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Author Topic: Old Honda VT750S (Shadow 'Standard'), versus really old Suzuki XV800.  (Read 260 times)
JBCrabbypants
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« on: January 02, 2019, 05:28:47 PM »

I've been 'jonesing' for a new, 'cheap, but nice, old bike' lately, and have found two local candidates.

The first is a 2007 Honda Shadow VT750S at the Honda dealership. It's in very good condition, admittedly, kind of dull-looking, but configured as a 'standard' rather than the more common cruiser, it has me interested. These Honda 750's are large by today's standards, with a wheelbase of just over 61 inches and a weight of a bit over 500 lbs. Unfortunately (?), They manage only mid-forties for horsepower, so they aren't the quickest things that Honda has made, but the reports I've seen on the bike almost all state the the bike is fun to ride and the motor has a surprising amount of 'character'.

It's main market target is obviously the 883 Sportster, which it visually mimics to a large degree. It has a chain final drive, spoked/tubed wheels, a drum rear brake, and fuel injection. it only holds 2.8 gallons in it's teeny-tiny fuel tank.The shop has it priced at $3999, which is high considering it's NADA book value is $3200-ish.


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JBCrabbypants
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« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2019, 06:25:34 PM »

The Suzuki is a 1990 XV800 being offered by a local private seller. The bike has only 11,000 miles on it, and a recent professional repaint in Silver/grey. It strays a bit from stock in having black wheels and fork lowers, and a rather silly (to me) pair of 'Z' handlebars. If I was to buy this bike I would almost certainly replace, or refinish the wheels and fork lowers back to their original silver finish. I do not generally care for black wheels on my motorcycles. I would also replace the bars.

Both bikes are deceptively large, with the Suzuki weighing in at about 520 lbs gassed up, while the Honda is about 507, but not sure if that figure is 'wet' or 'dry'. They both are long machines with similar 61-62 inch wheelbases. In the power category, the Suzuki hammers the Honda, with it's engine rated at 66 ponies versus the mid-40's of the little Honda twin.  

The Suzuki is priced at $2,100, which is also it's NADA book value, and it a whopping $1,900 less than the Honda.

The Suzuki trumps the Honda in several ways except one. The Honda has fuel-injection while the Suzuki is carb'd. Other than that, the Suzuki benefits from shaft final drive, a disc rear brake, and tubeless cast wheels. On the cosmetic side, the Suzuki has unique, quite attractive styling that shows zero Harley/cruiser influence.

The Suzuki was only available in the U.S. from 1990 to 1993, but was offered in Europe until 1997. The relative rarity of this machine means that you won't be meeting yourself on every corner, which I feel is a good thing, but there is virtually no aftermarket for this model. This is not a serious issue to me because the bike would only be ridden as a casual Black Hills backroad pleasure bike, not a distance tourer.

I've arranged to look over the Suzuki this afternoon, and if it's as nice as it appears to be and runs well, I will likely buy it.

Some images of the Suzuki....

















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minimac
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« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2019, 07:36:43 PM »

Even though I'm a big fan of Honda motorcycles, I don't think you could go wrong with the Suzuki. Especially if the owner will deal. If it's half the runner my old Cavalcade was, you'll love it-that is, until you find something else!
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« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2019, 07:39:08 PM »

Have liked that Suzuki for many years. For me the closer a bike is to OEM the better. This has OEM exhaust which is a huge plus. Although the paint looks good that is a minus. Had a friend that had one of these but I never got the chance to try it. Not real fast, mid to low 13's in the quarter, but one wouldn't be buying this as a hot rod anyway. I'm surprised the pipes look as good as the do. All that I've ever seen the pipes tend to blue very early.
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« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2019, 08:31:15 PM »

I had VX800 back in the mid-90's and I liked that bike.  The only reason I sold it was because I rarely rode it and rode the Gold Wing instead.  I found it to have good power and it was fun to ride, with good handling and decent comfort.  I put a good windshield on it, too, but I don't think you care for windshield.  Mine was a deep maroon color.  After I got my VX800 it ran ratty and I couldn't figure out why.  After some investigating I discovered a loose spark plug wire.  I got a set of new wires and that fixed the problem.  The VX800 was a good performing motorcycle, and in all respects was a very good motorcycle. It didn't sell well in the states, I think, because of the styling and what many felt was middling performance.  If what you're after is a wheely monster, tire shredder that turns record ET times, this is not the bike for you.  But if what you want is a fun, pleasant bike to ride around, yet is good enough to tour on, good on the gas and reliable, this would be a good buy.  And not only would I repaint the wheels and fork lowers, I'd repaint the bodywork, too.  But that's just me.  I don't care for that silver/white color.  As for the wheels, I'd remove all the black paint then take them in an have them powder coated.  Same for the fork lowers.  Like I said, I really like my VX, but I just tended to ride the Wing more.  By the way, it's VX, not XV.
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Greg
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« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2019, 05:59:48 AM »

I get a mild case of dyslexia trying to remember if it's XV or VX and confuse them all the time.

The bike checks out well, so I committed to buying it. I'll trailer it home tomorrow afternoon.

Between my V7III Guzzi, Triumph Thruxton, Teresa's new Kaw 650, and now this VX800, it's going to be a fun riding season this year.

The VX800 matches model years with my Miata, both first year production machines, 1990.
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minimac
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« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2019, 05:50:27 PM »

.... I'll trailer it home tomorrow afternoon.

C'mon, you can do better than that!
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Greg
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« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2019, 06:59:21 PM »

I get a mild case of dyslexia trying to remember if it's XV or VX and confuse them all the time.

