Sunday, September 12, 2010

A bit of history on the Vulcan

since it's with a new owner. Back then I'd had a Honda Rebel 250 for several years*, and decided I wanted a bigger bike. Both for general size reasons and because I wanted a bike I could take trips on. So looked around and found the Vulcan at a local dealer. It was a '93 with 3,000 miles; it was '96. I tried it out, did some arguing on price and bought it.

Never regretted it. It took me around town, to work, to the store and library and the occasional trips out of town with no problems. Up until this recent trouble, I'd had exactly one mechanical problem(I don't count things like fork seals and battery and such, those fall under maintenance) with it: Kawasaki decided to stick a switch on their bikes that, if you're riding and the low beam burns out automatically switches to high; problem was that after I replaced the lamp the damn thing wouldn't let you to back to low, so had to fix that. PITA set-up because it's apparently asking too much that people throw the switch themselves.

Besides reliability, the thing had size going for it: it was big and stable enough for highway but not so big it was hard to use in town, easy to park and so forth. If Kawasaki still made it, I'd have been sorely tempted to get another and switch the seat and such over, it was that good a bike. Unfortunately, they now go from the 500 to the 900; the 500 not quite what I want, the 900 definitely not(I don't like the handlebars, uncomfortable angle for the hands).

A digression: who the hell designs bikes the last couple of years? Seems like their idea of 'cruiser' tends to be "Let's make it big and bulky-looking and heavy, and people will LOVE them!"

Second digression: who the hell designs the seats? They're asking you to pay thousands for their product, and all too often the seat is an afterthought you have to replace. That was the one thing on the Vulcan I HAD to replace, as whoever designed it didn't like the customers; it sucked around town and was flat awful on trips. The Mustang I put on was worth every penny.

Overall, it was a fine bike that did the job of getting me around, you could ease it through traffic and it would lope down the highway at 75 or 80 without strain.

*I'd wanted/desired a bike again back in the 'married with little kids and no money' days, and wife talked me into buying it; found it used at a local dealer. It worked wonderfully; do the maintenance and it ran and ran and ran; to work, to the store, all around town. If you know someone who wants to start riding, especially if they're physically smaller, tell them to try one.


SordidPanda said...

Honda makes good bikes.

I bought my 95 Magna last year and mechanically it's doing great. The 750cc V4 engine is well behaved with plenty of giddy up.

If you can snag a 96 or later Magna, I recommend it.

My buddy drives a Suzuki Volusia 800, and he loves it, although he wishes he would have gotten the Boulevard with fuel injection instead of the carb'd Volusia.

Good luck getting a new ride.

dick said...

I'm 5'11.5" and just under or over 200 lbs. Fairly average, 32" inseam.
Had three 1500 Vulcan Classics since '98. The 900 was a bit small for my taste. The 1500's never once stranded or bankrupted me.
I loved em all.

Firehand said...

First two bikes I had were Honda's, 'way back when, a 90 and a 100. Considering how I rode, amazing they didn't leave me somewhere.

I've come to think that one of the prime bits of praise for a vehicle is 'never once stranded me'. 'Bankrupted' varies, crap can happen to anything, but stranded is a big no-no.