Honda VTX 1300 / VTX 1800 Motorcycles Forum banner

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I want to introduce this topic gengerly here. I own a 2008 VTX 1300 R and I love it. It's mostly stock less passenger floor bards, sissy bar and saddlebags (some of you helped (virtually) with the saddlebag install -- thank you!). In the coming months, I'm getting some fairing for it as well as highway bars. (This this info is useful shortly, be patient.)

I love long distance riding. This is my focus. I just learned of the Iron Butt Association (IBR, http://www.ironbutt.com/about/about.cfm). I intend to earn a certification or two but that aside I'm really a long distance rider as well as one that uses the bike for errands and other such shorter rides. (I guess I have a mixed use in mind, focused toward touring)

My wife rides with me (as a passenger) and has indicated that she'd go on long tours with me. The longest run we've done to date is about 300 miles round trip -- small, considering others trips I've heard of.

Bearing all of this in mind, what is on my mind is what makes a VTX superior to an HD bike? I know that really the VTX is not in the class of a Street Glide or Ultra Glide but they are both bigger bikes and I know people (on here, at least) tour on their VTXs. I'd like to know, in honest opinions (and not an HD tear apart), if its worth the time and money to try to massage my VTX 1300 in to a touring orientated bike or if I should look at the HDs in a couple of years.

I was at an HD dealer about a week ago, just scoping out what the HD touring line offers. The Ultra Glide, like the goldwing, is top heavy. But, I could mount the bike and easily support it which I'm concerned about even touching a goldwing. I don't think I could maneuver it (besides, it's more of sport bike). The street glide is as easy to handle as my VTX.

I'm hoping for fair, objective answers particularly from those who currently or have owned one or the other. From everything with regards to the engine to amenities, (gearing, fuel efficiency, radio, security).

Two wheels is the way to go, be it a rebel to a full dress Ultra Glide or Goldwing. The focus here is time and money invested in the VTX to make it work good for touring, or move on to something designed for touring from the factory.

The one thing that particularly draws me to the HD Touring line is the available ABS. I know that some VTX models (or sub-models) have ABS available now but I'm not yet sure if I could get this installed on my bike.

Sorry if this is a re-hash. I'm trying to describe my particular situation and tastes and get others' knowledge around that.

I did find this post. It's focused around the 1800 and there is more complaint about the sound than a practical perspective. Still, its worth a scan through... http://www.hdforums.com/forum/touring-models/364235-103-sg-vs-vtx-1800-a.html

Thanks all. Respectfully,
Frank V. :patriot:
 

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Frank,i cant rag on HD,just MO about my experience with my 06,1300R.I do a lot of riding short/long distance,knock on wood i never had a mechanical problem with my bike.Riding in 100+temps no problem,riding in 20 temps no problem,power to spare on interstate going along at 80+mph & slow stop go traffic no problem.
The $$$$ i saved by not buying a HD ,went for creature comfort parts.
Your decision,your $$$
Ride safe!
At double the price & more for a HD Glide model.
 

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FOR TOURING PURPOSE

I'd go with the ultra glide and don't look back............I just traded my 2006 vtx1330s for an 2010 ultra and absolutely love it ,except for the heat problem in stop & go traffic....that's my only con's .......

the pro's
the 6th gear,cruise control,(love it) abs brakes, fairing with stereo,cb, intercom mp3,cd player, lots of hard bag storage, etc.......oh, and the seat is lots more comfy....that vtx seat tore me up after 30 min's of riding.....honest ......momma likes it better too....when momma's happy, we all are happy..........lol

but lots of peeps did mods to stocker seat & bought different seats for more comfort....don't get me wrong though...I have always loved honda, that's all I have ever owned since 1970......great bikes ...........

so my dream bike just may be a goldwing trike in the future (I'm gettin' old ya know).........still thinkin' on this one .....
 

