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Message copied over here from New Member Area:

Hello everyone, another Forum newbie here.

My riding background includes some 10 years on a Honda CB 160 (way back in the day) and 19 years on a Yamaha Riva 125 scooter. I've also ridden a few other friends' bikes on a few occasions, including a Triumph 650 and Honda 750.

For some 50 years I've always wanted a full size motorcycle of my own and I've decided that "someday" is now or never! I spent a lot of time looking at 8 different manufacturers on line and finally settled on a Vulcan S ABS SE. Part of my thinking was that I don't feel I need a bigger engine and I though that less weight than bigger models might be best for me.

I went for a test ride the other day and to my shock, the minute I got on the bike I felt very uncomfortable. With the low seat and shifter/brake pedals high up there was an immediate difference from all my previous riding experience. For example, instead of pushing the front of my foot vertically downward to apply the brake, the motion was nearly horizontal.

I'm used to balancing by shifting the trunk of my body left/right by bending at the waist. By contrast, to exaggerate, on the Vulcan I felt like my head was way rearward, and my heels raised up in the air, making balance feel very different.

I'm concerned about low speed handling and control. I am familiar with the ERGO-FIT system, but suspect that does not address the height or angle of my feet. I copied a picture I saw on a post in this forum to illustrate - notice the rider's toe is pointed nearly straight up to the sky.

I have the money all set aside for my purchase and have picked out a specific dealer and unit, but now I feel stymied. I didn't even take the bike out for a test ride on the street because of my reaction.

I realize this angle is probably intended for better spine comfort over time, but I would appreciate any comments from people with more experience. Has anyone else ever had this kind of reaction? How do I adjust and get used to this riding position? Is there anything I can do to enhance feeling of control over my balance?

Any comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks - Randy
 

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It's just a matter of getting used to something different.

I used to ride crotch rockets, so the first time I got on a cruiser it felt super awkward, like I had no balance or control...just a very uncomfortable feeling. But it didn't last long, now I love my big sexy heavy black and chrome machine.
 

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Thanks RastaPasta -

That is very encouraging, and that pic of yours is sure a much bigger bike! I'm thinking I should go back to do the test ride and start out in a large empty parking lot to get more used to balancing at low speeds before I try going out on the street. I appreciate hearing from you on this.

Randy_K
 

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Randy, I was a little apprehensive when I started test riding as I had mostly been on more upright seating bikes. But it did not take long to get used to the feet forward. I've done 350 miles in a day comfortably.

And since we're sharing pics:
 

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Reptilicus -

Thanks for your reply. It's very encouraging to hear from people who had my reaction but were able to adjust quickly. I'm definitely going to try a test again, but start in a large empty parking lot first to see if I can get used to low speed maneuvering before I go out on the street.

Love the pic of your bike, are those the factory bags?? thanks - Randy
 

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Randy, I rode both the Vulcan S and the classic, I bought the 900 classic for $500 more, the dealer gave me a good deal.

I'm 6'1" and felt a little cramped and the didn't really like the peg placement. The Classic has rider floorboards with heel/toe shifter, was real comfortable and handled extremely nice. When you test drive the Vulcan S give the Classic a ride, you may want to upgrade before the purchase.

 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi March411 -

Actually I was in the area again the next day and I sopped in at the dealer briefly and did ask about the 900 since its pictures look like the sitting position is a lot more upright. They were very discouraging, especially about the greater weight (its 200 lbs. more than the S). I had noticed the floorboards and I am curious if the sitting position is really a lot more upright and less legs forward and up than the S 650? How does the balance feel compared to the S?

Thanks a lot for your insight. Randy
 

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Randy, the extra 200 pounds really wasn't/isn't that noticeable. For me the bike is nimble, well balanced and handles like a smaller bike. I'm not reaching or leaning forward, it's overall just a comfortable ride.

The best suggestion I can give is to ride them both, I did and liked the 900. You may like the S better, personal choice and a lot of people love the S and for good reason, it's a nice bike. What can it hurt, set it up with a dealer and give them both a ride. It will be fun and in the end you'll know you've made an educated choice based on personal experience.
 

