Kawasaki Vulcan Forum banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
814 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'd like to try a bigger cruiser than the 500 I presently ride - something in the 700 to 800 lb range. There is no way of knowing I can handle it without getting on one and riding for at least a full day. Is HD the only choice in bike rentals? That appears to be the case doing a web search.
 

·
wocka, wocka, wocka
Joined
·
5,618 Posts
I'd like to try a bigger cruiser than the 500 I presently ride - something in the 700 to 800 lb range. There is no way of knowing I can handle it without getting on one and riding for at least a full day. Is HD the only choice in bike rentals? That appears to be the case doing a web search.
No.. theyr just the mos available. if you go to yor local Honda jap store, they should have plenty use bikes you could "test drive".. sure they want you to "buy" one. but they are more likely to let you ride one at least a few miles, 10? I have test ridden multiple used and demo bikes. sometimes I don't come back for an hour or two..
this is not to give you a total definitive decision making info. its just the beginning of a process to see what size and model you are comfortable with. later as you drill into as specific size/model then do a all day rent..

once you start the ball rolling, climbing the ladder in size, I kno they come in steps, cuz that's what everybody does.. you will eventually find yourself on a full size big tour bike.. and you WILL say, why did I waste so much time and money inching my way up to this rig.. YES its that much better and NO its not any harder to ride. actually is easier. poncho
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
814 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
No.. theyr just the mos available. if you go to yor local Honda jap store, they should have plenty use bikes you could "test drive".. sure they want you to "buy" one. but they are more likely to let you ride one at least a few miles, 10? I have test ridden multiple used and demo bikes. sometimes I don't come back for an hour or two..
this is not to give you a total definitive decision making info. its just the beginning of a process to see what size and model you are comfortable with. later as you drill into as specific size/model then do a all day rent..

once you start the ball rolling, climbing the ladder in size, I kno they come in steps, cuz that's what everybody does.. you will eventually find yourself on a full size big tour bike.. and you WILL say, why did I waste so much time and money inching my way up to this rig.. YES its that much better and NO its not any harder to ride. actually is easier. poncho
Around here, I test rode three bikes at three different dealerships and they were all about 5 mile runs following a dealer rep. Can't determine much from that. Don't know, but maybe the reason they wouldn't loosen up is because I don't look, act, or talk like a motorcycle journeyman, which is true. I have ridden a slightly heavier Vulcan 900 for around 300 miles and like you say, it was actually an easier ride, especially at slow speed turns & stuff. That made no sense, but is a fact. But I'm looking for something a little bigger than that.

So no, I gotta be let loose for at least a full day so it'll have to be on an H-D.
 

·
wocka, wocka, wocka
Joined
·
5,618 Posts
So no, I gotta be let loose for at least a full day so it'll have to be on an H-D.
sorry to hear it. this is how they set the hooks. its not the bike, if you ride enuff of em, you will figure that out for yourself. its the kulture. now you belong to the inner circle. kinda like them witches dance around the fire at nite. itsa zombie kult. good luck with that. ponchout

yeah Eagle rider Jacksonville has F800s.. not a cruiser. but a diff bike.
 

·
BOTM Winner, May 2015
Joined
·
740 Posts
he means he has to be on a HD for rental reasons....That's how I read it
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
238 Posts
I'd almost think if you pick out one you think you like based on the initial test ride, let the dealer know you're interested, then ask to try it out for a day or two to make a final decision and let them hold your current bike, most would oblige - especially if you toss in some non-refundable greens to be used towards the purchase price if you like it. I know a lot of car dealerships do something like that.

HD is famous for their rent-a-clique shindigs though, so that may give you a good feel for large cruiser bikes in general if that's something you think you'd enjoy.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
20 Posts
Redfish,

I've never used this company but if there's a location near you, it might be worth checking them out. http://www.eaglerider.com/

-Steve
I've used Eagle Rider several times, in several different locations. Excellent experience each time.

They're not likely to have any Kawis, but they'll have several H-D models, some Indians, a couple Goldwings and maybe a midsize Triumph or two. They usually have various bikes in stock and ready to go. A couple of times when I've wanted to try something different while I was traveling, the owner told me if I didn't like my first choice, I could bring it back and swap it out for something else.

Good opportunity to try a new bike or two.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
357 Posts
I went from a 250 to a 900. After riding it for about a week I started to kick myself for not doing it sooner than what I did. It is 330 pounds heavier then the 250, but once rolling, it is not noticeable. I do have a bit of a nagging feeling, though, that I should have went with a bigger bike, but I did not have the money for anything bigger at the time. My plan is to ride the 900 for a few years than look for a Voyager.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,620 Posts
Some demo rides are better than others. I went on a Kawi and H-D demo ride. The Kawi was pretty decent. The H-D ride was great, lots of varied riding for about 90 minutes. My only beef is that they had some yahoo on an old beat up sportster, of all things, blocking traffic. They have no legal right to do that, for one, and I don't really know what a rusty old sportster is going to do to stop a distracted soccer mom in a mini-van. I'd rather we just go through intersections the legal way. But that's neither here nor there. We rode twisty roads, interstate, in traffic, not in traffic. It wasn't just a good demo ride it was a good ride in general. I rode an Ultra Classic.

