mid-sized cruiser with long range & good brakes?

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by davidji, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. davidji

    davidji bike curious

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    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?
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  2. Thatch

    Thatch Adventurer

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    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.
    #2
  3. Blue&Yellow

    Blue&Yellow but orange inside...

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    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:

    [​IMG]
    #3
  4. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Been here awhile

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    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.
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  5. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

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    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
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  6. kraven

    kraven Hegelian Scum

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    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.
    [​IMG]
    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.
    [​IMG]
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  7. No False Enthusiasm

    No False Enthusiasm a quiet adventurer

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    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...

    NFE
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  8. Blue&Yellow

    Blue&Yellow but orange inside...

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  9. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

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    +1

    Corbin seat with backrest, and call it done.

    :deal
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  10. waveydavey

    waveydavey happy times!!

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    Vulcan 750
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  11. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    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.
    #11
  12. Durangoman

    Durangoman Yeah its me!

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    I have an R1200C, love it!!

    [​IMG]



    There just happens to be one for sale (actually being given away) in the Flea Market right now. http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=840138&highlight=r1200c
    *I have no interest in this bike nor do I know the owner...


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

    :1drink
    #12
  13. davidji

    davidji bike curious

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    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.
    #13
  14. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze Long timer

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    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....

    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/rla9KU0m808" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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  15. InsideThePerimeter

    InsideThePerimeter North GA bound

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    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.
    #15
  16. xaman

    xaman Been here awhile

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    Totally different, but what about the new Moto Guzzi V7.

    It should have your range requirement. 5.8 gallon tank.

    Single disc up front, but it's only 400 pounds, so it'll stop.

    A custom seat should give you the backrest...with a standard riding position.

    Might be worth a look.
    #16
  17. davidji

    davidji bike curious

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    Interesting stuff here, thanks people.

    Wouldn't have thought about getting the right position for using a backrest on a standard by adding highway pegs. Seems like a great idea since
    a. I like standards.
    b. there are a lot more standards that fit my criteria than cruisers

    I sort of tried it tonight by riding with my feet on the engine guards on my Versys, and I think I could use a backrest in that position. Didn't have a backrest in place, but I have an idea for one I might rig up.

    I have used a soft bag strapped to the pillion seat for back support before and it's nice, but not the same. Might be tho if I had my feet forward/up.

    Anyway the backrest thing is just an attempt at pain management. And I'm glad to find a way to experiment with it without spending thousands of dollars.

    Haven't abandoned the cruiser idea though.
    #17
  18. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    Triumph Bonneville America? Cruiser looks, Bonneville underpinnings.

    Frankly, If I were going to buy a cruiser and had the cash, it would be the new Moto Guzzi California 1400. Gorgeous machine, with proper brake and suspension components. It's probably bigger than what you want though.
    #18
  19. Chisenhallw

    Chisenhallw Avowed Pussbag

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    holy bazorka
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