Changing Harley FXDF for Sportster/Bonneville/Vmax Gen1

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by Tnbrit, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. Tnbrit

    Tnbrit Been here awhile

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    Hi,thinking of changeing my FXDF for a cheaper/bit lighter 2up capable bike.
    Thinking of Sportster 1200 Roadster,Bonneville SE/Gen 1 Vmax,as you might gather we like fairly old fashioned standard riding position bikes:D
    Any owned or have experience with any/all of these
    all comments welcome.
    Graham.
    #1
  2. Maineboarder88

    Maineboarder88 Been here awhile

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    Having had several Sportsters in my life--I vote no on a Sporty. Suspension sucks for solo riding, never mind two-up. Can't comment on your other two candidates.
    #2
  3. marksbonneville

    marksbonneville Been here awhile

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    Test ride them all first but in all honestly I'd keep what you have as its a great bike.
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  4. Randy

    Randy Long timer

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    While I can't disagree with that, and have no experience with the other two, I will say that my Sporty's suspension works just fine for solo riding. It's a 48 and the original suspension DID suck, as it came with the factory lowered suspension. I've since upgraded the shocks with factory shocks from the Roadster, and put Roadster damper rods in the forks to get the full length back. So, basically I now have the same suspension as the stock Roadster plus a set of Ricor Intiminators in the forks for improved damping.

    I just did a little back road trip this past Sunday over the Cheaha Mountain (220+ miles round trip) and surprisingly had no complaints with the suspension at all. :D BUT, I am light weight and only ride solo.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, I wouldn't let suspension keep me off a bike that I otherwise liked and wanted. Stock suspensions suck on a lot of bikes and is a pretty common upgrade. I've seen several nice, low mileage Roadsters listed around the 5K mark in the last few months. If you don't mind spending a little money, you can upgrade the stock Sporty's suspension to be better than that found on either of the other bikes mentioned.

    I'd think that the Sporty trumps the Triumph in dealer network, and both other bikes in aftermarket support. Tons of seats, racks, backrests, luggage, etc, are available for the Sportsters, so you can set one up to suit your individual needs pretty easily. Parts are easy to find and readily available too, and the maintenance is simple as could be.

    It really just depends on which bike floats your boat more. The main thing is to just enjoy whatever you pick.
    #4
  5. Matchanu

    Matchanu Been here awhile

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    The "Fat Bob" is an excellent bike for two up riding. Why the change?
    #5
  6. KingOfFleece

    KingOfFleece SplitWeight(tm) waterproof seat covers

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    Not being a smart guy-you don't need a big network for Bonnies. The 865 is a bulletproof as they come. The Bonnie is quite easy to maintain by the owner.
    #6
  7. Tnbrit

    Tnbrit Been here awhile

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    Guys,thanks for the replies,maybe after MarksBonneville comments(which I totaly agree with) i should give a bit more info.
    Our FXDF is kept in the USA & we(wife & I)use it for Vacation riding,we've been doing this for over 12yrs. & have had 4 different bikes in that time.
    We're now retired & getting older i'm 67 & the boss is not getting younger:D,hence the trips are less frequent(mainly due to funds)& are probably only going to be 1 trip a year of 3 weeks duration in the future(used to be 3 or 4 a year).
    So a bike with less cash tied up looks better value,& i could put any cash I retain from a deal into financing more trips.plus a reduction in weight makes sense as we get older.
    Any more comments on the bikes very much appreciated
    Cheers
    #7
  8. Randy

    Randy Long timer

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    Not to disagree with that, and while it isn't a big deal to me either since I do all my own work too, for a traveling bike, and for a lot of riders, having a dealership for their bike in every smallish to medium sized town can be pretty important. It just depends on the rider and the intended purpose for the bike. The nearest Triumph dealer to me is over an hour away, and I have to pass at least a couple of HD dealerships to get there, with the nearest just minutes from my home. If I had to leave my bike overnight, it'd be much more simple in the case of the HD for me. And that isn't even considering if I were to make a trip of any magnitude and had issues out on the road.


    Not knocking the Bonnie at all, just mentioning what could be a consideration for some potential buyers, even if not a big deal for you and me. :thumb
    #8
  9. mattness

    mattness Adventurer

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    you dont need no vmax. 50-60 hp is all a bike needs, youll die on that thing i wish theyd ban them
    #9
  10. Randy

    Randy Long timer

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    Is that you JerryH?

    :rofl
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  11. Tnbrit

    Tnbrit Been here awhile

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    :DA couple of reasons i'm attracted to the Vmax are i see quite a few maxes 2up in europe & they look comfortable + the First bike we had in the US was an 84'Venture which was a great bike on trips smooth & comfortable but was one of the top heaviest bike ever made so we traded for an Elecrtraglide & have been going down in size & weight since.
    A vmax is about the same weight as the Roadster 1200 & about 120lbs less than the FXDF so in the ballpark,& you don't have to ride it fast,honest


    QUOTE=mattness;22004715]you dont need no vmax. 50-60 hp is all a bike needs, youll die on that thing i wish theyd ban them[/QUOTE]
    #11
  12. Tip Over

    Tip Over Whoopsie!

