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Today was the day that I took my bike out for its maiden voyage since the day I test rode it. It was only around town for about twenty miles, but it was great! :mrgreen:

I haven't yet fixed anything on it like the iffy battery (doesn't turn the starter fast enough to start when the engine is cold, but if it's warm it catches pretty easily) and the exhaust leak, but I didn't think a little jaunt around town would hurt anything worse.

It got in the 40's here today and I wasn't doing much of anything so I called a friend and we went for a late afternoon ride. Getting it out of the garage was the hardest part. Maybe I'm just used to the VLX's traits but I kept killing it manuevering out of the garage (too much clutch, not enough gas, and me being a little nervous). Once I got it out to the driveway and the road I was okay. It was first to the other side of town to see/ride a bike he was thinking of picking up as a secondary/loaner type bike. It was a 2002 Suzuki Savage 650 that was pretty beat up but ran pretty good. Owner had a minor wreck with it that messed up the exhaust and tank a good bit, and it now had a salvage title. We decided he was asking too much for it and he wasn't willing to budge on the price so we moved on. Visited a friend for a bit and then it started to get dark and cold so we headed home. It was nice to get out for a bit and learn this bike a bit more. The ride was mostly four lane city roads, small neighborhood roads, and a few miles of highway.

Few things I noticed, feel free to comment (looking for feedback anyway):

The extra weight isn't so much a problem when I'm manuevering around as the higher seat height is (I'm probably 5'5" on a good day and can't flat foot this bike). Compared to the VLX it's only maybe 60-70lbs heavier, and compared to the Shadow Aero I've ridden quite a bit, the weight may almost be identical. But the Aero has a 25" seat height, letting my feet reach the ground easier for manuevering around. This was especially noticeable when turning and backing up to a curb on a crowned road. I also was not wearing my boots like I should have been, but I'm thinking I may need to look into shaving my seat down or looking into aftermarket seats with a lower profile.

Related to the above, every time I go to put my feet down at a stop, I have to be conscious of the exhaust pipe behind my right leg or I touch it. So I mostly rely on my left foot to keep the bike up. This again might not be so bad if I wore my boots, but I don't always wear my boots especially when I'm going to work (I'm on my feet for 10+ hours a day at work, I'd rather wear light sneakers). Does anyone else have this issue with their VT1100C? If so, what have you done to solve it? Other than the shaved seat and wearing taller boots, the only other (inexpensive) things I can think of are exhaust wrap.

My bike is the 4spd model and my VLX was too. In town (about 30-45mph), it seems to prefer 3rd gear. Shifting to 4th made it seem like it was lugging, I assume this is normal? My VLX was in 4th gear when cruising at any speed above 35mph and seemed to take gentle acceleration easy in this gear, but that is with half the engine of the VT1100 so I'm just assuming this is normal. I'd like to hear some feedback from others though.

Turn signal felt "sticky" for lack of a better word, but that could be because of the colder weather and because I had gloves on. It was a bit hard to turn off the first few times, not sure if it was because of the gloves or not. Any solutions to that?

Other than that, I report that it rides great. Feels like it takes these less-than-ideal roads (read: bumpy, torn-up, pot-holed roads) with better grace than my VLX did. On the VLX I would take the extra time to swerve around manholes and torn up asphalt because they made the bike bounce everywhere. The extra weight and better suspension on the 1100 really makes a difference in absorbing those bumps. Stopping even seems more confident, at this time anyway. I was pretty cautious and didn't really get too aggressive. The only time I really did get on it was turning out of a side street onto the highway going up hill (fairly nice hill, about a mile long at least) but I got it to 75mph pretty easily and obviously had plenty left to go since I didn't even have it throttled half way. It's docile otherwise, which is good for city traffic.

Tomorrow I'm supposed to go out for another ride. I haven't yet committed to it because I should be using the time to do some work around the house, but I'll probably go. I'll try to get some new pics tomorrow :mrgreen:
 

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Nice write-up. From what I've read here, shaving your seat may give you the extra leg room you need. I was going to ride today but I had a few early morning ****tails, first day off in 3 weeks.

BTW - I still have your exhaust gaskets ready to mail in my Jeep. The one post office I stopped at last week was closed for lunch. Can you imagine a town smaller than Mayberry?

Oh well, can't wait for pictures...
 

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I lowered mine for looks not reduced seat height, but I've had people about your height flat foot it. I'll have to measure it to know how much the seat height changed, but I got a set of Progressive 412 shocks in 11" instead of the stock 11 3/4". I feel like it lowered it quite a bit. You can't really tell by the picture, and the saddlebags are kinda in the way, but my sig pic shows the Progressive shocks. They cost around $250 but the stock shocks were shot anyway. I haven't regretted it.

~Mark
 

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Yup, 4th gear is for OVER 60 m.p.h. 3rd is good to what, 85?

