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Opinions on the Honda VT1300CS

Discussion in 'Cruisers' started by doc dogg, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. Now that the warm weather is here I thought I'd re-investigate getting a bike for weekend cruises and the occasional blast to work. It has been a few years since I've ridden, but now that I have the money and time I would like to get back into it.

    I like the styling of the VT1300CS and the addition of ABS and combined braking is a bonus for safety whilst I get my skill level back up (I'll probably do an advanced rider training course beforehand anyway). It does seem a bit pricey though so I thought I'd get some opinions from the seasoned riders on the forum before I got my heart set on one.

  2. Can't say what it's like on the road, but I have drooled over them a few times in the showroom. Can only buy one if I win lotto though.... definitely pricey. Although I have recently seen the 2011 Triumph Thunderbird Storm, that is sex on wheels.
  3. This has got to be one of the lads from the gixxer forums.

    It's metric cruiser poetry.

    You'll need tassles, and the VT1300 whatever thing doesn't come with flames on the tank, so allow funds for having the tank reprayed.
  4. Jesus fellas, that's a bit rough. I think it is a good looking bike with Honda reliability to boot. I'm a short bloke so the majority of big engined bikes just don't fit me right without modifications or platform shoes.

    As for flames and tassles and stuff, I have it on good authority that they are for sports bike riders ;)
  5. Tassles for sports bike riders ? Never ! (lol)

    Flames ? Well, IF you insist...but the ones that come out the end of my dual carbon fibre Akra rocket-launchers (y)
  6. only time you"ll see me in tassles son, is attached to my man boobs in the privacy of my own home.
    sorry for my prior comment though docc, they are nice bikes but a tiny tank and they should have got the 1800 donk
  7. Tassels don't seem to bother this bloke


    All is forgiven Monkeyman, I have a thick skin and sense of humour. I'm not too worried about the small tank, Canberra isn't that big and there are plenty of servos on the way to the coast. The engine should be enough to get me around town, I like to take it slow and enjoy the ride in the countryside so I don't need something with massive power.

    I'm still not convinced it is worth the money compared to the competition. The next bike on my list to look at is the Suzuki M-series. Saw a white M109 sitting in the city today and it looked very nice with that massive rear tyre. Might be a bit too big for me at the moment, I'd probably go for the M90 if I were to get a Suzuki.
  8. I've seen a few at the dealership, very nice bike. But after seeing one on the road, not so sure. Small tank and a lot of chrome, just doesn't look right on the road.

    That said, I did see it after seeing a harley with big ape hangers and was still laughing from that. Skinny bloke, leather vest and a novelty helmet (I've seen helmets that give more protection at Toy'r'Us), had me going for a while.
  9. I was looking at the M90 for my next bike but I couldn't reach the pedals.:shock:
  10. Oh! That could be a problem for me and my short legs too....
  11. I first had a good look at this bike at the recent Bike Show here in Melbourne, and there's just something about it that I really like! Unfortunately there's also one big thing that I really don't like, and that's the ridiculous price! Here's a nice little comparison:

    Aus RRP about $19,990 on the road.
    US RRP $12,800 - add 10% GST and you have $14,080 plus ORC.

    Let me put that in perspective: that's a $6,000 difference, or a shade over 42% more expensive. Even if we say there's an extra $1,000 of costs to Honda Australia to meet Australian Design Rules, that's still a 33% difference in the price. Do you want to know what's really happening here? Honda are doing their own exchange rate hedging at 75c to the US Dollar and pricing their bikes accordingly. This is not an uncommon strategy with Australian companies but it's very 20th century thinking and is certainly losing them customers to other brands that are more competitive.

    By selecting a "worst case scenario" exchange rate they ensure that they do not fall into the red on their annual budget. The extra bonus is that if the dollar does not fall as low as 75c (and no economist is predicting such a significant decline in the next 12 months, 86c being the real possible base and a reasonable median being about 92c) then they achieve over their budget and all they had to do was screw the customer.

    In this case too I also wouldn't underestimate that Honda US are pricing their cruiser models very keenly in order to gain market share against the locally produced behemoth of HD. Meanwhile Honda Australia are lazy, running a slack budget with lots of fat, and stifling a local market.

    Well, enough with the economics lesson and back to the bike!

    Personally I would be happier with the base model without ABS but apparently that's not an option here in Australia. A shame really because that would have saved me about an extra $1,000.

    So what else could I get in Australia for about $20K? Well I could buy a HD 1200 Sportster for about $17K on the road, plus I have about 4 or 5 different paint versions to choose from, plus a massive amount of accessories, both genuine and aftermarket, to choose from. Additionally if I ever choose to sell a HD I'll always have a ready market of people looking for one.

    Or if I wanted something with a similar sort of modern look in a cruiser there's Suzuki's M109 (1800cc) at about $18,000 or the M90 (1500cc) at about $15,000.

