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Old 04-11-2013, 11:52 AM   #1
Wout67 OP
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Yamaha Raider vs. Kaw Mean Streak

I'm lookin' at getting a new ride this spring, and like the looks of the "factory custom" cruisers.

I kind of got settled on the Yamaha Raider



But then I saw the Kaw Vulcan Mean Streak.


I've been a Kawasaki guy since my KLR back in '07.

Thoughts?
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Old 04-11-2013, 12:40 PM   #2
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I'm Biased as I own an '02 1500 Mean Streak.
I've ridden both the Yamaha Stryker and the Raider.
IMO:
The Mean Streak handles and brakes better with its inverted fork, ZX9 Brakes, and high quality air adjustable shocks.
The Yamaha's both handle very well, much better than the fat rear tire and raked front end would suggest.

My Mean Streak feels faster than the Stryker, but it isn't. The 1300 likes to rev, and slowly pulls away at the top of 2nd gear.
The 1800 Raider has noticeably more torque, and definitely feels a lot faster although I've never had the chance to race one.

My Meanie in the foreground, parked next to my Friend's Stryker.




Biggest factor in my opinion is cost. Plenty of Nice used Mean Streaks on craigslist, clean examples going for 4-6k.


Cycle World recently had the Mean Streak reviewed in their "Best Used Bikes" Column.

http://www.cycleworld.com/2012/12/14...st-used-bikes/
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Old 04-11-2013, 01:02 PM   #3
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I don't know anything about the Yam, other than I like the way it looks.

Guy I know has a Meanie. I don't really understand the bike. It seems like they tried to make a muscle bike, but it doesn't seem to really perform all that well? At least the way this guy rides it, it doesn't seem like it has that much. I don't really like the look of it at all either--lots of plastic parts, never liked drag bars, etc. When we ride he has to stop for gas first. It gets mid 30s(?) mpg. . . . He's younger than any of us, but has more pain riding that Meanie than any of the rest of us. I'm just not impressed with it.

His dad rides a Nomad which is the same bike just different styling and smaller throttle bodies. That seems like a lot more bike to me.

I'd be biased towards the Raider.

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Old 04-11-2013, 01:03 PM   #4
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Great reply.

Thanks, FootDoc.



Y'ever gone on any multi-day, multi-state rides?

Cost is definitely a reason I'm looking elsewhere.

However, comfort is also important. My knees can't handle the riding posture of my C14 on any 300+ day rides.

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Old 04-11-2013, 02:08 PM   #5
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I looked at both the Raider and a NOS Mean Streak before buying my Nomad last year. I preferred the Raider. My concern with both of them was that a long trip would be difficult.

The Nomad is quite comfy and can carry a lot of stuff
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Old 04-11-2013, 02:38 PM   #6
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Most Ive done is a 450mile day, for longer rides I use my FZ6.

For reference Im 5'9" 230lbs.

Seating position is neutral, the drag bars are comfortable, and the bike is surprisingly smooth for a big twin. 80mph cruising is its sweet spot,and its right at meaty part of the power band so overtaking is easy. The drag bars do put you into the flying squirrel position at speed, I installed a Flyscreen that greatly reduced the wind blast to my chest.

Gas tank looks huge but isnt. Holds @4.5 gallons and My bike gets 42mpg.

Stock seat isn't too bad, my ass and back never bothered me on the bike, but be forewarned the passenger seat is almost unusable. After taking my girl for a short ride I thought she would never get on a bike again. I purchased the mustang seat and Cobra sissy bar for her, she still said it was uncomfortable and refuses to go anywhere on it.

Strange thing is this bike gives me thigh pain after about 3 hours. Never experienced this on any other bike and Ive owned a few. I constantly want to stretch out my legs. If it was my only bike Id definitely invest in some highway bars.

IMO the Mean Streak Is the biggest bargain of all the big twins. The 1500 Vulcan which it is based on is reliable as an anvil, Ive never had a single issue with mine. On top of the cheap buy in, maintenance is minimal with its Fuel injection, hydraulic valves, and shaft drive.


