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Hi everyone, I'm seriously thinking of buying a Vulcan 900 (in the UK), and hoping the good people here might be able to answer a few questions. In case the info helps - I used to ride a 500cc cruiser twenty years ago in my youth, and am returning to bikes in my middle-age... I don't think I'd feel comfortable with anything larger than the 900. I'm a lanky 6'2, in case height matters for comfort on the V900.

1) What is the bike like for touring with a passenger? I'd like to be able to do one long road trip in Europe every summer, as well as long weekends once in a while. I don't need to drive at great speed, and would probably do the kind of trip with lots of stops. Is the bike comfortable? Would it be comfortable for my wife as a passenger?

2) Kawasaki only seem to offer the small leather saddle bags. Can the bike be set up to carry large hard case panniers on side and box on back? (but which would be removable when not on tour)

3) Does the latest model have ABS? I saw that the V650 does, but can't see about the 900. If not, how much does that matter?

4) If I'm buying a new one, would you recommend waiting for the 2017 models in case they have useful developments?

Thank you!
 

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I too got back into riding and thought a 900 is a big as I wanted. It's great for building riding confidence but you'll soon long for something bigger. Ideally the 900 for single, short trips and a beast for touring.

I'm 6'4 and it's very comfortable

Serviceable for occasional 2 up touring.

Hard bags and trunk can be fitted with aftermarket stuff.

No ABS

Basic technology that hasn't changed for 10 years and likely never will.
 

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I love my 900, but for a trip longer than a few hours I would probably want something bigger. I have done a 6ish hour day on the 900, and my bottom was pretty sore. No complaints on the power, kept up with all the big cruisers just fine. I have done the same ride with a passenger, and she wasn't a fan of the stock seat on the custom.

I have hard saddlebags on mine, and passenger said that the hinges hit the back of her legs frequently going down the road (I think other running boards and a new seat would make her happy)

900 is a great bike, but if you plan on doing cross country every year, and a big bike fits your budget, I would go bigger.
 

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I'm older and at 5'11 shorter, and the 900 is just right for me. I tried a larger bike (1500) but felt that because of its weight it was controlling me, rather than I controlling it. Whether the 900 is suitable for touring depends upon where you plan to ride and upon the weight of the riders. If you plan to do most of your riding on motorways then you might want a larger bike, but if you wish to ride mostly on A and lesser roads then the 900 is fine. As in the previous post there isn't any ABS but I haven't needed it with most of my riding being done in the US on A-type roads outside of towns. Also as mentioned previously the 900 hasn't changed since its introduction and it is unlikely that 2017 will be any different. If you want to buy the 900 I would suggest the LT model, and it can be outfitted with more riding gear. The included gear is designed for the 900 and having had to outfit previous bikes with aftermarket fairings and gear with mixed results the 900's inclusions generally are more satisfactory.
 

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The 900 is big enough for you to enjoy riding, 6'2" isn't too big. FWIW, a lot of people have said the Vulcan 2000 was built on a very similar frame, so don't worry about looking like a monster on a scooter. I'm 6' and had to add risers to pull the handlebars back so I could reach them comfortably.
It can handle 2-up as well. Now, you might have to shift a little later, rev a little higher on up-hill climbs, etc. but it's taken many a 2 up riders on many trips.
For long trips, the bike will make the trip. I've been on trips over 2000 miles at a time before, a couple of times. Now, I'm not going to mis-lead you, I also own a 1500 Drifter and the longer trips are much more enjoyable, due to the suspension and heavier weight, and power.
As mentioned, aftermarket accessories available can make this bike almost anything you want it to be.
On a trip a couple of years ago, I've got a friend who rides a Vulcan 2000 take my bike on a beer run because we wanted to know how much beer we could carry in my saddlebags. Really, he wanted see how peppy the bike was compared to his 2000. Because of the lite weight, the bike was surprisingly spry compared to his heavy-but-powerful 2000.
BTW, Mutazu RS bags hold an 18-pack in each side....I know some of you are wondering!:wink2::D
 

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My sister has a 2007 900 Custom and has ridden several 400-500 mile days and says it's very comfortable. I rode her bike with a passenger for about a hour ride and it handled just fine.
 

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Hi everyone, I'm seriously thinking of buying
1) What is the bike like for touring with a passenger? I'd like to be able to do one long road trip in Europe every summer, as well as long weekends once in a while. I don't need to drive at great speed, and would probably do the kind of trip with lots of stops. Is the bike comfortable? Would it be comfortable for my wife as a passenger?



