Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

XVS650 vs VT750 vs m50 which to purchase?

Discussion in 'Cruisers' started by Fragbait, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. Hi all, have been having a great time reading through the forums over the last few days as I get closer to re-joining the two wheeled fraternity. I've read many great reviews and input from everyone which has been invaluable in adding to my knowledge base so I am now looking for some final input before I decide to lay down my hard earned for a bike.

    So bottom line is that I'm looking for a bike to enjoy on weekends for generally short to medium distances. That is, maybe a few times a year I might go as far as 500k in a day but my days of 1000k+ are well behind me now. I haven't ridden for a few years now but I've never lost the love of it and I still have my license too I'm not restricted to bike size.

    I've comfortably owned and ridden a CBR1000FN back in the day despite not being the biggest bloke in the world. I'm about 5'9' and 75kg at my heaviest but the whole idea of this exercise it to relax and enjoy the ride, not continually fight with an oversized bike that has more power than I'm ever going to need or want. So I've narrowed my choices down to three bikes that I feel will suit my needs and would like some further input about what is likely to be the best purchase.

    XVS 650 - So far this is the only bike I've managed to have a test ride on and it was a second hand one with very low km's. Still taking a bit of getting use to where the foot levers are (I was consistently trying to change up a gear using the side stand) but am becoming more consistent in putting my foot in the right place. Overall felt very comfortable to ride, no problems in corner clearance and was quite responsive enough for my needs.

    VT 750 - Having had a great experience with Honda previously this one is defintely a consideration. Would liked to have gone for a test ride but PS city store flatly refused to let me test ride anything. Gave me some guff about they don't have test models on the floor due to the economic crisis. They even asked me if it was that important to test ride something. Are you kidding me? I wouldn't buy a car without driving it, I wouldn't buy a house without looking over it with a fine tooth comb and getting a good feel for it, and I certainly don't intend to buy any bike without a ride to see if it suits me. I know that bike shops especially have to deal with a lot of tire-kicking time wasters but is it really asking too much to test ride a bike?

    m50 - My only experience with Suzuki before was a few quick rides on my Sisters' Across which basically left me rather underwhelmed but no more so than any other 250 roadbike. I'm not sure exactly why but I've always held a perception that Suzuki were like the country cousin of the big 4. Everyone has heard of them but nobody really spends time with them. I think this probably stems from long distant memories of the Vitara 4wd and that hybrid 'What the?' that was the Mighty Boy. The near reverence that people have been using when talking about the C50 and M50 range has caused me to completely re-think my stance on Suzuki though and has brought this bike into my contenders list.

    So, in everyone's humble (or not so) opinion, which of these three is probably the best placed to suit my needs and offers the best value for money? Should I be concerned with ongoing support with Suzuki as a brand here in Australia, is one brand likely to cost more in servicing or replacement parts? Each of these models seems to offer a Classic and a Custom version. Is there a great deal of difference (handling that is) between a thinner front tyre and a fatter one that you usually see on the classic style? Does ride comfort vary greatly between the three models and between Classic and Custom?

    I'm not so concerned with re-sale value. I'm likley to own the bike for some time to come and the way I look at it, any value lost is simply money invested in my enjoyment which is money well spent! The bike is not meant for commuting at all, just for fun around Melbourne, out of town occasionally and maybe even for a bit of a cruise along the Great Ocean Road. Last time I did that was on the CBR and while it was amazing fun, it was also a lot of hard work fanging around the corners and tap dancing up and down gears. I think a leisurely cruise is much more my style these days and likely to be far more enjoyable. Will any of these bikes struggle with such a ride or will one perform better? Will the drum brake of the M50 handle a lot of use comfortably or will a rear disk really make a big difference?

    OK, I think that's enough waffle from me so over to the brains trust of the forums for your input!
  2. I've only ridden the M50 of your listed choices, but I have done over 9000km's on it now ;).
    I've never noticed any fade out from the rear drum and I ride pretty hard through the twists.
    Although mine runs out of gears at about 165 (with or without a passenger, you won't even notice they are there until you hit the brakes or try to turn) I find that there's a "buzz" to the engine at 110.
    It's hard to describe, it's almost like the engine feels unbalanced and picks up a harmonic vibration.
    I've been assured this is a normal by-product of it being a V-Twin without any counterbalancing (it's apparently why red-line is only like 7500rpm) but it was disconcerting at first.
    Some owners report that there's a noticeable lump in the seat right under your coccyx where the seat is bolted down although there is a relatively simple procedure to fix it if it bothers you (I've got a padded butt, never had a problem).
    All in all the M50 is pretty good value for money, I've been happy with it, although there's always room for more power. ;)

    A couple other mid sized bikes to look at would be the Harley 883 and the Kawasaki VN900.
  3. VStar has lower center of gravity comparing to suzuki, honda or everything else in cruisers. It makes it very stable and easy to handle.

