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Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by DaveBall, Nov 17, 2012.
Dave, there are some very good leftover '10/11/12 year model VN900's still to be had new.
How do you fix a flat tire on a bike with tube type tires? Do you carry around a huge jack? I did when I owned a Honda Rebel, as it was the only way to get the wheels off. I doubt it would have been stable enough on a full sized bike though. When I bought my XT225, I fabricated a prop rod welded to a plate with holes in it that matched the right footpeg holes. To use it you had to put a piece of 2x4 under the sidestand, remove the right footpeg bracket, and install the prop rod to the frame using the footpeg bolts. With it bolted on it couldn't slip. Then a guy on an XT225 forum started making and selling centerstands for them, and I was one of his first customers. When I bought my '01 KLR, the very first thing I got for it was a centerstand. Anyone who rides a bike with tube type tires and no centerstand is just asking for it, and will eventually get it. It might be 50 miles or 50,000 miles, but when it happens all you can do is stand there like a fool looking at your totally disabled bike and wondering what you are going to do. I have been in that position. It ain't fun. Neither was paying more than $300 to have the bike hauled back home. But I considered myself lucky.
I think that stating that someone who rides with tube type tires and no centre stand is asking for trouble is just being alarmist.
There are thousands of riders who run Metric Cruisers and Harley Davidsons who have no issues. True, flat tires happen. BUT, how many people don't carry a cell phone? Many have AAA or CAA that will pay towing charges. Personally, I know enough folks and have enough contacts that I can either get home OR get myself somewhere that I can effect repairs.
Basing a purchase decision on the ability to fix ones own flat is foolish.
This is good advice. However, I will add something. The Vulcan 900 is capable of crossing the continent. That said, its engine really is working hard at speeds of 70+ mph. It has substantial vibration at those rpm's. Again, if you plan on riding on highways and interstates, I'd be weary of this model. I sold one because of this issue.
My sense of it is that most people who buy mid-size cruisers replace them with larger engined machines. If you buy new and then trade it you'll take a big hit.
Performance in this class is pretty limited. The Vulcan 900 has 50 HP and weighs 611 lbs.
I guess you have to decide whether that sort of power would satisfy you. On a Guzzi V7 at 150 lbs less, 50 HP might work for me.
Easily fixed by swapping the front or the front and rear pulleys. Cuts the revs and vibrations. Although you tend to lose a little low end torque, the bike will still move quickly enough to out a smile on your face all day.
I traded an 07 VN900 for a 996 V-Strom. I didn't trade it because of performance issues. I traded because I wanted to ride another style of bike.
Yes, the trade in value smarted a bit, but considering that mine needed a full service, two new tires and a brake calliper imported from Japan, I think I did OK.
As far as performance went, I rode with a pack of VFRs in North Carolina and they were surprised at how easily I could bend it around the twisties. Sometimes it's not the displacement of the bike but the size of the balls on the rider. My 900 only let me down once. I rode with a guy all over The Eastern Seaboard who was on a Concours 1400. Yeah, he could outrun me all day long, but by the end if it - we still did the same miles and obeyed the same speed limit signs. There are days when I wish I still had it.
I have crossed the country many times on a Vulcan 750. In have owned 2 of them, both bought new, a '93 and an '02. I put over 80,000 miles on the '93, and it was still running fine when I sold it. I sold it because I wanted something else. The something else didn't work out, and I started looking for another bike. I looked at everything available, and came home with another new Vulcan 750. There was simply nothing else out there that worked as well. I now have over 74,000 miles on that bike. Despite the fact that I bought a Goldwing 1500 about 4 years ago, and a Goldwing 1200 2 years before that, the Vulcan 750 has been my main road bike since 2003. I have never had any issues riding long distances, or not enough power, or a problem with comfort. Neither one ever broke down and left me stranded. If it fell apart tomorrow, I would probably replace it with the Suzuki C50SE. BTW, the Goldwing is currently for sale. The reason? It's just plain too big.
