Kawasaki Vulcan Forum banner

1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
814 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
As an older individual, but a relatively new rider, my recent experience is limited to only two motorcycles. I purchased an 03 Vulcan 500 a few years ago and have been riding it steadily for the past couple years. Thinking back to my teenage years, I rode an old Harley 165 for about a year. I'd always pined for a Triumph, but never actually rode one. So I bought a brand new Triumph America cruiser last year. So far, I've put about 15,000 miles on the Vulcan but only 2,700 on the Triumph. Why? Because the Triumph cruiser just doesn't fit!

The Triumph's bars are too wide & at the wrong angle, the suspension is too harsh, and the seat is terrible and torture after 30 minutes. And the sound of the engine! What in blue blazes was I thinking? None of these stood out in my 10 minute test ride prior to purchase. I just had to have a Triumph!

After riding both bikes for the last year, one thing stands out more than any other. At higher speeds, I have more confidence riding the Vulcan even though it's almost a hundred pounds lighter. When I first purchased the Vulcan, slow speed maneuvers were very difficult, but I felt right at home and comfortable at 80 mph. I felt "in control". Exactly opposite with the Triumph. Slow speed maneuvers are actually easier, but high speeds are downright scary. It tracks well and displays no weird manners, but I don't feel in control, or part of the bike like I do on the Vulcan.

I spent good money correcting the seat and suspension on the Triumph, none on the bars yet, but any correction is a figment of my imagination. Seat's still terrible and the ride too harsh. But more importantly, I don't feel "secure and in control" above 50 or 60. It's up for sale.

The point of all this, at least for you new riders over 50, (you young'uns are not included; you can ride anything and be happy!) the bike you choose can make all the difference in your riding comfort and confidence. I was lucky and stumbled on a bike that fit, and really enjoy riding despite little age related aches and pains.

So if you find yourself riding less & less, it may be you are just on the wrong bike. I suspect that's why there's so many older, low mileage bikes on the market. The bike didn't "fit".

I hope you are as fortunate as I.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,620 Posts
Sounds like a few aftermarket tweaks may help you out. My 900 didn't 'fit' me when I first got it. I needed highway pegs to let me stretch my long legs out, a different seat was mandatory and if I'm honest; I could probably use some risers if I ever get around to buying some and putting them on. I don't know I've ever sat on a bike and said "Wow, that fits!", though Vulcans seem to come close.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
415 Posts
I think you are right redfish, when i went to buy my last bike i was open to almost anything that was a cruiser, not too heavy, and atleast a 900. I came close to the yammy 950, but it is air cooled and someone who has one says their floorboards drag on the ground when cornering, that was out for me. I sat on a few vulcans, the nomad to me is one of the finest looking cruisers around, did not like the weight and the seat felt i was sitting on the gas tank. Then i met my 9, 'sweet pea', and i knew just like we did years ago when we would meet that lady friend and want to ask her out, the right fit.So keep on riding brother, that vulcan and you are sharing this road through life together!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
814 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Well Romans, the ergonomics of the Triumph could probably eventually be straightened out but I doubt the ride-ability issue ever could be. I've ridden it enough to know we'll most likely never be in tune. It's a garage queen now but I'm still riding. How bout that.

M-Voyager and Wally, glad you know where I'm coming from. Sitting on a bike and riding that bike are completely separate experiences, and if they're both a good fit then that's great, and can be enjoyable. I rode a few horses as a kid, some I preferred, some not so much. But they were all horses, all good looking steeds at that. Motorcycles aren't much different.

Just saying, folks who are inclined toward motorcycles may initially choose the wrong machine and quit prematurely. That's too bad. I guess that's one more reason to start out on a used, less expensive bike.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
165 Posts
I too must agree with most of you said. I have had ample seat time on 6 different bikes ( Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki and harley ). Never any experienc on a Yamaha though so I cannot comment on that brand.

Now with that being said, I have to say that all but one would need mods to fit me perfectly. My nomad in stock configuration would have to leave my possession. No way could I tolerate the ergonomics of the machine, although someone else might find it well suited to them. The only bike I have ever traveled on in stock configuration that was entirely suited to my needs and ergonomic preferences was a 99 Honda shadow ace tour. These bikes come similarly equipped as my nomad ie...hard bags, front and rear crash bars, windshield and dual exhaust. The 1100 engine is buttery smooth. The handle bars and seating position as well as the softness of the seat and leg room fit me with perfection as if honda built the machine just for me and me only. A bike that fits us from the factory like that Honda does me is RARE and uncommon. I would suggest that anyone looking to purchase their first bike, buy used and cheap. Try it out and if you don't like it , get rid of it and try another one. Beg, borrow and steal to get your rear on as many different brands and styles of bikes that you can until you find the one that fits you best. I would never stop riding because my first ride didn't feel right. Not all bike are the same.

