Kawasaki Motorcycle Forums banner

1 - 20 of 73 Posts

·
Dead man walking
Joined
·
1,994 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Saw a nice looking one on eBay for a decent price, and even though I won't get it, I figured I'd ask this for future reference.

How good are the late 90's Vulcan's? I've heard some unsatisfactory stuff from a few people on here I thought, but I haven't seen too many 97's on here. Just wondering if they're a solid bike, what the vibrations are like, performance, potential or known problems, etc.

Thanks.
 

·
Barrett Motorcycle Repair
Joined
·
202 Posts
motor is rubber mounted tollerable vibration , peformance is surprisingly good for a 700lb bike , potential Thunder manufacturing makes 2 different big bore kits , dozens & dozens of aftermarket airboxes pipes seats saddlebags etc etc are available from all kinds of companies even the plastic oil gear isn't even really YOUR problem other than being bikeless for a while because when and if it goes bad Kawasaki picks up the tab , and if your just a nervous nelly Judge Oglesby makes a kit that doesn't require case splitting to install and it works awesome and your only out about $300 . Iown a 97 with a 1620cc kit that rips and my 96 has a Thunder manufacturing 98" kit and it rips both have the Judge kit in them motor work done to just chance it)

 

·
Novice Tank Roller
Joined
·
15,810 Posts
motor is rubber mounted tollerable vibration , peformance is surprisingly good for a 700lb bike , potential Thunder manufacturing makes 2 different big bore kits , dozens & dozens of aftermarket airboxes pipes seats saddlebags etc etc are available from all kinds of companies even the plastic oil gear isn't even really YOUR problem other than being bikeless for a while because when and if it goes bad Kawasaki picks up the tab , and if your just a nervous nelly Judge Oglesby makes a kit that doesn't require case splitting to install and it works awesome and your only out about $300 . Iown a 97 with a 1620cc kit that rips and my 96 has a Thunder manufacturing 98" kit and it rips both have the Judge kit in them motor work done to just chance it)
How much power gain did you get from the kits? Some day I'm going to re-do my entire bike and I'd love to get some really good power out of the motor.
 

·
Dead man walking
Joined
·
1,994 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
motor is rubber mounted tollerable vibration , peformance is surprisingly good for a 700lb bike , potential Thunder manufacturing makes 2 different big bore kits , dozens & dozens of aftermarket airboxes pipes seats saddlebags etc etc are available from all kinds of companies even the plastic oil gear isn't even really YOUR problem other than being bikeless for a while because when and if it goes bad Kawasaki picks up the tab , and if your just a nervous nelly Judge Oglesby makes a kit that doesn't require case splitting to install and it works awesome and your only out about $300 . Iown a 97 with a 1620cc kit that rips and my 96 has a Thunder manufacturing 98" kit and it rips both have the Judge kit in them motor work done to just chance it)

Wow, thanks for all the info. Just what I needed.

Great bikes, by the way; especially the one on the left (I like the basic/old school look).
 

·
Test Pilot
Joined
·
2,916 Posts
A riding buddy of mine has a 97 Classic 1500 (green and cream color) and it's an awesome bike. He's up to about 40,000 miles with his and no hick ups at all. His only complaint is that his bike is only a 4 speed (as opposed to the 5 other 1500's have. His other complaint is gas mileage, again, probably due to being one gear short. He has his bike extremely blinged and it looks absolutely gorgeous. My bike is a 2003 Classic 1500 (Red and silver combo) and even though I love mine, I'd still prefer the green/cream combo. It just makes it look bigger for some reason. I know a couple of other riders who own the 97 and they have never complained to me about their bikes. To me the 97 is a solid work horse, with tons of torque. Hope this helps a bit.
 

·
Deeppurple52
Joined
·
2,072 Posts
Older 1500's

They are 4-speed bikes and have clutch problems, a POG, transmission issues (2nd gear) and dated styling. Unless it is nearly free I would pass on these bikes. While they are enjoyable bikes to ride, their value has settled out at a level at which you can purchase a much newer bike with fewer deficiencies. Pass on these bikes and opt for a newer 5-speed model 1500 if you must have one.
 

·
Novice Tank Roller
Joined
·
15,810 Posts
The only other bit that I would add would be getting FI instead of carb. My 01 is a carbed model. it was a great price and has done fine, but if you want to do power mods, it's easier to deal with changing settings with the FI and you can always re-map several times. With carbs, you have to keep track of needle and jet settings, etc.

