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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

Brief intro: I'm Mark from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Been riding for over a decade. Current ride: 2008 K1300R. I have a couple of questions for you guys. I'm planning to get me a used cruiser as a project bike. Most probably a VN800 custom or classic which I plan to give a 'bob' job..

My questions are:
1. Any geometry differences between the two?
2. Is the 'beefier' fork tube of the classic cosmetic i.e fork tube covers? Underneath which both have the same diameter tubes? Triple tree width the same?
3. Any engine or gearing difference?

I'm kinda torn between the 21" (custom)front and the 16" (classic)front wheels. Both should give me the 'look' I'm after. What do you guys think??

Will probably increase ever so slightly the front rake from 32deg (if that's the right figure to start off with) to a 36/37deg with extensions to compensate for any dipping up front. AME Chopper Kit or Seeger Cycle Chopper Kit?

Off course for the retro look, it'll be the sportster's tank mounted frisco style for the hunchback effect. Btw what's its capacity...less than 3 gallons?
Am also looking into the possibility of brass or maybe copper coating the tank the giving it the patina, for the aged effect. Anyone done it before?

Any info you care to share is very very much appreciated. Thanks guys.
 

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Crazy Old Guy
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I think you may be speaking of the VN900. The magazines state that the Custom has lower gearing than the Classic. Most other items, other than cosmetic, are the same. The stock 900 tank is 5.3 gallons.
 

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USE BATH SALTS
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4 gallon tank on both models. classic(B model) is 32 degrees and custom(A model) is 33 or 34 degrees. both have 41mm front ends. A model front ends are an inch or two longer. A model gearing is lower. thats about it for the most part.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
NewRoadie, garymc, spitbeard; thanks for the replies and link. Thought for a minute there it was gonna be a 'cold' day out for a fellow rider from the east.
 

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I'm your Huckleberry
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I think you may be speaking of the VN900. The magazines state that the Custom has lower gearing than the Classic. Most other items, other than cosmetic, are the same. The stock 900 tank is 5.3 gallons.
Whichever magazine stated that is mistaken...900 Custom has the same final drive ratio as the 900 Classic. Just checked the 900 Custom's owners manual with a 900 Classic service manual I found online...they're exactly the same.

No idea on any differences with the 800's...but most of the 900's differences are cosmetic.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
There are just to many variance of the same model. I'm still kinda unsure, there's the Custom (A Model), Classic (B Model) and Drifter (C Model??) what about the Mean Streak??? Does this mean their parts are interchangeable??. Sorry for the many questions, I'm new to cruisers.
 

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Workin' to ride
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There are just to many variance of the same model. I'm still kinda unsure, there's the Custom (A Model), Classic (B Model) and Drifter (C Model??) what about the Mean Streak??? Does this mean their parts are interchangeable??. Sorry for the many questions, I'm new to cruisers.
You seem to be mixing different size bikes and comparing them. The Vulcan 800 is the model that also comes as a "Drifter" and many guys and gals have used the basic 800 for customizing projects (bobbing, whatever your term is). The Vulcan 900 comes in two basic flavors, the "Custom" with a 21" front cast wheel and "drag-type" handlebars and the "Classic" or "LT" with spoked wheels and a more traditional geometry. The "Mean Streak" is an altogether different bike with a 1600cc engine. Others here can correct me where I am wrong, but I think that's the basics.
 

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Crazy Old Guy
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Whichever magazine stated that is mistaken...900 Custom has the same final drive ratio as the 900 Classic. Just checked the 900 Custom's owners manual with a 900 Classic service manual I found online...they're exactly the same.

No idea on any differences with the 800's...but most of the 900's differences are cosmetic.
Rider magazine (Nov 09), "The Custom’s nicely styled, 21-inch cast front wheel is an obvious difference, but you’ll have to look hard to notice that while both 900s have single front and rear disc brakes, the Custom’s rotors are larger. What you won’t notice unless you ride both bikes is that the Custom is also geared lower. The Custom’s footpegs and flat handlebar on tall risers also stretch out the rider more than the Classic’s floorboards and pullback bar."
 

