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Thread: Honda VLX - A 4-speed?

  1. #1
    Contributor We've stopped counting... Chuck's Avatar
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    Question Honda VLX - A 4-speed?

    Hi guys and gals,

    I have a "newbie" question. While I really don't intend to upgrade just yet, (I've only been riding a few months), I am starting to "explore my options" a little. Ok, ok, the bug has bitten BAD and I really want to run down and get something bigger but I'll control myself for now... <*thinks to himself* - ahh...go ahead and buy it! You klnow you want it! Then I think - no, no...control yourself...you need more experience first!> So far, I'm sticking to the later, but it's been a tough battle!

    Anyway, on to my question - I'm about 6' tall and have "butt tested" my friends Harley 883 many times and have no problem flat footing it. It fit rather nicely! So that got me to thinking. I looked on the Honda site and found this wonderful looking bike - The Honda VLX. Just under 600cc's so it shouldn't be a bad first full size bike. Just about $5,400 brand new - so deals on used should be nice.

    The question I have is that it is a "Wide-ratio four-speed" and I'm wondering about how this would be on the interstate. Is the fact that it's only a 4-speed going to really work the motor to high RPM's and decrease engine life? I'm a bit concerned about this and can't seem to get past it...so I leave it up to you experts to tell me the pro's and con's of this. If a 4-speed is out, the what recommendations to you have for a similar sized/style bike.

    I really like the Shadow Spirit 750 also but that's more bike and more dough.

    (Side note - I still can't figure out the difference between the VLX and the VLX Deluxe...other than the Deluxe is a few hunder more.)

    VLX Info

    VLX Deluxe Info

    Thanks in advance for your input.


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    Contributor 10,000 Posts! lil_bear's Avatar
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    Believe the deluxe has more chrome to it, and comes in more cloor choices. Is it worth the extea $? Only you can answer that.
    As far a wide ratio 4 speed, sorry no idea
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  3. #3
    Moderator/RiderCoach We've stopped counting... Missy B's Avatar
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    Hey Chuck
    My only input is that my hubby went from a beater 500 Shadow (80's) to the Shadow VLX after only 6 months on the 500. He loves it and I notice his riding is much better with the VLX. I have hopped on it a few times and it's a great bike if you're into the cruiser look.

    On an un-related side note, I washed it for him yesterday ..and there's a lot of chrome. But it looks awesome when it's all clean and shiny..and even when it's not. LOL

    My Ninja is a 6-speed and like you said, the Shadow is a 4 speed, but I didnt notice anything that would lead to more wear over what I do on the Ninja with 6 speeds. I'm sure they take that into account when they are building. I'm guessing Honda engines are bulletproof, but...I'm sure someone more qualified can answer that for you.
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  4. #4
    Hey Chuck...welcome!

    I had a 2002 VLX Deluxe for a couple years and the deluxe is just more chrome. As far as the wide ratio 4 speed....I loved it! I like the taller gears and my 1100 Spirit is 5 speed but I do miss the w-r 4. I wished my bike had it. The older 1100 did. It has plenty of get up for ya and highway speeds will get a little buzzy around 70 mph. That is from being chain driven too. There are a few mods you can do to add a little more boost to it and to "relax" the motor a bit at high rpms but only do those if your gonna keep the bike for a while. If your interested I'll post back on all the mods I did to my VLX. It is a great bike!!
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    RiderCoach We've stopped counting... LoDownSinner's Avatar
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    Fourth gear on the 600 is about the same as fifth on the 750.

    The only drawbacks I've found to the VLX are that the seat isn't the most comfortable in the world, and first gear is a little bit 'tall'.

    If your only hesitation about the VLX is that it's a 4-speed, don't let that stop you.

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    Flirting With The Redline 1000 Posts! christhisguy's Avatar
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    I'm sure ShadowShack will be along to address specifics... listen to him, he is the VLX Master!

