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Discussion Starter #1
I posted this on the 1500 forum also. Do any of you 900 riders have any experience with my problem? I have had my 2008 Vulcan 1500 classic for about 6 months. Prior to that I had a much smaller bike. A Suzuki GS650L. It was a four cylinder with a lot of attitude, but probably about 250+ pounds lighter. My wife and I would zip all over the place with it, but it was not really designed for continuous 2up riding being a small frame and such. I got a great deal on a new hold over 2008 1500. It is taking a lot to get use to with the weight difference and steering radius. My wife and I go a lot together and I find myself almost dreading the low speed parking lot manuevers. I have not dropped it, but it has scared me a few times. If you go below 10mph you have to feather the hell out of the clutch or coast in. Do any of you have experience with the 900? Is it easier to manuever? Like I said most of my riding is two up so that presents a little extra challenge. The down side of this is that I have gotten use to loping along at 70 mph without breaking a sweat. I seem to get different opinions on the 900 forum. Half the riders say the 900 is great and all the power you ever need and the other half complain about high rpm's at highway speed driving them crazy. Any advice would be appreciated.
 

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I have not ridden the 1500 to compare. However, my wife and I ride 2 up on my 900 frequently with no problems. To me, the 900 is maneuverable, but it does not feel small. I installed a Scootworks front pulley ($180) to help compenstae for the high rpms at highway speed. The speedometer is now spot on (70 mph speedo =70 mph GPS). I have no problem moving along at 70-80+ on the highway. Ultimately, if I didn't feel confident on the bigger bike, I would probably move to a lighter model. But then again, only you know what's best for you.

You might check to see if a forum member lives close to you and is willing to let you test ride their 900. Then you would have a comparison to evaluate, and possibly find another riding buddy. Good luck with your decision.
 

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I agree. The 900 is a great bike. Really the same size as the 1500s just lighter. I 2 up ride with no issues. Great bikes. You really dont need much more.
 

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I also have not ridden the 1500, but I will tell you my experience. Prior to owning my 900 Custom, I had 380 pound sportbike. I wanted something more comfortable and built for longer rides. I love the 900 custom. I will admit that driving it home off the lot, it was very intimidating. It wasn't the power, but the weight that I wasnt used to. Going from 380 lbs to 615 lbs was weird at first. I must say though that it was extremely easy to get used to. Going into turns, I was shocked how the bike basically pulled it self through, without much effort from me. Even at low speeds, I find the bike extremely easy to manuever. I was nervous making a turn at 5 mph out of the dealership, but once I got used to the bike, it was a blast, even at low speeds. I would say it took me about 2 days of riding before I was 100% comfortable riding at all speeds. Also, riding 2up and low speeds is a little bit of a challenge on any bike, the extra weight (regardless of how skinny she is) will totally alter the center of gravity of the bike, and it will be most noticeable at low speeds, especially on turns.

Now to the Highway aspect. Does the 900 hit high RPM's when riding on the highway? yes it does. To be totally honest, I ride on highways every day at actual cruising speeds between 70-80mph. I have cruised at these speeds, steadily for 2 hours without any issue. The high RPM's has never bothered me one bit, and even at those speeds, trust me, there is plenty left in the throttle. You could always replace the front and rear pulleys, which as previously stated, will not only give you a more accurate speedo, but will lower the RPM's...

My advice would be to either test ride the bike and see if you notice a difference at low speeds, and even if you bike the bike, if the RPM thing bothers you, you can fix the issue for fairly cheap

I hope this helps ya a little...good luck
 

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The 900 is a great bike but don't expect it to be nimble like the GS.In my opinion you have a great bike stick with it unless you want to trade me.
 

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My experience with the 900 & 1500 are both test rides (ended up with a 1600 Nomad)... for two up riding I would stick with the 1500 and do alot of parking lot riding solo to get used to the weight. Not that the 900 won't do 2 up and is close on size... but get in the mountains 2 up and loaded down and that's where the difference can come into play.
 

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I've owned my 900 for over three years and while very happy with it I wouldn't downgrade from a VN1500. The weight difference is only a little bit over 100 pounds so like someone advised above just do lots of practice solo and you'll get there. Half my riding is two up and no issues yet, the only issue is that it does rev high on speeds over 65mph but there is a pulley available to minimize that. We've been to trips were there were mountains and the 900 was able to keep up with the big boys just fine two up, saddle bags & a trunk. Most of my friends with biger bike have been amaized so far with the speed and power of the 900. As long as the weight between both of you is under 400lbs the 900 will take you anywere you want. Of course, the 1500 will get you there with less effort.
 

