Euro Gears

Despite the massive amounts of torque available on the VN2000, the engineers at Kawasaki chose to put some steep gearing in the bike. The net result is that you need to shift out of first gear almost immediately after starting up. Heck, there isn’t even a need for first gear. You can easily start in second. Additionally, this means that at highway speeds, you are often tempted to shift into the non-existent 6th gear because the engine is turning so fast. The gearing on the models sold in Europe however have gearing that is not quite as steep as the ones sold in the US.

So… some folks in the Rogue community have purchased the European gears and installed them on their US bikes. The good news is that this does not involve changing the gears inside the transmission. Instead, this involves swapping out the transfer gears that connect the transmission output shaft to the shaft that drives the front belt pulley. The stock US transfer gears in the transmission have 42 teeth (front) and 50 teeth (rear). The Euro transfer gears have 44 teeth (front) and 48 teeth (rear). This change in gearing creates a noticeable difference. From what I have read in other posts, with the stock configuration, the final drive ratio is 2.7439. and with the euro gears it’s 2.4545. (more…)

Read More

Going To The Dark Side

After a considerable amount of research on the web, I made the decision to go to the “Dark Side”. Here are some good articles on running an automobile tire on a heavy cruiser.

I have replaced the stock Bridgestone Battleax on my 2006 VN2000 Classic LT with a Goodyear Assurance Triple Tread 205/60R16. I went with that tire for several reasons.

First, it seemed to be mentioned repeatedly by other riders who have already gone this route. Secondly, I have this tire on my car, and have been very pleased with it. It is an amazing wet weather tire. I live in Jacksonville FL and our summer rainstorms are torrential. The Assurance sticks to the road like glue. It is just incredible. Goodyear rates it as an 80,000 mile tire. I won’t get that much out of them – I’ve got 47,000 on them now and it looks like I’ll have to replace them somewhere between 55,000 and 60,000 miles.

The Goodyear is considerably less expensive than the Bridgestone. Online prices for the Bridgestone BT-020 205/60R16 seem to be around $175-$185 dollars. I bought the Assurance TT for my Rogue at my local Goodyear store for $114.99 + tax.

The fellow behind the counter made an interesting comment when I went in. He wasn’t even surprised. He said, “We’ve been getting a lot of motorcyclists coming in and buying that tire”. He asked me what I rode (turns out he rides a HD), and I told him a Kawasaki Vulcan 2000. He said most of the other people buying that tire rode Hondas, but couldn’t remember which model. I said “Gold Wing? Valkyrie?” and he said that sounded right.

This seems to be almost a religious issue for some. What seemed significant to me was that I couldn’t find ANY posting online about someone who tried it and was so disappointed that they removed it and went back to a motorcycle tire. In fact, the opposite seemed to be more common. They tried it, liked it, and saw no compelling reason to go back to an MC tire. The auto tires are less expensive, last longer, offer better traction and arguably, an equally satisfying ride.

I got 8100 miles out of the stock Bridgestone (which is better than some), but I enjoy long distance touring and did not want to be in a situation where I would have to worry about my tire lasting long enough to get me home.

And finally, I wasn’t worried about my decision. If it turned out that I didn’t like the way the bike handled, I could always remove it, go back to a Bridgestone and I’d only be out the cost of the Goodyear.

The VN2000 Really Needs a Name…

The ONLY thing that bothers me about my bike is that it doesn’t have a model name. I bet this has happened to you. The conversation goes something like this…

“What kind of bike do you ride?”
“A Vulcan 2000”
“Oh…” (they think you’re riding a 2000 model year bike)
OR
“Oh, how big is that?”
“It’s a 2000”
“No, I mean how big is the engine?”
“It’s a 2000”
“No, I mean the engine size”
“It’s a 2000 CC engine… 2053 to be exact. 125 cubic inches. It’s big.”
That’s when the realization slowly hits them.

People know what bike you are referring to when you mention a Mean Streak, a Nomad, a Vulcan Classic, or Drifter. But mention VN2000 and you get blank looks. It’s almost as bad as HD designations – FLXHRABCXYZ…

ROG members know what a Rogue is, but no one else does. If you could name it, what would you name it?

Florida to Vermont – Summer 2007

I went on my first long distance trip on my Rogue this past July, traveling from Jacksonville, FL to central Vermont and back – 13 states, 3800 miles in 8½ days of riding. What a ride! What a trip! I love touring on this bike. People ask me, “Did you travel with anyone?” and when I tell them “No, I just went by myself” they look at me with disbelief. If you have to explain, they wouldn’t understand…

Summer 2007
(more…)

Read More