Vulcan 900 Custom.

Discussion in 'Kawasaki Big Bikes Thailand' started by Ian Bungy, Mar 3, 2010.

  1. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    The recent Test in "Motorcycle USA" between the Middleweight Cruisers!
    Interesting to See the Vulcan came out on Top!!! I was in Kawasaki Chiang Mai the other Day and they Had a New Vulcan in Matt Black exactly the same as used in This Test which had just been Delivered. I must Say a Beautiful Bike if You are into that Style? It is now sitting in their Main Show Room, Go and Check it out!!!
    See the full Test here:
    http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/10/6061/M ... otout.aspx
     
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  3. ray23

    ray23 Ol'Timer

    I know one thing for sure I like my 800 perfect bike for me. I assume there are improvements in the 900.
     
  4. KenYam

    KenYam Ol'Timer

    Thanks for the website Ian, good write up - went to dealer in cnx and Vulcan already sold - still having a lot of fun on Faser but one day a cruiser.

    Ken F
     
  5. ray23

    ray23 Ol'Timer

    Anyone got the contact information on the dealer in Chaing Mai?
     
  6. KenYam

    KenYam Ol'Timer

    Ray CNX Kawa Dealer address is ---113 Chang Lor Rd, Haiya, Muang district, Chiang Mai ----Ph 053-201509, 053-270381-2, Fax 053-201510

    Cheers Ken F
     
  7. ray23

    ray23 Ol'Timer

    Thanks Ken
     
  8. Kiwi Cruiser

    Kiwi Cruiser Ol'Timer

    My old Vulcan 400 was a good little bike, but somewhat underpowered. The desperate struggle to keep up with Bungy on the 900 Tiger, and Tim on the CB1300 on a trip to Pai was the nail in the coffin for it... My dream bike was always the Vulcan 900 Custom - but at 460,000 THB, the price put it somewhat outside my budget! Its funny how things work here though... I rode a 1992 Shadow 1100 for over 12 months, and sold it in June last year. Never stopped admiring the Vulcan 900 Custom...

    A couple of months ago, The Goddess and I were over at the Sob Ruak lookout with her two children. We visited the old temple on the hilltop above the lookout car park, and of course we all had to make the obligatory wish at the cast-iron Buddha... the deal is explained in the photo below; :D
    [​IMG]

    As you've no doubt guessed by now, when my turn came, I politely wished the Buddha would facilitate the acquisition of a black Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom... that was back on 25th Jan 2010 :lol:

    In early Feb, I bought The Goddess an Alpine Stars jacket... and towards the end of the month, took delivery of a mint-condition Phantom Custom 200 for her. I got a top box fitted for it at a Honda shop here in Chiang Rai, on the corner near the Night Bazaar. We were looking at the new Black Flame Phantom Custom, and I had toyed (briefly) with the idea of buying one. :oops: But I'd kept looking and thinking and waiting...
    [​IMG]

    While we were there, the elderly lady boss mentioned something about her brother in Bangkok sending his big Kawasaki chopper back to Chiang Rai for sale... she knew nothing of its details but thought it was 900cc. My ears pricked up immediately at "gow roi cc" because that immediately screams "Vulcan!" The bike duly arrived in town last weekend, and lo and behold!!! A shiny BLACK 2008 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 CUSTOM!!! In pristine condition, with a mere 7400 kms on the clock!!! And 30% under the current retail price! Good grief... An extraordinary coincidence?
    [​IMG]

    Actually, its quite bizarre when you think about it. There are so few Vulcan 900 Customs in the country overall... Not all of them are black, and there's not an abundance of 2nd-hand ones... To have precisely the wished-for model and colour appear in a Chiang Rai shop that neither of us have been into before is stretching the odds even further! It now graces my carport with its presence....
     
  9. ray23

    ray23 Ol'Timer

    Happy for you got to be a sweet ride.
     
  10. Kiwi Cruiser

    Kiwi Cruiser Ol'Timer

    Colin, I loved the old 400 - whilst under-powered, it was as solid as a rock on the highway, and the 21in front wheel meant it never flinched on the gravel surfaces either.

    Having ridden the 1100 Shadow for a year, I found it alarming on gravel :shock: and soft in the middle on long sweeping corners - inclined to disconcerting frame-flex - just like my old GL 1000 Goldwing of 25 years ago!

    The Vulcan 900 is a real dream to ride! Whilst no horsepower figures are published, its certainly got a ton of power from top to bottom of a broad rev range. It surprised me - even at 75 - 80kph in top gear, it pulls immediately away, fast and smoothly. Drop it down to 3rd and light it up, its pure joy! :lol:

    I'm a shaft-drive fan - but that belt-drive system is impressive!

