Cruiser easyon bud­get

Honda has stripped the price but not the value, writes Mark Hinch­liffe

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Bikes -

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.

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