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Hi guys! I just picked up a '09 Classic (First Bike) and am getting tires for it this week. I've been doing as much reading as possible and keep coming across how the 900 doesn't do too well at freeway / highway speeds. Vibrating and rattling and all that. I haven't gotten past 45 yet, so I wouldn't know anyway... But for future's sake, I'd like to make sure to pick the best tire size and figure out the pulley problem everyone seems to be talking about. I'm assuming that would help to lower the RPM's at a higher speed, which would in turn allow the bike smoother operation on the highway? Maybe even better fuel consumption? Or am I way off here...

Anyway, any recommendations on what setup is best for highway speeds would be greatly appreciated since I plan to visit the parents in Phoenix from LA every few months.

Thanks!
 

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Hi guys! I just picked up a '09 Classic (First Bike) and am getting tires for it this week. I've been doing as much reading as possible and keep coming across how the 900 doesn't do too well at freeway / highway speeds. Vibrating and rattling and all that. I haven't gotten past 45 yet, so I wouldn't know anyway... But for future's sake, I'd like to make sure to pick the best tire size and figure out the pulley problem everyone seems to be talking about. I'm assuming that would help to lower the RPM's at a higher speed, which would in turn allow the bike smoother operation on the highway? Maybe even better fuel consumption? Or am I way off here...

Anyway, any recommendations on what setup is best for highway speeds would be greatly appreciated since I plan to visit the parents in Phoenix from LA every few months.

Thanks!
You need to read the thread about the 900 vibrations. They are not bad. My bike has stock pulley's with oversized rear tire (170/80 I think). This also corrects the speedo. The stock pulley's are not a problem as you describe. I get my ride up to 70 mph's all the time and the buzzing is quite minimal. Yes, the pulley's do lower rpm, but I am also in the mind frame that they move the rpm's outside the bike's power band. Ultimately, you need to get your bike on the highway and determine for yourself how it feels. Some people are more sensitive than others.
 

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I'm another one who doesn't think the vibes are bad on this bike, at least after I got rid of the stock tires. I also went up to a 170/80 on the rear, Michelin Commander IIs, and they smoothed the ride out quite nicely, as well as fixed the speedo issue.
 

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I'm another one who doesn't think the vibes are bad on this bike, at least after I got rid of the stock tires. I also went up to a 170/80 on the rear, Michelin Commander IIs, and they smoothed the ride out quite nicely, as well as fixed the speedo issue.
Yep! 2nd that. I have the same tires on my 06' Classic LT and I have no noticeable vibes on the highway.
 

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I'd ride the bike first and see what works for you.

Reviews give feedback based on the experience of the rider... I have no doubt that if someone is used to riding an 1800cc touring bike, the vn900 will seem to vibrate like crazy.. however, having come from a history of cafe'd vintage bikes, my perception was that the bike is fairly calm at speed.

I feel like while reviews can definitely be helpful, they can also convince you that there are problems where you may not experience them. Like the others who've posted, I've switched to a 170 when it was time to get new tires and have been more than happy with how it rides.

The pulleys are certainly an option, but in my opinion they are far from necessary.
 

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Biggest determining factor for me was price.. while the 200 is a larger circumference tire, the price difference over what I would get from the 170 seemed unreasonable.

Other things to consider are that if you ever do decide to switch up the pulleys, I believe you can't change the front pulley with a 200 tire (someone correct me if I'm wrong here) due to clearance issues. So if you wanted to do the pulleys in steps.. you'd need to buy the rear first, which is more expensive than the front.
 

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I do feel my 900 vibrates quite a bit over 70. It feels much more comfortable and In the proper rpm range from 55-65. A pulley would lower rpms and vibration.
 

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Scootworks VN900 Overdrive Pulley Sets- Scootworks is now producing overdrive pulleys for the VN900, to help reduce engine RPMs at highway speeds. These are a direct replacement for the OEM pulleys, and do not require belt replacement. The rear pulley is available in a silver finish or Unfinished. The unfinished unit is as a result of so many people wanting one to paint various colors. The rear pulley was also designed with a flange diameter to resemble the original rear pulley's outside diameter and retain a good fit within belt guard. The appearance of the pulley has been changed to give it a more 'fresh' look, as a result of so many people wanting a spoked pulley.

