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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all!


I have a rather simple question - or I am hoping so... I'm looking to purchase a used motorcycle- it seems to be between 2 bikes- one a 98 Kawasaki Vulcan Classic 1500 with 25k (asking $3000 talked down to $2600). And a 99 Suzuki Marauder 800 with 14k (asking $2750 and is very firm).
Both are very comparable in asking price. I'm just curious if anyone of knowledge can give some insight on a better choice? Possibly even pros and cons of each?
I'm a new rider - my past experience has been a gsxr 650 and a honda v65 (which was years and years ago - about 7 years).
I'm looking for a reliable bike that I can use for pleasure, commuting, and small day trips etc. I can't seem to make up my mind between the two.
The Vulcan is pretty much stock besides some floor boards, and forward controls. And the Marauder has a bit more customization. Part of the listing reads : "At beginning of last season had the top end professionally torn down and cleaned.
K&N air filters
Jet kit
Exhaust
Grille
Paint (Hard Candy Apple Green)
Forward controls, get your feet out a little further for comfort
Palm rest, handle grips
In line clear glass fuel filter
New chain 2 years ago
Battery new last year-always on a tender in off season "
Both look great and are claimed to run perfect and not have any issues whatsoever.
The guy who owns the Vulcan is a mechanic at a state licensed shop and has taken care of the bike, so he says at least. The owner of the Marauder has some paperwork/receipts for work done including the cleaning of the top of the engine etc.

Any and all insight would be and is much appreciated I'll take any knowledge that can be passed down regarding these two motorcycles and what would be best. I am aware that a big contributor is personal preference but I just want to see how other people that are wiser in this field feel.

Thank you all - looking forward to come replies!

MBuck
Ps I hope I'm posting in the right area please correct me if I am not and I apologize if I made an error in that.
 

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Google both bikes and look for a user/owner forum. They can give you the true skinny on both bikes.

Seems to me some of the 90's Vulcan's had an issue with a plastic oil gear. (POG) vs (SOG) I think 99 is when they fixed it from the factory. But it might not have been an issue with the 1500 engine.
 

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"At beginning of last season had the top end professionally torn down and cleaned. "

Why?

You don't have the top end of your engine rebuilt just to "clean it." I'd want to know why.
 

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Go with the Vulcan 1500. They are stone reliable and last forever. They aren't fast at all but they have a nice torque curve and that makes riding more enjoyable, at least to me.

Stay away from another person's wild customizations, especially engine tuning modifications as most folks have no idea what they are doing.

Google search: Vulcan forums.

Sam:coffeescreen:
 

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The Marauder is similar to the Intruder, except with a chain and cable-operated clutch. Quick, nimble, great for canyon carving and around town. Not so great for long cruises, especially on Interstate highways or in the wind. This one is 'uncorked', which adds a couple horsepower, when done right; as Porky says, 'done right' is the main concern.

The Vulcan is bigger, heavier, and a PITA on parking lots. But, it sounds like it would be a better deal, from a reliability standpoint. Also, once you get off the parking lot, its really comfy.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you all for your replies. It does seem people mostly point towards the Vulcans in most matters. To answer the question the Marauder owner said that the top end was torn down and cleaned when he was having trouble with "the carbs getting gummed up and I think it was my own fault for trying to fix the issue of a leaky tank 4 years ago. i dont think the sealer worked right. thats part of the reason he cleaned it last year" - he claims to also have paperwork for this repair/cleaning from a local highly reputable shop in my town. Im not sure exactly since im new about what this means exactly. any ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
also the vulcan owner said as far as he knows his bike doesnt have the POG but isnt 100%. Is this a huge issue that should steer me away from the vulcan?
 

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To answer the question the Marauder owner said that the top end was torn down and cleaned when he was having trouble with "the carbs getting gummed up and I think it was my own fault for trying to fix the issue of a leaky tank 4 years ago. i dont think the sealer worked right. thats part of the reason he cleaned it last year" - he claims to also have paperwork for this repair/cleaning from a local highly reputable shop in my town. Im not sure exactly since im new about what this means exactly. any ideas?
It may be that the PO knows very little about the terminology used to discuss motorcycle repair. Of course, it could also be that he's handing you a line of malarky too.

If you tear down and rebuild the top end, that means disassembling and rebuilding everything from the crankcase to the heads: Cylinders, pistons, heads, valves, and so on. It's about half of a total engine rebuild and is a fairly large operation. It has almost nothing to do with gummed up carburetors or leaky gas tanks
 

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Is this a first bike? If so the 800 is a better choice. Believe it or not, it's also pretty close in performance...the newer 1500 Classic models were dumbed down (dual carb to single) and sporting another 100+ pounds of weight over the original Vulcan 88. 45HP @ 683lbs versus the Marauder's 41HP @ 485lbs according to MCN. I don't buy into the 45HP on the 1500, the original 88 spewed 61 you can't lose that much by removing one carb...probably closer to 55 by all accounts. Still, it isn't a huge difference between the two when it comes down to power vs weight, and less weight + USD forks on the 'Rauder will make it hustle through the curves much more efficiently. ;)

The 1500 was plagued with recalls from inception (1987) to about Y2K...one of which being later models used a nylon oil gear that would strip from use. Also noteworthy the 90s era of Kawasaki bikes had a run of "single use fasteners" meaning once you removed them they were no good. Back when I had my 95 1500 (Vulcan 88 not Classic) I bought a new drain plug with every oil change...I learned the first time when you put it back in it strips and leaks. The replacement did the same after the next oil change and I used a torque wrench on that one. I swear they were made of soft lead...

