Kawasaki Vulcan S 650 Notes

Welp… I bought a 2015 Vulcan S 650

I had been researching the Vulcan 800 and 900 series of motorcycles. I was leaning toward the 900 due to the EFI. This motorcycle was to replace my Honda Rebel 300, which I really like, but it’s power was a little lacking for my riding needs (hills).

The problem was… the Vulcan classic and custom were just not my style. I do prefer function over form, but the form on the vulcan cla/cus did not help with the lackluster performance everyone says the motorcycle has. So, I mulled over getting the classic, as I really like the chunkier front tire, and modding all of the fenders and removing all the tacky stuff the previous owner had installed or purchased from the factory.

I had kinda given up on the Vulcan 8/900 so I started looking around for other cruisers; I was eying up the Harley 883… that Harley tax though…

When, I happened to gaze upon the Vulcan S…

It was love at first sight…. and I happened across one for a good price on Craigslist. There are some imperfections that need to be remedied pretty quick. The mirrors are highly functional, thus highly ugly. I’m right at the bridge between the reduced and standard reach, which the bike is set up for, so I’m going to add some reduced reach features to see how they feel. Starting with moving the pegs back an inch; for the cost of about $14, the shift rod modification seems simple and I figure it’s worth a try.

The first thing I noticed when leaving my driveway was the increased turn radius. This definitely did not result in my driving the motorcycle on my across-the-street-neighbor’s sidewalk… definitely did not. Once I got a hang of the lean angles… wow this thing is easy to throw around.

After getting up to speed a bit, there was a marked difference in buffeting received from wind to the helmet, when compared to the Rebel. The Rebel seems to swirl the wind up to my helmet all choppy for some reason (maybe the headlight?); Even adding a windshield helped only a bit at 50+. There were still loud slams of air into the helmet making earplugs necessary. The Vulcan, on the other hand, seemed to maintain the same wind noise from about 30mph +. Also, a fairly noticeable difference in my head being shook by the wind.

Some things I’m planning to adjust:

  • New Tires: Research mostly. They should be good until spring.
  • Battery: seems fine, but This is one of the first things I replace on all vehicles.
  • Mirrors: Remove stock and add bar end.
  • Peg Adjustments

Once the reliability bits are out of the way, starting on the setup of a mobile base station

  • Tidy Tail
  • Small Saddle bags for easier commuting.
  • Driveway Parking adjustment, So I can ride if the ground is soggy.
  • Some sort of Rack behind the seat.
  • Camping gear - cooking, water, etc.
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