is also an issue as the air-cooling system is not as effective on longer rides. While riding at highway speeds, the riders have to move their legs outward a little to avoid burning themselves against the engine. You can avoid getting into this situation by installing CRASH BARS and extendable pegs so you can keep your legs away from the engine.

The Iron 883 has front and rear springs which provide better damping rates than the Vulcan 900. The Iron 883’s slim design ensures nimble handling and better cornering.

5. Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Vs. Harley Davidson Iron 883: Comfort and Ergonomics

5.1 Kawasaki Vulcan 900’s Comfort and Ergonomics

Kawasaki Vulcan 900’s Comfort and Ergonomics
Photo Credit: @topspeed

The purpose of the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 is to ensure better comfort, which is why its design includes swept-back handlebars, low seat height, and forward footrests. Comfortable riding ergonomics determine how good a cruiser is. The Kawasaki Vulcan 900 has a wide frame, seat, and forward footrests that make it more suitable for taller and heavy riders than the Harley Iron 883. However, it can be difficult for a shorter rider to ride this motorcycle because of its heavy weight and ergonomics.

5.2 Harley Davidson Iron 883’s Comfort and Ergonomics

Harley Davidson Iron 883’s Comfort and Ergonomics
Photo Credit:

The Iron 883 is a sportier cruiser with a different riding position than standard cruisers. Normally, the footrests are installed towards the front, putting the rider’s feet ahead of the knees. The back position is also upright while riding most cruisers. This is not the case with the Iron 883. Its footrests are mid-mounted and the back position is not upright while riding. The rider cannot recline and relax while riding the Iron 883, making it unsuitable for longer trips.

6. Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Vs. Harley Davidson Iron 883: Pricing

The Kawasaki Vulcan 900 is an economical cruiser, which is why beginners or intermediate riders are recommended to try this motorcycle. The 2023 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 has a base price of $8,999, compared to the 2022 Iron 883’s base price of $11,249.

Also, if you are buying a 2010 Vulcan 900 cruiser, you can find it in a good condition between the price range of $4,000 to $5,000. Even if you spend more than $2,000 on aftermarket parts, this will still cost you less than buying an old Harley Davidson Iron 883, Street 750, or an Indian motorcycle. The insurance rates are also lower for Kawasaki cruisers than Harley Davidson motorcycles.

7. Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Vs. Harley Davidson Iron 883: Technology and Features

Technology and Features Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Harley Davidson Iron 883
ABS No Optional
Dual Throttle Valves Yes No
Instruments Fuel Tank-Mounted Handlebar-Mounted
Speedometer Analogue
Odometer Yes
Tachometer No Yes
Fuel Gauge Yes
Pillion Seat Yes No
Pillion Grab Rail No
Tripmeter No Yes
Fuel Indicator Yes
Pass Switch Yes No
Riding Modes Yes (Cruise and Road) No

8. Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Vs. Harley Davidson Iron 883: Which is Better

If you love touring and are a fan of cruiser looks and ergonomics, then the Vulcan 900 is the better motorcycle. It offers great handling, decent power output, and good overall performance. This vehicle is also economical and does not require major repairs and replacement parts.

However, if you are a Harley Davidson fan and want to experience a different cruiser feel, then you should go for the Iron 883. It is good for city travel and handles well when turning corners.

Overall, the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 is better because it is a complete package and well-rounded motorcycle suited for all riders.