A 950 is not a small bike. It is in fact a very large bike. The first Goldwing was 1000cc. Just because bikes have reached extreme displacements these days does not mean such large bikes are necessary. Remember the 1969 Honda CB750? Nobody had any issues crossing the country on one of those with a passenger and a huge Windjammer fairing. This bigger is better thing has gone way beyond the point of absurdity, out into la la land. Anybody who thinks they actually NEED more than 950cc has some other kind of problem.
And riding a bike that you can't fix a simple flat tire on is indeed something to be concerned about. It will leave you stranded just the same as a blown engine. There may not be anything you can do about a blown engine, but not being able to fix a simple flat tire is ridiculous. Manufacturers did not quit putting centerstands on street bikes because people didn't want them, it was a cost cutting and styling issue. And son are the tube type tires and wheels that cannot be used with tubeless tires. Wire spoke wheels are no excuse. There have been wire spoke motorcycle wheels that could use tubeless tires for decades. BMW used them on the R1200C. Honda used them on the '86 450 Rebel. Yeah that's right. A lowly Rebel. And while I do have a road service plan, I often ride where there is no cell phone service is available. And I ride in temperatures that could easily be lethal in just a short time if you were stranded with no shade and very little water. Again, while you average main street cruiser or bar hopper might not be concerned about a flat tire, an adventure rider needs to be self sufficient, because they DO ride in places where help is often not available. Many even carry extra tires with them, not just stuff to fix a flat.
JerryH, I have to agree with your sentiment. I can remember when a 650 Bonneville was considered a big bike and then the 750cc Honda appeared. We all thought it was HUGE!. Wow, who needed that much power? then that monster 1000cc Goldwing and BMW R100 appeared. Things just got out of hand after that. There are bikes being sold that have bigger engines than my car, that can haul 5 people fairly comfortably along with a full weeks of groceries and it can reach over 100MPH as well. Why would anyone need a bike with over 2000cc, or even over 1500cc? You can only go so fast. We ride on public streets and highways. We are not all racing on closed tracks. If people say that they need the big bike because they are 300+ poounds and need to take their equal sized partner with them and pack everything including the kitchen sink when they go touring, I think that they really are not making proper life style choices. But, that is just me. When I go touring, I take my clothes in my saddle bags and used to strap a small pup tent and sleeping bag on the back seat. Travelled all over Europe and North America that way.
I have "toured" on as small a bike as a 350 2 stroke Yamaha, back when they were the crotch rocket of the day. Buzzy as hell, but did a full loop around the USA and across Canada a few times. Did similar stuff on a Ducati 350 Desmo and an old Matchless.
Today, people think a 900cc bike is a starter bike. Well, that is their opinion. I have watched as many of these "starter bikes" wiggle and wobble around parking lots piloted by first time riders of all ages. I say, a starter bike is under 350cc. You can get into plenty of trouble with 90cc, let alone 900 or 2300. Nobody should be learning to ride on a 5-700 pound motorcycle that can do over 100MPH. Hell, most 1 vehicle accidents are well under 50MPH by inexperienced riders.
Anyway, now that I got that off my chest. Back to researching my next ride.
One of my good friends sold a Yamaha V-Star 650 that struggled to do much of anything over 65mph. Now, I didn't consider it a starter bike, but it was still very limited. Try not to take offense to people suggesting you look at a little more displacement with respect to certain motorcycles. Remember, not all mid-sized bikes are created equal, that's all. Good luck with your search.
I went thru the same thing a few years ago, I had just blown up and rebuilt a KLR with 26,000 miles, replaced nearly the whole damn bike during 40,000 miles with a Buell and had a thrashed TE610 that needed a total rebuild from the hubs up...it was time for a reliable no fuss Jap bike again.
Completely soured on Kawi I turned to my old standby...Yamaha. I wanted a single front disc, big rear disc, low seat height for the wife to climb on, air cooled only..no oil cooler to crack and spray oil, belt drive and tubeless tires. 950 V Star was it. It's been great and I ride it a lot.