Seat height... I'm only 5'7" and can flat foot my bike easily? Even after the new seat, that felt a whole inch higher. IDK about this one, has your bike got a "lift kit"? LOL. I think mine stock is 23.9" seat height.

Post pic so I/we can see exhaust. I assume it's routed like factory(front pipe over clutch basket), not down and back like mine (97-07). Yeah, I know my bike is 95, but later model exhaust fits.

Turn signal button may need cleaned. Someone else will tell you what's best to use on this. IDK if it would be (electrical) contact cleaner, or WD40?
 

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. . I'm still stuck on "I took my bike out for its maiden voyage ". Its 20ºF with 30 mph winds here (Cape Breton, Nova Scotia) today. Yesterday morning it was -11.2 ºF. There is 2-3 feet of snow on the ground . . . . ahhh, springtime in Canada :)
 

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I too recently bumped up to an 1100 from a VLX. I also didn't notice a big handling difference even though the Sabre is about 150 pounds heavier. I does handle the road nicer with the extra weight and wider front tire.

It takes some time getting used to the new bike's clutch, gearing and handling characteristics. Every bike has it's own personality.

As far as the exhaust is concerned, you can get chrome heat shields that clamp to the exhaust pipe.
 

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My suggestion would be the shocks to lower the bike a bit... I went with the progressives also on my Valkyrie. Went a whole 1 1/2 inches lower and made a world of difference. My Ace is still stock, but I'm a bit taller than you. Here are the Progressives on the Valk.
 

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Turn signal felt "sticky" for lack of a better word
Get you a can of good quality electrical contact cleaner, one with the little red straw on it. Cover the bike to protect it, especially the painted surfaces, hold a rag under the turn signal and spray a good dose of the cleaner using the straw attached on all sides of the switch getting the spray inside as best as possible. I have heard of using WD40 first and then following up with electrical contact spray. Be sure to work the switch left and right a few times between sprays. Don't just use WD40 as it will leave an oily film that will only attract more dirt.
 

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As for the seat height, sometimes it is more the width of the seat that makes you feel shorter.
My girlfriend brought her ridding boots to the Cobbler and he added 1" to the sole of her boots and that made a world of difference without loosing comfort in the saddle.
 

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Why don't you just carry your shoes (or leave an extra pair at work if there is a place) and change when you get there?
 

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I assume your 1100 is a '96 or older being you have a 4 speed gearbox. Yes, 4th gear is like over drive and I usually use 3rd for town riding. If I'm just cruising thru town with steady traffic, I can sneak it into 4th to hold the speed steady. But if you have to accelerate, you will need to drop back to third or it will buck a bit. It's just the nature of the beast.
I always liked my 4 speed tranny for the fact that there is just that much less shifting while riding compared to the 5 speed.
Also, the 1100 will feel a bit heavier in the steering because of the rake/trail of the forks. It's cruiser, not a sport bike after all and made for that purpose. You'll especially like it for long trips because it is so comfortable out ont he open road and has great reviews in that department compared to other models.
I agree you need to be aware of the pipes on left when stopping or you will get a hot leg in short order! Just one of those things ou learn to live with and will not be an issue once you get used to it.
I suggest you find an empty parking lot and practice, practice, practice to get the feel of the bike. Practice steering, braking and evasive manuvers to get used to how the bike reacts in various situations. Good luck and have fun!
 

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Good to hear you got your "new" VT1100 out for a ride! Now for some good advice on that switch...electrical cleaner will NOT fix it. On my '89, which was identical to yours, the switch became sticky, and it just got worse after cleaning it in that fashion. It needs to be lubricated. Whbat is sticking is the internal mechanical parts. Highly likely they are gummed up with old grease that has its share of dirt in it by now. You will need to take the switch apart, and clean it, then grease with marine grease, and re-assemble. You will not believe the difference! and it will cancel easier, too! The old VT1100's are kind of tall, so the best fix is to put your left foot down, only. That way your leg doesn't get burned, and your righr foot is on the brake. Lowering is also an option, and comes with a cost... I put progressive 412 shocks on mine, and it was $pendy! One thing I did that make the bike handle was to install progressive springs in the forks. HUGE difference! It no longer bottomed out on a cigarette butt! Well, enjoy your bike. I had mine until it had over 70,000 miles, and t ran just as good the day I sold it, as when I bought it. ------Metalguy
 

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Yup, 4th gear is for OVER 60 m.p.h. 3rd is good to what, 85?

Seat height... I'm only 5'7" and can flat foot my bike easily? Even after the new seat, that felt a whole inch higher. IDK about this one, has your bike got a "lift kit"? LOL. I think mine stock is 23.9" seat height.

Post pic so I/we can see exhaust. I assume it's routed like factory(front pipe over clutch basket), not down and back like mine (97-07). Yeah, I know my bike is 95, but later model exhaust fits.

