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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm hating my 06 VN900 Classic. With the roads we have here it's unrideable, I've tried every position on the rear shock and nothing keeps my back from hurting, and the stock seat makes my tailbone hurt. I think it must be the roads because I don't see that much people complaining about the rear end being too stiff, but for me it is. I'm about 220 pounds, and the suspension never bottoms out but I can feel every single imperfection on the road going through my spine. I guess that my back is hurt from the potholes and uneven pavement, and therefore is sensitive to everything else.
Then there is the seat, I can't ride it for more than half an hour or my tailbone hurts. The longer I ride it, the more it hurts. The only time I've taken a 2 hour ride on it, took an off ramp from the interstate into the city and stopped at a red light. When the light turned green I almost dropped the bike, I couldn't get my leg up, my tailbone was hurting like hell.

I just can't take it anymore. As much as I try to like the Vulcan, I just haven't been able to. I've got used to the poor braking, the ground clearance/scraping issues, it's harder to split lanes as it's too wide. On the other hand I love the torque and how it seems to "float" at 60mph (it's smoooth, feels even smoother than idling), nothing beats it for 2 up riding, but...

I try to avoid riding it, as it's painfull. Seriously, it's my first cruiser and it's the only bike I haven't been able to ride for more than 2 hours. I'm going on a group ride next Sunday and people are saying "take the Vulcan", my back says "no way in hell!", my tailbone says "yeah, right". As uncomfortable as my sportbike is, I'm more wiling to take it on a longer ride than the Vulcan, that's screwed up.

So I think I've got three options:

a) $420 (shipped to Mexico) would get me a Progressive rear shock, but is it really worth it? Does it really make that much of a difference? Coming from sportbikes I know that suspension is one of those areas where you get what you pay, so if the cheapest Öhlins is about $800, I have my doubts about a $400 shock... (But I know I'm definitely not spending $800 on a shock for the Vulcan)

b) Selling the VN900 and replace it with a different cruiser. I'm having rust issues on my Vulcan, there is rust even on the frame and the lower triple tree (and there is more rust on the bottom of it, go figure), so the rear suspension is just one more reason on the list of things I hate about it (the rust being No. 1, the seat being No. 2).

c) Are all the cruisers the same? If they are, then I might just face the fact that cruisers are not suitable for me or my riding enviroment. Most sportbike riders say that sportbikes are more comfortable because as you lean forward, your spine does not receive the direct impacts from the suspension... Is there any truth to that?


As of now I think I'm almost facing $1,000 of aftermarket and rust repairs to make the Vulcan comfortable and, well, rust free. I have no questions about the rust repairs, those must be done, and I don't think it will be over $250 (labor is cheap around these places), might be more if I go crazy and chose to have the frame powder coated...

But I don't want to spend $1000 just to end up parking it... again. I rather spend the $250, sell it, and get a different bike.
 

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If age is creeping up on you as it is me, then an after market seat with a back rest may be your answer. I'm 68 and I like to ride but when I know I'm going on a long ride, like more than a couple of days, I'll take my CB750 Night Hawk. The pegs are under me instead of forward and it takes a lot of strain off of the back muscles. You might look at the Kawa Versys or the Triumph Tiger. Both are upright and the pegs are right under your torso.
 

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You just need to replace or alter that terrible friggin seat that came with the bike. I tolerated it for 45 minute trips but I'd be sore afterwards. I had it altered with a piece of gell inserted but it wasn't to good. Best bet, take it to a saddle shop, show em what part hurts you and they'll fix the stock seat as much as possible. OR just buy aftermarket.

Doing so takes all the pain away and brings pleasure back. Maybe that seat works for some 125 pound Japanese man and god bless em for it, but it just doesn't cut it with my 275+ pound frame.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
If age is creeping up on you as it is me, then an after market seat with a back rest may be your answer. I'm 68 and I like to ride but when I know I'm going on a long ride, like more than a couple of days, I'll take my CB750 Night Hawk. The pegs are under me instead of forward and it takes a lot of strain off of the back muscles. You might look at the Kawa Versys or the Triumph Tiger. Both are upright and the pegs are right under your torso.
LOL! :eek: I'm 31!

But to be honest my back might be messed up due to a bad motorcycle wreck a year and a half ago. I think that my back has been more sensitive to bad roads since that accident.

And I have other bikes, XT660R dual purpose, CBR 600RR that is supposed to be my track bike, SV1000s my street ride and the Vulcan. The others don't come close to the Vulcan as far as 2 up riding is concerned, so if I were to replace it with another bike, I want something that is as good as the vulcan for 2 up riding.

