Long-Term Bikes

Star Road Stars

Msrp: $13,090
Caretaker: **Bartels

6'0"/192 Lbs/33" Inseam
Odometer: 2709
Miles Since Last Issue: 29

After I talked all that trash last time about how it was a "busy time for the Roadie, and it's only getting busier" the brakes went on the project pretty hard. Busy times at the magazine pre-empted busy times for our testosterone-fuelled long-term machine. With something like 20 bikes drifting through the offices and a couple of motorcycle world premieres the Ape Star mostly sat in the back of the garage.

We still have a set of Corbin hard bags waiting to be installed, Road House is still waiting for us to ride out to their Inland Empire HQ for some pipes, still waiting on sissybar sideplates from Yamaha, and the handlebar wiring is still strapped to the outside of the bars. However, our super shop foreman Michael did manage to change the oil and filter, replacing somewhat overworked dino remains with some fresh fluids, and hopefully extending the life of the bike.

We're in talks with Yamaha to give this bike away when we're done with it and we're trying to come up with a fun contest. If you have any ideas, let us know. -BB

Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 Classic

MSRP: $13,899
Caretaker: cherney
5'7"/155 lbs/30" Inseam
Odometer: 2093
**Miles Since Last Issue: **304

I finally decided to swap out the exhaust on the big Kawasaki. The Vulcan's stock pipes are fine as far as I'm concerned, but Cobra's Camron Bussard is pretty persuasive, and I recently found myself unpacking the company's Speedster units on a recent afternoon

I did tell the Cobra guys upfront about my tree-hugging neighbors. "There will pitchforks and torches outside my garage if I put on straight pipes," _I said. To which Camron coolly replied: _"While the Speedsters are louder than stock, we offer a quiet core option. Not even your granola neighbors will complain."

The package arrived with quality triple-chromed, shotgun-styled pipes and full-length, 222-degree heat shields. The billet slashdown tips and two Quiet Cores also came in the box. Camron also assured me there'd be no power loss thanks to a special chamber inside the Speedsters called the PowerPort. It connects both pipes at about mid-length and is positioned on their back side in the muffler section. Because it functions like a collector box, Cobra says it increases overall power.

I installed the Speedsters with the user-friendly mounting hardware and instructions (though the o2 sensor gave me fits). Because the PowerPort is in the muffler, you can wrench on the head pipes first, then slip on the muffler body section.

I have to admit the Speedsters look sharp, and on my initial runs, the sound was pretty good out of the box-not tinny or obnoxious (though definitely louder than stock). But they do need tuning, because despite the deep rumble, there's plenty of backfiring. I'm not done here by a long shot. I'll ask Cobra for their latest Fi2000 to smooth out fueling and play with the settings. A dyno run to measure gains or losses is in the cards too.

So far no irate villagers have appeared outside my abode, but I figure it's still early days...-AC

Honda Shadow
Aero 750

MSRP: $7299
Caretaker: Masker
5'5"/175 lbs/28" Inseam
Odometer: 2451
Miles Since Last Issue: 74
Modifications: Road rash

Let's get one thing clear: it wasn't me. And this time I mean it. With us road testing eight other fun bikes this month, our long-term Honda Shadow Aero didn't see much action in the last cycle. So far the new Jardine pipes have been good; we haven't noticed an increase in torque off the line but riding on the freeway is a bit smoother thanks to increased efficiency at highway speeds.

The little riding our Shadow did get this month was pretty intense, though, as you can see. One of the guinea pigs in our new rider motorcycle test (you'll see it next issue) dropped it at low speed. It taught him a valuable lesson about what not to do in a turn. It was the sort of experience many of us have when we're first starting out. We'll give you the full low-down on that incident in the main article. What's really important is that he's okay and our Honda is still ridable. It fell on the pipe side and got little doses of road rash from stem to stern plus a bent handlebar and rear brake lever.

The incident threw a kink our plans (although not as big as the one it put in our handlebars). We were going to take it in for a service next, then add an aftermarket air cleaner or swap the tires. All of that's been back-burnered in favor healing the damage. More updates on our patient will follow as it convalesces. In the meantime, we'll still be on the road, logging miles, and keeping you posted.-MM

Honda VTX 1300T

MSRP: $11,299
Caretaker: Zimmerman
5'10"/220 LBs/32" Inseam
Odometer: 1073
Miles since last issue: 387

Spring has finally come to New England. So me and my trusty VTX are finally on a roll, both figuratively and literally. Although I may not be setting the world on fire as far as mileage goes, I'm finally able to ride the bike on a regular basis, although it's certainly true that I'm not riding very far. Of course my daily commute involves walking from one part of the house to another.

I've also found some time to work on the bike and even bolt on a few accessories (see How-To and CR Tested). Opening up the pilot screw two turns eliminated the VTX's tendency to talk back on a closed throttle, and moderated the bike's balkiness when accelerating out of slow turns. There's still a minor hitch in the bikes giddiup, especially when the temps are below 60-degrees, but I can live with it for the time being and suspect that final cure may involve a small shim placed under the VTX's carburetor needle.

The bike is also due for its first service in the next few days. I don't expect to find any surprises, and I'll be using a new "green" oil from Kendall so you can expect some commentary on that in the very near future as well.

Being an information junkie, I've got some nice gauges coming from Motosens, and an article on installing them is in progress as we speak or read or whatever. I'm still on the prowl for a good set of driving lights. If any of you have any suggestions, as far as driving lights that is, please don't be bashful. I'm also planning to install a set of hard bags on the bike. The OEM semi-soft bags are okay, but I'm planning several long rides this year, at least one of which will be to the MotoGp in Indy, at least if everything goes according to plan, so something that's slightly more pilfer proof and has just a bit more room would certainly seem to be in order.-MZ