    Mountains... thats what I need next! Actually, I NEED Highway 1148, I think, for a real road test.
     
  11. KenYam

    KenYam Ol'Timer

    Well congradulations Ben and great story - I too am wishing for same and have only ever see one before for sale 6 months ago at Phuket same condition and price but red colour with a ugly rack on the back, unfortunately I was working away at the time.
    You are the first person I know that actually owns a 900 custom so I will be very interested in your views of this bike as you become accustomed to her ride, well done.

    regards Ken F
     
  12. Kiwi Cruiser

    Kiwi Cruiser Ol'Timer

    Ken, you can be assured that there are trip reports coming up! :) I've been starved of rides for months, and eager to hit the blacktop!

    The bike is naked, bereft of luggage racks. However, some research shows that there's a 900 Custom-specific OEM Kawasaki luggage rack / sissy bar combo items that looks ok;
    [​IMG]

    Wil make a visit to Kawasaki Chiang Mai next week to inquire on pricing - and a tasteful windshield would be nice - the preference for riding with an open-face helmet and sunglasses is all very well, but the bugs are a bitch! 8)

    Yesterday was a 280km loop out through the back roads to Chiang Khong and back through Thoeng to Chiang Rai. There's some roadworks out there - and that 21in front wheel is a joy on the gravel patches... The 900 Custom handled the dirt damned near as as well as my old Honda XR500 trail bike used to - and the seat height is not much different either! :lol:

    The major impression on the Vulcan 900 after the ride is its just rock- solid and stable on the road - no bad manners at all, it handles well. Suspension is maybe a little stiff - I have no manual and no idea where / how the suspension is adjusted yet. Its a big, heavy bike and the side view gives no appreciation of the bulk. That 20 litre fuel tank is huge! :shock:

    The Shadow 1100 tank held a tiny 12 litres, meaning highlights on all longer trips included the relief of sighting Shell, PTT and Pure gas stations! In fact, the 190kms and return from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai necessitated 1 fuel stop to reach each end!
     
  13. ray23

    ray23 Ol'Timer

    I'm getting about 190 out of a tank on the 800 how does the 900 compare?
     
  14. Kiwi Cruiser

    Kiwi Cruiser Ol'Timer

    Ray, I'm really not sure yet. I topped the tank up when I got it, and we had a short ride - maybe 50 kms, followed by the 125 km ride out to Chiang Khong. At approx 110kms on the return leg, I put 425 baht of 91 gasahol in it - approx 15 litres. Gauge was showing almost into the red - but that means there was another 5 litres in it.

    Therefore, approx 15 litres for approx 280 kms. As the tank holds 20 litres, it appears that the bike has both good economy and range.

    A basic calculation on those approx details indicates;
    5.06 Litres per 100 Km
    52.77 Miles Per (Imperial) Gallon (4.55 litres)

    That said, I was being kind to the The Goddess who was tagging along on the Phantom, and I was cruising quietly at 95 - 100kph max. (Except for the joyous truck / bus overtaking manoeuvers, when I unleashed it a bit) :D

    Anyway, I'll certainly be interested to see how efficient it is at normal highway cruising speeds.

    NB: The Cruiser review Ian referred in the initial post noted 222 miles out of a tank - 350 kms!

    My best day on the Shadow's 12 litres was 126 miles
    My worst day on the Shadow's 12 litres was 80 miles :)
     
  15. ray23

    ray23 Ol'Timer

    That's pretty darn good
     
  16. nikster

    nikster Ol'Timer

    I am really not into choppers all that much.

    But the black Vulcan with the matte black exhausts looks simply stunning. Saw in the Chiang Mai showroom. Awesome, awesome bike. Bookmarked it for when I am older. She's a beauty!!
     
  17. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Ben Happened to call in at the X-Centre this afternoon and Very Kindly let Me take His 900 for a Ride :shock: Anyway what a brilliant comfortable Bike. It really does handle Well and even Has Brakes!!! The initial impression was the Foot Pegs were to Far forward but as soon as You are moving it all seems to feel quite Natural and Comfortable. Very Smooth Gearbox. Fantastic smooth Power and Torque. I am Sold if You want a Cruiser this is it!!! :wink: The Last Cruiser I Rode was a Harley Davidson Fat Boy and I believe the 900 Vulcan Has More Power and it Definitely did everything Else Much Better 8)
     
  18. ray23

    ray23 Ol'Timer

    What's the engine heat like on the 900?

    800 runs pretty warm, no fan unless your putt putting around town. But you can feel the engine heat on your legs even on the open road.
     
