• 2005 Honda Aero 750

    Well, there are a few threads here discussing other bikes, so I thought I'd start one on my motorcycle re-entry bike (and my wifes first bike) the Honda Aero 750.

    Having not ridden in 18 years, my wife and I decided to get new motorcycles since we have friends who ride. After looking around at many motorcycles, sport, cruiser and standard, we both decided on the Aero 750.

    A little background on my self to give you an idea of my starting point and why I chose the bike.

    I rode motorcycles when I was younger, starting at 14 years of age on a 50cc Yamaha cruiser. It was actually a nice bike for my age as it had 5 speeds, front disc brake, adjustable suspension and could top out around 50 mph. Later on I moved up to a 125cc Honda dual sport that rode both on road and at the motocross track. I then fell out of riding anything after a year of driving my car, plus growing up in Alaska I didn't have a very long riding season.

    At the age of around 25, I started riding mountain bikes, which progressed into road cycling. I've been doing this for about 8 years now and have become a very profecient bike handler.

    I took the MSF class in October of 2004 and found that many of the skills I learned on my road and mountain bike transfered to the motorcycle. I had zero problems in the class, felt comfortable on the bike (though a Kawasaki Eliminator is a bit small for me at 6 feet and 240 pounds). We waited about 2 months after the class before purchasing our new bikes.

    My conditions for a new bike were mostly centered on bike fit, ease of maintenance and reliability. My secondary concerns were handeling, overall comfort, looks, power and ability to complete weekend treks.

    My final decision came down to two bikes that I liked. The Honda Aero 750 and the Yamaha V-Star 650 Classic. My wifes decision was based on how the bike fit her, being able to touch the ground (at 5 feet tall this is important), and looks of the bike.

    Between these bikes it was a toss up.

    I finally decided on the Aero for the following reason:

    1. Overall fit felt best to me
    2. More power than the Yamaha
    3. The Aero is liquid cooled, which will be nice on days I decide to commute to work in the summer (lots of stop and go traffic)
    4. The weight is a little high for a re-entry or new bike, but it's very low and easy to handle. The Aero was lighter and felt a lot lighter than the Yamaha
    5. Love the looks of the Aero and the Yamaha (actually liked the looks of the Yamaha a bit more)
    6. Honda reliability

    So far I have been able to put around 200 miles on the bikes combined and am very, very happy that I went with the 750 instead of something smaller. Had I gone smaller, I feel I would have outgrown a smaller bike in a couple of days.

    Here are my observations of the Aero 750 so far, from a beginners prospective.

    Power: The overall power of the Honda is good. There is enough power to keep me entertained for a long time, but not enough power to get me in a lot of trouble. The idle is smooth and throttle response is crisp.

    The motor has plenty of torque and shouldn't require much shifting once on the open road. I have had the bike on the highways and as most people say it could use a taller 5th gear or a 6th gear, but at 65mph I can still use the mirrors and it still has a decent amount of throttle response. It should be able to cruise on the interstate for extended periods of time with little problem.

    Handeling: The Aero 750 has a very stable feel to it. The steering is fairly slow overall, which to me gives it a very confidence inspring feel. The faster you go the more stable it feels and the slower the steering becomes.

    Overall cornering grip feels good, but cornering clearance is low. On my first ride home from the dealership I was already scraping the pegs. I've found if you go into twisty sections and want to get a little frisky, riding it more like a sport bike will help a lot with peg dragging. Keep the bike a little more upright, but lean your body well into the curve.

    Comfort: I have found the bike to be very comfortable. I've gone on rides of up to 1.5 hours (around town) and still found the seat to be comfortable. I would like a little more back support on the seat to keep me from sliding back as much, but that's my only real complaint about the seat so far.

    The ride is soft, and for those larger in size I suggest you up the pre-load on the shocks. The stock setting is #2 and I have found the most comfort at #4. This gives me about 3/4" of pre-load on the rear shock. With the increase in pre-load comes a lower amount of rebound damping, which I feel could be increased some. I would give up a bit of comfort for a bit more control.

    Controls: Everything falls into place for me. The reach to the handlebar is comfortable, though a bit low. The reach the foot pegs is kind of inbetween a standard position and a long stretched (highway) position. I find it very comfortable and a natural reach for me (32" inseam). As stated before the pegs are place a little low.

    Thumb reach to the turn signals, engine cut off and lights are easy to find with out looking. The fuel switch is a little far forward, but with a little work should be easy to find, should I need to while moving on the road.

    The Clutch has a nice friction zone that's easy to learn, my wife had it figured out in about a minute. The levers could be a little closer to the bar, especially for those with smaller hands. Adjustable reach levers would be very nice option here considering many shorter women will be purchasing the bike with the low 25.9" seat height.

    Weight: The bikes dry weight is 519 pounds, but to me feels lighter. The weight is very low on the bike, which makes it easier to handle. When combined with the low seat height it makes the bike much easier to control at low speed and just about anybody should be able to flat foot this bike.

    Fit and Finish: The plastic parts do give a bit of a cheap feel to the bike, but still look very good overall and actually keep the weight down. I haven't seen any blemishes on the bike and all parts seem to be of good quality. The paint does scratch a bit easy, but looks nice and had a decent depth to it. I don't see it cracking or flecking off very easily.

