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Hello all,
I'm new to the forum, and don't own a Kawasaki at present. After a lot of frustration and getting stranded on the freeway yesterday, I've decided it's time to retire my 97 Honda Shadow Spirit. I've been looking at the Vulcan 900s, and like the overall specs and equipment on the bikes, but now comes the tough part. At the risk of starting a flame war, which model is best for overall around town riding with some occasional longer trips up into the Colorado mountains?

Also, I can't find any specs on the load carrying ability of the Vulcan 900s. Any pointers?

Thanks in advance, and I'm looking forward to reading the responses!

John
 

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I have a Classic that I've added a windshield and bags to so I guess it's almost an LT. Nice thing about mine is the quick removable Memphis shades windshied. I put it on for colder weather or highway rides and off around town. The bags are definately nice to haul small things in or keep gloves or extra clothes. I've heard it said on this board that the custom handles better if you're into high speed carving but the Classic is more comfortable. The 900 is a very versatile bike and priced very reasonably. Biggest complaints are the seat not being very comfortable on long rides (solved by aftermarket seats)and some feel it has high rev vibration over 70 (solved by a different front pulley or bigger rear tire). As for load rating you can load em up pretty good. I even pull a small trailer behind mine. Other opinions guys?
 

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It all depends on what type of riding you're looking to do. I have an LT. I would not turn down a Classic or a Custom, but I really like the LT. My wife and I like to take short trips to different places and I especially like having a wind screen though I'm sure it provides a bit of wind drag, but what the hey... there's a reason why there's options out there. Any way you slice it, the Vulcan 900 is a really nice ride...
 

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Everybody here likes each others bikes, so, little risk of a flame war, lol. The max. weight that the classic can carry is 397lbs according to spec. NOBODY I KNOW, listens to it. Math aside, today's typical North American couldn't ride two up on any bike.......I met a couple two nights ago that pull a trailer, and they both weighed considerably more than 397! My wife and I top out at slightly more than that also, and, I swear I can't even feel she is on back (other than balance). One thing to watch for is buying a classic....then deciding that add-ons are something you want to do, I've met many who add saddlebags, widshield, floorboards etc...then realize,damn,,,I shoulda bought the LT AND SAVED A BUNDLE. In fact I own the classic lt and I'm still adding (crash bar, passenger floorboards, light bar) you get the idea. I guess the Customs soul lies in a one person experience where as the classic lends itself to a two-up experience. Both bikes do this better than the other, respectively. That being said, the 900 is everything that I wanted in a bike and I'm quite happy I bought it.
 

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I own a 2009 Classic LT and I love it. I echo the other sentiments about riding two up...plenty of power and you can hardly tell there is a second person on-board! I also agree with the accessories. I looked hard at just the Classic, but realized that the windshield, bags, and floorboards were something I was going to get eventually, so why not just drop significantly less dime and get them from the beginning.

The bike has been a blast so far; I ride it to work (short commute) and I've taken it on many weekend rides. During the summer (I'm a teacher), I regularly put on a couple of hundred miles a day just out exploring the countryside.
 

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Ok here is my opinion, I have an 08 custom, and have ridden an 08 classic. First thing is sit on the bikes and find out what fits you best. In my opinion the custom is more fun to ride on twisty roads since it feels more responsive in cornering. The classic is easier to ride and maneuver in a parking lot at slow speeds imo. The classic has a more relaxed riding feel and i believe at least i could ride it longer then the custom.

In all honesty they are all great bikes and go with the one that feels the most comfortable to you when sitting on it and which looks best in your opinion. Even though there are differences in the bikes they are minor and you can not go wrong with any of them.
 

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I went with the LT basically because I really liked the look. The sissy bar is a passenger comfort/security item which I wanted as a week or so before I bought the bike, by wife and I saw a women on the back of a HD without one, and it looked like she was about to come off the back end of the bike. She appeared to be holding on for dear life, a 12" butt on an 8" seat...

I use the saddlebags to carry things like a towel, a few microfiber wipes, sunscreen, visors, first aid kit, and gator-ade or water on a hot day. Basically the saddlebags prevent those 'damn I wish I had brought that" moments.

Remember too, whatever you do decide to buy, you will love it !
 

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I've had an 09 Custom and a 09 Classic. The Custom is gone :( after an unfortunate accident. But in anycase I've had both. The Custom has an agressive riding stance compared to the Classic. Although its a crusier, because your hands are in a forward motion - you want (or feel) that you want to go fast. The Custom has a lot of custom features but you dont have floor boards (if you like that) and the front head light is a little smaller that the Classic - not a big deal. You do have to realize that the front wheel is much thinner that the classic so it might be harder to manuver in slower speeds like a parking garage. But it a nice machine and it takes cornering well.

