New 650s owner with a few questions - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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  • 1 Post By gzsound
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Arlington, VA
Year/Make/Model: 2018 Vulcan 650 S ABS
Displacement/CC's: 650
Color: Orange
Gender: Male
Posts: 4
New 650s owner with a few questions

Mini Hi Everyone,

I just picked-up a brand new 2018 Vulcan 650 S ABS a few weeks ago and have put 200 miles on it. I am a new rider and started with BMW G310R last October. So, I don't a lot of experience with various types of bikes.

Here are my questions.
I have noticed that when there is less than a gallon of fuel in the tank, the bike is really twitchy or jerks if I hit any bumps. I noticed when I fill the tank the jerky ride is a much less, but still there. The engine braking when I release the throttle is significant comparison to the BMW which just gradually slowed when the throttle was released. I am trying to hold the throttle steady, but it is a jerky ride. Do I need to think about getting a Boosterplug?

In regards to shifting, I have noticed a loud clunk when I shift to 1st gear from neutral or downshifting from 3 to 2 or 2 to 1. Is this normal on Vulcan? I have noticed the cluck is same even if I hold in the clutch for 30 seconds before shifting to first.

Finally, I have to push really hard to engage the rear brake and even then it is not effective. Do I need to take it to the dealer to have them bleed the brakes or is there a small adjustment that I can make on my own?

Thank you.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 07:10 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Noblesville, Indiana USA
Year/Make/Model: 2016 Kawasaki Vulcan S Cafe ABS
Displacement/CC's: 650
Color: Matte Gray/Green
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Posts: 2,016
The Booster Plug will definitely help with the Jerkiness and even with some of the engine braking. However, the best way to reduce the engine braking is to reduce back pressure by adding an aftermarket exhaust. That however will increase noise levels considerably and I personally liked the sound of the stock exhaust at WOT. It's also much more enjoyable at highway speeds.
You can also invest in a Throttle Tamer which changes the cam of the throttle and makes it a lot milder.

It shouldn't have anything to do with the Gas left in the tank. Perhaps since the bike is slightly lighter without a full tank of gas it seems to be more noticeable to you? The clunkiness in shifting should diminish after a few miles. Have them take a look at the first service. Also once you switch to Full Synthetic fluid the shifts will definitely become smoother since the clutch uses the motor oil as lubrication in the wet clutch system. Make sure the Oil level is between the low and the upper mark and not too high. Overfilling the crankcase is just as bad if not worse than it being too low. Check it while the bike is level not on the kick stand. Not sure about the back brake. Most people use the front brake 90% vs the back brake. Of course both should be used at the same time to avoid lock ups. If your bike has ABS than it is less important. If you aren't satisfied with the performance of the brakes do see your dealer. The bike is under warranty and you might as well get all the bugs ironed out before it expires.

Good Luck and Ride Safe!
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 08:26 PM
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Beautiful Long Beach Caifornia
Year/Make/Model: 2018 Kawasaki Vulcan S
Displacement/CC's: 650
Color: White
Gender: Male
Posts: 71
Welcome. While the 650 is notorious for the jerkey throttle, it can be minimized by altering the way you release the throttle - don't just shut it down, ease off slowly. Shifting can a be little clunky but it should get better as the bike breaks in. Actually your whole riding experience will change once the break-in period is done. I agree with IT that since the bike is under warranty, let the dealer fix things that need fixing.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-09-2019, 05:21 PM
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Join Date: May 2017
Location: Portland, Oregon
Year/Make/Model: 2015 Vulcan S
Displacement/CC's: 650
Color: White
Gender: Male
Posts: 78
When I got my S it had a jerky throttle also. I had the dealer adjust the throttle cable tension at the 600 mile service and that helped a lot. Your back brake should be able to lock the rear tire easily, which is why you need to use both brakes every time you slow down or stop so it becomes second nature. My bike still "thunks" a bit when I put it in first gear, but I believe that's pretty common.

The stock gearing is rather high so if your revs are up and you back off the throttle, you will get a bit of compression braking. I installed a 16 tooth front sprocket and that helped a lot.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 10:11 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Windsor Ontario
Year/Make/Model: 2018 Kawi Vulcan S
Displacement/CC's: 650
Color: Blacked out
Gender: Male
Posts: 44
The "CLUNK" in and out of Neutral to first, and vicea versa, - Oh yeah. Scares me all the time.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 10:40 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Miami, Florida
Year/Make/Model: 2016 Kawaski Vulcan S ABS SE
Displacement/CC's: 649cc
Color: Blue
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Posts: 438
Yeah me too. Without it , it just would be no fun. Lol
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 12:33 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Windsor Ontario
Year/Make/Model: 2018 Kawi Vulcan S
Displacement/CC's: 650
Color: Blacked out
Gender: Male
Posts: 44
We get into the argument....what is a 'problem'...what is a 'feature'...what is 'it's character'.
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