Posts Tagged ‘VT750C2’

I got the Honda plug wrench in the mail today and with the aid of a cheap set of metric ratcheting wrenches, I quickly swapped out my two remaining old plugs. The Honda wrench looks cheap and cheesy, but boy does it work. And for under $10, you should probably just buy one of those rather than learning the $18 lesson that I did. While the MotionPro socket is nice, it doesn’t work on all the plugs, so save yourself some heartache and just buy the Honda OEM wrench (that should have been included in your bike’s tool kit).

That’s all I have to say about that.

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I’ve been taking a harder look at my beloved little Honda lately. Part of me wants to upgrade next year, and part of me says put short-shots and a stage-1 jet kit on and hope for the best. I’m afraid that if I spend around a thousand dollars on pipes, jetting, and a new seat, I’m still going to be left with an anemic but fun little ride.

The gunfighter seat isn’t suited for two-up, and a Mustang touring seat is about $500, and I have serious doubts about performance with two people and a light load of luggage. Even if I gain 3-5hp with pipes and a jet kit, I will still have power-to-weight issues, as well as underwhelming roll-on power. A brand new Shadow Phantom 750 put down a meager 36hp at the rear wheel in a recent article I linked. I wonder how many horses are in my five-year-old Shadow?

My Little Honda

But part of me is still having an emotional affair with the pretty blue Honda. It handles perfectly in town, and on the big sweepers just outside of town, I can hurl the bike in at well over the posted speed limit. It feels like it should have power to match maneuverability. But it doesn’t. Nor does it have impressive brakes, which also gives me pause when I think about adding a passenger and bags to the mix. And that was a big reason why I wanted a cruiser instead of a rocket (I was positively drooling over a Suzuki SV1000 back in January) was that I could take my wife places on little day trips over the weekend.

There are two ways to go from here: go big, like a Vulcan 1500 or Honda VTX1800, or get a newer middleweight like a Suzuki M50 or Vulcan 900 Custom. I’m leaning toward another middleweight, namely the Vulcan 900 because of the power-to-weight ratio. The Vulcan 900 Custom put down 50hp at the rear wheel, and while far from fast, it has enough guts to haul two plus luggage and still have some roll-on power. The middleweights are more handy around town, but can still complete a highway haul in comfort. The two bigger buses have tons of power, and are made to haul two in relative comfort, but can be pigs in town. It’s a really tough question though because 2000-2008ish bikes of all four types mentioned can be bought for the $5000-$7000 range, which is exactly my budget.

VTX1800


I ordered spark plugs, a gap tool, and 12-point 18mm socket. It came in just now and I went out to swap out my old, roached plugs for shiny new ones. Well, while the MotionPro socket I ordered is really well made, it isn’t made to fit in the left-front or right-rear plug recess. So I pulled to two plugs I could reach, gapped two new ones, and made the swap. Weirdly, the throttle does feel a little sharper, but it could all be in my head.

The two plugs I pulled were clearly old, given the faded appearance of the middle part of the plug. They were blackened, indicating a slightly rich fuel mix or maybe some failure of the insulator, but not so sooty as to indicate oil burn. I probably could have gotten away with brushing them off and checking their gap, but since they appear to be the originals, I feel better about new plugs. It’s cheap insurance. I will attach pics as soon as I find my USB cable. In the mean time, enjoy this link on how to “read” your spark plugs.

Note: I have ordered a Honda OEM plug wrench that is supposed to be in your tool kit, but was absent from mine. I will include a link to it.

The part number of the MotionPro socket that does not fit is: 57-8175

Updated: Wear was normal, and they still were close to spec when measured with my gap tool. New plug on right for comparison.

No matter what metric bike you ride, you’ll always find someone to tell you it’s not as nice as a Harley. Sometimes that’s true, and I’ll be the first to admit that Harley makes a big, powerful air-cooled v-twin. The problem lies with “big” and “air-cooled”. Modern Harleys are not the maintenance nightmares that their 1970s-80s ancestors were. Most of them are very nearly as reliable as a well-built metric. But liquid-cooled motors will always be more reliable than air-cooled ones. Keeping a constant operating temperature helps all the bits and pieces last longer. It also helps when you’re stuck in city traffic or otherwise putting around town. Big, air-cooled motors need air moving over their cooling fins to keep everything at a comfortable operating temperature.

But mechanics aside, there is one huge problem with Harleys that I will never be able to get over: the price tag. Even used, a Harley is easily two or three times as much as any metric, except maybe the Triumph Rocket III and the new “factory choppers” from Yamaha and Honda. Let me offer this used bike page from a major Iowa dealer. My favorite Harley, the Dyna Wide Glide, goes for about $15,000 for one in similar condition to my Honda. Granted, the Harley has a MUCH bigger engine and is much more powerful. But my Honda was $3000. Say I do pipes, a Mustang seat, and get a stage-1 jet kit for my Spirit 750. I’m at, lets say $4700–and that’s a high estimate. I could buy 2004-2008 VTX 1300s all day for $6000. The same goes for 1100 and 1300 V-Stars. I just don’t see what the extra $10,000 gets you with a Harley, except you get to tell people you have a Harley.

I would rather tell people I ride a Honda and can still afford to retire in my 60s. Then I might buy a Harley.

When I bought my bike, I insisted I wasn’t going to modify it. If anything, I would save up and trade it for a bigger bike. Well, I’m still open to the second option, but I really want different pipes on my bike. After nearly being hit about a dozen times by senior citizens  in beige Toyota Avalons, I want to make some noise and hopefully become a bit more conspicuous. My bike is nearly silent at or near idle, which is most of the time in town, and I really don’t want to be hit by an ancient person who didn’t want to stop at a stop sign.  I like Vance & Hines pipes, as I have a number of friends who have them on their metrics (and a couple of Harleys). I want the V&H Short Shots. View below and rejoice:

They’re about $350, plus probably an hour of shop time to install, which runs about $70/hr, and it will require a re-jet, which will be another three hours of shop time plus parts. I’m not super stoked about the bill totaling nearly $1000, but if I save for a year, it will be easily paid for. Then again, I may kick it into super-saver mode and try to come up with $4000 to blow on a VTX 1300 (plus the trade of my beloved little blue Honda).

I’m really happy with my bike, and I’m getting a bit attached to it, which kinda makes me want to just tweak it a bit and hold onto it for many more years. That would be a much cheaper option than immediately jumping to the big VTX. The only things I want to do are the pipes, a re-jet, and maybe bolt on a Mustang seat so my wife can go on trips with me. That would make about $1500 and I could ride the bike for many more years, and since it’s a Honda, nothing will break.