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Hi everyone, I've been riding a 2008 Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD since new and I am finally seriously considering upgrading to a 2018 Versys 650. The question is will I get a significantly better riding experience on the Versys compared to the Vulcan in terms of comfort, power and feel? I would appreciate anyone who owned or rode both a Vulcan 500 and then a Versys to please give me some insight to their experience. Thanks.
 

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My worthless 2 cents:

I don't know anything about the 2008 Kawi Vulcan 500 LTD, except what I saw from the pictures I googled. The Vulcan is a small cruiser. I had a small cruiser before I got my 2018 Versys 650. Two things (working in tandem) will make things significantly different:

1) The seat height is a full FIVE inches higher. This can take some getting used to, especially if you are a shorter rider. I'm 5'10" and cannot flat-foot both feet. It can make the Versys a different bike to control at a stop.
2) The center of gravity is very high. And when you add a full tank of gas (40lbs worth), it also sits up high. This high center of gravity can make slow speed maneuvers difficult. (think parking lot speeds) The bike wants to tip...and fast!

So the high center of gravity, combined with the high seat height can catch cruiser guys off guard. None of this matters at speeds over 15mph. The other side of the coin for the high seat height, is that you sit up high, which can be kind of cool. I will also add, at 65mph my Versys is very smooth. There's just a little vibration in the foot pegs (nothing that would keep a person from riding all day), and virtually no vibrations in the handle bars or seat.

Then there's also the difference in ergonomics. The Versys may have you sitting upright a little more, and the feet should be tucked further back than a cruiser. A 'better' riding experience is subjective.
 

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Hi everyone, I've been riding a 2008 Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD since new and I am finally seriously considering upgrading to a 2018 Versys 650. The question is will I get a significantly better riding experience on the Versys compared to the Vulcan in terms of comfort, power and feel? I would appreciate anyone who owned or rode both a Vulcan 500 and then a Versys to please give me some insight to their experience. Thanks.
....biggest difference will be the ergos. On the cruiser you are seated on your tailbone. Since your feet are forward, your thigh muscles cannot help you shift position. On the Versys you will be able to make slight positional adjustments using your thigh muscles. This also brings with it a better sense of control... the bike is more an extension of your body. Also, with the Sys, you will have a safety factor resulting from being able to look into vehicles at people's faces and seeing over traffic to make better judgements. Enjoy! I just bought one myself.
 

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This can take some getting used to, especially if you are a shorter rider. I'm 5'10" and cannot flat-foot both feet. It can make the Versys a different bike to control at a stop.
QUESTION: Have you 'set your sag' yet? I'm shorter than you are, and w/ my sag set at about 45mm (ALMOST 2") I can, even if it's the balls-of-my-feet.

:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you so much for your reply, I guess the best thing would be for me to take one for a test drive and see if I like it better than my Vulcan 500.
 

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I came from a vulcan 750, not the 500. Totally different riding position. Will it be better? It will depend on you. No one can answer that question for you. My Vulcan came from my brother in law. When I rode it in 1993 I hated how it felt. When I picked it up in 2002 I rode from Phoenix to Indianapolis and it was like sitting in a recliner at 85 MPH, very comfortable. I now have a 2013 Versys 650 and a pair of concourse c10's and a 1982 gpz 550. I still have access to my son's Vulcan 750 if I want to ride a cruiser. Different bikes for different missions. I like them all.
 

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garrup and Ohio Rider both hit the nail on the head with their descriptions.

I came from a 2009 Vulcan 900 that was lowered 2" - it had a very low center of gravity and the foot pegs were so far forward. For me, I couldn't ride the Vulcan for more than 30min without my lower back screaming at me. The Versys is very comfortably but it does have a MUCH higher center of gravity that takes some getting used to, even if you're an experienced rider.

My good friend also came from a cruiser and picked up a Versys after test driving mine - he just loved the Versys. That said, both of us are relatively experienced riders, but neither of us previously owned bikes with such a high center of gravity. It does take some getting used to as the Versys definitely wants to tip at lower speeds. Early on my friend and I both dropped our bikes a number of times at low speeds. Hurts the pride more than anything.

That said, I'm a one-bike person and I'd never go back to just a cruiser. If I had budget for more than one bike I'd consider, but since I allocate funds elsewhere, it's a one bike for me - which means the Versys fits the bill perfectly.
 

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Hi everyone, I've been riding a 2008 Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD since new and I am finally seriously considering upgrading to a 2018 Versys 650. The question is will I get a significantly better riding experience on the Versys compared to the Vulcan in terms of comfort, power and feel? I would appreciate anyone who owned or rode both a Vulcan 500 and then a Versys to please give me some insight to their experience. Thanks.
Same here - 2008 EN500 was also my first bike but I jumped to a 2017 Versys 1000. The 1K is a bit longer than the 650 but similar seat height and ergos. I was planning a number of longer trips so went with the larger engine/bike so I could keep up with my son's CBR1100XX on the highway (well, sort of - just not as far behind as I was on the EN500). If you are over 5'10" you will appreciate the leg room of either bike but will have to get used to leaning on left foot at stoplights. The 650 is lighter and with shorter wheelbase could be a bit more fun in the twisties than the 1K. But the 1K is subline on open highway. Just depends on what suits your needs - so ride both to see.
 
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