  19. schackster

    schackster Ol'Timer

    I had a 900 Classic last year and loved it. No problem with engine heat at all. Handled like a dream given its a cruiser. Smooth as can be . Easy to remove the baffles which gave it a really pleasant roar , no adverse loss of power . Added a few cosmetic chrome bits that I got from Ebay including a Memphis quick release screen which helped a lot with the bugs . Put on some Bridgestone whitewalls which looked great but a pain in the arse to keep clean.

    Unfortunately, had to sell it when we moved from KL to CM.

    If im not mistaken, the "Customs" alloy rims are tubeless which makes it much easier to repair a puncture with a plug

    http://img180.imageshack.us/img180/705/vn900020.jpg
     
  20. ray23

    ray23 Ol'Timer

    The 800 is about like riding a Phantom in handling, they got that part right for sure.

    No engine heat and no chain that has got to be a great ride.
     
  21. Kiwi Cruiser

    Kiwi Cruiser Ol'Timer

    Return leg from the X-Centre to Chiang Rai, via 107 past Chiang Dao, through 1150 (Phrao) to Wiang Pa Pao and on to Chiang Rai. Two-up, no baggage.

    Distance: 280kms
    Fuel: 13.3 litres of 91 gasahol
    4.73 litres per 100 kms
    59.52 miles per gallon (Imperial)

    Cruising at 110 kph on the main highway, lots of traffic. Riding fairly hard through the hills, I managed to touch my right boot heel on the tarmac a couple of times!!! Given that the Vulcan has the best ground clearance of the 4 bikes in the review referred to above, I was working hard on those corners. :lol:

    I noticed several times that the bike did not go into hard left turns as well as it did into right turns... I went off-line more than once, and this puzzled the hell out of me! Eventually, I began to carefully analyze that issue... Turns out, The Goddess does not like hard (or off-camber) left-handers!!! :shock: Her 50kgs leaning the wrong way was causing the issue... We've discussed this...

    Notes:
    1.) The right passenger foot peg is close to the top (stock) exhaust.
    2.) Heels on ladies shoes melt if in close proximity to exhaust pipes! :shock:
    3.) The lady will now wear her new biker boots without being asked!
    4.) I'm about to order some rear floorboards...

    So, a bit over 1000 kms through the past week leaves me feeling very happy with the bike overall. Handling is good in all conditions so far encountered, and its a joy on the 60 - 80 kph winding corners in the mountains - going up or down. 1150 from Phrao to Wiang Pa Pao has some good fast uphill twisties, and throwing the bike from side to side through those was a pleasure!

    Brakes:The brakes are excellent!!!

    Power: Acceleration is good at any speed, with very even power across the range. The most surprising aspect to me is the way it pulls so smoothly from as low as 60kph in top gear! The 50hp recorded on the dyno test in the review are not little Shetland ponies, they are definitely Clydesdale draught-horses! The torque from the v-twin is a delight as you're coming out of the tight uphill corners!

    Engine Heat: I tend to tuck my knees in tight on the tank - and yes, there's some noticeable heat coming out from under there! Especially so at lower speeds, and stopped at the lights - but no more so than previous v-twin bikes I've owned (400 Vulcan / 1100 Shadow).
     
  22. ray23

    ray23 Ol'Timer

    Good write up.

    Thanks
     
  23. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Ben
    Great to see you back on a bike Riding.
     
  24. KenYam

    KenYam Ol'Timer

    Ben thanks for sharing your new bike's ride it sounds like your more than happy and 60 mpg is also good for this size bike. Bungy and Gary were also happy with the vulcan ride, Garys suggestion on baffle removal is interesting as the stock pipes are a bit quiet, dont you think ?
    Another GTR mate is also following your experiences on your custom as he is also impressed with the bike write ups.

    Cheers Ken F
     
  25. Kiwi Cruiser

    Kiwi Cruiser Ol'Timer

    Hi Ken

    Not sure I'm ready for removing baffles just yet! :)

    Actually, the Custom's pipes produce quite a nice throaty rumble as it is, but without being either offensive or deafening. Or, maybe I'm getting old? Anyway, I like it just the way it is. Aside from that, I'm not sure what impact baffle removal has on back-pressure, tuning and emission control systems, so at this point, I'd rather not mess with things I don't understand.
     
  26. SojournerVTX

    SojournerVTX New Member

    Hi Kiwi Cruiser, sent you an email but might have gone to your spam box. Curious about your Custom during a cold startup. Do you experience a very fast idle that seems to last a long time. Also, even after it's warmed up does the idle jump up for more than a few seconds every time you start the bike. The reason I ask is that a lot of American owners are complaining about this. Not sure if our warmer climate doesn't bring this on or we have the European emission version here in LOS, or what.
     

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