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Old 08-10-2012, 12:08 PM   #46
kittty OP
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Thank you Jerry, you "get it" :) You've said what I couldn't find words for. Japanese just doesn't do anything for me. I want classic, not vintage, classic. Something about the Japanese bikes just doesn't give me that warm and fuzzy feeling. I'm sure they're great and well loved, but they're not for me.

The more I mull over it, the more I know that the Iron 883 is really the one I want. I like the quirkiness of the Royal Enfield, but points about parts and service worry me, plus I'm realizing it's not best to fill the gap Stella can't take on: the highway.
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:38 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by CaseyJones View Post
Was it their first full-blown motorcycles?
Yes, it was their first motorcycle. They started on Buddies and rode them for a couple of years then decided they wanted something for longer rides. One of the couple is very short and most larger displacement scooters have a seat height too high for her and she didn't like the Burgman which had the lowest seat height. I rode with them the day of the shorter worman's first freeway ride on the way to meet up with the local Women in the Wind chapter and she did well. Her taller/heavier girlfriend did even better. Obviously they had been practicing.

I saw them a couple of weeks later on an in-town scooter ride of mostly 150cc or lower scoots (my GTS was the biggest cc scoot on that ride) and they were on their Buddies having a blast. One of them said the scoot was more fun but they are planning some riding vacations where a larger displacmeent would give them more options which is why they bought the motorcycles.

cdwise screwed with this post 08-10-2012 at 12:40 PM Reason: fixed screwed up quote.
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:02 PM   #48
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One of my issues is with the Japanese 'Harley copies" The TU250 is a nice enough little bike, but it is too small to really be freeway capable, even though it is freeway legal. But by far it's biggest fault is it almost total lack of character. It may as well have an electric motor. It has no "mechanical" feel or sounds to it at all. Far to refined for my taste. I have owned a ton of Japanese motorcycles,, and never loved any of them. They all seem "fake" somehow. And they are all way too refined, even the Harley copies,, which the V-Star 250 certainly is. I like my Ninja 500 not because it has character, because it doesn't, but because of the way it handles curvy roads. Still, an exotic, like an Aprilia or Ducati would be much better, and being European, I consider them the real thing. Ducatis have character, but they are not for someone who does not want a hardcore sportbike. Older BMW twins had character, but not the new ones. It has all been refined out. The Sportster 883 is NOT a large motorcycle, it is barely bigger than the V-Star 250. It is tiny compared to the huge Japanese Harley copy v-twins like the Kawasaki Vulcan 900, V-Star 900, Suzuki C50, and Honda Shadow Aero 750. Again the displacement might be close, but the physical size of the bike makes it look very small when parked next to one of those behemouths. It is also way smaller than the Bonnie, which is much larger than the '60s Bonneville, not only in displacement, but in physical size.

The only way to tell if you fit on a bike for sure is to go to a dealer and sit on it. And unlike the Japanese dealers, Harley dealers usually allow test rides.

One thing I can tell you, is that I own a Genuine Stella, and a Yamaha Vino 125. They both have about the same performance, other than the Stella can take off faster, and climb hills better due to it's manual gearbox. But when it comes to outright fun, the Stella is easily 10 times more fun. The Vino, while it will get you where you are going and back, is like riding a piece of Tupperware with wheels. It does have a motor, but you get no sensation of that while riding it. The Stella IS a vintage Vespa PX150E, made by LML in India, who once made Vespa branded scooters for Piaggio. There is nothing "fake" about it. The Royal Enfield was, up until a few years ago, still an exact copy of a 1950s Royal Enfield, made by a company that, again, made real Royal Enfield bikes for the Royal Enfield company until they went out of business, then the Indian company went right on making Royal Enfields, using original Royal Enfield tooling. Then the EPA and DOT got in the way, and the machines were completely redesigned to meet modern standards for safety and emissions. The same reason new Stellas wound up with a 4 stroke engine which robbed them of most of their character. Todays Royal Enfields use unit construction engines, and of all things, fuel injection, which means a computer. They do still have style and character, and they are NOT Asian, which is good, but they are still too cheaply built for me. I love ancient design and character, but I still want some degree of reliability. My '66 Triumph had a lot more reliability than a Royal Enfield, once you got things right. By the time I owned it (mid '80s) there were a lot of aftermarket parts available to improve it. There were better carbs, better electrical parts, cables that didn't break, etc.


