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KAWASAKI VULCAN 750

submitted by gYpSy Michelle

A wonderful purchase for the beginner biker who is of stature at 5'-8" or taller! At a modest and negotiable sticker price of $5999, it offers just about all the conveniences of low maintenance and road-worthiness on the Interstates. It's a bike you can grow into, as I've ridden it 79,000 miles in the three and half years I've been riding.

This motorcycle has remained essentially the same with very few modifications as comes from the manufacturer since 1985. That means parts are plentiful and even though the price of new parts exceeds practical limits, the salvage parts market is your friend when the warranty runs out!

Check out the following:

PROS:
bullet Low price for nice features, I believe it’s still just under $6,000, and don’t let any dealer tack-on a bunch of “prep charges”, etc. Don’t believe it, and besides, with the stagnant economy now, it’s a “buyers’ market” and you can probably talk them down on price.
 
bullet This motorcycle has remained essentially the same with very few modifications as comes from the manufacturer since 1985. That means parts are plentiful and even though the price of new parts exceeds practical limits, the salvage parts market is your friend when the warranty runs out!
 
bullet Liquid-cooled engine w/radiator, which is great when stuck in traffic jams.
 
bullet Shaft-driven final drive, which means no chain or belt maintenance, which is a real time-saver.
 
bullet Hydraulic engine valves, which means no valve adjustments
 
bullet Tubeless tires, which means easier tire repairs and/or changes
 
bullet Five speed, which is all you’ll ever need between crawling and up to about 80mph.
 
bullet Comes with tachometer, speedometer and lighted indicator lights for oil pressure, high beam, neutral and headlight malfunction warning as standard equipment.
 
bullet Stock seat is adequately comfortable and soft. After an extended trip of over 3 hours, some discomfort will be noticed. Aftermarket seats are available, but expensive.
 
bullet Overall, simple and well-engineered motorcycle, been around since 1985 and is practically the same model all this time, which means salvaged or used parts are mostly interchangeable.
 
bullet Steering geometry is set at “average” position for just about any motorcyclist. Good place to start if you plan on graduating to larger bike.
 
bullet Dry weight (without rider) is about 486 pounds. By comparison to other bikes, this is “right in the middle”. The average female (5-8, 150 pounds, say) would not have a problem feeling in control of the bike while sitting still, but once dropped to the ground, may need some assistance in raising the bike.
 
bullet 750cc engine is about the least engine horsepower/torque I would ever consider. Anything smaller than that is not only dangerous in an emergency (to get “out of the way”), but is not highway worthy when traveling interstates or busy highways. THIS IS IMPORTANT! Many people underestimate this need. Moving with the flow of the traffic is very important as statistics bear out many accidents occur when the rider/driver “is moving at a slower speed than the flow of traffic”. 750cc’s is a bit advanced as far as power for a total beginner, but it doesn’t take terribly long to learn how to control it, anyway. Most insurance underwriters provide estimates on motorcycles with lower costs up to 750cc. After 750cc, your insurance costs will go up dramatically, based on engine power alone!

CONS:

bullet Compared to some other motorcycles on the market, seat height (27.5 inches from the ground) might be a bit too high if the individual is under 5’-8”. With a ground clearance of just under 6 inches (150 mm), there are suspension modifications that can be performed to “drop the frame” (lower) an inch or so. These include aftermarket shocks and/or fork springs. Some have cut the front fork springs or spacers (inside the tubes) but this greatly affects ride quality and suspension behavior under hard braking. Cutting the spacer is tricky, since you should always maintain some preload on the fork spring (you don’t want it banging into the top of the fork tube cap when the suspension goes through radical travel compression).

Shaving some of the seat foam in the seat is another option, but comfort is compromised by this action. There are other ways around the problem too, like fabricated suspension mods, but I don’t recommend “mickey mouse” fixes since proficient welding is imperative.
 
bullet NOTE THIS: ALL JAPANESE MOTORCYCLES, BUT ESPECIALLY THE KAWASAKI'S, HAVE OVER INFLATED REPLACEMENT PARTS PRICES! Know that, if outside warranty (one year), and something breaks, it helps a great deal to either have a trusted and fair mechanic who can work some miracles or be handy yourself. The replacement parts prices are double what they should be as I’m finding out now that I've past 53,000 miles on my present bike!! Kawasaki has no interest in selling you parts; they want to sell new motorcycles only, and they see to that. It’s how they keep the showroom price so low.
 
bullet Hydraulic engine lifters (tappets) and cam chain tensioners do have problems (malfunctioning, noise) after say, 30,000 miles max. This is typical for this bike and some mechanical attention to the valve train should be planned on.
 
bullet The aesthetic appearance of the motorcycle does not appeal to all riders. The basic “look” of the motorcycle has been unchanged since 1985. Some find the muffler system to appear anemic (restrictive) even though it is not. Just the same, the design of the bike is somewhat dated by appearance, and if you can overlook this (or customize it), you will be getting a good buy.

The Vulcan 750 comes shipped from the factory as 482 pounds. You can "safely" (according to Kawasaki) add 397 pounds total in addition with riders, luggage and accessories. Beyond that, the stability of the frame is compromised and of course, those ratings are dependent upon quality tires comparable with what the bike was originally equipped with.

If you'd like MORE info on the 750, check out my website where you can even ask me questions on the "email me" link at the bottom of the homepage!

Whatever you do, just GO OUT THERE AND HAVE FUN!

Thanks to gYpSy for submitting this personal review. gYpSy says, "An automotive mechanical background gives me (and you, the reader!) an advantage of a practical view of this motorcycle. I've been riding since 1999 and have owned two motorcycles, both this model."

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