Kawasaki Vulcan Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone!

I just finished college and I am looking to purchase a 2019 Vulcan S. I used to ride dirt-bikes when I was younger; but I have never owned a street legal motorcycle. I am getting my motorcycle license before I purchase my bike. I have several questions that I was hoping you all could help me with.

1) I am looking to tinker around with my future bike and want to learn the ins and outs - I would like to add a few mods to the bike. Do I need to respect the "break in period" (is that a myth?) before I begin to change things out like a full exhaust replacement kit, power commander, etc?

2) I would like to replace the exhaust with the Arrow Rebel full kit - it was recommended by a friend to also add a power commander and a highflow air-filter. Once I add these - what is the best way to go about tuning the bike so the changes don't cause issues for the engine? There is a dealership in town that has a motorcycle dyno but I hear it will cost me upwards up $500 to tune it there - is there some sort of software I can download online instead?

3) Since I will be purchasing the bike new is there some sort of initial servicing I need to be aware of?

4) What is the best kind of oil to use for this bike, or in general?

5) I have tried on full helmets and half helmets - the full helmets make me feel claustrophobic and I feel like I cannot function with them on. I know half helmets are not AS safe, but I feel like I wouldn't be able to ride properly with a full helmet on. I realize how silly that sounds but would I be good with a half helmet?

6) I love plain looking bikes. As beautiful as the 2019 Vulcan S is - I want to either vinyl wrap it or repaint it myself. Any recommendations there?

7) I have no clue why a $7,000 + motorcycle comes with a halogen headlight but this one does. I want to replace it with an led light. I am not sure how replacing headlights works on a motorcycle. Can I just purchase a new bulb or do I need to replace the entire headlight?

8) Is there anything you think is worth mentioning to a new motorcyclist? Thanks in advance for taking the time to read this!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Personally if I was buying my first motorcycle I'd want to spend some time with it before thinking about adding performance mods. The Vulcan S is a damn quick little bike out of the factory and you may very well find that you don't feel much need for more performance.

Other answers: After purchase, you only need to worry about the first oil change after 1000km. Preferably replace with fully synthetic motorcycle oil.

You can certainly ride with a half or three-quarter helmet. Just don't fall on your face. You might also find that june bugs really hurt at 100km/h. Personally I like modular helmets.

Replacing the headlamp with an LED bulb is a relatively straightforward exercise. I used the Bikemaster H4.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thank you very much for your input! I should have clarified - I want to put an exhaust kit on it to make it louder. My friend has a new Vulcan S and it is pretty quiet - I want to be sure that the vehicles around me know that I am there.

I appreciate the information you have gave me - I will definitely check out the Bikemaster h4!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Thank you very much for your input! I should have clarified - I want to put an exhaust kit on it to make it louder. My friend has a new Vulcan S and it is pretty quiet - I want to be sure that the vehicles around me know that I am there.
Pretty sure that at least some of the replacement exhausts out there will give you more noise without requiring re-tuning. Someone else will surely chime in on that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
100 Posts
Personally, I would never buy a new bike......ever. They depreciate too quickly. If you want to mod it out, you could do all your mods and still be in for it less than what you paid for the new one.

There are tons of bikes out there that are hardly ridden and just sitting in the garage.

Check this one out near me in Pennsylvania. This guy has at least three grand into the bike in mods and is selling it for five grand...

https://allentown.craigslist.org/mcy/d/allentown-2015-kawasaki-vulcan-650/6843239643.html

Not bad at all except for the goofy headlight trim.


There is a thread on here to modify the stock exhaust to make it louder if that is all you are looking for. Personally i think that most of the aftermarket exhausts for this bike look like they belong on a sports bike and take away from the clean lines of the motorcycle.

Most guys on here will tell you to go with a booster plug on these bikes instead of the power commander to make it more civilized to ride.

Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
Welcome to the forum @Seandwil. I can't answer all your question, and I am not an expert on the KVS (or any other bike). I've only been riding my 2017 Vulcan s for a year, but here are some thoughts to your questions. Good luck with your new purchase!

1. I did. Not because I thought anything bad would really happen, but because the manual recommended to do it. I assume the people designing the bike are smarter than I am. It did not take long at all to get past the break in period, and I figured, it wasn't worth the risk of harming the engine if I didn't. Lots of people will say to drive it like you stole it from day 1. To each their own on this topic. YOu'll probably get a 50/50 split of what do to on this one.