Turn signal button may need cleaned. Someone else will tell you what's best to use on this. IDK if it would be (electrical) contact cleaner, or WD40?
3rd gear will do 100 indicated, but the bike will scream when you do it.

My turn signal seems to stick when it's cold also. Think I'll try the electrical contact cleaner and see if it helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for all the feedback guys. Good info :mrgreen:

I-AM-TIM, thanks. I probably still won't be taking it out regularly for another month or so. Still more snow coming our way.

95shadow1099, I'm pretty sure the older VT1100's have a higher seat height than that. The Aero I rode a lot has a 25" seat height and I can flat foot it easily. The VLX I think was around 27" and I was able to flat foot it easily too, but it had a fairly narrow profile so that helps. As far as exhaust goes, yes the front pipe is routed over the clutch basket. It's not that one I'm burning myself on though, it's the rear one. I do plan on changing the exhaust to an aftermarket unit, but don't think that will fix my problem.

Tuckercat, LOL! Don't worry, we've got a sizeable storm heading our way here in a couple of days. I'm just enjoying the mild weather while I can. :)

85VT1100c86, I do believe the wider profile is affecting me more than the actual seat height. If I remember right, my old VLX shared a similar seat height, but it's narrow profile made it easy to reach the ground. I'm going to try my boots today on my short ride and see if that makes anything easier at all.

LadyBurg, that is a possibility if I actually do get some saddlebags. I can't leave my sneakers at work full time since I use them for running around town and whatnot when I'm not on the bike as well.

PainterD, thanks for your feedback. I did notice a slight change in how steering and slow maneuvering goes compared to my light VLX. U-turns are not as easy (I did one on a side street getting ready to park, and ended up using all of the road versus only most of it on the VLX). I agree I need to practice a lot and I'll be getting lots of practice time in this spring. I'm also glad to hear I'm not the only one touching that hot pipe. :)

Metalguy, I will look into taking the switch apart and cleaning/regreasing it. Is this hard to do?

Scubabrew, good to hear you got your bike out also! And yes, we've got a couple of good days ahead of us before the snow hits again.

To everyone who suggested lowering shocks, I will look into this as an option. I'm going to try riding with my boots today and see if that helps at all. My boots offer a couple of inches to my height as well as better footing for maneuvering so we'll see how it goes.
 

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well is with your boots it's close you may look into seats that are a little more narrow and lower, A little pricey but this one will be a little narrower and lower than the stock seat and make MarkSpike a happy camper too LOL.
Honda VT1100 Spirit Seat Day Tripper Mustang Seat 76340 - eBay (item 140428444448 end time Mar-13-11 08:33:29 PDT)
Just noticed it says 97 and up but on the Mustang website it has it listed for 87-97 also. One-Piece DayTripper - Honda VT1100 ACE/Sabre/Shadow/Spirit 76340 | Mustang Motorcycle Seats

Dauntae
 

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Taking the switch off, and apart is very simple. You will need to take out the two screws that hold the left control module on, and the switch lever, which is what is sticking, comes off from there with one screw. You can do the entire job with one phillips head screwdriver, some cleaner/solvent (WD-40 will work), and some rags, then grease (I use marine grease, as it resists moisture) You just clean, wipe off, and lube the arm before reassembly, and put it back on! very straightforward. -----Metalguy
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks, Metalguy. I'll do that when it comes time for working on the bike. :)

I took the bike out again today for another thirty or so miles. The boots helped tremendously with maneuvering and I'm more confident now, although I still can't quite flat foot it in a relaxed state but I can if I try. I'm going to ride it for a bit more before making any decisions on changing seats or shocks for now (although the seat is probably going to get changed anyway).

I forgot to ask about this yesterday, but is anyone else's kickstand tough to move like mine? I have to put some muscle into it to kick it up or down. I'm afraid I might throw myself off balance trying to kick it down and end up dropping the bike.
 

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Mine goes up and down fairly easy, Might just need to be cleaned and greased a little, Just be careful of the kickstand switch, That will shut the bike off if it's in gear, Confused me the first time I dealt with it, pulled in clutch and came to a stop, put the stand down and it just died on me, Never knew it had a switch LOL

Dauntae
 

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Mine goes up and down fairly easy, Might just need to be cleaned and greased a little, Just be careful of the kickstand switch, That will shut the bike off if it's in gear, Confused me the first time I dealt with it, pulled in clutch and came to a stop, put the stand down and it just died on me, Never knew it had a switch LOL

Dauntae
Isn't the switch only supposed to kill the engine if the bike is in gear and the clutch is not pulled in when the kickstand goes down? Mine kills the engine with clutch in or out. I'm thinking my clutch switch might need some tweaking, but never seem to be concerned enough to make time to do anything about it.
 
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