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I love my 900, but like the other guys are suggesting, stay with the 1500. You'll become more comfortable with it as you ride it more, and if you do road trips 2-up, you'll like having the extra umph.

One suggestion i haven't seen mentioned? You said something about being "small framed". I'm assuming you mean yourself and not the bike? If so, you might look into a lowering kit for the bike. A lower center of gravity and being able to put your feet down more comfortably might inspire more confidence and make handling a bit easier.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks Helek, maybe I should clarify. The bike is small framed and the Suzuki650 was probably comparable to the vulcan 500. I am 5'8" and can put my feet flat on the ground with the 1500. I guess the big question is whether the 100 pound weight difference from the 1500 to the 900 will really make that much of a difference in the handling department.

Thanks again
 

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Thanks Helek, maybe I should clarify. The bike is small framed and the Suzuki650 was probably comparable to the vulcan 500. I am 5'8" and can put my feet flat on the ground with the 1500. I guess the big question is whether the 100 pound weight difference from the 1500 to the 900 will really make that much of a difference in the handling department.

Thanks again
Best thing to do is go to your local kawa dealer and take a used 900 for a test ride. What we like or what fits us may not apply to you.
 

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I have 1500 classic ('00) and my wife has a 900 LT classic ('07). Both bikes are great, but are quite a bit different. The 900 is a great around town bike, (I've never ridden 2up on it) but does run out of gears early. The 1500 is great on longer rides and will go all day long without running short of gear or power.

My wife would like to move up to a 1500 but is afraid of the weight, so she will probably stick with her 900. We've considered putting a front pulley on it, just haven't pulled the trigger.

If you can't have both bikes (the best of both worlds), you'll have to decide what kind of riding you will do. In and around town, I would go with a 900, if you plan to do any type of longer trips at higher speeds, I would stick with the 1500.

You really can't go wrong with either bike, however I wouldn't trade my 1500.
 

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Hi mr. dutchman. I will add my 2 cents here....I just downsized from a Voyager 1700 which, at 900+lbs, was way too much for me to handle. The 900 is much easier for me, a 120lb, 5'6" woman, to handle in the parking lot/slow riding situations to which you refer. But,

***I would also recommend you stay with the 1500.***

The weight difference really is negligable...what you really need is to practice, practice, practice. Take an intermediate level safety class. As well, there is a book out there, "Maximum Control: mastering your heavyweight bike" by Pat Hahn, which has some great pointers and is well worth reading. It also gives you exercises that you can perform on your own, and it encourages you to keep practicing things like figure eights and uturns whenever you can. I have some regrets about stepping down in size, but I do love the 900 LT and am working on making it "my own". I know, as well, that had I the patience, I most likely could have mastered the big bike.

Ride well with whatever you decide to ride. It is all about the ride anyway!

Cat.
 

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catspeaker.... sage words.!! I know a woman in her 70's that finally gave up riding her 1800 Goldwing after logging more than 400,000 miles riding Goldwings (she rides a Yamahawg now)... she's about your height and weighs in around 130lbs... and actually taught a class at a dealership in her town on how to pick up a Goldwing for a bit... your size does not matter as much as your technique, and what you personally feel comfortable with.!! Practice does (nearly) make perfect.!!
 

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Like others have stated, a test drive is the only way YOU are ever going to know for sure whether or not the 900 is a "better" bike for your needs than the 1500. I'd make it a 2-up test ride. One of the local stealers in my area is pretty good about long test rides.
If your dealer balks at a full length test ride, fire them.

Personally? I'd stick with what you have. In addition to the very good reasons that others have detailed - you're going to take it in the shorts when you trade (or sell) your relatively new bike for another smaller machine.

Anyway - GOOD LUCK!
I Hope it works out for you!!
 

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I love my 900 but if I'd had known I was going to spend as much time at SuperSlab speads I would have gone with at Nad. It just strolls along at 70-80 mph where my 900 is working it. Oh, it'll work it all long but it's just easier sitting on a slow stroker unless you're sitting on one of those non Vtwinn balanced things.

I have heard that the 1500 can be a little clunky at parking lot speeds but the answer to that is buy the Ride Like a Prod DVD, study it and practice. I swapped bikes with a buddy who had a nad and watched as he had to back up and finish a U turn in a wide side street (3 lane) while I did the U in just over a lane and a half. Like the guy says on the video, he thought he had 20 years of riding but what he had was 20 years of repeating the 1st years experience, then he went to Motor officer school and learned how to ride.
 