Indian, interestingly, was the worst demo ride I'd ever been on. Bizarre, really, because you'd think a company trying to introduce their brand would want you to test the bike. And this was Indian bringing a truck and their reps and everything. We literally rode around parking lots in the industrial park behind the dealer for about 15 minutes then came back. Maybe 20 minutes. The highest speed I hit was 35, and that was in a 45. It was a 45 zone, but the leader was bouncing between 30-35. I was riding a Chieftain because that was on my 'list' of touring bikes to consider. Afterwards, knowing I was interested in the bike, they asked how I liked it! I was honest. I said I have no clue. All I did was go around a circle in a parking lot! They kind of backpedaled and said something about liability and safety, I thanked them and walked away. There were a few things I didn't like about it in that short time frame. Who knows, if they'd actually let me ride the darn thing, I'd have time to be more impressed with it and would own it right now. Although I was pretty stinking impressed with the Voyager I test rode, minus a few gripes. And the Vaquero, with a few tweaks, is what I ended up with!

Some dealers will let you test ride anything. Especially the very big, high volume dealerships. Call around.

A word about the H-D rentals though, they'll refund the rental fee if you end up buying a bike. If you go on demo rides, test ride bikes, and think you might like an H-D; then rent one! Spend the day with it. If you like it, buy it, and you're not out a penny. If you hate it, you're out a few hundred bucks but saved thousands.

There's some merit to starting on a smaller bike. But you've got the basics down, you're familiar with how it handles, and probably mature enough to know your own limits and not try to hit 110 on the interstate your first time out on a much bigger bike.

I wish there were more options for longer test rides. But definitely call around. There ARE motivated dealers out there if you are a serious buyer ready to pull the trigger on something if you find the right one. A buddy of mine was considering a new Goldwing 1800 (he had a GL1500); the shop he went to handed him the keys on a Friday evening as they were closing up and said come back on Monday and tell us what you think!

You'll find the bike you want! I think it's important, going in, to be honest about the kind of riding you do too. Is it short trips on nice days, long trips on nice days, long trips in any sort of weather, mostly short jaunts with one long ride a year, group riding, etc? Different bikes will fill those roles differently.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
814 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
The main purpose for a heavier bike is travel. Daytime solo, loaded. Retired, not as strong as I once was, but with a good amount of time on my hands, I won't be happy until I've toured these United States and parts of Canada. I've done about all I can do to my 500 to make it as comfortable for travel as possible, and it is, and I'm also used to horsing it into and out of just about any situation. It has hauled me over 7,800 miles in 14 travel days last summer to various distant destinations, with plans for much more this summer and in the years to come.

The bigger, heavier cruisers I'm sure will be more comfortable for pure road travel, but is the weight going to be a royal pain in the butt in the myriad of situations encountered? Will it cook my hide in a long & slow summertime traffic jam? Will I be hesitant to tackle a gravel mountain pass? I just need to know if I can handle the weight and enjoy it at the same time. Brand is not important at this stage, but an all day experience is.

Renting a big cruiser from EagleRider for a day or two is about the only option.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
252 Posts
I also keep looking at bigger bikes to replace the 500, but I like the 500 too much, it is going to be hard to let it go. 32,000 plus mile on the 500 and it is still going strong.
 

·
wocka, wocka, wocka
Joined
·
5,618 Posts
I went from a 250 to a 900. After riding it for about a week I started to kick myself for not doing it sooner than what I did. It is 330 pounds heavier then the 250, but once rolling, it is not noticeable. I do have a bit of a nagging feeling, though, that I should have went with a bigger bike, but I did not have the money for anything bigger at the time. My plan is to ride the 900 for a few years than look for a Voyager.
bw, you will kick yourself again when you step up to that.. 1200? and then again at 1500.. and then again at 1700.. I didn't settle till I got my v2k..
with each increase in Motor Size you get more available power on tap at all times. this along with a bigger chassis is what gives you confidence to handle any situation. you are never at a loss for power, braking, big tires=big footprint, steering, carrying capacity, etc..

as for off road duty.. all the numbers work the other way.. you want smaller, lighter, nimbler, quicker, blah blah blah.. but you cant do dirt roads coast to coast..

some try to find fit a single bike to do ALL their riding needs and wind up with a compromised bike that is good at neither.. ie, dual sport bikes = hevy, high centered, knobby tires, useless on the road and off.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
814 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I also keep looking at bigger bikes to replace the 500, but I like the 500 too much, it is going to be hard to let it go. 32,000 plus mile on the 500 and it is still going strong.
I know what you mean. :highfive: It is a fun and versatile bike and I will hang on to it regardless. I just need to experience one of those big cruisers that everyone raves about. Won't be happy till I do. :drool:
 