Yeah, I'm nuts. I always get the "you own how many?" question followed by the WTF face. But honestly, each one of them does something that the others cant. And the Vulcan was supposed to be the comfortable one... but it simply failed miserably at being comfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You just need to replace or alter that terrible friggin seat that came with the bike. I tolerated it for 45 minute trips but I'd be sore afterwards. I had it altered with a piece of gell inserted but it wasn't to good. Best bet, take it to a saddle shop, show em what part hurts you and they'll fix the stock seat as much as possible. OR just buy aftermarket.

Doing so takes all the pain away and brings pleasure back. Maybe that seat works for some 125 pound Japanese man and god bless em for it, but it just doesn't cut it with my 275+ pound frame.
OK, a better seat might keep my tailbone happy. But I don't think that it is going to keep my spine from feeling every single bump on the road, or is the stock seat THAT bad?
 

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OK, a better seat might keep my tailbone happy. But I don't think that it is going to keep my spine from feeling every single bump on the road, or is the stock seat THAT bad?[/QUOTE

Sorry I made a wrong assumption. Best of luck with sorting out your back problem. I bought my Vulcan SE because of the style of the bike. I too have a collection that serves my needs, XRV750, VTX1800, CB750. The VN900 is my town bike and short ride bike. VTX when riding 2 up and need cargo space. I must say the heavier VTX rides smoother and with Metzeler 880s handles pretty good.
 

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OK, a better seat might keep my tailbone happy. But I don't think that it is going to keep my spine from feeling every single bump on the road, or is the stock seat THAT bad?
The pan on the seat is right under your tailbone, it pretty much makes you hit and that pretty much goes right up the ole spine. Also, you might consider risers to move the handlebars back to you a bit. You may be leaning forward just a bit and that loads your spine up too. I've got a mustang on my bike and 2 inch spacers from Jim's Spacers and highway pegs on the engine gaurd. It's pretty much a rolling couch. There was time though my shoulders ached and my rear end, well at least it would go numb till I moved.
 

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Greetings!

You answered most of your own questions already, but I'll weigh in on a couple of things.

No. Not all cruisers are like the VN900, just like your CBR 600RR isn't like all the other sport bikes on the market. The VN900 is a solid choice for middleweight cruisers, but maybe not for YOU.

I'd think about seating first of all. If you're over 200#, the OEM seat was not built for your backside! I'd get an aftermarket seat immediately (I chose the Mustang) and if it does not fix the problem, you can always resell the seat on eBay and get most of your money back.

The problem with your back might be exacerbated by the riding position of the Vulcan. I do not think that replacing the shock will fix this. Have you tried adjusting the rear shock? If you're not bottoming out at your current setting, you might be able to soften it up a bit - other than that you might have to consider a larger cruiser---or even another type of MC (BMW?) for your riding needs... Something that will alter your seating position.

Good Luck!


Good luck!
 

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I have a bad back, and tons of other physical issues, so much so, that I have a handicapped sticker.....

When I bought it 6 weeks ago, I was really afraid that I'd not be able to ride my bike for any length of time.

The stock seat sux, really bad, IMO. I replaced it with a Saddlemen gel seat. Sweet! The Mustang seat with the backrest is supposed to be one of the best. Seriously, you need a good seat.

You might even want to throw an Airhawk cushion on the seat. The Airhawk gets lots of good reviews. Since you seem to want to find a cheap fix, you might want to buy an Airhawk to see if it makes a difference on your stock seat. If it does, then you'd probably need to go all the way to a good seat like the Mustang or Saddlemen.

I've ordered an Airhawk cushion, but it won't be here for a few days. I can give you my thoughts on it later, if you like.

My bike went from uncomfortable to sweet, with the addition of a good seat, risers and the backrest. I'd say that the seat and risers are probably the most important for making the ride more comfortable, at least for me.
 

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I've got used to the poor braking,

Don't understand this one. My Vulcan brakes really quickly. And in the comparison between the Shadow , Vulcan, and Harley 883 , the Vulcan had the best stopping distance. And in several other comparo's the Vulcan was the best also.

Yea it's no sportbike, but it weighs a lot more so it will take a bit more to stop it.

And as has already been mentioned, get a Mustang seat with backrest. Your problems will all but disappear.
 