    Price/quality ratio is little better than suzuki or hondas.

    Look at forums. Yamaha 650 owners swear by their bikes.
    You won't find unsatisfied person on Yamaha cruiser forums no matter what height/weight you have or your riding preferences.
    Comparing to mixed emotions on other forums where hondas or suzikus are best for for particular rider but not everyone.
  4. If you don't have restrictions then go for the 1100 over the 650 Yammie. Same frame size but you get more power (obviously), twin discs up front instead of a single, rear disc instead of drum. Both great bikes of course and if your budget restricts you to the 650 then you'll be happy with it.

    As for classic versus custom models - well a lot of that will be which you prefer the look of the most - but you have differences like floorboards versus pegs (and I've found the boards great from a comfort perspective). With the larger front tyre on the classic you have more rubber on the road and slightly different handling characteristics. I've found it gives the classic the edge in stability.

    Echoing the above, I don't think you'll find any Vstar owners that are unhappy with their bikes. The build quality is excellent, the reliability is top notch and they go forever. I do lots of touring on mine and love it. I also enjoy taking it through the twisties on a weekend :grin: it's no sports bike but it doesn't complain that I like to push it hard on occasion. Took me a while to get used to the reduced clearance of a cruiser having come from trailies, sports bikes, sports tourers, and tourers, but it gives me a satisfied grin from ear to ear every time I ride it.
  5. +1 for Bluesuedes comment about engine size. I owned a VT750C for almost 4 months last year, bought it new when I returned to riding after 20+ years. Great bike IMO, but I noticed that it ran outta puff on the highway. I'm 6'1" and a bit overweight, and I was raking up and down gears on hills to keep the cruiser motivated at times.... and I was dreading having my wife on pillion 'cos it would only get worse. It's 'cos they're lower geared than sports/road bikes AFAIK. So I upgraded to the VTX 1300 and haven't looked back. Two up it handles well and has enough grunt to tackle hills and mountains etc and usually only need to kick up a gear on the steep ones. A mate who I ride with, who is smaller and lighter than me, has the VT750C and I often hear him kicking it up on hills that I cruise in 5th.

    Just something to consider, and I agree with your comments about test riding.... you definitely should test ride before buying.



    If you don't want to go over the litre.... have a look at the VN900 Kawasaki, another nice cruiser with plenty of grunt.

    Cheers (again)

  6. Similar to yourself, after a hiatus of a few years, I bought a M50, and it sufficed for a year, until I needed(?) more power and replaced it with a M109.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the M50, and it was always more bike than I really needed, always reliable, and I managed a few 1600klm days on it without much drama.

    My sister has a Vstar 650, (enough said???) and it has never let her down, although it is a more relaxed ride than the more modern bikes like the M50. Again, more bike than you need, depends on what you want.

    I havent ridden a VT750, but have been told that it is totally dependable, albeit lacking in character.

    Any of your named choices, inc the VN900, is not a bad choice, their owners seem to love em!. Sit on em all, and decide. None will be a bad decision!
  7. Have a C50 and I commute to work 6 days and usually out for some sort of ride on the other day, done 18k since July last year and motor gets more responsive the more k's I do. Would like a bit more power for pillioning but scoots along with out a problem. Drum on rear has never been a problem and bike holds the road beautifully. Of all the lower cc range of cruisers was the one I felt most comfortable on, like I was sitting in the bike not on it. Sit on them all and ring around for test rides. I thought Peter Stevens had test bikes they moved between stores, could be wrong.
  8. i am a first time bike owner, and i bought the VT750c2 custom 2 months ago... was an 07 demo with 1200 kms on it... i have to say, as someone who as i said, has never owned a bike, or riding much on the road, it is a very confidence inspiring bike... as stated dependable, and well put together...