I wonder if anyone makes an FI upgrade kit? Probably be easier to just go buy a new one! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
211 Posts
Very happy with my 97 Vulcan. Only problem was the oil pump gear and I put on one of Judges gears many years ago. When I pulled the plastic gear out for replacement it looked like new. Just changed it for my own piece of mind.
Have done all the motor mods on it .coasters,rejeted,gutted EPA,coyote kit, ect. About 30,000 mi. now. As far as the 4 speed. Top gear is the same as the 5 speed ,at least that is what I`ve told. Bought the bike in 98 sold it in 02 so I could buy a Voyager and do some serious traveling. Did my traveling all over this great country. Decided to sell the Voyager in 05 and the day I did .I bought the old Vulcan back from the guy I sold it to. Was really glad to get her back!!!!! She`s like an old bottle of wine that just keeps getting better with age!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
502 Posts
The only other bit that I would add would be getting FI instead of carb. My 01 is a carbed model. it was a great price and has done fine, but if you want to do power mods, it's easier to deal with changing settings with the FI and you can always re-map several times. With carbs, you have to keep track of needle and jet settings, etc.

I wonder if anyone makes an FI upgrade kit? Probably be easier to just go buy a new one! :)
Not if your interested in having the MOST power. Then go with the carbed. If you'll be happy with lot's of power and not the MOST power the FI is the way to go. The bike itself is not horrible. There are a few quirks about them as some have mentioned, the clutch is a pretty easy fix, and if you are going to put a kit in it you need a special clutch anyway, there are some handling quirks with the old 1500's, but only if you corner real hard on some high speed sweepers. I have seen an old woman ride an old 1500 A model and keep up with an average rider on a GSXR 750 on the twisties.

Kev
 

·
Patriot Guardian
Joined
·
28,016 Posts
Change the POG. otherwise, I haven't seen anything bad on them.
I believe Kawi only used the POG in '98 and '99. I think the '97 was the 1st gen 1500 engine.
Seems that failures are only common on the Nomad for some reason.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,344 Posts
I have a '96 1500 ....... Gee, and all this time I thought I was having fun. I didn't realize I was riding a POS. Trash comes Wednesday, I guess I'll put it out. Never realized that the value of my bike varied with the amount of gas in the tank. Can I still post on the forum if I decide to keep my bike?
 

·
humble pie consumer
Joined
·
3,853 Posts
my '97 has given me 68850 miles of fun and almost problem free riding. changed the pog early on. the only other issues were clutch spring wearing out at 52889 miles, cam cover oil leak (fixed under warranty) and replaced heat sensing switch-radiator, again under warranty. the cam chains should be replaced at 50k and i missed that, ouch. it's a **** good bike in my opinion.
 

·
Dead man walking
Joined
·
1,994 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the the info guys, it helps a lot. I'm used to riding my old KZ650, rough around the edges, so I'm used to quirks. If I got a bike like the '97 1500, it'd be a huge upgrade.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
371 Posts
After getting rid of my "expensive to repair HD", I bought a used 98 1500 Classic. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Kept that bike for years, and sold it with over 41K miles. Great on the highway, plenty of torque and great response for a 700 pound bike. No problems, except had to replace a fuel pump at 38K miles. Had it piped, jetted and K&N, among other bling. Sometimes, I wish I still had it, but my 900LT suits me right to the ground.
 

·
Dead man walking
Joined
·
1,994 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
A note on the 4 speed, is shifting 1-down-3 up or all 4 up/down?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,344 Posts
1 down, 3 up. I actually like my 4 speed, but then, I like liver and onions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
97 vulcan 1500

Yikes I just bought this bike, a green and cream 1500 classic. I hope it wasent a mistake, it has 22k miles on it, I have only rode it briefly once since I bought it(we have snow) I did notice some shifting quirks when going from first to second, it seemed to skip ro second and go right to third, I have never ever had a bike before so it could be somethig I did wrong i suppose, but if this is a common problem , whats the fix?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
177 Posts
I believe Kawi only used the POG in '98 and '99. I think the '97 was the 1st gen 1500 engine.
Seems that failures are only common on the Nomad for some reason.
I just bought 96 1500 classic, found out about the POG and started to be concerned about it . asked the original owner if the SOG was done .,he said no ...............nothing ever done to bike like that. So went in to inspect gear.........:shock: found it was steel..........i wounder did some come with steel? So far happy with it .........even the 4 speed.:-
 
1 - 20 of 73 Posts
Top