After lots of looking on CL, Ebay, and other sources, finally purchased a motorcycle as a result of asking Pic if he knew anyone that was selling a bike. It just so happened he had a friend in his town that was selling a bike that Pic knew was well-maintained Ė 2003 Vulcan 750 with about 22k miles. Bike is very clean. Came with PF3, Kawaski windscreen, engine guard, KM floor boards (!!), saddlebag supports, luggage rack, saddlebags and tall tail bag. Wasnít really looking to get back onto a cruiser (I owned a 1996 VN750 in the past for about 3 years), but given what I had to spend and what I was finding in my price range, I couldnít pass on this bike given all the extras. If it didnít have all the extras, particularly the KM floorboards (which I believe are no longer available), I wouldnít have purchased the bike regardless of price. Also didnít hurt that the bike happened to be my 2nd favorite VN750 color (1st being the red/gray of my 1996). Seller also threw in a leather jacket (and gave Pic a red JR mesh jacket). All of that for ---- $2500. Seller was originally asking $2800, but I told Pic what I was willing to offer, Pic talked to the guy who said heíd sell it for $2500, and the deal was pretty much done.
My wife and I drove about an hour and 45 min to get to Dixon, I took the bike for a short test ride, and finished the deal. Then rode the bike back home. Upon getting home, I went to a parking lot and did my usual practice routine Ė slow, tight turns, and emergency braking.
I then seemed to recall some websites that had interesting information about the VN750, and found something called the Vulcan Verses ; ) and thought Iíd post a message (and some questions) here.
Here are my initial thoughts comparing the VN to the 2007 Ninja 650 I recently sold:
Handling, acceleration, braking. I wasnít surprised by the first two, but I recall the brakes on my prior VN being better than this. I searched the VN750 site and found others indicate they can lock the front brake up fairly easily, which means I better have these brakes checked.
Tires/grip: Dunlop 404s were mounted on the VN in 2010. Not sure how many miles since then, but plenty of tread left. Had Battax 023s on the Ninja and loved those tires (stock one seriously lack grip in turns). Slid the back end of the VN twice during my practicing of tight turns. I donít know much about the 404s. I understand the ME880s, as well as a few other tires, are supposed to be a big improvement in terms of grip, and I will definitely be changing the tires. I remember I put Pirellis MT66s on my last Vulcan and described them as ďgrippy and tippy.Ē I want to find something as grippy (or better), less tippy, and less expensive than the Metzlers. Read some posts on some Michelins, and might try those. Would get the Pirellis again before laying out the cash for the Metzlers (I think).
Carrying capacity and ease. Had Givi sidebags and top box on the Ninja. However, I still have an old, locking hard case tail box that Pic sold me years ago for my last Vulcan, but I never used it as I soon sold the bike. It will soon be added to the current VN.
I donít like the way the engine guard interferes with shift lever access. I may remove the engine guard.
Did I mention it seems much slower than the 650R?
Wind protection from the PF3 is superb, better than any bike Iíve ever been on before. However, it kinda overwhelms the bike. Will see how the Kaw shield does for summer riding.
Ergos, but by just a little. I was worried I was going to have to add bar risers, as I recall having done so on my prior VN. However, this bike, with stock seat and KM floor boards, seemed to fit almost close to perfection. When I got home, I laid the bars down as far as possible as I was getting some cramping in my right shoulder on the ride home. However, I have a bad shoulder to begin with, so not too unexpected. I will also need to get some sort of seat pad or wear riding shorts as the seat became uncomfortable fairly quickly. Didnít like the Corbin I previously tried as it pulled me back from the bars. Got a Piper seat from Pic, which I liked a lot, but Piper no longer works on seats. Iíve never tried a Mustang, but donít want to lay out that much $$$ for one. I have riding shorts that worked well with my 650r and will get by with those and/or a seat pad.
Lack of plastic wrap. Man, I got tired of dealing with all those fasteners on the Ninja any time I wanted to work on the bike.
Shaft drive (but it seems you guys now lube the splines much more frequently than I recall being necessary. What up with that?).
Cruisablity (go figure!). Seems easier to cruise around town at sub-35mph. Due to low-rpm torque? V-twin vs. P-twin?
Mirrors more stable at highway speeds. 650Rís were about useless.
Looks: My wife and young-adult kids like the Vulcan much better. To me, itís a toss up.
Sound/feel/kinesthetics. Like the sound/feel of the v-twin better than the p-twin in general, but had Yoshi pipe on the Ninja and loved that sound. Stock VN pipe seems OK to me, although I may drill out the baffles (any disadvantages to that?).