Thursday, March 12, 2009

Why a V Star?

If you follow this blog, you are well aware that I have been motorcycle shopping since last fall. I explored a number of options, models and styles. In the end, I selected another Yamaha V Star. Time will tell if I made the right choice for me. In the meantime, here are my thoughts on the three makes and models that percolated to the top of my list in the past six months; the Suzuki Boulevard, Honda VTX, and of course the Yamaha V Star.

First, let me list my criteria for the new motorcycle.

o Must be a cruiser model
o Fuel injected
o Water cooled
o Tubeless tires
o Shaft driven
o Priced within my budget
o Needing little or no extras to meet my cruiser specs. (IE: Windshield, back rest, decent saddle bags.)

I love the look of the Boulevard. In the past few years while on my commute to work, I often pulled along side another commuter on a Boulevard. The lines appeal to me and it is just a great looking bike. I visited a number of dealers where I sat and inspected the Boulevard top to bottom. One in particular caught my eye and I considered this for many weeks. This was the C50T.

The C50T just looks stunning. The price fits into my budget. The seat and bags are studded for added eye appeal. The seat height is perfect for me a 27.6 inches. It is shaft driven and fuel injected. It weighs only 651 pounds. After a few weeks I scratched this off my list for two reasons. The first is that the C50T is an 800cc and the next model up, the C90T is 1500cc. The 800 is not enough stretch from my 650 to make the move worthwhile, and the 1500 is too much spread. The tube tires were not making me happy either. I moved on to the next model.

In the midst of my bike shopping, my friend Jim purchased a VTX 1300T. While at Jim’s birthday party he invited me to sit, start and inspect his new bike to my heart's content. The Honda VTX is another motorcycle that has great appeal. In fact, it is one of the models I have considered for a few years now. During lunch breaks I would sneak away to the local Honda dealer just to sit on this bike and admire the lines. It also has a cute tail light and you know my fetish with tail lights. The 1300 model meets much of my criteria. It is shaft driven; water cooled, and comes complete with windshield, back rest and bags. On the tour model the tires are tubeless. The seat is a comfortable 27.4 inches and the whole thing weighs 748 pounds. The one drawback is that it is has carbs. If I want fuel injection I have to move up to the 1800cc model. That is too much power for me.

I found my way back to Yamaha. My 650 V Star has served me well. There are 42,000+ happy miles on the odometer of the 650. The 1300 fits most of my criteria; its fuel injected, water cooled and the tour model comes equipped with windshield, back rest and roomy bags. The seat height is 28.1 inches and the bike weighs only 668 pounds. At first, what kept me from looking more closely at the V Star 1300 model is the fact that it is belt driven and also a bit out of my price range. In an effort to understand my options better, I did what I usually do whenever I need advice; I go find an expert member of the New England Riders. Lunatic Tim came to my aid and quickly filled my inbox with facts and statistics about belt driven motorcycles. He’s very persuasive. In one hand I held “fuel injection” and the other “shaft drive.” With Tim’s advice, I dropped the shaft and kept the fuel injection. That began my long torturous search for a bike that fit my pocketbook.

Again, the power of intention served me well. My intent to find a good deal paid off. I also used the advice given in my real estate agent days; tell everyone you know that you are looking and eager to buy. Use your network. Everyone knows at least 200 people. Tell those 200 people. Ask them to tell the 200 people they know. Hunt down every lead. Ask questions. Haggle. Most importantly, never give up!


fasthair said...

Ms. Pat: I've had shaft driven bikes before and swore I would never have a bike without it. But then I had to have a Harley. Nothing else mattered. Harley's only come with belt drive. Over the ten years and 114,000 miles I owned my first Harley I never had a issue with the belt. In fact at around 50,000 miles a rock the size of the tip of your pinky went through the center of the belt.

Then I got my next Harley. 50,000 miles later this one too is still on the orignal belt. I've even added a lot more power to this one and the belt is still holding up great.

Moral. You will not have problems with the belt.


PatnWilton said...

Mr Fasthair, with the inbox full of information about belt drives, I believe you when you say I will have no problem.

Baron's Life said...

Sorry guys...nothing like a chain drive

EZ said...

...nothing like a chain drive. And thank the powers that be for that fact! I've owned a dozen bikes, chain, shaft, and belt. I love my belt-drive v-star and would gladly own a shafty -- chain? Never again. There is no gain over belt for the mess and maintenance and lack of reliability the chain brings.