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4-5 grand isn't going to get you much power, at least in the metric cruiser world. There's not a huge aftermarket to suppport many modifications.



You should definitely not buy a new bike. Your money will go a lot further in the used market. There are plenty of gently used H-D 883 Sportsters floating around (you know the old bought one for the wife but she wouldn't ride it story?). With your mechanical skills you could easily punch it out to a 1200, add some compression and cams and you'd have a fun little ride.



There is enormous aftermarket support with H-Ds and 5 years from now you'll sell it for almost what you paid for it.



Other than the Spirit 750, the Yamaha VStar 650 is a nice little bike or the Kawasaki 800 Drifter will give you the Indian Chief look on the cheap.
 

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Get the original

I don't own a cruiser, but can appreciate them for what they offer and understand the attraction for so many riders.

If I were to get a cruiser however, I would want something low and mean, with the ability to leave sticky black "evidence" of it's power that would rival the skids in my Hanes.

Seeing as you are going to have to buy used, and you have the ability to wrench, I'd go for the original power cruiser...the Yamaha V-Max.
 

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Re: Get the original

I have to agree, for what you are looking to spend the Vmax will get you what you want. stump pullin power out of the box with a dedicated following, and hop up parts should be available. And it is definatly a grin to ride.
 

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dude, the bike you are looking for is the Suzuki Intruder 1400. 4-5 Gs will get you a NICE mid-90s model, with minimal miles. These bikes have VERY satisfying power (good "funk" right outta the box), and by simply "uncorking" - as the parlance goes among VS1400 owners - 20% power increases are possible. until the curent spate of power cruisers, the VS1400 was always one of the quickest, routinely taking top honors in the 40-60 and 60-80 roll on tests. It's roll-on performance is very close to that of a VTX...go find the magazine data if ya don't believe me.

The VS1400 is the lightest of all the big cruisers, about 575-585 lbs with a full tank, thanks to the lean "chopper" styling...and it vibrates less than an 883 Sporty!

There are many aftermarket goodies to purchase for the bike, and if you view some of the euro custom bike sites, you'll find that it's a favorite over there.

finally, I know many don't believe this, but the VS1400 is a KICKArSSe wheelie machine! And if exclusivity is of any concern, there is the added benefit of not seeing yourself riding down the road every day. VS1400s aren't exactly commonplace on the roads. Unlike Harleys, which ya can't walk down the street without tripping over.

if you can hook a ride on one, try it out, it's a fun bike!

check out www.intruderalert.com for more info, though stay away from the main board, that's "all Macho Bullsh1t, all the time" ;-)
 

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Well, hey, a question I have some real data on.

I have a RSW, (which, after an unfortunate incident with a highway alligator has been repainted flat black) and it is a bad MoFo. After a year of ownership I still get giddy from the amount of sheer thrust this thing generates from stoplights. As far as bikes of this genre go, it's the lightest, most powerful / weight, and handles the best. (This opinion is based on a road test I conducted of the Mean Streak, VTX, V-rod, and RSW, prior to buying.)

A HD sportster 1200 does have a reasonable power / weight ratio. I have a friend who has one, and when it goes, it does so fairly well. However, I warn you that you will likely have reliability problems. My friend was working at a HD dealership at the time, and the bike he bought was used, but with an immaculate service record from new, and it still doesn't run half the time. If he didn't have another motorcycle around, he'd be screwed on using the harley for transportation.

The V-Max option is definitely a good one. It has somewhat the aesthetics you are looking for (well, it's definitely not a sportbike or standard...) it has lots and lots of power, they've been around for what, 15, 20 years? so there are a lot of them out there, and they have a phenominally supportive aftermarket. There are kits and accessories to turn your V-Max into a riding lawnmower if you want. Ok, I'm exaggerating, but I think you get my drift.

If you were willing to do a lot of work, and wanted something really unique, you could buy an older Goldwing, in the 1200 or 1500 bracket, strip off all of the extraneous fiberglass and plastic parts, and ride that. I did it once, and without all the weight, it turns out they have a lot of juice! Since they are boxer motors, they are also perfect candidates for turbocharging, if you wanted to go crazy...

Good luck and I hope you buy something that makes you happy. I recommend going and test riding a whole bunch of different things, so you get a better grasp on what you are really looking for.