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March -

This is a good suggestion, I did briefly sit on the Classic in the showroom but the salesman was so discouraging that I didn't try to set up a test ride. You're certainly right there is no substitute for actually trying out both!! Thanks again, and stay tuned :) Randy
 

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March411 -

Thanks for the encouragement! I think you are right that the only way to know what I really prefer is to try them both. This is going to take a little time to resolve, but I'll be back with more news eventually . . . Who knows maybe we will have a chance to ride together in a few weeks. I'm in the northern suburbs :)

Randy
 

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I'm a new owner (one week) of a 2018 Vulcan S and every time I pull away from my house I try to put my legs on the pegs that aren't there and then I move my legs forward. It's just something to get used to.

My antique Sportster has a Right Side Shift and Left Side Brake and that's another story altogether.
 

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Sportyrider -

Thanks a lot for your comment. So the legs forward/up position doesn't adversely affect your balance or control at low speeds? I'm hoping I can adjust quickly for my 2nd attempt at a test ride.

Wow brake and shifter sides reversed, how weird. My first bike was a 1965 Honda CB 160, and even that had the shift on the left and brake on the right . . . How old is your Sportster???

Thanks again for your encouragement. - Randy
 

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Sportyrider -

Thanks a lot for your comment. So the legs forward/up position doesn't adversely affect your balance or control at low speeds? I'm hoping I can adjust quickly for my 2nd attempt at a test ride.
It did for a few minutes but I quickly got used to it practicing in an empty parking lot. Keep trying and you will find it to be a good handling bike at low speeds. Just don't give up on it. The worst thing about the seating position for me is that I'm unable to stand up when hitting bumps in the road. I didn't intend to, but I may have to switch seats to a softer one with springs.

Wow brake and shifter sides reversed, how weird. My first bike was a 1965 Honda CB 160, and even that had the shift on the left and brake on the right . . . How old is your Sportster???

Thanks again for your encouragement. - Randy
The Sportster is a 1971 XLCH (kick start only).
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks again Sportyrider.

I am going to follow your idea of practicing first in an empty parking lot. Also I'm going to try getting ERGO-FIT set to short reach: pegs, seat and bars, to give me a more upright position.

I've also been looking at the Kuryakyn Floorboards. The installation video I saw looked like they move your legs substantially back and also at a much more horizontal angle, thus further obtaining a more upright sitting position and also foot movement more nearly vertically downward to operate rear brake and shift down.

If any of those ideas are incorrect, I would appreciate comments from everybody, thanks! - Randy
 

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Randy_K,

I bought my Vulcan S a couple of months ago. It took me a few rides to get used to the forward controls. Now I do not notice it. The funny thing is I just bought a used Suzuki DR650 and the first thing I did was put my feet forward and of course the foot pegs were straight down below me! Now I have to get used to riding that bike. :) If you really like the bike then buy it. Do not worry about the forward controls. Spend time riding through slow neighborhoods where you have to deal with a lot of stop signs. This will get you used to positioning your feet. Good luck!
 

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Prior to buying my S, I spent the last 10 years riding a 1982 Yamaha XJ 650. It was the quintessential UJM; comfortable upright seated position with feet right below you. I loved it and am very sad that they really don't make bikes with that seating position anymore... the closest they come are adventure touring bikes, which are way too tall for me.

Anyway, all that to say that yes, getting on the S felt a little awkward at first, but I got over that quickly. It certainly doesn't make the bike less controllable at low speeds.

However, one thing you need to know which you will not discover during a short test ride -- the feet forward position puts a lot of pressure on your tail bone, which the stock seat does nothing to alleviate. It started causing me significant pain after 45 minutes of riding. I had to buy a Corbin seat to make the bike comfortable.
 

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I am 6ft 1, and also used to riding sportbikes, so the vulcan s was an adjustment for me. I ended up getting the extended seat, adjusting the stock bars down and closer, and puttling some floorboards w an extended shift rod. Now its quite comfy. I agree with what a lot of people have been saying- cruisers are just different beasts than sportbikes. It took me a month or so to acclimate.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Sethimus -

Thanks for your comments, I've just gotten back from my trip to the Door County Peninsula of Wisconsin, so I'm just now seeing what you wrote. I'm definitely thinking about getting floorboards. Tomorrow I get to test drive a Vulcan S with reduced reach pegs and handlebars, that should be interesting. Cheers!!
 
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