Kawasaki VN1500-A9 Vulcan 88 Motorcycles Reviews (6)
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2007-04-14 1995 Kawasaki VN1500-A9 Vulcan 88 Motorcycles View Listings

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Bought 'Big Blue' for my little brother a few years ago. Well he couldn't keep up big brothers' payment plan and I inherited what has turned out to the best bike in terms of character, comfort and ridability that I have ever owned. I've ridden V-Stars, Harley's, and Suzuki but nothing compares to this bike. It's strong, fast and rumbles with confident tone. This bike has strong grunt gentlemen. Motor has inertia and provides a sense of weight to its power delivery. This big Vulcan is very well balanced and you don't hardly have to think about handling - it almost just happens. Like others have said and I know this was corrected in the '97-'98 models it could use a 5th gear - but not a major. A great general purpose bike. I've commuted on it and toured on it. It's light enough to deal with traffic on the 91 freeway (you So Cal guys know what I'm talking about) and it's good to go for a trip up Big Sur. Wish it was a little heavier for the latter. Any questions - dradd00@yahoo.com.
- dradd, Lake Elsinore, California

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2003-10-22 1995 Kawasaki VN1500-A9 Vulcan 88 Motorcycles View Listings

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This is my first bike, so my sphere of expertise is quite limited. I bought mine used, with about 3,000 miles on her. I've rode her for about 2,500 miles. 'Not an easy machine to 'start from scratch' with in learning to ride, what with the shaft drive. There's no lag between the throttle and rear wheel, and I violently snapped my neck back a few times in learning to engage the clutch in 1st gear. It was 'white knuckled terror' until I'd trained myself how to feather the clutch and deliberately hold the throttle closed while going around curves in-gear. As you'd expect from an 8-valve, 4-plug, water-cooled 1470 cc V-Twin, there's more acceleration than I could possibly need. There's so much torque that I will NEVER need anything other than 4th gear from 35 mph on up, even when I feel like a burst of passing acceleration. The only down-side is that I often find myself attempting to upshift to 5th gear when the speedo passes 45 mph, only to realize there is no 5th. The Vulcan is very cooperative noise-wise when you want it to be, which neighbors will appreciate when you head out at 6:30am on Saturday mornings. That is, so long as you consciously go easy. Lean on her and your local PD will furnish you with a very satisfying pile of complaints from your neighbors by the time you get back. At speeds greater than 50 mph, the pipes begin to drone; the Vulcan is just plain LOUD AS HELL at 70 mph, and therefore not really suited for highway-speed touring. don't misunderstand, it's certainly more than capable at high speed; there's hardly any vibration, and acceleration from 70 mph to 80 mph is nearly instantaneous. I've no doubt that the Vulcan can push well above triple digits. But that incredible roar kinda gets to you after 30 or 40 miles. The racket just becomes distractingly unpleasant to the point where I feel fatigued -- never a good thing -- and of particular concern when you're at high speed on only two wheels. The gas mileage ain't great. 35 to 40 mpg tops, depending upon how much I keep it in 4th gear. At least the Vulcan isn't gas octane-finicky. I've tried 87, 89, and 93 octane unleaded, but I can't identify any difference in performance or gas mileage between them. I expected that I might experience a shortfall in braking performance considering the Vulcan has only a single disc in front and rear, but the engine provides a great deal of braking, which the owner's manual encourages me to utilize at all times. Still, the big bike panic-stops very capably, providing a good feel for using the right amount of both the front and rear to avoid skidding. I can appreciate why some riders might complain about the 'bike being ill-suited to winding roads. A gal down the street -- a qualified rider -- climbed on to try out the Vulcan, but she could barely maneuver it down an empty street. Still, I disagree with the consensus opinion. The Vulcan is simply suited to larger, heavier riders -- men. Specifically; big, heavy men. At 6'4" and 285 to 300 lbs (depending upon whether it's before dinner or after dessert), I find the Vulcan ideally maneuverable, and have yet to come across any situation where I haven't felt more in control than whatever was in front of me or behind me. As this bike isn't chopped even it's slow-slow handling is good enabling me to 'ace' the rider test course where riders on far smaller lighter and supposedly more maneuverable bikes failed. Unquestionably my own size and weight was a major factor. The ride is cushy; the bike seems to just step past even really deep potholes and sharp speed bumps and there's good ground clearance. The seat is VERY comfortable. On the one hand I wish the pegs were just a tad lower and further forward. But on the other hand the riding position makes me feel ready for any handling emergency. I'm hoping the pegs can be re-positioned and / or floorboards can be had for that extra little degree of comfort. Oil changes and battery servicing is a snap; she hasn't needed much else as yet although I may eaten up most of the clutch's effective life from some 500 miles of slow careful self-training on nearby side streets. No motorcycle does everything well but for big heavy riders the Vulcan 88 comes close.
- David Cox, Trumbull, Connecticut

