Go Back   ADVrider > Bikes > Road warriors
User Name
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 04-03-2013, 09:26 PM   #1
davidji OP
bike curious
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: california
Oddometer: 1,060
mid-sized cruiser with long range & good brakes?

I was thinking about commuting on bike with a backrest. Which pretty much means cruiser.

Gotta have good brakes. Triple disc required, ABS desired. I'd waive the dual front disc requirement if I were convinced the bike stopped well with a single disc. Some do. Most don't.

Minimum 210 mile fuel tank range. Non-negotiable.

No clamshell/gyno-chair bikes. Ergos should be on the standard side of cruiser.

Mid sized. Under 700lbs.

Narrow & agile enough to fit through traffic. Yeah people do it on baggers and gold wings. But those aren't ideal tools for the job.

I had a few bikes on my list (BMW R1200C, Moto Guzzi California 1100, Harley XL1200R), but they don't seem to have the range.

The closest I've seen so far is the modern T-bird, though it's over 700lbs. And more expensive since the others are older. My coworker commutes on one and finds it more comfortable than his Tiger 1050. Which is saying a lot IMO.

What else should I look at?
davidji is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2013, 12:48 AM   #2
Joined: Sep 2012
Oddometer: 30
As an owner of a 1700 tbird I can atest to the comfort of the bike for commuting or long haul cruising. It also does a damn good job of filtering in some pretty tight traffic. (rush hour on the ring road around Florence Italy is a test for any bike). It's also an awfully good bike in the twisties, very neutral and easy to change direction for a bike of it's type and weight. (granted it's no sports bike and will scrape sooner than you run out of grip, but you can still ride it pretty hard, but I do have a 2nd bike for my hooligan mood riding (but who can be happy with only one type of bike?)) Comfort of course is subjective and many have swapped out the stock seat for a long haul or custom seat, stating the stock seat is too hard. Personally I have no issue with it and simply changed the handlebars to find a better riding position for me and it resolved any discomfort I had during longer hauls. Forward controls are modestly forward for most. There are some short inseam riders that seem to think they are pretty far forward and taller folks like myself (6'6") who see them as very moderate (my upper legs are nearly parallel to the ground) Again, that's going to be an issue that is different for each person. There are a couple of kits to move the controls either further away, back to near mids and even rearsets. So there are options.

As for other bikes to consider, The only one that strikes me off hand is the HD VRSCD which for a number of years was fit with mid controls, but or course that doesn't fulfill your range requirement. Even with the 5 gallon tank you are only looking at about 170 miles..... (no idea why they haven't sorted the range out on that bike) Of course there are all the metric cruisers. They have a lot technically to offer but since you didn't list any I'm assuming you're most likely like me and find them all rather uninspiring.

The smaller Bonnie based cruisers from Triumph have good reputations. I think they fit and finish on them was lacking up until recently. I've ridden all over Europe with several America/Speedmaster owners and while they are lesser bikes than the tbird in nearly every category they are lighter, cheaper and simpler to deal with should a breakdown happen. Of course as with all bikes, a better rider on a lesser bike is still faster, so to some degree this is all moot. They had no problem riding thousands of miles and enjoying the same roads I did.

I'd like to think a Griso would work with a universal or custom fabricated backrest but again range is an issue. No idea if anyone has come up with a larger aftermarket fuel tank for one or not. Regardless, best of luck with your search. If there is anything I can answer on the tbird side of things just let me know.
Thatch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2013, 01:51 AM   #3
but orange inside...
Blue&Yellow's Avatar
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Sweden
Oddometer: 754
I think some of the Honda VTX1300 models came with ABS, could be something to look at.

Other than that you could buy something like the yamaha 950 which is a very nice size for commuting but still capable of the big roads and then take the money you save and get a nice custom seat with backrest:

Blue&Yellow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2013, 03:22 AM   #4
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Sep 2011
Oddometer: 871
I have a hard time understanding you saying you want a midsized bike, while at the same time you're talking about 1200 cc's and a 700 lb weight limit.

None the less, I'll toss out there that you might want to look at the Yamaha Vstar line. They've got quite a few different midsized models hidden in that lineup. And I do mean hidden. Two bikes that at first look identical can in fact be quite different and fit quite differently.

If you ride solo and really just want a backrest, find an old adjustable rack mounted backrest and put it on whatever bike you get. As much as I have found backrests to be nice, I've also found them to be a pain. Quite literally. Non-adjustable ones fit some market niche, and if you aren't it, it doesn't fit you. An adjustable backrest lets you spend hours twiddling trying to find the optimal discomfort.
foxtrapper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2013, 05:05 AM   #5
U'mmmm yeaah!!
Maggot12's Avatar
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Barrie Ont
Oddometer: 5,623
You're kind of all over the map with your wants... A backrest can be added to any bike and I don't know of any cruisers tank range over 200 miles. I had an 1100 Star that got 240kms, (about 140miles) and that was common for the bike, dual disc brakes were decent. Friend with a 650 got the same range but less fuel.

Not a cruiser, but the Wee comes to mind. 270+ miles, can add a backrest and has better brakes, with standard ABS, than most cruisers. In traffic the high seating position makes it easy to see far ahead and over many small cars.. While sitting on my Wee at a light, I was eye to eye with drivers in F350s.

hope this helps, good luck

Don't sweat the petty things; Pet the sweaty things !!!
Maggot12 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2013, 05:21 AM   #6
Hegelian Scum
kraven's Avatar
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Asheville NC
Oddometer: 4,904
Yeah, the 950 Star models are great bikes with a peppy engine and ergos that grownups like. They scrape a little readily, but are sweet machines that aren't too thirsty, sound good, offer lots of ergo options, and are priced reasonably. 4.5 gallon tank plus thrifty engine makes mileage easily.

