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Hello! I'm new to the site, and am looking forward to learning more about this new (to me) bike, a 2001 Vulcan 800. I've had a few bikes, most recently a 2004 Vulcan 750 that I sold a few years ago after a couple of freaky episodes of vertigo. Thankfully they didn't happen when I was riding but it was enough to put me off of bikes for a few years. (doctor assured me it was not a reoccurring thing - and sure enough, no problems since I sold the bike)

With the recent flood in Texas and the aftermath leaving us with a gas shortage (I'm in Dallas, everyone is freaking out), I resumed the thought of getting another bike. In looking for another 750 on Thursday afternoon (when there were mile long lines for gas and stations literally OUT of gas) I found this 2001 800 with Cobra pipes and only 9,900 miles for $1000. Well, you can hardly take Uber for that price so I decided to look at it...and decided to buy it when we saw it that evening, as in just last Thursday. We're not spontaneous spenders, so it was a big deal....And I'm pretty sure we got a great deal. The seller's spouse recently passed away and wanted the bike to be used. My husband wanted me to have an alternate 'commuter car'.

The seller was the 2nd owner and they did oil changes but no tune-ups or anything. The bike doesn't sound like she needs any help, with an awesome throaty rumble that sounds super healthy. She needs new tires, and we'll change the oil so my questions are about what we should do to make sure she is a reliable resource. My commute is FM roads (country roads, to those not familiar with an FM) so it will be a leisurely 20 miles each way.

Tires: Suggested brand?
Shop: Any suggestions? There is a dealership in my town (Denton) - is it reputable?
Tune-up: Needed?
Oil change: Leaning towards synthetic - it's given phenomenal life to our trucks - I have a 2000 GMC with 325k miles and she still runs good. I've seen some posts pro/con K & N. What is suggested? My goal is to have a reliable vehicle with decent gas mileage. I need it to be a sustainable suggestion as I will probably take it to the mechanic for the oil changes
Battery: I have a trickle charger left over from my other bike days. Do I need to connect it to the battery? Change the battery?

I will now begin my search for other information in this forum. I look forward to learning!

That's all I know enough to ask about. I'm open to all other suggestions. Thank you!
 

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Hi! You are welcome! :)

First, before You get too excited riding Your VN800, learn the rule number one. Never trust previous owner or Your inner feeling that everything should be OK before You are not absolutely sure that everything is OK. ;) The oil change is mandatory, but doing just some regular oil changes is not enough for this engine. Be sure to check the valve clearance as soon as possible! If the VN800 engine is not getting maintained every 6000 miles, it can end up with a dropped valve or even with a total engine disaster!
Second, try to find an owner manual on the Internet or even a service manual. (We are not allowed to share those copyright protected materials here.) You will find a maintenance schedule and other good stuff about daily checks and service procedures. You will also find that Your bike needs an ordinary (cheap and simple) engine oil which corresponds to API SE, SF, SG, SH or SJ with JASO MA classification. SAE 10W-40, 10W-50, 20W-40 or 20W-50 according to Your climate and outside temperatures. No even need to go for a pure synthetic, because in most cases it will be overkill. Most of them can have some friction reduction additives and it's bad for Your wet clutch. (I use an ordinary API SG 10W40 mineral oil for about 3 EUR per liter ;) And I found it being the best for now.
Yes, You can charge Your battery with 12V car or motorcycle battery charger. To be sure that nothing goes wrong, You can disconnect it from Your bike.
Good luck!
Don't hesitate to ask :)

P.S.
Cobra pipes usually come together with a carb rejetting to get the correct performance. So, Your carb should be properly adjusted. If not, You will have a poor mileage.
Hopefully Your bike has no EPA system any more. If it has, Your MPG with Cobra pipes should be very low. It would be hard to get any fuel economy in this case ;)
 

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Hello and welcome,
Kawasaki 800 is a very depenable bike, many say their bullet proof. The things you mentioned are all good peace of mind items.
However, you will want to check the valves. I have a shim set for sale if you pm me. There is a sticky on the top of this page that explains the job step by step and it's not as hard as it looks if you're slightly good with a wrench. You can search things as you need to. As for oil you will find there are many opinions so go with what is comfortable for your wallet. Kn is good but I have a hard time paying $9 for a nut attachment when a filter wrench is $6, just my opinion, maybe I'm cheap too.

Battery tender is good and having it attached to the battery is much more convient than removing the seat to put the clamps on.
Talking about seats if you have the stock seat you'll be looking to change it asap. The cheaper option is sending it to spencer seats he'll fill the original seat with memory foam which will improve your comfort. As for tires I highly recommend Michilean Commander II. They are high mileage tires and are good wet or dry on most road surfaces.
The most common problem on the 800 is a leaky petcock. My only complaint other than the seat was the buzzing in the handle bars. A set of Kuryaykn iso grips with bar end weights was the fix. Good luck with your new ride. This site will be helpful to you The Wolf's Bike Shop; just how far do you trust me? I'm not familiar with any shops in your area.

Ron
 
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