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If this belongs in a different section, I apologize. It's been awhile. Anyway, I'm looking at grabbing a used cruiser for my step-dad. He used to love to ride until he had to sell his bike due to his divorce, but he still yearns to be out there on the roads again. However, I'm a sport bike guy, and know next to nothing about cruisers.

What are the main factors that made you choose the model you did? Why Kawasaki over the other brands (please don't turn this into a brand bash fest)? What are some of the biggest things I should consider when hunting down the bike for my step-dad? I'm hoping to buy it without him knowing, but would it be considerably wiser to let him find one that he finds more comfortable?

If it helps out at all too, he's about 6'2" and an average build. Will this make any big difference, or will most cruisers still be able to handle it all pretty well?
 

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Strat Man ... ok, PRS too
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I chose Kawasaki because of my past satisfactory experiences, and I wasn't going to spend Harley money. The Honda's seemed too sterile to me. Many people like Yamaha's but my wife has had a no Yamaha rule since I met her in college just over 20 years ago (personal, having to do with a friend she lost).

The Kaws are true V Twins with torque and noises and all that kind of stuff. You "feel" what you are riding. It is nowhere near a Gold Wing, sewing machine ride.

If that works for him, metric cruisers are great used purchases. The 900s look like plenty of bike to me, but I went 1600. No lack of anything for someone who has been out of riding for while - like I was earlier this summer.
They seem like well put together bikes that should last a long while.

Hope this helps, and congrats on looking out for him this way. Good on ya ...
 

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Do you know what he used to ride? The 900 would be a great bike to get back into the saddle. Depends on what kind of riding he does.
 

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Well my first was a 750 Vulcan. Primary reason I bought that was #1 price, #2 I knew the owner. Low miles and a good value. I still have it but its definetly neglected lately (ride time that is, she still gets TLC). It is a great bike but I'm a big guy and wanted something with more suspension / seat options and taller gears, (plus the 750 revved high on the slab).

For my second bike there were some things I was definetly looking for. Plus I had a bike so there was no hurry. I didn't have Harley money so that was out and so was anything new. So the must haves were; classic style, low mileage, water cooled, and shaft drive. Then windshield, and bags, and pipes or other accessories were a plus based on the price. I didn't like the way the Honda's sounded with aftermarket pipes. Plus I like the blacked out motor with chrome, which the VTX's didn't have. So from a price standpoint with the other things I was looking for the Vulcan 1500 / 1600 Classic or the Suzuki 1500 Intruder / Boulevard fit the bill.

Last July I found a nicely accessorized Vulcan 1500 Classic and love it:biggrin: . Just regular maint, and 7K later no problems. Looking back the only other thing I wish I would have included on the must have list was fuel injection. I hear they have a little more power, plus my is a little tempermental on low end throttle response these cold mornings til she warms up. Then its all good!

Another thing to consider, if he doesn't ride the highway that often, the 900 is a great looking bike and I believe insurance is about half on bikes under 1000 cc's At least with my 750 compared to my 1500.

Sorry so long, just my .02, good luck with the bike!! Let us know what you end up getting.
 

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I am 55, 6'2", not overweight and with gym 3-4 times a week quite fit. However I still find my 900 a little heavy at times especially parking up etc, it is for this reason I would not go for a bigger bike. I hope to continue riding until I no longer have enough strength to handle the bike. My view is that the 900 is a perfect size. I use it for running around town and for long trips.
 

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Why Kawasaki? Good question. All of the major producers put out good products and have for a long time. Kaw's do not ride like a sewing machine as mentioned above, however, they are still very smooth cruising bikes witha bit of nastiness to them. Apart from that, the differences are appearance and ergonomics. Kaw's definitely sit differently than other makes.

Here's what you might want to consider. Tell him you are considering a cruiser and ask if he would go look at a couple. Go to a large multi-brand dealer if possible and have him sit on a few. That way you could find out what he actually likes and prefers.
 

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Why Kawasaki? Good question. All of the major producers put out good products and have for a long time. Kaw's do not ride like a sewing machine as mentioned above, however, they are still very smooth cruising bikes witha bit of nastiness to them. Apart from that, the differences are appearance and ergonomics. Kaw's definitely sit differently than other makes.

Here's what you might want to consider. Tell him you are considering a cruiser and ask if he would go look at a couple. Go to a large multi-brand dealer if possible and have him sit on a few. That way you could find out what he actually likes and prefers.

Good one! Sneaky, but excellent none the less. ;)

What we like might not be his cup of tea.
 

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I also hadn't ridden regularly in 30 years. Just an occasional ride on a borrowed bike. When I was getting back into it recently, I wanted a cruiser that sounded nice and traditional. This means a single crank pin (triumph thunderbird aside) and most manufacturers offer them now as it gives the 'appropriate' experience . Once I identified bikes with that sound, my priorities were: water cooling, electronic fuel injection, harmonic balancers, and a belt drive. I could have lived with a shaft drive. This led me to the vn900. Someone who's ridden before will be right a home on it and it's large enough that one won't out grow it. Your step dad will remember when a 750 cc bike was big. Plus, it can get great gas mileage. One's desire might want bigger but it won't be necessary in all but the unusual circumstance. There are good deals on barely used ones out there. My wife gave me mine for Christmas last year and scored a really good deal on a used bike with 108 miles on it. It still had the original, unstabilized tank of gas in it. The first stop was for some octane booster and sea foam. :( Of course it was in the middle of winter. I think this model is very popular and will remain in the Kawasaki line up for a lot of years. There is lots of help on this forum for the bike as well.

