Cruiser easyon budget
Honda has stripped the price but not the value, writes Mark Hinchliffe
VMUST stand for ‘‘value’’ in the new Honda VT750S midweight cruiser. At only $8990 plus on-road costs for a 750cc engine, it’s perhaps the most ccs per dollar you can get in the bike market, outside of cheap scooters.
Honda has taken its former top-selling VT750C and stripped up to $4000 off the price.
It’s a very basic bike, but apart from shaft drive and about 10kg, there doesn’t seem to have been a lot of specification that has been stripped.
The engine is the same and the weight saving has come from a smaller ‘‘peanut’’ petrol tank (10.7 litres compared with 14), shorter handlebars, thinner seats and ‘‘chopped’’ fenders.
Sure, it has a single front disc brake and a rear drum, but so has the VT750C. And though the engine is now black, the bike retains a lot of chrome touches, including chromed cylinder heads and spoked wheels.
This seems to be an exercise in restyling and discounting to put the model back at the top of the cruiser segment. The VT750C used to be the top-selling cruiser, but it has slipped to ninth.
First spot is taken by Yamaha’s XVS650 ($ 10,490) midweight cruiser, and Harley’s midweight 883 Sportster ($11,995) is third.
The VT750S is a very attractive proposition for people who want the cruiser style but don’t want something too expensive, heavy or daunting.
This is a light and manoeuvrable, basic Sportster-style cruiser.
The 12-valve fuel-injected engine is a proven unit that revs a little more than most cruisers. Importantly it has almost no mechanical noises, so you can enjoy the muted, but macho and bold twin-exhaust note.
Gears are tall for highway cruising and there is a bit of an annoying gap between second and third. Brakes are the same disc/drum arrangement as the slightly heavier VT750C.
Honda’s restyling has pushed the rider up and forward for a more aggressive, in-control riding stance behind flatter and shorter bars.
The seat has been raised from 660 to 750mm, but it’s still low enough for most riders.
Instrumentation is rudimentary as cruiser riders like. You get just one big dial for the speedo with a small inset LED that has an odo, two trip meters and a digital clock.
Handling is fine for a cruiser with a plush ride and slow turn-in characteristics.
Only heavy riders or those with pillions will feel the full reach of the twin rear shocks.
The peanut fuel tank is a styling exercise, but the loss of four litres of range is a shame.
At an average of six litres per 100km on test, that gives about 175km of range — not enough for most cruiser riders.
Cheap thrills: the Honda VT750S offers cruisers a less expensive option.