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1) Try lowering the preset on the rear shock by 1 and see how it changes the ride.
2) I've ridden full days on my 900 Custom's stock seat with no issues, but others can't take it for more than 30 minutes. Different people = different assets. There are quite a few options out there, including aftermarket seat replacements, gel pads, beads, etc. I'd research a bit and find a good solution as there IS one out there! The airhawk seat pad gets great reviews, although I haven't tried one myself. You might even try adjusting the handlebars (or switching to drag bars) to get you to lean forward/back just a bit more. Position makes all the difference, sometimes if even if you only make an inch or so of change. If that doesn't allow enough movement, there are other tricks you can try, with risers being a very cost effective modification.
3) I have very little (if any at all) rust on my 900. Clean it more often, and take the time to dry it with an electric/gas leafblower if ya can. Clean, waxed vehicles don't rust badly. Even in areas with saltwater near by. If it's an underbelly or frame type of rust, WD40 or some other lubricant may help as well.
4) It's not going to brake like your sport bikes. For a cruiser, it brakes well. Also, it's not going to corner like a sport bike. For a cruiser, it corners well. It's not going to split lanes like a sport bike. It's got a cruiser stance.

Honestly, it sounds almost like you're expecting the 900 to be more like what you have ridden in the past. You've gotten used to leaning forward when you ride, so the pressure on your backside is a new experience, and will probably hurt more than you expected, just like someone who tries to jog a mile after walking their whole life.

All in all, no. (read, not all cruisers are the same) If all bikes were the same, there would only be one manufacturer. It's the same with sport bikes, they're not all the same either. The 900 is a great machine, but it's not for everyone. Maybe you're one of the rare few?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Don't understand this one. My Vulcan brakes really quickly. And in the comparison between the Shadow , Vulcan, and Harley 883 , the Vulcan had the best stopping distance. And in several other comparo's the Vulcan was the best also.

Yea it's no sportbike, but it weighs a lot more so it will take a bit more to stop it.

And as has already been mentioned, get a Mustang seat with backrest. Your problems will all but disappear.
It's a long heavy bike with a low COG, so it doesn't transfer a lot of weight to the front wheel. Proper braking on the VN900 requires using both rear and front brake in a way I'm not used too. On my other bikes the rear brake is mostly used for balance, but little real braking (on the CBR the effect of the rear brake is nil). Yes, it can stop pretty quickly, but:

a) Brakes are prone to fading because of the weight.

b) There is no feel to the brakes. Maybe due to the fact that both calipers are the floating/sliding kind, but I think it might be more related to the length of the lines.
 

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+1 on the seat. A Mustang seat, even without a separate back rest, has some lower back support (or I should say pelvis support) that the stock seat does not have. This tends to rock your pelvis forward for better posture for your back. Again, the stock seat really sucks. I would try the Mustang. I love mine.

Another thing that has been mentioned here is that part of the problem is the seat pan. With the Mustang you get whole seat, meaning the seat pan gives different support. This is important to getting the pressure off of your tail bone. I too had a big problem with the original seat hurting my tail bone.
 

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I'm hating my 06 VN900 Classic. With the roads we have here it's unrideable, I've tried every position on the rear shock and nothing keeps my back from hurting, and the stock seat makes my tailbone hurt. I think it must be the roads because I don't see that much people complaining about the rear end being too stiff, but for me it is. I'm about 220 pounds, and the suspension never bottoms out but I can feel every single imperfection on the road going through my spine. I guess that my back is hurt from the potholes and uneven pavement, and therefore is sensitive to everything else.
Then there is the seat, I can't ride it for more than half an hour or my tailbone hurts. The longer I ride it, the more it hurts. The only time I've taken a 2 hour ride on it, took an off ramp from the interstate into the city and stopped at a red light. When the light turned green I almost dropped the bike, I couldn't get my leg up, my tailbone was hurting like hell.

I just can't take it anymore. As much as I try to like the Vulcan, I just haven't been able to. I've got used to the poor braking, the ground clearance/scraping issues, it's harder to split lanes as it's too wide. On the other hand I love the torque and how it seems to "float" at 60mph (it's smoooth, feels even smoother than idling), nothing beats it for 2 up riding, but...

I try to avoid riding it, as it's painfull. Seriously, it's my first cruiser and it's the only bike I haven't been able to ride for more than 2 hours. I'm going on a group ride next Sunday and people are saying "take the Vulcan", my back says "no way in hell!", my tailbone says "yeah, right". As uncomfortable as my sportbike is, I'm more wiling to take it on a longer ride than the Vulcan, that's screwed up.

