What's a good first cruiser?

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by Subie Driver, Sep 3, 2005.

  1. Subie Driver

    Subie Driver Eye see what you did there.

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    Hey, all, got a question for you. I have my scooter right now (Piaggio BV200), which I love, but eventually I do plan on moving up to a "real" bike, as everyone puts it. Not looking for a sportbike, my back would hate me for that hunched over position, but I really like cruisers. I want something decently fast, good on gas, easy and fun to ride, and looks good. I've looked at some Vulcans on eBay, and that's the kind of style I'm looking for. Would a Vulcan make a good cruiser for someone like me? I've only been riding for a few months, but I'm looking towards the future, maybe a year or so, unless I find a really good deal and manage to shit some money pretty soon. I have very little experience with manual bikes, which was one of the biggest reasons I got the scooter in the first place, it has a CVT. Are cruisers easy or hard to ride around? I know this is a lot of words, but I wanted to get some info out here, instead of making everyone ask me questions. Which I'm sure they will, but any help would be great.
     
  2. mrbill

    mrbill New Member

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    if you're not against the idea.. the ninja 500 wouldn't be a bad choice. it's got a pretty upright riding position and it faster than you might think. plus the lower cc's will help with the insurance folks. there's also the buell blast.
    if you've got your heart set on a cruiser, then a vulcan 750 or 800 should be okay. there's also the shadow, v-star and various zuks.
    cruisers are a bit hefty which can make them a little cumbersome at parking lot speeds, but it shouldn't take much to adjust to that.
    you've probably heard it before, but the best thing would be to try and ride a few different ones to see how you like them. i know it's easier said than done, but it really is the best option. check local dealers to see if they have any you can test ride.
    since you mentioned money is an issue, i assume you'll be buying used. if that is the case, then narrow your options to two or three favorites and check cycletrader, craigslist and other places for the best deal when you're ready to buy. go to places like cycleforums.com and other motorcycle sites and search for info on models you're interested in and ask any questions your searches don't answer. in the end though, it is going to come down to you. your money, your likes, your bike..your decision. only you can make it, and only you have to be happy with it.
     
  3. Monstrddg

    Monstrddg New Member

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    Yamaha Warrior
    [​IMG]
     
  4. ragnarok

    ragnarok nuclear launch detected

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    woah beltdriven
     
  5. Subie Driver

    Subie Driver Eye see what you did there.

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    That's something I'm definitely planning on doing, I just wanted a starting of point for where to look. Thanks for all thin info, though, I appreciate it. My plan right now is to ride my scooter for a while longer, then probably sell it and use that money plus whatever I've saved to buy a cruiser, although if I can ge a cruiser and keep the scooter, that would be cool, too, because the rear carrier and under seat sorage plus easily manueverable size make it perfect for small trips to the grocery store, Radio Shack, the pet store, library, things like that. I've only had it for 4 months, so I'm not quite ready to part with it yet.





    Oooo, daddy like! Obviously customized, but that's something I forgot to mention. I'm a tinkerer, and love modding, so any cruiser I get, I want something with a decent aftermarket so I can tweak with it. Already even did some mods to my scooter; headlight flasher, brakelight flasher, and ber end mirrors I had to customize to make work.

    Just went and looked at the Warriors on eBay, and they are all 1700cc, I'm thinking that's a little too big for me. How important is the cc size of an engine on a cruiser as compared to a sportbike? I know it's important, but is the difference between 600 and 1000 the same on a cruiser as it is on a sportbike? As in a 600cc sportbike is a good starter, and a liter bike is something a n00b will kill himself on?
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2005
  6. Imagine

    Imagine New Member

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    Actually 1000+cc cruisers are easy to handle power wise. The hardest part about them is the added weight. Once you get use to that part, its not really a big deal.

    Any of the Japanese cruisers are very reliable. Shadows, VStars, Vulcans, and boulevards.. you really can't go wrong with any of them. Shadows are probably the most modded, with the VStars being close behind. My recommendation is look around at the local shops and see which one fits you best and which one you like the styling of the best.

