Long-Term Bikes

Star Road Star S
MSRP: $13,090
Caretaker: Bartels
6'0"/192 lbs/33" Inseam
Odometer: 2680
Miles Since Last Issue: 1326


It was a busy time for the Roadie, and it's only getting busier. After fitting it for the apes last issue, we had some down time while waiting for a brake line from Russell to appear. While it was sitting around more parts arrived. We installed a Corbin Classic Solo and a matching rear perch, all done up in faux alligator, to go with the over-the-top aesthetic that we started with the apes. There was also a highway bar from Lindby, both because I needed another place to stick my feet, as well it matches the thick curves of the fat handlebars very nicely.

Despite all of this downtime, I felt like I'd be a big wimp if I didn't put some respectable miles on the `Star. So I took off the Laughlin River Run, and even did a loop out though Sedona and central Arizona, an area I've never visited on a motorcycle (or in adulthood for that matter). It was phenomenal and I'll be posting a ride report in an issue or three. It would be just cruel to be tempting riders to go to Arizona in the summer, wouldn't it?

With my 1100+ mile trip a couple things happened. First, I now have some real serious mileage numbers on the Roadie. 35.6 mpg is my aggregate mileage in city and highway so far. The other is missing my first scheduled maintenance, oh about 2000 miles ago. Luckily we didn't miss two.

So next up is some oil changing and tolerance checking, followed by some two-sided fishtails from Road House. Yea, I know that's the same brand Zimmerman's using, but I've got a look in mind. There's also a set of Corbin hardbags around here somewhere. And boy this thing could use a windshield. And once I decide that the apes are really the right size, the guys from Burly are going to internalize the wiring. And I hear the backordered sissybar sideplates that necessitated the very ghetto packing job on my last trip (see photo) have since arrived. And since the stock bar-end weights didn't fit in the new bars, I've got to do something about that too...

Okay, I guess, things are not letting up any time soon for this long term.

vulcan 2000 Classic
MSRP: $13,899
Caretaker: cherney
Measurements: 5'7"/155 lbs/30" Inseam
Odometer: 1789
Miles Since Last Issue: 290


It's not easy wrestling an 800-lb freighter around mud puddles--the weather in Portland has gone from snow to 70 + degrees in the last few weeks--so I haven't racked up as many miles as on ye olde Vulcan as I'd like.

As previously mentioned, riding it 1000 miles in 16 hours did nothing for my back/ass/posture, so I had requisitioned a flame-stitched gel seat from Kawasaki's aftermarket catalog last month, and in a stroke of good timing, a new Mustang Vintage saddle showed up at my door just yesterday (meaning I blew some deadlines just to get `er in).

Seemed like a great opportunity to stage a mini-comparison betwixt the two and offer up some quick impressions, so here goes. At $199, the shapely Kawasaki number easily mounted up using the stock hardware, and instantly freshened up the Classic with its sleek design. It felt much firmer than the stocker though, meaning it was plenty supportive, but it felt a touch too hard for longer hauls. Great looking though.

The $489 Mustang seat required a bit more coaxing to fit it onto the frame, and it plumped up the Classic's already chubby waistline. But this thing is big on comfort--on my short shakedown cruise (30 miles) the Vintage's wider, deeper dish and higher-grade padding positively coddled my tush throughout. The comfort level from stock was far superior, and I imagine it will be just as impressive on a road trip.

Next up is a set of Speedster pipes Cobra's talked me into; in either case, stay tuned, I'll let you know how it goes.

Honda Shadow Aero 750
MSRP: $7299
Caretaker: Masker
Measurements: 5'5"/175 lbs/28" Inseam
Odometer: 2377
Miles Since Last Issue: 544


It seems like this bike has been in the shop a month waiting for a pipe install, and yet somehow, Masker managed to knock down more miles than our weather-challenged associates.

Once it managed to elbow its way to the front of the line, and got our in-house mechanical maestro's attention, it turns out there was a little change on the 2008 (and later) Aero that Jardine wasn't aware of. You see, the '07 Aero came with a 2-into-1 pipe, while ours had a 2-into-2. The effective difference is that Michael (the aforementioned maestro) had to fabricate a bracket to extend the one that came in the box. A little kludgey, but as far as we can tell, effective.

Next up, we're going to see if we can tweak the carb to match the pipes and get a little more juice out of the little three-valve 750.

Honda VTX 1300T
MSRP: $11,299
Caretaker: Zimmerman
5'10"/220 LBs/32" Inseam
Odometer: 686
Miles since last issue: 321

As I write this on St. Patrick's Day, we've had maybe, just maybe, ten nice riding days since I picked the bike up. Several of them I spent working on the house, and the rest got divided up between ice racing, ice fishing, and riding the VTX.

Consequently I've yet to put any real mileage on the bike, which is a crying shame, `cause I'm really starting to like it. With the onset of warmer weather the cold running issue has been mitigated, I still plan to do something about it but since I've got a RoadHouse Exhaust on the way, and hopefully, it'll be here in time to do the August How To on it, I've been holding off on any carburetor work. I've also got a new seat on order, Ultimate Seats claims that its seat is the best thing, seat-wise since they invented...well seats, I suppose. We'll see and let you know.

If there's any one thing to complain about it's the VTX1300's appalling lack of ground clearance. I know I'm whipping a dead horse here, at least as far as my whining about any cruiser's lack of clearance, but so far I've bounced everything but myself off the deck at least three times a ride and it's getting just a little unnerving. Whether it's because the thing is too low, handles to well, or I'm just to fat for my own good I haven't yet decided, but rest assured I'm going to come up with some sort of solution, if I don't you may well be reading a How to on repairing ground-away frame components in the next issue. For the record I will say that the thing is incredibly stable, at least right up to the point where it grinds the kickstand and lifts the rear wheel.

My only other gripe is a lack of nighttime illumination, by no means is that a reflection on the VTX, so much as it is on my dim old eyes. In fact, its headlight is one of the better ones, and had I eaten my carrots when I was supposed to, the need to supplement it wouldn't be an issue.

Adjusting the controls on the apes