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Discussion Starter #1
New rider...as in, just finished MSF course last week. I've been looking hard at the Vulcan S as a first motorcycle since I'm a tall/big guy. That makes things like the Honda Rebel just not work. On the other hand, I don't want to go too big on my first foray into this. Reviews seems pretty positive on the Vulcan S as a beginner bike.

Is there any extremely contrary opinion here that I should know about?

Thanks.

Edit: I rode one briefly at a dealership and it seemed okay but, then again, I have zero to compare it to except for the 250 I rode in class.
 

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Hi Tad!!!

Welcome!

How big/tall? A lot of the real big guys find this bike to be a bit confining. It's pretty small for a cruiser after all. The adjustable fit helps, but doesn't eliminate some of the cramped feel for some guys. I'm 6' 180lbs and it fits me like a glove!

As far as it being a good beginner bike, I'd have to say it's a very easy bike to ride. I would absolutely recommend this as a starter bike or a bike for just about any riding skill level.
 

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New rider...as in, just finished MSF course last week. I've been looking hard at the Vulcan S as a first motorcycle since I'm a tall/big guy. That makes things like the Honda Rebel just not work. On the other hand, I don't want to go too big on my first foray into this. Reviews seems pretty positive on the Vulcan S as a beginner bike.

Is there any extremely contrary opinion here that I should know about?

Thanks.

Edit: I rode one briefly at a dealership and it seemed okay but, then again, I have zero to compare it to except for the 250 I rode in class.
you look at the 900?? great bike:smile2:
 

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Hey Tad!

I'm 190 centimeters (6"3) and 92 kilograms (203 lbs). I don't have any issues what so ever regarding size.
It was a rather good upgrade from my old Yamaha R6, haha!

Greetings from Sweden!
 

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I'm 250 lbs. and 6'1" but it's all torso, only a 29" inseam...I generally have to deal with stuff as if I'm tall (shirts, airline seats, etc.).


My advice, the seating position/seat sucks, there is a problem with engine braking, the mirrors are junk, suspension is pathetic. Do not buy the S new, for someone your size look very closely at the 900RS or 900 custom (you may fit the regular 900 and the LT is feature packed)

If you can find the S used and for a reasonable price go for it, great beginners bike; but you will abandon it line many of us have for the faults listed above.


6’3” 255lbs
Harley-Davidson Roadglide Special; formerly Vulcan S.




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I am also a new rider, 6 months new, and I congratulate you on taking the safety course, I found it a great help. I bought a Vulcan S 650 new and I think its a great bike to learn on. Not too heavy, adequate power but not excessive and very w=easy to learn on. Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The ramifications of considering the 900 is that it throws me into a whole new "range" of motorcycle. I had mentally set my limit at 750 (Harley Street). Unanimous advice from the rider coaches was that anything approaching a liter bike was really too much for a beginner, and 900 isn't far from that.

If I'm going to look at the Kawasaki 900, then I guess I'd also be looking at Sporsters (the 883s, at least), Yamaha Bolt, Indian Scout, etc., etc.
 

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You have to understand that the motor in a 650 s is actually a 650cc rocket out of a sportbike. Comparing the 650s to any V-Twin is apples and oranges for sure

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The ramifications of considering the 900 is that it throws me into a whole new "range" of motorcycle. I had mentally set my limit at 750 (Harley Street). Unanimous advice from the rider coaches was that anything approaching a liter bike was really too much for a beginner, and 900 isn't far from that.



If I'm going to look at the Kawasaki 900, then I guess I'd also be looking at Sporsters (the 883s, at least), Yamaha Bolt, Indian Scout, etc., etc.


If you are not comfortable no one is forcing you; go with the bike you are comfortable with; also consider the Suzuki motorcycles as well.
A used Star 650cc, for a beginner stay in the 650cc range.

There are several good bikes in the 250-500cc range as well.

If your heart is set on a Vulcan S go for it; know the drawbacks before you get into it. If I had not started out on the S, I wouldn’t be where I am today; Buy USED you will drop it; it’s a learning curve.


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Discussion Starter #12
If you are not comfortable no one is forcing you...
No, @texasnurse, I didn't think that. If I gave that impression, I'm sorry. I don't particularly have my heart set on the Vulcan S.

Of the caveats you mentioned, the one that strikes me the most is the engine braking. I'm assuming you mean it's excessive and so riding becomes a bit twitchy?

