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Old 11-17-2012, 07:02 AM   #1
DaveBall OP
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About to convert to a cruiser??

OK, I have been riding "Old School" since Airheads were new. Have tried a few other brands over the years and always went back to an airhead. Well, now I am getting to the point where I want to change. I am tired of having to always work on my bike myself, because I can't find any local mechanics that are qualified to work on bikes that are older than they are. I like to tinker, but am no longer into doing major work. And as the newest airheads are getting rather long in tooth, for me, it is time to move on.

So, I am looking at new bikes. I don't want some high monster so called adventure bike. I am not into true off roading. I want a good reliable road bike for daily riding as well as 1 up light touring. No crotch rockets as my back just won't take that riding style anymore. And, I want a good dealer network available, with a dealer preferably within a 2 hour ride from home. That kind of limits me to the mainstream Japanese bikes. Just not into Harleys.

I seem to have narrowed the field down to mid-sized cruisers. Mainly looking at the Kawasaki Vulcan 900, Suzuki C50 Boulevard and the VStar 950. I eliminated the Honda 750 is just too small and underpowered for me. I don't need anything larger that 1000cc. I like the lighter weight for daily riding. I have not had a chance to ride all of these bikes, only the Vulcan, which I really liked.

I have been checking all over the internet and cannot really find objective info on each of these bikes on reliability, ease of doing regular maintenance (oil changes, tuneups, valve adjustments, etc.) as well as what may be weaknesses in each bike. i.e. common issues that show up on a regular basis.

I think that maybe part of my reasons for asking about all this stuff is that I have not purchased a new bike since 1981, and I still have it. Never owned anything newer. So kind of out of touch with the new technology etc.

So, any info that people can pass along would be very helpful to this old fart in training.

thanks
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:27 AM   #2
vicvegas
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Have you looked at that Honda CB1100 comming out? It looks like a nice old style bike. I just wish we Canadians
were getting more color choices.
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:31 AM   #3
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Of the bikes you are considering, the Yamaha is the only air-cooled engine, if you like that sort of simplicity. I really like the looks of the V-Star 1100, which is also air-cooled. I know you are trying to stay under 1000 cc's but you might appreciate the extra displacement as these bikes are heavier than your old beemers. I'm sure a test ride will answer the question as to whether 900 cc air-cooled is enough for you.
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:33 AM   #4
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I'll second checking out the cb1100. I know you said you don't need anything over 1000cc but it's not that far off and it isn't supersport style power. If I recall it's rated at 85hp or so and is described as the sort of engine that does not need or beg to be ran up to redline, lots of useful smooth torque down low. The sort of power I would imagine an airhead makes(I had an oilhead for a short while) biggest diference being modern EFI and being smoother(they say it does emit some vibes).

All in all I think it's a great looking bike and in many ways is an old bike with modern fueling and electronics. Plus, I want one when I can afford one and want them to still be on dealer show rooms :)
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:37 AM   #5
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Would think the Triumph lineup is worth looking at, either the Bonneville or America. They are ~800cc parallel twins, newer models are fuel injected, some have spokes, some have cast wheels.

Should be one in there that trips your trigger.

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Old 11-17-2012, 07:42 AM   #6
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Cruisers are crazy uncomfortable and kill my back. They are built to achieve a certain look and anything to do with being good to ride come secondary. Try some sort of standard bike--bandit, fjr, 919, whatever suits you. The Bandit 1250 is pretty comfy, car-like engine build and reliability.
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:59 AM   #7
mitchxout
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You're going to miss your Airhead, don't do it.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:10 AM   #8
Mrmerlin
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Go ride a Rocket 3 ,
make sure your holding on when you crack the throttle
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:18 AM   #9
Quedok
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I second what Mrmerlin recommends. Just got a Rocket Roadster and with is upright riding position is not really a cruiser but not a sport bike either, somewhere in between. Very comfortable and very powerful. I love mine!
Oh and by the way, I also have an airhead, an R80st and it complements it well.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:24 AM   #10
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Quote:
I seem to have narrowed the field down to mid-sized cruisers. Mainly looking at the Kawasaki Vulcan 900, Suzuki C50 Boulevard and the VStar 950. I eliminated the Honda 750 is just too small and underpowered for me. I don't need anything larger that 1000cc. I like the lighter weight for daily riding. I have not had a chance to ride all of these bikes, only the Vulcan, which I really liked.
I like the Vulcan 900 too. Out of those choices, it's my pick.