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Old 04-11-2013, 03:04 PM   #7
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Thanks again.

I'm 6'2" with a 34" inseam. One of the key reasons I looked at the Raider is the forward foot position.

My budget is whatever I can get out of my C14, so finding a more affordable bike that seems to match the Raider is definitely a plus.

I figure I can get around $8500 or 9k for my bike. That's right about where the Raider is, with no farkles.

Finding a bike for around $7k or so gives me a little spending money to get the things I'd like. Saddlebags, highway pegs, a better seat, etc.

My wife is a hard core rider (on her own bike) so riding two-up isn't much of an issue, until our 3 year old can reach the pegs.



It kills me that she can get off her bike after a 300+ mile day, and have it like she just rode around the block.

After our last trip, I could barely get off the couch.
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Old 04-11-2013, 04:13 PM   #8
JerryH
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I'd go for the Mean Streak. It does have forward pegs. I also have a 34" inseam, and fit fine on a Vulcan 750, and used to have an older model Vulcan 1500 Classic, which was fine except for the floorboards, which I replaced with pegs.

Used Mean Streaks are very affordable, and totally reliable, since they replaced the plastic oil pump gear in that engine back in 2000. My '96 Classic blew up at 36,000 miles when that gear failed.

You should find either one a whole lot more comfortable than a C14, with it's low bars and rearset pegs.
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Old 04-11-2013, 05:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryH View Post
You should find either one a whole lot more comfortable than a C14, with it's low bars and rearset pegs.
I think I may be changing my tune.

Like I was saying, I could use the extra money to get highway pegs and a decent seat.

I plan on taking a Raider for a spin in a couple weeks. A local HD dealership has two used ones. So, I guess they do sell decent bikes there after all!

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Old 04-11-2013, 08:45 PM   #10
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Well I have never ridden a Mean Streak so no help there but the Raider is one hell of a bike.

I got a ride on one at a demo day and it was wonderful. Amazing torque, low low center of gravity, comfy seat, nimble for what it is and the wide rear tire.

The raked out front end did make it handle strangely over bumps but it never was unstable. Wasn't quite sure what I was feeling there but it was different than any other bike I have ridden.

Well worth a look in my opinion.
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Old 04-12-2013, 06:33 AM   #11
kraven
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I like the Vulcan, but just the difference in the fit and finish of the Raider place it well ahead of the mean streak for me.
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:50 PM   #12
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I dont see the raider being comfortable for long travels. The rear suspension travel is only 3.5 inches which means you will feel a lot of the road imperfections in your butt and lower back before long. Definitely test drive one, its a nice bike, but its a muscle cruiser nit intended for long miles in the saddle.
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Old 04-19-2013, 10:36 PM   #13
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The Mean Streak looks a lot more "traditional" and more comfortable as well. Both big pluses for me. The Raider looks almost cartoonish. Too overstyled.
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Old 04-20-2013, 01:50 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryH View Post
The Mean Streak looks a lot more "traditional" and more comfortable as well. Both big pluses for me. The Raider looks almost cartoonish. Too overstyled.
tradition v cartoon
gonna be a squid or a pirate
who sez
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Old 04-20-2013, 05:05 AM   #15
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I test rode both the largest Vulcan and the Roadliner back when I was in the market for a big cruiser. Roadliner and Raider share a lot of hardware, and of course the giant motor. Handling, comfort, and build quality of the Roadliner was quite a step up over the Kaw to me at least. This was several years ago, but I would definitely urge you to ride both and see how the latest versions compare.

You wouldn't think so by looking at it but the Roadliner is very comfortable for long rides and handles extremely well. I like the looks of the Raider but have not ridden one yet, I bought the Roadliner.

The only thing which they may have fixed in the interim is the throttle was a bit twitchy and FI mapping seemed a bit confused at times. That is cured with a PCIII. The 1.9L engine has very large HP/TQ upgrade potential with minor mods, basically just a big air kit and slip-on nets you a lot. Not sure about the Vulcan.
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