There are actually several options for risers. Products from AeroMach (note there are different part numbers for the Vulcan 1500 and 1600) and Scootworks (phat risers) seem to be the most popular. These risers raise your bars just slightly and bring them back toward you a couple of inches ending that slumped over feeling many of us have with the stock risers. Both come with everything you need to mount to your Classic or Nomad. Yet another option really isn't a riser but a machined piece that raises your bar about an inch and (thanks to the fork angle) moves your bars back a bit too. It's really a riser 'spacer' from Genmar. Take a look here. Less expensive than risers, simpler to install and it may suit your needs just fine. A quality 2-inch riser (spacer) for the Mean Streak is also available from Bad Ace Billet.
Another popular option is a 4x1 riser made by Drag Specialties for Harley Davidson motorcycles. To mount those on a metric bike you need some studs that are machined SAE on one end to fit into the bottom of the risers, and metric on the other to go through the triple clamp (or you can drill out your top triple tree). You can purchase these parts separately. Visit the Drag Specialties website you'll find a full page on risers. The one you can use on your Nomad (to do what you want) is model DS-290125 4x1 Pullback $39.95 (at this writing). Thunder Products sells the adapter stud (SAE thread on one side, metric on the other) you'll find the part here .
Some risers, particularly the Drag Specialities 4x1 style and in some cases Phat Risers from Scootworks can hit the instrument surround. It's usually a light tap but eventually will put a dent in the nice chrome part. If your bike has this problem (not all do) the fix is simple.
Just drill a hole through the steering stop and screw in self tapping screws (you'll probably have to shorten them a bit) into each side. They'll reduce the 'lock to lock' distance just a tiny bit (you'll never notice it in normal riding) doing away with the interference problem.
After you've made your decision you'll have to install the part.
Note... The following instructions come from the original Gadget's Fixit Page but as Carroll Hughes let us know there are likely small differences between Vulcan years and models:
Just a few minor notes. I recently totaled my 2004 Nomad, car pulled our in front. I picked up a 2008 Nomad and put AeroMach risers on it. The nuts under the tree for the 2008 are 14mm. They were indeed 17mm on my '04'. Also the Allen heads on the top of the AeroMach risers are 6mm and not 3/16. The Allen heads on the stock risers are indeed 8mm.
What you'll need:
- 17mm deep socket with u-joint and maybe an extension for the nuts under the steering head.
- 8mm allen wrench for the clamp bolts, and a 10mm socket or open end wrench if you need to loosen the cable clamp to the left front of the fuel tank.
- All of the above except you'll need a 3/16 Allen wrench in place of the 8mm wrench to lock down the clamp bolts.
Couple of things for you to do before you start
- Put a heavy towel or blanket over your tank and speedo FIRST. You'll need a place to rest your bars.
- After you set your bars down, follow all the cables through, see where they go, and pull them up as far as possible to give yourself as much extra play as you can. Notice the small bar-bracket on the left side of your bike, on the frame just below and slightly forward of the tank. Several cables go through it. It will help to disconnect this first but isn't absolutely necessasry. It will simply give you some extra play until you get the bars set back on, then replace the cables and bracket. Look at the cable connector under the clutch reservoir on the left bar, the one that's in the clear plastic housing. That one pops off on many people and will prevent the bike from starting when you're finished with your project. Remember, If you turn on the key and hit the starter and nothing happens this connector has probably popped off of the clutch lever housing.
- Make sure you have a deep socket that will fit the nut under the triple clamp if you are installing a Sherms (Drag Specialties) type riser, a 5 mm Allen wrench will be used for the Aeromach bolt. The spacing is a little tight under there, and the (Drag Specialties) studs are long. You may be able to make it work with other tools, but try it before you get too far. You may need to borrow from the neighbor!
This is really a simple project which is made much simpler if you have someone helping to hold things for you. Probably the most difficult part of the project is tightening down the top clamp while holding the bars at the exact level you want them.
