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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all! New-ish rider (just rode dirt bikes most of my life) and I've been looking over cruisers the last year or so. I have been super interested in the Vulcan 900 Custom and the Vulcan S. Both are pretty snazzy.

I'm a fairly big dude, 6'3 and about 270 pounds. However I don't want a bike that more than 1000cc or anything for now, since it's my first real cruiser.

Anyway, I took the motorcycle safety course a few weeks ago to help my transition to cruiser style riding, and I'm looking to sink my teeth in a bike.

I will probably be buying new or at least something a new-ish (I know, I know, buy used, but I like new stuff. I'm superficial that way and I just love both the 2015 models)

Anyway, recommendations on either? I think I'm leaning the 900 since it's a bit bigger, sadly I wont be able to test drive either for a few weeks.

Also, did they fix the tuning issue with the Custom where it feels like it needs a 6th gear?

Thanks all!
 

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At your size, I would suggest the 900. An option to a 2015, also consider the 13 and 14 models that are new but left overs. They usually, and should come with big discounts. The wanting of a 6th gear isnt so much tuning as it is gearing, and I am guessing it hasnt been changed. If you dont do a lot of high speed/highway riding, you may not really even want it. test ride would be best, but at least set on them, and on the Vulcan S, ask the dealer to set it up for someone your size and see if its cramped for you, that could be the decision makers right there.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the suggestion! Yeah, I can't wait to give it a ride.

I am looking at previous years models as well, for sure.
 

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I rode 150 miles this weekend and averaged around 70mph and didn't feel like I needed a 6th gear. Got about 54mpg on this last tank of gas. I'm about 5'10 and has to add 2" risers to the bars because the reach forward made my left arm go a little numb on long rides. Now I have no issues.
 

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I have never even looked into buying a 900, so this is pure first impression:

When you look at classifieds or CL and say 'Vulcan', 90% of the results are for 900s. If ever there was a perfect bike to buy used, that would seem to be the one, easy to find in whatever condition you want.
 

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Many 900s on the road in my neck of the woods...Some say they rev quite high at highway speeds, and others say not so. That would be about the only issue I'd be concerned with if I were looking into it.
 

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I'm 6'1 200 lbs and have the Vulcan S. I find it has plenty of get up and go for a newer rider. Oddly enough I have heard and read reviews that it has a more tourqe-y feel than the 900. The extended setup should work fine for you on the S.
 

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I believe the Vulcan S has a parallel twin engine...I can say that my Vulcan 500, which has a parallel twin engine, is very torquey and has enormous pep for a small bike...I would imagine the larger-engine V would be more so.
Only saying.
 

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You are correct in that part. 650 P-twin from the Versys, but has been retuned to deliver more of a "cruiser" riding experience. Low end torque, but still respectable top end.
 

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Recently bought a 2015 900. I really like this machine, it handles well and has a great get up and go when you need it, but the lack of a sixth gear does seem strange a higher speeds. I always feel like I am maxed rpm and engine near screaming with no where to put it but twist that bar and she goes.

I think I will be adding a tach at some point. Most of you use engine sound but I have noticed with a half helmet road noise is to much unless I turn my head a bit. Still learning the feel of this bike.

First adjustment I had to make (5'11" 230) was the shock, rough ride on crappy roads. I just moved it up 2 notches(stock is the 4th position), might be to much travel. Going for a ride to test.

Ride safe.
 

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Recently bought a 2015 900. I really like this machine, it handles well and has a great get up and go when you need it, but the lack of a sixth gear does seem strange a higher speeds. I always feel like I am maxed rpm and engine near screaming with no where to put it but twist that bar and she goes.

I think I will be adding a tach at some point. Most of you use engine sound but I have noticed with a half helmet road noise is to much unless I turn my head a bit. Still learning the feel of this bike.

First adjustment I had to make (5'11" 230) was the shock, rough ride on crappy roads. I just moved it up 2 notches(stock is the 4th position), might be to much travel. Going for a ride to test.