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The guitar, not the fish!
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No VTX is or has been available with ABS....:nope:

That being siad, have you ever parked your 1300 right beside a 'Glide series bike??.....Other than the touring bits (fairing, bags, tour pack), the VTX is the same size as the HD, maybe a smidge bigger actually...The HD has a bigger engine (96 ci versus the VTX @ 80ci) though, ans stripped of the touring stuff probably would weigh lessn than a 1300...That liquid cooling weighs alot, but also makes the engine a very reliable piece...

I've never ridden one of the 'Glide series bikes, so can't make a direct comparison....But building a VTX into a tourer isn't that tough really...How many of you remember the 1970's???....Honda introduced the Goldwing as a basic bike with a liquid cooled 1000cc opposed (boxer) four cylinder, and it was targeted as a muscle bike...It wasn't very long that folks started outfitting them with fairings and saddlebags, and touring the country on them...

The basic VTX is a great starting point, and there's quite a few of us now that have taken our bikes that direction, with great results...In fact, my favorite quality about the VTX is that it's the perfect starting point for whatever bike you want it to be...Pro Street chopper style, full-on bagger, or basic cruiser....
 

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Both bikes will do the job it's going to boil down to which one you and your wife and wallet like the best. Ride what you feel fills the bill and enjoy the trip.
 

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Best way to decide, go rent the glides for a weekend and see how it performs. If you don't like it, you aren't stuck with an extra $20k in the hole.
 

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Equito Passim
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Maybe some time down the road I will turn my 1300R into a full touring (hard bags, trunk) but as it is now, it is completely fine for touring.

I could compare the VTX more to a Heritage Classic than a Glide.. But the one thing I don't like about HD is the cost. Second only to not being liquid cooled.. Other than those two things, would be entirely feasible for me to have bought one...

But, taking a 1300R, putting bags on it, fairing, etc.. it is what I call a Hybrid Cruiser/Touring Bike. It can do both perfectly fine. Not so heavy it would wear you out bee-bopping around town, but perfectly suited for touring.

Along with the price and the liquid cooling, the one thing the Honda has over the HD is Quality. My 1300 will take easily 3 times the mileage a HD would.. easily...

I wanted a bike I could ride and not care about it having major mechanical issues. I know too many HD owners who do nothing but complain about repair costs, including family..

Its pretty tough to argue about Honda's reliability...

I didnt buy a motorcycle to be a garage trophy, thats for damn sure :)

-Gonz
 

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I've gone one step further. As far as turning a VTX into a cruiser/tourer bike. I've taken my "C" and put floorboards on it, seat from Ultimate, had a windshield, that's been replaced with a fairing recently, and am currently waiting on my hard bags to ship to take place of my leather saddle bags. I'd take the cost and labor of what I've put into my bike along with Honda's reliability over an over priced H-D that came "pre-packaged". My bike won't have to have an engine rebuilt after 50k miles, with the proper maintenance, I'm betting it'll NEVER have to have a rebuild done on it. JMHO
 

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One other point I'd like to touch on is individuality...:hmm2:

Take a Harley 'Glide series bike to a bike night...Every other 'Glide will look identical to it unless it's had some custom paintwork done...But they all look alike...


But building your own means you can hand-pick what fairing and saddlebags you want...Park my bike next to Mr VTX's bike, next to Gonzo's, next to thundrhd's, next to Wanderingbear's, all in a line side by side, and they all look a little bit different...;) :cool:

BTW, those bikes are just the ones that popped into my head at the moment...There's many other great examples of VTX touring bikes here at the Cafe...:cheers:
 

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yes my 1800 r is all set up i hd a hd i was living at the dealer was to much money evry thing was wrong with it ran way to hot i did sell it bike had no power but it did have a lot of room that s about it
 

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Equito Passim
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Oh, one more thing... don't get me wrong.. a Ultra Classic is EXTREMELY comfortable.. Its like your riding on your La-Z-Boy in your living room.. Very VERY comfy.. Gotta give em that!

-Gonz
 

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I will start my response off saying that I LOVE MY VTX :D

All that said, IMHO the VTX is not in the same class as a "true" tourer. Wether your talking Goldwing, Venture, Voyager, or the 2 Victories the Cross Country or the Vision, or the HD Glides.

