Bigger bikes, Short legs - Star Motorcycle Forums: Star Raider, V-Max, V-Star, Road-Star Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-21-2018, 09:11 AM Thread Starter
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Bigger bikes, Short legs

I'm looking for input on bigger cruisers. Four in particular, Yamaha Raider, Suzuki M109, Honda vtx 1800,and Kawasaki Vulcan 2000. I have narrowed it down to these four based on seat height. Since I am only 5'8" tall, a 28 inch seat height is about all I can handle without buying platform boots.

As for riding background on myself, I have been riding for about 14 years. I have been on my 950 now for going on 4 years, and had two 650's previously. The only reason I haven't gotten a bigger bike before now is my wife's paranoia. Now that I have taught her to ride, and she loves it, she understands the need for the larger platform. I want something that can do cross country if the need arises. The 950 is a great bike, but doesn't have the legs for my heavy butt on the interstate.

Most would say to consider the weight of the bigger bike, but this doesn't concern me much. Before I met my wife, I was a competing power lifter. I used to squat almost 600 lbs so my legs are quite strong. They are just short, and very thick, causing another problem with the width of the saddle/bike.

As for the power jump, I always ride responsibly. I don't have to go everywhere with my hair on fire like when I was a kid.

I am wanting to hear from people with these bikes, how comfortable are they on long trips, any problems with day to day use, ect. Which would/did you choose and why?

These are my concerns. I'm afraid the M109 is too wide to be comfortable for a long time. The Raiders pegs may be too far forward for me for comfort. The vtx 1800 is everywhere, meaning its a good bike, but I like bikes that aren't around every corner. The Vulcan seems to be stacking up as my favorite, but I do have to admit that 123 cubic inches is a bit daunting. I have at least sat on every one of these bikes, but can not seem to make up my mind.

Other bikes I have considered are the Road Star 1700, almost anything from Victory (except the v92, too tall), and the Roadliner. The 1700 on the used market is about the same price as the vtx 1800, so why not go with the extra power and fuel injection. I absolutely love the Roadliner, but its seat is 29 inches which is the same as my inseam. I also love the look of the Victory Vegas, Jackpot and Hammer, but they all lose something when you add bags. Any other suggestions would be appreciated, but as stated earlier I am looking for less than 28 inch seat height with plenty of power.

I apologize for the long windedness of this post, but there is a lot to consider.

I don't have to have fast, I just have to have fun!
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-21-2018, 09:43 AM
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Just an FYI, I've been riding for 9 years. I started on the 950 - great bike! I made the jump 5 years ago to the Roadliner, and haven't regretted the decision! And like you, I'm height disadvantaged at 5'8". My wife and I are much more comfortable on the bigger cruiser! All that said, you have to comfortable with the bike you ride. Good luck in your search!

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-21-2018, 10:31 AM
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Have you considered a lowering kit? If you could lower the bike a couple of inches that would eliminate that factor in your decision.
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2007 Vulcan Nomad
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2000 V Star 1100 Classic (Sold)
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-21-2018, 01:40 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by NorthernRider View Post
Have you considered a lowering kit? If you could lower the bike a couple of inches that would eliminate that factor in your decision.
I have, but I have heard horror stories about bikes being lowered not handling correctly.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-21-2018, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by blueblitz09 View Post
I have, but I have heard horror stories about bikes being lowered not handling correctly.
Depends on how low you go. I've lowered several bikes 1 inch works well without any handling or ride quality issues. I'm 5'5" when I stand up straight with a 29" inseam weighing 125, yeah I'm a little. I lowered my 1100 one inch without any handling or comfort issues. The Vstar had an original seat height of 28 inches with stock weight of 650 pounds, the one inch lowering made it very comfortable to me, I could 100% flat foot it. Another thing I do to make the bike more comfortable was pull back risers and rotating the handle bars down. Making this bike "smaller" was easy and didn't affect the bike in a negative way at all. My Harley is a little higher. Stock seat height is 30 inches and weighs 800 pounds. I lowered it one inch and lowered the bars. This made it much better but still just a tad too high. It was time for new boots and got some with a thicker sole. Works great, not 100% flat foot but close enough to be comfortable. I commuted daily on the 1100 for 4 years and put 65k miles on it. The Harley I've had for 5 months and have put 5k on it, it's my daily commuter now. So can a vertically challenged person ride a larger bike with confidence, absolutely. In tight parking lots and similar situations am I still careful, yes, but again, no big deal. It takes a few mods and some seat time, if you want it, do it.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-21-2018, 09:23 PM
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I'm 5' 8.5" with an inseam between 28 & 29 inches. I ride a 2000 Road Star Silverado. It has a 1607cc or 98ci engine. It's seat height is 28".
I feel very comfortable. It has great power. It hauls my fat arse just fine. I have ridden her on I-95 with tractor trailers & the other butt-nuggets heading to Washington DC. I felt that if i had to hit the throttle & go 90+ to get away from a moron. BIG BERTHA would haul arse to get me away.
If you can take them for a test ride. Do that. & buy whichever one you feel most comfortable on.
Good luck!

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-22-2018, 12:18 AM
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Another 5 8 rider here. I just moved up to a 2000 Royal Star (venture edition) and find it quite the all around package. Im still getting used to the 900 some pounds but it fits my needs with
- larger cruiser with comfy backseat for the Mrs
- fairing
- 1300cc V4 makes good power without the rumble of a vtwin
- lots of storage with tour pack and hard bags

Holly - '93 Honda CR250

Vanessa - '04 650 Classic
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-22-2018, 08:57 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input so far guys, I really appreciate it. I guess I will think about lowering some more. Its just kinda one of those "the engineers made it that way for a reason" things. If I had to choose a bike at this moment it would be the Vulcan. If I do choose to lower one though it will be the Roadliner. I don't think I will be disappointed with any of these bikes power. They will all have plenty of "smiles to the gallon". Decisions, decisions.....
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-22-2018, 09:32 AM
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I looked at the M109 (before I knew there was a C109) before I went with my gut instinct and got the Raider. What I found between the two of them....straight line they are almost neck and neck, once you get in to the twisties, the Raider stands out. Especially if a little aggressive. As for the seat height, you pretty much sit down in the bike, so your bottom is lower to the ground than you would think walking up to it. I have looked at lowering kits, they are seemingly quick and easy with no handling issues that I have seen. It just limits the tire size that you can put on the back I believe. My 1100 is essentially slammed (1.5"). I often scrape the floorboards when going in to some entry ramps (see above about aggressive rider haha). As for handling, I took both the girls out yesterday after about a month off due to weather...1100 likes to get down in to the curves and enjoys the lean, Raider likes to go and go hard. She gets in to the corner and is ready to bring herself back up and enjoy the straight stretch. Not sure if this helps your decision, but a little background on my choice and experiences in a similar situation.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-23-2018, 12:00 AM
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I am 55 with a 27 inseam on a good day. I ride. 2007 Silverado Classic with no lowering. Im flatfoot all the way. Such a well balanced bike, I think.

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