KAWASAKI VULCAN 1600 CLASSIC
Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Classic, $10,999
(800) 661-7433 or www.kawasaki.com
While the Rune trades on a unique motor and otherworldly styling, Kawasaki's 1600 Classic strikes a time-honored note with its king-of-the-road styling and thumping two-cylinder engine. If you think "time-honored" is code for "boring," consider the Classic's 1,552cc V-twin, which provides more than enough grunt to pretty much eliminate the word from your vocabulary. Kawasaki spent a lot of time on the fine points of this bike and it shows: The headlight and fork covers are formed from chrome-plated steel, not plastic, and the tank-mounted instrument panel is refreshingly uncluttered. On the road, the Classic runs through corners with more confidence than you might expect from a long, low-slung bike that holds down a scale to the tune of 674 pounds. There's nothing groundbreaking going on here, but when you're talking about a market segment as steeped in tradition as cruisers, groundbreaking isn't always a good thing.