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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Chandler, Arizona
Definitely put the rear shocks in the number five (stiffest) position, and inflate the tires to the max pressure on the sidewalls. There is really nothing else you can do with the rear shocks. My bike has almost 44,000 miles on it, still has the original rear shocks, and as long as you don't overload it, they are fine. My first Vulcan 750 (bought new) had over 80,000 miles on it when I sold it, and still had the original rear shocks. You don't replace shocks on most motorcycles like you do on cars, they should last the life of the bike. You are looking at several hundred dollars for new shocks.
While the '86 model did have provisions for adding air to both the front forks and rear shocks, and later models still had Shrader valves on the rear shocks, both the forks and shoks were designed to be used under normal conditions with 0 psi in the forks and shocks.
As for the forks, you should be able to tell if the fork seals are leaking, because there will be oil all around them. First drain and refill the fork oil, according to the manual, if this does not help, drain it again, and refill with heavier oil. Don't overfill, that will blow the seals. If the seals are leaking, more than just a bit of seepage, they will need to be replaced. Again, follow the procedure in the manual. The springs should be fine, like the rear shocks, they are meant to last the life of the bike, or at least 100,000 miles or so.
On many motorcycles, people shim the front springs with pieces of pvc pipe to preload them, I don't know if this is possible with the Vulcan or not.
One more thing. Check the tire wear. Many riders, like me, tend to rack up a lot of miles on interstate highways, which results in wearing out the center of the tire, changing the tire profile, and causing the center of the tire to be flat, kind of like a car tire. When you lean over very far with a tire in this condition, it can cause some strange handling characteristics.
Also remember that while the Vulcan 750 actually handles very well for a cruiser, it is not a sportbike, and won't handle like one. Thankfully, it is a whole lot more comfortable. Jerry.
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