Long Distance Touring - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-06-2007, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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Long Distance Touring

Greetings. Next year, my daughter will be going to college in northern Colorado and I'd like to ride out once in awhile from our home in Sacramento, California to see her.

My initial response was to look for a larger, heavier interstate bike and trade in the VN750, but I own the Vulcan free and clear and I'm thinking it might be OK for this. Some of the route will be interstate, but in Salt Lake, the route will peel off and go onto 40 through Utah and into the western Colorado badlands. It's a nice route with not an excessive amount of traffic.

Anyway, my questions:

1. Has anyone done any long distance touring on their VN750s?
2. If so, how did the Vulcan do? Did it get tossed around a lot in dirty air? Did you wish for more weight, more stability, or was the Vulcan OK?
3. Did you use the stock handlebars, or did you change them for touring purposes?
4. Does anyone make a larger windshield or a full fairing for the bike?
5. Any suggestions about outfitting the bike for long distance touring?

Thanks in advance for your responses!!

Bob

Bob
VROC #24344

2005 VN750
PF3
CorTech bags
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-06-2007, 06:18 PM
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check out this site
http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0geu8cfCQ...as.tripod.com/
this site may help answer some of your questions. you maybe able to email him and ask him some questions too. i have a copy of his DVD. he did a real nice job on it.
also, i must say, you can to the right place to ask this (or any) question about the vn750.

Last edited by ruger; 10-06-2007 at 06:31 PM.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-06-2007, 09:15 PM
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JD is a good guy, we have riden together before. He got his 90 new and had it ever sence.
I know the 750 will do good on trips, I have put over 500 miles in one day with no problem, total was just over 1500 miles in 4 days.
There are others who have put alot more on tham me but we have all had good long trips.
I would not hesitate to do 250 in a day without even a hesitation.
I have stock bars and I do not change the position for short ride or long, I do have a Plexfair III on for good wind and built a cup holder to keep hydrated. Total cost on that was under $10.

I just replaced the screws with longer ones and picked up spacers from Ace.

Chad Falstad "Hawk"
Vroc #17649
2011 HD Ultra Classic "angel"
2001 Nomad 1500 Sold March 2012
2001 VN 750 "Sold June with 2008 with 21,000""Serinity"
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-06-2007, 09:31 PM
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The longest trip I've taken so far has been a 1,500 mile round trip (last summer) between SW Ohio and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I traveled two days up, two days back, with three days of R & R in between. The longest day was 523.8 miles; the shortest was 179.8. I thought that my fully-loaded 2006 VN 750 handled it beautifully; and I was surprised that I didn't find it more tiring on my mind/body. (You're talking about a much longer trip, however ~ including badlands and mountains!)

I have a Plexifairing 3 windshield, which provides excellent coverage from buffeting winds, bugs, cold, precipitation, etc.

All of my luggage held up well. I stuck a magnetic bag on the tank and hooked a tailbag to the passenger seat. I yoked saddlebags under the seat (no saddlebag supports), and bungied a duffle bag to the stock rear rack.

On a long trip, ear plugs REALLY help reduce stress/fatigue. (I use ETY-Plugs with a cord that keeps me from losing them at gas stops.) And a throttle lock is helpful for those long, straight stretches.

Eventually I would like to get a more comfortable seat ~ either putting an Airhawk on my stock seat, or replacing my stock seat with a Corbin. (On this trip I sat on a 1'-square cross-stitched foam cushion, and the stuffed tailbag was a nice lower-back support!) Floorboards might have been nice. (I now have a pair special-made by Knifemaker, but I haven't replaced my footpegs yet.) And I should have gotten large rather than medium saddle bags.

Here are a couple photos of my bike loaded up.



EZC


Last edited by EasyRector; 10-06-2007 at 10:05 PM.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-06-2007, 11:26 PM
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It'll be a good ride

I've done a lot of touring on bikes that weren't sold as touring bikes so here's my take on your questions...

Anyway, my questions:

1. Has anyone done any long distance touring on their VN750s?
A: Only 350 - 400 a day. Some have done much more.

2. If so, how did the Vulcan do?
A: OK for a 750. Small gas tank, underpowered if trying to keep up with touring bikes (wings or other big twins) especially if you are loaded down. If you are riding in hot weather, the fan and the rear cylinder really heat me up.

Did it get tossed around a lot in dirty air?

A: For me, yes. I was riding in Eastern Washington and got caught in a dust storm with high winds and sand - very unpleasant.

Did you wish for more weight, more stability, or was the Vulcan OK?
A: I wished, but nothing happened ;-) Yes, yes, and OK. The skinny front tire doesn't track as smooth as the big boys.

3. Did you use the stock handlebars, or did you change them for touring purposes?
A: Stock at the time. I now use Kawasaki black anodized from a Spectre.

4. Does anyone make a larger windshield or a full fairing for the bike?
A: For me this is a must to reduce fatuge
http://www.memphisshades.com/metric_home.shtml

5. Any suggestions about outfitting the bike for long distance touring?
A: Lots of luggage space, bright clothes, vibe reducing gloves, a backrest, and ibuprofen. More luggage space, cup holder.

Making or buying a rear rack to hold a small cooler is a good addition. If you don't have bags on your bike you can add a great deal of luggage space with 'carry on bags' thrown over your seat. Tank bags are great too.

One more thing - stay in a hotel with a hot tub!
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-07-2007, 10:14 AM
Drive less, ride more...
 
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I'll be happy to add my experience here, too....

The main thing I would caution against is the seat. For many people, the stock seat does induce "butt burn" after about 70-100 miles of riding.