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2003-01-13 1995 Kawasaki VN1500-A9 Vulcan 88 Motorcycles View Listings

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Wow!! when I first got on to this thing it was a thrill. It has more power than a street bike and it handles like a Harley. The best cruiser I have ever been on!!!
- Agrotom, Park River, North Dakota

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2001-01-25 1995 Kawasaki VN1500-A9 Vulcan 88 Motorcycles View Listings

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I acquired one of these mean machines and was immediately impressed with the powerband (I took my friend for a ride the first day, headed down an lone long road that goes on an uphill grade. I accelerated from a stand still and to my surprise I was shifting out of third gear at 100mph ON A GRADE WITH A PASSENGER!). I bought it used with about 5000 miles on it and nicely equipped with a freeway bar, chrome plated radiator grill, side covers, and lower engine casings, new raised white letter Dunlop tires, and extra detailed paint. The bike was great on the freeway, cruising along at 75mph purring nicely. Top gear roll-ons were responsive, the only time I ever downshifted to pass was to keep up with my riding partner's CBR1000 Hurricane...The seat was quite comfortable. And now for the bad news: The bike leaked all four fluids within a one-year period. The starter circuit had a quirk to it, on occasion the starter wouldn't activate from the switch and I would have to roll it forward to "bump" the starter, and then the switch responded for electric start mode. This was investigated many times but never resolved, as the bike NEVER did this for the mechanics. Fortunately I was never stranded, because push starting these beasts was quite a chore. I didn't find out until after parting with it that this needs to be done in SECOND gear, something the owners' manual failed to divulge. And the (adjustable" horn never worked after awhile, after spending 10-20 minutes making hairline adjustments on the adjuster screw and getting it to sound, the screw would rattle/vibrate out of synch within two blocks (lock-tite didn't help either). Speaking of rattle/vibrating, I can't list how many nuts, bolts, screws, and fasteners fell off while riding. I would come home, park the bike, and notice a rear turn signal dangling by the electrical wires or a passenger footpeg missing one of its bolts, etc... once I even felt something hit the ground and go under the rear tire, didn't see what it was "on the fly" but noticed after several blocks (at a stop) that the left side wrap around exhaust pipe was missing its heat shield. I went back for it, but it had already been damaged (either by my tire or someone else's...). The Cobra slip-on brackets kept snapping loose and required frequent re-welding at 1000mile intervals (I'm told this was due more toward the cheap manufacturing on Cobra's behalf). The handlebar even came loose and pivoted downwards once after hitting a bump in the road. I pretty much had to perform weekly tightening inspections, and it seemed each week I discovered a new area to examine each time. One more thing worth mentioning was the less than adequate craftsmanship on behalf of Kawasaki's machinery of their parts. Can't mention how many pieces got bent, warped, twisted, or stripped during routine maintenance (and I used a torque wrench on most of them).
- Richard, Las Vegas, Nevada

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2001-01-25 1995 Kawasaki VN1500-A9 Vulcan 88 Motorcycles View Listings

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My motorcycle is a 1998. This one great riding motorcycle...gotta sit in traffic in hot weather? Air-cooled bikes over heating every where around you? That little fan goes onthat big powerful motor just idles confidently on. I have ridden this bike on back roads, hi-ways, in some of the biggest cities in the east, and in small northeast towns with out wishing I was on another type or make of bike. It does everything I want it do with a certain amount of style and efficiency without separating the rider from the motor-cycling experience. The reason we all ride. This is not my first motorcycle. I have ridden a number of other types and makes of motorcycles. There has been Honda 90s, H-D 900s & numerous dirt bikes and one Vespa scooter. I just plain love this motorcycle. Cycle on!!
- Bill , Cape C od

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2000-08-03 1995 Kawasaki VN1500-A9 Vulcan 88 Motorcycles View Listings

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Nice motorcycle BUT it needs a 5th gear for cruising on highways..... Handles good but could use longer handlebars so they could be edged lower for long rides.
- Greg Rech, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

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