Quote:
I have been checking all over the internet and cannot really find objective info on each of these bikes on reliability, ease of doing regular maintenance (oil changes, tuneups, valve adjustments, etc.) as well as what may be weaknesses in each bike. i.e. common issues that show up on a regular basis.
You'll find anecdotal evidence of malfunctions on all these bikes. The truth is, they're all good machines and things have come a long way from 1981 for bikes on the floor.

The Vulcan's belt drive, FI, neat paint schemes, and zippy motor make it a winner for me.

Go ride a Harley Sportster, VRod, and a Super Glide just for science.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:32 AM   #11
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That was some quick feedback. Thanks.
I had not even looked at the CB1100. It looks interesting. Will have to head down to my local Honda store to check it out. I wonder if they will have a model with some hard bags and maybe a windshield of some sort. Have to be able to pack a few things when traveling, and prefer hard lockable bags.

As to Triumphs, they just don't do it for me. I have tried them out and I know lots of people drool over them, but they just don't fit me, or I don't fit them. Looked at Guzzis as well, like them, but too expensive for me. I have to take into account price plus maintenance and stuff.

Most people either love or hate the cruiser style. Last summer I spent a little time in the saddle of a Vulcan 900 - 4 days and about 1800 miles. I found it was quite comfortable. The owner was riding his brand new Victory. He just had to have one. He is keeping the Vulcan for his wife.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:30 AM   #12
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Why not open it up a little?

As noted above, CB1100:


Triumph Bonneville:


Guzzi V7 Classic or Stone:


Compared to cruisers, they offer standard ergos (more like what you have been riding), better handling, lighter weight. Great looking, traditional style bikes, with modern engines, fuel injection, etc.

Only negative, for some, is they all are chain-driven. I have never owned a bike that wasn't chain driven, so am no expert on shaft or belt drive maintenance, but chain maintenance might take me all of 10 minutes, once a month, or after riding in the rain.

The benefit of chain-drive (other than more efficient transfer of power from engine to wheel) is the ability to gear up or down for very little effort or expense.

I suspect many would find mid-size cruisers are lacking in performance, given their modest power, limited lean angles, and heavy weight.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:33 AM   #13
kraven
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBall View Post
That was some quick feedback. Thanks.
I had not even looked at the CB1100. It looks interesting. Will have to head down to my local Honda store to check it out. I wonder if they will have a model with some hard bags and maybe a windshield of some sort. Have to be able to pack a few things when traveling, and prefer hard lockable bags.
The answer is "yes." They'll have add-ons through Honda, and the aftermarket is already brewing bags and shields and seats and all the usual stuff.
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Old 11-17-2012, 11:01 AM   #14
bvkamp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BikePilot View Post
Cruisers are crazy uncomfortable and kill my back. They are built to achieve a certain look and anything to do with being good to ride come secondary. Try some sort of standard bike--bandit, fjr, 919, whatever suits you. The Bandit 1250 is pretty comfy, car-like engine build and reliability.
I respectfully disagree. You can almost infinitely adjust or replace the seat, footpegs, and handlebars to fit your body. When done right, it's like sitting in a very comfortable chair. This position is not optimal for sport performance, but for riding hours at a time it's perfect. Sport bikes and even standards have your legs folded at an acute angle below you. Not comfortable, especially if you have long legs.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:26 PM   #15
scotty918
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I used to own a Vulcan 900 Classic. I would not recommend it if you plan on riding on the highway. It simply has to work too hard on the highways and interstates.
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