Honda VTX1800 review – Custom – Motorcycles – Visordown

26 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Honda VTX1800 review – Custom – Motorcycles – Visordown
Honda VTX Performance Cruiser Concept

Honda VTX1800

Just how do you put into words the following two BIG figures 1,795cc and 115 ft/lb of torque? Instead, hop on and come for a ride.

We’re cruising at an altitude of 693mm (all shorties welcome) and our first gear speed of 40mph is hit in a mere moment, greeted with a customary rev-limiter hesitation and an apologetic lurch for the slightly clunky but ‘characterful’ lever as you snatch the next cog. That magic footsie/pound index number is met in top (fifth) at just 3000 revs. Hang on and see 95bhp and 115mph if you want to, but that isn’t what the VTX is meant to do.

Ride that torque and plough a big, deep, mean furrow.

And plough it does. That burbling sound and hint of vibration that indicates the biggest torque ever produced by Honda, with the biggest pistons ever produced by Honda, with the longest stroke ever produced by Honda and the biggest wheelbase (do you get the drift?) ever produced by Honda, you hear another sound. This is a pleasurable sound at first, but soon grates.

The pegs go down as you round your favourite bend. Cue smug grin. But it keeps happening, even if you’re slotting this leviathan into a parking slot at Asda. It’s daft, as an unsympathetic camber on the road, means you spread pennies and pounds worth of your original £11, 345 chromium outlay sparking into the ether before your very mirrors

I’m going to take a stand and say this, but I really feel that even just a couple of mill raised here and a few tucked flanges there, would help the VTX. Sure, it’s got a dry sump to lower the height of the motor (which helps), but it all becomes about as cool as a back-firing Capri. It’s a shame, as I love cruisers that you can cruise on without wincing.

After all, Moto-Guzzi’s Cali range doesn’t have such a problem?

Honda say the VTX is something ridden by people around 40 years old who think ‘biggest is best.’ The VTX is styled on the 1995 Zodia concept bike and comes with a monster 52 degree liquid-cooled, vee-twin motor. You could eat your dinner off the huge clutch cover or the 101mm pistons which splodge fuel towards two inlet and one exhaust port. These greedy internals are fed by fuel-injection, 42mm throttle bodies and fired by two spark plugs per cylinder.

Biggest, sure. But best? Hmm. Doesn’t really feel any better or worse than the next big Japanese cruiser to me, although you do get great brakes. Pseudo linked anchors mean that you’re working the front four pistons only with the lever squeezed, while the front two pistons and the back pistons come in with a dab of rear pedal.

Honda VTX Performance Cruiser Concept
Honda VTX Performance Cruiser Concept

Applied in unison, they are superb and better than most cruiser machines. All this works through lovely looking inverted 43mm forks and polished chrome twin-shocks. Tyres are a fat 180 at the rear with attractive wheels which are surely hewn from raw bauxite.

There are other nice touches – like the hooded chrome headlamp – but while the original Zodia concept bike was a bleedin’ stunner, all fluid lines and organic forks grasping the front wheel spindle – the production VTX simply doesn’t come close.

Please don’t think I’m turned off by the looks of this thing as it’s a cool looking beast (if only a skin-deep beast) but it’s lost a lot in the translation from concept to production. Some may think that’s not such a bad thing.

Obviously, as this is made in the US, that’s where the market is, although Honda UK say there’s a move towards cruisers in this country, too and they hope the whole ‘bigger is better’ philosophy of the VTX will win UK sales.

So, it’s a good, comfortable, well-braked bike. Despite sheer size and torque, it’s not an intimidating creature – more of a Val Doonican than a Keith Flint.

It’s just a shame that I can’t get Honda’s superb – and comparitively priced – F6C Valkyrie, out of my mind. A bike that proves to all – and Honda – that you don’t need a vee-twin engine, let alone the biggest in production, to do the whole cruiser thing justice.

Honda VTX Performance Cruiser Concept
Honda VTX Performance Cruiser Concept
Honda VTX Performance Cruiser Concept
Honda VTX Performance Cruiser Concept
Honda VTX Performance Cruiser Concept
Honda VTX Performance Cruiser Concept
Honda VTX Performance Cruiser Concept


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