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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-08-2016, 09:19 AM Thread Starter
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High mileage Vulcan question

I've been a Harley rider for 20 years. I've about had it with the companies lack of interest to build a reliable machine. I own three of them and it gets old to have to look to aftermarket companies to correct their known issues. Then have to pay more more to have them fixed. I want a bike I can do basic maintenance on and ride. I'm wanting to sell my roadglide and go for a voyager.

How many miles do you guys have on your bikes?

Are their any known common issues?

What problems have you seen in The higher miles?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-08-2016, 09:33 AM
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Have 10k on my nomad 1700,set of tires and oil changes,fluids due but NO Issues,Had a 9 classic also no issues w 18k when sold
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-08-2016, 05:16 PM
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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.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-08-2016, 06:34 PM
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My 2015 is expected to out last me, I was 60 when I bought it. One of the features I like is that oil change services the engine and transmission.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-08-2016, 07:45 PM
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I traded my 2010 Voyager for my first Harley. 2016 Road Glide Ultra.

Put 60,000 miles on the Voyager. During that time it left me stranded once when a wire rubbed through under the tank and blew the main fuse.

Also had the Kawasaki Automatic Compression Release (KACR) come apart and bounce all around in the engine. $2000 repair, but fortunately I had extended warranty.

People have had problems with final drive bearings, hydraulic valve lash adjusters, front end wobble, rattling plastic parts allover the bike, etc.

Choice of accessories is limited.

The oil check routine is ridiculous, and you need nomax gloves to check it hot. There is no checking on sidestand.

With all that, the Voyager is a nice bike.

There are many Harley Touring riders who put 100,000 miles on them with regular maintenance. It all depends how you ride, care for your ride, modify your ride, etc.

Kawasaki does offer bang for the buck.

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Last edited by twowheeladdict; 10-08-2016 at 08:05 PM.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-08-2016, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jccvaquero View Post
My 2015 is expected to out last me, I was 60 when I bought it. One of the features I like is that oil change services the engine and transmission.
And the primary.

What you like about it is also a negative. When my KACR blew apart, it contaminated everything instead of being isolated toons of the three areas. When the primary, engine, and transmission are separated, the best lubricant for each area can be applied.

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see my garage for list of accessories
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-08-2016, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Romans5.8 View Post
I!)

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.
Do they factor in miles ride in those three years, and number of bikes on the road? I see way more touring Harleys on the road than any other bike. BMWs also typically pile on miles quickly.
Unfortunately, Kawasaki was the lowest of the Japanese brands.

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see my garage for list of accessories
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-09-2016, 07:43 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you to everyone who has replied.

I'm specifically interested in the Vulcan voyager.

I currently have an 09 roadglide with 55k on it. Looking at about $2000 in maintenance just to fix some common issues that could leave me stranded. I've got the tools and ability to fix everything, just tired of having to replace parts that shouldn't be failing to prevent a break down that puts me at the mercy of the Harley dealer.

Harley's have wheel bearing issues and that is dangerous in my opinion. I'm not really concerned about looks or brand on my touring bike. I have 2 custom Harley's to ride around town. I want comfort and reliability for my tour bike.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-09-2016, 07:50 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twowheeladdict View Post
I traded my 2010 Voyager for my first Harley. 2016 Road Glide Ultra.

Put 60,000 miles on the Voyager. During that time it left me stranded once when a wire rubbed through under the tank and blew the main fuse.

Also had the Kawasaki Automatic Compression Release (KACR) come apart and bounce all around in the engine. $2000 repair, but fortunately I had extended warranty.

People have had problems with final drive bearings, hydraulic valve lash adjusters, front end wobble, rattling plastic parts allover the bike, etc.

Choice of accessories is limited.

The oil check routine is ridiculous, and you need nomax gloves to check it hot. There is no checking on sidestand.

With all that, the Voyager is a nice bike.

There are many Harley Touring riders who put 100,000 miles on them with regular maintenance. It all depends how you ride, care for your ride, modify your ride, etc.

Kawasaki does offer bang for the buck.
How is the ride compared from the voyager to the roadglide?
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-09-2016, 07:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trintcole View Post
Thank you to everyone who has replied.

I'm specifically interested in the Vulcan voyager.

I currently have an 09 roadglide with 55k on it. Looking at about $2000 in maintenance just to fix some common issues that could leave me stranded. I've got the tools and ability to fix everything, just tired of having to replace parts that shouldn't be failing to prevent a break down that puts me at the mercy of the Harley dealer.

Harley's have wheel bearing issues and that is dangerous in my opinion. I'm not really concerned about looks or brand on my touring bike. I have 2 custom Harley's to ride around town. I want comfort and reliability for my tour bike.
All bikes have potential issues. I've been around these forums since '09. Just like Harley, the issues don't hit everyone, but if they hit you on a trip, it sucks. I switched to Harley because there are dealers and independent shops everywhere. I also got the ESP for $1 which is nice coverage for touring.

There have been people reporting wheel bearing issues, steering head issues, drive belt issues, etc. But what percentage of bikes on the road are we talking about is anyones guess. All manufacturers have some weaknesses and strengths. Even Honda Goldwings aren't immune to issues.

The new M8 Rushmore Roadglide is an amazing bike. If you do go Voyager, look around. They don't hold their value and can be had cheap.

2010 Vulcan Voyager 1700 ABS, 2007 Vulcan Mean Streak 1600
2012 Concours 1400, 2011 Versys 650, 2012 KLX250S

see my garage for list of accessories
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