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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Chandler, Arizona
I don't want top rain on your parade, but these bikes tend to have more problems. I'm on my third one, first two were bought new. I like them so much that I put up with their problems. The stator is the big issue with these bikes. It can fail at any time or never. It requires pulling the engine to replace. I have never had problems with the carbs (I am only a carb ONLY guy, I don't mess with computer bikes) but if they were left with gas sitting in them for a long time (not a good idea on any motorcycle) they may be plugged up. And they are a real PITA to remove and replace. So much so that many owners permanently remove the entire intake system to make them easier to get to. I am/was a professional auto mechanic, and choose to keep mine stock, but they are difficult to remove and replace even for me. Ethanol gas can damage carb and petcock parts. The stock cam chain tensioners are prone to failure at low mileage. And when they fail they pretty much destroy the engine. Aftermarket manual tensioners are available. The other BIG issue with these bikes is the final drive splines. It seems many of them were never lubricated at the factory, and many owners never lubricated them during maintenance. They get chewed up quick if not kept properly lubed. And good used final drive assemblies are getting hard to find.
I bought my third Vulcan used, with 27,000 miles on it. My second one, bought new, failed at 108,000 miles when the top rear cam chain broke (these bikes have FOUR cam chains) There was a lot of engine damage, but since I bought it new, everything else had been maintained properly, and was in good condition. I would not have bought the used bike if I hadn't had the other one as a parts bike. Both new and used parts are becoming harder and harder to find, and are getting more expensive.
And yes, these bikes do tend to have starting problems. They need a good battery and good spark plugs or they sometimes won't start at all. They have four spark plugs. In fact they seem to have four of everything. 4 cams, 4 cam chains, 4 valves per cylinder, and 4 spark plugs.
If all this doesn't deter you, go for it. But if I didn't have a good parts bike, I would have probably bought a Honda Shadow 1100 Spirit or Sabre (the older carb models)
I am a motorcyclist, NOT a biker.
1997 Vulcan 750, purchased about a week ago
2006 Sportster 1200 Low
2013 Royal Enfield Bullet 500, converted to carb
2001 Yamaha XT225, heavily modified
2004 Honda Rebel 250
1979 Vespa P200E
2002 Vulcan 750 parts bike
1994 Yamaha XT225 parts bike