Here's where I stand:


  • Almost no dealer in this area lets you take test rides. There are some exceptions and I'm seeking them out but it takes a while as it's usually a fair drive away.
  • I sat on a Honda Rebel and it just felt small. Maybe that's a good thing for a beginner but I knew that bike wouldn't last long with me and I'd really rather not replace it within a year. Maybe two/three years down the road.
  • I sat on a Harley Iron 883. It's above the admittedly artificial size limit I set. It felt a trifle heavy (I think it's up around 580 lbs.) and I didn't care for the ergonomics. I could live with the heavy but not the ergonomics. The ergonomics on the Iron 1200 are much better for me but now we're into what I consider too much bike for me to start on. Or, replace the handlebars on the 883 with the ones from a 1200, I guess.
  • I test rode a BMW G310 and didn't care for it. The seat is too high for me to be comfortable and it's not the general style of motorcycle I want. I was more trying it out just to eliminate it.
  • I sat on a Vulcan S and it suffered from none of the above. I am heading down in a couple days to take a test ride on a used one someone is selling privately.
That's it. No allegiance to Kawasaki as a brand or Vulcan S as a model at this point.

I do plan to buy used; your advice strikes me as entirely sound.

Thanks.
 

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I'm 5'10 and was 235 when I bought the bike (220 now...trying for there to be less of me to love) and also have a 29" inseam.

Like you, the Vulcan S was my first bike after taking the MSF course.

I HIGHLY recommend it as a first bike at your physical size as it's:


  • Powerful enough to be fun but not so powerful as to be worried about it running away from you
  • Handles nicely in tight situations
  • Low seat height makes it easy to get a firm stance on the ground with our short legs ... I found that VERY helpful early on in the learning curve
  • When your skills are ready, rides quite sporty for a cruiser
  • The engine has a long history - i.e. it's tested and reliable
  • There are lots of mods you can make...if you're into that
  • The power port (if you opt to add it) was an easy self-install and since it's right next to the speedometer it's super easy to power your phone or GPS if you want
The only real negatives that I'm aware of are the seat (sucks) and that it's not a great bike for 2up riding.

As for 2up riding, you're a beginner so not sure how wise it would to put a passenger on the back anyway. In my case, I had no plans to have a passenger as my wife and daughter are TERRIFIED of the idea so it was inconsequential to me.

As for the seat, read the MANY posts on the subject. You'll likely be on the mid reach or the extended reach seat. I can tell you that the mid reach sucks as my butt would hurt after 30-45 minutes and although the consensus is that the extended reach seat, which has gel in it, is better it is by no means good. I had mine modified though and it was fine after that so the situation can be salvage without buying an aftermarket seat. If you want to go all in though, Corbin is the only one making a seat for this bike and it will cost you ~$500. I opted not to go that route and I am quite please with saving $400 but many have gone the Corbin route and most have been pleased.

That's it...a bad seat is about the only real knock I have and frankly I find that the other stuff people have complained about in the forum to largely be nit-picking and whining (not in this thread...I didn't read all the posts so not slamming anyone above...lol).

It's a GREAT bike at the price and the seat issue can be overcome...2up riding isn't great but depending on the size of your passenger can work.

And for full disclosure, I passed my Vulcan S along to my son this Spring after 2 seasons on it but had he not been ready for a bigger bike (he's little and started on a Honda Rebel 250) I'd have been plenty happy on the Vulcan S again this season. Still plenty of fun in the bike and my riding skills had not grown beyond the limits of the bike. Also, I tend to ride on the aggressive side though am not a peg scraper. With the right tires on it (Pirelli Angel GT highly recommended) the Vulcan S really carves up the twisties and is a load of fun to ride on the open road.

Good luck making your decision.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks, @ChrisHead. I have no intention of taking passengers. In fact, I'd probably pull a second seat (if the bike came with one) and put in a luggage rack. If my wife decides she wants to ride, she's firm about getting her own endorsement.

Seat-sucking would, of course...suck. :) However, as you say, that can be fixed.
 

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It's a great beginner's bike. I have a sports glide on prepaid rental from Eagles I havent opted for it yet. Thats a big bike indo not think I can handle just yet. I have until August to rent it or lose my bucks. I've had my bike since Nov 2016 and have 4700 miles on it. I dont use it as a daily commute, just when I feel the itch. Its showroom fresh! I been getting on it more aggressively as I learn more about it. Ots a fun bike. Just enough power not to get you into trouble.
 

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Revrider, I am 6'3", 210lbs and a new rider as well (maybe 30-31" inseam). Purchased my first bike (2018 Vulcan S ABS SE) in March and have been enjoying it so far. I did not get the extended reach seat or controls and haven't felt the need to change it. I use my bike for pleasure riding (no commuting so far) and haven't felt the need to replace the seat either even after riding multiple hours one day but you may feel differently. The engine braking is definitely noticeable and the throttle does feel a little jerky/sensitive at very low speeds but I do seem to be noticing it less as I get more experience on my bike. If you go with the Vulcan S, I'd recommend either mirror extenders or new mirrors as a big guy like you probably won't see much out of the stock mirrors except your own shoulders. I went with the Russ Wernimont contour convex mirrors and Kurykan adapters that Texasnurse recommended in a few forum posts and I love them.

