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Old 10-30-2012, 07:22 PM   #1
JerryH OP
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Kawasaki Vulcan 750 thread

Anyone else here have a Vulcan 750? I have owned 2 of them, both bought new. A '93 that I put over 80,000 miles on before trading it for a new '01 KLR650, which didn't work out, so I bought another new Vulcan 750, an '02 model. I now have 74,000 miles on it. I have ridden both Vulcans all over the country several times, but have never been out of the country with them. They are the most comfortable solo touring bikes this side of a Goldwing, and they are small enough to make handling them easy. They were made almost completely unchanged from 1985 through 2006. I will post some pictures in the next couple of days.
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Old 10-31-2012, 05:56 PM   #2
Lujo
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An '89 (or was it '88?) Vulcan 750 was the first bike I owned! Here it is: http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~lbauer/vulcan/

I still remember it very fondly. But, probably because I'm on the tall side, despite a cushy aftermarket seat I couldn't ride it for very long because the seating position put too much weight on my tailbone. And when I bought a KLR 650 I was amazed to discover how much more nimble bikes could be. (And then I bought a R1150GS and discovered that bikes could brake amazingly well too! ) All that said... great bike.


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Old 10-31-2012, 08:42 PM   #3
gumshoe4
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I owned one for three years.

It was a very nice bike with fairly decent power. I had the stator go bad on me, which required engine removal and case split to replace...this is, apparently, fairly common on these machines, as I have a friend who had the same thing happen to him and quite a few folks on the VN750 website have reported similar circumstances http://www.vn750.com/ I should say that in my case, the stator failure was mostly my fault, as I failed to properly maintain the battery or put it on a trickle charger...after I started the trickle charger program and replaced the battery with a good sealed battery, no more problem.

Other than the weak charging system, the bike was pretty flawless for me. Hydraulic valves meant no valve adjustments, shaft drive meant no chain adjustment or belt replacement. The ergos were pretty good and the engine pretty responsive, with about 4500 rpm showing at 75 mph indicated and redline at, I think, 8500 rpm or so BUT the bike really could have used a sixth gear for long freeway slogs. That said, the bike would haul my not insubstantial self down the road at 70-75 mph plus as long as I wanted to go and I had it up to 90+ to pass trucks with no problem. Slow speed handling was good. Handling in the twisties was pretty good, but I found that finding the right tire pressure was particularly critical for this bike for improved handling in the canyons.

All in all, a very good motorcycle which, despite its weird 80's styling, received many very positive reviews by the motorcycle magazines over the years.

I'd buy another one...
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Old 10-31-2012, 11:00 PM   #4
JerryH OP
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Strangely enough I never had a stator fail, in nearly 160,000 miles. You don't have to completely pull the engine to replace the stator, you can unbolt the right side frame section, and the engine mounts, put a jack under the engine, and slide it to the right just far enough to get the left side stator cover off. It's still a time consuming job, but one person can do it. Only problem I had was the automatic cam chain tensioners failed, way back around 15,000 miles, I replaced them with manual tensioners, which are still working fine.

I didn't like the KLR on the highway, it was way less comfortable than the Vulcan for long highway trips. And for off road use it was too big and heavy. So I got another Vulcan 750 and an XT225 for dirt road/off road use.

How comfortable any bike is depends a lot on your height and weight. At 6' 220 with a 34" inseam, I find the Vulcan 750 a perfect fit.

It has cast wheels, tubeless tires, a centerstand, shaft drive, rear air suspension, hydraulic valves, spin on oil filter, liquid cooling, dual carbs, dual plug heads, complete instrumentation, even a reserve lighting device, so if one filament burns out it automatically switches to the other. It also has 4 way hazard flashers and dual horns. I wish they still made them, mine has a lot of miles on it, and isn't going to last forever. Don't know what to replace it with.
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:18 PM   #5
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do any of you vn750 guys own a camera?
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Old 11-02-2012, 04:44 PM   #6
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I think changing the stator out would be something beyond my admittedly limited skillset.