    The bottom line is, well, the bottom line. The Australian retail price for this is a complete joke and compared to what else is currently available at that price point I just don't think they're going to see any sort of strong sales. If it were comparatively priced at around $15,000 I would have bought one today. Unless the price comes down it will stay on the showroom floor. My only real hope is that like the overpriced DN-01 also from Honda (anyone seeing a pattern here?) they might eventually realise sales are crap and sell off the remaining units at a hot clearance price. At which point it would go back on my list.

    There are also a couple of niggly things that I would want to change. Firstly is that the foot levers are just slightly too long for me so I need to shorten them by a couple of centimetres each. Not a big deal really but something that I would want to do to have better control.

    Then there's the bars. I actually like the bars on the CR better as they come back further and I'm not reaching forward to grab them. If I could put the CR bars on the CS that would be awesome. Oh, did I mention that you can fully customise a HD with things like different bars? I'm going out on a limb here and guessing that there's no way Honda Australia would be so accomodating.

    Lastly is the factory standard exhaust. To be kind, it's ugly. You know those distant Cousins from Arkansas that got married and their kid looks, well just not right? That's what those pipes remind me of. I've seen some lovely custom Cobra sweep pipes that fit in with the great curves on the rest of the bike and are more in line with the clean look of this bike.

    So to get the bike I really want it would be $20,000, plus the cost of adjusting the foot levers (not all that much from a good welder and metal fabricator), the cost of custom bars, then about $1,500 for better pipes. Let's say conservatively $22,500. Harley is still looking like the better option for my mind, or go the M90 and have an extra $7,000 to spend on other things.

    I even toyed with the idea of importing one from the US and although the extra costs would reduce the amount of money to be saved, I reckon I would still be out in front. Plus I get the satisfaction of saying F-you to Honda Australia which is a nice little bonus :)

    Anyway, I spoke to PS and they said they have a demo CR in Adelaide so if you anyone is down that way and wants to give us a review that would be great. I'd be keen to know what it's like as freeway speeds as I tend to feel like a windsock on my C50 a lot of the time.
  12. Looks like you just answered your own question. As for getting the bike you 'really want', it'll be bloody rare to have that in a totally stock, factory produced bike. Get used to it.

    To the original poster, I generally don't like this sort of draw out, styling cue cruiser, but if its what you want then go get it. Obviously a test ride would be a first stop.

    Cheers - boingk
  13. Thanks Fragbait, that was a good post.

    Yeah, I'll go for a test ride once I've got some time and find somewhere with one in stock. I've found a few reviews that say it is a bit wheezy at highway speeds but that is a bit subjective. I guess the key thing is how it feels under my bum.

    I like the look enough to leave it stock for a while, but I do like a tinker ;)
  14. So I decided to go direct to the source and ask why the pricing for this bike was as it was. I was very impressed at the speed of the response, although it seems obvious the response is a prepared statement. Here's my original email to Honda Australia from last night:

    I was hoping you could provide some information in relation to your local Australian pricing. I am very interested in the VT1300CS and note that the Australian RRP is approximately $21,000 while the US RRP for the equivalent ABS model is only $12,800 (add GST and it would be $14,000). Could you advise the reasons behind such a seemingly large disparity? My research indicates that the lowest value for the Australian dollar versus the USD in the preceding 6 months has been 0.89 (Jul/Aug 2010 according to the RBA) which would provide a comparative value of $15,730, still far short of $21,000. I would hazard to assume that it does not cost $5,000 per bike to meet ADRs so why does it cost almost 50% more to purchase the same motorcycle here in Australia?

    By comparison the Suzuki M109R is $14,099 rrp in the US (plus 10% GST would be $15,509) versus rrp in Australia of approximately $16,990 or effectively an additional 9.5% required to meet ADRs.

    On the surface both are Japanese manufactured motorcycles and would seem to be subject to similar economic forces and yet there does not appear to be a similar equity regarding their pricing.

    Personally I love the styling of the VT1300CS and having previously owned two Honda motorcycles I would be very keen to make this bike my third. If the bike was available locally for a more equitable price when compared to the US I would happily purchase one tomorrow but as it stands right now I am simply perplexed at the local pricing. I hope you are able to shed some light on this matter and look forward to your response.

    Kind Regards

    And the response from Honda Australia this morning:

    Good morning,

    Thank you for your recent communication regarding the international parity.

    There are elements in the way we conduct our business with the Honda factory that will influence the retail pricing structure of our products.

    Australia generally demands a very small global market share, which usually results in lower order quantities and less bargaining power. Freight and other purchasing conditions will also have a factor in determining the price we buy at.

    What is also contributing to such prices differences when compared to overseas, is that many overseas markets are still experiencing a period of down-turn, and stock and parts are being sold at a reduced price to help move stock.

    We are aware that in certain areas of our business, pricing parity between us and Honda overseas does not always exist. This is an issue that we hope to address further in the future.

