Sometimes motorcycle manufacturers do strange things. Back in the mid 1990s Honda made quite a useful cruiser, the VF750C. It ran a V-four engine that produced an impressive 65kW of power. Then in 2000 they replaced it with the VT750; a restyled version that ran a V-twin engine that produced around half the amount of power of the bike it replaced. Why? Oh yes, I suppose it was style! Harleys are V-twin and so all other cruisers have to be V-twins; that’s the thinking isn’t it? But there must have also been some serious de-tuning involved to bring it down to a power figure somewhere in the mid 30s! Oh yes, and apparently it was heavier too! Having said that though, it should also be said that the VT750 was (and is!) a nice-looking bike. And it was well-priced. So it sold well; well enough to make it the top-selling cruiser in Australia for a few years. But which is the better bike? Well, one of our readers, Daryl, is in a good position to know, having owned both. Daryl bought his VT750C new in 2002. He sold it two years later because, “It didn’t have enough power to pass an old oil-burning Commodore up the hill heading north out of Cann River Victoria when coming home from the MotoGP.” He replaced it with a Kawasaki ZRX1200R. Then in 2008, arthritis in his knees and hip caused him to look at a bike with a different riding-position; so he looked at cruisers again. And what he bought was a VF750C. Reading his story, it seems to be an excellent example of the older being better than the newer – another example of a “Oldie” that is indeed a “Goldie” as I said in the article on older bikes. Here is his story. In November 2007 I made the decision to replace my beloved Kawasaki ZRX1200 after a painful ride to Temora to see the vintage air-show. That ride showed me that I could not handle the sporty ride position for more than an hour at a time; my arthritic knees and hip don't like to be bent up for long periods of time. After a lot of research in magazines and on the internet I decided that a medium sized cruiser would fit my needs. One that stood out as a possibility was the Yamaha XVS1100. I test rode a 1999 model at a local bike shop but the price was too high for the condition of the bike and they were not prepared to bargain to a suitable price. While searching the on-line adds I found an add for a 1995 Honda VF750C with just 1,8000kms in "showroom condition". Due to the rarity of this model, I had not thought of the Honda as a possibility. The bike was located in south Australia (I'm in NSW) but at the advertised price of $4,500 I had to ring and enquire about it. (I know that feeling! – Elwyn). The gentleman who owned the Honda told me that the bike was immaculate, and it had never been ridden in the rain. He was retired, and he and his wife had been traveling around Australia for the last three years. They come home at Christmas each year to see the family, and he would then get the Honda out have it serviced, take it for a ride then pack it away until the next year. After a long conversation on the phone I took a "leap of faith" and decided that I could trust this gentleman so I bought the Honda sight unseen. On the day of arrival given to me by the couriers I nervously waited for my bike to arrive. Due to a crash on the F3, the couriers were held up and my bike did not arrive until 10:30 that night. Upon inspection, I was glad to see that the bike was exactly as described. Since then I have put 6,000kms on the bike, including a trip to Phillip Island for the Moto GP. I am very happy with my Honda; it is great to ride, and the V4 motor sounds fantastic and produces plenty of "usable power". The seat is large and well padded and combined with the sensible ride position provides all day comfort. I have made a couple of small changes to the bike, the addition of a Cobra windscreen and a braided stainless steel front brake line, both of which enhance the riding experience. The handling through the "twisties" is very impressive for a cruiser as the cornering clearance is better than any other cruiser I have ridden. Performance-wise the Honda punches well above its weight, giving an indicated 200kph at 9000 rpm in 5th gear. That sort of performance in a V-Twin cruiser usually requires 1800cc and the 300kg + weight that goes with it! As you can probably guess I love my VF750C and I cannot understand why Honda chose to supersede this model with the under-powered over-weight VT750C – half the power and 20kg more weight does not seem like progress to me! Yep, definitely one for the “Oldies Can Be Goldies” file! The latest is not always the greatest – and Daryl has the experience to prove it!
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