I agree, though, Jerry, the VN750 is a pretty user-friendly machine. I'm also 6', but weigh 250, yet never really felt that the bike was suffering under my size. Mine had Plexifairing III, which worked well on it. I never toured with mine, but I think it would make a very decent touring bike for a solo rider, averaging about 50 mpg-although I would not want to run up the Interstate on it for hours a time...I think the bike would do fine, but I might not...

And yes, I do have some photos. Here's one taken at China Wall, near Foresthill, California.

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Old 11-02-2012, 07:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gumshoe4 View Post
I think changing the stator out would be something beyond my admittedly limited skillset.

I agree, though, Jerry, the VN750 is a pretty user-friendly machine. I'm also 6', but weigh 250, yet never really felt that the bike was suffering under my size. Mine had Plexifairing III, which worked well on it. I never toured with mine, but I think it would make a very decent touring bike for a solo rider, averaging about 50 mpg-although I would not want to run up the Interstate on it for hours a time...I think the bike would do fine, but I might not...

And yes, I do have some photos. Here's one taken at China Wall, near Foresthill, California.

Is that an '02? Looks exactly like mine color wise. I have the Kawasaki extended backrest and luggage rack, so I can carry a T-bag, I also have the Kawasaki bolt on saddlebag mounts/turn signal relocator brackets, and the bolt on hard leather saddlebags sold by Kawasaki. I am using a Memphis Shades Shooter windshield, which works fine. I had a taller Harley style windshield, but the helmet buffeting and high speed instability were so bad I had to get rid of it.

Mine is a CA model, and I removed all the emissions crap from it, including the evap system and air injection system. There were enough parts and hoses to fill a 5 gallon bucket. I also relocated the horns under the air filter housings, fabricated a bracket, and installed a leather tool bag below the headlight, where the horns had been. I also replaced the amber turn signal lenses with clear, with amber bulbs, eliminated the clunky looking license plate holder and light, and a few other cosmetic modifications. I have a removeable Protac backrest. I have taken 2 week trips on this bike, averaging 500-600 miles per day. I have done 2 SS1000s on it. Most of it's 74,000 miles have been at freeway speeds.

Yes I have a camera, I just have to get out and take some pictures. I will get that done soon.
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Old 11-02-2012, 07:29 PM   #8
mattoid1
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Had one, the first street bike at bought. A '99 model with about 2100 miles on it, rode it for four thousand miles and traded it for a Vulcan 1500. Put 43,000 miles on that and bought a new Harley Ultra Classic. I've got 20,000 miles on that in a year and half. Bought a KLR 650 for a second bike, but didn't ride it and sold that. A Vulcan 750 may be the second bike I am looking for. They are nice bikes.

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Old 11-02-2012, 08:04 PM   #9
gumshoe4
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That photo is from when I owned it early on. I later put on the PF III and I also had the luggage rack. I used nylon bags on it.

Mine was an '05...I did love that bike. I ended up giving it to a friend who was just getting back into riding, like I did several years prior. My re-entry bike was this VN750, so it has a fond place in my heart...I rode the darn thing all over the place.

You're making me want another one...

Here are some more photos...some of them show the bike in its later configuration with the PF III and luggage rack, others show it with a short wind deflector and leather bags, which is how it was for the first two years or so that I owned it.















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Old 11-02-2012, 08:15 PM   #10
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My vulcan 750 story is different than the rest. I bought mine as a total. The frame was straight and the engine ran. The bike looked like someone spent about an hour with an angle grinder and a hammer on it. Tach/speedo/headlight were toast. Tank was dented pretty bad. Both exhausts were ground up.
I put an SL125 speedo on. DT175 headlight. Three different krylon paint jobs and lots of poorly applied bondo.
Mine was an '86. I put a touch over 80,000 miles on it. One of the auto cam chain tensioners failed. The chrome plug over the right angle drive pushed out. I put plumber's strap over it after. It ate batteries and tail light bulbs, I think due to vibration. RIde bitch sometime and feel how bad it buzzes back there. No other troubles.
My boss made me park it around back. My coworkers called it the vulgar 750 because it was obscenely ugly.
I never got used to the footpeg location. I wished Kaw would have put this drivetrain in a standard style bike.
Sometimes I miss the vulgar. Park it anywhere and not worry about it. Take it off the side of the road to camp and not worry about scratching it up.
I sold it for $200 more than I paid for it after all of that.
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:50 AM   #11
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That bike is almost an exact copy of mine, with only minor differences. I find the riding position absolutely perfect for me, at 6' 220, with a 34" inseam. It's like sitting in a recliner, or riding a recumbent bicycle when you put something on it to lean back against. And if you need a change of position, the passenger pegs are in the perfect place for the rider to use.

