Join Date: Aug 2011
Year/Make/Model: 2014 Kawasaki Vulcan Vaquero ABS SE
Color: Orange SE
The Vulcan 900 won't win any stopping awards, but to echo what the others have said. There are two major differences between your Vulcan 900, and a car.
1) The brake system is a very simple, unassisted system with very little fluid in it. That means it should be changed frequently. Personally I do mine every spring but I would never go more than 2 years. Chances are, it hasn't been done. Brake fluid is an often ignored maintenance item, usually folks wait until the brake fluid is so broken down it corrodes brake components, and then they rebuild calipers and re-do the fluid.
2) The brakes work the same as your car, except you are the one who controls which wheel gets the pressure! In your car, when you apply the brake, the brake system automatically (using valves, or even complicated computer setups) applies most of the pressure to the front, and some of the pressure to the rear brakes. When you brake, the weight of the vehicle shifts forward onto the front tire(s), meaning that the front brakes become very efficient, while the rear tires have very little weight on them and will lock up easily.
The Harry Hurt report said that a vast majority of severe motorcycle accidents involved too much rear brake, and little or no front brake.
You should never brake with just the rear. Truthfully, it should be a mix between the two with an emphasis on the front brake. You don't want to get in the habit of using the rear brake, because in a pinch you could mash the rear brake and not touch the front brake; simply out of habit!
If you are using the rear brake alone, the harder you brake the worse it's going to work. Because the quicker you decelerate, the more weight is off of the rear tire. It just doesn't work like that. I know all those cool choppers are rear brake only, but in a pinch they'll be on the pavement. Just all there is to it. The front brake is what stops you, the rear brake simply aids in that, and if used properly, shortens your stopping distance.
I can lockup the rear pretty easily. I would definitely suggest new fluid in both systems, but again; the best brakes in the world won't do you any good if they aren't used properly.
"8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 5:8 (NIV)
2014 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero ABS SE
iPod Connector Kit, Kuryakyn Highway Pegs, Mustang Touring Seat, Marvella's Hitch, Kuryakyn Trailer Wiring Kit, Haul-Master Tag-a-Long Cargo Trailer
2011 Honda Shadow Aero 750 (Wife's)
Memphis shades quick-release windshield, OEM Solo Seat, Mustang Fender Bib, Chrome Solo Luggage Rack
Past: 2006 Vulcan 900 Classic LT