    Great little motor that does a decent job of lugging the weight, im 84 kilos and 6ft, i have to say the peg position isnt the best for my height... i havent had 2 up yet but it will begin to be a bit of a compromise...

    handles well (if you ride it like it should be) and in my opinion is the best looking out of the rest of the bikes available in it's competition (more of a classic clean look)... but looks are objective...

    I'm really pleased with my purchase, but would like some more power tbh.
  9. I have an XVS650 and I love it :grin: I am only a newbie, started riding late last year, learnt to ride on a little postie but very soon wanted to upgrade so I bought the 650 in Feb. It is 12 months old and had done about 10,000km when I bought it. So far I have done a few rides, from Goulburn, to Crookwell, to Braidwood, to the Southern Highlands, and to Canberra. The bike is perfect for me, but I am not really into riding fast and haven't been game enough to try twisties.... yet!
  10. I am another SVX 650 rider (custom) and although it would be nice to have a few more CC, it is not really required. (Unless you really want to go that quick.)

    Things I have found since owning the XVS.

    It is not a sports bike (which I have had a few) and can not be ridden like one.
    The more I ride it the more I like it.
    Even 2 up it can sit on 125 without a problem and still get 250kms out of a tank in highway mode. (approximate weight 150kgs)
    You get used to the wind blowing - and your body gets used to it. After a while you do not really notice the wind unless it is really blowing or you are going at top speed, likely to be about 145kms.
    It has enough grunt to get passed cars doing 100.

    As others have said, you will be hard pressed to find a XVS owner who whinges about their bike.

    I doubt that I have helped, but hey... I am biased. :LOL:
  11. well I am another who just purchased a XVS650 classic (about 4 weeks ago) - only able to ride on weekends and can say you will not be disappointed with an XVS650.

    I went the classic for its styling and more stable ride due to the front tyre size.

    It has good pickup and has enough power to get you going if you need too.

    as a cruiser its a really comfortable ride.

    just need more friends with bikes to ride with now as Im based in central Vic. (near shepparton) - great places to ride to like Beechworth, Bright, Echuca, Corryong etc..

    good luck with your choice. :grin:
  12. Thanks very much for everyones input so far, it's great to draw on the experience of the members here :) I've recently sat on the M50 and unfortunately I just don't like it that much. Something about the styling of the handlebars compared to the other bikes I've sat on in relativity to the seat position. I feel like I'm just starting to have to lean forward to hold them and if I wanted that feeling I'd buy another sports bike. Yeah, I know I could probably get custom handlebars and have it adjusted but I'm a lazy bugger and can't really be bothered.

    I'm probably going to be hitting some of the bike shops outside the CBD this Saturday and see if I can get a few minutes ride on at least a couple of bikes to get a better feel for them. the XVS 1100 is now also a consideration depending on how I feel with the weight of it and how the 650 feels in comparison. I think I'd be happy with the power of the 650 as I'm more than content with road legal speeds and the odd change down for hill torque doesn't really bother me. It's also unlikely that the GF will be spending much time on the back and even if she did there's virtually nothing of her anyway.

    Thanks for the info about Classic Vs Custom Bluesuede, that's exactly what I was looking for. I do like the concept of more rubber at the front and stability is always a positive in my books! It's just a shame that I tend to like the duck-tail rear that is seen mostly on the Custom range. Fussy bugger ain't I?

    Speaking of which, the only reason that the VN900 didn't make my list is because it's a belt drive and I really like the thought of the low maintenance afforded by Shaft Drive. Yes, I'm aware that belt drive is nowhere near the trouble of a chain but it also makes it feel like the Kwaka is pretending to be a Harley instead of forging its own path. Totally subjective reasoning but that's bikes for you.

    xvs650classic, sounds like you're right in the heart of touring country! I spent a few years near Seymour which we joked was centrally located. about 100km from Melbourne, Bendigo and Shepparton, but a good place to start any day or weekend ride from. I've also spent some time in Albury with a bike and managed to ride to many of the places you mentioned and others in between. I think you've chosen a fantastic bike for where you are!

