I'm a big guy - 6'5" and my BMI's not "ideal".
When I set out to buy a bike, I was looking for several characteristics and the VTX 1800 fits every one of them! Here are the things I really wanted...
- Leg room (The F model has foot pegs as does the C model. You can find floorboards on either the R, S, T, or N)
- Cruiser riding position - feet out in front
- POWER - I don't ever want to be needing more power than I have. Two up, lots of bags, uphill, needing to pass? The 1800 can do it and pull like SOB in the process!
- Looks - I don't know how else to say this, but the lines and finish work on the 1800 is gorgeous! I love the 18" aluminum wheels on the F model. The black engine with polished cooling fin edges (non-functional as it's water cooled). The chopped rear fender with super bright LED brake light from the factory. The low seat (only 25" from seat to ground). The drag style handlebars. Spec 2&3 adds chrome covers to the front forks and a lot more polished/brightwork.
- PRICE - Even brand spankin' new from the showroom, these bikes were mid to low teens. You can find them on the used market between $4k-$6k depending on condition and maintenance records.
Here are some other amazing things I've found about the VTX 1800 that I absolutely love -
- Reliability - Maintaining a VTX is as simply as you'd expect for any Honda. Add fuel, change oil, keep air filter clean - buy tires cause you LOVE burnin' them off!!! The shaft drive setup is a simple lube/grease refresh every couple of years - never any stretched or broken belts/chains to deal with. Miles possible? This bike rides like new with nearing 30k miles as I write this review. I've personally seen three VTX's with over 120k miles running with original engine and no machining work.
- Fuel economy - Who pays attention to this when buying a power cruiser??? Well, for those that do, I average 39-40 MPGs with normal heavy throttle riding. When I cook down the freeway for a full tank exceeding speed limits significantly, it still gets 35 MPGs. Cruising leisurely at 55 will garner me 45 MPGs.
- Home maintenance - These bikes are as easy to work on as my lawn tractor! Pulling wheels, upgrading the clutch, swapping exhaust? SIMPLE!
- Braking and stopping - With dual front brake discs (three pistons each caliper), a dual piston rear disc brake, and a linked braking system, this bike has a shorter stopping distance than 99% of cruisers out there, even outperforming the braking distance for several adventure bikes.
- LOOKS!!! - I can't believe the compliments and looks I get from people at gas stations, restaurants, even bike shops! This bike has a presence about it and I've even won a couple local bike shows.
- Solid and stable feel at any speed - Even with my wife being very new to motorcycles and scared of it to a point, she's comfortable on this bike! There is no sway or pull in reaction to passing semi trucks or crosswinds. This bike is planted cruising down the road!
Here are my words of caution with only a few complaints/downsides...
- POWER - This bike WILL surprise you! The torque and power is not for a new rider, inexperienced, or a "hot head"! If you jump on this throttle too hard without being ready - the front can go sky high, the back tire can roast and lose traction, or it can project you ahead faster than you're prepared to deal with.
- Clutch - The factory clutch is fine. However, the springs are weak. If you're heavy on the throttle and running a factory clutch still, it can start slipping on you. You also have to be careful to always use oil that meets JASO-MA standards as it is a wet clutch design.
- Electrical grounds and battery - With this electronically controlled fuel injection, you have to keep the electrical grounds clean and tight or you'll start feeling the effects of "gremlins" in terms of sputtering, pulsing, and potentially battery killing.
- Tires - The weight and torque of the 1800 combine with my love of acceleration to kill the average rear tire within 10k miles. If you go with soft performance tires, that life span can drop to 7k miles. Be ready to buy tires.
- Weight - This potential issue should be mentioned here as many riders recognize it. It is no problem at all for me, but I'm an abnormal freakishly huge guy. Be ready for a bike that feels heavy off the kickstand and during low speed manuevers. HOWEVER - this bike will shed weight faster than Kirstie Alley at weight watchers when you twist that throttle! The handling is phenomenal if you are practiced in countersteering. I can drag my pegs if I really push it far beyond speed limits.
- Seat - The factory seat is slightly better than a pile of bricks. The design engineer must have had no butt or tailbone. I PROMPTLY purchased a replacement Mustang seat.
Mustang Seats, Cobra Angled Slashcuts, House of Kolor Blueberry Pearl paint and custom tank badge, lots of chrome, lots of sanding and polishing on the aluminum!
other stuff - HID headlight, airbox decapped plus K&N, ground fix, PAIR/desmog, tail light area minimalized, horn relocation, fwd controls extension, switch spiders removed, reflectors removed, Barnett clutch kit, Cobra FI2000R