Honda Introduces Neo-Retro VTX1800N Motorcycle for 2004, Offers Custom-Build VTX18 Program

Honda's latest cruiser motorcycle is a Rune-influenced version of the VTX1800 V-twin, and you can have it built to suit. By Art Friedman.

Honda has introduced a new VTX1800 model to its line and also rolled out a built-to-order program for all cruiser models. It has also made a number of changes to the VTX1800s.

The new Neo-Retro VTX1800N brings deep, Rune-like steel fenders with slotted support rails for the rear, a flush LED chevron-style taillight, new straight-cut dual mufflers with five-bolt end caps, a low handlebar lifted by risers, its own saddle design with a removable passenger portion, floorboards, a new blacked-out face for the tank-mounted speedometer with "performance graphics," cast wheels in either polished or satin-brushed finishes, ribbed rear shock covers, and tank graphics rather than raised badges. Its base price is $13,399, or $100 more than the 1800S, previously the most expensive VTX. The choices offered by the custom-build program though can increase that. The most expensive choice, Spec 3, adds $1850 to the suggested price of the VTX1800N. Honda lists dry weight at 760 pounds, or 5 pounds heavier than the S or R models.

We think the biggest news across the entire VTX1800 series is the new flangeless fuel tank, which finally eliminates the ugly bottom tank seam that has plagued the machines since their introduction in 2001. Other across-the-board changes for the VTX1800s include a higher-capacity radiator to improve cooling. Cosmetic changes include new wedge-style mirrors and new bullet-style turn signals with built-in visors and clear lenses over amber bulbs. The wire-spoke-wheel S version of the Retro style now has a studded saddle, though the cast-wheel R rendition of the same style doesn't get studs, but it has the two choices of wheel finishes like the N.

The custom-build program, available now on Honda's site, allows the buyer to choose from three build-spec options on the VTX1800s, each with its own finish for the engine and radiator, driveshaft hub, handlebar and related components, fork, wheels, shock covers and floorboards. You select color (which can add another $100) and choose the accessories -- both decorative chrome and billet pieces as well as functional items such as backrests, saddlebags, and windshields, in various styles -- that you want to have installed at the factory. The accessory choices for the VTX1800s number in the dozens (and can add thousands of dollars to the price). Other cruiser models have fewer choices. The web-based system also allows you to get a quote and learn about financing from a local dealer.

To give an idea of the variation offered by the new program, the three build specs are shown below for all four colors (from top to bottom, candy red, titanium, metallic magenta, and black) of the VTX1800N. The left column is the Spec 1 build, which includes: a silver finish on the crankcases, starter case, cylinders and shaft-drive hub; brushed finishes on the handlebar risers, fork, triple clamps, switch housings, wheels, shock tops, and handlebar levers; gloss-black radiator. The second column shows the Spec 2 version, which offers: blacked-out engine with polished fin edges; polished finishes on the triple clamps and handlebar levers; chrome treatment for the fork legs, handlebar risers, and shock tops; brushed finishes on wheels and switch housings; sliver final drive housing; gloss black radiator. With the most expensive Spec 3 treatment, shown in the right column, you get: blacked out engine components with milled fin edges; chrome finishes on handlebar risers, fork, radiator, axle caps, and shock tops; polished finish on the wheels, hand levers, triple clamps, and floorboards; and a brushed finish on the final drive housing and handlebar switch housings. Click on the image for a larger version.

Honda has also introduced a new shaft-drive version of its 750 V-twin cruiser. That bike is covered in it's own article.

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