I am 50 years old, became an apprentice mechanic for the City of Chandler at 18, right out of high school, and was made a full mechanic less than a year later. With the advent of all the electronics on newer vehicles, my job title was changed to "fleet services technician" several years ago. I'll be right up front about this, I do not believe in mixing electronics and mechanics, and don't believe electronics belong on cars or motorcycles. I have a '64 Ford Fairlane, and a '66 Ford truck, neither of which has any electronics.
I started riding at age 5 on a Briggs&Stratton powered mini bike, got my first real motorcycle at age 8 (a Bultaco Lobito 125, in non running condition), worked on the farm where I lived to make enough money to buy parts for it, and the farm mechanic helped me rebuild it during the off season, and taught me about engines and how they work. I learned how to ride that bike, then proceeded to buy 2 or 3 more dirt bikes, fixed them up and rode them. By the time I was 16, I had pretty much learned all about dirt riding, and was doing wheelies, jumps, and slides. And yes, I crashed a few times, but was never seriously injured.
On my 16th birthday, I got both my drivers license and my motorcycle endorsement, before noon. I had already bought and fixed up a Suzuki GT380, and was out riding it on the street that afternoon, with my temporary license stuffed in my pocket.
I got into racing MX when I was 18, got hurt several times, and finally gave it up around 20 or 21, when the boss reminded me I was not being paid to show up on crutches. I still ride dirt bikes, but no longer race. I've had 10-12 dirt bikes, my current one is a Honda XR400.
I have owned around 30 or so street bikes, close to 20 of them bought new. All different sizes and types. I have racked up over 400,000 miles on the street, I would have to say the Vulcan 750 is my all time favorite street bike. It's not the absolute best at anything, but it is very good at everything. I have never crashed on the street, or ever even dropped a streetbike. I got all that out of the way with dirtbikes. I have had quite a few close calls though.
I have never had any electrical issues with either bike, the only electrical accessory I have ever hooked up to it was a pair of heated gloves, which I still use when riding in temperatures below 30 degrees or so. I did replace the stock battery with a Westco on the '02 Vulcan, as soon as I found out about them. First one lasted just over 5 years, despite my having let it become completely discharged a couple of times. I'm on my second one now. I have not made any modifications to the electrical system.
I have always used standard NGK DPR7EA-9 plugs, changed about every 10,000 miles.
I got lucky on the rear spline thing, I spotted it in the owners manual, bought a Clymer manual, and went ahead and did it after the first 5,000 miles or so. I used to use plain old moly wheel bearing grease, and did it about every 10,000 miles, more recently, I have switched to Guard Dog GD-570 Moly Paste, but still lube the splines about every 10,000 miles. I've been told this is to often, but IMO, better safe than sorry. I am a bit disappointed about the spline thing, I have owned several other shaft drive bikes, including an '84 Goldwing Aspencade, and never lubed the splines, there was nothing about it in the maintenance schedule in the owners manual. I consider this to be a design flaw, the drive shaft should have been designed so the grease would be sealed in, and only have to be relubed if taken apart. But, it is still better than a chain.
I have used Bridgestone, Dunlop, Pirelli, and more recently Metzler ME880 tires. Believe it or not, I was more satisfied with the stock Bridgestones than any of the others. I almost always got around 20,000 miles out of them. I'm on my second set of ME880s, I got about 17,000 out of the last set. The Dunlops and Pirellis are 10,000-12,000 mile tires, I won't be using them anymore. The bike handled very well with any of the above tires.
I have used several brands of oil filters over the years, including OEM Kawasaki. I currently use Emgo filters, both oil and air filters. I do not clean the air filters, I replace them every 10,000-15,000 miles with new ones from denniskirk.com. The one oil filter brand I would not recommend is Fram. I installed one of those once, and it was completely plugged up, the oil light didn't go out, and the oil level didn't drop in the site glass. I immediately shut the engine down, removed the oil filter, went and paid twice to much for a Kawasaki filter, and it worked just fine. I have also used a variety of oils, but lately have been using Mobil 1 synthetic 20w50 v-twin motorcycle oil, changed about every 3,000 miles. I get the oil and filters from denniskirk.com, and order enough to total $75, so I get free shipping and no tax.
The one thing I never had problems with on the '93, but had nothing but problems with on the '02, was the cam chain tensioners. The originals failed at about 17,000 miles, I messed with them several times, got another 5,000 or so miles out of them, I replaced them with a brand new set of OEM Kawasaki tensioners, which lasted about 10,000 miles, and they started making a lot of noise again. I finally gave up and went to manual tensioners about 5,000 miles ago, so far no problems. Since they have never changed the design, and I never had any problems with the ones on the '93, I think it is just a quality control problem.
I have made a few modifications, but nothing to the engine, intake, or exhaust, other than removing the CA evap system, and the complete air injection system. (I am not a believer in emissions controls either, another reason why my car and truck are so old) The Vulcan 750 engine should last over 100,000 miles, but I believe the way to make that happen is to leave the intake and exhaust stock.
I have the Kawasaki extended backrest, luggage rack, saddlebag mounting/turn signal relocation brackets, and the bolt on leather saddlebags from Kawasaki. I have removed the license plate bracket and light, and bolted the plate directly to the fender, by drilling 2 new holes in the plate, and using the existing holes in the fender. Looks a lot cleaner to me. I have a personalized plate "VN750", so those guys on their huge cruisers will know what just passed them. I also installed a flag mount, as I am a member of the PGR. I replaced the round mirrors with rectangular mirrors from a Honda Rebel, installed a Memphis Shades Shooter windshield, replaced the grips with foam ones, installed fringe covers on the levers, relocated the horns, one on each side of the bike, down close to the bottom of the radiator cover, facing outward, removed the Kawasaki emblem from below the headlight, and installed a leather tool bag. I removed the Vulcan 750 emblems from the sidecovers (well actually, they pretty much removed themselves), and polished the round aluminum plates on both sides of the engine with Simichrome polish after most of the writing wore off.
There is one major modification I made that I made that I am hesitant to bring up, because I got so many negative responses about it back when I did it, but that was over 25,000 miles ago, so it is now proven safe. I removed the right brake disc, caliper, and hose. It did not require replacing any parts to do this. Everybody thought I was crazy, but I tested it extensively out away from traffic, and IMO, it performed as well as the dual disc setup, but was more controllable. I made several stops from 100 mph down to 0, holding the front wheel on the verge of lockup all the way. The stopping distances and times were uneffected. I was still able to easily lock the front wheel, which I felt was just a little too easy with both discs. The front brake is now easier to modulate, less prone to accidentally locking up, there has been no brake fade, or abnormal wear of the disc or pads. I use EBC non metallic organic pads. I have never had any issues with this setup, under any conditions. Many much larger heavier bikes only have one front disc. I am not recommending anybody do this, only stating that it worked very well for me.
I almost never use the bike for commuting, which I define as going somewhere you HAVE to go, like work or the store. To me, commuting is no fun, no matter what you do it in or on, and it is handier to take the car. 99% of the time it is used for recreational riding only, and most of that is long trips. I rarely ride less than 100 miles at the time, and have crossed the country and back several times. The Vulcan 750 with saddlebags and a T-bag is ideal for use as a solo touring bike, due to it's reliability, comfort, and ease of repairing flat tires. Plus it seriously out handles a Goldwing, an older one anyway.
Sorry for the super long post, I hope it doesn't crash the server. I type about 90 WPM, I'm faster than our secretary, so I tend to write a book before I realize it. If you have any more questions, just ask away. 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
Last edited by VN750Rider/Jerry; 12-14-2009 at 09:08 PM.