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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All,

My 2003 V-Rod is my first Harley and I'm just curious about a couple of things.

*Steering head bearings. Mine loosened up quite a bit by 600 miles. I tightened them to 8" of fall-away (the specs are for 5"-7", but I couldn't get the 'clunking' to go away at lesser fall-away). Anyone have any experience with HD's with raked out front ends? Do they tend to get loose bearings?

*Oil leak at the generator cover. I had some leaking (enough to leave oil on the ground) near the rubber generator grommet. I checked torque of the fasteners and found a couple loose. Still leaked after tightening, so I replaced the gasket and resealed the rubber grommet. Now I have a slight weap (not enough to leave oil on the ground) from the base of the generator cover (which I would have missed the first time around because the leak from the grommet puddled at the bottom of the generator cover). Is this weapage normal for a HD?


Observations:

Pro's. This is the best motor I've ridden. Full of character without any annoying characteristics. The fueling on the FI is the best I've ever experienced. It's fun just to ride just so that I can spin that motor! It's also the best looking motorcycle on the market (my opinion).

Con's. Handling. The raked out front end really falls over into corners. The solid wheels cause weird tracking sensations whenever there are crosswinds or cars/trucks next to me. Minimal ground clearance. I drag my heel whenever I make right hand turns. Stiff suspension - with so little ground clearance, I don't need such a hard suspension.


The numbers:

I bought the bike back in August and paid aprox. $1500.00 over MSRP (the $1500.00 includes dealer charges for set-up and shipping). I do not expect to recover the mark-up when I eventually sell the bike.


Thanks,
Paul

'03 HD V-Rod
'02 Honda Gold Wing
'01 BMW R1150GS
'01 BMW R1200C (for sale)
 

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Interesting post Hippo.
I like your choice of other bikes, how would you rate your Goldwing. Must be a completely different experience to the VRod, best of both worlds I would guess.

Creosote
 

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King of Cruise

Paul,
You have way too many choices dude! :D
Pro's. This is the best motor I've ridden. Full of character without any annoying characteristics. The fueling on the FI is the best I've ever experienced. It's fun just to ride just so that I can spin that motor! It's also the best looking motorcycle on the market (my opinion).
Agree 100%, the FI on the Vrod is absolutly state-of-the-art. Although I have another v-twin that is every bit as sweet, not quite as refined, but owe so very Italian.

Con's. Handling. The raked out front end really falls over into corners. The solid wheels cause weird tracking sensations whenever there are crosswinds or cars/trucks next to me. Minimal ground clearance. I drag my heel whenever I make right hand turns. Stiff suspension - with so little ground clearance, I don't need such a hard suspension.
Agree 100%, but none of those issues bother me. Want world class handling? Sell those brat-burners and buy a Duc or Aprilia. Vrod's are for cruising and nothing can touch it at that. It is the undisputed King of Cruise.

speed safely
 

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The steering head nut on mine also loosened up during the initial 1000 miles...had a technician tighten it up and now at 9000 miles and no problems. If I had the tech manual and the correct torque wrench I would have attempted it myself, but I also wanted to get a return on my warranty investment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Creosote, Rhauft,

I consider the V-Rod a Mid-western sport bike. Here in the flat-lands, we have no curves or corners. The glaciers came through in eons past and pretty much wiped everything flat to within 150' of sea level (I think). With things so flat, the road engineers laid everything out in a grid. So no corners, unless you count intersections.

On top of the flat, featureless, corenerless terrain, the winters here have pretty much destroyed the roads. Frost heaves, pot-holes and general disrepair have left the road surfaces in very poor condition.

I really enjoy sportbikes, having ridden a bit in California, but around here, sportbikes are as much for show as cruisers are. With such poor road conditions and a lack of corners, sport bikes can't be used to anywhere near their potential. The road surface is just too poor to allow the taughtly suspensed sportbikes to keep their tires in good contact with the pavement. Looking at sportbikes here in Michigan, they usually have about 1"-2" of unused rubber on either side of the sidewalls.

So the V-Rod is my sportbike for the Midwest environment -- fast straight line acceleration, really easy to launch from a standing start and fun to ride. I don't ride it for distance or touring.

The 'Wing is for two-up and distance riding. Actually, because it's so well balanced, it's also easily managed for city/commuting riding. But the main thing is that it has a HUGE fairing and enough electrical power to keep my 175W of electrical clothing fully fired up. The wind and weather protection let me ride farther into the winter and earlier in the spring than if I didn't have that protection.

Comparing the 'Wing and the 'Rod:
'Rod 0-60mph: 3.52 seconds
'Rod 1/4 mile: 11.38 seconds
'Wing 0-60mph: 3.77 seconds
'Wing 1/4 mile: 12.14 seconds
Acceleration-wise, the bikes are very similar, with only 0.25 seconds between them to 60mph, but the V-Rod is much, much easier to launch. Handling-wise, the V-rod has a more responsive suspension, but runs out of ground clearance way before the 'Wing, so if it came to a racetrack, I think I could go faster on the 'Wing. But neither bike is made for that kind of use.