    Overall: For me the bike is a nice combination of power, comfort, fit, finish and feel. For the price it's hard to beat. For highway cruising the Yamaha could be a good choice, but if you are going to be in town a lot the liquid cooling of the Aero would make for a better choice.

    Would I recomend this bike to a complete beginner? Yes and No. If the beginner, felt comfortable on the bike, was not intimidated by the weight, did well in the MSF class and maybe had some other cycling experience (mountain biking or road cycling as my wife does) then yes I would recomend it.

    If however a beginner was at all intimidated by the size, weight or power of the bike or they struggled a lot in the MSF class I would recomend something a bit smaller.

    As for my wife, she has been able to put 5 parking lot miles on her bike and likes it a lot. She does however feel it's a bit heavy, but isn't intimidated by it.

    On her first ride she did suffer a drop, but it didn't phase her and didn't scratch the bike up at all. We have installed engine guards to her bike, which gives her even more confidence. She does however like the bike a lot and is happy with her decision.

    I'll keep updates on this thread as the next year of riding goes and we progress from the beginner stages to the intermediate/beginner stage. I'll also update on my wifes progress for those women that are looking at this as a first or second bike.

    Since I have put a little over 2000 miles on my Aero I wanted to write an update on the bike.

    To this point neither my Aero or my wifeís Aero has given us any problems at all over the course of 5 months. They start up quickly every time, idle smoothly, have good power and show little signs of wear.

    The only problems I can actually report about the bike is I had one bolt on the front fender vibrate loose somewhere on the road never to be seen again. Itís a 6mm allen bolt and I had similar bolts lying around so I just retrofitted on in itís place.

    Here is my 2000 mile review:

    Power continues to be good. The bike is not scary fast, but itís no slouch either. I have since added Vance & Hines Cruzers exhaust, re-jetted the carb and taken off the air snorkel on the air cleaner. This allows the engine to breath much easier and added a good 6-8+ horsepower. The sound is very impressive and sounds like a much bigger bike, very reminiscent of many Harleyís now. Iím hoping to get it on a Dyno sometime soon using the free voucher supplied by Dynojet with the jet kit. The power increase is noticeable and I would venture to say dropped the ľ mile time by a good .75 seconds. Since the engine mods Iíve had the bike to 85 mph and there is still power to spare. From 70-80 there is actually a lot of power available for passing. I do continue to have issues with the lack of a 6th speed overdrive gear or at least a taller 5th gear. At speeds of 70+ mph the bike is buzzy causing the mirrors to blur. The Aero is most comfortable at speeds around 55-60 which is where most highway speeds are making it the perfect traveling bike if you stay off of the interstate.

    Comfort is good. I find the overall ride to be very comfortable. I donít have any major issues with the saddle like others, and generally start having some discomfort after 75 miles or so. If Iím in town and moving around on the seat I find it more than adequate. I am looking at upgrading to a corbin saddle in the future, but this has as much to do with placement on the bike as it does with comfort. Now that Iím used to the bike I find it to be just a little cramped in the riding compartment. Changing to a Corbin saddle will allow me to move back 1.5Ē to 2Ē and possible down about .5Ē. This will give me much more room on the bike and cure any cramped feelings IĎm having. I still feel the suspension is soft, but setting the rear shocks on the #4 setting gives me a very good ride with enough pre-load, but the damping is still a bit soft overall. I do take some issue with using non adjustable handlebars. I think this is a major oversight by Honda. They should have used separate risers so people could adjust the bars angle, change to different length risers or switch to a bar that better suits their body position on the bike.

    Handling is better than I expected and originally thought. Since the bike is smaller than full sized, though not by much, itís actually nimble for a cruiser. At slow speeds itís very easy to handle and completing tight circles or U-Turns is very easy. The low center of gravity makes the bike feel lighter than it is and in combination with the low seat height makes drops less likely. At speed the bike becomes very stable, the faster you go the more stable it becomes. The only real handling issue Iíve ran into is that the suspension can wallow in rough corners. The peg scraping issue for the most part has become a non issue as I rarely ever scrape pegs any longer. Much of this is learning the limits of the bike and knowing how to work with the bike. I actually havenít scraped a peg in about a month or so.

    Gas mileage is now very good. At first I was averaging around 45-47 mpg with the bike completely stock. After completing the engine mods Iím now getting 55-58 mpg. The change in mpg is due to the engine producing more power requiring less throttle input to reach speed. I now routinely go 160+ miles before having to switch to reserve.

    Braking is adequate but does have some minor issues. Overall power is good and well controlled. The only issue I have is with successive hard stops. The brakes heat up fairly quickly and fade a bit, but unless you are really carving the twisties and on the brakes hard for a long period of time it shouldnít be an issue.

    Fit and finish is good, but not great. The plastic chrome is actually holding up very well so far, with no scratches, fading or flecking. My main issue here is the clear coat they used on the bike. It seems to be fairly soft and scratches easily. The actual paint is good with no chipping or fading anywhere on the bike. Waxing and buffing the tank has helped some, but Honda could have did a little better here.

    Overall I am very happy with the Aero 750. If I had it to do over again I would still purchase this bike, which is the best seal of approval I could give it. The Aero makes a great 1st bike for many people and an excellent bike for everybody. I would expect that as long as I continue regular maintenance the bike will provide many thousands of miles of riding.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 2005 Honda Aero 750 started by Wookie View original post
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