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Old 11-15-2009, 09:01 AM   #1
BryanD OP
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Location: Near Portland Oregon
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Vulcan 900 make a good tug?

I don't have a sidecar now, but I'm pretty sure I want to get one "someday". I currently have a Suzuki V-Strom 650 but I'm thinking about a cruiser for my next bike. I like the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 "classic" cruiser. Keep in mind the bike (and eventual sidecar) will be for road use only. probably 98% paved roads with maybe a few well graded dirt or gravel bits thrown in. I don't want to get a bike that can't be a good tug. For the Vulcan 900 I note:
  1. Dauntless motors has a sidecar mount for it
  2. The motor is designed for torque -- which is supposed to be good for a sidecar tug
  3. Belt drive -- which should smooth out the loads on the motor
  4. Bike has a long wheelbase and is heavy and low -- all of which I assume would help stabilize against forces from the sidecar. But that might also make the rig a "handful" for turning and require steering modifications?
...any feedback would be appreciated :) If this bike won't make a good tug, I might consider something else instead. I'm pretty sold that I do want a cruiser.
I like to tour the little roads every chance I get
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Old 11-15-2009, 11:44 PM   #2
Dr Jim
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Bryan -

We've a 1500cc Vulcan Drifter in our garage that's going to eventually have a Ural sidecar grafted onto it - so I've been doing research and asking questions about Vulcans as tugs.

The general consensus is that loop-frame Vulcans (your frame is nearly identical to our 1500) are terrifically stout, have gobs of low end torque, and decent road manners - but there are a couple of issues to be aware of.

One of the Dauntless folks (Doug?) pointed out: "The frame has a bolted up section on the right side to facilitate removing the engine - you should consider using Grade 8 bolts and 'enough' Red Locktite there - they're not something you'd want to come loose while cornering."

The 900's single 300mm front brake is going to limit your front braking power, you won't have the same RIGHT NOW! stopping as the really wonderful dual front discs of your VStrom. This isn't a huge deal, but you'll need to ride and brake differently.

Plan on using a subframe - it spreads the loads, and puts the lower mounts much further apart than clamp mounts on the bike's frame would permit.

Also plan on some form of trail reduction modification - I believe that both Leading Legs and the Steerite triple tree mod are available.

One thing to note is that the Vulcan 'Classic' model has 5.9" of trail and a 16" front tire, while the 'Custom' has 7.2" of trail and a pretty skinny 21" tire - I'd tend to go with the 'Classic' as a better starting point.

A decent, brief comparison of both models here:

Also be aware that the 900 is tuned for torque, not horsepower, so you need to be aware of the aerodynamic drag of the sidecar you choose to use. For example, the Ural car sits pretty high, is boxy, has a tall windshield, and uses a 19" wheel in a seperate, unfaired fender - it's basically an aerodynamic horror thinly disguised as a brick. The Kenna sidecar OTOH, sits low, is pretty narrow, and uses a 15" tire in a faired fender - it should take fewer ponies to pull it over 60 MPH.

There was a thread a couple of weeks ago where a fellow was considering using a Vulcan 'Classic' as a tug - you might also want to read it too...


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Old 11-16-2009, 03:32 PM   #3
BryanD OP
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Dr. Jim -- thanks for the detailed response
I like to tour the little roads every chance I get
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:51 PM   #4
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Location: Orkney Isles
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Dont know about you're question, but....................they were a darn good airplane


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