Kawasaki Vulcan Forum banner

1 - 20 of 40 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm new to the forums. So excuse this post if it's out of place.

I'm really suprised these days at what people call a small bike. I just bought a used 2006 900 Classic. I have seen it referred to as a beginners or small bike. Guess I'm showing my age here (56), but a 900 in my book is not a small bike. Actually in my day, a KZ900 Kawasaki was a "Superbike". I know there are much bigger bikes around now. The 2000 cc bikes are the big bikes now.

I got curious and started looking at horse power levels. Seems like the bikes have gotten bigger but the power has not increased all that much. Looks like the manufacturers have had more strict EPA rules put on them, so the engines have grown just to keep the same power levels.

Of course you have to look at torque too. The longer the stroke of an engine, the more leverage or torque the engine puts out. Torque is what gets the bike moving and hp is what keeps it moving.

Here's a good example. I owned a Harley Shovelhead FX Superglide years ago. The bike had an FL Electraglide transmission. First gear was a stump puller yet top end was barely at 100 mph. The hp for that engine ? Try 54 hp.

Riding my 900 Classic from the seller's house, I kept this in mind. If the 900 has 50 hp, I can see why it was comparable to my old Harley. Only it was much smoother.

All this is a comparison of V-Twin type engines.

For me, the 900 works. It's power to weight ratio fits me well. I don't ride two up or loaded down so the bike seems to cruise effortless at 70 or below. Pretty good for a "small beginner's bike".

Anther term that get's used by reviewers is "middle weight" bike. In a time where 2000 cc bike prevail, I guess a 750 to 1000 cc bike is middle weight. But again, the bigger bikes are not double the hp even though they are double the size.

Keep this in mind when looking at bikes the size of the 900.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,432 Posts
Great. Thanks. [/DeadHorse]
 
  • Like
Reactions: wolfy(TM)

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,620 Posts
This is discussed a lot around here. Your right, the landscape has changed. Car engines have gotten smaller and motorcycle engines have gotten bigger. Back in the late 60's when that Shovelhead came out 300+ cubic inch cars were everywhere. And not just sports cars, the family sedan had a big ol' V8. Though they really WEREN'T all that powerful. A little known fact is that the power ratings were done with an inaccurate scale and with no alternator, water pump, air filter, exhaust, etc., for short bursts at the flywheel. So that "400 horsepower 350" put out something like 170 horsepower at the rear wheels stock (seriously!) Which cracks me up when there's a guy with an old V8 who puts a few mods on it and says "Well it was putting out 400 horsepower stock so I've gotta be close to 500 by now". I just hope he never takes it to a Dyno. He might have a heart attack when it reads 220 :eek: Today there are little turbocharged 1000cc cars running around all the time. With every bit the horsepower of full sized 4 bangers. All the while the bikes get bigger and bigger!

By the way, that Shovelhead was a big bike in it's day! Even though it was only 1,200cc's. Unfortunately, people think CC's means something entirely different than it actually does. It doesn't have anything to do with the weight or frame size of the bike. Most 900 owners will tell you it's a good sized bike that's stable in the wind and on the interstate, etc. I have a 1700 now and it's a little more stable in high winds and stuff, but honestly, it gets blown around by the trucks about the same as the 900. And trust me, I had a great comparison. I drove my 900 for an hour on the interstate, dropped it off at the dealer (trade in) and rode home on the 1700 on the same interstate for an hour in the other direction! (Well, okay, like 20 minutes, then I got off and hit the twisties. I was in a hurry to get there, not in a hurry to get back :) )

The 900 is a way more capable bike than a lot of people give credit for simply because they think that everything works on simple scales. More cc's = more better. But it doesn't work that way. In fact, the 900's power numbers are very similar to the carbed 1500 of a few years ago. And there are 600cc sport bikes that out horsepower any V-Twin out there and there are very few V-Twins, VERY few, who can best a ZX-14 (1400cc) in torque. (And of course they don't even have a prayer on the horsepower figures) Those inline 4 engines just produce GOBS of power. Kawasaki now has a 300hp, 1000cc bike. That's three hundred horsepower at the wheels, out of an engine just a smidge bigger than your 900. Or, if you want a better comparison, it's about the same power output of the 3.7 litre "high output" twin overhead cam, independent VVT V6 in the Ford Mustang. (Which is actually more powerful than the previous generation 4.6L V8; it's an exciting time to be a gear head).