The Honda 1300 Sabre and Stateline. Both fit your criteria, except for triple disc. But, they do have a bigger disc up front than competitors as well as ABS. These bikes can stop in a hurry for a 700lb cruiser. Shaft drive is a bonus for some and a detractor for others.
With 4.4 gallon capacity and ~50mpg, it's doing your mileage standard. Bars are a little wide, but that's NBD. You'll probably put bars on whatever you get anyway.
Seat with a backrest is available.

Harley's Superglide might also be a good choice.
They offer fuel economy and the range you're looking for, abs, certainly no lack of aftermarket for seats and backrests, etc. You'd have to ride one and see for yourself if the brakes do it for you. I don't mind them and the ABS system is like every other abs system. And it's hard to beat HD's fit and finish.
They weigh in about mid 600's. Holds 5 gallons and gets 45-50mpg.
Superglide is mid control too. Maybe the best commuter non-bagger Harley makes. Hard to find any fault in this bike for what you want to do, aside from the brakes. And maybe not even then.
So there I was walking into a biker bar in Chattanooga with liberty spikes on my head and a drag queen beside me... - bcurvin
kraven is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2013, 06:37 AM   #7
No False Enthusiasm
a quiet adventurer
No False Enthusiasm's Avatar
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Small Town, Texas
Oddometer: 4,851
The May issue of Cycle World compares the Honda Interstate, the Star V Star (Department of Redundancy Department), and the Suzuki B.O.S.S.

The Suzuki was considered the "best" with the Star a close second.

However, none of the bikes get better than 40 MPG and none holds more than 5 gallons. The range you need will narrow the choices significantly.

As mentioned earlier, the Wee will actually come closer to the OP's strict requirements.... ABS is available... 5.3 gallons of fuel and at least 45 MPG... just install highway pegs to approximate that cruiser riding position...

No False Enthusiasm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2013, 06:45 AM   #8
but orange inside...
Blue&Yellow's Avatar
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Sweden
Oddometer: 754
Here you go:

Ditch the front screen and add custom backrest and you're set to go - phenomenal bike. I'm almost tempted to buy one myself now!
Blue&Yellow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2013, 03:09 PM   #9
diplomatico di moto
rocker59's Avatar
Joined: Mar 2004
Location: The Trans-Mississippi
Oddometer: 15,948
Originally Posted by kraven View Post
Harley's Superglide might also be a good choice.

Corbin seat with backrest, and call it done.

Rocker59 (aka guzzimike), Aux Arcs
Moto Guzzi Sport 1100
IBA #24873
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt
rocker59 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2013, 03:17 PM   #10
happy times!!
waveydavey's Avatar
Joined: Sep 2005
Location: Back on VanIsle. In Compton.
Oddometer: 9,402
Vulcan 750
"...once the honey was gone he wandered off, farting and too soon satisfied."

waveydavey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2013, 04:27 PM   #11
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Chandler, AZ
Oddometer: 5,069
Unfortunately, after 22 straight years of production, the Vulcan 750 was dropped in 2006. I am lucky enough to have owned 2, and still have one. But it does not meet the OP's requirements. It has double front discs, and a riders backrest is available for the stock seat, but it has a drum rear brake, and a real world range of about 140 miles. And of course it has a cruiser riding position, as do all other cruisers. The ONLY cruiser I know about that is available with mid mount pegs is certain versions of the Harley Sportster. The 1200 Roadster has triple discs. But the range comes up short. I do not believe the OP wants a cruiser.
JerryH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2013, 04:42 PM   #12
Yeah its me!
Durangoman's Avatar
Joined: Feb 2006
Location: Durango
Oddometer: 773
Originally Posted by davidji View Post
I was thinking about commuting on bike with a backrest. Which pretty much means cruiser.


I had a few bikes on my list (BMW R1200C,....)
I have an R1200C, love it!!

There just happens to be one for sale (actually being given away) in the Flea Market right now.
*I have no interest in this bike nor do I know the owner...

That all said the line of Triumph Cruisers are pretty neat.

Durangoman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2013, 06:15 PM   #13
davidji OP
bike curious
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: california
Oddometer: 1,060
Originally Posted by JerryH View Post
I do not believe the OP wants a cruiser.
Maybe you're right. Looking for one that's practical for me.

An unexpected bike just occurred to me: a Honda CTX 700. Too bad it's not available used--lower price, and I could try it first. I doubt there's a backrest seat available yet. And I don't know how well that single front disc brake works. Not as sexy as a Moto Guzzi California or an FXD35 anniversary Superglide. But if I'm thinking about a practical cruiser I gotta consider that.
davidji is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2013, 06:30 PM   #14
Beastly Adventurer
mrbreeze's Avatar
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: Tennessee
Oddometer: 8,929
the only bikes i can think of that come close to your criteria would be the Triumph America and a Harley dyna glide. I like the Street Bob myself.

the Triumph Rocket III Roadster might interest you. It's over 700 pounds, but it's got the goods....

2013 Suzuki DL650 Adventure

Travels with Maw Maw
mrbreeze is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2013, 04:49 PM   #15
North GA bound
InsideThePerimeter's Avatar
Joined: Nov 2012
Location: Atlanta GA
Oddometer: 140
You could just get a Honda Shadow and strap a gas can on it. Cheap, reliable, on Craig's list everyday everywhere. Get the 750 not the 600.
Live your own life, for you will die your own death.

If you Don't Believe in Freedom For All -You Don't Believe in Freedom at All
InsideThePerimeter is offline   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Times are GMT -7.   It's 10:46 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2015