Why Not a Vulcan 1200?? - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 114 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 09:55 AM Thread Starter
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Why Not a Vulcan 1200??

I wonder why Kawasaki doesn't make a Vulcan 1200 size bike? There seems to be a huge gap between the Vulcan 900 and the Vulcan 1500 sizes.

It wouldn't have to mean a lot of extra weight. In fact, it might not be any heavier than the current 900. As proof of this, consider the Harley Sportster 883 and the Harley Sportster 1200. Both bikes weigh within about 3 pounds of each other. Essentially there is no weight difference, yet the 1200 will greatly outperform the 883.

As far as cost, there really shouldn't be more than a few hundred dollars difference in cost to manufacture the 1200 engine versus the 900 engine. Harley charges about $2,000 more for the 1200 Sportster versus the 883 Sportster, but that's simply because they can get the extra money (profit) out of the 1200........ not because it costs them $2K more to make it.

Heck, a lot of guys convert their 883 to the 1200 size and the cost of conversion is only about $1,000 and that's if you pay a dealer to do it. If you can do the work yourself, it only costs about $600. So I'm sure that if they were made that way from the factory, the cost difference would be only a few hundred dollars.

So, why not a 1200 Vulcan????? Beats me.

Chas

Last edited by Chas63; 01-07-2013 at 09:57 AM. Reason: typo
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post #2 of 114 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 10:00 AM
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There may be a big gap in cc's but not in performance. The 900's will run with the 1500 single carbed bikes. I have always felt that people get hung up on the displacement of a bike and not the performance. The 900 is more bike than the 1100 Yamaha I had. I do not feel they have much of a gap in the line up. It just appears to be a gap. IMO.

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post #3 of 114 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 10:09 AM
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I would love to see kaw come out with big bore kits for their bikes

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post #4 of 114 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 10:19 AM
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post #5 of 114 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 10:39 AM
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In the 70's, the engines were all made the same, shared the same parts across the brands, had the same performance. So, the easy way to compare, was the displacement. If everyone from Kawasaki to Harley Davidson was using the same Japanese carbs, building their engines in the same ways with the same technologies, just compare how much volume is in the cylinders and you have a pretty good ballpark. With the (at the time) extremely popular inline engines, just compare it with another engine of the same configuration.

NOW things are different. We have all sorts of different valve configurations, overhead cams or pushrods, heck, Honda even has a 3 valve (2 in 1 out) engine right now. We have fuel injection, greatly varying compression, varying final drive systems, etc. It's not as easy to compare a bike purely in displacement. Also, without a SIGNIFICANT increase in displacement, it's hard to get a real, noticeable increase in power, unlike 'the old days'.

So, long story short, there isn't likely to be a real difference between a 900 and a 1200. At one time, Kawi had several models, now that have 2 (ultimately) a 900 and a 1700. Outside looking in it seems like there's no middle. But in fact, the 900 is simple enough and easy enough to ride for a beginner, but has the power of Kawasaki's old 1500cc Twins. The 1700 is certainly more powerful, but a 1200 likely wouldn't be. Going from a 900 to a 1700 is actually a significant, worthwhile upgrade. BUT, it's also very easy for a 900 rider to hop on a 1700. The landscape of motorcycles has changed.

Having a 900 and 1200 would satisfy those stuck in the displacement myth, but ultimately would not benefit either size. With only two models in the line, there are more available accessories, they cost less, easier to work on, easier to find parts for, cheaper to get repaired, etc. etc.

Just my $0.02. I really think the 900 and 1700 is a perfect lineup.

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post #6 of 114 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
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It wasn't really my intent to compare the 900 Vulcan engine with the much different 1500 Vulcan engine and much heavier 1500 bike. The point I was trying to make is that if Harley can increase their 883 engine to 1200 cc and keep everything else (fuel injection, weight, etc) essentially the same and realize a very noticeable horsepower and performance increase for only a few hundred dollars actual cost, then why not do it?

Certainly the vast majority of Harley Sportster riders would select the 1200 engine over the 883 if the cost difference were only a few hundred dollars. I don't see why the same thing wouldn't be true for the Kaw Vulcan riders.

