Hey Venture/Eluder riders, I joined over the weekend and tried to post my test ride impressions of the new Venture Transcontinental, but somehow missed the fact that I had to post in the New Member area first before it would let me post here...duh on my part. Now that Iíve been certified that Iím not Spam, a robot, or a Spambot, let the fun begin!
I joined this forum as it seems more active for the new bike, which is good. Below is what I intended to post on Saturday, I hope it helps anyone on the fence.
Greetings Venture riders,
Iím 49 years old, my wife, kids and I live in Colorado Springs, and Iím currently riding my beloved Honda ST1300 I bought new in 2003. Other than having to replace the fuel pump last summer, it has been really reliable, but Iíve been wanting a touring bike with more comfort. Below is a quick list of what I tried before the Venture Transcontinental:
1. 2017 HD Ultra Limited- Liked the new motor, good handling, great paint and chrome, but I felt cramped (5í10 with long legs), the suspension still needs more travel, and the tranny to primary fluid transfer issue concerned me. It may be resolved now as I havenít followed their forums in a while.
2. 2018 BMW K1600 GTL- Great handling and brakes, smooth motor, good storage, but felt cramped again, the torque comes on too high in the RPM range for my liking, and the valve adjustments are expensive. I know there are highway pegs available and the Grand America has ďfootrest plates,Ē but still not really my cup of tea. Would love to have a new R1200 GSA LC to go with a new touring bike, though
3. 2018 Goldwing Tour (ST on steroids)- Lighter, more comfortable than previous gens (for me, especially with highway pegs), new motor is good, 6 speed manual and power windshield (finally), but less fuel capacity (more efficient but range stays the same), less storage, and not impressed with the new suspension. Felt numb up front and a little harsh on the rear, but itís probably rider preference. Some like it, while others are going with a Traxxion upgrade. I would have to upgrade if I bought one.
4. 2017 Indian Roadmaster- My favorite until today. Great handling, styling (to me), paint and chrome, good brakes, comfortable for me (especially with highway pegs), great stereo and nav system, easy to maintain, but heat can be an issue. This is mitigated with new headers, exhaust and tune, but yes, itís more money to do that. It does help though. I rode a Chieftain with their 116 upgrade kit (right before the stop sale) and Freedom headers/True duals, and I never felt any heat on a warm day. It went like stink for a bike in this category, too!
Then I got a chance to ride a new Raspberry metallic Venture Transcontinental demo in Denver last Saturday. Iíve liked the looks of this bike since it came out. The front (love the headlights), back, and side profile are very destinctive. Itís different in a good way, and sets it apart from the crowd. Itís also forging its own styling, and not trying to be something else.
The dealer let me go alone and where ever I wanted, so I took the same 14 mile route the Indian demo rides go on to compare the ride to the Roadmaster. Right off the bat I was impressed with the slow speed stability, and was blown away with how easy it made a tight u turn with little counterweight necessary. The power in Touring mode was decent and about what the Indian is, but Sport mode woke it up nicely. The pick up was stronger, and I never hit the rev limiter in first or second like some have complained. I found myself naturally shifting before it, even when accelerating hard. The torque sweet spot is much lower, anyway. I think some of those riders arenít familiar with how to ride a v twin, and the Indian and HD redlines arenít too far from there either.
Let me say that Iím not expecting this bike to be a drag racer, but Iím of the mindset that more power is better than less, especially when passing or avoiding distracted drivers. It also helps when riding at altitude in the Rockies.
On my way back to the dealership I got cut off by a lost delivery truck, so I had to go up to the next light and make another u turn. This time I turned the bars full lock left, let out the clutch, and again the bike came around amazingly well despite its weight. My friend rode it right after me but wasnít as impressed. Heís more of a sport bike guy, which is fine. Thereís a butt for every seat.
Ultimately, Iím really impressed with the new Venture Transcontinental. Yamaha did a great job engineering this motorcycle in my opinion. Great handling, comfort, looks (to me), storage, power in Sport mode, brakes, Raspberry metallic paint, warranty, and technology (standard and Transcontinental package). Engine heat, although felt while riding, would not be a deal breaker either. It was around 94 degrees, and was no worse than any other air/oil cooled v twin Iíve ridden. It was actually cooler that a stock Indian 111.
While Iím aware of some of the previous gen Venture riderís issues with this bike (namely no V4) and I get it, you really have to ride this bike before ruling it out. Would I have preferred a liquid cooled V4? Probably, if it didnít compromise the excellent handling, but the 1300 is no slouch. And to those who think air/oil cooled v twins donít last, thereís a guy on an Indian forum with a 2014 that has around 250,000 miles with only a couple of minor issues, none of which were engine related. Several others with over 100,000, and thatís not including all of the Victory riders with that or more. Iím sure there are plenty of HD riders who could make the same claim.
My only complaints, and they wouldnít stop me from buying it, are these:
1. The stereo sound quality. It could have been the radio station they put it on (didnít have my phone plugged in) and the stereo settings, but I was expecting more clarity and better volume with the Transcontinental package. The Indian really shines here.
2. The frequent maintenance intervals on some items (oil changes every 6 months/4,000 miles, plugs every year, valve adjustments required, etc). To me some of these are a little excessive, and Iím still scratching my head at valve adjustments on a pushrod v twin.
Again, neither of these would keep me from buying it, but I had to mention them In fairness and to not sound like a Yamaha employee trying to boost sales on a forum
I look forward to learning more about the new Venture Transcontinental as I get closer to making a decision. I had three Yamaha dirt bikes growing up and a 760 Waverunner in the late nineties, and they were good to me. it may be time to have a new Yamaha street bike. Until today my heart and mind were set on the Indian, but thereís apparently a new sheriff in town. Thanks Yamaha, I think?