With a $7499 price tag, a 505 lb dry weight, good-but-not-ordinary looks (four mufflers!), and 80+ horsepower, the Magna sounds like it would have won this shootout. It's power-to-weight isn't much lower than the V-Rod, its got chain drive and a light weight (so it should out-handle the Mean Streak), it costs 70% as much as the Mean Streak and 45% as much as the V-Rod. That's sure looks like a winner to me.
Well, gents, I'll give you credit for having the guts to stick with your agreed-upon process even if it didn't pick the winner you (or anyone else) expected.
Speaking from my own well-rounded perspective (I've sat on the VTX and Mean Streak, but haven't ridden any of the bikes), I think you made a good choice. The MS is the best looking of the bunch, and it's more comfortable than the VTX. The V-Rod looks awesome but handles oddly. And the V-Max is just old and fugly (sorry, Blip).
OK, if serious speed is the desire, $10K worth of current sporting material is very hard to outrun. But speed IS a part of the cruising thing. Every Harley rider I know (myself included) seems to spend a little money on horsepower. The rewards of this quest can be pretty entertaining, as an example, it doesn't take very much cash to get a Sportster to 70 RWHP.
It's cool to actually witness a new class of bikes being developed, and watch the manufacturers fiddle around in the process of finding the right answer. (It's not that there haven't been "power cruisers" before, but rather that the idea now has commercial viability and a place at the marketing table.) Safe to say no one's really nailed it yet, but that just leaves room for growth.Will Honda tweak the VTX's chassis? Some mild power increase for the Mean Streak? A totally redone R1-influenced V-Max?Much more interesting than the incrementalism in Supersport, and something that will probably mean a lot to the American market. I'm not overly fond of these bikes (yet), but it'll be fun to watch.
Good point, Starvingstudent. My '83 VF1100C Magna is a liquid-cooled V4 with four valves per cylinder. It makes 116 HP (more than the V-Rod) and has shaft drive. That's not a bad job playing catch up by the folks up in Wisconsin. It only took them 18 years to get part of it right.
If anyone at Honda is listening, there is a market for a real performance cruiser emerging. For god's sake, ditch the current Magna and build a large displacement model that can compete. (That's a nice drum brake on the back wheel!)
Maybe this what it will take to get a little technology back into the segment. Jesus, Harley is making the Japanese manufacturers scramble to build in innovation in the cruiser market. Who would have thought that?
That really was a let down in a review. I think you guys are wanting GSXR/R1 performance out of these tanks. I own a VTX and a R6. I kept seeing whining about a rev limiter. If my VTX has one I never felt it. Then again I am not taking my VTX to the drag strip or busting limits on the highway to activate it.
All these bikes are for sitting on your butt and cruising. If I want performance I hop on my R6. I don't know how the VMax made it in. Its a nice bike but man... You can put a kid through school before that bike will ever change. Its a Dinosaur.
My only complaint about the VTX is some of the fake crome and seam gas tank. Otherwise its a great bike to cruise around on. Plus it has some good takeoff power. I think it looks better than the rest too.
The Vrod is nice. They are making that at the harley plant here. But it looks very odd. The dealer markup on that is unreal. I think Harley should have all their sales personel wear ski mask and carry guns. They rob you everytime they sell a bike.
Generally, I am a Suzuki man but I do have to say that Kawasaki is starting to impress us this year. I sat on the Mean Streak, VTX, and the V Max. The attention to detail on the Kawaski is top notch. The stock wheels look like $700 aftermarket pieces. The VTX (which I also sat on) does not seem nearly as polished and feels as portly as a wing.
I Know a lot of you are going to flame me for mentioning this but, in the ATV sector kawasaki has also un-leashed the Prarie 650 V twin utility quad. All of the off road rags are singing it's praise. Maybe Kawasaki will develop a tranny for this motor and build a competitor to the SV650. I test rode this machine and it is smooth.
All kawaski has to do is update it's sport bike line to compete with the GSXR/R1/CBR series to reel in a big handfull of customers. It's nice to see a company that fell behind in the past few years claw it's way back up.
I'd like to say that that was good writing, and due to your intelligent statments my opinion of MO has gone up quite a bit.
Good test. I wish the Warrior could have been there, and looking back, yeah, the Magna should have been in too. But I seem to remember everyone saying what should be in the power cruiser test some time ago, and don't recall the Magna coming up. Who the hell wants a drum brake anyways?
The moment I saw the name of the article and realized it included a Harley-Davidson, I knew instantly that there was no way on earth the Harley had a chance of being chosen as the best bike. And sure enough, I read the article and saw I was right.
Oh, it most definitely is the best bike, and everyone reading this knows that's true, but it has one glaring flaw that eliminated it from the competition: it's made by an American company, and as is proven here on a daily basis, only oriental products rank at this "American" site.
I sure hope you guys aren't hypocritical enough to stick Old Glory on your Asian bikes like I see on our local streets.
By the way, have you ever considered accurately renaming this site "Asian Motorcycle.Com"?
First off, I think the new breed of high-performance cruisers look a lot better than the retro type. I just KNOW, however, that there'll be lots and lots of crashed power cruisers available before too long (perhaps the only way to get a V-Rod at an affordable price?).
I envision aging sportbike-to-cruiser refugees extending the handling envelope only to discover that the lack of ground clearance, vague front-end feedback, and the feet-forward put-all-your-weight-on-your-butt riding position intrisic to the whole cruiser genre are incongruous to a motorcycle portending to be sporty.
What's needed is either a re-done V-Max, or a top-of-the-line sportbike with an upright seating position and some actual visceral appeal (rules out FZ1's and the like). That new Hayabusa-based monstrosity (forgot the moniker) that's been pictured on the internet of late is promising, save for the upchuck-inducing styling, as is the Yamaha MT-01 (the 1600cc Road Star based concept bike paraded around the web about a year ago).
I'm a long-time sportbike rider who's now old, fat, and arthritic enough to find an upright, roomy riding position appealing. But I can't help but feel that after my first spirited ride on a circuitous road aboard any of the new machines just tested, I'd find myself trading it in on a new Interceptor or ST4s and buying tons of Ibuprofin to deal with the ensuing pain.
bravo, motorcycle online! thanks for having the guts to pick the best-balanced bike, not just go for the most powerful or most hyped new model. for the record, i owned harleys for 11 years and put over 140,000 miles on them before the company's attitude, pricing, and refusal to acknowledge the many flaws in their product drove me away from them. they are pulling the same thing with their new V-Rod, pricing it thousands of dollars over list and making customers wait months for delivery. i rode a new mean streak(hate that name!) and came away thoroughly impressed with the brakes, handling, and riding position. the power was more than enough for me, i like good roll-on torque for passing on the highway and could care less about drag-racing or big burn-outs. it is definitely the best looking machine of the four, although i much prefer the black color. and you can buy 2 mean streaks for what they are asking for one V-Rod!
Why include the V-max in this comparo? The v-max was never considered a cruiser in the traditional or non-traditional sense. The max created its own category and has remained there since. And don't give me any crap about not being able to get your hands on a Warrior to test. www.motorcycledaily.com posted an article about a test on 25 Oct 01. How can such a little site..compared to the mighty motorcycle online get the scoop on you guys?
yo, moron... what percentage of that pathetic looking v-rob thing is actually American??? and if it were not for Porsche, this bike NEVER would have been. my Max will wipe the streets with all the sissy boys putt-putting on their v-robs in their stupid looking leather chaps and half-shell helmets. i can't wait!!!!!! ah hahahhahha
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