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I read a review of the 900 the other day, it said, and I quote " It is often the first cruiser many people buy, and, often the last".
I recently rode two-up, through mountainous regions, loaded down with two sleeping bags, tent and gear. The nine performed flawlessly and I never, ever lacked for power. From 140 kph on down (84mph), this bike is hard to beat. My "sweet spot" is 120kph (72mph). The engine barely turns at 70 mph and I have plenty left for passing. With this kind of performance and the "flickability" that this bike has, I highly recommend the 900.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks to all of you who have offered their advice on my problem. It is really cool to see how fanatical you guys are about your 900's. I am going with the advice of most of you and sticking with the 1500. Most of my riding time is two up since I bought the bike 6 months ago and I think I need to put in some serious solo practicing of the slow speed manuevering before I consider making a change.

I really do appreciate the comments and wish everybody a safe rest of the riding season.

The Dutchman
 

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Too old for heavy weights

I posted this on the 1500 forum also. Do any of you 900 riders have any experience with my problem? I have had my 2008 Vulcan 1500 classic for about 6 months. Prior to that I had a much smaller bike. A Suzuki GS650L. It was a four cylinder with a lot of attitude, but probably about 250+ pounds lighter. My wife and I would zip all over the place with it, but it was not really designed for continuous 2up riding being a small frame and such. I got a great deal on a new hold over 2008 1500. It is taking a lot to get use to with the weight difference and steering radius. My wife and I go a lot together and I find myself almost dreading the low speed parking lot manuevers. I have not dropped it, but it has scared me a few times. If you go below 10mph you have to feather the hell out of the clutch or coast in. Do any of you have experience with the 900? Is it easier to manuever? Like I said most of my riding is two up so that presents a little extra challenge. The down side of this is that I have gotten use to loping along at 70 mph without breaking a sweat. I seem to get different opinions on the 900 forum. Half the riders say the 900 is great and all the power you ever need and the other half complain about high rpm's at highway speed driving them crazy. Any advice would be appreciated.
FD

I am 71 years old, and have been riding scooters and motorcycles since I was 12. In 2006 I bought a new 1600 vulcan classic with a wet weight~760 pounds, and a relatively high CG. I put 15000 miles on it before I had a wreck just before Christmas 2009 that put me in the hospital for 3 days. In the months before this, I dropped the bike several times, especially after spending all day at Thunder Beach.

In April 2010, I bought a loaded harley tri glide ultra and my wife of 48 years now rides with me. A week later I had a 2-wheeler attack and bought a new 2009 vulcan 900 custom. I named her OO for Orange Orgasm. The rpms are too high and I am having scootworks pulleys installed that will lower the rpm at speed by 12%. I have already added V&H staggered side slash pipes and a TFM fuel manager, so I should have enough torque increase to compensate for the ratio change.

For your information, I plan to add to my collection with a honda VT1300 sabre, and a harley 1200 sportster custom---both of which are classed as midweights. I was just on line with World of Wheels Atlanta, and they have a beautiful 2007 VTX 1300 with 11000 miles for $5450. Check it out.

Good luck with whatever you decide to buy.

Mike (RoadKill) Wynn
 

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I read a review of the 900 the other day, it said, and I quote " It is often the first cruiser many people buy, and, often the last".
I recently rode two-up, through mountainous regions, loaded down with two sleeping bags, tent and gear. The nine performed flawlessly and I never, ever lacked for power. From 140 kph on down (84mph), this bike is hard to beat. My "sweet spot" is 120kph (72mph). The engine barely turns at 70 mph and I have plenty left for passing. With this kind of performance and the "flickability" that this bike has, I highly recommend the 900.
My VTX engine barely turns at 70 mph but not my VN900. Beg to differ with you.
 

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My VTX engine barely turns at 70 mph but not my VN900. Beg to differ with you.
What year is your 900?
Specs changed in 09, dropping hiway revs. I think that might be why there is a lot of different opinions on the hi-revs.
I also come from a dual-sport heritage, the 900, to me, is barely but a whisper.
If I'm not mistaken, the 2010's changed again, dropping hiway revs even further.
At 55 mph, IN FIFTH GEAR, my 09 nine is LUGGING.

And hell, let's all get rid of our nine's and get vtx's....then we can talk on the vtx forums.....not likely.
 
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