I think this is part of our problem with the 900 series......we have the expectation going in that, being a V-Twin, we have a smart man's HD. Yet, when we try to ride like she is a larger displacement HD, we become a little disillusioned because we don't understand yet that, although we may look like we have a Dyna Super Glide or a Road King, we do not have the displacement to ride like one.
I struggled with this the beginning of last year when I first purchased my bike, to understand that I could not ride in the same style like my friend and his Ultra Classic 96 cid Stage I, meaning I couldn't lug the engine in the classic HD style. It took me a while to remember my old KZ550 LTD loved to rev and not lug. When I applied this thought process to my V9D, many an joyful mile miraculously appeared.
Case in point. On a ride last year through mountain passes, I found myself second in line behind another Ultra Classic 96 Stage III. When we got into the real twisty, uphill/downhill sections, the other rider would use both lanes on this two laner to really have some fun; I could just about keep up with him by just staying in my rut (I am by no means a super accomplished rider; just average). The rest of the group of Springers, GLs, Softails, etc, couldn't even keep up with the two of us. The only time I really struggled to keep up with this Ultra Classic was on the uphill sections; I was really having to twist hard just to lose ground. When we were on the super slab for the last 20 miles home is where I found myself at a large disadvantage; the group was running in the 90 - 100 mph range, and I became tail gunner Charlie fast. At one point, while running flat out at an indicated 110 mph, an 88 Stage III Springer came flying past me. I guess he was trying to make a point.
From my take, the 900 is a good all around cruiser, and the term "cruiser" originally meant low speed, around town looks. Stock, my V9D is an excellent around town bike (good handling, very good power, looks, styling). As the name implies, mine is a "light touring" bike, meaning it will tour but was not designed to hard core tour, meaning long distance may not be its forte stock. However, if we take it for its stock intentions, the Vulcan 900 series does good, low speed (under 65 mph), two lane touring. We can upgrade the bike for higher speed touring (seat, shock, sprockets/tall rear tire). Once we really understand for what the Vulcan series was designed and what its limitations are relative to large touring bikes (which are designed for that purpose) and large cruisers, we can then enjoy a great all around bike which can be improved for our respective niches of preference (light touring, commuter, long touring, back road, cruising in style, kid shuttling, etc).
2006 VN900 Classic LT - Red and Black
Stage III Stock Pipes - K&N Filter in Stock Box - Amsoil - 170/80 Kenda Kruz - Saddlemen Explorer - Willie & Max Windshield Bag - Mutazu Passenger Floor Boards - Shorai Heavy Duty Battery - Kawasaki Lowers - Black Universal Trunk mounted on Mutazu Rack - Osram 70/65w Plus 50