How many different style of blue jeans did you buy over the years before you found just the right pair? That pair that you wore out in a hurry while another pair hung there in closet for years in like new condition just because they didn't feel right when ya slid into them so you didn't want to wear em' right?;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
As an older individual, but a relatively new rider, my recent experience is limited to only two motorcycles. I purchased an 03 Vulcan 500 a few years ago and have been riding it steadily for the past couple years. Thinking back to my teenage years, I rode an old Harley 165 for about a year. I'd always pined for a Triumph, but never actually rode one. So I bought a brand new Triumph America cruiser last year. So far, I've put about 15,000 miles on the Vulcan but only 2,700 on the Triumph. Why? Because the Triumph cruiser just doesn't fit!

The Triumph's bars are too wide & at the wrong angle, the suspension is too harsh, and the seat is terrible and torture after 30 minutes. And the sound of the engine! What in blue blazes was I thinking? None of these stood out in my 10 minute test ride prior to purchase. I just had to have a Triumph!

After riding both bikes for the last year, one thing stands out more than any other. At higher speeds, I have more confidence riding the Vulcan even though it's almost a hundred pounds lighter. When I first purchased the Vulcan, slow speed maneuvers were very difficult, but I felt right at home and comfortable at 80 mph. I felt "in control". Exactly opposite with the Triumph. Slow speed maneuvers are actually easier, but high speeds are downright scary. It tracks well and displays no weird manners, but I don't feel in control, or part of the bike like I do on the Vulcan.

I spent good money correcting the seat and suspension on the Triumph, none on the bars yet, but any correction is a figment of my imagination. Seat's still terrible and the ride too harsh. But more importantly, I don't feel "secure and in control" above 50 or 60. It's up for sale.

The point of all this, at least for you new riders over 50, (you young'uns are not included; you can ride anything and be happy!) the bike you choose can make all the difference in your riding comfort and confidence. I was lucky and stumbled on a bike that fit, and really enjoy riding despite little age related aches and pains.

So if you find yourself riding less & less, it may be you are just on the wrong bike. I suspect that's why there's so many older, low mileage bikes on the market. The bike didn't "fit".

I hope you are as fortunate as I.

My wife has a 2012 Triump America and she loves it. I ride it at times, but I am used to the larger cc V twins. My sons owns bikes also, one has a Kantana which I really like to ride around town only. My other son owns a bobber which I like to ride very short distances like riding to the store for a pack of smokes only for it is raked out too far for me.

I look at it this way. A bike is a very personal choice. I try to find a bike that fits me, meets my personality and the ride quality I am looking for. It all depends on how comfortable you are on a bike. I ride to work almost everyday, until it reaches into the low 40's. I take about two long rode trips per month on my bike. So I have two bikes, one for work and one for my rode trips. My wife has two bikes, one for bobbing around town and one for the highway. I think at times it is hard to have the "perfect" all around bike if you ride all the time.
 

·
Lifetime Premium Bike Of The Fall Winner 2017
Joined
·
2,855 Posts
I bought a 2006 900 and for the price I got it at I couldn't pass it up. I wasn't even looking to buy a bike. But it fit's real well and I don't get tired of riding even with the stock seat. My son in law's dad rides an HD but every time he comes over he has to sit on my 9 cause it's so comfortable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Great thread!

My experience was limited to Vespas and a Suzuki GS450S but I knew I wanted a Vulcan the first time I sat on one. I bought a Vulcan 500 and its center of gravity and balance is perfect for me. I love the looks too!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
I bought my Vulcan cheap! wasn't really looking to buy one, but when I actually sat on it, oh jeeze! I HAD to have it!! It is already customized, comfortable and it sounds good just have to ride, and later on will "tweak" it a tad... and yeah just turned 50, been around bikes all my life, but never nothing so big and to me heavy, but man o man, on the open road, WOW!......The wife just asked me yesterday, "you tired of that yet??" you ready to move on? I said no, I am liking it. To my self I said, Heck no! this bike isn't going anywhere! I LOVE IT!!!!

Brian
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
199 Posts
Well, I'll jump in and say, while I'm a "young-un", I can't just sit on anything! So I learned the hard way. When I sat on the 900 in the dealer, it seemed perfect! And then I started riding... The seat just went, in favor of a Mustang, and when that happened, the bars needed risers since the seat moved the rest of my body. Now I feel a bit too tall for the bike... I love it to death, and I have no intentions of ever selling it... but at some point I WILL be buying something that's just... bigger.
 

·
wocka, wocka, wocka
Joined
·
5,618 Posts
So if you find yourself riding less & less, it may be you are just on the wrong bike. I suspect that's why there's so many older, low mileage bikes on the market. The bike didn't "fit".
most these non ridden bikes (ahem.. hardleys) are because they were bought as status symbols, not as rideables.. I refer to them as Butt Jewelry.. butt then I gott one myself. at least its one I can ride. big chief injun. poncho
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
I wasn't looking for a Vulcan, I was looking for a cheap first bike. But, I will say that my 500 fits me like it was made for me and I'm enjoying it a lot. (I got my license on July 25th and have put 300 miles on the bike)

I knew before I went looking that I didn't want a Sportster. They just don't fit me. The combination of mid-controls and handle bars too far out puts me in a weird position, plus the battery box hits me on my thigh when I have my feet down. I didn't want to spend thousands on a bike that I would then have to spend at least another thousand getting it to fit me.

