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Old 06-16-2010, 08:30 PM   #1
Mowhawk gnade
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Default I took your advice when I bought a bike today.

Well folks I took the leap and bought a bike today...
I picked up a 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan VN800B

it has a winshield,saddle bags,highway bars,new tires(dunlap).
the previous owner kept it outside so it's not "cherry" looking but with some elbow grease, it should look good.
the bike has 7500 miles on it and runs fine.

Any reccomendations on what products to use to clean it up?

As for riding it.

Firstly, let me say that I am enrolled in the basic motorcycle safty course in sept.

I took it around my neighborhood tonight.
it was dusk, no traffic.
lots of stop signs, 25 mph speed limit.

the bike felt great..!!! I'm just a beginner but, it did feel more comfortable than some of the ones that I test rode..(Kawi 1100,old style vulcan 800, shadow 1100)

I went with the 800cc after taking into account the advice on this board (go small,buy used)and advice from friends to "go big"
so I met in the middle.with an 800cc cruiser.
I got it up to 3rd gear and downshifted at the stop signs.(I never made it past 30mph.)
the bike feels well balanced in that, if I'm going 2-5 mph comming up to a stop itfeels like it holds it'self up.
I only droped the clutch once killing it.
but it clutches smooth and being an 800 I'm sure it has plenty of power but that will wait.
I feel the most uncomfortable getting it going and turning from a stop.
Just unsure and afraid of gunning it and not making the turn.
I'm very lucky to live in a quiet subdavision where there is not alot of traffic,especially at night.
I have to remember to use my turn signals though.I forgot a few times.

All in all I'm a very happy camper. I have a bike that, if dropped wouln't make me cry and for the price I paid(under 3k, blue book was 3600) will hold it's value at least. as far as the looks..it's a bike, not a show horse.
here is a pic

I'll keep posting as I learn more.
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Old 06-17-2010, 04:37 AM   #2
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Those are very nice bikes, and it sounds like you got a good price.

For cleaning it up, do not take it to a car wash, the high pressure hoses can damage the bike. If you live in a house, or an apartment with a car wash station, a regular garden hose is fine. Dish soap or any decent car wash detergent should be fine. Most car waxes are fine as well, though be careful to keep it off the seat (you don't want to make the seat slick- that can be quite dangerous). There are motorcycle specific products available at most motorcycle dealers, but I'm not sure they are worth the extra money. I live in an apartment without a car wash station, I take a container of soapy water (dish soap) and a bottle of water to rinse and just use a cloth and have no problems. I also bought a can of one of the waterless car wash options, it seems to work OK. Just be sure to keep anything that would make the seat slick away from it (no automotive protectants, no leather conditioners that aren't made for seats, no waxes). Since the windshields are plexiglass you should avoid any alcohol based cleaners (like most glass cleaners), there is a chance they will cause the windshield to "fog" up (I just use warm, soapy water with no problems getting even the worst bug guts off).

One of the nice things about going used is that it may come with accessories (assuming you want them). I went new since I got a good enough deal that I was thinking I wouldn't save much if I went used. Well, I have added about $800 worth of stuff to the bike (windshield, bags, engine guards) that could have come with the bike if I bought used. Anyway, the engine guards are a great addition- if you do drop it you'll do less damage to the bike, and you'll be much less likely to drop it on your leg and break your leg.

Since you haven't taken the class yet, find a good instructional DVD or book to get some pointers and get out in a parking lot for slow speed practice.

One bit of advice, if (when) at some point you grab a little too much throttle, the bike will push you back. The instinct is to grab on and pull yourself up, which will only cause you to grab more throttle and push you back harder (this is one way a powerful bike can hurt you even if you are careful). Be sure you have a solid hold with your left hand when shifting gears before you get back on the throttle and this can help, and be ready to grab the clutch to kill the power to the engine if you need to.

Congratulations on the new bike. The photo didn't come out, be sure to post another (I'd love to see the bike).
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Old 06-17-2010, 06:26 AM   #3
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When the brake pads wear out switch to EBCs. You'll get better mileage, waer and bite. You picked a good bike. Congrats.
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Old 06-17-2010, 06:35 AM   #4
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AFA washing the bike, use only a clean (that is, not crudded up from another use) soft cloth and as Jeff said, some D/W liquid solution. A lot of folks say D/W liquid is too harsh, but I appreciate the grease-cutting ability.

Use lots of water, and no pressure on the cloth. You do not want to scratch the finish with whatever grit you break loose.

We have lots of juicy bugs around here, and their remains dry to something almost as tough as the paint. I usually wet a couple old hand towels and drape them over the front of the bike a good while before I'm ready to wash it. That hydrates the guts, and makes them much easier to remove.

I usually spritz the bike with distilled water after the last hose rinse, to rinse all the municipal mung off the bike. I use an old 409 bottle, on 'Stream.'

I then use my electric leaf blower to knock most of the water off the bike.

Lastly, I use Meguiar's cleaner wax on all the painted surfaces. I apply the wax with my bare fingers, so if a bit of grit is there, I can immediately feel it, and remove it before it scratches the finish.

A couple tips: Use WD-40 to break up any road gorp, oil drippings or chain wax, then wash off the residue. This works really good on wheels. Of course, keep the WD off the rubber.

DO NOT use Simple Green or any of the other super cleaners on the bike! They can damage the paint, and they will mar the aluminum finishes.

I hope you enjoy the bike, and ride safe!
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Old 06-17-2010, 09:21 PM   #5
Mowhawk gnade
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Default 25 miles today

My friend who went with me to look at bikes showed up at my door today.
After answering a few questions regarding the mechanics and bike related stuff we went for a ride.
I lead , he followed.
First we went around the subdavision a few times to get me reaquainted to the bike.
then we went out on a rural road that has a speed limit of 25/35/40MPH.
I took it easy and he helped keep any frustrated motorist off my butt.
but I did get the bike to 50mph on a straightaway and it felt great.
I took all of the turns at or below the posted or recommended speed limit.
I did cross train tracks,crossed a small bridge and passed a semi(going the other way)
all in all the bike felt great! I feel comfortable riding up to posted speeds.
I'm not rushing into traffic yet as I want to learn more avoidance type riding.(swerving)
I used both brakes to stop a few times, but if slowing for a turn I'd either downshift or use the rear brake.it seems more practical than using the front and messing with the throttle.
as far as comming to a stop I used both brakes of downshifted .
I'm still a noob at remembering to turn off my signal..
all in all it was a great day..What time is sunrise?

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Old 06-18-2010, 06:03 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by pushrod View Post


AFA washing the bike, use only a clean (that is, not crudded up from another use) soft cloth and as Jeff said, some D/W liquid solution. A lot of folks say D/W liquid is too harsh, but I appreciate the grease-cutting ability.
Excellent advice PR, you're a man after my own heart. And I can honestly say that after almost 3 years and 25,000 miles, my Vee is still looking sharp as a tack, following much of your advice.

The distilled water idea is cool... I air-dry the bike with a high-speed run immediately after washing. An amazing amount of water comes out of nooks and crannies.

Can't agree on the dish soap. It's fine for the engine and other "hard parts," but not the painted parts. It will strip the wax and dull the clearcoat. Using a car wash soap is much better in the long run. If you need to strip grease and oil, spray the parts with Gunk and rinse, the follow with lots of car wash lather to clear the remains.
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