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Old 11-19-2012, 10:48 PM   #11
Cyclesarge
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Well they did have "standards" and "cruisers" that used the same motors. The standards had lower handlebars, flatter seats, and footpegs that were more under the rider. The cruisers had buckhorn handlebars, king/queen seats, and more outstretched foot controls. With the Hondas, they used the same V-4 motor for their Magna line (cruiser), Sabre line (standard) and their Interceptor line (sportbike).
I can't believe with how far the modern cruisers push your legs out (VN900 included) they can't fit a I-4 engine between your feet, or at the very least a V-4.

I wasn't saying they should have just kept trying to force the 80's 4 cylinder cruisers down our throats, but more wondering IF they hadn't continued to develop 4 cylinder motors to get lower end torque, better gas mileage while further changing their layout to get a more comfortable bike, where the "state" of Japanese cruisers be today. If American would buy them of course.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:27 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Cyclesarge View Post
Well they did have "standards" and "cruisers" that used the same motors. The standards had lower handlebars, flatter seats, and footpegs that were more under the rider. The cruisers had buckhorn handlebars, king/queen seats, and more outstretched foot controls. With the Hondas, they used the same V-4 motor for their Magna line (cruiser), Sabre line (standard) and their Interceptor line (sportbike).
I can't believe with how far the modern cruisers push your legs out (VN900 included) they can't fit a I-4 engine between your feet, or at the very least a V-4.

I wasn't saying they should have just kept trying to force the 80's 4 cylinder cruisers down our throats, but more wondering IF they hadn't continued to develop 4 cylinder motors to get lower end torque, better gas mileage while further changing their layout to get a more comfortable bike, where the "state" of Japanese cruisers be today. If American would buy them of course.
Well the magna is an exception as it had 'mid controls' and could be extended to forward controls, not 'standard'. There are still issues, like heat. My uncle has a V-4 Yamaha and because the engine is so 'fat', the cylinders are very close to his legs giving him tremendous heat.

Can it be done? Sure, but, I don't know that it's much better than a V-Twin, they both have their pros and cons.

I think you're right though, it's the American market. Like I said above, most Americans don't ride much. Check out craigslist, just go to the 'motorcycle' section. Look at how many low mileage bikes there are! It's disproportional to the number of higher mileage bikes and certainly disproportional to the miles on the used cars on Craigslist. Fact is, most people don't care about smooth or powerful. The 'cool' factor is often more important. Besides, like I said, there definitely ARE advantages to a V-Twin cruiser.
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:16 AM   #13
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A very basic difference between the classic V Twin engine and an inline engine is this: The V Twin gives that low down, torquey grunt we all like, while the inline (usually a 4) provides a zzzzzzziippppp type of power. Sport bike riders like that kind of power delivery. The V Twin has a somewhat limited top end, while the inline engine is revvier and gives a higher top end speed.

I think it would be hard to put an inline 4 engine in a bike and at the same time fit it with cruiser-style forward mounted controls. That engine is just too wide, I think. But you can do about anything with a VTwin. Take a look at Suzuki old VX800. They stuck an 800cc VTwin engine (borrowed from the now-extinct Intruder 800) in an upright "standard" style frame. It looked like about any other UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle), or "standard" bike, but with a VTwin engine. I had one for a short time and it was actually a pretty neat bike. I sold it not long after I got it because at the time I had more use for my Gold Wing. It's just too bad they didn't keep it around a bit longer and fit it with FI and junk the carburetors. It just wasn't a big seller for them.

For touring? You can tour on anything, so it becomes a touring bike. In town? Whatever you like to ride. I was very comfortable riding my GL1800 around town, but then I was very used to it and its weight. It would be more of an issue for someone who normally rides something much smaller, I suppose.
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Old 11-20-2012, 11:05 AM   #14
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At the risk of being objected to, let me say that for starters, a cruiser is probably not your best choice for long distance touring, especially 2-up. It really wasn't meant to be that. There are bikes made specifically for that purpose, such as the Gold Wing, the HD Ultra, Kawasaki Voyager, Victory Vision or Cross Country Tour and the BMW D1600GTL. These are all smooth, some more so than others.

But like Romans said, what you choose to ride depends on what kind of riding you prefer. You certainly don't want a Gold Wing if all you do is run around town, for example. Any bike can be a touring bike--all you have to do is ride it to wherever you want to go--but some are purpose built for it and do a much better job at it.

V Twin engines are not as smooth as inline or horizontally opposed engines because of their inherent imbalance. Some inline 4's are quite buzzy, as well. One well-known culprit is the old Kawasaki Concours 1000. Good bike, but a very buzzy engine. Tinkering with timing and carb balancing can smooth it out some, but never totally removing it. On the other hand, HD has taken a well known paint shaker engine and rubber mounted it in the Road King and Electra Glide series and made them dead smooth at speed. So it can be done.

In the end, only you can decide what kind of riding you will do, then choose the right bike for the job. Good luck and keep us posted.
I don't know, I rode my 1500 classic on several long trips (and I mean LONG- North Idaho to San Diego and back 3 times, a few trips to the Oregon Coast, up to Glacier and Jasper/Banff, the Yellowstone/Jackson/Hell's Canyon loop, etc) and found it to be reliable, comfortable, and easy to ride all day long. More than enough power, plenty fast, nimble enough for mountain roads. I'm a big boy, too (6-4 and 270) and it carried me, my wife, and all our gear just fine.

People have been touring on Harleys for 75 years or more. The design of the 1500 classic is no different the design of the HD touring bikes, except I don't have a trunk or a fairing. It's still a V-Twin, just like a Road King or an Ultra Classic, except I have a shaft drive and a watercooled engine, two pluses for touring.

