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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking to buy a "new" bike..500 LTD is on my short list..I have seen the video reviews on YouTube..mostly stealers hawking their bikes and riders giving their short term impressions..I am getting along in years and my 550 lb Suzi is starting to get a little too heavy to push around..I am primarily concerned about comfort (5'8"..180 lbs) will 500 ltd fit my frame well and is the seat comfortable for 100 mile cruise?..what about ease and frequency of maintenance?..any particular items that fail and are a pain to repair? (I do my own work and want a bike that isn't a bee-itch to work on)..Are parts reasonably inexpensive?..Are any years better than others or are there any particularly problematic?..Finally, are there any items that require close inspection when checking out this bike?..I would like to hear from guys who have a long term relationship with the 500LTD..thanks for reading my post..
 

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Welcome Methuselah.

I am a bit biased regarding the 500LTD because I have one and have tried and tried to wear it out but it just ain't happening.

The curb weight is less than 475lbs so it is lighter than your Suzuki.
Your size/weight is probably about perfect for this bike. I am 5'11" and 205lbs.
The seat could use improvement but an AirHawk and ProTac driver's backrest can do wonders.
The failure items list is short: exhaust header inner pipes will break and start to rattle around 25,000 miles. No performance or reliability issues but an assault to the ears no less. Also the timing cam tensioner will sometimes not 'click' over quickly enough and let the timing chain make noise. Again, no issues other than the sound. The battery has a set of brass adapters that tend to come loose and give electrical issues but regular inspection/tightening will alleviate any on-the-road problems.
The valve clearance check interval is kind of short but can be extended once you know how they are wearing. (I have gone as many as 24k miles before checking) Checking/adjusting the valves is kind of involved but can be done in about an hour once you've done it a few times.

Not many aftermarket accessories available for this bike but many can be adapted to work if needed. Maintenance items are reasonable. Kawasaki only parts tend to be expensive but that'll be for pretty much any bike.

If you're looking for a used one I would check and make sure the cables work smoothly as well as the brakes. If it was stored outside check the steering bearings. Sometimes during long storage the fuel can leak into the crankcase. Check the oil level and if it smells of fuel change it. It's an issue with this bike but only during storage. Change the oil/oil filter and go riding. If you can test ride it by all means do!

If you want to see what one looks like in pieces look here: bikerbillsvulcan500rebuild.shutterfly.com Scroll to the bottom for the rebuild pictures.

Hope this helps you in your quest.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
BikerBill...everything I need to know..there are a couple of what appear to be nice low mileage examples (2006-9) on local CL..asking around $2500 ..is that in the ballpark ?
 

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BikerBill...everything I need to know..there are a couple of what appear to be nice low mileage examples (2006-9) on local CL..asking around $2500 ..is that in the ballpark ?
Local for that bike is around $2,100. Where are you?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
BikerBill...Jamestown NY..about 50 miles from Erie, PA...lots of 15 year old bikes with 5 to 20 k miles ..Research tells me Ninja 500s share the same basic motor as Vulcan 500.. do you know if Ninjas share the durability of the Vulcan?
 

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nada.com shows it the same value at your location too. Average condition retail $2,095. If a bike is very clean it would be valued higher.

The Ninja and the Vulcan 500 engines are identical from the wrist pin down. Pistons, camshafts, and cylinder head are the main differences internally between the engines. And I have heard of the Ninja's going over 100k miles so I don't see why it wouldn't be as durable. (unless it is regularly flogged)
 
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