I really conside the V-Rod to be more like a sportsbike -- narrowly focused on being fun to ride and looking good. The 'Wing is a more practical ride whose purpose is to keep me and my passenger comfortable while we travel.

regards,
Paul
 

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Paul,

Welcome to the forumn from a neighbor in Wisconsin (12 miles from the border). Relatively new myself considering that I picked up my 2003 two months ago (also first Harley).

I have a 2001 Honda Sabre. Nice ride, but a tank compared to the V-Rod.
Was strongly considering an ST1300 as a second bike which is due at Honda dealers this month. Powerful sport bike V-4 in a touring package that is much lighter than either the Wing or Valk.

The Rod is the most fun to ride and attention getting of any bike I have ever owned!

Pete
 

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Vrod = Sportbike

We bought our Harley’s for our own personal reasons. My argument is with people complaining about a design flaw in the handling for whatever reason i.e. dragging pegs, disc wheels, too low. too high etc. The designers of this bike never intended this bike to be a canyon strafer and thus, neither did I, despite my local terrain. The Vrod is and will always be a cruiser. Wishing that it wasn't, won't make it so. It is what it is.

One look at the scuffs on my pegs reminds me what the Vrod was designed for. I live in the sportbike/motorcycle capital of America. The San Francisco Bay Area has no flats or straight roads. Just twisties, sweepers, hairpins, canyons, hills and mountains to play in. There are more Ducaties and Aprilias sold here than in all the other 49 states combined. We have our fair share of Hogs too.

My Vrod reminds me it’s not a sportbike around each one of those thousands of corners, yet I have no beef with its handling characteristics. It’s a cruiser and that’s why I bought it; to cruise. I bought my Aprilia to play in those hills, go canyon strafing and the occasional road race. I couldn’t begin to compare the two bikes, as they have nothing in common except two rubber contact patches and a v-twin. I won’t even bring the Norton into the conversation but it only adds to the contrast in bike design.

If I’m in no particular rush, I take the Hog. I’m always late on that thing due to the Q&A at every stop. If I absolutly positively need to be there on time, I jump on the Mille and I’m either early or in jail :eek:

speed safely
 

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Rob,

I see the V-Rod as a modern, 21st century sport cruiser in the tradition of say, the V-Max, V-65 and V-45 Sabre and Magna. Although these are double overhead cam V-fours, the V-Rods high reving performance is remenisant of these bikes.

You and Paul are exactly right in your interpretations of the Rod. Its straight line performance is phenominal, and in my opinion, its overall handling is above average for a cruiser. Better, than for instance, my 2001 Sabre. The V-Rod is not a "sport" bike and doesn't pretend to be.

I have previously predicted (on another forum) that it won't be long before American Honda, Yamaha and others market light weight, high performance, sport cruisers that compete head to head with the V-Rod. The VTX and Rune are too big and heavy to fall into this category. Honda already has comparable engines its just a matter of engineering a chasis.

Harley has reserected the sport curiser class with the V-Rod and in my opinion, has created the industry marque that all will soon emulate.

Pete
 

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PAS22, I think that you hit the proverbial nail on the head. The VROD is the new gold standard for power cruisers. In my experience the handling of the VROD is far above average for a cruiser and is now the gold standard in handling. I agree, all others are scrambling to develop something to go head to head with the VROD (ain't capitalism great).
Some say, I think correctly, that the others have copied HD to carve out a niche in the V-twin cruising/tourers.
Some say, incorrectly in my opinion, that HD has now copied the others to develop a new V-twin scooter. How can one copy something that has never been done before or existed ? Hydroformed perimeter frame, an industry 1st. Anodized aluminum body panels, an industry 1st. One piece aluminum swingarm on a cruiser with a belt drive, I don't know of any others. And, although subjective, the styling of the VROD leaves all others in the dust. I think that the next 10 years will be very exciting for all of motorcycling. I'm saving up for the next generation HD.

JMS
 

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Cruise Supremacy

PAS22 & JMS, Well said guys.
We, the moto-consumers are the primary benefactors of the current techno-arms race between the major manufacturers. I can't wait to see what the *** 4 come up with to counter the Vrod, and then what H-D does to keep pace. Clearly, the bar has been raised several notches. How long before Yamahondazuki comes to market with a "J-Rod" is anyone’s guess. I’ve seen nothing coming in ’03 to threaten the Vrod’s supremacy in the cruise wars. That speaks volumes as to how far ahead of the curve Harley is today.

Regardless of the victor, we are the benefactors. Let the cruise missile wars begin.

Cruise leisurely
 

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I hope that rumours of the Revolution engine expanding into other models in the Harley lineup are true. This motor is generations ahead of even the latest Twin Cam.

I can see a larger, less radically tuned and geared version in, say, a Deuce or Electraglide. If that happens, I might be in line for a second Harley!
 
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