Thank you!
Exactly why I got the Nomad,very Happy camper:grin2:
 

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Just to give you another opinion, I am a lifelong rider and have always had large bikes. One thing to keep in mind is that smaller bikes that seem the right size the first month become too small very fast, then you hope for something bigger.
Anyways, I bought a Voyager two years ago. It is 890 lb and a dream on the expressways. But, I also do a lot of country roads and the big bike is a lot more work, besides the fact that it is very hot in the summertime.
I am retired and ride almost everyday so a few months back I bought a 900 LT for shorter trips (like 50-200 miles)
What I love about the 900 is that it is very fast, very controllable at low speed and very much cooler in the summer.
What I like less is that it is not really that comfortable mostly due to the one chock suspension. Also you will freeze big time when the temperature is below 50 F (10 C.)
Sure, young people go on thousand-mile trips with the 900 but they are young and indestructible and it take them 20 minutes to recover. I am way older and have taken the Voyager on a 2000-mile trip with no problem, however there is no way I would do 500 miles in one day on the 900.

So to resume this. As much as I love that 900, If I could only have one bike it would have to be the Voyager.

Very soon ABS will be mandatory on ALL motorcycles in Europe and I doubt that Kawasaki will make two 900 models, one ABS for EU and one non for U.S.
I have a feeling that it will happen within two years and then I will trade in the 900 for the ABS model.
Not wanting to start a big debate here about ABS but my Voyager has them and once you experience the wheels not locking up in a hard brake (or on a wet road) you will not want anything else. (Watch YouTube videos demonstration about ABS on motorcycles and you will be convinced.)

Just some ideas for you to consider!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you all for the very helpful views!

I'm sure that a larger bike could be more suited, but given that I'd take only one super-long trip a year and the rest would be local or weekend rides, and coupled with my budget, I think the 900 will probably be the limit.

The guys at my Kawasaki dealer are all trying to convince me to go for the Versys 650, saying it is much more comfortable for long rides with two, and more adept at being an all-rounder bike. I'd only ever ridden cruisers in the past and the idea of the Versys is alien to me, but I might take one for a spin at least so that I can feel certain ruling it out before going for the Vulcan... Has anyone tried one of these?
 

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Just to give you another opinion, I am a lifelong rider and have always had large bikes. One thing to keep in mind is that smaller bikes get smaller very fast then you hope for something bigger.
Anyways, I bought a Voyager two years ago. It is 890 lb and a dream on the expressways. But, I also do a lot of country roads and the big bike is a lot more work, besides the fact that it is very hot in the summertime.
I am retired and ride almost everyday so a few months back I bought a 900 LT for shorter trips (like 50-200 miles)
What I love about the 900 is that it is very fast, very controllable at low speed and very much cooler in the summer.
What I like less is that it is not really that comfortable mostly due to the one chock suspension. Also you will freeze big time when the temperature is below 50 F (10 C.)
Sure, young people go on thousand-mile trips with the 900 but they are young and indestructible and it take them 20 minutes to recover. I am way older and have taken the Voyager on a 2000-mile trip with no problem, however there is no way I would do 500 miles in one day on the 900.

So to resume this. As much as I love that 900, If I could only have one bike it would have to be the Voyager.

Very soon ABS will be mandatory on ALL motorcycles in Europe and I doubt that Kawasaki will make two 900 models, one ABS for EU and one non for U.S.
I have a feeling that it will happen within two years and then I will trade in the 900 for the ABS model.
Not wanting to start a big debate here about ABS but my Voyager has them and once you experience the wheels not locking up in a hard brake (or on a wet road) you will not want anything else. (Watch YouTube videos demonstration about ABS on motorcycles and you will be convinced.)

Just some ideas for you to consider!
I can vouch for this as well. My first bike was a 2006 Vulcan 750 brand new. It was a great starter bike, but once my body became accustomed to the acceleration and overall handling of the bike, it became boring to ride pretty quickly. I think it took me about 2 months to get to this point. BUT, I was a lot younger then and was more concerned about going fast than I am now.

The 900 is a good all around bike. Plenty of aftermarket support for it. Since the motor is built with a short stroke, it does have a higher RPM range than larger motors. Some folks have complained about the buzziness of the engine, but that's just part of the design. It's a fairly peppy bike. It won't out run larger bikes, but it will keep up, eventually. I once raced a newer Ford Mustang with a 6 cylinder with my 900 and neither one of us was pulling away until I had to slow down for traffic. That's saying a lot since I weigh 265 pounds @ 6' 2", LOL! If you have long, lanky arms like me, you will want to get ape hangers and a riser. My ride came setup that way and I love it versus the stock drag bar the classic comes with. Even then, the classic drag bar may hit your knees at full lock like it it did with me.

If you are looking for a larger bike without getting above 1500cc's, I'd check out Yamaha and Honda. Yamaha has 1100 and 1300cc cruisers and Honda has 1300cc cruisers. But, I think the VN900 is the best bang for your buck. Every time I go bike shopping, I almost always walk away with a Kawasaki. In fact, all the bikes I have ever owned have been Kawasaki's except for the 2007 Honda VTX1300C (awesome bike you can find used for cheap anymore).

The picture I included is from the day I bought it. Since then, the windshield has been removed and the handlebars moved forward to give my arms more room. Bike looks better w/o the windshield, IMO.