    I'll keep the forum updated on my decision process and I'm always happy to hear other recommendations and opinions.
  13. I think the reasoning for this is the same as why the first xbox controllers were HUGE. There's an apparent perception in Asian countries that foreigners (Americans) are HUGE.
    Some people find the bars just fine by rotating them back slightly, others replace them with the C50 bars (which pull back more anyway).
    I guess I was just lucky, the seating position suits me. ;)

    This was one of the main reasons I used to exclude the VN900 from my own short list.
    In hindsight that was stupid. The weight advantages of belt drive over shaft drive are incredible and whilst a belt does have more maintenance requirements over shaft, we are talking many months if not years of regular riding here, not days like a chain drive.

    Of course the Kawasaki is still out due to having it's speedo in the tank which just shits me, I want to be able to see it dammit!

  14. yeah Seymour would have been a great place start as well - Im near Kyabram so the river towns are mine for the taking. Cant imagine having a sports bike up here as criusing is so much better.
  15. Every owner I have known with a belt drive has been happy with it.
    Just as low maintenance as a shaft, with less effect on the handling on acceleration/backoff.

    of course, you can destroy the whole thing with one misplaced pebble or stone, but given the numbers of belt drives out there, and their longevity, doesnt seem to be an issue.

    I wouldnt discount a bike just for that reason.
  16. did you consider this new middleweight fr Yamaha? The V-Star 950 - very sleek lines & low.

    For a mid-size cruiser i think 900cc-ers is a minimum for long-term flexibility. Ive ridden XVS650 for a weekend country trip. Very easy to handle cos its light and stable, but vibrated alot too on the handlebar. Dont know if this is just on mine cos its a hire bike.

  17. I am a big fan of my XVS650 ... its a lovely bike to sit back and enjoy the ride on. I am only on my P's, But I would strongly suggest getting something more powerful.

    Not so much so you can tear ass, but i do most of my riding on weekends, and find that when i want to over take in 80-90kmh zones, I would like more power so i can quickly shoot around the car i am passing - maybe i just dont know how to ride my 650 properly - but i find sometimes getting pass a car can take a little more winding up then id like.

    Just my 2 cents... but the XVS650 is an awesome bike to ride, very comfortable, looks good for the price.

    (if you are going to do straight line highway riding i would get a windshield, maybe a removable one, i get a bit fatigued sometimes on motorways doing 90-100kmh).
  18. I thought it was time for an update but first of all I wanted to thank everyone for their input which has been very helpful and informative. I've been a member of a number of different web forums over the last 15 years or so and this place has the greatest feeling of community of all of them! I anticipate that I'll be wasting... err, spending a lot more time here in the future.

    OK, so I was calling around a number of places to try and find test ride bikes of the models I was considering: Kwaka VN 900, Suzi C50 and Honda VT 750. Unfortunately I was still having no luck so thought that I should perhaps hire a bike for the day and really get a feel for it. So I looked around all the local hire places... and none of them stocked the bikes I was interested in either!

    So as a last resort I called the company offices for some assistance. Honda were just plain useless with their customer service and couldn't locate a bike in Melbourne for me. Kawasaki did manage to locate a dealer with a test bike - at Colac. My first question was "where the hell is Colac?" and after I found the place on a map I decided that I just wasn't interested in spending most of a day to get there and back home again. Suzuki were great right from the start, very friendly and helpful and put me in touch with Mick Hone out at Box Hill.

    A quick call and we'd set up a test ride for the C50 for a few days down the track. Turned up on the day and the guys were great, very helpful and genuine. Took the C50 for a ride for close to an hour and then dropped it back at the shop. Unlike a number of other dealers there was no hard sell, no pressure. I headed off to a couple of other dealers and managed to snag a few rides on some used bikes (XVS650 and 1100).

    Personally I thought the C50 was just great. Well balanced, comfortable, very positive gear changing and it didn't take me too long to get used to the foot plates and changing gear with the heel of my boot. Excellent riding position for me and most importantly, it was fun! Ultimately that's what bikes are about and the machine itself, combined with the friendly and helpful manner of both Suzuki Australia and the guys at Mick Hone sealed the deal for me.

    In a bit over a week from now I'll pick up my new C50 and once I've got her home I'll throw a few pics up in the appropriate thread.
  19. Great news :)

    The crew at Mick Hones are great to deal with. My M50 was from Hones; as well as a few other Ms and Cs.

    Have fun with the C.
  20. Congratulations on the purchase Fragbait. And welcome to the world of cruisers!! :grin:

    Don't forget the pics either, don't be slack like me and take months and months to post 'em!! LOL....