- The front pulley is +2 teeth, rendering a 34 tooth pulley. Changing only the front pulley will change the final drive ratio from 2.0625:1 to 1.941:1. This yields a 5.9% reduction in final drive ratio.

- The rear pulley is -4 teeth, rendering a 62 tooth pulley. Changing only the rear pulley will change the final drive ratio from 2.0625:1 to 1.9375:1. This yields a 6.1% reduction in final drive ratio.

- Changing the front & rear pulley will change the final drive ratio from 2.0625:1 to 1.8235:1. This yields a 11.6% reduction in final drive ratio.
 

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Scootworks VN900 Overdrive Pulley Sets- Scootworks is now producing overdrive pulleys for the VN900, to help reduce engine RPMs at highway speeds. These are a direct replacement for the OEM pulleys, and do not require belt replacement. The rear pulley is available in a silver finish or Unfinished. The unfinished unit is as a result of so many people wanting one to paint various colors. The rear pulley was also designed with a flange diameter to resemble the original rear pulley's outside diameter and retain a good fit within belt guard. The appearance of the pulley has been changed to give it a more 'fresh' look, as a result of so many people wanting a spoked pulley.
I would NOT advise buying anything from Scootwerks. I have read some horrible stories about them. Especially on the VN750 forum I was with.

- The front pulley is +2 teeth, rendering a 34 tooth pulley. Changing only the front pulley will change the final drive ratio from 2.0625:1 to 1.941:1. This yields a 5.9% reduction in final drive ratio.
So, if you're cruising at 2250 RPMS, this could reduce your RPMS by 132.75.

- The rear pulley is -4 teeth, rendering a 62 tooth pulley. Changing only the rear pulley will change the final drive ratio from 2.0625:1 to 1.9375:1. This yields a 6.1% reduction in final drive ratio.
Dropping 137.25 RPMS from 2250

- Changing the front & rear pulley will change the final drive ratio from 2.0625:1 to 1.8235:1. This yields a 11.6% reduction in final drive ratio.
Dropping 261 RPMS from 2250 to 1989 RPMS.

The thing that kills it about the pulley's is you won't see much change unless you're hauling ass at 5,000 RPMS or more. The higher the RPM's, the more RPM reduction you'll see over stock. To me, the cost versus dropping a couple hundred RPM's doesn't make it worth my while. Changing the rear tire to a 170/80 was worth it mainly due to the speedo correction.
 

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I swapped out the rear pulley and opted for the taller rear tire. I'm running Metzlers 888 wide white wall love the look and seems smoother at 120 kmh + but not a huge difference. Will probably change the front pulley this winter as well. Love the look and ride of the Metzlers i have to say rain or shine so far big difference from the original Dunlops.
 

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Michelin Commander II 170/80 corrected most of the 10% speedo error & slightly lowered RPM. Odometer was high, now slightly low, x1.016 = correct mpg. Much better than Dunlop, especially on expansion joints & grooves, and hopefully last longer.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
UPDATE!

I got new tires on Saturday. Went with Pirelli Night Dragons. Kept the front the stock 130/90-16 and bumped up the rear to 200/70-15. Feels really good! Got up to about 85 on the freeway yesterday and I didn't notice any excessive vibration, just what you'd expect out of a bike without a 6th gear. I'm really pleased with it, so I'll be keeping the pulley's stock for now.

Thanks for all the help and info guys!!!!!!!!!!
 

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I forgot to mention that I try to never ride in the rain, but got caught in a sudden shower with the Michelins & almost lost it. Felt like I was on oil, which I probably was. But that may have happened with any tire under those circumstances.
 

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I forgot to mention that I try to never ride in the rain, but got caught in a sudden shower with the Michelins & almost lost it. Felt like I was on oil, which I probably was. But that may have happened with any tire under those circumstances.
Yeah, the first few minutes of rain is the worst. The water pushes the oil to the surface creating a nice oil slick until it is washed away. It doesn't matter how good your tires are, they're no match for oil slicks!
 

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Changing the rear pulley adds a cosmetic benefit as the wheel needs to be further back for correct belt tension. It puts the wheel more in the centre of the fender.
 
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