Mid-sized is a good way to describe it because you can't ignore the fact that the big V-Twins from all of the manufacturers is in the 1600+ range. Harley Davidson is 1650, Kawasaki is 1700, Indian and Victory are around 1800cc's, etc. etc. They have their advantages. Namely, high speed operation at low RPM's. But anyone who has owned these bikes knows how capable and comfortable they actually are. And not like a ninja 250 which is capable of keeping up interstate speeds but is getting blown all over the place. It's a stable, planted, comfortable, BIG bike. Actually, frame and 'cockpit' wise it was about the same size, maybe a little bigger, than the 1700 I replaced it with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I saw the videos you posted of your 900. I thought you had some interesting things to say.

I think it's only natural to gravitate to a larger machine. In my 20's i was hardcore about riding "midsize" machines that were (at that time) 350 to 550 cc bikes. I eventually stepped up to a 650 then a 750. The Harley was 1200 cc but not all that fast or quick at all.

I have a Harley Sportster and have listened to the "girl's bike" and "half a Harley" junk for years. I see now that I'm going to have to readjust my thinking about how things go in the Meteric Cruiser world. These seem to be very well engineered bikes that capture the feel of old bikes with new technology

Frankly, if it has wheels on it, I'm probably going to like it. I'm more of the backyard chopper, bobber, and cafe type. However, with age, I've learned to appreciate these newer bikes more.

Not to beat a "deadhorse", but just wanted to express a view. Life is about changes and we have to go with the changes sometimes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
620 Posts
Ride what suits you. The bigger bikes are "ok" for those who like them...One big bike, the Honda 1800 cruiser, never sold well, and yet was a decent bike....awfully heavy.
Honda 6 cyl Valykyrie as well as Triumph Rocket III throw off incredible amounts of heat.
I have owned as large as 1600 cc Nomad. These days my largest are two bikes at 750 cc, a Honda Magna, and a 1987 BMW K75, but my favorite is a 96 Vulcan 500. At 79 I don't have the strength to want to wrestle with the heavier ones anymore.

Bob
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,186 Posts
It wasn't the size of the 900 that was considered small to me. It was the highway prowess. I do long stretches at 75-85 and the 900 was too strung out at that level.

My first bike was a Honda CM400t. It was 395 CCs of fury. Did about 55 downhill with the wind at my back.
 

·
BOTM Winner, May 2015
Joined
·
740 Posts
I'd ride a moped if you guys wouldn't make fun of me
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,186 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
338 Posts
It wasn't the size of the 900 that was considered small to me. It was the highway prowess. I do long stretches at 75-85 and the 900 was too strung out at that level.
I ride my 900LT on I-75 through Atlanta to work all the time. I dunno what you mean by "strung out". I'm doing 75-80mph all the time, and I'm a 350# dude.

I've not done the "big 3" mod either.

*shrug* I suppose everybody's perception is different.

Only reason I'm considering going to a 1700 Nomad is the cruise control and hard bags for longer rides.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
620 Posts
I may be wrong, but I think the author might have meant "very high rpms at highway speeds" when he said "strung out." I've had bikes on which I felt like I would "die" for a sixth gear....the tamest was a Nomad 1600 which was a five speed but at 80 it seemed to be loafing at about 3000 rpms. very relaxing..

To each his own.

Bob
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,186 Posts
I ride my 900LT on I-75 through Atlanta to work all the time. I dunno what you mean by "strung out". I'm doing 75-80mph all the time, and I'm a 350# dude.

I've not done the "big 3" mod either.

*shrug* I suppose everybody's perception is different.