So I think I've got three options:

a) $420 (shipped to Mexico) would get me a Progressive rear shock, but is it really worth it? Does it really make that much of a difference? Coming from sportbikes I know that suspension is one of those areas where you get what you pay, so if the cheapest Öhlins is about $800, I have my doubts about a $400 shock... (But I know I'm definitely not spending $800 on a shock for the Vulcan)

b) Selling the VN900 and replace it with a different cruiser. I'm having rust issues on my Vulcan, there is rust even on the frame and the lower triple tree (and there is more rust on the bottom of it, go figure), so the rear suspension is just one more reason on the list of things I hate about it (the rust being No. 1, the seat being No. 2).

c) Are all the cruisers the same? If they are, then I might just face the fact that cruisers are not suitable for me or my riding enviroment. Most sportbike riders say that sportbikes are more comfortable because as you lean forward, your spine does not receive the direct impacts from the suspension... Is there any truth to that?


As of now I think I'm almost facing $1,000 of aftermarket and rust repairs to make the Vulcan comfortable and, well, rust free. I have no questions about the rust repairs, those must be done, and I don't think it will be over $250 (labor is cheap around these places), might be more if I go crazy and chose to have the frame powder coated...

But I don't want to spend $1000 just to end up parking it... again. I rather spend the $250, sell it, and get a different bike.
No offense meant but here is my theory. Either your back is way screwed up and you need a good chiropractor or the bike is shot! I have 2 sport bikes and a VN900, I love the sport bikes for the response, ease of riding and pure untamed fun. (speed also) The Vulcan is one of the easiest and comfortable bikes Ive ever ridden, even with the stock seat which needs firmer foam and more support on long rides, the low center of gravity, torque engine and the willingness to cruise or haul ass, this is a great bike!
I had to cut a piece of 1"thick mat to fit my ass out of that real dense exercise mats they use in the gyms on the floor, the ones that interlock and cover the whole floor. I use it every long ride, it also gets me up a little higher which I find nicer. Most people will tell you to look into the Mustang seat but i cured the soft foam with that mat.
Good luck with your search, hey have you given any thought to the older concourse? its a sport bike in disguise and everyone I know that has one loves them.
 

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Hey Man, Sorry about your back issues. I have a 09 900 Custom and I have the same back issues, I replaced the seat with a Saddleman gel and now that's cool but even at
5'10" and 200lbs I'm still reaching for the bars and that put's me in a slumped over position when I ride. When you sit on the bike do you have to reach for the bars? If you do, that's one of your biggest problems. You got to have good posture or your backs gonna ache. Good luck to you, hope I helped. I real dig my Vulcan great machine.
 

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I was disappointed with the ride myself.Coming off a 79XS 650 I thought this newer cruiser would be way better(not).The seat change will help the tail bone but the jarring is still there on these rough roads.I would like more travel on the rear but not possible.Have shock on highest setting for least jarring affect.I would like the progressive shock someone mentioned it makes a big difference.I just started working 77 miles away so I really need the better shock now.
 

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Buy a mustang seat, i got mine on ebay for $362.00 it's worth every penny! The drivers seat needed to broke in a little but that didn't take long. The seat will move you up and forwards about 1 to 2 inches into a better rideing position. My wife loved the seat from the moment she got on it! Just the other day i and my wife went on a road trip and we went about a 140 mile before we stopped and that was because we had to eat and not because of a any pains. I am a very aggressive rider, i have a 09 classic LT witch i got brand new last yr in may and i now have 16,500 miles on it and if your gonna do that much rideing you better have a good seat under you or it's gonna hurt like hell.
 

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Hi I am 68 and just went back to riding last year. I vote for a back rest. I regularly ride from 100 to 250 miles a day and the stock seat with a back rest is fine. BTW I ride a VN 750 and looking for a larger cruiser.
 

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I'm hating my 06 VN900 Classic. With the roads we have here it's unrideable, I've tried every position on the rear shock and nothing keeps my back from hurting, and the stock seat makes my tailbone hurt. I think it must be the roads because I don't see that much people complaining about the rear end being too stiff, but for me it is. I'm about 220 pounds, and the suspension never bottoms out but I can feel every single imperfection on the road going through my spine. I guess that my back is hurt from the potholes and uneven pavement, and therefore is sensitive to everything else.
Then there is the seat, I can't ride it for more than half an hour or my tailbone hurts. The longer I ride it, the more it hurts. The only time I've taken a 2 hour ride on it, took an off ramp from the interstate into the city and stopped at a red light. When the light turned green I almost dropped the bike, I couldn't get my leg up, my tailbone was hurting like hell.

