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Discussion Starter #1
The backrest buzzes so bad my girlfriend won't ride on the freeway with me. Bought the Ultimate seat backrest, but still buzzes so badly she says it's like mosquitoes biting her back. Really fed up with the lack of a 6th gear on this bike. Anyone find a way to overcome this? Might try longer bolts and some neoprene washers.
 

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What about a mesh riding jacket with a CE approved back protector? That armor (which is generally a dense rubber) might provide enough dampening to make it comfortable. You're talking freeway speeds so I can't imagine a mesh jacket being an issue with heat.

You might also try something like a trunk or H-D Tour Pak with a large wraparound backrest mounted there. It's a much larger backrest that might offer some more comfort.

I never did it, but lots of people report very big improvement of the freeway high RPM's with one or both pulleys replaced.
 

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The backrest buzzes so bad my girlfriend won't ride on the freeway with me. Bought the Ultimate seat backrest, but still buzzes so badly she says it's like mosquitoes biting her back. Really fed up with the lack of a 6th gear on this bike. Anyone find a way to overcome this? Might try longer bolts and some neoprene washers.
That's the nature of the beast with this bike. And, depending on which sissy bar you have, it's probably bolted right through the fender into the frame. That transfers all of the vibration to the passenger.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
She wears a Goldwing jacket that's got the armor in back, no good. It is the factory sissy bar and might try mounting the whole thing with the neoprene washers. If I have to do the pulleys to get it smooth, I'll probably just go with a different bike.
 

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So to every time I hear how buzzy this bike is at highway speeds, I just want to shout from the roof tops how much better my bike is since I made that tiny adjustment to the power pro. You can eliminate at least 50% of your high speed buzz if you can find the sweet spot in your fueling. Eventually I will get a dyno so I know what the heck AFR this thing is running, but for now all I know is it likes it and its like a different bike.
 

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She wears a Goldwing jacket that's got the armor in back, no good. It is the factory sissy bar and might try mounting the whole thing with the neoprene washers. If I have to do the pulleys to get it smooth, I'll probably just go with a different bike.
Good deals on 1700's all the time. Buttery smooth on the highway. And of course nothing is smoother than a Goldwing!

I loved my 900, but I do appreciate the smoother operation of the 1700. But, there are a lot of owners on here who run aftermarket pulleys and a fuel processor and have a very comfy bike. It just never bugged me so mine was always stock.
 

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BOTM Winner, June 2015
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I don't find my 900 to be buzzy at all really. Even at highway speeds. I don't know if my bike is unique in that matter or I just come to expect a certain amount of vibrations from a motorcycle and it's not in the forefront of my mind so I don't notice it. It's definitely not so bad I would want to switch to a different bike. The only way I would switch to another bike is for a 6-speed. But I would do the pulley mods before I went with another bike. I love my 900. It's by far the best bike I've ever owned outside of my Vulcan 800 which I loved for different reasons.
 

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I don't find my 900 to be buzzy at all really. Even at highway speeds. I don't know if my bike is unique in that matter or I just come to expect a certain amount of vibrations from a motorcycle and it's not in the forefront of my mind so I don't notice it. It's definitely not so bad I would want to switch to a different bike. The only way I would switch to another bike is for a 6-speed. But I would do the pulley mods before I went with another bike. I love my 900. It's by far the best bike I've ever owned outside of my Vulcan 800 which I loved for different reasons.
Just curious but if you don't notice vibration why do you want a lower final gear ratio? (which is, I assume, the reason you want a 6 speed?)
 

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Just curious but if you don't notice vibration why do you want a lower final gear ratio? (which is, I assume, the reason you want a 6 speed?)
It's all about engine pitch. When I shift I listen to the motor, and I always find myself looking for that 6th gear. Many have said that the pulley swap makes the revs lower and feels like it has a 6th gear. To me, that's the only thing that's lacking on the 9. Well that and it's little "meep meep" horn lol
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)

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Get yourself both overdrive pulleys, I went with Barons. You won't be disappointed, the rpm's will drop down to where they should be for a comfortable ride. I had the same situation, and heard the same thing from my wife and the vibrations. All good now! I also have the Ultimate seat and sissy bar pad. Front pulley is easy, no need for a jack or lift. Requires a big socket tho, can't recall what size. Rear pulley requires the wheel to be removed so that is a bit more involved, but not difficult. Get a factory service manual as well if you don't have one.
 