    Another bike I have to highly recommend is the Suzuki VStrom DL650. Its not a cruiser, but it has a very upright, comfortable seating position however your feet are under you instead of out in front of you.. They are easier to maneuver around at slower speeds, which makes city driving a little easier. Its sporty enough so that your not dragging begs everywhere you go. You can add Givi hard bags which can haul a lot of stuff. This makes daily commuting a lot easier because you'll have a way to carry a good bit of stuff. It also get 50+mpg and a 5.8 gallon tank which will net you about 300 miles to a tank. This is nice because your not at the gas station every other day. They are definately worth looking into. I put 1000 miles in a month on mine and it just keeps getting better.:bigthumb:

    I've owned a Shadow and a VStar, and I really prefer the DL650. It has better brakes, fuel injection (suzuki cruisers do to, aswell do a good bit of larger cruisers). Feel free to ask any questions you may have.
     
  7. Subie Driver

    Subie Driver Eye see what you did there.

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    Just looked on eBay for the V-Strom, and all that's on there now is a couple DL1000's, but I'm guessign those are pretty much the same look as the 650. I'm kind of digging it, it's almost a mix between a sportbike and a cruiser. I'd have to sit on one to see how upright the seating is, but that was the main reason I started this post, so I had someplace to start instead of wandering into random dealerships asking to sit on bikes. Ireallylike the upright seating position I have on my scooter, makes it really easy to see around, and it sits high enough to see over most small and mid-size cars. Plus, the upright position is going to be a bit easier on my back than the hunched over position of a sportbike. And I just plain like cruisers. Thanks for the ideas, especially since you have a DL650 and love it. Gas tank size sounds really nice, too. My scoot gets 65 mpg, but with a 2 gal tank, I have to fill up every 130 miles or so. Wish it had a bigger tank.
     
  8. Imagine

    Imagine New Member

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    The DL650 and the DL1000 look nearly identical other then the 650 has a single exhaust can, and the 1000 has dual cans. The DL650 has a little shorter seat height, then the 1000 does. Its still a fairly tall bike. The seating position sits you straight up and down. There is no forward lean when your sitting upright. The bars are fairly tall. Actually almost to tall for my taste. I prefer a little forward lean when I ride.

    I ended up paying $6190 out the door for my '05. It was like $5700 before everything. If you can find a left over, try to talk them down (I know you said your not buying right now.)

    Here is a ride review of the DL650, and some pictures with someone riding them.

    Part#1: http://www.motorcycledaily.com/19january04_2004suzuki_vstrom650.htm
    Part#2: http://www.motorcycledaily.com/22june04_2004vstrom650.htm

    Do you currently have a Givi box on your scooter?
     
  9. Subie Driver

    Subie Driver Eye see what you did there.

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    I'm really liking that DL650. Seating position looks nice, sporty looks, and it sounds like it's a very nimble bike good for around town and on longer rides. Basically, it actually sounds a lot like my scooter, but with more power. Thanks for pointing me in this direction, I never even though of a sport enduro tourer bike like this. Guess I'll start keeping my eyes open for some used ones, see what they usually go for, and start getting money ready. Maybe even get the top case for it, and I could then sell the scooter and probably have almost enough right there for the change. Seems a shame to be thinking this already, since I only have 600 miles on the scoot, I've only had it for a few months. Maybe next spring or summer I'll be ready for the switch.

    And as for the box on my scoot, it's the factory optional one from Piaggio, although I wish I had a Givi, they are much bigger. Mine fits my helmet, while some of the Givi's will hold 2 full-face helmets.
     
  10. Imagine

    Imagine New Member

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    The reason I asked about the topcase was I was going to suggest that you could use the topcase from your scooter and just purchase the top case mount. I bought E36NJ sidecases and a E45NJ topcase for my Strom. I can get two helmets in mine easily. It's nice having all the extra room to put stuff. It really allows me to ride the bike more. The downside to the bags are the are WIDE and my wife has a hard time getting on and off because the sidecases kind of get in the way of her feet. However, they can be removed and installed in seconds. I take the sidecases off if I don't need them.