I love the way it looks. It's a cruiser, but not a Harley copy. It is a 1985 design. It has about every feature you could possibly put on a motorcycle. Unlike todays v-twin cruisers, this thing has power. Not just torque, but top end power as well. it has an 8500 rpm redline, and pulls strongly all the way to the top. it's more of a sportbike motor than a cruiser.

The motor, as well as it works, is my one complaint about the bike. The motor is more complicated than a Swiss watch. It is a 55 degree single crankpin design, with a counterbalancer. Since it is Japanese, I don't understand why they didn't use offset crankpins, and eliminate the balancer. It has 4 cam chains, 4 cam chain tensioners, 8 valves, 4 plugs, 2 carbs, hydraulic lifters, liquid cooling, and a very complex and convoluted intake and exhaust system. It is an engineering masterpiece, but an absolute nightmare to work on. Fortunately, if you leave it completely stock engine wise, it rarely ever needs to be worked on. My 150,000+ miles on 2 of them with no problems but the upper cam chain tensioners, which are known to be defective, is pretty much proof of that. They were replaced with manual tensioners that work fine.


It is also known for stator failures, but I don't really think it has any more stator failures than any other bike, it's just that you have to pull the engine to replace the stator, so when it happens it is a big deal. 4 cylinder Goldwings have the same reputation for stator failure, probably for the same reason.

The only other bike of this size I can see being as good at touring would be the long gone Yamaha Virago 750/1100. I don't think Yamaha had a clue what they had when they replaced these great bikes with the V-Stars. The Kawasaki Vulcan 800 and 900 have the same problem. Lack of comfort, and lack of features. I certainly would not go touring on a bike with tube type tires and no centerstand.
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:42 PM   #12
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I agree with your assessment on the Viragos. The 1100 Virago is a very nice machine. I had a chance to ride one, briefly, on a small aircraft runway (long story...). Really liked it and I think it would make a very nice cruiser in the 80-90's style like the VN750.
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Old 11-04-2012, 04:32 PM   #13
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I didn't have time to go for a ride this weekend, so I just pushed the bike out of the garage and snapped some pictures.

No, you are not seeing things, the right front brake is missing. I have ridden it over 50,000 miles that way with no problems. Stock, I found the Vulcan 750s front brakes to be very grabby. They were difficult to modulate, kind of like on or off with nothing in between. Noticing a friends Honda Magna 750 had only one front brake, while being both heavier and having more power than the Vulcan, I decided to try it out. Front brake was much better. So I decided to go with a single front brake on the Vulcan. After doing so I did extensive testing in a safe area, and found my stopping distances had not changed, I could still lock up the front wheel, just took a slightly harder squeeze. I did several stops from 100 mph to 0, holding the front wheel on the verge of lockup the whole way. I watched it for over 10,000 miles, expecting more wear, but that has not been the case. It shows no disc wear after 50,000 miles, and pads last as long as ever.


This bike has 74,269 miles on it, and runs and rides like new. Only issues were the cam chain tensioners and one clutch. Surprisingly enough the clutch was not slipping, but dragging. The friction plates had actually swollen, and were thicker than they were supposed to be. First time I've ever seen that.












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Old 11-04-2012, 06:22 PM   #14
gumshoe4
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Very nice! Looks like mine!!

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Old 11-05-2012, 07:23 PM   #15
JerryH OP
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Anyone else have a Vulcan 750, or ever taken a long trip on one?
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