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Thought I'd share my experiences here on some of the modifications done on my new 900 in case anyone is considering some of these same mods.
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The 2012 Vulcan 900 Custom is my second bike. I've been off of a bike for 5 years so decided to go with a smaller engine; get used to it again and I know that I am hard on the throttle if HP is available. The 900 keeps me out of trouble :D My gripes with this bike stock:
  • Lack of power – I mean at times I felt like I needed to put my feet down and get the bike moving a'la Fred Flintstone. And forget about trying a second gear start even on a flat surface. My one time on the freeway was nerve racking, I felt like I was struggling to keep up with traffic in the right lane. If I'd needed to do any passing maneuver I'd have been in a lot of trouble.
  • Quiet – Stock setups are always quiet but seriously, you can hardly tell this one is running at idle. Had to endure more than one comment about my “electric” motorcycle or “Hey, is it running?!”
Basically love the look and handling of this bike, was only somewhat happy with the sound and performance. Fortunately sound and performance can be fixed, which is what I set out to do. Not looking for “Piss off the neighbors” loud but want clueless drivers to know I'm in the area.

Cobra Speedsters Swept
These look awesome on the Vulcan, were one of the only options in black and were not terribly difficult to install. This was my first modification, and after I had them installed gotta say they were too loud... not just loud as in volume but loud in the higher pitch range. At idle they sound great, at 60mph in 5th gear at high RPMs they did not. Because I installed the pipes with no intake or fuel commander these caused the bike to run lean, very lean. I had significant blueing of the pipes after less than 80 miles and the decel popping was embarrassing. Between the noise and heat I was close to getting something else or putting stock pipes back on (would have been sad to lose the look) when I discovered the Hard Kore Baffles.

Smart Partz Hard Kore Baffles
These saved my eardums; $70 for the set and they do exactly as advertised. They quiet the Speedsters and remove the edge and harshness from the higher RPM exhaust note. Unfortunately I'm not crazy about the new idle sound, it has lost a lot of its aggressiveness. Tradeoff I suppose. A caution to anyone who decides to install these on the swepts – the installation instructions are wrong! You will be required to remove your pipes, this is not going to be a 10 minute installation. There are 2 reasons you will need to do this:
  1. The original Cobra baffles are curved, pretty much have to knock them out from the front
  2. Where the Cobra baffle is screwed in there is a screwhole, through the outer pipe and into the Cobra baffle. You are supposed to re-use this hole so no drilling is required. However, the original Cobra baffle has a metal tab welded inside that is in the way of simply installing the Hard Kore baffles. You must remove the Cobra baffle and cut off that tab. If you can do this yourself- great. I took them to a local muffler shop who removed the tabs for $20. Once you've gone through all of this and put the pipes back on, you are now able to install/remove these baffles as you want without removal of the pipes.
Cobra Fi2000R
Works just like its supposed to. I still get decel popping but its no longer embarrasing and doesn't happen all the time. I'm sure it has something to do with the throttle position at the time I let off. One thing I will note on the installation, unplugging the injector closest to the rear of the bike was very, very hard. I almost removed the entire fuel tank. If you have large hands getting your hand around this injector to remove might be frustrating.

Cobra Power-Flo Intake
Simple install and looks pretty cool on the bike. This was my last modification and it made a big difference on performance. Opening the pipes and adding the Fi2000R was a big difference but that last step of adding an intake that actually breathes... well worth the expense.

All told the bike has a significantly different sound and feel to it now. I don't feel like it is struggling at 65+ mph anymore and in fact have easily moved from 60 to 80+ without feeling like the engine is struggling. One thing I am going to do is go back and remove the Hard Kore baffles – I want to hear how the bike sounds with just the pipes, intake and Fi2000R. The rough edge on the exhaust may be gone now. I am much, much happier with this bike after these mods.

*Photos have been posted to my album if anyone is looking.*
 
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