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Old 09-09-2009, 09:47 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 30
Default Vulcan 88

Greetings. I currently ride an '05 VN750, which has been a very nice machine, but I'd like to upsize a bit. I found a '92 VN1500A, also known as the Vulcan 88, for sale locally here. It looks very much like an oversized VN750 (admittedly, an acquired taste), so I'm giving it a second look. The asking price is something I can do (times are kind of tight right now).

I did a websearch, but was unable to find a lot of information about the bike, so I have a lot of questions which I hope some of you might be able to answer:

1. How's the handling? Is the bike topheavy?
2. How are reliability and parts availability?
3. Like the other VN1500s, does the engine have hydraulic lifters, so no valve adjustments?
4. Any particular issue I need to watch out for?
5. I know it's only a 4-speed transmission...any info about interstate performance with this engine and transmission?
6. Any other information you can provide?

Thanks in advance for all responses...I know it's kind of a funky bike, but I like funky, as long as the bike works and handles well...

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Old 09-10-2009, 12:16 PM   #2
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 7

I have a 94 vulcan 1500. the bike handles real nice. These bikes are very dependable and are not top heavy at all. ive riden many bikes from harleys to crotch rockets to victorys and I like the way mine handles and performs better than all of them. as for the 4 speed trans, it could be better. On interstate and long rides it can wind out with high rpms but it doesn't hurt the bike it is just loud. any other questions just let me know. And try to check out my pics on here.
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Old 09-12-2009, 04:23 PM   #3
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 33

I have a '99 Vulcan 88 with 20k miles on it.
It handles very well and repair parts (tires, brakes, clutches, water pump, etc.) have been easy for me to find.
On the other hand, accessories (exhaust, floorboards, rigid bags, etc.) can be hard to find.
It does have hydraulic lifters so adjustment is not needed.
Because of the 4 speed the engine does buzz a little at speeds above 80mph but it's nothing that it can't handle.
Mine has Hard Krome pipes on it (w/carb jetting) and I get lots of compliments from Harley riders on how well the bike sounds.
It does not sound like a Harley at idle, but at cruising speed or accelerating, it sounds very close.
The Hard Krome 2.75 pipes are the best for the 88.
My 88 has just about every accessory that was available on it. I've learned that if I find any accessories for it, to get it right away because most of them can be hard to find.
The performance of the bike is outstanding. They are very fast even when riding two up.
My suggestion is to find and install the Hard Krome 2.75 inch pipes along with the Cobra air box removal kit. The air box kit eliminates the stock "ear" style air cleaners in favor of two under tank K&N filters. It also comes with a jet kit.
Both will make a fast bike even faster.

My 88 still has the stock "ear" air cleaners but it has the HK pipes on it along with a jet kit.
It can be scary fast.
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Old 05-03-2013, 05:42 PM   #4
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 30

Still looking...just found a '95 in very good shape.

Do the VN88s have the plastic oil pump gear? If so, how do I verify if it's been changed out?
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Old 05-03-2013, 08:24 PM   #5
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 46

There is no pog in the 1500a model, the 88. Great bikes.
2008 Nomad Black/Red
1998 1500a Black/Red
manban9888 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2013, 09:31 PM   #6
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 30

That is really good to know.

Thank you!
jinglebob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2013, 12:41 AM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Fresno, CA
Posts: 188

If you get a 1500A, I have a 1988 1500A, get the MAC Performance Exhaust...One poster is saying 2.75" That is insane, inside pipe diameter better not be more than 2"-2 1/8" or kiss your performance goodbye...4 speed is a PITA, if you cruise at 80 mph or higher...the engine is buzzing..the only other time I miss a 5 speed is in the mountains and twisties where i would like a tighter ratio to keep it on it's power band..
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