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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I bought my girlfriend a used 2012 V-Star 250 a year ago. It had about 600 miles on it. It now has close to 4,000 miles on it. She struggles to keep up on hills and freeways (and the curves, but that's not the bike's fault.) So I'm looking to upgrade her ride.

I really like the EN500 concept; sport bike motor instead of a narrow v-twin. I also considered looking at Suzuki M50s (2005-2009) but I think they might be too heavy for her (and they are more cruiser-like.) So I decided to only look at Vulcan 500s.

I've looked at 1/2 dozen so far. One 2007 had only 950 miles on it! Asking $3,200. But it had been left out in the rain with terminal rust and corrosion, and would not run off idle. PASS! I looked at another that also had a bit of corrosion (engine, spokes, etc,) lots of scratches (black shows everything!,) and damage on the mufflers from improperly attempting to remove stuff that got melted on them. Some had 16,000 to over 20,000 miles on them, and were not well maintained. Yada, yada, yada... ALL of these were described as "excellent condition!" WTF?

I actually only rode one of them. It had about 14,000 miles on it with ORIGINAL (squared off!) tires. It handled like POO! And it felt like the rear shocks were shot as it did the pogo stick ride. How long to the shocks last on these bikes? Age or mileage??

From photos of many that showed up in my searches, I saw a lot of rust and corrosion, and it seems that if the bike tips over, the tank gets crushed in. It is a w-i-d-e tank! I'll be looking to add crash bars...if anyone makes a good one.

I even started to look out-of-state, but they have to have at least 7,500 miles to be brought into CA as "used" no matter how old it is!

SOOO...I have one more to look at in a few days. 2005 (blue) with 1,000 miles on it. Yeah, I'm thinkin' the carbs are all gummed up, battery dead, and 10 year old tires. I asked for high resolution photos...and it DOES look good for 10 years old! He had the fuel system and electrical system gone through, new battery...but original tires (he says they look fine, and not aware that they are 5 years overdue for replacement.) There are no accessories on the bike and he's asking $3200 (NADA=$2500, KBB=$2200.) I may be able to negotiate on tires. It has Exedras on it. What should I replace them with?

Are there any other concerns I should look at with this model? Known problems (read about the battery connections)??

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'm supposed to go check it out tomorrow. If all checks out well, no rust/corrosion, I'll offer $2700 and see what he says. It is more than book value, but that is only an average anyway. Tires and tubes will run around $350 installed. Wish me luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Clutch?

I noticed in a few of the ads I saw that several clutches had been replaced with less than 20,000 miles on the bikes. This seems unusual to me, unless there was a defect. Is this a known problem? I can't imagine someone burning up a clutch on one of these unless they totally abused it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm An OWNER!! (feeling stupid though...)

I bought the 2005 Vulcan 500 with 965 miles on it! $2700. Really great shape! All the metal and paint look great! The original tires don't even feel hard and have no cracks in them! ALL IS GOOD!!! Well, the front forks seem to not have any damping in them. Is that a normal condition???

...that is until I was almost home (80 miles.) On the ride home, I was having a problem with my left boot getting caught under the shifter! I had a hard time getting my foot out from under to downshift. It seemed to get caught on the raised rubber edge on the foot peg. This happened a lot and my girlfriend who was following me in her car could see something and wondered what was going on.

I'm almost home...came to a stop in traffic, stopped, could not get my foot out from under the shifter...and down I go!!>:l I feel really stupid! On some of the ride, I kept my foot half on the peg, but it was hard to get my toe under the shifter too. As I was riding home, I figured I would adjust the shifter when I got home, but now I see it is splined and not sure if the steps are too big. Now that the shifter is bent inwards a bit, my boot fits better.

Damage; bent clutch lever, small dings on the tank badge (see original post!), scrapes on the very tip of the muffler. AARRGGHHH!!!!! :(
 

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One problem with clutches, when the float needles fail from old gas. The carbs overflow into the crankcase and can damage the clutch discs if not caught early.
 

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I bought the 2005 Vulcan 500 with 965 miles on it! $2700. Really great shape! All the metal and paint look great! The original tires don't even feel hard and have no cracks in them! ALL IS GOOD!!! Well, the front forks seem to not have any damping in them. Is that a normal condition???

...that is until I was almost home (80 miles.) On the ride home, I was having a problem with my left boot getting caught under the shifter! I had a hard time getting my foot out from under to downshift. It seemed to get caught on the raised rubber edge on the foot peg. This happened a lot and my girlfriend who was following me in her car could see something and wondered what was going on.

I'm almost home...came to a stop in traffic, stopped, could not get my foot out from under the shifter...and down I go!!>:l I feel really stupid! On some of the ride, I kept my foot half on the peg, but it was hard to get my toe under the shifter too. As I was riding home, I figured I would adjust the shifter when I got home, but now I see it is splined and not sure if the steps are too big. Now that the shifter is bent inwards a bit, my boot fits better.

Damage; bent clutch lever, small dings on the tank badge (see original post!), scrapes on the very tip of the muffler. AARRGGHHH!!!!! :(
http://www.vulcanforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11787&highlight=shift+lever

http://www.en500.us/shifter.html
 

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Major Bummer on the lay down. I'm glad it was only scratches in your ride and not on you.

Regarding the shifter setting, the linkage between the pedal and shift shaft is adjustable. Loosen the 10mm nuts holding each end and adjust accordingly. Retighen the nuts when done.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I figured there was some linkage somewhere with a finer adjustment, but as I drove home, I figured I do it then. Now that I have the bike home and can look at it more closely, I see the linkage (read that there aren't many threads though.) I didn't see anything about this in the owner's manual. But after being bent in, and then brought back out a bit, it may just be fine the way it is.

This bike is really "just like new" for the most part, even though it is 10 years old. I took off the seat and except for some light dust, it's great. Then I opened up the right side cover and discovered the tool kit was missing. So even if I wanted to adjust it on the ride home, I had no tools!

My girlfriend rode it 56 miles today, and she likes it a lot. I asked if it was a "keeper" and she said yes. We may be able to get more for her V-Star than we paid for the Vulcan!

Are there any recommended crash bars, luggage racks and back rests available? She just needs a place to secure a big backpack.

Thanks for all the replies!
 

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I ordered my sissy bar and luggage rack off E Bay for a good price. Crash bars may be harder to find but I have not looked for them on my bike. Nice windshield, soft saddlebags, sissy bar, luggage rack, heated grips, USB power port, RAM mount, HID lighting is all I have added to mine.
 
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