    Here's mine.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Subie Driver

    Subie Driver Eye see what you did there.

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    I'd probably go without the side case, but I know the top case on my scoot comes in very handy, so I'd be looking at something like that. And you even have it in the color I want. I got my scoot in red, and then got all my gear in red/black, so might as well keep the color sceme going, right?
     
  12. Ivy Mike

    Ivy Mike New Member

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    How does the 650 do on the highway?

    I'm looking at my next bike being more of a long distance machine with a VERY long ride next summer.
    Will the 650 handle a 180 pound man with all three cases full? Or should I be looking at the 1000?

    I like the idea of the mileage the 650 gets as well as the lighter weight, but I'm concerned that it may not be big enough for the highway trips I want to make.
     
  13. Subie Driver

    Subie Driver Eye see what you did there.

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    The reviews I've read, the ones listed above, and some others I've found doing Googlesearches, say that the 650 is a very capable long-didstance rider. Top speed seems to be around 120, so cruising at 70 or so shouldn't be a problem. Heck, my 200cc scooter can cruise at 70 easily, but I don't have it loaded with anything, and a 2 gallon tank can only take you so far. Anyways, here's a site I found that has some info about the DL650, plus links to lots of other reviews of it. Lots of different points of view, and they all seem ver positive towards this bike.

    http://motorcycleinfo.calsci.com/VStrom.html

    The more I read, the more this sounds like the right bike for me. Too bad I haven't even made my second scooter payment. Probably not going to do anything till I get that all payed off, but you never know....
     
  14. Imagine

    Imagine New Member

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    The 650 is fine on the Highway. Some owners put a larger front sprocket on it to drop revs at cruising speeds. I don't ride freeway all that much, and I would prefer to keep the lowend power.

    I ride two up on the DL650, and it doesn't think twice about it. Just remember if you ride with full lugguage then you'll want to make sure you get the bags nice and even in weight. Its got more then enough power to move you around. The power really depends on you though. Acceleration will be equivilant to a car, so you won't be underwelmed. The 1000 will rocket you along.

    I bought the 650 for good gas mileage, comfy two-up, shorter seat height, and lighter weight for everyday commuting. The people that have ridden both say that the 650 is actually smoother (vibes) then the 1000 is. If your not looking to go out and win any timed races, then 650 is more then capable. It has very quick handling, and you will be able to maintain higher corner speeds on the 650 then you would on the 1000.

    You can't go wrong with either. If you don't need a ton of power, then the 650 will do everything just fine and will be cheaper doing it.
     
  15. Ivy Mike

    Ivy Mike New Member

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    I guess I should probably contribute something valid to the thread.

    It's kinda tough to pick out a good cruiser. There are so many that suit many different types of riding styles and preferences.

    You have some fairly ho-hum vanilla bikes from Honda below 1100cc. The Shadow line just isn't very exciting. Boringly reliable yes. Accessories for days and power is usually abundant and quite usable. They do have a monster of a cruiser in the Valkyrie Rune, but unless you can stomach the $25,000 price tag on those, forget it. You could pay the same price for a H-D, but I certainlly wouldn't. They have the excellent VTX 1300 and 1800 in various styles. Big power with Honda levels of refinement. They had the Magna (I own one) but dropped it not long ago. Hopefully she re-emerges with a 6th gear, longer wheelbase and fuel injection, but I doubt it. Loads of fun and will stomp most larger cruisers in the acceleration department. Its always fun to rev on some clown who paid almost $19,000 for an H-D night train and leave him wallowing behind while you shift at the 10,000rpm redline. That V4 is such a great motor. The sounds it makes are pure sex.

    Yamaha is a little more creative with their machines. The V-Star line gives you excellent execution of a certain style along with great motors. They are air-cooled which some folks like and some do not (I don't, but the heat here in the summer has A LOT to do with that) They are reliable though and have generated a huge following in the few years they've been around. The Road Star Warrior is a monster of a bike although, the air-cooled belt-driven construction concerns me. I just don't trust em.

