2001 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Drifter

2001 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Drifter

2001 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Drifter

What good is a beautiful body without the soul to move it?

The Kawasaki Vulcan™ 1500 Drifter™ motorcycle makes a statement about style and cruiser performance. For 2001, the Drifter has been restyled with a new five-gallon fuel tank, standard solo seat, abundant chrome and two new colors – Ebony and flashy two-tone Oxblood Red/Pearl Ivory. The Drifter still keeps one wide wheel firmly planted in the past with its nostalgic 1940s appearance, while modern features like digital fuel injection, dual 36mm throttle bodies and a catalytic converter on California models keep it firmly rolling toward the future.


New five-gallon fuel tank
extends cruising range

Solo seat and Chrome top off
styling enhancements

The Kawasaki Vulcan™ 1500 Drifter™ motorcycle makes a statement about style and cruiser performance. For 2001, the Drifter has been restyled with a new five-gallon fuel tank, standard solo seat, abundant chrome and two new colors – Ebony and flashy two-tone Oxblood Red/Pearl Ivory. The Drifter still keeps one wide wheel firmly planted in the past with its nostalgic 1940s appearance, while modern features like digital fuel injection, dual 36mm throttle bodies and a catalytic converter on California models keep it firmly rolling toward the future.

The styling is set off by the deep, sculpted fenders that cover much of the spoked wheels. The new wide solo seat resembles the sprung seats of another era, and a single fish-tail muffler juts prominently out the back. The ’01 Drifter now includes many chrome components as standard equipment, such as the engine covers, a bullet-shaped headlight shell, fork and shock covers, handlebar and clamp, rear fender rail, and license plate bracket.

Modern cruiser performance lies in the big 90 cubic-inch liquid-cooled V-twin engine. High compression and aggressive cam timing provide the healthy power output. Each cylinder has a single overhead cam actuating four valves and each valve has a hydraulic lash adjuster to eliminate valve train maintenance.

A Mitsubishi digital fuel injection system feeds the cylinders through a pair of 36mm throttle bodies. A separate intake tract for each throttle body provides smooth engine operation. The tip of each injector contains four nozzles, with two of those aimed at each intake valve.

Two different systems automatically and accurately control the amount of fuel injected into the cylinders. The fuel injection system “brain” uses readings from sensors that monitor engine coolant temperature, intake air temperature, atmospheric pressure, intake air pressure and throttle position to adjust the
amount of fuel injected. Under light engine loads, such as partial throttle to maintain highway speed, the fuel amount is calculated from intake pressure and engine speed. At mid to heavy engine load, fuel injection is determined by the throttle position and engine speed. The overall result is excellent engine response and power with increased fuel efficiency.

With its high compression engine, the Drifter is designed to run on premium high-octane gasoline for maximum performance. The new more upscale looking, rounded-edge tank now holds five gallons – nearly a gallon more than the previous model – to extend cruising range. Eliminating the seam contributed some of the extra capacity, but the thin new electronic speedometer mounted atop the tank is what truly boosts the volume. The electronic speedo drive eliminates the more cumbersome mechanical unit in the tank, plus it eliminates the speedometer cable and drive for a cleaner look. The speedometer face atop the gas tank features an LED display for the odometer and tripmeter, as well as a clock. The fuel pump is located within the gas tank and an LED light built into the speedometer assembly keeps the rider abreast of the fuel injection system’s performance.

An automatic fast-idle system allows riders to simply turn the key and push the starter button to get the engine rumbling and keep it running smoothly during warm-up. The fast-idle knob can be utilized for extremely cold weather or high altitude starts.

The frame uses large-diameter tubing and a large-diameter steering head for strength and rigidity. The front fork is designed to work with the laid-down rear shocks to provide a comfortable ride and superior handling, while the rear fender is mounted to the swingarm so that it hugs the wheel. The steering lock has been moved from the side of the steering stem to the lower triple clamp for easier use.

The Drifter’s foot boards and wide handlebars put the rider in an upright riding position. There are self-canceling turn signals for convenience, while a multi-reflector headlight provides a bright beam and is enclosed in a bullet-shaped housing. There’s even a storage area under the left side cover suitable for holding an expandable cycle-lock, except on California models.

With modern technology providing great performance and reliability, there’s more to the Vulcan 1500 Drifter than nostalgic appeal. With its larger, restyled tank and additional chrome features, the Drifter makes a bold new statement in cruiser style.