    "On paper" the 4-speed raised my eyebrow too, but it sure is a great looking bike! I can ID 'em every time I see one roll by.

    Happy hunting.

    [psst LowDown: you didn't tell him about putting the Softail seat on the VLX... ]
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  7. #7
    Rollin' On no0ne2k's Avatar
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    I was originally considering the VLX Deluxe 600 for my first bike too. I went to a local dealer --- who informed me that they only carry the Deluxe and do no stock the standard. I'm sure that's just another way to suck out the cash.

    At a modest 5'10", I actually felt like the seat on the 600 was a little cramped and could be an issue for any rides longer than 45-minutes to an hour. With that in mind, I let the saleman talk me into the 750 for a just a few hundred dollars more.

    I am a very conservative person --- and promised myself that I wouldn't start out on anything bigger than a 600. All the way through several test rides and up to riding off the lot on my own, I still questioned whether I was going too big. After 10 days I am 100% comfortable and know that I made the right choice for me. I do still HEAVILY respect my new ~500 lbs. friend, but I'm not nervous about everything like I was before.

    With that said, I would never try to talk anyone up a size in engines --- just make sure that you make the decision of what size & model is right for you before you let $ become a deciding factor. You don't want to buy too small of a bike because "it's cheap," but you also don't want to buy too big because "it's not that much different."

    Size them up, take them for a spin, and make a decision on the "what" --- then figure out the "where."

    When you get to the "where," keep Southern Honda (Chattanooga) in mind. They are keeping dealers in the Southeast honest with their unbelievable pricing and out-the-door pricing policy. If nothing else, use them as a bargaining chip for your local dealer --- worked for me.

    Current prices for 2005:
    VLX 600 - $4,583
    VLX 600 Deluxe - $4,733
    Spirit 750 - $5,083

    Good luck in whatever you decide!

  8. #8
    I don't think ~any~ dealers stock the standard - the local dealer here only orders Deluxe.

    Can't say about the 4-speed transmission.

    One comment though, I've sat on the VLX and found them to be rather cramped. You are 'significantly' taller than I am. So don't get your hopes up from looking online only.

    IMO, the Vulcan 500 is a much nicer bike, costs less $$, and is less cramped. Not saying you won't like the VLX and shouldn't buy one, just saying you shouldn't buy one until you check out the competition first.

    Happy shopping,
    Bob

  9. #9
    Senior Moderator We've stopped counting... subvetSSN606's Avatar
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    From what I've heard, the difference between the 4-speed and the 5-speed is that third gear on the 4-speed is split into third and fourth for the 5-speed. First is the same on both and second is very close, and the top gear is the same on both.

    But I could be wrong... but if I'm right, it makes no difference starting out in first, and makes no difference on the slab in top gear. It's just in that range of 3rd for the 4-speed, and 3rd and 4th for the 5-speed where you'll see any difference.

    Tom

    PS just talking VLX here. Not a generalization of all 4-speeds vs. all 5-speeds. Not even 5-speeds vs. other 5-speeds.
    Last edited by subvetSSN606; 11-14-2005 at 05:41 AM.
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  10. #10
    Contributor We've stopped counting... Chuck's Avatar
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    WOW! Awesome replies so far. Keep 'em coming. The input about the 4-speed has been pretty insightful and I appreciate all the help.

    Thanks for the pricing info, no0ne2k. They do have the cheapest price I've seen anywhere.

    christhisguy, your secret is safe with me. [psst LowDown: you didn't tell him about putting the Softail seat on the VLX]

    Bobthearch, I looked at the Vulcan and don't particularly care for the style of the front end (fender and tire size). I won't immediately rule it out and like you said, I should shop "online only". I plan to "butt-test" many bikes as I can before I decide. The last thing I want to do is drop 4 or 5 grand on somthing I'm not comfortable on/with.

    southernspirit, if I do happen to pick up the VLX, I'll be wanting to know about these mods. Anything to make a good thing even better!

    Thanks again!


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