Also IMHO its not a matter of power, the 1300 has more power than you would need and the 1800 is sick with power.

A Bike built from the factory for touring has a ton of features/goodies/extra's standard. Generally speaking you have a 6th gear (except the GoldWing:hmm2:) Functional Cruise-control, stereo and comms, lots of "secure" storage, etc etc:icon_blah:icon_blah:icon_blah and comfort for both the operator and passenger.

You can tour on a VTX true, you can dump a ton of money into the VTX to make it comfy and more practical for long distance rides (I sure have:D) And the money you put into the VTX won't come close to the cost of a "True Tourer" excluding custom paint:cool:. But in the end IMHO you still don't have a "True Tourer" in your VTX. The VTX is a cruiser.

I will have a real Touring Bike in the form of a Victory Cross Country some day, hopefully sooner than later, but some day. I have no intention of getting rid of my VTX. Once I have a second Bike, thats when the fun can really begin with my VTX taking her to a level I have only dreamed of.

Since the VTX is not in the same class of bike as tourers it has the advantage of usually being lighter and less top heavy, which makes it much easier to handle around town as a daily rider. I know a few people who have sold their Wings and Ultra's because they don't do the long trips anymore and although all of those people loved those bikes, they were tired of handling those beasts everyday in city/town traffic.

You and your wife can and will have some awesome long trips on your X, but if you make a habit of it, it makes more sense to me to have the proper equipment for the task at hand, if you can afford it.

Just my .02
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
No VTX is or has been available with ABS....:nope:
The interstate has ABS. I mistook that for a VTX. :banghead: So, it's kinda close... Seems similar enough....

No VTX is or has been available with ABS....:nope:

That being siad, have you ever parked your 1300 right beside a 'Glide series bike??.....Other than the touring bits (fairing, bags, tour pack), the VTX is the same size as the HD, maybe a smidge bigger actually...The HD has a bigger engine (96 ci versus the VTX @ 80ci) though, ans stripped of the touring stuff probably would weigh lessn than a 1300...That liquid cooling weighs alot, but also makes the engine a very reliable piece...

I've never ridden one of the 'Glide series bikes, so can't make a direct comparison....But building a VTX into a tourer isn't that tough really...How many of you remember the 1970's???....Honda introduced the Goldwing as a basic bike with a liquid cooled 1000cc opposed (boxer) four cylinder, and it was targeted as a muscle bike...It wasn't very long that folks started outfitting them with fairings and saddlebags, and touring the country on them...

The basic VTX is a great starting point, and there's quite a few of us now that have taken our bikes that direction, with great results...In fact, my favorite quality about the VTX is that it's the perfect starting point for whatever bike you want it to be...Pro Street chopper style, full-on bagger, or basic cruiser....
First, thank you for your detailed reply.

I want to start by touching on power. I'm very happy with the power my Honda power-plant outputs. No concern there. At the time I bought my VTX, I made a very conscience decision to by the 1300 over the 1800. Honest, my wife was totaly ok if I went that route instead of the (to her) cheaper 1300. Fact is, I felt that the 1300 was the balance between power and maneuverability. The 1800 was simply too heavy. Factoring gear and another person and I'd be afraid to drive is slowly.

To this day, I believe I've made a solid choice with regards to that.

And yes, the VTX is an awesome starting point. Perhaps a fault, I've never been much in to customizing and changing. I just want to ride. That said, I knew I had to make key changes to my VTX when I bought it and I knew a few of those changes were going to be fun.

But I came to saddle bags. It was a bit*h deciding on those. I was worried they wouldn't fit or I'd have to drill new holes or move a tail light. The entire process had me concerned I was potentially going to waste $300. In the end, it worked out and they look great but instead of the Street Glide type hard bags I ended up going with leather-over-fiberglass bags. It looks great.

