In today's cruising world, the streets and TV channels are full of custom choppers costing $60K and $80K, with some even topping $100K. The die-hard backyard builder is left with quite a dilemma if his intention is to create a unique metric cruiser that'll command even a smidgeon of attention in this crowded field. Even in rural areas far from biker meccas like Daytona Beach or Hollywood, the streets are literally crawling with tricked-out custom bikes. When I looked into the garage at my bone-stock Honda VTX1800F, I wondered if it would ever look as cool as some of the bikes I had seen on the street (and in the pages of Motorcycle Cruiser). I loved riding the VTX, and it was dead reliable, so I didn't want to do anything to affect that aspect, but I did want to make modifications that'd set it apart from the others.
I spend more time on sportbikes than on cruisers, so the need for more power was at the top of my list; most of my budget went right into the engine. After eyeing some of the various add-on power options, I became attracted to turbochargers. While attending an AMA Prostar dragrace last year, I also noticed that Honda's professional pilot, Kent Stotz, had chosen Velocity Racing for his Honda racebike as well as his own VTX1800. That was enough to convince me to give Barry Henson at Velocity Racing a call.
The Velocity street kit for the VTX features a Garrett T-28 dual ball-bearing turbocharger and a rising-rate fuel pump that, in conjunction with an off-the-shelf Dynojet Power Commander, would ensure a 100 percent streetable bike that could be ridden every day. This system would be set at 8 psi and deliver more than a 60 percent increase in power compared to stock. Since the VTX is sold in so many different versions, Velocity has to hand-fit each bike with the necessary plumbing to make the system look as good as it does. After fabrication is completed, everything is then sent out for chrome plating. As the photos show, the fitment is nothing short of amazing. In fact, the turbo is tucked so nicely into the engine that your legs will hit the tank before they come close to the turbo or the pressurized up-pipe that feeds the new intake plenum. If you're sitting on the seat and looking down at the tank, the entire turbo system is hidden from view. The newly designed exhaust comes with full heat shielding and is included in the turbo package.
The only deviation from stock on the left side of the bike is the billet-aluminum rising-rate fuel pump. Since the bike's thirst for fuel is directly proportional to the level of boost, this device allows the fuel delivery to keep pace. The Dynojet Power Commander further fine-tunes the fuel map, resulting in a bike that really is as good as a stock VTX. The only internal engine modification is the clutch. With this much extra power, we wanted to ensure the Honda clutch would stay locked up, so MTC Engineering was chosen to supply a set of its heavy-duty clutch springs and fiber clutch plates. Other than that, the engine stayed stock (partly because Henson advised that no modifications were required, even on the 20 psi race kit). At a price of $12,000 (which includes installation), the Velocity turbo system isn't cheap, but if you consider the time and expense of an engine build that will yield a lot less power and perhaps less reliability, then it starts to make sense.
This Velocity Racing- modified...
This Velocity Racing- modified Honda is capable of serious power, as demonstrated by Kent Stotz. The four-time AMA Prostar drag-racing champion for the Honda Rider's Club lights up the rear tire at Memphis Motorsports Park.