    Kawasaki...ah yes Team Green. The company who always seems to make the most uncompromising yet most underrated sportbikes has seen fit to build their cruiser lines with a motto of understated competence. They go about their business in a quiet, methodical way. There isn't too much flash unless you go for a top-line Vulcan 2000 (which has a bigger motor than my car) or a wicked looking Mean Streak (I actually like these)
    You find them to be, like I said, quietly capable. They don't maintain resale value like some, but I've seen more than a few of these things, ragged from high miles and cross country journeys. The highest mileage one I ever saw was a 2001 model Vulcan 1500 Drifter- the Indian look-alike, with over 64,000 miles. The guy rolled in on this, took what little money we'd give him on trade and rolled away on a brand new (at the time) 2003 Vulcan 1600 Nomad. The drifter still ran like a top and one of the mechanics in our shop bought it and was riding it even after I had quit. As far as I still know, its still thumping right along.
    Just a little eye candy. Kawi finally dropped their 1600cc twin in the Mean Streak, but you can probably find the 1500CC version for quite a bit less. EXCELLENT motor in that bike. It won't beat up on a V-Rod without some work, but it will certainly out-last it.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2005
  16. Subie Driver

    Subie Driver Eye see what you did there.

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    Mmmm, those are nice, too. I really like the looks of a good cruiser, but the utility of the DL650 really appeals to me. Plus, I'm 6ft and 170 lbs, I might look a little odd on a big cruiser. Not that I really care what I look like, obviously, I ride a scooter, but I'm nt sure how I'd be able to handle a cruiser. How is a big cruiser for driving around town? The DL650 is only about 60 lbs heavier than my scooter (365 lbs dry weight), so that doesn't really worry me, it's just when you start getting up into 500+ lbs, I'm not sure if I could really handle that much weight. That's me in my avatar, by the way, wearing my Joe Rocket armored jacket, so that makes me look bigger than I am.
     
  17. Ivy Mike

    Ivy Mike New Member

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    I'm 5'11" - 175 with a medium build and have no trouble handling larger bikes. You just have to excercise a little control and be steady with them. At lower speeds, consistency is key. Don't make sudden jerky movements or else you will lose control of the bike.
    I've ridden things as large as a Goldwing and Yamaha RoyalStar venture. BIG heavy bikes these are, but certainly not uncontrollable.
    I'd certainly hate to have to pick one up if I dropped it, but it is doable.

    The Kawi Mean Streak and Yamaha Road Star warrior are about the same size. I've ridden a Mean Streak (loved working at a bike shop) and had no trouble at all. Just be mindful of your speed.
     
  18. JointBeaker

    JointBeaker packaging engineer #2 OT Supporter

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    I picked up this bike this summer, and I love the thing. :wiggle: An 05 Yamaha 1100 Custom V-Star. I got right around 40mpg driving 20 minutes round trip on the highway to work this summer. I think I look huge on the thing, alas...I am 6'3" and a solid 240lbs. :) I can't say I have any troubles handling this bike. I think a lot of that just has to be your own comfort level, and what you've ridden in the past. Good luck.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  19. 86 Bird

    86 Bird eh

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    Clean97gti - what year magna? I have an 03. It is a fun bike to ride and its even funner leaving the bigger vtwin's in the dust. I would love to see honda come out with new magna :x:
     
  20. Subie Driver

    Subie Driver Eye see what you did there.

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    This is something I don't want. Something I can take on a longer ride would be nice, but good gas milage is needed, too. That's the primary reason I got the scooter I have, trying to save gas money. It gets 65 mpg and only costs $10/mo to insure. Looking moree like the DL650, or something like that, is the kind of bike I'm going to get. Can't really find anything else like it, though. Buell Blast is close, but only has 33 hp; c'mon, that's only 10 more than my scooter! V-Strom: decent gas milage (45-50 mpg), easy to ride to the store and around town for little errands, upright seating, sounds like it's comfy for long rides, and insurance on a 650 shouldn't be too bad. Maybe after I get that, then I can get a big cruiser to just ride for fun.
     