Anyway, I'd recommend a vn900 classic for your step dad. It's way cool that you're doing this for your step dad.

Rick
 

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but still a NooBie
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I had a motorcycle back in my teenage years, Yamaha 350cc, back when everything was two-stroke. Lots of torque, lots of power, lots and lots of torque. ;) Fast forward through college, marriage, kids, and kids leaving, and I picked up the Vulcan 900LT (2006).

Why Kawa? A few years ago I bought a great riding mower (1.5 acres) and it turned out to have a Kawasaki engine. I have nearly 300 hours on that engine, my brother has the same riding mower with nearly 1000 hours, and he knows another guy with the same mower with over 2000 hours on his engine...all with no problems whatsoever. I was very impressed with the Kawa engine, so when I decided to get another motorcycle, it was natural (for me) to check out Kawasaki's especially close. And the 900 was a perfect fit.

BTW: lots of riding mowers come with Kawa engines...Husqvarna, John Deere, etc. They are an upgrade from the Briggs&Stratton or Kohler engines. High quality mowers...high quality engine. High quality motorcycle.
 

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I chose my 1500 classic because it seemed like the best buy for the money at the time. I looked at the Honda VTX 1300, but at the same price I got a 1500, and fuel injection, plus I just like the sound & looks of the Vulcan.
 

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I like the "sneaky" method of identifying what he might like. Have him test sit as many bikes as possible and watch his eyes to see if he takes a trip to the past. That's a dead give away........................

P.S. I like my 1500 Classic FI, the best bike I've ever ridden.
 

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Depends on how much money you are willing to spend...I do believe the 900 is a good choice but if you have the bucks an 1100 is a good choice also..I prefer Kawi's but have owned Honda's and they are great bikes too. Right now there are 2 Kawi's in the stable.Cruisers are the way to go for us older folks.
T.O.
 

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Many roads -little time
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I had a Honda 350 about 35 years ago when you could buy them for $600 and nothing since until June of last year. I took the MSF course and then bought a Honda Aero 750. When I got it I was scared to death because it was so big and powerful. By September, it was too slow and just didn't have enough power so I sold it and got a new Kawi 900LT.The Honda Aero just didn't have the power for going up the canyons without shifting to a lower gear. With the 900, I almost never have to downshift. I have had the 900 since September and I am still very happy with the power and size of it. Of course I only have 3000 miles on it.
Whatever you decide on, talk him in to taking the MSF course as a refresher. It is well worth it.
 

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Get a Vulcan 1500 Classic

I am over 60 years young and have had all the bikes that have been made over the years and I think if you got him a 900 kaw he would want a bigger bike after a few years for running the highways with 2 up or just makeing long trips so I would start out with a 1500 Classic with fuel injection they are one of the better bikes built and have a good standing with a lot of people that know this motor.
So after awile if he wants something bigger than the 1500 he could go for the 2000CC Kaw just make sure that you get him a bike that does have the power that well do what he needs it for.

I love my 1500 Classic and have had bigger bikes that looked like they had alot of power but do not have it a the rear wheel the 1500 has all the power that I need and then some!!
Go with the Kaw 1500 or 1600 Engine and watch him smile when he lets out the clutch!!!!!!!!!!!:lol: :lol: :lol:
 

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What are the main factors that made you choose the model you did? Why Kawasaki over the other brands (please don't turn this into a brand bash fest)? What are some of the biggest things I should consider when hunting down the bike for my step-dad?

If it helps out at all too, he's about 6'2" and an average build. Will this make any big difference, or will most cruisers still be able to handle it all pretty well?
I chose Kawi not for Kawi, but for the Mean Streak (because it's just bad a$$!). Now, 2 years after, my feelings are that I will never leave Kawi. Kawi owners, I think, are really nice and brand loyal (for a reason) peeps and I really enjoy being a part of the Vulcan Riders Association. :D

As for size, my 1600 is also my first bike and I have had no problem what so ever handling the "big bike" that it is. If he likes the bigger bikes there's no worries not getting a 800 or 900 as a first bike.
 

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Good question. Kawi makes a very good bike...but then again so does Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha.....

We all have our opinions so here is mine...
1. Buy used! These things deprieciate like a rock and if you buy and older model of anything metric it will be cheap and great quallity. Lots of low miles but 3-4 year old bikes out there for a song.
2. Dont go to big too soon. In my opinion the least he should start on would be a Kawi 900. Good power (will go over 100 MPH) light and well balanced relatively speaking. But also consider the Honda VTX 1300, Yamaha 1300 and the Honda Shadow 1100. All of these are more than interstate capable with decent to good tourque and HP and should not require an upgrade to a bigger bike later.
3. Find out what type of riding he wants to do. If going places... look for ones with intigrated hard bags on them. Also a windshield is a must. IF used just around town then all options are available

Good luck on the search.

But to each his own.

R. Todd
 

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I wanted a mid sized cruiser with the following:

EFI
belt drive
front and rear hydralic disk brakes

The VN900 is really the only bike that fits that bill

The ergos on the custom just fit me better than the classic, and I really love the lines of the bike.

I have no desire for a "bigger" bike and don't "need" anything that didn't come stock on my custom. It cruises the hiway just fine and is a blast around town. But, there's always room for improvements and I really love getting to tweak things. So it really is the perfect bike for me!
 
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