2. If your only purpose of replacing the exhaust is to make it louder, do a forum search here. There is a mod to drill small holes into the stock exhaust (behind the heat shield so you can't see the holes). It gives the bike a much louder, deeper sound. If you want to change the look, well, then, yes, you'll need to change the exhaust. I'm going to drill some holes into my exhaust this spring to see what's it's like. The best part is you drill a few holes at a time, and you can get the exact "rumble" you want. Also, I'd buy a booster plug before I bought a power commander. Fraction of the cost and will probably achieve what 99% of KVS riders want. I'd take a look at that first.

3. No initial servicing. It will be ready to ride when you pick it up.

4. Again, you'll get a pretty good split on what oil to use here. I honestly don't think there is a "right" answer.

5. Watch out for bugs and crap hitting your face with a half helmet. Bugs hurt at 80Mph. I have always wore a full face, but as another poster mentioned, as long as you don't fall on your face, from a safety issue, it's probably not much worse.

6. No, lots of youtube videos out there though.

7. Most $7000 motorcycles don't come with LED headlights. Easily replaceable bulb for less than $50 though.

8. Don't drive like an idiot. :) The KVS goes like hell for a small bike. Be careful and enjoy the new bike.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Lots of great information here guys I really appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge with me! I am taking everything you tell me into consideration. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,037 Posts
Thank you very much for your input! I should have clarified - I want to put an exhaust kit on it to make it louder. My friend has a new Vulcan S and it is pretty quiet - I want to be sure that the vehicles around me know that I am there.

I appreciate the information you have gave me - I will definitely check out the Bikemaster h4!
Ride it first with the stock exhaust. It actually has a pretty nice rumble when you crack the throttle. An aftermarket exhaust for the Vulcan S will make it obnoxiously LOUD!!! More so than you will like. And since it revs about twice as high as a V-Twin at highway speeds that noise will turn into an annoying drone that will make your ears bleed. And what makes you think that the cars around you with their heads in their I-Phones will care or even pay attention to your noise. They won't. The exhaust is for you not for them. Loud pipes do not safe lives. That has been a proven FACT.
Get proper Gear and more visible Jacket or Helmets. Get a brake modulator. Do things to be more visible rather than more noisy. The Vulcan S isn't all that quiet. Take it out on the highway. At 6000+ rpms that bike is pretty darn loud even in stock form. Also I wouldn't go with anything but a Full Face or Modular Helmet. A 3/4 or 1/2 Helmet won't offer you the protection and I have seen people going only 30mph and getting their face ripped off. Not a pretty picture. Or get a Harley, those bikes have built in Force fields since I see Harley riders without helmets and shorts and Flip flops in the summer. Nothing ever happens to them, well until it does and then it's not a pretty picture. Good Luck to you and don't be so quick to jump into modding. Enjoy and get used to the bike first before jumping on the Mod Wagon. Ridding is more important than modding :wink2:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Ride it first with the stock exhaust. It actually has a pretty nice rumble when you crack the throttle. An aftermarket exhaust for the Vulcan S will make it obnoxiously LOUD!!! More so than you will like. And since it revs about twice as high as a V-Twin at highway speeds that noise will turn into an annoying drone that will make your ears bleed. And what makes you think that the cars around you with their heads in their I-Phones will care or even pay attention to your noise. They won't. The exhaust is for you not for them. Loud pipes do not safe lives. That has been a proven FACT.
Get proper Gear and more visible Jacket or Helmets. Get a brake modulator. Do things to be more visible rather than more noisy. The Vulcan S isn't all that quiet. Take it out on the highway. At 6000+ rpms that bike is pretty darn loud even in stock form. Also I wouldn't go with anything but a Full Face or Modular Helmet. A 3/4 or 1/2 Helmet won't offer you the protection and I have seen people going only 30mph and getting their face ripped off. Not a pretty picture. Or get a Harley, those bikes have built in Force fields since I see Harley riders without helmets and shorts and Flip flops in the summer. Nothing ever happens to them, well until it does and then it's not a pretty picture. Good Luck to you and don't be so quick to jump into modding. Enjoy and get used to the bike first before jumping on the Mod Wagon. Ridding is more important than modding :wink2:
Great information thank you for sharing your wisdom! I really do appreciate all of the help - it's best to take advice and learn from people who know what they are talking about and have experienced it. Very happy I came across this forum site so I can absorb and learn.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
902 Posts
Ride it first with the stock exhaust. It actually has a pretty nice rumble when you crack the throttle. An aftermarket exhaust for the Vulcan S will make it obnoxiously LOUD!!! More so than you will like. And since it revs about twice as high as a V-Twin at highway speeds that noise will turn into an annoying drone that will make your ears bleed. And what makes you think that the cars around you with their heads in their I-Phones will care or even pay attention to your noise. They won't. The exhaust is for you not for them. Loud pipes do not safe lives. That has been a proven FACT.
Get proper Gear and more visible Jacket or Helmets. Get a brake modulator. Do things to be more visible rather than more noisy. The Vulcan S isn't all that quiet. Take it out on the highway. At 6000+ rpms that bike is pretty darn loud even in stock form. Also I wouldn't go with anything but a Full Face or Modular Helmet. A 3/4 or 1/2 Helmet won't offer you the protection and I have seen people going only 30mph and getting their face ripped off. Not a pretty picture. Or get a Harley, those bikes have built in Force fields since I see Harley riders without helmets and shorts and Flip flops in the summer. Nothing ever happens to them, well until it does and then it's not a pretty picture. Good Luck to you and don't be so quick to jump into modding. Enjoy and get used to the bike first before jumping on the Mod Wagon. Ridding is more important than modding :wink2:
I second that response/agree 100%!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
494 Posts
Personally, I would never buy a new bike......ever. They depreciate too quickly. If you want to mod it out, you could do all your mods and still be in for it less than what you paid for the new one.