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My wife told me about this same buzz directly after i installed a cobra sissy bar rack. If you have a rack id try removing it and give it a test. If you think about it, it makes sense.

also if you removed it BE CAREFUL not to let the sissy bar swing down and smash your brake light.

I didnt bother fixing it because we need that rack and she said its not bad.
 

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The backrest buzzes so bad my girlfriend won't ride on the freeway with me. Bought the Ultimate seat backrest, but still buzzes so badly she says it's like mosquitoes biting her back. Really fed up with the lack of a 6th gear on this bike. Anyone find a way to overcome this? Might try longer bolts and some neoprene washers.
6th gear would only drop the RPM 500rpm. Do you all really thing that it makes that much of a difference.
 

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6th gear would only drop the RPM 500rpm. Do you all really thing that it makes that much of a difference.
Depends on what the ratio is. Those of us with bikes that DO have a 6th gear will tell you that it makes a HUGE difference.
 

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6th gear would only drop the RPM 500rpm. Do you all really thing that it makes that much of a difference.
I've ridden plenty of bikes with 6 speeds and to the ear it sounds like a bit more than a 500 RPM drop. For me a 6th gear would only be used at speeds over 65 mph. If my understanding of gearing is correct, my assumption is these bikes are geared to compensate for lower engine torque. For further information, I asked a buddy of mine who knows far more than I do about this kind of thing. He said "lower gears require more input speed (engine rpm) to produce the same output speed (tire rpm). Higher gears multiply torque less, but they require less input speed to deliver the same output speed; that's why gear ratios also determine engine cruise rpm. For instance, I had a 79 Z28 Camaro back in the day where the previous owner had installed 4.11:1 gears in the rear end. She would take off like a bat out of hell, but on the highway at 65 the RPMs would scream. Granted the trans was a Turbo 350 and didn't have an OD gear. These bikes are similar. They are peppy (not a racing bike but no slouch either) but at highway speeds they are up there in the revs. Take your car with an OD out for a spin on the highway with the over drive off, then engage the OD and notice the RPM drop. It's pretty significant. If there was a 6th/OD gear in the trans I'm pretty certain it would drop the RPM more than 500. I know that's a car and these are bikes, but the premise is the same.
 

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Depends on what the ratio is. Those of us with bikes that DO have a 6th gear will tell you that it makes a HUGE difference.
No you cant say that. You dont know it makes a huge difference. Everything is different. The engine is larger, the big is entirely different. There is literly nothing the same so you cant compare one to the other. The only way that makes sense is to compare and VN900 5-sp to a 6-sp. No one can do that.

These bikes are well designed, well engineered machines. They made it a 5-sp for a reason. What if added the 6-sp added 50lbs. Now the RPMs are higher because of the weight added. If they wanted the RPMs lower at high speed they could have simply geared it differently.
 

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No you cant say that. You dont know it makes a huge difference. Everything is different. The engine is larger, the big is entirely different. There is literly nothing the same so you cant compare one to the other. The only way that makes sense is to compare and VN900 5-sp to a 6-sp. No one can do that.

These bikes are well designed, well engineered machines. They made it a 5-sp for a reason. What if added the 6-sp added 50lbs. Now the RPMs are higher because of the weight added. If they wanted the RPMs lower at high speed they could have simply geared it differently.
Adding 50 lbs doesn't effect the bike that much.
 