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I'm your Huckleberry
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Rider magazine (Nov 09), "The Custom’s nicely styled, 21-inch cast front wheel is an obvious difference, but you’ll have to look hard to notice that while both 900s have single front and rear disc brakes, the Custom’s rotors are larger. What you won’t notice unless you ride both bikes is that the Custom is also geared lower. The Custom’s footpegs and flat handlebar on tall risers also stretch out the rider more than the Classic’s floorboards and pullback bar."
Yup...flat out wrong according to the factory owners and factory service manual for the two bikes.
 

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Crazy Old Guy
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I was comparing 2010 specs for the Custom, Classic and Classic LT and was surprised to see that the 2010 LT comes with dual front brakes and 300mm discs all around! Custom has 300mm/270mm and Classic has 272mm/242mm disc rotors.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but this is the first dual front brakes on the 900 series.
 

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I'm your Huckleberry
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I was comparing 2010 specs for the Custom, Classic and Classic LT and was surprised to see that the 2010 LT comes with dual front brakes and 300mm discs all around! Custom has 300mm/270mm and Classic has 272mm/242mm disc rotors.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but this is the first dual front brakes on the 900 series.
According to Kawasaki's website...its still a single 272/242 combo for the LT...pictures confirm only one front disc.

Where the heck is this info coming from? :confused:
 

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I'm your Huckleberry
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Yup...flat out wrong according to the factory owners and factory service manual for the two bikes.
Service manual for the 900 Classic/LT in English. Final drive information is at 1-11:

Kawasaki VN 900 Vulcan Classic '06 - Service Manual

Now I could not find anything online in English (and do not have a scanner to upload the owners manual I kept for my 900 Custom) but if you go to 1-9 in this Spanish Factory Service manual, you can see where the final drive is the same 4.338 stated in the English version (not to mention all the gear ratios from 1st through 5th that are exactly the same):

SM VN900C7F Spanish eBook - VN900 CUSTOM MANUAL DE TALLER ESPAÑOL VOCS
 

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ILBTS
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According to Kawasaki's website...its still a single 272/242 combo for the LT...pictures confirm only one front disc.

Where the heck is this info coming from? :confused:
probably a site like this.
2010 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic Transmission Specifications - New 2010 Vulcan 900 Classic Transmission Specs at Motorcyclist Magazine

they're all messed up there. they state that the heal-toe shifter isnt available on the 900, and that the seat is a 2-piece and that the passenger pillion is removable. those are the only two things i found wrong, before i moved on realizing these guys dont know WTF they're talking about, lol
 

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Crazy Old Guy
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According to Kawasaki's website...its still a single 272/242 combo for the LT...pictures confirm only one front disc.

Where the heck is this info coming from? :confused:
Okay, I think I mistakenly clicked on the 1700 LT! It has the dual front disc brakes.

I found the online manual that you quote and compared to my factory manual for the Custom and the gears are exactly the same. The rider from Rider magazine may have been drinking . . . . Maybe they changed the internal gearing for 2010-they have changed everything else on the 900 :eek: :rolleyes: JK!

Cruisers are not like motocross bikes where you get almost a completely redesigned bike every couple of years!
 

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I'm your Huckleberry
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Okay, I think I mistakenly clicked on the 1700 LT! It has the dual front disc brakes.

I found the online manual that you quote and compared to my factory manual for the Custom and the gears are exactly the same. The rider from Rider magazine may have been drinking . . . . Maybe they changed the internal gearing for 2010-they have changed everything else on the 900 :eek: :rolleyes: JK!

Cruisers are not like motocross bikes where you get almost a completely redesigned bike every couple of years!
Hahaha...he may have been drinking :eek: Its easy to get sucked into false information on the internet...kinda sucks when you just want a quick check of something, but have to fact-check every source you find :rolleyes:
 

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Needs More Cowbell
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Welcome Red Rooster.
If it's 800's your looking at, I have answers.
Three basic modles, the 'A', Classic, and the Drifter. Gear ratio; 1995-1996 16/46 = 2.875, 17/42 = 2.470 (97 and newer 800).
Steering geometry is the same for all 800's. The 'A' has a single-piston caliper and the Classic/Drifter having a dual piston caliper up front. The Drifter had a rear disc brake, the A and Classic have drum brakes at the rear. Any of these bikes make awesome bobbers/choppers and nearly all the parts are interchangable between the 'A' (Custom) and Classic models. The fork tube covers are purely cosmetic.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks rustygunner for the info.

Closed the deal on a 1999 800 Classic. Let the games begin..!!!!
Will keep guys updated on the project.
 
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