  21. Imagine

    Imagine New Member

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    I've looked at a lot of bikes. Nothing compares to the DL650 for the price. BMW GS's aren't cheap, and the 650 is uglier then the VStrom IMO. Not to mention is has less power. Bikes like KLRs and DRs are more dirt then street. Triumps and Aprilia's are also pricey, as well as the KTMs. Not to mention those are all 900+cc engines.

    The FZ6 is okay, but I've ridden R6s and they lack seriously in the lowend. I've heard that the retuned FZ6 isn't much better. The SV and SVs are nice, but the SV lacks wind protection and the SVS lacks the comfort. The Z750 looks like a nice choice, again, its an inline (same motor as my Z1000, just been sleeved to reduce bore size.) The honda 599 lacks wind protection and is way over priced IMO.
     
  22. Ivy Mike

    Ivy Mike New Member

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    Had I known what kind of riding I really wanted to do, I wouldn't have bought the Magna. I also had no idea the V4 was as thirsty as it is. The bike is a lot of fun in town and doesn't mind freeway trips. I have ridden it longer distances but its just not a good distance machine. The pegs are too far back and too high and it puts extra pressure on my back and I get sore. I could probably mount a set of highway pegs, but it still doesn't help the fuel consumption (regearing would) nor does it help the fact that the bike doesn't feel long enough for long (several hundred miles) rides.
    Its my first bike and I'm really going nuts trying to figure out which one to get next.

    I'm leaning towards the DL650, but also would like to have something a bit more sportbike oriented. I really don't know what to get next.
    It sucks having so many great options out there.
     
  23. Subie Driver

    Subie Driver Eye see what you did there.

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    When you say thirsty, what exactly does that mean? How bad is the milage you are getting? And I really appreciate all this info everyone is throwing in here, I'm sure it's not just helping me, but others who read this thread, and don't really know what they want. And the only thing that sucks more than having a lot of options in not having very many options. Haven't looked at the Aprillia or Triumphs yet, but if they are all expensive and 900cc+, probably won't be in the running. I though about BMW because I like the flat cylinder configuration (my Subaru and scooter both have flat engines, good for low center of gravity), but I know BMW's would be too expensive anyways, plus they look kind of funny. Hondas are expensive, I noticed that when I was looking at scooters, and they didn't really have anything else that struck my fancy. Just looked up the Kawasaki Z750, looks like a nice bike, similar to the Suzuki DL650, Kawa has a bigger engine, but along with that goes the bigger price tag. Right now, though, if I was to go out and get something, I would be looking for the nearest Suzuki dealership for the DL650. But I think I'm going to look for some Z750 reviews, seems like a nice bike. So much info....
     
  24. Ivy Mike

    Ivy Mike New Member

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    I only manage about 35mpg. Combine that with a 3.5 gallon tank and you can see another reason this thing isn't good for longer trips. My mileage seems to be on the lower end of average for a Magna, but mine is also piped and jetted.

    The Kawi Z750 is more of a sport oriented machine than the DL. Obviously both have their benefits and drawbacks. Seating position on the Kawi is a little more aggresive (nowhere near uncomfortable though) and the inline motor is going to be more peaky than the twin in the Zuki.
    The Kawi, being the more sport oriented package is also going to be more fun on twisty, technical roads.
    I'd imagine the Z750 to be a really fun bike and would like to see it do well. The ZR7S that it replaced was always a popular machine and was, by all reports, exceptionally reliable and easy to ride.
     
  25. Subie Driver

    Subie Driver Eye see what you did there.

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    I looked up some reviews of the Z750, and it sounds nice. It's got a lot more power than the DL650 (107 vs 66), but it really has no utility use for running errands. Sounds like it would be a really fun bike that would really get someone like me in trouble (caught myself doing 70 in a 35 near a school zone today :o ), but not quite what I'm looking for, since you can't carry anything on it, and it sounds like the seating position for the passenger sucks, too. The review I read said te passenger would be sitting on an uncomfortable curved pad with thier chin on thier knees because of the high rear pegs, and I doubt the wife would like that much (if she ever decides to ride with me). DL650 just keeps looking better and better :noes:
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2005

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