There are tons of bikes out there that are hardly ridden and just sitting in the garage.

Check this one out near me in Pennsylvania. This guy has at least three grand into the bike in mods and is selling it for five grand...

https://allentown.craigslist.org/mcy/d/allentown-2015-kawasaki-vulcan-650/6843239643.html

Not bad at all except for the goofy headlight trim.


There is a thread on here to modify the stock exhaust to make it louder if that is all you are looking for. Personally i think that most of the aftermarket exhausts for this bike look like they belong on a sports bike and take away from the clean lines of the motorcycle.

Most guys on here will tell you to go with a booster plug on these bikes instead of the power commander to make it more civilized to ride.

Good luck!
That looks like a bike The Fonz would ride. Yes, I know I'm dating myself but the old guys will get the reference.

As for never buying a new bike, the flip side of your argument is of course that you avoid buying someone else's headache if you buy new. It all comes down to a question or risk vs. reward. I have new and used bikes in my garage and a friend of mine with 40 years of riding / purchasing experience says he will no longer buy used bikes...too many little issues discovered down the road. That is to say he won't buy used for himself...he's happy buying used for his wife which is what he did when he bought her a KVS...LOL.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
261 Posts
1> Break-in period strategies are highly opined by all. If you want to play it safe, do what the manufacturer recommends. Do you need to follow it to the T? I've deviated from manufacturer recommendations from slight venturing into higher RPM's on occasion to outright ignoring their suggestions. I haven't had any long-term issues - your mileage may vary. If your question is "should I wait until after the break-in period before doing mods?" then the answer is the same as above.

2> I have the Arrow full system with a booster plug. I put it on my Vulcan probably at around 100 miles on the clock. I can't speak to the Power Commander, but if that's the route you're going, you can either download a pre-made map from Dynojet for the Vulcan S + Arrow (assuming they have a map for that) or get the auto-tune module and have the system learn as you ride. If you plan on doing various mods over the life of the bike, the auto-tune is probably the best bet. Alternatively, go to a tuner and have them get it on a dyno and program the PC with a custom map, but if you're going that path, you're probably better off not buying a Power Commander and getting an ECU Flash kit instead. Not sure what options are available for the Vulcan S, so you'll need to do some research on that one.

3> Oil change and rudimentary checkup at 600 miles.

4> Another highly opined topic. Want to play it safe? Go with what Kawasaki recommends.

5> Aside from a full helmet preventing bugs from smacking into your face or into your nose or mouth, here's another argument for full vs half - a diagram that the CDC had that notoriously made it into helmet advertising. This depicts the location of the helmet where injuries occurred. I'll let you come to your own conclusions:



6> I think painting or wrapping one's bike is a wonderful idea and the ultimate expression of self-style, which has a huge part in the riding experience. Personally, I'd go wrap - it gives you an "undo" function, and if you ever sell your bike, it protects some of the value by keeping the original paint in place, and protects it from the elements to boot.

7> Simple job to replace the bulb with the LED one. If you replace the turning lights, that will require an LED-capable relay as well to avoid hyperflashing.

8> Take the MSF Basic Rider Course or whatever your local equivalent is. Spend some time with your bike in a private parking lot where other people aren't driving around. Have fun. Don't die.

Hello everyone!

I just finished college and I am looking to purchase a 2019 Vulcan S. I used to ride dirt-bikes when I was younger; but I have never owned a street legal motorcycle. I am getting my motorcycle license before I purchase my bike. I have several questions that I was hoping you all could help me with.

1) I am looking to tinker around with my future bike and want to learn the ins and outs - I would like to add a few mods to the bike. Do I need to respect the "break in period" (is that a myth?) before I begin to change things out like a full exhaust replacement kit, power commander, etc?