I would go to a Harley dealer, and try the Sportster. Then you will likely know if it is the bike for you. I have little doubt that handle it. If it does turn out to be not your thing, then you will know, and can move on to something else. Tou didn't say whether you wanted to do a lot of freeway riding or not. A Royal Enfield can handle some, though at slow speeds. It has about the same power as a TU250 or V-Star 250, or even a Rebel 250. But those bikes can be ridden flat out at '80 mph all day every day, while an Enfield can't. A Sportster can take you anywhere in the country, at freeway speeds, while feeling and sounding right, and without over exerting itself.


If you are wondering why I am posting so much about this, it seems as though you like the same type of bikes I do, and that is not common. Most people want refined, refined, and more refined. I want exactly the opposite. Go to stellaspeed.com, and you will find the same attitude. Most of those people wouldn't be caught dead on a plastic Asian scooter. They don't even like modern Vespas, because, you guessed it. They are too refined and souless. They do like Vespas, just not new ones. They like 2 strokes with manual shifting. Modern Vespas don't even have kickstarters, which is usually how I start my Stella.
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:21 PM   #49
kittty OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryH View Post
But by far it's biggest fault is it almost total lack of character. It may as well have an electric motor. It has no "mechanical" feel or sounds to it at all. Far to refined for my taste.
That's the warm and fuzzy feeling I mentioned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryH View Post
If you are wondering why I am posting so much about this, it seems as though you like the same type of bikes I do, and that is not common. Most people want refined, refined, and more refined. I want exactly the opposite. Go to stellaspeed.com, and you will find the same attitude. Most of those people wouldn't be caught dead on a plastic Asian scooter. They don't even like modern Vespas, because, you guessed it. They are too refined and souless. They do like Vespas, just not new ones. They like 2 strokes with manual shifting. Modern Vespas don't even have kickstarters, which is usually how I start my Stella.
I briefly toyed with the idea of a new Vespa when I decided it was time, but that was squashed quickly. There was really no way I'd be happy with that. It's one thing to drive a New Beetle, because I do need a safe and reliable car, so a nod to retro is okay there, but with a scooter I needed the real deal.

I'm on Stella Speed, but I rarely look because it seems to move very slow. I'm also on Modern Vespa and Modern Buddy, I like the Not So Modern forum on Modern Vespa. A thread popped up, guy new to scooters had bought a bodge unknowingly, was able to get the seller to take it back, now he was thinking vintage wasn't the best choice and he should just get a new plastic scooter as this was going to be his main transportation. I agreed with him that maybe that was his best bet, to perhaps get one with a nod to retro, and mentioned that the new Honda Metropolitan actually looked much better than the last generation. Ohh, was I attacked for that one, lol. Little vomit faces appeared all over, they did not like the mention of such plastic in those parts.

And I always kickstart, mainly because my electric doesn't work though
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Old 08-11-2012, 02:07 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by kittty View Post
...(or splurge on an HD Iron 883)...
Buy what you want the first time or you end up buying twice, costing even more and saving nothing.

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Old 08-11-2012, 03:20 AM   #51
CaseyJones
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryH View Post
...
I guess it depends on what you call "character." Defects, such as hard starting, poor idling, oil usage...character?

What I want is trouble-free riding. Anyone who WANTS trouble or mechanical flaws on the road...is making excuses for a bike or marque he's emotionally committed to.

I briefly had an old Suzuki Savage 650 thumper. On cold mornings I had to let it idle 20 minutes in order to be able to ride it. When I got the TU 250, and was just able to get on and go...

A Sportster 883 the equivalent of a Yamaha 250? You DO know how to convert cubic inches to cc's, right? The Harley 883 cubic-inch engine is just under 1400 cc's. or over FIVE TIMES the displacement.

Anyone can ride what he/she wants - I have no problem with that. What I caution people of, is buying what they THINK they want, without working it through...and making an expensive mistake; having a garage-queen slowly rot even as the payments keep coming due.
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Old 08-11-2012, 03:39 AM   #52
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...The Harley 883 cubic-inch engine is just under 1400 cc's. or over FIVE TIMES the displacement.

...
Pretty sure it's 883 ccs out of the box.

Kripes. The Ford V10 is only 415 cubic inches.
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Old 08-11-2012, 03:52 AM   #53
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Pretty sure it's 883 ccs out of the box.

Kripes. The Ford V10 is only 415 cubic inches.
Ahhh..yer right on that. Early morning, avoiding stuff I don't want to do.

