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Value Bike Feedback

43524 Views 70 Replies 37 Participants Last post by  jsimpson
Note that there was nothing wrong with the Yamaha's clutch -- it was just mis-adjusted from the factory. A couple quick turns of the hidden-under-a-rubber-boot adjuster, and it's action was back to normal...
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The largest selling, longest running bike in history... the Honda Super Cub. If we're talking world history, that is.
Re: Value Bike Feedback - Random thoughts

1. Noted already, but how did you manage to switch the positions of the Nighthawk 750 and the Sportster 883 between the previous test and this one, when neither bike has changed (in five years...)

2. Obviously this was a case of one bike per manufacturer. Suzuki has the GS500E (more in the Buell''s class than the other bikes here) and the Bandit 600 (which would have beaten the Nighthawk in the previous test if the availability of parts and accessories for the then brand-new design wasn''t an "issue"). IMO, there are several comparos that could have been done:

a: Micro-cruisers (Honda Rebel vs. Suzuki GZ250X vs Yamaha Virago 250),

b: middleweight cruisers (Yamaha V-Star vs. Kawasaki Vulcan 500 vs. Honda Shadow VLX vs. Suzuki Savage vs. H-D Sportster 883),

c: beginner standards (Buell Blast vs. Suzuki GS500E vs. Kawasaki Ninja 500) and

d: Frugal Fours (Kawasaki ZR-7 vs. Honda Nighthawk 750 vs. Suzuki Bandit 600)

e: V-Twin Fun! (Suzuki SV650 vs. Ducati Monster 600 Dark)

f: Suzuki DR650SE vs. Kawasaki KLR650

3. For those who want reliable budget transportation (like me), the Nighthawk 750 wins hands down. I realize, however, that I am in the minority on this...

4. I miss the MZ Silver Star! *snif*
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Re: Well, if you want to get technical...

I believe we are talking "motorcycles" here, and perhaps you should consider that the western world includes Western Europe, where a full-sized motorcycle is considered to be one larger than 125cc and there is still a thriving 50cc market, that descendants of the C50 Super Cub still participate in.
Re: Horsefeathers...

The problem with that, in this context, is that it isn't really a value bike. Even if you can get one at MSRP, you'll still have to get the parts to address that part of the package you don't like. I don't know if I would need a gel pad for the Nighthawk, but I'm almost sure I would for the Sportster.

If I could afford an XL1200S Sportster Sport, I'd try it out. It looks like what a basic Sportster + Harley Tax would be for me anyway. But it's not a value bike the way a Nighthawk would be.
Re: Ya got that right...

I'll accept that...

HOWEVER: If a Nighthawk will "be worth less than half its original price in a few years even if still in cherry condition" then the thing to do is use a little judo and let the bike's depreciation work for you. Nighthawks are relatively hard to kill, so if you can buy used and get a mechanic to check the condition of the bike before you buy, you can have yourself a good, reliable bike that won't depreciate much (more).
Re: What is your point?


1. I'm not sure the post you were replying to was trying to say that the Enfield Bullet was made in China; the Bullet statement and the China statement were probably meant to be seperate.

2. In addition to the BMW clones, China makes lots of different bikes, including Jialing, which is built in partnership with Honda.

Sportsters may be the '57 Chevy of bikedom, but be assured, the Honda Super Cub is the VW Bug.
Re: Value Bike Feedback - Random thoughts

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

I will read the two reports again to see if the brakes were mentioned in either one.

More thoughts since:

1. If I remember correctly (I haven't re-read the "Frugal Flyers" article recently), the original test was biased somewhat toward ease and cost of operation and maintenance, while this one is just about how the bike feels to the testers.

2. Personally, I think I'd rather pay the warranty fee (depreciation) than the Harley tax (accessories). The Harley seems to be for those who like wrenching, or are good at it; I guess I'm more "reliable transportation" oriented. Maybe I'm just dull, or maybe my old bike just needs too many repairs...

3. Another reason for me to re-read the current report is to try and remember if any of the current bikes has shaft drive. Maybe the V-Star Classic inherited it from the Virago? The H-D and Buell have belts for sure, the KLR650, Nighthawk and SV650 all have chains. One wonders how a brand new GS850G or VX800 would fare in this will have to wonder 'coz no such thing exists.
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Re: Consistency noted after re-reading...

