Highway Revs - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-27-2012, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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Highway Revs

I currently have a 500 and have been looking at getting a 900 classic. What is the talk about the "highway revs"? My 500 does fine at 70-75 and I commute to work about 30 miles each way. Is the 900 better or worse than the 500 at these speeds? Anyone went from a 500 to a 900?

I mainly want the 900 for a bit more room. Any advice?
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-27-2012, 10:26 PM
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I went from a virago 535 to the 900. I don't have any issues with it but I can see how people can find it buzzy. I have exhaust, which for some reason helped remove that feeling of reaching for another gear. Before that, I would kick to shift from 5th right into 5th.

The rpms at 55mph are around 3500. It is pretty buzzy in my ears once I get up around 65/70. I blame my jug huggers for that tho. Thinking back, I don't remember my 535 being to bad either

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-27-2012, 10:50 PM
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I rode a parallel twin 650 in the early 70's, and the power band was 6k and up, smooth as a babes, but, a single pin crank, v-twin revving at 4000rpm(70mph), is a different beast. Most big v-twins run 1.5krpms to 2.5krpms at 70, but the 900 is a small,(by today's standards) short stroke v-twin that must rev higher to produce any horsepower. And it will produce some horsepower. And some vibration, and IMHO will clatter like a diesel. Ironic to think when I started riding a 900cc motor was a monster.

Yes much more room to stretch out. More stable on the Highway, really nimble for it's size and weight, both on the road and parking lots. The bike itself does just fine at upwards of 80, it's the people,like me, who have trouble with the revs.
But I am going to keep mine for a little while longer.
Just my opinion of course.

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-27-2012, 11:58 PM
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The thing is, it bothers some, and others could care less. It definitely rev's, and there are noticeable vibrations, but it doesn't personally bother me. Gloves with a gel pad in the palm or aftermarket grips will almost or completely eliminate vibrations in the hand, and good boots or cheap gel insoles will eliminate vibrations in the feet. I never feel anything in my seat. From there, it's just the 'psychological' factor, that your buzzing at 4,000 rpm's on a bike that 'feels' like a big twin that should be glub-glubbing along.

Run your 500 on the highway in 5th gear for a while. If that doesn't bother you, then the 900 definitely won't. (For those of you who don't get why I'm giving that advice: The 500 is a 6 speed. So, my theory is, that'll be buzzier with more vibrations than a 900, so if that doesn't bug him, a 900 in top gear won't either)

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-28-2012, 10:40 AM
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There are always a few ways to lower your revs at high speed, i.e. larger rear tire or different pulleys. I am still running stock for these parts, and cruising around 70 isn't bad. Like Romans said, it is mostly psychological. You feel like it should rev lower, but once you accept the higher revving motor, it's no big deal.

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-28-2012, 01:29 PM
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My daily commute is 30 mins. 20 minutes of that is highway at 70-75. I don't think there is a problem with the revs at all. I'm running stock tire sizes for now, but I will be upgrading to the ME880 200, as I understand it should lower the revs a little.

Like the others said, it may be a mental thing, the 900 is my first bike so I have no pre-conceived thoughts on highway revs.

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-28-2012, 02:09 PM
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I have no issue with the revs. The only way to know is test it and see if it bothers you. The gearing on this bike is a little unusual. They obviously wanted it to feel like a big, short-shifting cruiser, and it does that very well, but that means first gear is very short (really just for getting off the mark) and the higher gears cover a lot of ground. Personally I find it a very flexible engine. It's making maximum torque at round 55-60mph in fifth, and maximum horsepower at around 100mph, so it's certainly not struggling.

As for vibes, most engines of this kind are going to make some that you can feel, but again they don't bother me and more importantly don't seem to be harmful. My old ZZ-R600 was the comfiest bike I ever rode, but after a long spin my fingers would be starting to go numb because of vibration through the bars. I've generally found vibes on 4-cylinder bikes to be less obtrusive but more harmful.

Last edited by Chuluun; 03-28-2012 at 02:11 PM.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-28-2012, 06:33 PM
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I am looking forward to finding out what this bike feels like at speed. My old 1985 Maxim X ran north of 6000rpm around 70. (It also redlined at 10,500 I think) It def had vibration. So I don't think the 900 will bother me a bit. Keep in mind the bike is built to handle highway speeds and the motors from what I have read are dependable. It isn't going to bother the bike one bit it's all in your head and what the rider likes.

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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-28-2012, 10:58 PM
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The 900's rev high at highway speeds of true 65mph+. What I mean by this is if the bike is stock the speedo will read 65mph but you will be going about 59mph true speed (a good reason why you see some 900's riding slower than normal trafic). As you can see this issue doesn't bother many of the 900's current owners but for those many others that traded or sold them this was probably the number one reason why they got rid of it. To fix this problem I highly recommend both SW pulley and even the larger tire. I did on mine and now truly enjoy highway riding and if it wasn't for these upgrades I would have traded a year ago. Now I can go true 75mph+ very smooth just like the big boys bikes my friends own. Some claim that by doing this you loose power but had mine like this for over a year and I haven't experience that. You only have to adjust to the new shifting points that's all. You will loose some gas mileage but if you're coming from a 500 then you probably don't care much for that.

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-29-2012, 09:51 AM
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My son's KZ550 LTD ran north of 5k in 6th at 75; engine smooth as silk, chassis too light and small for adequate 50+ miles rides for him. He loves the 900; much smoother chassis with no high frequency buzzing, engine not working hard at 75.

Went on a 350 mile group run the other day; I was the smallest bike in the group by 150 pounds and over 400 cc. We ran superslab at 75 and two laner at 65. The only time I felt like the bike was buzzy was when we entered the superslab for the last time as a group into heavy, heavy traffic; I was revving the pee out of my 9 from a dead stop to 75 in third at the bottom of the ramp (malfunctioning entry lights). At 75 in 5th though, felt no vibrations of any kind, just blissful riding.

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