One more side note, the first bike I sat on was an Iron 883. It was a good looking bike but it felt like my knees were elevated more than I wanted and I was afraid it would be uncomfortable on longer rides plus it didn't have ABS. The KVS I bought seemed like a good compromise to me: Good fit, Small-ish engine w/o being too small, forward foot controls, ABS, decent price, and good looks. Good luck with your decision, I hope you find the bike that's right for you.
 

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Oh yeah, @OkieRider reminded me of the other flaw...mirrors. The stock mirrors gave me great views of my shoulders but absolutely nothing behind me. I added extensions though and now they're just fine. Good catch on the mirrors.
 

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What kind of riding do you plan to do 80% of the time?

I think the KVS is a great new rider bike, and I would also say a great commuter bike. It's light without being tiny, quick without being crazy fast, and a 30 minute ride is a pleasure. It's low enough to get both feet comfortably down at stoplights. And personally, I think it looks great.

It's not good for long rides (due to seat + suspension) or for 2-up riding. If you only do 1+ hour rides occasionally, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this bike.

The engine is bulletproof, and with normal maintenance will likely last a very long time.

It's jerky in 1st and 2nd without an aftermarket exhaust. My guess is you'd get used to eventually but never like it. I made it maybe 2 months.

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[*]I sat on a Harley Iron 883. It's above the admittedly artificial size limit I set. It felt a trifle heavy (I think it's up around 580 lbs.) and I didn't care for the ergonomics. I could live with the heavy but not the ergonomics. The ergonomics on the Iron 1200 are much better for me but now we're into what I consider too much bike for me to start on. Or, replace the handlebars on the 883 with the ones from a 1200, I guess.

So realize you are talking about the versatile HD Sportster Here...if you want aftermarket support you got it, the ole iron can be fitted with a host of upgrades including ready available bars and forward controls thus extending the rider triangle. I will add that I recommend LePera seats for Harley-Davidson the floorpan is carpeted steel, and the seat foam is superb. I’m rocking the LePera Maverick Daddy Long Legs on my Roadglide, can go several hours at a time...Check out www. cycle-ergo.com for a general idea of your particular ergonomics on a motorcycle. The S well; In the end I found myself spending about 300-400/month trying to transform it into something it could never be... Upgrades including Kuryakyn ISO Grips with Throttle Boss and end weights, Russ Wernimont Mirrors, Madstad Windscreen, Viking Bags(with better bolts), Kuryakyn Switchblades, factory light bar(best upgrade) and LED retrofit, Corbin seating(total bust, sat too forward, the backrest tubing dug into my tailbone; sold for a loss). I’m sure I added over stuff too...can’t remember.(factory dc socket/gear indicator )I’ll attach a pic.
(not featuring switchblades)

Oh since you are new rider, the most expensive part of motorcycles is the safety gear, don’t discount the value of a quality FULL FACE helmet, summer/winter jacket, pants, gloves, and raingear, boots(in this particular pic I was showing off my new jacket...didn’t have all gear on) second is tires, maintenance gear etc.

when you find your bike, you will know it should exhilarate you every time you twist the throttle, and when you dismount , you will long for just one more ride...Good Luck ATGATT






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Discussion Starter #20
Oh since you are new rider, the most expensive part of motorcycles is the safety gear...

@texasnurse: Yeah, I'm figuring that out fast: Shoei full face helmet which was Ka-Ching! beyond my expectations, gloves (which I'm already planning to upgrade now that I saw what some other folks had in the MSF course), a jacket with some armor but not warm enough for cold weather, pants with some armor...so far. I'm still wearing my hiking boots because I'm not sure what I want there, yet. And I'm not riding in the rain no way no how at the beginning, so I can take a little time on that. There's a removable waterproof liner in the jacket that will do in a pinch.
@Sapro: At the beginning, I expect I'll be doing almost exclusively <1 hour rides. However, I think that, long term, I'm more likely to be a longer ride type of guy. Head off to a music festival type of thing.

In general, I'm concerned about this "jerky in 1st and 2nd" situation. The Suzuki GZ250 I had in class had what seemed like a binary throttle, either on or off. And, of course, we never really got beyond 2nd gear. Yeah, I learned to ride the clutch to minimize it somewhat but it still seemed unpleasant. The BMW I test rode had a nice smooth response but, unfortunately, it wasn't the motorcycle for me for other reasons.

Regarding the suspension: is it too soft?

Thanks for all the commentary, btw. It's much appreciated.
 
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