9. Pros and Cons of Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Vs. Iron 883

9.1 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Pros and Cons

Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Pros Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Cons
Ensures a smooth ride Lacks horsepower
A complete package and has better overall performance Too wide and heavy for shorter riders
Good for longer trips and highway speeds No sixth gear
Very comfortable Stock seat is a little uncomfortable
Good for taller and heavy riders Drive pulley becomes noisy
Cheaper to maintain and repair
Low insurance rates
Good entry- and intermediate-level motorcycle
Available in gloss and dual-tone color schemes
Good monetary value

9.2 Harley Davidson Iron 883 Pros and Cons

Harley-Davidson Iron 883 Pros Harley-Davidson Iron 883 Cons
Sportier riding ergonomics Not an ideal cruiser
Nimble handling Uncomfortable on longer rides
Completely different cruiser style Slouched back position
Good low-speed handling Engine heating issue
Better for shorter rides and city travel Not good for taller and heavy riders
Slim design Expensive price
Produces more horsepower than the Vulcan 900 Expensive to maintain and repair
Available in matte color schemes High insurance rates
Engine size can be increased to 1200 cc Less fuel-efficient
Reduced vibrations due to the rubber-mounted engine No sixth gear
Better front and rear springs result in better damping rates
Good for beginners
Popular among women

10. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

10.1 Is the Iron 883 a Good Beginner Motorbike?

The Iron 883 is a good beginner motorbike if you know how to handle an 883 cc engine. It is a low-powered motorcycle and offers nimble handling. It is a suitable second motorcycle if you started with a 125 cc or 300 cc motorcycle. This motorcycle comes with upgraded dual-piston brakes and an optional ABS that ensure safer rides.

10.2 How Many Miles Does a Vulcan 900 Last?

The Kawasaki Vulcan 900 is a reliable cruiser and can last more than 75,000 miles or 15 years if properly maintained and inspected for issues on a regular basis. To prevent excess noise from coming out of the drive pulley and other components, make sure to regularly lubricate the parts.

10.3 Is the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Reliable?

The Vulcan 900 is reliable because it rarely requires a major overhaul if it is regularly maintained and inspected. The repairs mostly include basic tune-ups, including changing the oil, belts, brakes, and air filters.

10.4 Is Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Good for Beginners?

The Kawasaki Vulcan 900 is a better, safer, and more comfortable cruiser suitable for beginners. The horsepower is adequate and the brakes and suspensions ensure safer rides. However, if you do not have basic knowledge of how to ride a motorcycle, a 900 cc motorcycle might be too big for you. If you are still experienced, it is better to buy a 125 or 300 cc motorcycle.

10.5 What is the Difference Between the Vulcan 900 Custom and Classic?

There is no difference in performance between the Vulcan 900 Classic and Custom. However, the Vulcan 900 Custom comes with pinstripe wheels and the Vulcan Classic has spoked wheels and whitewall tires. The Vulcan 900 Custom’s color schemes and mufflers have a matte finish while the Vulcan Classic has a glossy chrome color scheme.

The Key Differences between the Vulcan 900 Classic Vs. Custom

2023 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic 2023 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom
Wet Weight 281 kg 277 kg
Trail 6.3 in 7.2 in
Width 39.6 in 35.2 in
Seat Height 26.8 in 27 in
Ground Clearance 5.3 in 5.5 in
Length 97 in 94.7 in
Height 41.9 in 44.1 in
Front Tire 130/33%-16 80/33%-21
Colors Metallic Magnesium Gray / Metallic Spark Black Flat Ebony / Pearl Matte Sage Green

11. Takeaway

It is difficult to compare and choose between the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 and the Iron 883 because both have unique styles, comfort levels, and ergonomics. The Iron 883 is a popular motorcycle among female riders. On the other hand, the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 performs well and has more advantages. It has a better cruiser look, a wider design suited for all riders, is comfortable on longer rides, and more economical than the Iron 883.

Both motorcycles provide good modification options and can be used for touring if you add LUGGAGE options that are available at Viking Bags. You can increase the storage capacity of your motorcycle by installing SADDLEBAGS and SISSY BAR BAGS. There are other aftermarket parts available as well for your motorcycle, including SISSY BARS, HANDLEBARS, CRASH BARS, and FAIRINGS.

Viking Bags has specially designed SADDLEBAGS, HANDLEBARS, and SISSY BARS for Harley Davidson Iron 883. Viking Bags also has saddlebags specially designed for Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic and Custom.

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