The Dyna however......when I'm ready.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
814 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I wasn't looking for a Vulcan, I was looking for a cheap first bike. But, I will say that my 500 fits me like it was made for me and I'm enjoying it a lot.
Same exact situation here MrsBarlow. Hadn't owned a bike in over 50 yrs and had no idea - just thought that Vulcan500 looked mighty good in those ads, and it was light enough for a late bloomer. Best $2,000 I ever spent. We just lucked out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
372 Posts
I bought my Vulcan because I liked it when I saw it and when I rode one I knew I had a fit. However, it still needed the Mustang seat. It is far more comfortable than my little Rebel and beats the heck out of a BMW.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
I just saw this thread for the first time tonight. I guess the old saying "to each his own" applies here because my two bikes are a 2010 Nomad and a 2013 Triumph America and I enjoy them both. Neither have been heavily modified and both feel comfortable to me, but they are very different riding experiences. I think the contrast between the two just adds to the enjoyment for me.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
775 Posts
The point of all this, at least for you new riders over 50, (you young'uns are not included; you can ride anything and be happy!) the bike you choose can make all the difference in your riding comfort and confidence. I was lucky and stumbled on a bike that fit, and really enjoy riding despite little age related aches and pains.

So if you find yourself riding less & less, it may be you are just on the wrong bike. I suspect that's why there's so many older, low mileage bikes on the market. The bike didn't "fit".

I hope you are as fortunate as I.
@redfish I am about 10 years younger than you. (in my 40s) but I too can't enjoy just any bike. It has to fit me. The good thing about Vulcans is that it is a fantastic platform for mods. I got mine from a bloke who told me that he is getting a bimer because he wanted a more sporty bike. (whatever). The year is 2006 not moded and it only had 10,000 miles on it. By the looks of it the bike was just kept in the garage for most of it's life. Definitely this guy did not enjoy riding it all that much. And that in California, where it hardly ever rains.

After purchasing and moding the bike (seat and pulleys), I can't get enough of it. I am a bit sheepish through corners on it, even though the bike can do it. But coming from a much smaller bike I just not quite used to this one yet. One of this days I will get my cornering mojo going... However after mods I definitely can (and do) ride it for long distances now. Vulcan can be adjusted/customized in many ways. From bobber to chopper to long distance cruiser. The amount of aftermarket mods and add-ons for vulcans is rather large.

The point of all of this is: Vulcans are very versatile, modifiable and adjustable. So if anyone is on a fence (buy not buy), please keep that in mind. You can tailer your Vulcan to your preferences. Heluva thing. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,620 Posts
@redfish I am about 10 years younger than you. (in my 40s) but I too can't enjoy just any bike. It has to fit me. The good thing about Vulcans is that it is a fantastic platform for mods. I got mine from a bloke who told me that he is getting a bimer because he wanted a more sporty bike. (whatever). The year is 2006 not moded and it only had 10,000 miles on it. By the looks of it the bike was just kept in the garage for most of it's life. Definitely this guy did not enjoy riding it all that much. And that in California, where it hardly ever rains.

After purchasing and moding the bike (seat and pulleys), I can't get enough of it. I am a bit sheepish through corners on it, even though the bike can do it. But coming from a much smaller bike I just not quite used to this one yet. One of this days I will get my cornering mojo going... However after mods I definitely can (and do) ride it for long distances now. Vulcan can be adjusted/customized in many ways. From bobber to chopper to long distance cruiser. The amount of aftermarket mods and add-ons for vulcans is rather large.

The point of all of this is: Vulcans are very versatile, modifiable and adjustable. So if anyone is on a fence (buy not buy), please keep that in mind. You can tailer your Vulcan to your preferences. Heluva thing. :)
+1

I'm not anywhere near 50 and there are bikes that are very uncomfortable for me. Maybe I can last a little longer than someone older before I'm in pain; but it still needs to fit right. My 900 isn't perfect but with some tweaks it's darn close. But I've ridden some bikes that after 20 minutes; I'm ready to just jump off.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
I bought my Vulcan S a couple of months ago because of the Ergo fit technology. I rode when I was 13 on my grandparents farm, and until last year, I was only a passenger. After nearly 40 years, I wanted to have the fun and freedom of riding myself, but was nervous about the bike not fitting. My husband touches the ground with just the balls of his feet, and there was no way I would be comfortable unless both my feet fully touched the ground. Also being able to adjust the handlebars seemed like a great idea. However, the mid reach size worked perfectly for me. I now have over 600 miles on it, and can't wait until I ride again.
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top