First post: What's a good, cheaper, vintage cruiser?

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skypix
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First post: What's a good, cheaper, vintage cruiser?

Unread post by skypix » Mon May 29, 2006 11:10 pm

Hi everybody: Great site.

I rode a 67 Honda 305 Scrambler in the late '60s on the freeways of LA for 2 years, nearly vibrated my fillings out, then got a car and learned to relax a bit. That bike had to really push to hit 70 and I was scared with the grooves in the road all the time. But I never lost the love of motorcycling, though I didn't ride for years. Had an 82 1100 Goldwing for a couple years back in the mid 90s, wanted to take cruises but never had enough money to really outfit the bike right so sold it.

I got back into riding 3 years ago with a $400 rusted up (left outdoors a lot) but real strong Suzuki GS650 G shaft drive. It looks kinda like hell, I put $300 into it to replace the electrical harness and give it a complete check out. 16,000 miles then, I've put about 2,000 on it. It's fun to ride on the curvy hills where I live.

I've thought about rebuilding it for cosmetics but it's too buzzy/light feeling for the open road. I think I'd rather start with a slightly bigger bike...it's just not real comfortable above 65 on the highway...lots of vibration, feels a little light for cruising and that's what I want to do.

So I'm asking for some advice on a good, shaft drive bike that I can wind the corners with a bit locally (I live in the hilly farm country below Albany , NY), but that I won't be intimidated with (read more solid road-holder) on the highway. And, I forgot to say, is comfortable. I love the 650 for short rides up to about 100 miles, great gas economy, torques up good in all five gears, but it's hard on the butt on long trips, ditto on the wrist of my throttle arm .

I think about $2500 would be the most I want to spend. I don't want a Harley, don't want another Goldwing, a bit too heavy for me. Something in between, shaft drive, a bit sporty but just more comfy at higher speeds, I guess is what I'm looking for. And with that classic street bike (not crotch rocket) styling. After all, I'm a boomer.

I'm 61, solid and fairly conservative rider (at my age that makes sense), have had the MSF course, never laid a bike down and don't intend to.

Thanks for the help.

Jim
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Unread post by liablemtl » Mon May 29, 2006 11:45 pm

I'd look at getting a Virago 750, 920 or 1100 or a V45 or V65 Magna if you want something a little older. That V65 Magna goes like a raped ape if you want it to or it just tools along allowing you to take in the scenery. The V4 power plant in both the V45 and the V65 have a smooth power band and have plenty of low end grunt and mid range power, not to mention, it will scream at high revs. The Virago has a pretty standard V-twin mill. I had an '83 750 and I enjoyed it quite a bit.
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Unread post by skypix » Tue May 30, 2006 12:06 am

thanks, that's just the kind of info I'm looking for. I've checked out the Magna a bit, haven't looked at the Virago though, will do so.
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Unread post by liablemtl » Tue May 30, 2006 2:41 am

Depending on your price range, all of those bikes in the 80's models can be had fairly reasonably. I've even seen some decently priced early 90's Virago 1100's. I ride an '02 FZ1 which is a site different than a Virago or a Magna, but I wouldn't mind adding either of those to my garage. Look at the early 90's Intruder as well.

Kawasaki made the 600 Eliminator in the early 90's, but it got hashed for being underpowered. I dig those also... for cruisers, I'm not looking for performance, I'm looking for something to "cruise" on. :mrgreen: Good luck on your search.
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Unread post by NorthernPete » Tue May 30, 2006 2:46 am

what about the Vstar's?
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Unread post by skypix » Tue May 30, 2006 7:34 am

Thanks y'all!

V Stars seem just a little pricey, I really want to spend around 2500 or so.

Have seen some nice Viragos, even one across the country...hmmm...you can hear what I'm thinkin', right?
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Unread post by skypix » Wed May 31, 2006 11:31 pm

Between a Virago 750 and a Magna V45, which in your opinion:

1 would be quieter? (I'm not into lots of noise, my GS650G is smooth and strong but not offensive)
2 get better mileage?
3 be more comfortable on long trips?

thanks
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Unread post by jmillheiser » Wed May 31, 2006 11:50 pm

1. Both are going to be pretty quiet if you keep the stock exhaust.
2. the Virago, Magnas are not known for getting the worlds greatest fuel economy
3. about the same, but the magna will be faster and probably a little smoother too

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Unread post by liablemtl » Thu Jun 01, 2006 12:08 am

The V45 has a much smoother engine than the virago. The stock exhaust set up should be plenty quiet on either one. My virago got horrible gas mileage... around the low 30's. I don't know about the V45. The Virago I had was a stock set up and was fairly comfortable. It wasn't too bad considering I prefer a more upright riding position... in fact, I prefer a sport riding position to a cruiser set up.
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Unread post by motogirl » Thu Jun 01, 2006 12:13 am

Hi,

I bought my 95 Virago 750 about 2 months ago, with 23K miles. Paid $2200. I think the seat is very comfortable and cushy compared to most of the hard seats I've seen on other bikes. I'm getting about 45-47 mpg. I love it, no regrets.

good luck,
Janet
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Unread post by skypix » Thu Jun 01, 2006 1:35 am

thanks guys, really helps.

how about throwing the vulcan into the mix? how does it fare?
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Unread post by liablemtl » Thu Jun 01, 2006 4:16 am

standard vtwin motor... I've never heard anything bad about them. I like the body style.
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Unread post by sharpmagna » Thu Jun 01, 2006 7:33 am

Hey this is perfect, Motogirl just gave you some insight on the Virago and here is mine on my V45 magna.

