Monday, April 28, 2008

Ruminations on Cruisers

So I've been impressed with how light the Vulcan feels... and I've been ruminating on it. Remembering back to the big cruisers I've ridden... I can't help but note how much lighter this bike feels. Something about mass centralization maybe? nah... not likely... Maybe its something simpler... so I started digging up the dry weight of various cruisers that I've ridden or are at least comparable.

VTX 1300 = 710 lbs

VTX 1800 = 770 lbs

Roadstar = 695 lbs

Suzuki C90 = 665 lbs

Harley-Davidson Fatboy = 669 lbs

Now... Cruisers are notoriously heavy bikes. Its like they design them that way deliberately... or more accurately... the manufacturers just don't care... because the consumer doesn't care. In Cruiserland all that matters is displacement. Let me give you an example. The 2007 Vulcan 900 has a 903cc engine. The Yamaha Vstar 1300 obviously has a 1300cc engine. It doesn't matter that the Kawi is faster... and even produces more power than the Yamaha. Cruiser buyers don't pay attention to actual speed or power. All they care about is displacement. To them bigger number = more powerful. Yes... they really are that stupid. So there is no point in shaving pounds. The market doesn't even care how much power is actually produced... they just care what number is stamped on the side.

Ok.. but why does my bike feel so much lighter?

Well... That's because it is that much lighter. My bike weighs in at 548lbs. That's very comparable to the CBR1000f I used to ride. In fact... the curb weight of each bike could well be similar because the tires and gas are heavier on the CBR.

Consider this... My Vulcan 1500 wieghs LESS than a Harley Sportster 883.

But what are the power numbers? If I'm being honest I have to say.. I don't know. It varies engine to engine. It varies over time.. plus after market accessories affect it.

Best guess? > 85 lbs of torque.... and > 70 hp To put that in perspective... those numbers are superior to any cruiser that weighs in less than 600 pounds... and better than most that weigh in less than 670. The biggest of the big... the Vulcan 2000... the VTX1800... they produce more power... maybe MUCH more power... but they also weigh in betteen 200 and 250 pounds more!

That puts it about the opposite of JAC's 1150gs... which would smoke the Vulcan. Because... contrary to what the Harley T-shirts say... Horsepower matters more than Torque.

The low seat and comparable low curb weight make the bike feel light. That's exactly what I wanted. The fact that it will smoke a VTX 1800 is just a bonus.

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