It was also a vibration monster, every week I found new bits that needed tightening (re: buy more fasteners) or had to turn around on the road to retrieve a part that fell off. My exhaust heat shield didn't fare well when it fell off, the box truck behind me ran over it. That wasn't a cheap part to replace.

On the other hand, some mags reported the kickstand would drag before the footpegs flexed on first gen Marauders (not good because you could lever a wheel off the ground when leaning). This was fixed on the second gen model --- 98 or 99 I forget which year it happened --- first gen models had boxy industrial chrome covers behind the engine on the lower frame and etched chrome side covers below the seat, the 2nd gen had smooth plastic covers under the seat and did away with the gaudy bits behind the motor.
 

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It may be that the PO knows very little about the terminology used to discuss motorcycle repair. Of course, it could also be that he's handing you a line of malarky too.

If you tear down and rebuild the top end, that means disassembling and rebuilding everything from the crankcase to the heads: Cylinders, pistons, heads, valves, and so on. It's about half of a total engine rebuild and is a fairly large operation. It has almost nothing to do with gummed up carburetors or leaky gas tanks
It was most likely a valve adjustment, where either the valve cover comes off or an access plate on said cover comes off. You get a glimpse inside and it's "torn down" to some folks. ;)
 

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Go with the Vulcan 1500. They are stone reliable and last forever.
If they were stone reliable I'd still have mine. All four fluids leaked within nine months (oil, coolant, brake fluid, and fuel, in that order). The extended warranty that got transferred with the bike was the only reason I didn't light a match to it when the gas leaked. It spent more time at the dealership than on the road. Said warranty also helped me to be rid of that constant source of rind.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'm leaning towards the marauder honestly. It'll be my first cruiser ever and the first time I've ridden since early 2000s. I however did find a 2002 Suzuki VL800 in great condition with 16k on the engine and is 500$ cheaper than the Marauder. Is that a good bike in comparison to the Marauder or possibly a early 2000s Vstar 650 or above or Honda Shadow ACE early 2000s? The Vulcan fell thru as when I when to look it wouldn't even start... :/ any thoughts? Should I be worried about anything hereditary in the Marauder, shadows, vstars or VL800?
Thank you all so very much for all this info it's great! Love it here!
 

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It was most likely a valve adjustment, where either the valve cover comes off or an access plate on said cover comes off. You get a glimpse inside and it's "torn down" to some folks. ;)
Yeah that's kind of along the lines of what I was thinking. There's no way any bike should require a top end rebuild at those low miles.

But still, I'd want to make sure of what was done, and why.
 

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The Vulcan fell thru as when I when to look it wouldn't even start... :/ any thoughts?
So much for that stone reliability. :biggrin:


Should I be worried about anything hereditary in the Marauder, shadows, vstars or VL800?
Thank you all so very much for all this info it's great! Love it here!
Can't go wrong with any 500-800cc cruiser for a first bike.
 

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The VL800 isn't as powerful as the Marauder, but still is a nice bike. A friend had the touring version - very comfortable on the open road, but still light enough for the Dragon.
 

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I bought the 2002 VL800. Has 15k on it in literally mint condition. I fell in love at first sight and even more at first ride. Loved it thanks for all the help! Found someone with all maintenance info and receipts from reputable shop, my mechanic checked it out and said if I don't get it he would haha. So I got a steal on it as well. I'm pretty excited and relieved to get this in my hands just got to insure it and register it and I'll b on my way! Thanks everyone I'll be on here more and more! Much appreciated. Has everything I wanted on it , plus some! Guy thru in a SENA SMH-10R headset system as well. Great find. Glad I asked around and waiting as long as I did because this is perfect.

Thanks again!

mBuck
 

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I bought the 2002 VL800. Has 15k on it in literally mint condition. I fell in love at first sight and even more at first ride. Loved it thanks for all the help! Found someone with all maintenance info and receipts from reputable shop, my mechanic checked it out and said if I don't get it he would haha. So I got a steal on it as well. I'm pretty excited and relieved to get this in my hands just got to insure it and register it and I'll b on my way! Thanks everyone I'll be on here more and more! Much appreciated. Has everything I wanted on it , plus some! Guy thru in a SENA SMH-10R headset system as well. Great find. Glad I asked around and waiting as long as I did because this is perfect.

Thanks again!

mBuck
Happy new bike!
 
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