I suppose the difference between my bike and a Goldwing would be the difference between touring with a Toyota Camry and a Cadillac. Both are more than adequate for the job; the question is how much luxury do you need?
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:12 PM   #15
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Top end and speed aren't so much a matter of engine style, V-twin or I-4, they're considerably moreso a matter of horsepower, gearing, weight, and aerodynamics.
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Old 11-20-2012, 01:50 PM   #16
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I don't know, I rode my 1500 classic on several long trips (and I mean LONG- North Idaho to San Diego and back 3 times, a few trips to the Oregon Coast, up to Glacier and Jasper/Banff, the Yellowstone/Jackson/Hell's Canyon loop, etc) and found it to be reliable, comfortable, and easy to ride all day long. More than enough power, plenty fast, nimble enough for mountain roads. I'm a big boy, too (6-4 and 270) and it carried me, my wife, and all our gear just fine.

People have been touring on Harleys for 75 years or more. The design of the 1500 classic is no different the design of the HD touring bikes, except I don't have a trunk or a fairing. It's still a V-Twin, just like a Road King or an Ultra Classic, except I have a shaft drive and a watercooled engine, two pluses for touring.

I suppose the difference between my bike and a Goldwing would be the difference between touring with a Toyota Camry and a Cadillac. Both are more than adequate for the job; the question is how much luxury do you need?
Oh I don't think anyone disagrees with you. I've done a couple 1,000+ mile trips on my 900. They certainly can, and for many, be very comfortable! One could make the argument that if you need that much luxury, why not take the car? Motorcycling is kind of like camping, it's not meant to be plush, there is a level of 'roughing it' that's part of the enjoyment.

BUT, there certainly IS more of a level of plush with the smoother motors.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:26 PM   #17
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I think that's what I was getting at--you can tour on anything. Some are just more accessorized than others. I found my Nomad to be just as competent a long distance tourer at the Wing. My wife holds the same opinion of her 900. Whole I do miss my Gold Wing some, I have discovered that I really enjoy riding a less complicated bike. I consider my 650 VStrom to be just as good a long distance bike as any other.
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:21 PM   #18
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I think that's what I was getting at--you can tour on anything. Some are just more accessorized than others. I found my Nomad to be just as competent a long distance tourer at the Wing. My wife holds the same opinion of her 900. Whole I do miss my Gold Wing some, I have discovered that I really enjoy riding a less complicated bike. I consider my 650 VStrom to be just as good a long distance bike as any other.
Careful now. 'round these parts that's blasphemy to say you can do anything but ride circles around your lawn on a 900 .

I am VERY comfortable on my 900. I'll ride it anywhere. I wouldn't hesitate for a second to take it coast to coast if I had the time and the money. (That's the funny thing isn't it, you can have lots of money but no time, or lots of time but no money!). I don't disagree with people when they tell me the engine is 'buzzy', but, it doesn't bother me a bit. I have made a few changes for comfort though, like gel-gripped gloves to eliminate vibration in the grips (though there really isn't that much), a much comfier seat, and a tour pak and hard bags. BUT, all in all, I spent a lot less than a touring bike, get 50mpg consistently (up near 60 sometimes), and have a bike that is super reliable, easy to maintain, and easy to handle. I think the cool thing about the 900 is that a brand new rider can start out on it, then take it across the country!

I would like a GL1800 one day though. It's kind of high on my list. 3 riding buddies of mine ride them and the more I look at them, ride them, sit on them, the more I really like them. But, speaking of V-Twin vs Inline, I'm not too ashamed to admit that a part of me really likes the sound and personality of a V-Twin motorcycle. My V-Twin motorcycle feels to me like a muscle car, whereas the Goldwing feels like a really peppy Accord. I dunno, just can't get past the allure of a V-Twin!
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Old 11-20-2012, 11:35 PM   #19
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Careful now. 'round these parts that's blasphemy to say you can do anything but ride circles around your lawn on a 900 .

I am VERY comfortable on my 900. I'll ride it anywhere. I wouldn't hesitate for a second to take it coast to coast if I had the time and the money. (That's the funny thing isn't it, you can have lots of money but no time, or lots of time but no money!). I don't disagree with people when they tell me the engine is 'buzzy', but, it doesn't bother me a bit. I have made a few changes for comfort though, like gel-gripped gloves to eliminate vibration in the grips (though there really isn't that much), a much comfier seat, and a tour pak and hard bags. BUT, all in all, I spent a lot less than a touring bike, get 50mpg consistently (up near 60 sometimes), and have a bike that is super reliable, easy to maintain, and easy to handle. I think the cool thing about the 900 is that a brand new rider can start out on it, then take it across the country!

I would like a GL1800 one day though. It's kind of high on my list. 3 riding buddies of mine ride them and the more I look at them, ride them, sit on them, the more I really like them. But, speaking of V-Twin vs Inline, I'm not too ashamed to admit that a part of me really likes the sound and personality of a V-Twin motorcycle. My V-Twin motorcycle feels to me like a muscle car, whereas the Goldwing feels like a really peppy Accord. I dunno, just can't get past the allure of a V-Twin!

I remember in the late 70s guys getting 750 Hondas and touring cross country on them.
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light bar, 2" risers,
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new brake pedal, throttle lock,
Cobra Lowboy Shotgun pipes,
Baron's Big Air relocated right side,
tombstone tail light,forkbag,
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alarm, power port, clock,
and a cool cupholder
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Old 11-20-2012, 11:54 PM   #20
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I remember in the late 70s guys getting 750 Hondas and touring cross country on them.
Like I said, you can tour on anything, and back in those days, there weren't bikes like the Gold Wing, so we made do with what we had and had fun doing it.
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