Good luck with your decision.
 

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Run don't walk away from your dealer. The Versys 650 is not my last choice for two up but it is close. They just have some leftovers they are trying to move.
 

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Thank you all for the very helpful views!

I'm sure that a larger bike could be more suited, but given that I'd take only one super-long trip a year and the rest would be local or weekend rides, and coupled with my budget, I think the 900 will probably be the limit.

The guys at my Kawasaki dealer are all trying to convince me to go for the Versys 650, saying it is much more comfortable for long rides with two, and more adept at being an all-rounder bike. I'd only ever ridden cruisers in the past and the idea of the Versys is alien to me, but I might take one for a spin at least so that I can feel certain ruling it out before going for the Vulcan... Has anyone tried one of these?
Hey, I feel your pain! I had a Versys 650 earlier this year that I traded for my 900. I'll tell you this, it's not a tall guy bike. Being tall makes it easier to get on, but that's it. At first, I thought the riding position was great; but after riding it for a while I found that it caused leg cramping. Additionally, the seat will push your family jewels into the gas tank. Also, it's chain driven which means weekly chain cleaning and oiling. That gets old real fast! Plus, the sprockets wear out and they can cost quite a bit to replace (so can the chain). Replacing spark plugs on the V is a PITA, too. A lot more involved than just lifting the gas tank on the 900. I found the engine performance to be underwhelming. Last spring, my area had heavy winds (40 MPH+) almost nightly. The bike had difficulties plowing through the wind head on. It's not as bad as the KLR650, especially with crosswinds. I really wanted the V to work, but it didn't. Someone does make peg extenders, which I did consider buying, but felt the extra inch or so wouldn't change much.

Here is a website which I used to help me pick some of my previous bikes. It shows you how you'll sit on the bike ergonomically. Motorcycle Ergonomics

Included picture is me on the V. I was about 50 pounds smaller then, too. I think that was a 2011 Versys 650. Also, the back end was riding a lot lower than it should. I didn't realize until later, the rear shock was on the weakest setting. The tool Kaw sends to adjust that is junk. I had to take a dremel and grind out a slot to keep it from slipping (it will slip A LOT without the slot).
 

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Before buying the 900, I was looking for something over 1000. On paper, I wanted an 1100 or 1300. Anything over that was difficult to manage the front end for me. As I age (now 53) I'm losing both my center of gravity and upper body strength. I was selling my standard position bike (Yamaha FZ6R) because the seat height was becoming an issue in slow speed maneuvering around my driveway. I looked for the following: cruiser with comfortable seat height, belt drive, six-speeds, radiator cooled engine, and a reliable bike for the long term. My first bike was a 1999 Vulcan 800 classic and missed that bike from the moment I didn't have it anymore. So, I gave up on that sixth gear because the Vulcan fit everyone of those other criteria for me. The reliability of the bike is also a big factor for me. I would rather ride than repair. And the repairs are pretty standard and predictable with the Vulcan 900. Its tried and true.

All that said, there is nothing like sitting on and riding the bike you are interested in. I've walked into dealerships many times thinking I knew what I wanted only to find out that another bike fit me and the type of riding I wanted to do better. Only you will know what that is. Test ride, test ride, test ride. The only thing the Internet can tell you is what happens to the bike after it has been ridden a while.

Good luck, have fun, and keep the rubber on the road.
 

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Hey Smoking Duck
I am 1 week away from picking up a 2008 900 Classic LT with with about 40K km on it. Then a 5 day trip of about 3300 km. I will find out real quick if it is comfortable although only me (unless I pick up a hitchhiker) so I wont be able to speak to a 2 up situation. I am planning on blogging and mapping the trip for my family or something like that. I will post the link here so you can follow as my body and mind break down over the course of the 5 day trip. I am actually planning on having a kick-ass time.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Very many thanks to everyone for the replies - all your views are really helpful, and just the fact that the Vulcan community here is so nice is already a good sign!
 

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small to large.

I also learned to ride on small bikes nearly forty years ago. I thought the Vulcan S would be perfect for round town riding. It is really is, but as I began to think about retirement in two years I thought I might need something bigger. .Some of my planned road trips will be 400 miles a day.

I wasn't sure if I wanted a 850 lb motorcycle. I bought the 2015 Vaquero in part because I love the color green. I can tell you that adjusting to the heaver bike was simpler than I thought it would be. I am 5'11" and around 290 lbs. The bigger bike is a joy. Tractor trailer wind draft is no problem for the Vaquero. The six speed trans can pull away from any traffic at any highway speed.

When I asked about the bike size the salesman asked can you put both feet on the ground while mounted on the bike?

He said as long a s you don't have to tip toe you should be able to manage the big bike just fine. I guess he was right. Maybe your dealer will let you test ride both before you decide which is for you.

good luck with your decision.

JohnC
 
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