Tried a 1700 Classic the other day and I think I prefer my 900!! WHOA!!! I was actually surprised and a bit disappointed because I really wanted a six speed and a little more power. The gearing seemed spread out more with higher ratio's. Meaning cruising down the beach at very slow speeds, you had to be in 1st or a big jump to 2nd. The bike does not like to be lugged! The bike felt very clunky from 1st to 2nd. The belt whine was a lot louder at very slow speeds and the front end seemed to jump up and down a bit when I got on the throttle at higher speeds. Almost like an unbalanced front wheel or a front engine mount. Not sure if this is normal or just this bike. Anybody advice?
I was a bit underwhelmed at first with my 1700 LT, especially having owned both a Roadstar 1700 and VTX1800R previously. Getting used to the 1700's little quirks, a little tweaking, and careful break-in makes all the difference though!
The Vulcan 1700 requires some break-in time before it really starts to free up and produce power. Also to blame is the stock throttle tube with a great deal of lag or delay. That was fixed with RACNRAY's Throttle Mod (a re-profiled throttle cam that eliminates the delay and gives instant throttle response). Do a search on this forum under RACNRAY's Throttle Mod for more information on this inexpensive, but essential mod
The belt whine is generally because of an overly tight or poorly adjusted belt...easy fix.
I do agree with your assessment of the clunky transmission and overly tall gearing. The First-to-Second shift is notoriously loud, but can be controlled to some degree by short shifting or preloading the shifter. This does not seem to improve with time and changing to synthetic oil provides very little or only a temporary reduction in noise/tranny smoothness. My tranny actually seems to be a little quieter in the 1st to 2nd shift if I DO NOT LET OFF on the throttle during shifting!
BOTH Fifth and Sixth Gears are Overdrive gears for better mileage. I rarely ever use Sixth Gear as it is strictly for the interstate and speeds well over 65 mph or 105 kph.
Last, but not least...the stock seat sucks (not as bad as some, but much room for improvement)...a new Mustang Vintage Wide Seat made all the difference for me!
Hope this helps!