I'm not trying to argue. I'm just saying there is a big performance difference between the 883 Sportster and the 1200 Sportster. Yes, I've ridden them both.

BTW, increasing the displacement to 1200 cc the way Harley does in no way affects what accessories are available or how easy/difficult it is to work on. Nothing else is changed other than the engine having greater displacement and greater horsepower.

Chas

Last edited by Chas63; 01-07-2013 at 11:07 AM.
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post #7 of 114 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 11:34 AM
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I hope I don't set off another Metric Vs. HD thread but. HD is selling an image. They have a following that will purchase such products. I like having a big bike with a lot of torque so I got a V2K. I did not buy a 900 and make it in to something its not. I just do not see a market out there for it. Metric bikes are already viewed as a throw away bike (by most).

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post #8 of 114 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 11:53 AM
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I think the 900 & the 1700 makes for a pretty darn good cruiser lineup.

The 900 fits the requirements for most entry level bikes; yet performs as a big cruiser just fine too.
Being under the 1 liter mark makes it cost a lot less on insurance and fuel.
People looking for a 250 for entry level are more and more turning to sportbikes for performance reasons.

Once you get over the 1 liter mark; most people are looking for power in excess. I know I do.
So, when you decide you need a bigger bike than the 900; most are going to prefer a bigger jump than to a 1200.

I do wonder a bit why they discontinued the V2K. I could see a revamp but there aren't a lot of places to turn for THAT much torque.

In the end I think they are trying to reduce production costs and provide a line-up that covers MOST buyers.

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post #9 of 114 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott_in_TX View Post
I think the 900 & the 1700 makes for a pretty darn good cruiser lineup.

The 900 fits the requirements for most entry level bikes; yet performs as a big cruiser just fine too.
Being under the 1 liter mark makes it cost a lot less on insurance and fuel.
People looking for a 250 for entry level are more and more turning to sportbikes for performance reasons.

Once you get over the 1 liter mark; most people are looking for power in excess. I know I do.
So, when you decide you need a bigger bike than the 900; most are going to prefer a bigger jump than to a 1200.

I do wonder a bit why they discontinued the V2K. I could see a revamp but there aren't a lot of places to turn for THAT much torque.

In the end I think they are trying to reduce production costs and provide a line-up that covers MOST buyers.

Scott
That sounds about like it to me. I know people like variety, but I have often wondered why some companies have as many different bikes as they do. Like Yamaha, in their V-Star line they had the 250; 650; and 1100. Now they have added the 950 and 1300. That is 5 different motors on 3 different frames ( 1: 650-1100 2: 950-1300 3:250). The only think I can figure is that they have enough left over parts to continue the 650's and 1100's after they have released the 950 and 1300.

1985 Honda Nighthawk 650 (First Bike)
2004 Vulcan 1500 Classic (First Big Bike)
2007 Vulcan 1600 Meanstreak (Love Affair)
1999 Yamaha 1100 V-Star Custom (Right Price at the Time)
2008 V2K Classic (Favorite Vulcan)
2014 HD Ultra Limited (Bells and Whistles)
Who would have thought I would grow up to become "Spatially Educated" and play Connect-the-Dots for a living.
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post #10 of 114 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chas63 View Post
It wasn't really my intent to compare the 900 Vulcan engine with the much different 1500 Vulcan engine and much heavier 1500 bike. The point I was trying to make is that if Harley can increase their 883 engine to 1200 cc and keep everything else (fuel injection, weight, etc) essentially the same and realize a very noticeable horsepower and performance increase for only a few hundred dollars actual cost, then why not do it?

Certainly the vast majority of Harley Sportster riders would select the 1200 engine over the 883 if the cost difference were only a few hundred dollars. I don't see why the same thing wouldn't be true for the Kaw Vulcan riders.

I'm not trying to argue. I'm just saying there is a big performance difference between the 883 Sportster and the 1200 Sportster. Yes, I've ridden them both.

