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Discussion Starter #1
I know this is likely to be controversial and your mileage may vary, yada, yada yada. But ...

I've been struggling with my impressions after my first relatively long ride on my Classic 900. First, a little background on how I got to where I am at. I am new to motorcycling and absolutely loved my first bike (Honda Shadow VT600C). It was a great bike to cut my teeth and was perfect for going on trips 30 - 50 miles from town. Rides on that bike were a blast, but I knew I wanted something more in terms of power, handling, and a bigger gas tank that didn't have me filling up every 75 miles. I did a ton of research and got the Vulcan. Great bike and even better than the Shadow for what I liked to do. But I also wanted to do some longer rides --- day trips, over-nighters, long weekends, etc.

Well, after doing a reasonable 3/4 day trip I can say that I am still wanting for a better experience. For me, unless I am puttsing around the back roads with no particular itinerary in mind, I am a point A to point B type of personality. I want to get to where I want to be as quickly as possible. Yes, my family just _loves_ to go on road trips with me driving. :rolleyes: And that was the problem with my trip this past weekend. Sure, most of the ride was fairly leisurely as a group of us made our way to Tombstone and then on to Bisbee, AZ and the surrounding area, but the trip back had me thinking in point A - point B mode. I admit that taking more stops and smelling the roses would have made the trip back a little more comfortable, but I also did more interstate on the way back. So I was uncomfortable, riding at speed (>75) and thinking about just getting home. That was the first time - EVER - that I was looking forward to ending a ride.

So, coming to grips with understanding what I want out a bike that will get me to points of interest beyond that 50 mile radius, I've started looking into sport tourers. If I am going to be shredding interstate miles to get to someplace I'd like to putts around, then I'm pretty certain that won't be on a cruiser. I'm not looking to part with the Vulcan because I still very much enjoy riding it around town and a bit further out. And I've got all of these cool farkles on it. But I can be ok with not wanting to "tour" on it. God love the rest of you that have found that sweet spot with your cruisers when touring. For me and my Vulcan that sweet spot is just a little closer to home.
 

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Yeah the 900 isn't made for long distance touring with a group unless you are comfortable at high RPMs. Get what's comfortable for what you do.

For me it's fine but I get what you are saying. It's a mid level cruiser. Sort of a compact car so to speak. Some people are fine with a 4 cylinder banger. Some need a Cadillac. To each his own. If I was traveling hundreds of miles a day I would want a bigger bike too.


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BOTM Winner, May 2015
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A sport tourer maybe up your alley..
 

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I did a lot of long distance riding on the 900. High RPM's never bugged me, for whatever reason. Aftermarket seat, highway pegs, etc., I had a comfortable bike. My Vaquero is even more comfortable though. Super smooth on the highway, good wind protection; it's just a breeze whether interstate or windy roads. Sport tourers are great too. Just my long legs don't like them, I feel cramped up and never can get comfortable. That's what my stepdad rides and I've ridden his, even for hours at a time; and just cannot get used to it. I feel cramped up the whole time; like being in the backseat of a subcompact car; just desperate to move my feet somewhere.

But on my Vaquero, I'm comfortable all day. I was on the 900 too I guess, but I'm even 'more comfortable' now. Before you pull the trigger on a sport tourer (which may very well be the ideal setup); see if you can't get a demo or rent a nice touring cruiser. Something with a bigger engine and better suspension. Definitely a lot of comfort out there..
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Before you pull the trigger on a sport tourer (which may very well be the ideal setup); see if you can't get a demo or rent a nice touring cruiser. Something with a bigger engine and better suspension.
That's definitely what I am planning on doing. The 900 is really a great value from a price standpoint. Going larger is going to mean more bucks unless I can find a nice deal on something "gently used". I don't want to shell out big bucks after a local test ride only to find that I still have issues on longer rides.
 

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Like Romans stated I personally haven't had any issues with long distance riding. His "long distance" and mine are probably different but I've taken mine from Northwest VA to the Outer Banks of NC with no problems. Mostly interstate riding on that trip too. Yes the revs are up there cruising at 75-80 but I was comfortable.

The 900 is a great bike. It can be modified to accommodate virtually any riding style, but in the end you have to do what is best for YOU. If I get another bike, it'll be a V2K. I REALLY want a V2K!
 

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Well, anything over two hours. That's where the comfort factor really kicks in. Whether that's a multi-week several thousand mile trip or a 200 mile jaunt somewhere; it seems to ME that once you hit an hour and a half to two hours, whatever 'issues' you have with comfort on your bike will become very apparent. So that's what I consider 'long distance'.
 

