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Considering 3 different Vulcan 1500/1600 bikes. Advice?

2095 Views 13 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  revrider
Hi all,

I've been reading the forum a good bit, as well as old articles from motorcyclecruiser.com. Doing as much research as I can. I finally narrowed down what I am looking for, and the Vulcan seems to be a great option.

I'm currently thinking about 3 bikes. All Vulcan 1500 or 1600, ranging from 200-2005, and hoping to get some feedback on the decision.

I like that there appears to be a good balance of power, steering and comfort on these bikes. At least that's what I've gathered so far.

Here's my rough comparison of the important features of the two models (please add to it, if applicable):

  • very solid riding position and great seat
  • 4.3 gal. tank
  • nice handling at all speeds
  • less power
  • some say they look for 6th gear on the wighway
  • handlebars may be too wide
  • seat less comfortable
  • better power
  • tough very low-speed handling
  • 5.3 gal. tank

  • mileage
  • appearance

Here are my options for bikes that I am seeing so far. There are obviously some unknowns here, as I have not seen any of them in person. I live in WI, and may have to ride these home 2+ hours, so by the time I decide, they may not be available. I think I can do it if its near feezing and dry, though.

Info below is info from ads and sellers, so take it for what it is.

2005 Vulcan 1500 Classic FI
  • $3700 (firm)
  • Private seller
  • 10K miles
  • haven't spoken with seller yet
  • my folks leave nearby, and I can store short term - dad can take primary look at bike

includes (known so far):
  • sissy bar
  • windshield
  • small bags (will prob replace)
  • front tire 70%
  • rear tire 50%

2003 Vulcan 1600 Classic
  • $3800
  • Private seller
  • 39K miles

  • sissy bar/driver backrest - stock seat
  • rack
  • passenger floorboards
  • windshield
  • bags (left leaks)
  • (mild) Vance and Hines pipes
  • new brakes rear, front 50%
  • fresh oil
  • new tires
  • ISO grips
  • new tank due to recall
  • light bar

2002 Vulcan 1500 Classic FI
  • $4700
  • Dealer
  • 21K miles

  • sissy bar
  • rack
  • passenger floorboards
  • windshield
  • bags
  • stock pipes
  • highway bars/pegs
  • fresh oil
  • lower fairings/deflectors

I am leaning away from the 1600, because of miles. I'm not sure if 39K is a problem, though.

I like the idea of the 2005, but will surely spend some more money up front on bags, rack, tires soon, etc.

2002 seems solid, but I am concerned about age.

My budget is ideally $4500-5000 for this season.

I want to cruise distance comfortably, but have some fun in town or back roads as well. Seems to me this line of bikes is a good balance.

I am currently selling my 2007 Vulcan 500. Great bike, super fun to ride, but I need more for the open road. I would keep it if I could afford to.


Thanks for any advice. Glad to finally have signed up.
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Personally,i would go for the 05 1500,have a 900 classic,but i also look for a 6th gear,they are all reliable,great bikes.like Wisconsin have a ton of snow here in Syracuse,ny,seen 1600s with a lot more miles,but like you 10k on a 05 is low,change fluids on it,check it over...welcome to forum
Thanks for the input. I spoke with the owner of the 05, and he is the original owner!

Of course he reports that he get the oil at standard intervals (yearly or by miles), and tuned up every other year at the shop.

Everything is stock/OEM except the bags.

He also told me he might work on price a bit. Definitely leaning that way at this point.
Check out POG before you buy any 1500. Plastic Oil Gear...
I'm not up to speed on which 1500's had them but no way I would buy anything with POG.
Thanks. I dont believe that is an issue for these bikes. I think it ended in 00'?
Check out POG before you buy any 1500. Plastic Oil Gear...
I'm not up to speed on which 1500's had them but no way I would buy anything with POG.
There were no POGs in any Vulcans after 1999. :cool:
Everything I own is stock,sleds ,bike,make them that way,so I keep them that way,but that's just my preference
2005 1500 classic FI is a very good bike. You would not be disappointed. FYI the FI has a 5 gallon tank.
Got a 2008 vulcan 1500 with 160,000 kilometers or 100,000 miles on it and runs like new so the millage is not an issue on theses bikes
I thought 5.0 fuel tank also but didn't want to be the one to say so and be wrong, lol
That '05 seems to be a pretty good deal. There aren't a lot of extras with it, but the price is good, and so is the mileage.

You mentioned doing some touring. Will you have a passenger along? If so, I'd plan on some passenger floorboards pretty soon. You don't want an uncomfortable passenger! It's tough on the ears! You can get away pretty cheap on the boards if you can do some basic metal work in your garage. I used an angle grinder and a drill to mount these $50 crash bar boards for my passenger. I made a "T" shape and drilled it to bolt into the stock peg mount, then drilled 2 more holes to mount the boards. It has the added benefit of moving the boards down and forward a bit. All told, about $60. http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j319/pcarrell/Drifter/Drifter Footboards/IMG_2322.jpg

One thing you will notice right off with these bikes is the wind buffeting. You can make a set of lowers pretty cheap that look factory installed. If you're interested, PM me and I'll give you a link to a short write-up I did. Here's what they look like when done, complete with fresh road bugs from the test ride: http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j319/pcarrell/Drifter/Home Made Lowers/IMG_2620.jpg Lowers virtually eliminate the buffeting and transform the whole riding experience. Mine cost me around $90, all in.

Folks here are right in that you sometimes are looking for a 6th gear on the highway, but you soon get used to it and it quickly becomes a non-issue. Think of it this way; You're always smack in your power band on the highway, and that can be a good thing!

One thing to check out pretty good on these bikes, both the 1500 and 1600, are the tires. They seem to be a little hard on tires. By that I mean, tires seem to cup fairly easy on them. That can make the steering vibrate and really robs you of the smoothness that these bikes are capable of. If you feel cupping on the tire, have vibration, or hear a humming / buzzing noise when leaning on turns, it's time for a new set of shoes.

Good luck with your choice, and let us know which way you go, OK?
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Thanks PCarrell, I appreciate the time to write that up

I don't think I have as much skill as you in the shop, but I'll certainly have a look at some of your ideas. I saw that passenger boards can cost as much as $300. Unreal.

Lowers I might have to take a look at

Anyway, I ended up going with the 05 with 10k miles. Owner seems legit, and very anal about care for a bike that he has only ridden 1k miles a year.

He didn't move on price because he was getting a ton of calls, and had one lined up for that day still.

I can't wait till it becomes reasonable to ride.
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I can't wait till it becomes reasonable to ride.
You and me both!

Thanks for the update!
Congrats luke,think you will love the bike,think you made right choice,let us know how you like it,pretty sure you can find floor boards on ebay

ps Just bought a nomad 1700
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