Nighthawk 750:

Easy to ride, smooth power delivery (both articles), smooth clutch, swift gear changes (2000 Valuebike Shootout)

Long distance comfort hampered only by lack of fairing (both articles) but otherwise good thanks to tall gearing (both articles), well-padded, comfortable seat (Frugal Flyers), good seating position, and long wheelbase (2000 Valuebike Shootout)

Long range; 87-octane compatible (2000 Valuebike Shootout)

Suspension O.K. but could be better (both articles), rear suspension undersprung and prone to bottoming out under heavy load (Frugal Flyers), spongy feel, bias-ply tyres (2000 Valuebike Shootout)

Front brake not very powerful (Frugal Flyers)

Powerful, but in a bland way (both articles)

Indestructable if given routine maintenance (both articles)

Low insurance and maintenance costs (Frugal Flyers)

XL883 Sportster:

Screams for Screamin' Eagle parts (both articles)

Easy to manoeuver, thanks to low seat height, upright riding position and drag bars (both articles)

Adequate brakes, but could be better (BOTH ARTICLES! Hmm, maybe more improvement needed?), good engine braking (Frugal Flyers)

Solid overall feel, unique "Harley" feel (both articles)

Controls are stiff and heavy, but do the job well (both articles)

Suspension inadequate for highway travel (2000 Valuebike Shootout), sloppy damping (Frugal Flyers)

Not too intimidating for new riders, upgradeable with experience (2000 Valuebike Shootout), first by converting to 1200cc and then by adding performance parts (both articles; also both articles mention the performace parts twice, as this review does)

No depreciation (Frugal Flyers)

Low servicing and maintenance costs, but no centrestand (Frugal Flyers)


Apart from the above comparisons, there is this telling comment on the Yamaha V-Star Custom's brakes in the "2000 Valuebike Shootout":

The brakes are pretty good and only get edged out by the likes of the SV650 and CB750.

Please note that this infers that the V-Star's brakes were better than the Sportster's improved brakes, but were not as good as the (CB750) Nighthawk's.

And, yes, the Yamaha V-Star has a shaft.
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Re: Consistency noted after re-reading...

Well, I have ridden a Nighthawk, but not that one, and I can say Universal Japanese Motorcycle, but I've never ridden one. I learned to ride on a 1983 Honda Nighthawk 450 (P-twin), which is still the biggest and most powerful bike I've ever ridden. My current ride (when it works) is a 1988 Honda CM200T TwinStar. I rented a Yamaha 80 step-through for two days on vacation in 1998 and I rode a friend's Honda C50 for about 50 yards once. Those are all the bikes I've ever ridden, and I am certain that, with the possible exception of the Nighthawk 450, the Buell Blast would leave ALL of them for dead!

As for the Sportster, not even the die-hard Harley fans deny that they shake HEAVILY; they chalk it up to character (BTW, "Frugal Flyers" suggests checking the headlight and taillight bulbs regularly as they tend to get shaken to death quite often). OTOH, Nighthawk articles and owner comments, regardless of the forum or publication, almost unanimously refer to the Nighthawk's dependability. Magazine articles often call it boring and characterless. Maybe I am too, it sounds like good transport to me!

One last note: The motorcycle police where I live ride Nighthawk 250s, Nighthawk 750s, and Kawasaki Police 1000s. Back in the '80s they used to ride TwinStars like mine.
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I'm in! I want to read what MO has to say about the ZR-7. Especially when compared straight up against the Nighthawk 750 and the Bandit 600!
Re: ZR7 Exclusion

Another possibility would be a "Middleweight Fours" comparo: Bandit 600S vs. ZR-7 vs. NIghthawk 750, with the same kind of testing as mentioned above...
Re: Consistency noted after re-reading...

Thus explaining my bias toward the Nighthawk. Durable, reliable, comfortable, sounds like my bag... Depreciation would only bother me if I had a plan to sell, which doesn't sound likely...
Re: Street sport

Suzuki's "street sport" also includes the Bandit series, which is a modern interpretation of the UJM.

But I agree. The SV650 is more a naked sportbike (like the Monster) than a "do-all" standard. I'm not sure where the ZR-7 stands...
Re: History, engines...

You want history? Let's see:

Nighthawk 750: An evolution of the original superbike, the CB750 K0

ZR-7: Uses a variation of the same engine that powered Kawasaki's 1983 championship-winning superbike.

ZRX 1200: Yes, it's a Japanese retro, but it's their OWN history they're invoking.

And while we will not partake in the action recommended by the esteemed anonymous spokesman for Ducatisti the world over (does riding Ducatis contort your spine enough so you can do that?), we could quite simply take a SV650 and blow him away...
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