Join Date: Aug 2011
Year/Make/Model: 2014 Kawasaki Vulcan Vaquero ABS SE
Color: Orange SE
It depends on the model and the year. Often age kills Vulcans long before mileage does. Metal corrodes, rubber rots, etc. No manufacturer can really correct those things.
Certain models of the 1500 had a plastic oil gear that was prone to failure. The Vulcan 750, though beloved by it's owners, is a basket case of common problems. The '06 and '07 900's had an issue with the stator. 90 minutes in the garage and $200 later and it's fixed. And the Vulcan 2000 doesn't know it's own strength and occasionally breaks itself just with it's raw power. (Damaged transmission components mostly). Otherwise? Pretty bulletproof machine. There are examples of both 900's and 1700's (the current cruisers on the line) exceeding 200,000 miles without major repair.
Is there a particular model you're looking at? ANYTHING can break, but, if you were to buy a new or gently used 1700 today, It'll almost certainly last you for as long as you care to own it. And you'll get plenty of life out of almost any other bike on the line. Other than a few quirky models with issues that are usually pretty fixable. But again, sheer years on this earth matters. So get as new as you can if you're wanting to put serious 6 digit miles on it.
I don't think it's too bold a claim to say that almost any Vulcan should easily make it to 150,000 miles without significant issues, and 200,000+ is not at all unheard of. To be perfectly honest, it's extraordinarily rare that we hear of catstrophic failures or an engine needing a big teardown. Most of the time, they just ride them until they don't. Or, just because of age (20+ year old bikes usually), they end up needing lots of little things all at once (new tires, hoses, coolant flush, clutch master cylinder rebuilt, carb rebuild and re-sync, etc.), as all of those little rubber parts harden and fail, that owners just ditch them for something newer. But with a little TLC those bikes will go another 20 years too.
Most people around this forum buy a new motorcycle because they want a new motorcycle, not because their old one quit. Having been on this forum, one of the largest dedicated to the Kawasaki Vulcan, for a number of years; I can honestly say that the overwhelming majority of folks who get rid of Vulcans, get rid of running Vulcans. They just end up wanting something else. (Sometimes, a new Vulcan!)
Consumer Reports gathers data on motorcycles and their "failure" is defined as a motorcycle that needs a significant repair within 3 years of ownership. Which is a fairly small sample group, but it's still a good comparison. Kawasaki comes in at 15%, 15% of Kawasaki's needing a repair within 3 years. Harley-Davidson and BMW top the list at about 25%. Though Can-Am is in a class of their own. Almost half of all Can-Am Spyders sold will require a major repair within 3 years of ownership.
"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