    We are committed to supplying products of the highest quality yet at a reasonable price for worldwide customer satisfaction.

    Thank you for taking the time to contact us, and appreciate your feedback. If you have any further inquiries, please don't hesitate to contact us directly.

    Kind regards

    It's basically what I was expecting and while there is certainly some validity in their claims of volume and freight considerations, it's just corporate speak for "we really have no valid reason for the price and have been caught with our hand in the till. We were kind of hoping the Australian dollar would have quickly sunk in value so that nobody noticed but now we're stuck out here in 'high priced land' and can't redress it without looking like gooses".

    In reality part of the problem is that Honda Australia exists at all. I've seen this with other global companies that run an Australian office where you need a minimum amount of staff to operate. The problem is that your Australian budget needs to account for these staff while your sales are proportionally very low. What Honda would be better off doing is eliminating the Australian office and simply having a couple of guys in Japan running the Australian division out of Asia-Pac resulting in a massive cost saving and cheaper products to the consumer. Forget about a lack of volume in Australia, it simply becomes a bit of extra volume for Asia-Pac.

    It would seem to be a good representation of recent discussions revolving around parity and pricing in Australia. Retailers that are not greedy and are flexible and agile with their pricing structures like Suzuki for instance will benefit by better sales results. Companies like Honda who are not responsive will simply lose those sales to competitors, or in the case like mine I'll simply keep my current bike and they will fail to achieve the sale still.

    The disappointing part in all this is that it's unlikely anyone in Honda will see that their pricing is the cause for poor sales of this bike and are more likely to write it off as not appealing to the Australian demographic. Maybe they can prove me wrong though by releasing the 2011 model at a new, more competitive price point. My statement still stands, align the price on this bike appropriately and I'll buy one tomorrow.
  15. It's heavy.

    It's basically the 1800cc engine that lost 500cc.
  16. So here's some more data to throw at your local Honda rep:

    RRP prices for Australia:
    Honda VT1300: $21,000
    Suzuki VZ1500 (M90): $15,000
    Suzuki VZ1800 (M109): $17,000
    Yamaha VTX1300A: $17,000 - $15,000 (it appears there may have been a revision to the price recently)
    Kawasaki Vulcan 1700: $20,000

    RRP prices for US (I've added 10% GST to provide an equitable comparison rate):
    Honda VT1300: $14,000
    Suzuki VZ1500 (M90): $11,700
    Suzuki VZ1800 (M109): $15,500
    Yamaha VTX1300A: $12,000
    Kawasaki Vulcan 1700: $13,500

    Variance in local vs US price:
    Honda VT1300: 50%
    Suzuki VZ1500 (M90): 28%
    Suzuki VZ1800 (M109): 10%
    Yamaha VTX1300A: 42% - 25%
    Kawasaki Vulcan 1700: 48%

    I've used the above bikes for comparison because they are a similar engine capacity to the VT1300, although I have also included the M109 given the price difference, and the Kwaka 1700 because it's the next size up from the 900 which seemed more appropriate.

    From this it seems rather obvious that Australian manufacturers (let's get this straight, it is Honda or Yamaha for example that set the RRP in the country, the dealer just has to cop this and pass it along so if you decided to vent your frustration, don't blame the dealer) are still pricing everything at a low dollar exchange rate with what is pretty much a 50% mark up on bikes.

    Credit though to Suzuki who are bucking the trend and offering a more competitive price for the consumer. It would also appear that Yamaha have recently followed suit and realigned their pricing into a 25% difference. That would seem to be more than adequate to cope with moderate fluctuations in the exchange rate as well as the extra expense of meeting ADRs.

    So in Australia Honda and Kawasaki are screwing us, the rider and comparatively their bikes are over-priced for what they are. To represent good value for the local consumer the Vulcan should be $16,900 and the VT1300 should be $17,500. In retrospect I'm now glad that my hard earned dollars went to Suzuki.

    Perhaps it's time I directed my energies towards the Government review on retail here in Australia? I think they need to review the legislation regarding the import of vehicles so that it is possible for grey imports to enter the country and provide greater competition to local Manufacturing branches. This doesn't have to be a loss for local dealers either.

    As an example, this year Coles started importing Corona from outside the country instead of buying it from the locally authorised distributor. As a result the price of a carton dropped by about 25% which means more beer drinking (good for me) and better profit margin for Coles (good for them). Yes the local distributor misses out but that's the reality of 21st Century retailing. There's becoming less and less need for middle men who simply add nothing to the transaction but their commission.
  17. Some of the price discrepency may lie in the fact that some of the "Japanese" cruisers are in fact manufactured in the United States specifically to keep the costs low in that country.
  18. And they traditionally are Honda and kawasaki.

    That aside, you are kidding yourself if you think Australian prices should be anything like US prices. Australia is a relative blip in the motorcycle market and economies for scale dictates we just have to pay more.

    sometimes I wonder how dealers keep their heads above water these days. It certainly isn't with bike sales.