Ride safe.
WElcome to Vulcan land...your bike's "busyness" at highway speeds in top gear is a frequent condition that is fairly common among mid-sized cruisers...;I had a nice Suzuki vtwin 800 boulevard and it drove me nuts. happened there was a fix for that bike, namely a shaft drive from a larger cc boulevard. But that was a suzi and you have a MawKaw. Conceivably there might be a shaft drive on a larger Kawa that could be used, but of course it has to fit or be subject to modification. (The 1600 cc Nomad has very tame RPMs in top gear. I recall it was 3000 rpm at 80 mph.) Sweet.


I handled a similar Problem with my 1994 Honda magna V4 by getting a slightly taller rear wheel and that cut highway rpms by up to 300 rpm depending on speed in fifth gear No noticeable difference in handling or power. I like it...used 90 aspect ration (tallness) instead of stock 80. I could also change sprocket sizes but am satisfied with it as it is.

I hope your adjustment on the shocks turns out to your liking.
 

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WElcome to Vulcan land...your bike's "busyness" at highway speeds in top gear is a frequent condition that is fairly common among mid-sized cruisers...;I had a nice Suzuki vtwin 800 boulevard and it drove me nuts. happened there was a fix for that bike, namely a shaft drive from a larger cc boulevard. But that was a suzi and you have a MawKaw. Conceivably there might be a shaft drive on a larger Kawa that could be used, but of course it has to fit or be subject to modification. (The 1600 cc Nomad has very tame RPMs in top gear. I recall it was 3000 rpm at 80 mph.) Sweet.


I handled a similar Problem with my 1994 Honda magna V4 by getting a slightly taller rear wheel and that cut highway rpms by up to 300 rpm depending on speed in fifth gear No noticeable difference in handling or power. I like it...used 90 aspect ration (tallness) instead of stock 80. I could also change sprocket sizes but am satisfied with it as it is.

I hope your adjustment on the shocks turns out to your liking.
Thanks for the info, unfortunately mine is belt drive but the tire size might be an option.

So far the shock adjustment works nice, have to try with a passenger now.
 

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A shaft is not necessary at all. Baron's makes pulleys to change the final drive ratio, link to follow. I swapped my front pulley in less than a half hour with the only prior experience in wrenching on a bike being a clutch rebuild on an 82 Honda FT500. However, I do have plenty of mechanical experience with cages, so, as always, your experiences may vary.

The general recommendation seems to be, replace the front pulley first. It seems to be considered easier, is cheaper, and is reputed to put your revs in the "sweet spot" at highway cruising speeds. I used a second person to sit on it while I loosened the rear wheel and kicked it forward to loosen tae belt.

When I rebuild my bike (an '09 vulcan 900 Custom SE), I'll be also replacing the rear pulley.

Some people have speculated that it will wear the clutch out and reduce low end torque. As to clutch wear, after 10K miles, I haven't noticed any abnormal clutch wear. As to torque, simple: ANYTHING you do to raise the final drive ratio and lower RPMs at higher speeds, is going to reduce your low end torque. But the 900 is still torquey enough to smoke a Pirelli even after replacing the front pulley.
 

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http://www.baronscustom.com/catalog/display/2454/index.html

As far as it putting revs at the "sweet spot"... I like it. I'm just doing the rear because I do more highway riding than city.

Oh, I'm 6' even and 250 pounds. The bike is a near perfect fit for me. I'll be extending the foot controls a little, and putting different bars on when I rebuild to reduce the reach.
 

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Hey all! New-ish rider (just rode dirt bikes most of my life) and I've been looking over cruisers the last year or so. I have been super interested in the Vulcan 900 Custom and the Vulcan S. Both are pretty snazzy.

I'm a fairly big dude, 6'3 and about 270 pounds. However I don't want a bike that more than 1000cc or anything for now, since it's my first real cruiser.

Anyway, I took the motorcycle safety course a few weeks ago to help my transition to cruiser style riding, and I'm looking to sink my teeth in a bike.

I will probably be buying new or at least something a new-ish (I know, I know, buy used, but I like new stuff. I'm superficial that way and I just love both the 2015 models)

Anyway, recommendations on either? I think I'm leaning the 900 since it's a bit bigger, sadly I wont be able to test drive either for a few weeks.

Also, did they fix the tuning issue with the Custom where it feels like it needs a 6th gear?