Several solutions are available, but what works best for you is of course up to you.

I think this bike is much better for long-distance rides than a lot of other cruisers because of how it's equipped:

*shaft drive--no chain to lube or adjust. Just make sure the splines are properly lubed!!!! Funny how all the big touring bikes don't have a belt drive, either.....

*a centerstand--makes repairing a flat tire easier (or dare I say it, even possible?). Try repairing a flat without a centerstand! The centerstand also makes it easier to check oil levels, tire pressures, & loading/unloading the bike. I use it at fill-ups, too.

*tubeless tires--makes repairing a flat very doable in the field. With a tubed tire, good luck...! No spokes to tune or adjust, later.

The fuel tank is 3.5 gallons, which should give you a range of 150 miles, no problem...assuming the bike is in good tune and tires are properly inflated.

I'm not sure that it's totally fair to compare this bike (which retailed for 6 grand) to the big touring bikes and cruisers (which retail for twice as much, or more). But this bike uses notably less gas than they do....cruises comfortably at 70-75 mph, and that's fast enough for 2 wheels, most of the time.

The bike has a true counterbalancer in the engine, and (in good condition) is vibration-free from idle to redline. So you shouldn't have problems with numb hands after a long ride.

The AMA has some good touring advice, at: http://www.amadirectlink.com/roadrid.../33secrets.asp

Otherwise, most of the info given in this thread I'll go along with.

'05 VN750



For other bike pix & mods, go to:
http://s1203.photobucket.com/albums/...k/VN750%20pix/

Last edited by theauhawk; 10-07-2007 at 11:37 AM.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-07-2007, 12:07 PM
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One caution is that with a windshield (I recently put one on and love it) you DO get tossed around a bit more in dirty air/ strong winds (it's been unseasonably windy... started the DAY after I put the windshield on).

I HIGHLY recommend the mustang seat. There's one on e-bay currently and they sometimes pop up here and at the Y! group. 320166905167 is the item # for the one on e-bay (the link was posted by another member here).

It goes without saying that ya probably want to take a longish ride (2-300 miles round trip) before attempting the LONG ride you're talking about. I semi-routinely take trips to the coast with my wife on the bike (2-300 miles round trip). We and the bike handle it with no problems - though I don't think I'd want to do much more than 500 miles per day.

Curtis - Albany Oregon.
Currently receiving therapy from "Doc" - My 1985 VN700.

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Bought Feb 2007 with 12K miles.
Hit the 24k mile July 2008

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-07-2007, 03:39 PM
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Just for Fun

I bought a Honda GL500 for $200 to play with. With a 4.7 gal tank, solo seat, tons of luggage space, shaft, prolink mono, air forks, faring, and 60 + mpg, I rarely ride my VN on long trips unless it's with the V-Twin crowd. I have lights everywhere on the thing including spots and I never worry about battery charge, hot starting issues, stator burn out... It just runs and runs -all the way up to 10k RPM!
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-08-2007, 12:11 AM
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I've done several 3 day - 1000mi.+ rides on my Vulcan. I personally don't have much of an issue with the stock seat, but I was on dirtbikes a lot longer than the Vulcan, so I'm kinda used to an uncomfortable seat.

On one of my longer rides, I used an external framed backpack mounted on the rear rack for most of my lighter luggage (ya want to try to keep the center of gravity nearest the center of the bike as ya can). The heavier stuff went in the saddlebags (keeping the weight low on the bike is also a good idea)

I did one of those rides with the PlexyIII shield. It took some getting used to, but it never had me feeling too uncomfortable if a gust caught me. Just gotta remember to ALWAYS pay attention while riding. Sure, the view may be spectacular, but there not much to view from a recovery bed if something catches ya totally off guard! If you want a good look, pull over, experience the view, then ride on.
And, don't forget, controlling a bigger/heavier bike that will still get some effects from wind could wear you out faster/easier than having to control a lighter bike.

Experience plays a big roll in knowing what the bike will do in certain situations (such as wind gusts). Like Curtis said, get used to really long rides a little bit at a time, don't rush it all at once if you haven't already done rides atleast 1/2 as long as what you expect to do for visiting your daugher.

I have stock handle bars. I'm about 5'7" and have them mounted just about parallel to the forks and that works good for me.

There may be some "universal" fairings you could make fit with some creative engineering, but there was one made specifically for the 750 Vulcan, but they're usually hard to come by and go for near top dollar when they are offered for sale. But some people have got lucky and found them cheap.

The limited mileage didn't bother me or my riding buddy much, seeing as we both smoke, so the fuel stops were kinda looked forward to.

Some kind of highway bars would be a good idea. More than a few types have been made by bike owners themselves, out of easy to acquire parts and pieces. Just need some minor mechanical skills and it's not to hard to come up with something that'll work. (just be sure they're mounted securely!!)

And, one requirment for sharing all this personal experiance.....

....TAKE A CAMERA!!! We want ride pics!! LOL
And good luck to your daughter at school!!


AKA: Tim & 'The Adventure Cycle' VROC #24567, NEVROC, SteelCity VROC


"When life throws you curves,
Aim for the apex."

Author Unknown
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-08-2007, 02:18 PM
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Touring and Rider size

I'd like to add I too am 5'7" and the VN fits my size better than any other V-twin.

The back rest made from luggage is a back saver... Great post hyperbuzzin.
Are our legs long enough for hwy pegs?

What I don't like about my GL500 compared to the VN is it's very top heavy and I'm on my toes when I stop. It does have awesome ground clearance - no chance of grinding on the corners with that thing!

Anyone over 6'5" on their VN's?
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