New Five-Gallon Fuel Tank

Rounded-edge finish for clean, upscale look
Larger capacity for extended cruising
1,470cc OHC V-Twin

The “classic” V-twin motorcycle engine design borrowed from the Vulcan 1500 Classic
The exhaust system has a single fish-tail muffler on the right side
Liquid Cooling

More even running temperatures mean no “power fade” on hot days and longer engine life
Includes warning light
Auxiliary fan keeps things cool, even in traffic
Four Valves per Cylinder

Boosts low end torque
Hydraulic Valve Lash Adjusters

Keep valves quiet with no maintenance, no adjustment required
Digital Fuel Injection

Provides excellent engine response and power with less fuel consumption
Two different systems are switched and used automatically according to engine load for accurate fuel injection control
Dual Throttle Bodies

Dual 36mm throttle bodies use one injector for each cylinder
Separate intake tract for each throttle body for smoother engine operation
Four nozzles at the tip of each injector, with two nozzles aimed at each intake valve
Idle Speed Controller

Ensures stable idle and good throttle response at ultra-low engine rpm
Gear-Driven Engine Balancer

Counter-rotates at engine speed to cancel vibration
Allows use of single-pin crankshaft without the heavy vibration
Rubber-Mounted Engine

All but eliminates engine vibration at all speeds
Five-Speed Transmission

Five-speed transmission combines great around-town acceleration with relaxed highway cruising
Positive Neutral Finder

Just lift the shift pedal from first at a stop to find neutral easily, every time
A Kawasaki exclusive
Disc Brakes

Solid 300mm disc with twin-piston caliper up front for style and quiet braking
A single 270mm rear disc with twin-piston caliper located below the swingarm
Shaft Drive

A reliable and quiet, low-maintenance system
Hydraulic Clutch Release

Easy to operate
Easy to maintain

1940s-inspired looks for the most unique bike of the ‘90s
Streamlined, tire-hugging fenders keep you drier in wet conditions

Kawasaki Vulcan™ Cruisers

By introducing the KZ900 LTD in 1976, Kawasaki was an early leader in what has become today’s cruiser movement. Ten years later, when the Vulcan™ 750 cruiser debuted, it was one of Kawasaki’s first V-twin-powered cruisers and featured high-tech items such as dual disc brakes up front and mag wheels. In 1995, Kawasaki unveiled the Vulcan 800, which was one of the first V-twin metric cruiser models to feature American styling.

And now Kawasaki features one of the fullest and most diverse lines of cruiser motorcycles in the industry. From our top selling Vulcan 1500 Classic and the bikes it has spawned like the 1500 Nomad™ and Drifter™, Kawasaki has a cruiser to suit your style. And whatever you choose, you will invariably be happy with the styling, quality engineering and performance of a Kawasaki Vulcan cruiser.

A key element to the cruiser lifestyle is customizing to fit individual design tastes and performance needs. Fortunately, Kawasaki offers its own extensive line of genuine Fire & Steel™ accessories. Motorcyclists can choose from literally hundreds of parts to customize their Kawasaki cruiser motorcycles, and doing so, make their own bold statement. Customers can find Fire & Steel accessories at their local Kawasaki dealer or shop online at buykawasaki.com.

2001 Vulcan 1500 Drifter FEATURES

Parallel-Twin 676cc Engine with Balancer

Broad torque at low- and mid-range

Smooth and reliable

Balancer smoothes vibration

Engine rubber-mounted in chassis for greater rider comfort

Durable bevel cam drive

Four Valves Per Cylinder

Better breathing for more power and low end torque

Single overhead cam design is simple, lightweight, and practical

Five-Speed Transmission

Ratios designed for great acceleration and relaxed highway cruising

Exclusive Positive Neutral Finder

34mm CVK Carburetors With Kawasaki Throttle Responsive Ignition Control (K-TRIC)

A position sensor monitors throttle position so that its micro-computer can determine the best ignition timing for more power and better fuel economy

Double Cradle Frame with Square Section Backbone

Compact and stable

Riding Comfort

Long seat for two-up riding

Traditional styling offers upright seating position

Kawasaki Clean Air (KCA) Exhaust System

Feeds air into exhaust port to reduce emissions

Front Disc Brake

300mm front disc brake with dual piston caliper provides sure stops


Simplifies servicing, cleaning or parking

Maintenance-free Battery

Longer lifespan, hassle free

Spin-on Oil Filter

Automotive spin-on style simplifies oil changes

New for 2001:

Oxblood Red / Pearl Ivory
Solo Seat
Large Flangeless Fuel Tank
Steering lock
Electric speedometer
Chrome components



Engine Type
4-stroke V-Twin

1470 cc
Bore x Stroke
102 x 90 mm.

Compression Ratio

Valve System
SOHC, 8 valves

Fuel System
Digital fuel injection with dual 36 mm. throttle bodies




32 degrees


Suspension, Front
41 mm. hydraulic telescopic fork

Suspension, Rear
Dual Rear air shocks, air adjustable to match load and road conditions. Rebound damping is 4-way adjustable
Tire Front

Tire Rear

Brakes, Front
Hydraulic Disc

Brakes, Rear
Hydraulic Disc

Seat Height

Fuel Capacity
4.2 gallons

Dry Weight
668 pounds

Specifications are subject to change without notice, in accordance with national regulation and legislations.

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