I just can't take it anymore. As much as I try to like the Vulcan, I just haven't been able to. I've got used to the poor braking, the ground clearance/scraping issues, it's harder to split lanes as it's too wide. On the other hand I love the torque and how it seems to "float" at 60mph (it's smoooth, feels even smoother than idling), nothing beats it for 2 up riding, but...

I try to avoid riding it, as it's painfull. Seriously, it's my first cruiser and it's the only bike I haven't been able to ride for more than 2 hours. I'm going on a group ride next Sunday and people are saying "take the Vulcan", my back says "no way in hell!", my tailbone says "yeah, right". As uncomfortable as my sportbike is, I'm more wiling to take it on a longer ride than the Vulcan, that's screwed up.

So I think I've got three options:

a) $420 (shipped to Mexico) would get me a Progressive rear shock, but is it really worth it? Does it really make that much of a difference? Coming from sportbikes I know that suspension is one of those areas where you get what you pay, so if the cheapest Öhlins is about $800, I have my doubts about a $400 shock... (But I know I'm definitely not spending $800 on a shock for the Vulcan)

b) Selling the VN900 and replace it with a different cruiser. I'm having rust issues on my Vulcan, there is rust even on the frame and the lower triple tree (and there is more rust on the bottom of it, go figure), so the rear suspension is just one more reason on the list of things I hate about it (the rust being No. 1, the seat being No. 2).

c) Are all the cruisers the same? If they are, then I might just face the fact that cruisers are not suitable for me or my riding enviroment. Most sportbike riders say that sportbikes are more comfortable because as you lean forward, your spine does not receive the direct impacts from the suspension... Is there any truth to that?


As of now I think I'm almost facing $1,000 of aftermarket and rust repairs to make the Vulcan comfortable and, well, rust free. I have no questions about the rust repairs, those must be done, and I don't think it will be over $250 (labor is cheap around these places), might be more if I go crazy and chose to have the frame powder coated...

But I don't want to spend $1000 just to end up parking it... again. I rather spend the $250, sell it, and get a different bike.

Get rid of the bike and don't buy another cruiser, period. Either you have a medical condition that makes this bike extremely uncomfortable, you bought the one that is a real POS, or you just like to whine.

I am assuming you bought this thing used and I didn't see how many miles are on it. Personally I believe you are over thinking your problem. When I 1st started reading this thread I was going to offer you a good deal on my gel seat which made a world of difference for me. Unlike most riders here who complain about being uncomfortable with the original seat after 45 minutes I was / am able to ride the bike with the OE seat for a few hundred miles. I also weigh more than you do and in general I ride the bike semi to fully loaded. I also have never bottomed out the bike nor have I lost grease fittings so I don't know what the riders are doing that have lost them.

Poor braking? Ground clearance? Scraping? This isn't a mountain bike and it isn't a KLR (which is maybe what you need.) The braking is very good as far as I am concerned but there is better brake pads available. Have you tried bleeding the brakes?

I do not know the kind of roads or terrain you are driving upon but again if you can't avoid pot holes, manhole covers etc maybe you need to consider your driving habits or corrective lenses.

Cruisers are NOT for riding wheelies, NOT for doing front wheel stands, NOT for knee dragging, not for trail riding etc. They ARE for scooting around town, getting out of town and hitting the open road, doing some light touring, doing some long distance rides. They are not for riding 4 side by side and sounding like a swarm of bees.

Seriously I feel a different seat would do you just fine.

As far as the rust goes that blows my mind. My '08 gets rained on a lot. I get caught in rain while riding. When I am at work and it rains the bike is not covered most of the time and yet I have little to almost no rust. The only thing that consistently shows rust is the right light visor that came from Cobra. Every wash I hit it wash steel wool. I could contact Cobra and get it replaced but it was $10.95 and the left side doesn't do it. My mirrors show slight signs too. I guess when I am on those 200 - 300 mile rides on weekends and I am attacked by insects there exteriors are hard and their insides are acidic.

I am not trying to be a jerk but I am just laying it out there plain and simple.
 

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OK, a better seat might keep my tailbone happy. But I don't think that it is going to keep my spine from feeling every single bump on the road, or is the stock seat THAT bad?
No the stock seat is not that bad but everyone's body is different. My Kawasaki gel seat did a wonderful job of giving lower back support and it helped absorb road harshness as long as it isn't a crater.
 
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