True, when I returned to riding after some years away, I was amazed at how large in displacement terms bike had become. BUT don't confuse the power of a CB 750 with the power of a mid-size V-twin. Not saying they don't have enough power for you, but comparing ccs means very little.
Worth repeating, IMO. Air-cooled v-twin cruisers are different sort of animal; they simply don't put out a lot of power to pull 650lbs plus around. Will depend on your expectations, for sure, but I think a few test rides would be prudent.
As an owner of a C50, I can tell you right now that you will Not like it at 80mph. For any length of time. It's happiest at 55-60 mph.
Not to say it won't do 80, it will easily, but it isn't a happy 80. If you're looking at backroad poking around at 55-60ish it's wonderful. Over that and you begin to notice a distinct strain on your lower back from the windpressure(no shield on mine), as well as a lot of pressure on your inner thighs from wind trying to split you like a wishbone.
10 minutes? No problem. 2 hours? Ow.
*edit, that's with MY body. It may be like an angel is giving you a BJ.
don't neglect looking at victory. They seem to have some awfully nice rides.
I had the exact same experience with my Vulcan 900 (essentially Kawasaki's version of the C50). It was frustrating because it was such a wonderful machine at about 55 mph, but on the highway, it was just unpleasant to say the least.
Interesting....the 950 V Star loves to rev and is very happy over 80 mph. The CHP said I shouldn't do that anymore and my license agreed.
I've taken many loaded down two-up trips and it's great, plenty of power.
Personally, I think the V-Star 950 is a hell of a bike. I wish I would have bought it instead of the Vulcan (which I sold). Live and learn.
Was just checking on line at my near by Yamaha dealers. Is there any real major differences between the 2010, 2012 and 2013 V-Star 950s? Dealer has a brand new 2010 and 2012 for reduced pricing compared to the new 2013. Just looking at them, I don't see a whole lot of differences. The 2010 is priced about $7500, the 2012 is $9899 and the new 2013 is also $9899. These are all brand new with full warranty.
If there are no major differences, the 2010 would probably be a good deal. But it is 3 years older, so depreciation is going to be more. Will it be more than on a new 2013? Don't know. Any thoughts?
The only major difference that would really matter would be if it didn't have tubeless tires. I was thinking the first ones had wire spoke wheels. Might have been the Vulcan 900 Classic LT I was thinking about. Any of these bikes should get the job done with plenty left over.
It's true, displacement is not everything. Consider the Yamaha Royal Star, a 1300+ cc V4 (a detuned version of the V-Max engine) It can barely get out of it's own way. A Kawasaki Vulcan 500 twin easily outran it. There is certainly a difference between the Honda Shadow 750 and the late Nighthawk 750. The Nighthawk has twice the power. My Vulcan 750 is a v-twin, but it has more in common with Ducati than Harley. It has 4 cams, 4 cam chains, 8 valves, dual carbs, dual plug heads, a fairly high compression ratio, a highly tuned stock exhaust, and liquid cooling. It also has a 9500 redline, and will happily cruise at 80+ all day long without even breathing hard.
But having also owned a '66 Triumph Bonneville, It was certainly no powerhouse, and would shake your teeth out at higher speeds. Still, it would have been fully capable of cross country travel if it didn't have a propensity to break down all the time. There is a story in Motorcycle Cruiser magazine where Art Friedman rode one of the 900cc bikes (the Vulcan 900 LT if I remember correctly) cross country with no problems at all, and thoroughly enjoyed the ride.
As an example from the C50 side of the fence, 70-80.... Gives you the feeling that you should have already been bouncing off the limiter. It really really really needs a 6th gear. 80-90.... Does thins thing Have a limiter? I should probably slow down before it explodes.
Since that wasn't going to happen, quite a few people adapter the final off of a C90 which gives you a few hundred RPMs. And from all accounts totally changes how the bikes feels.