The bike checks out well, so I committed to buying it. I'll trailer it home tomorrow afternoon.

Between my V7III Guzzi, Triumph Thruxton, Teresa's new Kaw 650, and now this VX800, it's going to be a fun riding season this year.

The VX800 matches model years with my Miata, both first year production machines, 1990.

As I did with all my bikes before buying or rejecting, I did a lot of reading about the VX800, even talked to a couple people that had that bike.  We were on a long tour of the PNW back in the early '90's and about to ride over the Going to the Sun Road through Glacier NP, and came across a guy riding a VX800.  I asked him about it and he had nothing but praises for it.  He allowed as to how it wasn't a firebreather, but that it had plenty of power and was a great traveling partner.  He had his loaded down with a trunk, saddlebags and a tank bag, plus a windshield.  That conversation was enough to convince me, and when we got home I bought the one I'd been looking at at the local Suzuki dealer.  I found that it was a solid bike, felt good on the road and handled pretty well, and had decent "character" without vibrating the feet to sleep.  In fact, it was a pretty smooth bike.

All of that to say, congrats on the new to you VX.  I think you did a good thing.  You might want to put an aftermarket seat on it, though, or take the stock seat to someone who re-does seats.
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JBCrabbypants
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« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2019, 08:17:36 PM »

.... I'll trailer it home tomorrow afternoon.

C'mon, you can do better than that!

I can't pick up the bike until the owner gets home from work at 3:30, and it's an hour drive each way. He lives in a semi rural area and the roads nearing his house are snow packed. Furthermore, by the time I get the bike home, it will be dark, with temperatures falling into the twenties and thirties.

All that adds up to.......'trailer time'.
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« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2019, 10:05:14 PM »

I think that is a Honda 750 RS and they were only offered 2010 to about 2013.  So the book value would be a bit more than something from 2007.  I looked at one at a local dealer this last summer with really low miles and he was asking 4500 which was way over what I wanted to pay.

The suzuki looks interesting.  A road bike with a v twin.  Looks like the same motor that is used in the later boulevard models like the s80.  How is the seating on that.  Looks like it would be more lean forward feet back like a crotch rocket, not quite my cup of tea, I like to sit fairly straight up.
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Greg
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« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2019, 03:51:49 AM »

I think that is a Honda 750 RS and they were only offered 2010 to about 2013.  So the book value would be a bit more than something from 2007.  I looked at one at a local dealer this last summer with really low miles and he was asking 4500 which was way over what I wanted to pay.

The suzuki looks interesting.  A road bike with a v twin.  Looks like the same motor that is used in the later boulevard models like the s80.  How is the seating on that.  Looks like it would be more lean forward feet back like a crotch rocket, not quite my cup of tea, I like to sit fairly straight up.

The VX800 has a "sit up and beg" seating position, with the knees ever so slightly bent back.  It's actually a very comfortable riding position.  Suzuki just dropped the ball with the seat.  Same thing with the Vstrom.  A Sargent seat  fixes that problem.  If the reach to the handlebars is a bit far for some, a short set of bar risers fixes that, too.  I think Suzuki's idea was that the VX800 was supposed to be somewhat of a throwback to the UJM's of the '70's and early '80's.  Unfortunately it didn't work.  The other idea was it was thought that perhaps Suzuki wanted to offer up a sort of cruiser with a V-Twin engine and upright seating position.  This concept just confused people.  I went for the UJM throwback idea.  In any case, it was a nice bike to ride.
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« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2019, 04:34:12 AM »

Youíre right about the Honda, the motor has a surprisingly pleasant character... at least to me. Glad you went with the Suzuki, that would have been my pick too. I came close to buying one last year before I bought my Interceptor. I was surprised to learn how big of a bike it actually is and thatís what made me cool off on the purchase. Size aside I think itís a great bike and would make a great touring platform or fun runabout. Looking forward to learn more about it through your posts. Enjoy!

Oh, the Suzuki is also loads better looking than the rather generic Honda. Again, at least to me.
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« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2019, 09:59:45 AM »

You’re right about the Honda, the motor has a surprisingly pleasant character... at least to me. Glad you went with the Suzuki, that would have been my pick too. I came close to buying one last year before I bought my Interceptor. I was surprised to learn how big of a bike it actually is and that’s what made me cool off on the purchase. Size aside I think it’s a great bike and would make a great touring platform or fun runabout. Looking forward to learn more about it through your posts. Enjoy!

Oh, the Suzuki is also loads better looking than the rather generic Honda. Again, at least to me.

Agreed.  The unfortunate thing is that the VX800 was a vastly unerrated motorcycle.  I think the marketing types and motorcycle magazines sold it short, contributing to its demise.  That's too bad because it was a very good motorcycle.  It's one that I'd be happy to own again.  I think the early '90's was a time when the motorcycle manufacturers were starting to move away from the conventional "UJM" (Universal Japanese Motorcycle) design, and moving toward more modern designs as the market was starting to demand more updated designs.  It was also a time when the V-Twin engine was gaining a lot of popularity, especially with the cruiser style motorcycles.  I think Suzuki was trying to capitalize on the VTwin engine, but in a more conventional design motorcycle.  Sadly, it didn't work as expected because people just didn't associate the VTwin engine with a conventionally styled bike.  That was too bad because that particular engine was a good one, a decent performer.  At least my then-son-in-law was able to do wheelies with the VX800.  But it wasn't an inline 4, and I think that cost Suzuki enough sales that they decided to drop the VX.  Still, there are still a few VX800's around, and if one can find one in good shape with fairly low miles, they are a good buy and a good ride.
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