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Old 04-14-2013, 07:43 PM   #1
deezildennis OP
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Joined: Jul 2007
Location: in the powa band
Oddometer: 848
Why no Love for the Vulcan 500?

Is this little bike too under powered for serious road warrior duty? I have always liked these for some reason. Are they junk or are they a OK little run about with hwy use?

Anyone here have one?
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Old 04-14-2013, 08:42 PM   #2
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Chandler, AZ
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They are one of the best small displacement cruisers ever made. They have a LOT of power for a 500, because they use the Ninja 500 engine. The Vulcan 500 is faster than the former Vulcan 1500 Classic. They will easily cruise at highway speeds all day. The only drawback, and probably the reason I have never owned one, is that they have tube type tires, and no centerstand. So a flat tire out on the road can be an issue. If that doesn't bother you, then go for it. It has been compared to the former Honda VLX600 and Suzuki Savage/S40. It blows them both away. It's faster than the Shadow 750. The other thing some people do not like about it is it is basically a cruiser with a sportbike engine, and it does not look or sound like the v-twin everybody seems to want. It also has a very different powerband.
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Old 04-14-2013, 09:00 PM   #3
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I remember a buddy of mine looking at one a few years ago and I was pretty impressed with the way it felt. I have never got the chance to ride one but I here they are fun little bikes. The standard engine in a cruiser makes for a unique end result. If I had money laying around I wouldn't mind picking one up.
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Old 04-15-2013, 05:07 AM   #4
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Location: between the Ozarks and the Ouachitas
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If I didn't hate the feet forward riding position so much, I would have one; not a cruiser guy, but the Vulcan is a very nice bike, accelerates like a sport bike
By God, Woodrow; it's been one hell of a party.
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Old 04-15-2013, 08:51 AM   #5
Bar None
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Joined: Mar 2007
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Originally Posted by deezildennis View Post
Is this little bike too under powered for serious road warrior duty? I have always liked these for some reason. Are they junk or are they a OK little run about with hwy use?

Anyone here have one?
I had one.
Good bullet proof Kawasaki bike but not too exciting. Good commuter with plenty of power if you wind her up.
Vince @ SWFL or WNC
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Old 04-15-2013, 10:32 AM   #6
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Location: Collingwood, Ontario
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I think because people expect a cruiser with such small displacement to be an underpowered dog. The Vulcan is relatively light, and the engine makes decent power (if a bit rev-happy for a cruiser).

Personally, I'd much rather have a Vulcan 500 than a V-Star 650 or Suzuki S40. Reliability is good too.
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Old 04-15-2013, 11:23 AM   #7
Rides slow bike slow
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A friend had one for a while. He enjoyed blowing unsuspecting HDs into the weeds with it -- it's a real little sleeper for a cruiser.
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Old 04-15-2013, 12:01 PM   #8
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My wife has often said she would like to have a 450 Rebel. Of course those were only available new for a couple of years in the mid '80s. Good ones are hard to find. I keep trying to steer her to the Kawasaki 500, but she insists on a Rebel. I don't know why.
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Old 04-15-2013, 12:30 PM   #9
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I'll be a dissenting voice and say that I found the frame quite flexy.
I think I was 220 last time I rode one. They're not built for heavier people.

At least, that was my perspective.

But, it is a neat straight line or laid back cruiser bike.
So there I was walking into a biker bar in Chattanooga with liberty spikes on my head and a drag queen beside me... - bcurvin
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Old 04-15-2013, 01:23 PM   #10
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+1 on it being a great womans bike as well as a starter bike for young'uns. Have had one since 07, has been the first bike for my Wife, son and now my 14 year old daughter. Adequate power for the highway, not too heavy, delightful ergos, one of the most comfortable seats on any bike I have owned. Easy to maintain, easy to ride, adequate brakes. Downsides are the tubed tires, chain maintainace, valve adustment a major operation. Was really sad to find out that Kawasaki has d/c'd them. Sure a fun scoot!
"If the going is getting easier, it is probably because you are going downhill"
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Old 04-15-2013, 03:37 PM   #11
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Location: Louisville, Tn
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I had one and really liked the bike.
Good power if you twist on it. If it had more ground clearance I would probably still be on it.

Good bike...Good motor.
X the DY.

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Old 04-16-2013, 12:06 PM   #12
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um, no...
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Old 04-17-2013, 09:26 AM   #13
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Central Georgia
Oddometer: 61
Bought a '93 last year and put 2000 miles on it. Great bike but the cruiser was not for me so I sold it in January. Got all my money back. You can find them on craigs list for a good price. '93 had a belt drive. Vulcan forum has an active subforum on the 500.
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Old 04-17-2013, 03:24 PM   #14
Joined: Sep 2012
Location: El Paso, Tx
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A friend of mine had one a few years ago. I rode it once. It was a cool little bike, perfect starter bike I think. I had a ninja 500 myself at the time.

I have always been interested in it's bigger brother, the Eliminator 600. Same concept but with the ninja 600 engine. Inline 4, with a longer wheel base, six speed, shaft drive
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Old 04-17-2013, 10:32 PM   #15
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Chandler, AZ
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I had that bike in it's first incarnation, an '86 454 LTD. I found it to be a great bike, but wound up trading it for an '88 EX500 (both new). The 454 had tubeless tires. The Vulcan 500 was probably the last parallel twin Japanese cruiser built, and reminds me a lot of the good old days before Japanese v-twins. Only issue I have with it is the tube type tires and lack of a centerstand.

Be really careful about the 450 Rebel. They are more of a collectors item than a bike to ride. They were only made for 2 years, '86 and '87, and parts are almost impossible to find. The Rebel 450 does have one important distinction. It was the one and only Honda (or Japanese bike of any brand for that matter) to come with wire spoked wheels designed for tubeless tires. Honda considered tubeless tires important for safety reasons back then. Apparently not anymore.
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