2) I would like to replace the exhaust with the Arrow Rebel full kit - it was recommended by a friend to also add a power commander and a highflow air-filter. Once I add these - what is the best way to go about tuning the bike so the changes don't cause issues for the engine? There is a dealership in town that has a motorcycle dyno but I hear it will cost me upwards up $500 to tune it there - is there some sort of software I can download online instead?

3) Since I will be purchasing the bike new is there some sort of initial servicing I need to be aware of?

4) What is the best kind of oil to use for this bike, or in general?

5) I have tried on full helmets and half helmets - the full helmets make me feel claustrophobic and I feel like I cannot function with them on. I know half helmets are not AS safe, but I feel like I wouldn't be able to ride properly with a full helmet on. I realize how silly that sounds but would I be good with a half helmet?

6) I love plain looking bikes. As beautiful as the 2019 Vulcan S is - I want to either vinyl wrap it or repaint it myself. Any recommendations there?

7) I have no clue why a $7,000 + motorcycle comes with a halogen headlight but this one does. I want to replace it with an led light. I am not sure how replacing headlights works on a motorcycle. Can I just purchase a new bulb or do I need to replace the entire headlight?

8) Is there anything you think is worth mentioning to a new motorcyclist? Thanks in advance for taking the time to read this!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
930 Posts
I went with an HJC IS max II. This is a modular helmet so you can flip up the entire front, or lock it in place. it IS NOT a great cold weather helmet since it is quite breezy. And I am sure that a standard full coverage will provide better protection, but if I was too worried about staying safe I probably wouldn't ride a scooter to start with.lol. Gotta agree with the MSF course and the Boosterplug. Get the bike and ride it and then you can make your decisions on modifications. Remember its more fun to ride a bike than work on it ( cheaper too) .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
1. Its better safe than sorry to wait until break in period is over to mess with the performance. A few long rides, or some daily commuting, and it will be over before you know it. Take the time to do some research on the parts you'll need. Dont forget about the break in period for tires.

2. Most guys here will recommend the booster plug, and they are right to do so. The PC with air filter, installing and tuning is a pretty major expense compared to the $150 the booster plug will incur, for not too much better results.

3. Just stay on the maintenance schedule in the back of the manual. First oil change around 900 miles, lube the chain religiously every 450, etc.

4. I use full synthetic 10w 40. Not many people would say any different.

5. I dont recommend any helmet below a snell rated helmet. If you've got a $10 head, buy a $10 helmet. That being said, many modern full face helmets offer great visibility, comfort, noise protection, and of course safety and style. Maybe you'll look cooler with a half or 3/4, but that's only until your swallowing rocks and bugs as you ride, or, God forbid, fall.

6. Me too.

7. If you are going retrofit your light, make sure you get a projector style lens to go with the HID or LED kit. Otherwise it wont distribute the light correctly. But yes, the halogen bulb is one of the first things I upgraded. I fit a 7 inch projector lens with a Bi Xenon HL HID kit. Literally night and day.

8. Dont be a hero, know your limits, take of your bike and it will take care of you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Hello, Seandwil!

I, too, have a KVS (2016) which I bought brand new on Jan. 2017. First thing I did, even before the bike rolled out the dealership, was replace the stock exhaust with the Arrow Rebel (removed the silencer as well), and, replaced the stock tires with Angel GT's (180 for the rear, same size for the front wheel). No regrets with the Arrow Rebel, but, I know now that I should have replaced the rear with 170 instead of 180. Only because 170 would look better, in my opinion hehehe

I did change the exhaust primarily for the sound. The tires for the look. I'm pretty happy with the Arrow Rebel sound. Very nice rumble, without being obnoxiously loud. When I picked up my KVS from the dealership, my only objective was to befriend my KVS. Which, in my opinion, is the very first step in enjoying my new ride, and avoid any crashes. You have to get to know your bike first before you start tinkering with it. I liken it to a relationship.. you have to get to know each other Hehehehe

I knew, even before I bought my KVS, the performance was pretty good, for a 650cc. So, I focused primarily on looks hahahaha I did a tail tidy (R&G... but now, there are more options). I also changed the handlebar, for a more aggressive ride/look.

So now, performance is on my mind... I plan to buy a high flow air filter, and, the booster plug. From what I've read here in the forum, those two will enhance the performance of the engine/ride.

Get to know your KVS first. Then, you will specifically know how you can make it your own. Good luck!

P.S. Regarding helmet, I use the LS2 Valiant. You can use it as half face, or, full face (although, a true full face helmet offers more protection.)
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top