Thanks all!
Big dude? Get a big bike.
Rather get a bike that fits you. 1600 is longer than 900. You will have more leg room. You do not want to go down the road like a bear on a tricycle. Do not fall for all this new rider = little bike BS. Coz it is BS. Bike has to fit you. I ride 900 because I am a little dude. I do not fit well on a larger bike, not because I am afraid of having more CC and HP. We just came back from 3300 mile epic trip, I was on moded V900, other bikes ranged all the way up to 2000. We all could keep up no problem. Twists, mountains, highways etc. No problems.

6th gear on custom/classic V900. You need Baron pulleys front and back and then you will not need 6th gear. You can also substitute that with bigger rear tyre mode, but that cause some issues... The main thing is that you are big, or rather tall. 6'3 and 270lbs. Get a bigger bike. 1600 or Vaquero or used V2K. Cruisers are built for a lot of torque and low RPM. It is not like a litter sport bike. Do not confuse the two.

So get bike that fits your body, get proper custom seat (stock is crap) and do not worry bout CC.
 

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Ok, yes, +1 on get a bike that fits you. You will not see a "fix" for the lack of sixth gear from MawKaw. The issue is common among mid sized cruisers.

My vote would be to look into a Kawa Nomad 1600 or 1700. Super ride, rpms are very low at highway speed, just 3500 at 80 mph on the 2008 1600 I had until it got too big for my nearly 80 year old self. Classic good looks too. Never have to adjust the valves. Big plus. Bulletproof mechanically. The Nomad is a great, great all-around bike. Oh, and there was an issue with the 1999 Nomads and unless it has had the plastic oil gear (pog) replaced, it would be wise to avoid that year.

Between the Vulcan S and the 900 I see no contest and would select the 650 S. Rode one on a lengthy test ride and was delirious with the pep and the agility...And, it has a sixth gear....But, at 270 lbs, and tall to boot, you are way to big for it, IMHO.

Old saying I heard a long time ago: Newer riders should pick out a bike that is just right for them in their own mind and then buy one two sizes bigger.
 

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Never have to adjust the valves. Big plus. Bulletproof mechanically.
+1 on no valve adjustment. On V900 you have to do it every 16000 miles or so. Also on older models stator burns out at about the same mileage. Found out that the hard way. To replace the stator you also need gaskets, 7 business days to get an OEM one. Valve adjustment is at least 48 hours downtime (bike has to be cold in order to do it) plus it cost $$$ to do. Unless you are pro mechanic and can do it yourself.

To quote one of the members of this forum (Poncho Villa), on a little bike line V900 you spend money filling in the holes left by manufacturer. I have done that myself. Highway bars, Küryakin pegs, hard bags, batwing, overdrive pulleys, speedo fix, fuel gauge fix, proper seat etc etc etc. So do not go by the size of the engine. Go by feature set and above all reliability and how well the machine fits your body size.

As for the gear ratio, even guys on 6 gear bikes do a Eurogear mods to lower the RPM.

I second "Kawa Nomad 1600 or 1700" suggestion. Do not let the engine size scare you. When you are new to bikes, everything scares you. 6,000 miles later you will not be so scared anymore. (Just do not get cocky:) )
 

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Well. Just my opinion. I had NEVER owned a bike. Rode one in my yard for 2 minutes about 5 years ago-never got it out of first gear so needless to say I was brand new to motorcycles. I bought a Kawi VN750 as my first bike. I found out in a month and a half (after the thrill wore off) that it was too small. I myself am 6-3 and 250. And trust me when I say-you need a big bike. I have the one in my sig and it is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more comfortable. I still need to add some offset pegs for the highway, but it is for sure longer than the 750.

I've seen some suggest the 900-I'm not sure how big the actual bike is. But make sure whatever you get is big enough so you don't have to do any crazy nods to make it fit. Seems it's difficult to find a good fit for taller people. Just saying-I highly recommend the 1500.
 

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If you're new to cruisers with little to no experience a 900 is a good place to start. You can buy them cheap enough to resell and not lose money assuming you don't like it or think it's too small etc... The 900 platform will fit you no problem ergonomically speaking. More CC's doesn't always equal a better fit. Here's a good site to give you an idea on different bike ergonomics.

Motorcycle Ergonomics
 
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