The 883 name doesn't indicate engine size. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harley-Davidson_Sportster

"Sportster motorcycles are powered by a four-stroke, 45 degree V-twin engine in which both connecting rods, of the "fork and blade" or "knife & fork" design, share a common crank pin. The original Sportster engine was the Ironhead engine, which was replaced with the Evolution engine in 1986. Sportster engines, the 45" R, D, G & W Models 1929 side-valve motors, and the 'Big Twin' side-valve motors, which were: the flathead 74 cu in (1,213 cc) Models V, VL etc. (19301936), Models U and UL (19371948), and the 80 cu in (1,311 cc) models VH and VLH (19351936), models UH and ULH (19371941) have four separate cams, sporting one lobe per cam."

1200 or 1300 cc engines.
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Old 08-11-2012, 05:53 AM   #54
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Here's one near you, although it is a bit chromey.....

http://newyork.craigslist.org/fct/mcy/3185668907.html
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Old 08-11-2012, 05:57 AM   #55
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The Iron 883 is 54 cubic inches. http://www.harley-davidson.com/en_US...sktop#/c/specs

This is a motorcycle with roughly 50hp in a time that many bikes are well over 100. It's a heavy bike for it's size, but if you sit on one they are VERY low to the ground, and the weight is way down low. The are often tagged as the 'Harley for women' or entry level Harley due to it's small size. I can't tell you when it's appropriate to move up to a full size motorcycle, or whether you personally need to ride a small 250 first. My first bike at age 18 was a Kawasaki H2 750 which EVERYONE told me was an insane choice. I loved it, and I'm still here...

I am NOT a Harley guy, it's been 20 years since I had one myself, but I will defend them against the notion that they are unreliable, leak oil, etc. They have been making the Sportster for 60 years. HD has improved everything about them, while still retaining the basic feel, look and sound. Love 'em or leave 'em, but they are reliable, have great dealer support, and there are probably more accessories available for them (and their larger brothers) than any bike in the world. A woman on a Sportster has a limitless number of instant buddies who will come to your assistance should you ever need or want it.

Another consideration- Try to find a Sportster for under $3000, regardless of whether it's 10 years or 40 years old. They retain value like few bikes. Buy one and if you decide it's the wrong decision somebody will buy it. It's not a tattoo.
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Old 08-11-2012, 06:46 AM   #56
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IMO a better choice over the 883 Iron is an XL1200S Sportster Sport. The XL1200S is a comparatively rare model that has several desirable features regular Sportsters lack. Good luck finding one that hasn't paid the tax or been modified or abused.
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Old 08-11-2012, 07:55 AM   #57
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Well, now that we have all decided you should get a HD triumph big Vespa tu250, Watcha going to get ? :-)
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Old 08-11-2012, 07:56 AM   #58
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The first Sportster 1952-1956 was the K model. a 750cc 45 cu flat head.

http://www.classic-car-history.com/h...el-history.htm

then in 1957 they went to over head valve engine with iron heads and 883ccs . In 1972 the engine was bored out to 1000cc or 61 cu.

But the 883cc Sportster with iron heads starting in 1957 is the one that started it all.

http://www.motorcycleclassics.com/cl...sportster.aspx
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Old 08-11-2012, 08:18 AM   #59
kittty OP
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Well, now that we have all decided you should get a HD triumph big Vespa tu250, Watcha going to get ? :-)
Lol, I'm sure at this point that the Iron 883 is at the top of my list. As far as if that'll happen, or realistically be the best choice, is yet to be determined, but it really is what I want.

Sighhh...

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Old 08-11-2012, 11:44 AM   #60
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The Royal Enfield has similar reliability issues, but so did other bikes from back then. I used to own a '66 Triumph Bonneville. It spent more time getting worked on than ridden. But it had character and soul, something the modern Bonnie, TU250, W650, W800, GB500, etc. lack. The W800 is not available in the U.S., the W650 and GB500 are next to impossible to find, and if you are lucky enough to find one, the seller will want as much for it as a new Bonneville. ou like it, fine.
I ride a Kaw W650, used to ride original Triumphs. The Kaw is as close as you can get to the original Triumphs without the headaches, oil leaks, electrical problems, etc. I'd say you probably haven't spent much, if any, time on a W650.

If character to you means getting stranded, frequently, then no, it doesn't have that kind of character. If character means something fairly unique, vintage looks, sufficient power, enough vibration to let you know you're on a motorcycle without being horribly intrusive, then yes, it has character.

They're available if you look, at half the price of a new Bonneville.

And yes, you can kick start them to life, something you can't do on Sportsters or the new Triumphs, which, by the way, are not made in England, they're made in Thailand, which is also in Asia.

This may be the bike you're looking for. Go for an '01, there were many improvements over the '00. They are lighter, faster, brake better, handle better, and are more reliable than a Sportster.
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