My current bike is a 2006 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic. I bought it new in 2006, and I have added a Memphis Fats 19 inch windshield, a Cobra tall backrest with luggage rack, and a set of Metzeler ME880 Wide White Wall tires. Other than those third-party after market additions, it is a stock motorcycle. This is my second motorcycle, third if you count the Honda moped that I had as a kid.
Frankly, I have resisted doing too much to the Vulcan because I am ready to move up to something bigger. I bought it in 2006 when I had not ridden a bike in over a decade. While I didn’t consider myself a new rider, I did want something medium sized, not too big, not too small, just something in the middle that I could handle that wouldn’t be too heavy while I got my feet wet riding again. Really, it had been so many years since I had ridden, I knew it would take a little time to get comfortable again.
My first motorcycle was an early 1980’s Suzuki GS 550 that I had while I was in the Army stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. Unfortunately, I wrecked it twice, picked gravel out of the road rash on my arm for a week, and then eventually sold it.
Fast forward to 2006 and the memories of the pain had faded and I was struck with a severe case of new motorcycle fever! I went to dealer after dealer looking at bikes, and I finally decided that I liked the basic cruiser look of the Vulcan 900 Classic. I also have short legs with a 29-inch inseam, and it was one of a few mid-size cruisers that I could sit comfortably flat footed on. I found a great deal on it at Thompson’s Motorsports, in Terre Haute, Indiana. If I recall correctly it was $7,500.00 out the door, with a new HJC helmet included! I rode it home from Terre Haute to Ellettsville, Indiana. I was really rusty and took the turns slow at first, but by the time I got it home I was already starting to feel more comfortable.
I later took a one day Skilled Rider Course through the Riders Edge training program at Harley-Davidson of Bloomington. I can highly recommend that course if you have your own bike and already ride, or just want to sharpen your skills. If you have never ridden then you should take the new rider course which is a little longer but allows you to learn on bikes they provide. As a pilot, I have always believed in and enjoyed good training. The folks at Harley-Davidson of Bloomington put on a professional, high-quality training class that anyone would benefit from.
I have been riding my 2006 Vulcan 900 Classic for six years now and I just turned over 30,000 miles. That averages out to 5,000 miles per year, but in reality, I rode less per year in the beginning and I have been riding more miles each year for the last three years or so. The Vulcan has been a great bike! I have no regrets about my choice. But, like many riders, my taste in bikes, my skills, confidence level, and riding patterns have changed over time. I’ll write more later about what I would like to get in the future.