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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bought my first bike in June 2014. A 2003 Honda 600VT (vlx). I like it. Since I'm short (5'6"), old (68 ), and not very muscular, the 600 has been a great first bike for me. Since June I've put on over 7000 miles, and I'm ready to move up to something with a little more umph.

I'd like feedback as to how the 750 shadows compare to the 600 as far as power and cruising ability. The 600 cruises the highways at 70mph no problem, but runs out of energy at 80. Furthermore, when I go on group rides with the harley boys, I always get left in the dust. It seems like I've used up all of 2nd gear by the time the harleys are just getting out of 1st.

I'm tired of cleaning up chain lube from the rear wheel, so would greatly appreciate a shaft drive bike, but I don't care one bit for the styling of the Aero. I really love the styling of the vlx. I'd also like to get away from the wire wheels. When I first bought my bike, I loved the classic look of wire wheels. But now I've seen some really nice cast (non-spoke) wheels and would prefer that.

So, what bike would have shaft drive, low seat height, non-spoke wheels, adequate power for extended highway cruising, and not much heavier than the vlx? recommendations?
 

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There are a lot of cruiser type bikes new and used that meet your criteria and if you also look at belt drive there are even more bikes by most bike companies.
If you do a lot of interstate larger displacement engines can be your friend
The Honda 1300, 1100 and 750 series.
Harley Sportster, Dyna, Softail
Kawasaki Vulcan series...
Suzuki has some shaft drive bikes
Yamaha has both belt and shaft driven bikes available.

Best thing to do is hit some sites and dealers to see and put a leg over a bunch of bikes until you see the one.
 

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Being vertically challanged myself, if i had the money and were to buy another bike it would be a Harley. Most have a seat height of 24 1/2" to 25 1/2" and can be had with motors fror 883cc to 1690cc. My choice would be a Harley Softail Delux with a seat height of 24 1/2" and 1690 cc motor. Women Riders Now - Motorcycling News & Reviews
Tried out the Honda VTX1300 and it was well balanced and felt as light as my Aero 750 but didn't like it's looks. Can't compare 600 to 750 power but in my opinion my 08 Aero 750 With 4 degree timing mod., bean's air box mod.,desnorkled, K&N air filter, exhaust oppened up and upper end stage 2 jet kit now has acceptable power so for myself a 600cc wouldn't do the trick.
 

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Vanamee;3607826 The 600 cruises the highways at 70mph no problem said:
I get confused when I read this, my wife and I were on my VLX trying to outrun a thunderstorm at 85 mph on the Interstate, and I was not running WOT and it would have gone faster If I'd wanted to. Maybe I got a good one?

I had looked into the HD Street 750 before deciding on the VLX I ended up with, it's belt driven. Just an idea.
 

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There isn't much between the 600 and 750. If you're looking for more power, go big or go home! :p
I have the Shadow sabre 1100, but I feel that might be a little high...the VTX1300 actually seats lower...Def. take a look at either of them. If you're going to change bikes for power, go big! :)
 

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I was gonna say, if you want a shaft bike that hauls ass and sits low, check my sig ;)

Not that the 750 cant, but im just sayin ;)
 

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My 83' Shadow is happy at 80mph with low'ish - mid range revs, plenty left for extra warp drive should Starfleet need me in another part of the galaxy at a moments notice :)

Newer 750 Shadows should fair much better than mine.
 

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Well, I can say that, although the difference between the 600 VLX and the 750s are 'significant', I think you would be happier with an even 'bigger' bike. Personally, I ride a 750 Spirit, and LOVE it, but STILL want a little 'more' when on longer rides on the freeway. Since I changed out the rear sprocket to smaller, I do better than I did stock, with wanting to shift into 6th gear at 60-65 mph, but now shifting INTO 5th gear at 60 mph. However, when pushing a serious 'headwind', I can still get slowed down when trying to keep up with my HD friends. I've been looking at the 1300 VTXs, and there are different 'looks', so you can get the one that suits you.
 

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I can give you some direct comparisons of the 91 VLX and 02 ACE 750 chain drive w/carbs and 14 Shadow phantom FI and shaft drive. I know you said no spokes but at least this may help.
My 91 VLX was quicker off the line than my 14 Phantom but the Phantom will do the highway much better. Back when i had the VLX the speed limit was 65 so i didn't go much faster but i do remember looking for that next gear that wasn't there.
My 14 Phantom is about 100 lbs heavier so that probably explains some off the slower off the line but I have absolutely no problem on the highway at 80-85 and the way it sits and handles it doesn't feel that much heavier considering I'm 23 years older now than I was then and have back issues.
My son now has a 02 ACE and it also rides nice and is low to the ground and the weight is real close seeing my has a lot of accessories on it and he took all his off. For some reason it just feels heavier and I have a much easier time doing slow maneuvers or just pushing mine. With the chain drive his is a little faster off the line but mine catches right up and they both do the freeway about the same.
I was going to go bigger but then you are adding even more weight so the Phantom 750 was a good compromise. Not supper fast but it's not built for that and it will do the highway speeds all day long without a problem.
I think if they mad a 600 with one more gear it would be perfect for you but check out the Phantom or the Spirit which is very similar but with a taller thinner front tire.
There are many other brands out there that would fit you but if you can get past the spokes i think you'll like the Shadow 750. The Phantom has black rimes with the Chrome spokes so they don't stand out as much either.
 