Next I need a "batwing" fairing (like your bike has) but that costs even more and I'm concerned about having the headlight not fit or the turn signals not fit. Its all worries mean.:confused::confused: Of course with the batwing fairing, I need to worry about (maybe) getting it painted. I have a black bike. And then do I get one that does a radio? If so, then I need to pick out a radio and install that. What about theft of the radio. That'd suck.:banghead:

I think I've gone a bit beyond my point. I agree the VTX is a great starting point, but for some doing the customization is a big hassle.... that is, unless it comes out as you desire which (to me) is a small bet on each part ordered...

Ride safe,
Frank

Edit: Another thought -- Since several of you have converted your VTXs in to touring bikes, perhaps a thread should be started (or is it?) where the details (links and descriptions) of the parts used to create the effect would be helpful. It'd help eliminate some of the guess work that someone like me would need to make to create the effect.

One other point I'd like to touch on is individuality...:hmm2:

Take a Harley 'Glide series bike to a bike night...Every other 'Glide will look identical to it unless it's had some custom paintwork done...But they all look alike...


But building your own means you can hand-pick what fairing and saddlebags you want...Park my bike next to Mr VTX's bike, next to Gonzo's, next to thundrhd's, next to Wanderingbear's, all in a line side by side, and they all look a little bit different...;) :cool:

BTW, those bikes are just the ones that popped into my head at the moment...There's many other great examples of VTX touring bikes here at the Cafe...:cheers:
You bring up a very good point.... for some. I'm not too interested in having something unique. I'm not the type of person that wants to stand out in a crowed.... Just being honest.:cool:
 

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One of our most famous ironbutt members, Marty from California, rides a 1300vtx all over the place on long trips especially. I might be wrong, but i believe he has been doing this for over 130, 000 miles. Figure it out, as bassdude says, the vtx is a good starting point for cruising or touring. Personally, if i was doing exclusively touring i might get a valkyrie or a rune, but i do not hesitate to take my 1300vtx anywhere, long distance or short. :mosh: Bry



ps, the 1800vtx has "linked brakes" which are not abs, but they are an upgrade from stock brakes imho.
 

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Working on the bike isn't hard at all. If you find some bags the odds are someone here has already mounted a set. All you need to do is ask who has them and how they mounted them. A MS batwind has a great finish as does a Woody's fairing, neither need to be painted. Their finishes look great without it. Now I heard what you said about descisions, they seem to be a hard thing for you to make. I don't mean that offensively either. It comes from not being sure you can do something. This group will walk you thru whatever project you want to do. You are not alone, thiose who live close would be willing to lend a hand I'm sure.
If you worry about doing mods on a less expensive bike how much are you going to worry when you park an expensive bike and walk away from it???? I have way too much money in mine but it's what I wanted. I park it walk away and go have a ball. It's insured and they'll fix it or buy it. I'd go buy a Rune next and start all over but not as a bagger. You buy a bike to enjoy, that may require some changes. Embrace them, enjoy them but don't fear them.
 

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Well Im leaving next thursday on a 6500 mile trip on my 1300r did 4100 last year it is a great bike.My partner on this trip is riding an Ulta hope he makes it.:D
 

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You have expressed concern/fear at performing the modifications necessary to convert the 1300R into a tourer. Remember that you have an alternative. Instead of doing all this yourself, take the bike to a shop, tell them what you want, and they will get 'er done. You will miss out on the pride and sense of fullfillment of having done it yourself but maybe to you the pride and fullfillment are not worth the headaches, effort, and fear of doing these things yourself. Every person is different and that is fine - different strokes for different folks. I completely support your right to choose your own course of action.

If you did just give it to a shop, it will, of course, cost you more than having done it yourself. This would still be way less than the premium you would pay for an HD tourer. Think of it this way:

Used 1300R ($6000) + shop installed touring "stuff" ($3000) = $9000
Used HD Tourer = $15,000
Extra $6000 in your pocket = lots of icy cold beer at the end of each day touring.

It is your money, your balance of desires/abilities, and your choice. Just make the decision so you can get out on two wheels and tour this great country :patriot: Look me and my wife up if you get to central Michigan and we will ride with you for a ways.

G'day,

Vinish
 
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