Thanks to Terry Stage
If you install the Drag Specialties risers mentioned above on Nomad and Classic 1500's with the five gallon tank and electronic instrument package you may have to add a set of riser cups (riser risers) and a longer braided steel brake line to replace the stock upper brake line. The riser cups are needed in some cases to raise the top clamp area high enough to keep from hitting the instrument cluster nacelle and/or to facilitate removal of it if necessary (not sure which is true). Because of this added ½" of height, a longer upper brake line is needed.
Tools and stuff
You'll need a few metric tools; some of the same ones listed (above) by Gadget for the 4x1 risers, as well as a couple of others, to be listed below. Additionally, you may want to consider installing speed bleeders on the front calipers (or all over, for that matter, including the clutch line). These are great little devices! They allow you to keep the bleeders open while you are pumping the brake lever, without needing to keep opening and closing it to bleed out air. You can find information on the Speed Bleeder at www.speedbleeder.com, also available at Amazon.
You will also need something called a "One Man Brake Bleeder Kit", or at least a long piece of clear plastic hose and a container to hold the fluid you are bleeding out. They can be found at all major auto parts stores. I purchased a bleeder kit at AutoZone for $3.99 or so, and it consists of a small bottle, several pieces of hose, some connectors and a magnet to attach it to the side of your bike. Other types are available that have a check valve at the end of the hose to keep air from coming back into the line.
If you have some cash to burn, you can purchase a device called a "Mighty Vac", which is a vacuum pump for clearing brake lines. It apparently makes the bleeding job much easier, but it's kinda pricey at $30 or more, depending on the model. They can be purchased at most auto stores. But wait, there's yet another option that does the same thing and would only cost you a couple of bucks! See this fixit page for details.
Tools for Riser Removal & Installation
- 17mm deep socket with u-joint and an extension for the nuts under the steering head.
- 8mm Allen wrench for the top clamp bolts, and a 10mm socket or open-end wrench if you need to loosen the cable clamp to the left front of the fuel tank.
- 5mm Allen wrench for windshield removal (Note: both of the metric allen wrenches are in the Nomad tool pack)
- ¼" Allen wrench to install new top clamp bolts when you're putting it all back together.
Tools for Brake Line Replacement and Bleeding
- 12mm wrench for replacing the stock brake line with the new steel braided line.
- 10mm wrench for opening/closing (or removing) the stock bleeders.
- 5/16" wrench for installing the Speed Bleeders (if applicable).
- One-Man Bleeder Kit or a clear plastic hose and can to catch bled brake fluid.
- Plenty of DOT-4 brake fluid (I used Valvoline SynPower Synthetic Formula DOT-3 & DOT-4).
Doing the Project
- First and foremost, cover your front fender and tank with plastic sheeting! This will protect them from spilled brake fluid - DOT-4 fluid contains glycol, which causes paint to blister. You should also cover the tank with a heavy towel or blanket to provide a resting place for your handlebar when you disconnect it.
- You might want to remove the windshield, which will give easier access to the work area. Use the 5mm allen wrench for this task.
- Remove the upper brake line (using the 12mm wrench) that runs from the master cylinder to the connection point below the triple tree. This will cause the master cylinder to drain, so be ready to catch the fluid. Carefully note the location of the washer gaskets (there are 5 of them, 2 at the top and 3 at the bottom).
- Remove the stock riser clamps (using the 8mm wrench) and carefully set the handlebar onto the fuel tank. Follow all the cables through, see where they go, and pull them up as far as possible to give yourself as much extra play as you can. Notice the small bar-bracket on the left side of your bike (under the black plastic shroud), on the frame just slightly below and forward of the tank. Several cables go through it. It will help to disconnect this first but isn't absolutely necessary (and, it will require removal of the shroud!). It will simply give you some extra play until you get the bars set back on, then replace the cables and bracket. Look at the cable connector under the clutch reservoir on the left bar, the one that's in the clear plastic housing. That one pops off on many people and will prevent the bike from starting when you're finished with your project. Remember, if you turn on the key and hit the starter and nothing happens this connector has probably popped off of the clutch lever housing.