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I feel moving up to an 1100 or 1300 may be more worth it in the run for you for high way comfort. You might want to look at a low-seated 1100 Shadow or check out the Yamaha V-Star 1100s. I put my VT1100 Sabre next to the V-Star and the seat height was definitely different between the two of them.
 

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Another vote, insisting you try the 1100-1300 size bikes.
There is something comforting in a bit more power than you'll ever need.
 

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Vanamee,, do some research on the gearing, replace the stock 44 tooth rear sprocket with a 41 tooth sprocket. I can hit mid 60's in 2nd gear on my vlx. Try using bel ray spray chain lube, it doesn't fling off nor need to be reapplied as often. Also look into sealing your spoked rims so you can run tubeless and keep the spoke rims.

I've put over 67,000 miles on my vlx and am still happy with it.
 

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Vanamee,, do some research on the gearing, replace the stock 44 tooth rear sprocket with a 41 tooth sprocket. I can hit mid 60's in 2nd gear on my vlx. Try using bel ray spray chain lube, it doesn't fling off nor need to be reapplied as often. Also look into sealing your spoked rims so you can run tubeless and keep the spoke rims.

I've put over 67,000 miles on my vlx and am still happy with it.
If you need the smaller lighter bike these are excellent ideas. My biggest bike mistake was trading my VLX for the KLR650. Who knows with all those mods available I might still have it!
 

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My VLX is the only bike I have ever ridden however I can tell you that I have never needed to run 80 mph however when I did give it a try my bike will still throttle up well past 80 and throw my head back when doing so. I'm 6' 1" and over 200lbs. I'm comfortable on my VLX and although I have thought about a bigger bike it would only be just to try something different.....not out of necessity.
If your VLX "struggles" at 80 mph I would have it looked at by a mechanic.
I think I'll try the sprocket change one day as well. That seems to have very favorable results for this bike.
 

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I have no experience with them so this is just a guess, but since you say you don't want too big of a bike, maybe a 700-750 magna? still cruiserish, and v-twin looking. and from what I've heard, no one's gonna leave you behind if you're on one. don't know about seat height though, or if it just has to be a v-twin.
 

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I have a 2013 Shadow Aero bought new. I have a bad back, so only wanted around 550lbs or so. I am very happy with it. I turned it into a single rider, put a mustang seat and a back rest on it. It goes great on the highway.
If your looking for a big difference go big. I am happy with mine though, and I weigh 230lbs.
 

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My vt600 at 80mph is far to be at maximun. In highway I've reached 150 km/h (95 mph), mine has 5 gears but in 4th I can reach 120km/h (near 80 mph) with no problem, only ehm.. I don't know how to say it in english... "estirando la marcha" (dont changing to the upper gear and letting the engine revs grow till they reach the max or near).
Perhaps you have some problem with carburation, chain loose or engine.



-- Sent from my Palm Pre3 using Forums
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I get confused when I read this, my wife and I were on my VLX trying to outrun a thunderstorm at 85 mph on the Interstate, and I was not running WOT and it would have gone faster If I'd wanted to. Maybe I got a good one?

I had looked into the HD Street 750 before deciding on the VLX I ended up with, it's belt driven. Just an idea.
Could be my bike has some sort of unknown problem. Others have also told me that the bike will go 105mph. Not that I would do that, but I'd think it should go faster than 80.

As to HD Street 750, I'll take a look at it. Thanks for the feedback.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Vanamee,, do some research on the gearing, replace the stock 44 tooth rear sprocket with a 41 tooth sprocket. I can hit mid 60's in 2nd gear on my vlx. Try using bel ray spray chain lube, it doesn't fling off nor need to be reapplied as often. Also look into sealing your spoked rims so you can run tubeless and keep the spoke rims.

I've put over 67,000 miles on my vlx and am still happy with it.
Thanks for the tip about changing rear sprocket. i thought about that but am leery of making such a change as I think I might need the torque to get up hills.

I've been using Lucas chain lube as it was the only lube available that I saw in the auto parts store. I'll try the Bel Ray if I can find it. I guess I need to buy this online? Thanks.
 

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Like others have stated: My VLX is more than capable of speeds at 80+. I often ride with a full load of camping gear, too. I've only topped out once, on a long interstate incline with a week's load of gear along for the ride, and even then, I was still able to keep speed.

And I ride with a local Harley group several times per year. I've never had any trouble keeping up with them, either.

As far as chain lube...Switch to something like Bel-Ray or something similar. I've never suffered any fling while using that stuff.

When I first bought my VLX I worried about the same things you stated: Not enough gears, not enough power, stupid chain, tube tires, spoke wheels.
I considered moving up to a bigger bike but after time, I wondered if many of my concerns were based on what was expected of me rather than my own opinions. I realized I really like the bike and I decided to keep it as long as I can.

If I replace the VLX, yes, I'd probably opt for a shaft drive and something with self-adjusting valves, if only to eliminate two annoying regular maintenance items. Also, tubeless tires next time, just to make roadside repairs easier. But I wouldn't consider trading my VLX in for those reasons alone.
 
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