Friday, October 26, 2007

First few days with the new Vulcan 900 Classic

Tuesday I brought the new motorcycle home. We bought it at a dealership that was about 40 miles south of our home. Since it was such a large bike I was a little hesitant to ride it home in traffic for the first time. My husband decided to ride it home, taking any roads except the freeway. For the first 500 miles we have to take it easy and a long stretch of freeway riding was frowned upon by the dealer. It took Dave 2 hours to get it home, and by then I was sitting on my front porch along with the cats – waiting……..

He loved the ride but said his hand hurt from the stiff clutch in lots of stop-and-go traffic. So as soon as he arrived I hopped on the Vulcan for the first time. I was more comfortable riding around my neighborhood at first, where I knew the roads. I took off and rode around for about 30 minutes, stopping, shifting, turning etc. It handled great and I love the floorboards which allow a very comfortable riding position. The shifting was easy and smooth.

Yesterday I decided to ride the new bike to work and show it off. It was dark when I left home and pretty cold out (40 degrees). I rode down to the end of my street and at the stop sign promptly tipped it over. It landed propped up by the left floorboard so there was no damage. I couldn’t get it upright no matter what I tried. Cars were passing by and no one stopped to help. Finally a neighbor came down the street, stopped and helped me lift it upright again. I realized then that I am very vulnerable on this bike, and must plan every move ahead of time. I think I had been in neutral when trying to take off from the stop, instead of first gear. I turned, gunned the engine, and nothing happened except it tipped over. Once it began there was nothing I could do to stop it.

I rode on to work, and parked in a level space, I thought. At lunchtime I decided to ride a couple of miles to my old workplace to show the Vulcan off to friends there. The sun had not yet hit the space I was in, so it was wet, piled up with slippery leaves, and there was a slight hump in the back of the space that I had to roll over to get out. I found that I couldn’t roll it out of the space! My feet were slipping and sliding and the weight of the bike wouldn’t allow me to roll over the hump. I finally finessed my way out, eventually. Then I rode to see my friends and had no trouble. Later in the day I had an uneventful ride to a doctor appointment and then home safely.

I feel like I am learning all over again. The weight of the Vulcan is twice that of my Suzuki S-40. I think it will just take a little practice. I am finding my confidence is not what it was and I am hesitant to go certain places again. Hopefully it is just a matter of time until I ‘become one’ with my beautiful 2007 Kawasaki Candy Cardinal Red Vulcan 900 Classic. I’ll have pictures next time….


Crafty said...

Been a few months since your post - hope you decided to hang in there and give the 900 a fair chance! Much more capable bikethan your S40 and not NEARLY as heavy as the 1300s.
Ride Safe

Becky said...

I love the Vulcan 900. I have gotten used to handling it, and spoiled by the floorboards and large gas tank! I still have the S-40....know anyone who is interested?