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Adding 50 lbs doesn't effect the bike that much.
I agree. But my point was going to the 6-sp would have meant a compromise somewhere else. Maybe that was cost, performance or weight. Whatever reason these smart people decided on the 5-sp and this gearing for a reason. I don't think adding a 6th was the solution. I think adding a 6th gear required more power and that lead to a larger, more expensive bike.
 

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Guys there no standardization industry out there determining what final ratio a "6th" gear is. Case-in-point is my parents 6 speed (Manual) Mazda and my 5 speed (Manual) Ford Focus. Both run at almost the same RPM's at 70mph. They are geared the same in the final drive. The only difference would be, if all else was equal and the driver was proficient, the driver in the 6 speed could accelerate a little faster. NASCAR (4 speed) and Formula 1 (7 speed) run about the same speeds. F1 cars are a LOT faster, but run on tighter courses so they are geared to top out at about 200mph. While stock cars (NASCAR) shift rarely and go a long way between shifts, F1 cars shift so fast it's hard to keep track! Their 7 speeds are for acceleration, keeping the gears closer together to keep those engines in the powerband. (Which, by the way, despite being 1/6th the size of NASCAR engines, they put out more horsepower. The whole Formula 1 vs NASCAR thing throws into the wind a lot of common forum knowledge about how engines and transmissions work! Ha!)

Heck, we used to have a Ford Taurus, 2002 model year, that had a THREE SPEED automatic transmission + an overdrive (so effectively a 4 speed), and that thing ran at like 1500 rpm's on the interstate. It just idled along.

It's not about the number of gears it's the final gear ratio. Six speeds gives a good balance of gear ratios. It means in every condition there's a good gear. Whether it's in a parking lot, 35mph road, 55mph road or the interstate.

They could've added a sixth gear and had the exact same final gear ratio, just brought the gears closer together. Go ride a Ninja 250 sometime. That's a Kawasaki with a six speed! Ready? Are you sitting down? That runs at 8000 RPM's in 6th gear at 70mph. I have an engine in my basement (RC planes) that run nearly 15,000 RPM's with no gears :D

The bike was built and designed, and marketed, as a 'boulevard cruiser'. It's setup for the 55mph roads, in town, etc. That's why it's geared the way it is, because that's what it's designed for. Although those of us who've owned them know they don't mind long interstate runs either. Get the pulley's if it bugs you but it isn't hurting anything to run where it does on the highway. There's no set amount. 6th gear wouldn't drop "500rpms" or any other arbitrary number. It's a lot more complicated than that.

My 1700 shaves 1000 RPM's off of the redline, and runs at a little over half the engine speed at interstate speeds in 6th. But I STILL prefer the 55mph windy roads, where the 900 was right at home anyway :) (Admittedly, the interstate IS more comfortable now).
 

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Guys there no standardization industry out there determining what final ratio a "6th" gear is...
...The bike was built and designed, and marketed, as a 'boulevard cruiser'. It's setup for the 55mph roads, in town, etc. That's why it's geared the way it is, because that's what it's designed for. Although those of us who've owned them know they don't mind long interstate runs either. Get the pulley's if it bugs you but it isn't hurting anything to run where it does on the highway. There's no set amount. 6th gear wouldn't drop "500rpms" or any other arbitrary number. It's a lot more complicated than that.
I agree with you completely. I think the gear ratio the 900 has currently is fine. And as you stated it's designed for the 55 mph roads and under. I was just saying (and probably didn't convey the way I wanted) that if they added a 6th "overdrive' gear to the existing gearing, would make the 900 more suitable for longer touring type interstate travel. I love the 900 and it's nimble nature, but I also like going distances. I'm not fortunate enough to be able to own the 900 and a touring bike and switch between the 2 when the need arises. So in essence the current gearing with an added 6th gear would truly make this bike "the best of both worlds" to me. 1st - 5th around town and back roads, then jump on the interstate, bump it up to 6th and cruise.

The pulley mods are great for dropping the overall rpms, but they change the final drive ratio. This is an easy and relatively affordable option. My opinion is the final drive and gearing currently is great, it's just when on the highway, that extra gear would be nice.
 
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