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    I did a couple 500 mile days on my Vmax and once carried a nice lady to her job on the back, so I will comment on that option alone.

    The seat is pretty bad. It's wide, but most of your weight is on the inside of your thighs, so while the ground is only thirty inches away, it's a bit of a reach. I never found the seat to be comfortable for more then 100 miles. Passenger seat with the somewhat rare backrest was comfortable for her, but her ride was an iron 883 sporty YMMV.

    Engine guards with some grip tape works good for stretching out your legs. I swapped the handlebars to superbike bars and couldn't have been happier.

    40 mpg cruising is doable, so filling up at 130-140 miles is a good idea. It's a heavy bike and top heavy too, so pushing sucks.

    Low speed handling is surprisingly good, high speed not so much.

    The motor never fails to impress, both in power and smoothness. The brakes are there.

    I loved it and will own one again.
    #12
  13. Nadgett

    Nadgett Been here awhile

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    :rofl
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  14. Tnbrit

    Tnbrit Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the replies so far,I'd hoped I would have had more input from members with experience of the bikes in question,there must be guys who've owned at least of these bikes who want to comment & at least slag off the others:evil
    I should also add I expect to have to change the Suspension/Seat to get it 2up worthy I've had to do that to my last 3 Harleys:D
    Cheers.
    #14
  15. zataomm

    zataomm Been here awhile

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    I don't think you could go wrong with either the Bonneville or the Roadster. Both have a nice vintage feel with more or less modern performance; as Randy pointed out the advantage of the Roadster is there are Harley dealers everywhere, and for every dealer there are probably three more independent shops specializing in Harleys.

    I have a carbed '04 Roadster and can go about 140 miles before hitting reserve on the 3.3 gallon tank. I added a small handlebar mounted windshield, a Sundowner seat and a set of saddlebags and can go just about anywhere on this bike, comfortably. Since I always ride solo the stock suspension is fine with me but from everything I've ever heard this is an easy thing to upgrade.

    You won't find as many Roadsters for sale as Customs, maybe because HD didn't build them for long and most people seem to like the forward controls and lower seat of the Custom. But for me the Roadster is the only Harley I would want to own, except for an FXDT or an older FXR.
    #15
  16. ridewv

    ridewv Been here awhile

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    FWIW I know this person is motivated to sell his Roadster, if he still has it. (I contacted him a couple weeks ago.) It appears to be in very nice condition with low miles. It has the touring seat and windshield also.
    Many feel this model to be the best Sportster with it's dual discs, free flowing heads, more comfortable suspension and riding position.

    http://www.cycletrader.com/listing/2004-Harley-Davidson-Sportster-110631607
    #16
  17. Tip Over

    Tip Over Whoopsie!

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    I also wanted to add to my previous review, The V-Max has a hydraulic clutch, and shaft final drive. Valve adjustment is something ridiculous like 30k miles. It's very low maintenance, except for the steering head. The v-max death wobble isn't because of the rubber cushion, but rather because the torque changes on the nut over time. I kept mine consistently torqued properly (any time there was a hint, I would take care of it), and it never actually affected me.


    I actually had my stock seat cut down low, and had dense foam topped by memory foam and that's what I used. The corbin seat didn't feel right at all for me, and the two best that I've ever sat on (but didn't have time or money for) were UFO Performance's Starfighter seat, and the Maxgasser seat.

    I owned a 2002. You want to look for 93+, they have better forks and brakes (although the 85s were faster).

    If you want any specific opinions on the V-max, just ask.

    You want me to slag off the other two? Okay.

    The Bonneville doesn't have anywhere near the power of the v-max, and it's a smaller bike in every direction. Chain drive means you are dirty, and it can't do block long rolling burnouts. Also, dealer network is pretty small.

    The Sportster is a wannabe big twin. I have a big twin right now, and wish I had a v-max. It has a smaller gas tank. Also, it can't do block long rolling burnouts.

    Seriously though, the V-max doesn't quite compare directly to the sporty and the bonnie. Those two are good comparisons for each other, but the Max is an outsider.
    #17
  18. Randy

    Randy Long timer

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    I'll take exception with that one. That's just a myth for those with litle dick syndrome or something. :evil Like saying that a Sportster is a "girls bike". :rolleyes

    Read the OP's reason for wanting to downsize from his current big twin. The Sportster is lighter, smaller, more nimble, and IMO, a better all around bike pretty much everywhere except maybe for long trips and interstate travel. Again, that's just my opinion. But I have no desire for any of the big twins, but I love my Sporty. It suits my riding style and tastes much better than any of the big behemoths would. As my signature says, I didn't get a Sportster because I wanted a Harley, I got a Harley because I wanted a Sportster.
    #18
  19. zataomm

    zataomm Been here awhile

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    Amen to what Randy said. Not everybody who has a Sportster aspires to a big twin; it wasn't that long ago when my 1200 actually was Harley's "big twin". Only in America could a 1200cc bike be considered small.
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  20. Randy

    Randy Long timer

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    If I "aspired" to a big twin, I'd own a big twin. If all I wanted to do was drone along the interstate, then maybe I could understand owning one. But for me, that isn't even riding. Around town, and on the curvy back roads that I enjoy riding the most, give me a Sportster anyday.
    #20