-Kawazuki
 

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Shadow Sabre, Vulcan Mean Streak, maybe Triumph Legend

The Sabre is 1100cc, the Mean Streak 1500cc, so they have have decent power as cruisers go, though the power-to-weight ratio is less than half that of the SV-S. But the real reason I recommend them is lean angle ground clearance (LAGC according to Keith Code). You're accustomed to plenty of it on the SV-S, but most cruisers grind parts off with surprisingly little lean angle. The Mean Streak has way better brakes and tires. The Suzuki Volusia is supposed to be a good all around cruiser, and probably similar power-to-weight to most 1100cc cruisers due to it's light weight. If you like the British look, the Triumph Legend is a steal and has really good power, handling, and braking. You can find them for under $4k today.
 

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Re: 4-5 G's V-Max Rules!

The V-Max has way more power than you will ever need - this is a good thing! Look for one that has been taken care and you will have a great cruiser that honestly will not require any modifications at all. Good luck.
 

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Older EVO Sporty's can be had all day long for you budget. Reliable and butt stompin' torque. Since you’re keeping the SV (good thinking); getting and chopping a mid 80's sportster will give you fun and aggravation in the garage as well as a great bike for the type cruiser riding you’re looking for.



I recommend the EVO Sporty only because I'm building a '71 Ironhead rigid chopper right now and I wouldn't wish that on anyone without major masochist tendencies. The EVO Sportster has parts availability to die for. All can be had fairly cheap too.



A couple more to consider would be an older Honda Shadow 1100. Check 'em out on eBay. Search for Shadow and look for the late 80's and later models. I've seen many still on the road well into six digit mileage. When I sold my '97 Spirit 1100 it was because it wasn't large enough for two-up, week long road trips. That 1100 engine was great and I don't think it change a whole lot during its production life.



Next would be the Yamaha V-Star 1100. Look for the '99/'00 model years and write the check. My wife had over 28K miles on hers and the guy who bought it couldn't believe it was an 1100.



These are suggested from my experience only. All can be had for your price range.



Hope that helps.

 

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I second the opinion about considering the VS1400. As a new rider, I was looking for an affordable used cruiser a year ago and liked the "chopper" look of the Honda Spirit, Kawi Vulcan, and Suzuki Intruder. I started looking at the 750-800cc sizes thinking it would be better to go smaller for a first bike. Ended up deciding to go for more power (1100-1400cc) so I wouldn't outgrow it so soon and since I weigh 240lb. Saw many nice, low-mileage used bikes in the $3,500-$4,800 price range for a '95 or '96. Ended up with a '95 VS1400 because I liked the "look" and at approx 530lb dry it had the best power/weight ratio (only 90cc less than a "big" Harley, but about 100lb less weight. I can vouch for the roll-on power. Even with my big butt on it, it will about jerk my arms off if I really let it out. Good luck with the search.
 

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Two options...

1: Used Magna. ~75 hp (high for a cruiser, especially a lower displacement one), and a V4 to boot.

2: OLD sportster. Get the genu-wyne article: An old paint-rattling, bone-chatterin Harrrley Davidson. Crap suspension, crud handling, but at least you look really REALLY cool, without breaking the bank.
 

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August 2002 Motorcycle Cruiser magazine's Muscle Cruiser shootout results :

1) V-Max (duh!)

2) Valkyrie (have one. Unique look. Motor? Accelerates well from 25 mph in fifth gear.)

3) V-Rod (probably not in the price range)

4) Magna (have one. Not a monster off the line, but I think it's closer to 84 hp above 5000. Below 4000, it's just a nice V4.)

5) Honda VTX-C (price point, again)

6) Yamaha Warrior

7) Kawasaki Mean Streak
 

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Re: 4-5 G's V-Max Rules!

Ditto on that. The V-Max is absolutely guaranteed to put a smile one your face. I also couldn't think of a more reliable (or more powerful) motor that's ever been used in a cruiser.
 

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I'd get the Vmax. You should have no problem finding one in your price range. Buy a 1994 or newer if possible since the forks and brakes are upgraded.



There are cheap upgrades that you need to do. One is called the Furbur fix which replaces a rubber washer in the headset with a steel one. The other is to buy some stiffer front fork springs from Race Tech for about $80.



You'll have an extremely fun bike that has tons of hop up potential should you decide to do so in the future. Mine has a Corbin seat which helps on the long rides, a Stage 1 jet kit from Dynojet, K&N filter and a Hindle 4-1 exhaust and it sounds badass when you wick the throttle open.



The only downside is the fact that they chew rear tires up like crazy if you're heavy with the throttle but you said you wanted power.



There's nothing like feeding tailights to a brand new Vrod!
 
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