Kawasaki Vulcan Forum banner

1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
140 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all. Granted I haven’t been riding this bike long but I’ve logged over 1k miles in the couple months I’ve had my classic. Backroads, freeway, parking lot practice, 100 mile rides, quick trips to the market, etc. It feels like something is off with my front end. It doesn’t shake or wobble at speed, but when I’m moving slowly and make a turn it always feels like the front tire wants to slide out from under me. The slightest road groove, any surface anomaly, turning tight, etc. I feel it sort of twist in my hands. Even when I‘m on a winding road in a comfortable lean (nothing crazy) I could swear the front tire is shaky (meaning wants to slide out from under me). At first I thought it was the bad tire on it when I bought it. However, I put a new Shinko on to match the new rear. Gave it some time to break in, but I don’t feel it’s any better.

I just don’t feel confident with it. Never had this feeling on any other bike I’ve owned. Is it normal to feel this? I’m new to the cruiser style so maybe it’s just less stable? Is there anything I should check mechanically? I’ve given this bike the once over and I don’t see anything visible. It seems to be in excellent shape all around.

Appreciate any thoughts. I really want a VN900 veteran to take it for a Good ride and See if they feel anything abnormal. It was a 1 owner bike and serviced where I bought it so I don’t think it’s been damaged. Probably 12,500 miles on it.

PS, I’ve held off on posting this for weeks because I’m like, maybe it’s just me. But I feel it all the time so... I can’t even imagine riding it in rain and trying to navigate a turn 😳
 

·
Registered
900 classic
Joined
·
20 Posts
If i was you, I would start with.
checking the wheel spindle is done up tight.
the wheel bearings are good.
fork bolts are tight,
frame/fork headrace bearing.

thats the only things i could think that would give that type of feeling.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
674 Posts
I agree with lesaint on things to check. The front end of my VN900 feels very planted. I have no experience with Shinko tires, but the Commander IIs I have feel pretty grippy and stable. I've ridden in the rain a few times, no problem there either. The only issue I have experienced was a thin layer of dirt on a road shortly after a rain, where the dirt turned to mud. The bike slipped there in a U-turn but didn't go down.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
674 Posts
You could clean that up, and then check it. It may or may not be an issue. It depends on how the bearing looks after it has been cleaned up. When I bought my VN900 it looked similar, but not quite that bad. After I cleaned it up, the bearing was solid, there was no issue. This was part of a general cleaning of the bike after I bought it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
140 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
So today I go out and start up my bike. After it warms up I start to move and I hear this scraping sound on the front tire and can feel it drag. I stop, start moving again and it is gone. Later I go to shift it around in the garage and put it in neutral to move it around. Bike is off. Same sound and feeling. After I brake with the front and move again it’s gone. Could it be a sticky caliper?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
304 Posts
Or a wheel bearing getting sloppy and allowing the tire to shift to one side or the other. The bearings are sealed, the grease stain on the axle tells me the grease has or is escaping. It's worth the time it will take you to pop the wheel off to have a look.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
I have read on this forum that the steering head bearings are a bit of a problem with the VN 1700, so why not the 900? I have the same feeling on the 1700 and are waiting for the all balls tapered bearings to arrive, as well as new front axle bearings. I hear and suspect that will fix the same feeling that I have with my new to me Vulcan. Something to look at anyways. As far as your brake caliper, i doubt that is sticking, and most likely a little dirt on a pad. Remember there is always some residual drag on the rotors with disc brakes. Good luck with your ride. I have to get used to mine as well, but hope the bearings do it for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
140 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Ok. Thank You all. Guess I’ll have to figure out how to Jack this thing up. So there are two sets of bearings? Assuming I can find this in the service manual?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
There is a top and bottom bearing on the steering stem, up by the handle bars where it pivots through the frame, and then the bearings in the wheel/axle itself. With my 1700, the stem bearing are the main culprit, but since I will have it apart, changing the wheel bearings is simple and a piece of mind for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
107 Posts
run the air pressure up to 40psi and see if you still have the issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
140 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
I found the axle bearing part. Do you have the part number for the upper? I don’t see it
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
My bike is solid. I need more experience so if I had the slightest problem as you suggest I would get it to the dealer. Based on the above comments it’s seems y’all are competent mechanics. I am not so for me it’s the dealer $$$. I have seen what can happen to a car with bad ball joints and wheel bearings. I’d get it fixed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
My 900 is an 06 and i got it with 14k miles on it and it felt like the stock dunlop d404 would turn in on tight turns. New tire stoped that....i also felt sum slight grinding and general lack of smoothness so i figured at that age best to inspect wheel bearings.....they wer a bit rusted and new bearings really smoothed things out.....i would also check to make sure brake calipers seals are not cuasing binding...
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Top