Only reason I'm considering going to a 1700 Nomad is the cruise control and hard bags for longer rides.
I am not trying to stir the pot here. I rode the 900 for 5 years and a lot of miles. The single biggest complaint of most 900 riders is the lack of a 6th gear. I loved the 900, and wish I could have kept it, but I had to trade it for the new skoot. My VP has a 900, as several of my members, and there is nothing wrong with them, but they hurt when trying to keep up at highway speeds. That was all I was saying. I felt like the 900 ran out of breath at the top of the highway speeds.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
600 Posts
I am fed up with this talk about the 900 beginners bike, small bike, hi rev, needs a 6th speed, stock seat sucks etc B S...
People, the 900 is what it is............take it or get something else....
I am 66 years old and last year I rode my STOCK (seat and all) 900 from upstate NY to Las Vegas... and back. I-90, I-71, I-70 to Utah, south on 89 through Zion then I-15 to Las Vegas... took 6 days. Stayed in Vegas for 5 days with short rides to California, etc.. changed my oil (myself) and headed home via I-40, RT66, I-81, I-88.. I did this with a friend who was riding a Gold Wing.
My back, ass and everything else survived just fine and had a wonderful time and would do it again... your results may vary..
My concerns were other drivers and mechanical failures... not if my bike was worthy of high speed travel or "comfort"... Thanks for listening.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
People who don't ride are always suprised when i tell them that the smaller the bike, the more fun it is. I've owned two Honda CX500s. Those bikes are really pretty cool. They make 48 HP at 8,000 rpm. With push rods at that. I think my favorite bike was the Suzuki 550GS. I liked the six speed transmission and it would do 70 all day with no problem.

Still, I have enjoyed the Harley's I've owned. I'm able to wrench on my own stuff so that was no problem. I was riding a 1956 Triumph up til a couple of years ago. I'm older now so I wanted something that I could just ride.

So far, I made a good choice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,432 Posts
I am fed up with this talk about the 900 beginners bike, small bike, hi rev, needs a 6th speed, stock seat sucks etc B S...
People, the 900 is what it is............take it or get something else....
Lots of us do get something else. My 900 is fabulous. . . for what it is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,080 Posts
If it works for your needs and you like it then who cares. Small and big is relative. It's like cars. Sometimes compact car is great. Does everything you need it to. Gets good mileage etc. but has draw backs like wind noise, room, passing power etc.

Sometimes you need a truck. Sometimes bigger truck. Sometimes a full size SUV. It seems on a bike we get some sort of inferiority complex. I see small dudes on giant bikes and big dudes on little bikes. It seems this is only an issue on cruiser bikes. Again if it fits you and works then it's fine. Call it small or whatever. Different tools for different jobs.

I ride a 900 because it is moderately priced, crazy dependable, and does exactly what I need it to do. If I rode cross country all day I would have a different bike. If I rode off road, I would have a different bike. I like the versatility of the 900. It's like my ford explorer. Big enough for what I need to do and comfortable doing it.

For me money is an object. I buy what I need. Eff the keeping up with the Jones's mentality. I have money to buy more bike, but I don't need one at the moment. I had a V2k for a year and went back to the 900 for numerous reasons.

I guess I don't get why you care if people call your bike small. It's physically as big as most "bigger bikes." That's the beauty of the 900. It's sized right physically and does literally all things pretty well. Sometimes less is more in my opinion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,432 Posts
I forgot to add that my other ride is even "smaller".. Yamaha Majesty 400cc "super scooter"....... :D
That's good. Some guys definitely NEED a small bike!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
I started this thread so if I brought up a sore subject, I apologize. I can see how this subject can get old. I was just trying to understand what was considered small, medium, and large these days.

I'm sure the 900 Classic will do me just fine. It has a very good record for reliability. It's a sharp looking bike too. If there is anything that doesn't work to my liking, I'll change it. That's why I bought it. Well that and it was $2200 with 7700 miles on it.

Thanks for the input folks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
620 Posts
:)
I started this thread so if I brought up a sore subject, I apologize. I can see how this subject can get old. I was just trying to understand what was considered small, medium, and large these days.

I'm sure the 900 Classic will do me just fine. It has a very good record for reliability. It's a sharp looking bike too. If there is anything that doesn't work to my liking, I'll change it. That's why I bought it. Well that and it was $2200 with 7700 miles on it.

Thanks for the input folks.
***********************
That settles it. $2200 with 7700 miles is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Good comment. Good thread....Sometimes takes a thorough discussion to figure things out. Good will is still KING in my book.
Best to all, even if you ride a pogo stick.

Bob
 
1 - 20 of 40 Posts
Top