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Author Topic: Vulcan 500  (Read 1218 times)

Offline JJH

  • Posts: 69
Vulcan 500
« on: September 05, 2016, 09:22:28 PM »
My brother-in-law let me have his 1996 Kawasaki Vulcan 500.  It had sat for 4 years and he was done with it.  A free motorcycle is a free motorcycle so I borrowed a pickup and well picked it up.  Changed the fluids, cleaned the carbs, new battery, put air in the tires.  It started up.  A bit a fiddling and it runs great!  Excellent throttle response.  It really likes to rev up, good brakes, no handling issues (no wobbles or shimmies).  There is nothing wrong with the motorcycle, it is good in every objective way. But there are two things about it that I don't like.  I it is a cruiser style, yeah it has the ninja 500 engine, but it is still a cruiser.  It doesn't seem to fit me correctly, even with adjusting the rear brakes, shifter and pegs.  I just can't get real comfortable.  But that is not a deal breaker, it is "ok".  The real problem is it has no soul.  Even at '96 it seems completely modern and plastic.  I KNOW that it will start when I press the button.  The throttle is perfect, no hesitation, but also no harshness.  This is obviously no a bad thing, but I feel completely different riding the 500.  I personally don't like cruiser styles but I don't have any problem with people who do like them.  I just can't put my finger on it, so I call it having no soul. I think that is why I can't get really comfortable when riding on it.  Although it can perform much better than my R65, here is no emotional response when riding, it is strictly transportation. Outside of when I got it running I generally don't smile when I ride it.  I am always smiling on my R65.

Online Tony Smith

  • Posts: 2274
  • Graduate, Wallace and Gromit School of Engineering
Re: Vulcan 500
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2016, 01:12:49 AM »
Quote
My brother-in-law let me have his 1996 Kawasaki Vulcan 500.  It had sat for 4 years and he was done with it.  A free motorcycle is a free motorcycle so I borrowed a pickup and well picked it up.  Changed the fluids, cleaned the carbs, new battery, put air in the tires.  It started up.  A bit a fiddling and it runs great!  Excellent throttle response.  It really likes to rev up, good brakes, no handling issues (no wobbles or shimmies).  There is nothing wrong with the motorcycle, it is good in every objective way. But there are two things about it that I don't like.  I it is a cruiser style, yeah it has the ninja 500 engine, but it is still a cruiser.  It doesn't seem to fit me correctly, even with adjusting the rear brakes, shifter and pegs.  I just can't get real comfortable.  But that is not a deal breaker, it is "ok".  The real problem is it has no soul.  Even at '96 it seems completely modern and plastic.  I KNOW that it will start when I press the button.  The throttle is perfect, no hesitation, but also no harshness.  This is obviously no a bad thing, but I feel completely different riding the 500.  I personally don't like cruiser styles but I don't have any problem with people who do like them.  I just can't put my finger on it, so I call it having no soul. I think that is why I can't get really comfortable when riding on it.  Although it can perform much better than my R65, here is no emotional response when riding, it is strictly transportation. Outside of when I got it running I generally don't smile when I ride it.  I am always smiling on my R65.

EXACTLY how I feel riding my KLE 500 which also shares the Ninja 500 engine.

I have however instilled some "soul" into the KLE. Carbs from a Ninja 500, cams and pistons from an ER5-N  and a Laser sports exhaust almost do it, albeit at making it a little bit unsafe at low speeds on indifferent surfaces.

It is a lovely little engine, may I suggest buying a Ninja frame and turning it into the sports bike that engine was always meant to be in...
1978 R100RS| 1981 R100RS (JPS) | 1984 R65 | 1992 KLE500 | 2002 R1150GSA |

Offline wilcom

  • Posts: 1485
Re: Vulcan 500
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2016, 01:47:59 AM »
Quote
It doesn't seem to fit me correctly, even with adjusting the rear brakes, shifter and pegs.I just can't get real comfortable.  

Me too, the one time I did about 25 miles on a Honda 750 Shadow. I was on a ride and swapped my R80 RT for my friends Shadow It was a cold morning and I almost didn't get the RT back. He fell in love with his feet behind those nice and toasty cylinders

I really didn't feel that I had as much control of the bike in the "cruiser" riding position. With my legs stretched out in front the cold air was running up my pant legs too, I got tired of that real quick LOL
Joe Wilkerson
Telephone man with a splash of Data
Menifee, CA

Present:
1984 BMW R65LS "Herr Head"
1982 BMW R65LS 
past:
1979 R65
1980 R65
1982 R80RT
1974 R90/6
1972 R75
1964 R50/2
19xx R27
ZX-11

Offline montmil

  • Posts: 8371
Re: Vulcan 500
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2016, 09:03:19 AM »
I'm reminded of a comment I read some years ago regarding egos on these cruiser-style bikes as compared to statues of historical, horseback-mounted heroes:

[size=12]You ever see the rider with his boots forward?[/size]

Monte Miller
Denton, TEXAS
1978 BMW R100S
1981 BMW R65
1983 BMW R65
1995 Triumph Trophy
1986 VW Cabriolet

Offline wilcom

  • Posts: 1485
Re: Vulcan 500
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2016, 09:23:49 AM »
Quote
You ever see the rider with his boots forward?

Joe Wilkerson
Telephone man with a splash of Data
Menifee, CA

Present:
1984 BMW R65LS "Herr Head"
1982 BMW R65LS 
past:
1979 R65
1980 R65
1982 R80RT
1974 R90/6
1972 R75
1964 R50/2
19xx R27
ZX-11

Offline JJH

  • Posts: 69
Re: Vulcan 500
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2016, 02:07:19 PM »
I feel like I am riding on the motorcycle, not riding the motorcycle.  As for the no soul, it is like a small Honda or Toyota sedan.  It will get you there, it will always start, utterly reliable and just plain boring.