Thinking of downsizing to a 900, advice? - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-25-2010, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thinking of downsizing to a 900, advice?

I posted this on the 1500 forum also. Do any of you 900 riders have any experience with my problem? I have had my 2008 Vulcan 1500 classic for about 6 months. Prior to that I had a much smaller bike. A Suzuki GS650L. It was a four cylinder with a lot of attitude, but probably about 250+ pounds lighter. My wife and I would zip all over the place with it, but it was not really designed for continuous 2up riding being a small frame and such. I got a great deal on a new hold over 2008 1500. It is taking a lot to get use to with the weight difference and steering radius. My wife and I go a lot together and I find myself almost dreading the low speed parking lot manuevers. I have not dropped it, but it has scared me a few times. If you go below 10mph you have to feather the hell out of the clutch or coast in. Do any of you have experience with the 900? Is it easier to manuever? Like I said most of my riding is two up so that presents a little extra challenge. The down side of this is that I have gotten use to loping along at 70 mph without breaking a sweat. I seem to get different opinions on the 900 forum. Half the riders say the 900 is great and all the power you ever need and the other half complain about high rpm's at highway speed driving them crazy. Any advice would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-25-2010, 10:26 PM
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I have not ridden the 1500 to compare. However, my wife and I ride 2 up on my 900 frequently with no problems. To me, the 900 is maneuverable, but it does not feel small. I installed a Scootworks front pulley ($180) to help compenstae for the high rpms at highway speed. The speedometer is now spot on (70 mph speedo =70 mph GPS). I have no problem moving along at 70-80+ on the highway. Ultimately, if I didn't feel confident on the bigger bike, I would probably move to a lighter model. But then again, only you know what's best for you.

You might check to see if a forum member lives close to you and is willing to let you test ride their 900. Then you would have a comparison to evaluate, and possibly find another riding buddy. Good luck with your decision.

Last edited by KenDawg; 08-25-2010 at 10:30 PM.
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-25-2010, 10:51 PM
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I agree. The 900 is a great bike. Really the same size as the 1500s just lighter. I 2 up ride with no issues. Great bikes. You really dont need much more.
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-25-2010, 11:03 PM
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I also have not ridden the 1500, but I will tell you my experience. Prior to owning my 900 Custom, I had 380 pound sportbike. I wanted something more comfortable and built for longer rides. I love the 900 custom. I will admit that driving it home off the lot, it was very intimidating. It wasn't the power, but the weight that I wasnt used to. Going from 380 lbs to 615 lbs was weird at first. I must say though that it was extremely easy to get used to. Going into turns, I was shocked how the bike basically pulled it self through, without much effort from me. Even at low speeds, I find the bike extremely easy to manuever. I was nervous making a turn at 5 mph out of the dealership, but once I got used to the bike, it was a blast, even at low speeds. I would say it took me about 2 days of riding before I was 100% comfortable riding at all speeds. Also, riding 2up and low speeds is a little bit of a challenge on any bike, the extra weight (regardless of how skinny she is) will totally alter the center of gravity of the bike, and it will be most noticeable at low speeds, especially on turns.

Now to the Highway aspect. Does the 900 hit high RPM's when riding on the highway? yes it does. To be totally honest, I ride on highways every day at actual cruising speeds between 70-80mph. I have cruised at these speeds, steadily for 2 hours without any issue. The high RPM's has never bothered me one bit, and even at those speeds, trust me, there is plenty left in the throttle. You could always replace the front and rear pulleys, which as previously stated, will not only give you a more accurate speedo, but will lower the RPM's...

My advice would be to either test ride the bike and see if you notice a difference at low speeds, and even if you bike the bike, if the RPM thing bothers you, you can fix the issue for fairly cheap

I hope this helps ya a little...good luck

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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-25-2010, 11:15 PM
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The 900 is a great bike but don't expect it to be nimble like the GS.In my opinion you have a great bike stick with it unless you want to trade me.

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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-26-2010, 12:07 AM
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My experience with the 900 & 1500 are both test rides (ended up with a 1600 Nomad)... for two up riding I would stick with the 1500 and do alot of parking lot riding solo to get used to the weight. Not that the 900 won't do 2 up and is close on size... but get in the mountains 2 up and loaded down and that's where the difference can come into play.

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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-26-2010, 09:37 AM
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I've owned my 900 for over three years and while very happy with it I wouldn't downgrade from a VN1500. The weight difference is only a little bit over 100 pounds so like someone advised above just do lots of practice solo and you'll get there. Half my riding is two up and no issues yet, the only issue is that it does rev high on speeds over 65mph but there is a pulley available to minimize that. We've been to trips were there were mountains and the 900 was able to keep up with the big boys just fine two up, saddle bags & a trunk. Most of my friends with biger bike have been amaized so far with the speed and power of the 900. As long as the weight between both of you is under 400lbs the 900 will take you anywere you want. Of course, the 1500 will get you there with less effort.


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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-26-2010, 10:17 AM
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I love my 900, but like the other guys are suggesting, stay with the 1500. You'll become more comfortable with it as you ride it more, and if you do road trips 2-up, you'll like having the extra umph.

One suggestion i haven't seen mentioned? You said something about being "small framed". I'm assuming you mean yourself and not the bike? If so, you might look into a lowering kit for the bike. A lower center of gravity and being able to put your feet down more comfortably might inspire more confidence and make handling a bit easier.

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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-26-2010, 10:37 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Helek, maybe I should clarify. The bike is small framed and the Suzuki650 was probably comparable to the vulcan 500. I am 5'8" and can put my feet flat on the ground with the 1500. I guess the big question is whether the 100 pound weight difference from the 1500 to the 900 will really make that much of a difference in the handling department.

Thanks again
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-26-2010, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flying Dutchman View Post
Thanks Helek, maybe I should clarify. The bike is small framed and the Suzuki650 was probably comparable to the vulcan 500. I am 5'8" and can put my feet flat on the ground with the 1500. I guess the big question is whether the 100 pound weight difference from the 1500 to the 900 will really make that much of a difference in the handling department.

Thanks again
Best thing to do is go to your local kawa dealer and take a used 900 for a test ride. What we like or what fits us may not apply to you.


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2007 VN 900 Custom modifications:
Corbin Young Guns Saddle*OEM Classic Gel Flame Saddle (when 2up)*OEM Light Bar*National Cycles Shield*OEM Ribbed Handlebar Grips*OEM Classic Rear Fender*PC III*V&H SCS Pipes (Modified)*Comet Milled BAK*Engine Guard*Genmar Risers*Clear Alternatives Integrated Tail Light*Kury Magnum Plus Mirrors*Kury Cruise Control*Upgraded Horn*Metzler 90/90/21*Avon Venom 200/70/15*Both SW Pulleys.
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