I've owned my 1987 Magna for about a month now and I just took a day trip out to Skyline/Luray area and I got about 47MPG. I also have been commuting on it on a daily basis and I'm averaging around 42-44mpg. The seat is plenty comfortable but I do not believe it is a stock seat. I can't comment on how the stock exhaust sounds like because the previous owner must have drilled out the pipes. I've seen stock exhausts on other magnas online and they differ and from what I've read it is a common mod. With that being said, I like the throaty sound though other opinions may differ.

Also my particular Magna is not really configured for long distant rides. With the 4 exhaust pipes coming up so high, it makes it near impossible to add saddle bags. The 3rd gen Magnas are better suited with the pipes coming much lower.
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Unread post by skypix » Thu Jun 01, 2006 9:32 am

Motogirl, excuse me, I said thanks guys without noticing your handle. Appreciate the info on the Virago. Thanks sharpmagna for helping me notice that, and for the Magna insights.

sharpmagna, when did the "3rd gen" Magna's begin? Man, I can't believe how much research I want to do, but what I really need to do is go find a dealer somewhere, sit on some bikes and try to get a feel for what's going to work for me. I don't want to bug people with bikes for sale until I know pretty much which model I want.

Would either of the three, Virago, Magna or Vulcan, have an edge riding two up?
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Unread post by sharpmagna » Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:01 am

skypix - I think the 3rd gen Magna started 1994-2003 and they are now discontinued. They may reappear as there were not marketed for 89-93. Be aware that the 3rd Gen Magna is a bit different since it has a 5speed and chain driven while mine is a 6 speed and shaft driven. The powerplants though are very similar and put out similar performance numbers. The V45 Magna is rated at about 80HP so that should be sufficient with 2-up riding though the passenger seat could be better.
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Unread post by skypix » Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:54 am

thanks supermagna, I just learned the difference in the models on this site, which was posted earlier:

http://www.supermagna.com/html/chronology.htm

I'm kinda stuck on shaft drive, I must admit. The Magna is looking pretty good, but because the 87/88 supers are relatively low production numbers, they're a bit pricier. Plus the upswept pipes, which look very cool but I would like to put some bags. Maybe a rack would help make up the shortfall...but hate to mess with those great lines.

Aesthetically of the bikes I'm zeroing in on, I think the Magna is tops for me. Although I'm bidding on a beautiful, low miles Virago on ebay, just for grins...I'm sure it'll top out higher than I want to go.
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Unread post by Bubba » Thu Jun 01, 2006 1:35 pm

Suzuki GS850.
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Unread post by skypix » Thu Jun 01, 2006 2:09 pm

Bubba, i've got a GS650G now, '82, old and rusty but runs like a top, explodes to life so fast I don't even hear the starter motor, new electrical system, and I love it, it's just not quite big/strong enough for any longer trips.

Isn't the 850 going to be the same short-trip seat? Kinda stiff, like my 650? I've never sat an L model...maybe they're better for trips.

Anybody want to weigh in on a Magna/Virago/GS850GL comparison?

thanks for the thought, I could certainly live with a lower mile 850 if I could find one...they're getting harder to locate.
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Unread post by Bubba » Thu Jun 01, 2006 3:36 pm

skypix wrote:Bubba, i've got a GS650G now, '82, old and rusty but runs like a top, explodes to life so fast I don't even hear the starter motor, new electrical system, and I love it, it's just not quite big/strong enough for any longer trips.

Isn't the 850 going to be the same short-trip seat? Kinda stiff, like my 650? I've never sat an L model...maybe they're better for trips.

Anybody want to weigh in on a Magna/Virago/GS850GL comparison?

thanks for the thought, I could certainly live with a lower mile 850 if I could find one...they're getting harder to locate.

"L" is hard on the butt. I rode my GS850 for 65 K miles. Seat is ok because you can move back and forth on it. 850 will run all day with no problems.
As a matter of fact, I still have my old 850 in the garage. Needs work. Want to buy it? :wink:
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Unread post by skypix » Thu Jun 01, 2006 5:00 pm

:P How much you want for it? What kind of work does it need? I've been meaning to overhaul my 650 cosmetically, got lots of nuts and bolts and stuff for it, never touched it. I just hop on it and ride. 8)
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