Buy a used Kawasaki VN-15


Buy used Kawasaki VN-15

Pot choice

In winter, grog drinkers prefer the handy 0.7 liter bottle. Chopper drivers with a preference for larger fill quantities, however, like to use the Kawasaki VN-15 for the rest of the season – it roars too.

Some motorcycle wisdom is particularly popular when it comes to choppers. The three most worn-out sayings are first: There is no substitute for displacement. Second: Real choppers only come from the USA. Third, only a Vau-Zwo engine is a good engine. If that’s the case, chopper fans should actually only be on the Kawasaki VN-15. Because it is ultimately powered by the world’s largest series two-cylinder, has the two pots in the popular V-arrangement and is built in Lincoln / Nebraska – and thus clearly in the USA. At this point at the latest, chopper purists explain without being asked where the name chopper actually comes from. At the risk of the inclined reader being bothered with this story for the 25th time – here it is: “Chopper” is derived from the English “to chop” – translated means “hack, slash, split”, in a figurative sense it “dismantle everything superfluous”. Finally, it is still often pointed out that choppers have to be incredibly individual and cannot be manufactured industrially. Well, the Kawasaki Vulcan presented at the end of 1986 – that’s what it’s called worldwide, just not in Germany – is therefore not a chopper, because it carries a lot of stuff around with it that is not absolutely necessary for actually getting around. It starts with the water cooling, continues with the double ignition and doesn’t stop with the gear-driven balancer shaft and the rubber mount of the engine. What bothers the enlightened even more: The Vulcan / VN-15 can easily be moved by non-screwdrivers – cardan shaft, contactless digital ignition, functioning brakes – yuck, not a real chopper! The Kawasaki executives in Germany must have seen it the same way, because in the first year of sales the VN-15 was only available from gray dealers.

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Buy a used Kawasaki VN-15

Buy used Kawasaki VN-15
Pot choice

VN 15 Classic. The greatest strength of the Kawasaki is the extremely powerful engine. The four-speed gearbox is completely sufficient, from 30 km / h everything goes in last gear. The nine PS difference between the first and last year of construction are practically not noticeable. The biggest weak point are the spring elements. With a little benevolence, the telescopic fork, which is completely tailored to comfort, can still be accepted. The completely underdamped struts, on the other hand, are unreasonable. At the front, progressively wound fork springs help further (for example from White Power or Wirth, around 150 to 180 marks), at the rear new struts are almost a must (for example Koni or Hagon, from 400 marks). Much of the annoying thing about the UN has to do with oil. For example, the high consumption of up to 1.5 liters per 1000 kilometers. Almost all letters to the editor report unusually high lubricant consumption, values ​​below 0.5 liters are the exception.

Kawasaki considers this to be normal, the large individual cubic capacities are supposedly responsible for it. But how do automobile manufacturers, for example, manage to design far more powerful engines with similarly large individual cubic capacities (Porsche 944, three-liter four-cylinder) with almost no oil consumption? In any case, car customers would not accept such lax explanations. The second point of criticism in terms of oil is the ingenious faulty design of the oil level control and filling. The sight glass is hidden on the right side in such a way that checking the VN without the main stand always becomes a circus act. Hobby screwdrivers are best equipped with the original Kawasaki scissor jack. However, it costs a hefty 680 marks. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help when filling the oil, because the opening is not horizontal, but vertical, so pouring in becomes inevitably a mess. Whoever purchases the original crash bars will be annoyed. It usually doesn’t take long for the undersized brackets to break off. Accessories from Five Stars are much better. There is also a sissy bar from the same manufacturer that costs 239 marks.

And the original Dunlop tires are not necessarily the last word. When dry, the rubbers still offer sufficient grip, but when wet they quickly become a lubricant. It took a long time, but there are now approvals for the much better Metzeler tires Marathon Front and ME 88 Marathon (until 1994). The front brake is quite decent for chopper conditions, and there were a few complaints about rubbing brake discs. The importer is not aware of this, the cause is likely to be structural changes in the material that may have been caused by unsuitable accessory brake pads. A well-known ailment is slipping clutches. The material is squeezed away at the contact surface between the disc spring and the pre-tensioning sleeve, thereby reducing the pre-tension. From May 1994 improved parts are installed. Problems with the fuel supply are usually caused by a kinked tank ventilation hose.

The dealers were informed of this in March 1990. The range of power reductions is plentiful and, above all, extremely inexpensive. Whether 27, 34, 50 or over 60 hp – everything is possible with Kawasaki approval, only two throttle orifices are required for a unit price of around five marks plus installation. Even in the least powerful version, the engine is always fascinating. Around 4,400 officially imported VN-15s are on the road in Germany, the number of gray imports is unknown. Used vehicles under 6500 marks are practically impossible to get, the majority of the offer ranges between 10,000 and 12,000 marks. Regardless of whether the VN is a chopper or a tourer, it is guaranteed to be the largest possible pot choice.

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