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Ok, I got ya. I guess I'm one of the rare few that doesn't get "butt burn" on longer trips. And as long as my posture is correct (much better with the bar change, and will be even better with the 12" bars and 5" risers I just installed) then my back doesn't even ache. The only thing I have to do is shift my feet around a bit after about an hour, then a few miles later hook my heel back on the peg and keep on cruising. Hell, there have been times where I'd look down and see the fuel gauge on E and be disappointed that I have to stop. But that's just me. Everybody is different.
 

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I envy you for sure! I get tailbone pain. It's bearable though and as long as I change position here and there I can ride really as long as I want.

The lower revs of a bigger bike are nice and for interstate trips the wind protection is really, really nice. Makes the air smoother and easier and reduces the sensation of speed a bit. V2K's are nice!
 

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Wind protection would be nice, but I opted for luggage instead. I will say, after 6 hours of 95% interstate travel without wind protection, when you do get off the bike, you are definitely exhausted. Especially if there is a lot of traffic and you end up spending a lot of time in the turbulence of tractor trailers because the 4 wheelers won't get their butts up the dang road!

Once the bagger project is done, wind protection will be my next purchase.
 

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The longest I have ever gone on a bike in a day is 230 miles, but that was spread out over about 4-5 hours. This was on my 900. The longest stretch of that was roughly 65 miles. I did not have much back pain, but this was before I had pegs so for the last 20 miles before home, my legs were hurting. I have 200 miles planned for this weekend so I will give the pegs a try out.
 

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I know this is likely to be controversial and your mileage may vary, yada, yada yada. But ...

I've been struggling with my impressions after my first relatively long ride on my Classic 900. First, a little background on how I got to where I am at. I am new to motorcycling and absolutely loved my first bike (Honda Shadow VT600C). It was a great bike to cut my teeth and was perfect for going on trips 30 - 50 miles from town. Rides on that bike were a blast, but I knew I wanted something more in terms of power, handling, and a bigger gas tank that didn't have me filling up every 75 miles. I did a ton of research and got the Vulcan. Great bike and even better than the Shadow for what I liked to do. But I also wanted to do some longer rides --- day trips, over-nighters, long weekends, etc.

Well, after doing a reasonable 3/4 day trip I can say that I am still wanting for a better experience. For me, unless I am puttsing around the back roads with no particular itinerary in mind, I am a point A to point B type of personality. I want to get to where I want to be as quickly as possible. Yes, my family just _loves_ to go on road trips with me driving. :rolleyes: And that was the problem with my trip this past weekend. Sure, most of the ride was fairly leisurely as a group of us made our way to Tombstone and then on to Bisbee, AZ and the surrounding area, but the trip back had me thinking in point A - point B mode. I admit that taking more stops and smelling the roses would have made the trip back a little more comfortable, but I also did more interstate on the way back. So I was uncomfortable, riding at speed (>75) and thinking about just getting home. That was the first time - EVER - that I was looking forward to ending a ride.

So, coming to grips with understanding what I want out a bike that will get me to points of interest beyond that 50 mile radius, I've started looking into sport tourers. If I am going to be shredding interstate miles to get to someplace I'd like to putts around, then I'm pretty certain that won't be on a cruiser. I'm not looking to part with the Vulcan because I still very much enjoy riding it around town and a bit further out. And I've got all of these cool farkles on it. But I can be ok with not wanting to "tour" on it. God love the rest of you that have found that sweet spot with your cruisers when touring. For me and my Vulcan that sweet spot is just a little closer to home.


So I come from a sportbike background and I am struggling with some the cruiser aspects of this bike as well. First of all, I am STILL trying to get my windshield situation sorted. I just got the proper bracket for my Speed Demon shield yesterday. I HOPE that is the solution to my buffeting problem. If I can get that and my seat situation figured out, I think I will be fully happy. Its incredible how much I fight the wind now compared to my sportbikes with little to no fairing.

For me, now that I have owned a sport bike, a super sport bike, and cruiser, I know the perfect bike is a sporty sport touring bike. What bike is that? For me that is the ZX-14r. I am going to get one, and I only need to do two mods to it. Pipes (brocks performance full titanium with quiet core baffles, and an ECU flash from a guy named C-Blast. More power than anyone needs, ultra good road manners, perfect riding position, heavy enough to fight wind, light enough to corner well. Its the perfect bike for me. If it has any downfall's it would be that its a chain drive so there is additional maintenance but its a small price to pay. I'm sure its not your perfect bike, but keep trying them out until you find it. Go sit on a zx14 or a concours and you will see what I mean. I prefer to have some weight on my arms, I have a back injury that doesn't like the constant pressure of sitting perfectly upright.
 