BTW, increasing the displacement to 1200 cc the way Harley does in no way affects what accessories are available or how easy/difficult it is to work on. Nothing else is changed other than the engine having greater displacement and greater horsepower.

Chas
The Harley Sportster engine is just like those older engines I was referring to though. Little has changed in that motor except for the addition of Fuel Injection a couple years ago. Thus, it's more affected by small changes in displacement than a 900cc Vulcan engine.

A 1200 would have more performance, but it would be nominal. You wouldn't really 'feel' it. It probably wouldn't be worth the cost for most riders. The engine itself would be much more complicated to increase to 1200ccs of displacement than a sporty motor, and keeping two bikes like that in the line doesn't make a lot of sense.

Harley has a lot more riders than Kawasaki does though, and that needs to be kept in mind too. Harley can more easily keep the 883 and 1200 sportster lines, and the various upgrades and kits for the two.

And, like it or not, it has to make business sense. Adding a 1200 to the lineup would fragment the line, and would hurt the marketability of the line (For aforementioned reasons). Having fewer bikes on the line that fill more uses makes for more marketable machines, because there are a lot more available accessories and such for those bikes. One big advantage HD has over Metrics, is the fact that they are infinitely customizable thanks to their relatively small line (only a few actual chassis, they put several models on one of a couple chassis, not unlike Kawasaki), immense popularity, and incremental changes over the years (HD rarely radically changes anything. There are a number of parts on a 2012 big twin that can be replaced with parts from the 80's!). Thus, it makes sense for a third party, like Kuryakyn for example, to build parts for their line.

If Kawasaki, which has less riders than Harley, fragmented the line with new models, these third party companies would likely not see it a smart business decision to build as many accessories for Kawasaki. With two bikes on the line, you have a lot of riders on just two models (ultimately). Most 900 accessories fit most 900's, etc. Thus, you get a third party market that makes the line viable.

One of my favorite things about the 900 is that it IS an extremely popular bike, meaning I get a LOT of options for accessories and the like!

I'm not saying a 1200 Kawasaki would be a bad bike, I'm just saying it wouldn't be a good solution for the company, and it would present drawbacks to itself and the rest of the line that wouldn't be worth the very mild difference in performance and otherwise. REPLACING the 900 with a 1200 perhaps, but again the magic number is 1000. Being under that keeps insurance and the like very cheap!

Also, cost IS a primary factor in a lot of sporty riders upping to the 1200. Getting on a big twin is not a low cost investment by any means. However, you CAN get on a Vulcan 1700, in fact, you can do it for about the price of a Sportster 1200! So, there again, most of us would rather spend the money on the 1700 (or the V2K may he rest in peace!). In fact I've seen used 1700 classics flirt with used 900 prices. There just wouldn't be a reason to 'upgrade' to the 1200, so it would just be a fragment of buyers choosing either the 900 or 1200 as a first bike (or a 'last' bike, as it's very popular among an older crowd that wants a lighter and easier bike, or even a 'cheap' bike as I can vouch for it's viability as even a long distance tourer but at a low initial cost, low cost to insure, and low cost to maintain), and then upgrading to the 1700.

There are niche gaps in the Kawasaki line, as it IS a line, like Scott said, designed to fit MOST riders, not ALL. But as a consumer, I am not bound to one company. If I were in a niche that couldn't be filled by either the 900 or 1700 line, I'd go with someone else! It wouldn't make sense for Kawasaki to fill that niche, because it could make their existing bikes less marketable (by increasing production costs, or fragmenting the line, etc.)

"8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 5:8 (NIV)

2014 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero ABS SE
iPod Connector Kit, Kuryakyn Highway Pegs, Mustang Touring Seat, Marvella's Hitch, Kuryakyn Trailer Wiring Kit, Haul-Master Tag-a-Long Cargo Trailer

2011 Honda Shadow Aero 750 (Wife's)

Memphis shades quick-release windshield, OEM Solo Seat, Mustang Fender Bib, Chrome Solo Luggage Rack

Past: 2006 Vulcan 900 Classic LT

Last edited by Romans5.8; 01-07-2013 at 12:11 PM.
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