- Remove the stock risers from the triple tree, using the 10mm deep socket and extension (and maybe a u-joint). The spacing is a bit tight under there, so you may have to play with it. I found I could remove the nuts with a shallow socket, but needed the deep socket to replace them, because the replacement studs were a bit longer. I also started with a u-joint, but realized I had just enough room to go straight up and in using a long extension.
- Install the new risers (using the old nuts), and make sure you don't forget to include the riser cups! It's a little tricky to put the cups on if you forget them and have to do it AFTER the handlebar is in place (don't ask how I know this!).
- Install the handlebar into the new risers, and lock down the top clamp using the new bolts and a ¼" allen wrench. Use the grooves in the bar as a guideline for centering in the risers. You might need to have someone hold the bar in position until you get the first couple of bolts tightened down.
- Install the new steel braided brake line between the master cylinder and the lower connection point. BE SURE you use the same number of washer gaskets as were on the stock line (there should be 5 of them)! These gaskets help to provide a seal between components and stop liquid or air leakage.
- Install the Speed Bleeders on both front calipers, if you have opted for them. Attach the bleeder hose line to the right side bleeder and route it to the can or bottle.
- Remove the master cylinder cover (set it aside in a clean safe place) and fill the master cylinder with DOT-4 brake fluid. Slowly pump the brake lever several times until no air bubbles can be seen rising up from the hole at the bottom. Open the right side bleeder ¼ turn and begin pumping the brake lever multiple times, watching for brake fluid to come through the clear tube into the can. Once you begin to get a flow through the tube, close the bleeder (UNLESS you have the Speed Bleeder!). Initially, you may just get fluid with some small bubbles, due to the fluid left in the lower lines.
- AT ALL TIMES, be sure to monitor the fluid level in the master cylinder to see that it never runs out. Otherwise, you will pump more air into the line and, essentially, will have to start over (trust me on this one, I know!!!).
- Loosen the right side bleeder valve, then squeeze the brake lever closed. Without releasing the brake, tighten the bleeding valve. Release the brake lever. Now repeat this over and over (and over and over…) while you watch the fluid and air bubbles come from the bleeder valve. (The Kaw manual says to pump and hold, then bleed - your choice) The objective is to get a smooth flow of brake fluid with no air bubbles. When the right side is clear, repeat the procedure with the left side. Again, keep an eye on the master cylinder at all times to make sure you don't run out of fluid. Also, watch your fluid catch can to make sure it doesn't overflow.
- SPEED BLEEDERS ONLY: Once you have obtained liquid flow, keep pumping (and pumping and pumping and…) until you have cleared all air from the line. You might get fluid only at first, then eventually the air will start expelling. This process is MUCH easier than using stock bleeders, because you don't have to close them.. You only have to keep pumping and filling, pumping and filling, pumping and; well, you get the idea! As with stock bleeders, when you have cleared the right side, close the bleeder and move to the left side.
- You've gathered from the above that a LOT of pumping is required, along with cramped hands, etc. This is because of all the air in the new upper line. Eventually, though, you WILL start getting large air bubbles out of the line. However, you will probably keep seeing tiny little bubbles for some time. I finally gave up trying to get all these little guys, and closed up my bleeders to try the brakes; they were fine, lots of "peddle" and quite firm. Any microscopic bubbles will (I believe) work their way up to the master cylinder.
- If you have trouble getting pressure while pumping, you might have an air bubble in the master cylinder. If so, close the brake lever and while holding it shut, loosen the connection at the hose until you see fluid seep out. Retighten the bolt and proceed again with the bleeding task.
- Once you have achieved a fluid-only state on both sides, close your bleeders and test the brakes out in your driveway. Make sure they feel firm and "quick". If the lever feels soft or spongy, you probably still have air in the line. Back into the garage and keep bleeding!
- Once the whole project is finished, go out and RIDE!! You will absolutely LOVE the new risers, and the difference in riding position and comfort. I also found that the risers made my Nomad much more responsive in turns, both slow and fast. It's much easier for me to do slow-speed tight circles than it was before.