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I have 2 bikes, the 900LT (Light Tourer) dressed out with luggage, and an Electra Glide full dresser. When we take the Vulcan whether it be just cruising or on the road for vacation, I much rather stick to highways 55-60mph. I will take the interstate if need be, or if I just wanna get home like you stated. It will do fine but can be at it's limit depending on headwind and such. Not leaving much power left to overcome traffic when needed. So sticking to back roads or highways is better. Just need to plan the route as best we can.

When on the Glide though I run it wherever I want to. Highways or interstates or back roads, no matter. Have all the space I need for gear, and plenty of power to boot. I will 9 times out of 10 take the Glide on vacation mainly for the extra storage, and weather protection since it has the full fairing.

They each have their place, pros and cons. Plus it's nice to always have a bike ready to run if I am in the middle of a project on one of them. Hop on and go! I could never see us on a sport tourer. Riding position for me just is not good on one of those things. I need to be stretched out.
 

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I agree to with the OP.

Like I've said before, if Kawasaki put a 6th gear in we'd be fine. .., above 90 km/h (55 mph or so) and it feels strained.
 

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Disagree. It depends what cruiser you are talking about. I have made very long trips with my VN2000 (5000 miles in 7 days) at more than reasonable speeds and it was fast and comfortable.

I just returned from a trip to GA last wekend, 2300 miles on a Versys, which has a more upright riding position, and despite the bike is capable of a reasonable speed too my knees feel the trip more than with the cruiser.

The main reason I would pick a tourer like the Concours14 is all the electronic aids it has.
 

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My background is riding a sport tourer .... careful what you ask for ... no bike is perfect. My gsx1250f had its seat replaced with a gel aftermarket, the screen replaced with a touring "double bubble", heated grips and the bike came standard with side cases and a top case. This bike offers a neutral riding position and reasonable wind and rain protection. After an hour I was feeling it in my butt, wrists and legs. My buddy's have FJR's, triumphs 999 tourers, Connies, Blackbirds etc .... they all had comfort issues with their bikes one way or another.

My trips are usually around 5500 to 6000 + miles plus over 2 weeks. Nothing, and I repeat nothing has ever come close to the comfort of my 900. I ride somewhere around 550 to 650 miles per day on the travel legs. I travel at 65 mph cruise speed, remember, I tow a trailer, much over that, things can unravel in a emergency real quick.

10 hrs on my "9", the fatigue factor wise was the equivalent to 4 hours on my 1250. I covered the same miles per day on my sport tourers, but spent more time taking breaks due to comfort issues. If you are looking to travel at 75 to 80 mph for hours on end in comfort .... the 900 is not for you ... any bike will have a fatigue factor at those speeds. You may get away with it the first day, but "back to back to back days" will put a toll on you.

Mechanically my bike is stock with 2 exceptions ... I run a 200 rear tire and a [email protected] air filter .... . Cosmetically, I run a batwing with lowers, a mustang seat and hard bags, a hitch and my trailer.... no highway pegs and no risers ... My bike 2 up, with the trailer (and cooler) loaded weighs in at a rolling weight of around 1260 lbs.

It all gets around to personal expectations .... I did not buy the bike expecting to be able to run at 80 mph all day. Funny, the same rocket ships that come blowing by me are no further down the road at the end of the day.

I have 2 documented trips in the ride section .... whiting57 is bustin bugs ... it details the areas that I have travelled and the terrain I have encountered. There is a album on my home page of my sport tourers.

I have been touring on bikes since my late teens ... any bike will tour, (my first long trip was on a RD200 2 stroke twin), you just need to find the bike that is going to work for you.

Good luck on what ever you decide.
 

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I agree to with the OP.

Like I've said before, if Kawasaki put a 6th gear in we'd be fine. .., above 90 km/h (55 mph or so) and it feels strained.
ask someone who has a FJR ... they will tell you the same thing.
 

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I don't even go into 5th gear till about 65mph. :cool:
I'm the same way. With a "little" engine line a 900 you have to ring it out or like I always say "give it the stick". When you do that this little engine can easily handle anything.

I dont understand how people say this engine is buzzy. You have two 450cc pistons slamming back and forth at 6000RPM. You are sitting two inches from all this and everyone wants this to be dead still. Its a motorcycle, what do people expect.
 

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I dont understand how people say this engine is buzzy. You have two 450cc pistons slamming back and forth at 6000RPM. You are sitting two inches from all this and everyone wants this to be dead still. Its a motorcycle, what do people expect.
Well, not all bikes ARE as buzzy. Some bikes are pretty smooth.
 
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