The Classic...same bike but different. You have the floor boards which I find is great if you like long rides or are more comfortable having your feet in a sitting position versus up on the pegs. The front tire is wider which is good for slow speeds. But you have to lean a little bit more on turns because the wheel is wider when compared to the Custom..but not a big difference. The handle bars are pulled back, so its more of a "I'm going to enjoy the ride feeling" but the power is there if you need it.

So in my opinion the real difference in the bikes are the handle bars, foot peg/floor board, head light size, front tire width and then the overall style look between the bikes.

To silenthill's point the thing that's going to get you is if you decided to purchase the Classic (since its similar to the LT) and you decided that you want the windshield and the saddle bags and whatever. You would probably do better paying the extra money and getting the LT. In my case I purchased the Classic and realized I wanted all that stuff after the fact - ended up buying most of the items online. Are the from Kawi - No, but I got what I needed and saved a little.

Best thing I can say to you is sit on a Custom and a Classic and decide what feels best to you. They have the same engine but when you sit you will realize the difference. Take 15 min on each bike and imagine the ride. If you like the Custom - good. If you like the Classic walk over to the LT - do you want the extras that come with the bike or do you want get those things on your own - or maybe you like the Classic just the way it is. Spend so time at your local dealer.
 

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I tried out the classic and the custom, and fell in love with the custom immediately. Granted, it was my first cruiser after a life spent on dirt bikes and four-wheelers, with only a few cruiser rides in my years past, so I didn't have much to compare either to except my own wants. I found both of them VERY easy to maneuver in slow speed situations like parking lots, etc, but found the custom to be a bit easier around the twists and bends of the highway. I also found the pegs to be more comfortable to me than the floorboards, but I have large feet, and all those dirt bikes of the past sort of got me used to pegs anyway.

Also, I have to admit, the cool factor won me over as well. The custom is just a meaner looking machine IMO. I love all the oooh's and aaaah's and "nice bike" and wow's, and just plain old envious stares I get going down the road, and many a companion on other bikes has admired that "huge skinny wheel" on the front. *MASSIVE HAPPINESS GRIN GOES HERE*

I've even taken it on a few long rides, and I have to admit that the only thing I really miss is the storage space of some saddlebags, which I can get aftermarket. Add some easy brackets, and I don't have to carry them all the time...

The passenger set-up isn't quite as nice, though, so gonna need a backrest sometime soon, or the wife is gonna revolt. :) And, as with all bikes, that stock seat needs something a little more.

Now, having said all that... DO NOT BUY A BIKE based on anyone else's opinions other than maintenance records, etc. for a specific brand. Go and sit on them, test ride if ya can, and weigh out the pros and cons, then buy what ya want. You can ride along with ANY of us, and we'll all drool over your sweet ride as truly, we all LOVE motorcycles!! I can almost guarantee, whichever Vulcan you get, you're gonna be addicted within moments!
 

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I can fit an 18 pack of coors lite in each saddle bag of my 08 LT i hope this lil piece of info helps your desicion :D
Umm, better let em settle before you crack one. lol
 

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I looked at a few different bikes in this class, and I went with the Custom. It had to be the front end that got me. I have added most everything that the LT has; windshield, backrest, luggage rack and saddlebags. Most of these were for day to day convienence. My wife rides a good bit, so of course we put on a different seat. Sure I spent some money to add some that are available on the LT, but then I always look at that front end and then take a ride.

I will say this, previous posters are correct, the Lt habdlebars sit you up for a long leisurley ride. You can lean back a little. The custom on the other hand beg for you to lean forward and twist the throttle. I want to upgrade to a bigger cruiser one day, but what is holding me back is how much FUN this custom is to ride.
 

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I think I read somewhere that the Custom has a longer rake (fork angle) which would account for the better cornering in the twisties and poorer steering at parking lot speeds.
 

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I have a 900 Custom and I love my bike. I get like between 60 and 65 MPG which means I go like 400 KM between fills. I bought a handle bar bag which is good enough for me as I don't carry a lot when I ride. When I know I'm heading out on the highway I just wear a full face helmet and I'm good to go. The bike handles like a dream in all situations and is incredibly easy to ride. On the down side it starts to sounds pretty busy when the speedo shows 110 kph, and the seat isn't the greatest for the long haul.
 

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I think that buying a Classic and turning it into a LT isn't a bad idea. Cuz for one the factory seat sucks, so save the money and get a Mustang seat. And if you look hard enuf, you can get the windsheild and bags for a good deal. Both come with floorboards. The one thing I don't like about the Kawi windshield is the adjustments are very small, it only goes up and down. There is no angle adjustments. Plus there is no real quick disconnect to it. Plus if you save money there then you can get some pipes on it.

Lindsay do you mean kpg cuz I think that 60-65 mpg would be impossible unless you only ride down hill.
 

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No. I mean 60-65 mpg. But I am referring to Imperial Gallons, not U.S. Gallons. I think if you do the conversion, it works out to something like 50 U.S. mpg.
 
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