·
wocka, wocka, wocka
Joined
·
5,618 Posts
I know what you mean. :highfive: It is a fun and versatile bike and I will hang on to it regardless. I just need to experience one of those big cruisers that everyone raves about. Won't be happy till I do. :drool:
rf, you wont be happy when you do.. its like druggs. now you will know what yor missing and trust me that lil 500 will never be the same.. everybody thinks they'll miss their ol skoot.. it wont take 2 weeks on a bigger bike and you will wonder how you got along on such a lil bike.? we aren't making this stuff up.. we've all experienced, again, again, and again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,620 Posts
Once moving, a heavy bike is just as nimble. Low speed maneuvering, whatever. If you can maneuver your bike now without needing to walk everywhere, you can do the same with a bigger bike. If you're one of those guys who needs to do a 36 point turn with your feet to get out of a parking lot; well, recognize that limitation before getting something bigger. Or just learn to maneuver the bike. A person who has proficient control of their motorcycle, and would have no problems on a larger bike, is a person who doesn't need to touch the ground with their feet anytime the motorcycle is moving. I always get a kick out of guys on big heavy bikes taking off with their feet near the ground or rolling in a parking lot with their boots hovering an inch over the asphalt. What are they gonna do? Do they think their legs are going to hold up their 900lb bike that's moving? Just put your feet up and learn to control it. Use a little throttle!

Really, the only thing more weight does against me is in the parking lot. I have to think ahead before I park. Can't just park anywhere like the 900. A bike approaching half a ton doesn't back out of a downhill parking spot! :) But no problem pulling out of it, so I just need to back in!
 

·
BOTM Winner, May 2015
Joined
·
740 Posts
I've noticed I can make a tighter slow u turn on the vaquero better than the 900
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,620 Posts
I've noticed I can make a tighter slow u turn on the vaquero better than the 900
Shorter wheelbase, not quite as forward on the controls. Definitely a better platform for the low speeds. But long-legged guys like myself need to take some time to get used to it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
814 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
rf, you wont be happy when you do.. its like druggs. now you will know what yor missing and trust me that lil 500 will never be the same.. everybody thinks they'll miss their ol skoot.. it wont take 2 weeks on a bigger bike and you will wonder how you got along on such a lil bike.? we aren't making this stuff up.. we've all experienced, again, again, and again.
Once moving, a heavy bike is just as nimble. Low speed maneuvering, whatever. If you can maneuver your bike now without needing to walk everywhere, you can do the same with a bigger bike. If you're one of those guys who needs to do a 36 point turn with your feet to get out of a parking lot; well, recognize that limitation before getting something bigger. Or just learn to maneuver the bike. A person who has proficient control of their motorcycle, and would have no problems on a larger bike, is a person who doesn't need to touch the ground with their feet anytime the motorcycle is moving. I always get a kick out of guys on big heavy bikes taking off with their feet near the ground or rolling in a parking lot with their boots hovering an inch over the asphalt. What are they gonna do? Do they think their legs are going to hold up their 900lb bike that's moving? Just put your feet up and learn to control it. Use a little throttle!

Really, the only thing more weight does against me is in the parking lot. I have to think ahead before I park. Can't just park anywhere like the 900. A bike approaching half a ton doesn't back out of a downhill parking spot! :) But no problem pulling out of it, so I just need to back in!
I've noticed I can make a tighter slow u turn on the vaquero better than the 900
Well now my tongue's hanging out and my toes are getting wet! The local Harley crowd has pretty much taken over our one stoplight town, corner full service gas station. Used to hang around outside while Pap drank a beer or two with the locals at the bar in there when I was a tyke. Yep, and the Gulf station and bar is still there, and still full service. Only gas station in Florida that I know of you can legally stand outside within 5 feet of the gas pumps and drink your beer, as many as you can hold. Or play one of the three pin ball machines inside, the honest to Pete real ones, or buy your worms or minnows, or kerosene, take your choice. So many deep voiced ole gals and good ole boys were hanging around outside scaring the tourists away, the owner's, who I went to school with, decided to modernize and build a little picket fenced, elevated pavilion on the side, for socializing and consumption. I haven't seen any horses tied up there lately, but a lot of Harleys and pickups round back and the other side. My lil ritual is occasionally aggravating that bunch by squeezing my Vulcan 500 betwixt those big Harleys, some shiny, some not, and being so friendly it's sickening. Can count on it, one by one, some of the crowd will casually slide over and take a peek at the intruder sandwiched in there, and walk away in disgust. And I love it, but selfish with the lone smile. Small talk ceases down to nothing.

I doubt there'd be room to squeeze a big Vaquero in there, but I might like to give it a shot.

Just maybe.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,146 Posts
The problem I have found with riding the HD bagger over a Japanese bike is that they aren't the same, so I don''t know that the HD would tell you much. Harley uses a single spine frame, meaning the gas tank can be smaller in are but hold more fuel. Kaw uses a twin spine frame, making the void under the tank wider, making a longer tank necessary. The space between my seat and the triple tree on my 1500 Classic, for instance, is almost 6-7" longer than on the Harley Road King. The floorboards are just a little lower too on the Kaw, and the shifter lever slightly different in position, making riding it a different feel. I feel a little more cramped on the Road King than on the Kaw. Just a slight change in riding position can make a lot of difference in how you handle the motorcycle, which is why I would urge you to ride what you're thinking of buying.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top