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Eric
05-31-2007, 01:43 PM
Sport bikes are great fun - for about 30 minutes at a time. But if your idea of a nice ride involves hours at a stretch - or even days on end - then you'll want something a bit more civilized. Something easier on your tailbone - with room for more than just you and maybe a chocolate bar and some loose change for emergencies scrunched in the Mini-me "glovebox" under the seat.

If that's the case, you'll want to check these long-haul beauties out. They're just the ticket for an all-day (or all week) ride.

For the beginner/budget-conscious:

* 2007 Honda VTX1300R/S (MSRP $9,599) The VTX1800 is a heavy favorite among cruisers, but with an opening price of nearly $13k, it's sometimes hard to translate desire for the bike into actually owning the bike. So Honda has brought out a more affordable version of the VTX for the new model year. It has the same custom cruiser styling as the VTX1800, along with cast (or spoked) wheels, five-speed transmission, shaft drive and a throbby twin-spark, 52-degree water-cooled 1312 cc V-twin. But unlike the VTX1800, it's priced under $10k. Like its bigger brother, this bike is designed for comfortable touring, with a forgiving suspension (including 5.1 inches of front fork travel) and a seat height of 27 inches. The dual-shock rear features five-position preload adjustment (and nearly four inches of total travel) to accommodate one or two-up riding. Also like the VTX1800, the VTX1300 comes slathered in chrome - including cylinder head covers, airbox and crankcase covers, clutch cover and headlight. It comes standard with a 4.8 gallon tank and a high-output multi-reflector halogen headlight. Available accessories include custom windscreens, rubber or chrome heated handgrips, chrome light bar, leather saddlebags, a leather tank belt, backrest and passenger grab rails. Billet aluminum trim pieces are available, too. The '07 VTX1300R/S is available in Metallic Blue, Dark Red Metallic, Titanium and Black.

For the tank-topped bruiser:

* 2007 Suzuki Boulevard M109R Limited Edition (MSRP $12,999) There are cruisers - and then there are power cruisers like the M109R. Armed with a massive 1783 cc (109 cubic inch) water-cooled DOHC V-twin engine, this bike is the most powerful cruiser Suzuki has ever offered for sale to the public. The M109R's fuel-injected powerplant features 10.5:1 compression, dual-sparkplug combustion chambers, huge 112 mm forged pistons riding on chrome molly rods (just like the GSX-R1000 superbike) dry sump lubrication, dual-intake air box, twin 56 mm throttle bodies and a 32-bit ECU. Exhaust pulses punch the air through a "two-into-one-into-two" stainless steel exhaust system with an internal butterfly valve that adjust backpresssure to achieve optimum torque and power throughout the operating range. The driveline is a five-speed with shaft drive. Since this bike is built to haul as well as be comfortable for the long haul, it features high-capacity radial-mounted four-piston brakes, inverted, cartridge-style forks up front and a preload-adjustable rear mono-shock. Seat height is an accessible 27.6 inches, too. M109Rs are further defined by their beefy spiral spoke 18-inch rims (mounting a 240/40R Dunlop tire out back, the widest rear tire Suzuki has ever fitted to any street bike ), M109R-specific racing stripes, clear LED tail-light lenses, specially textured seat and "checkerboard background" gauge package. The M109R's streamlined headlight houses a multi-reflector H4 halogen headlight to pierce the darkness - and there's a 5.1 gallon tank let you ride for hours on end without a pit stop. Dual trip meters, a handlebar-mounted digital tachometer and fuel gauge are all standard equipment.

* Harley-Davidson Night Rod (MSRP $16,495) The Dark Lord of Harleys, this special edition version of the sleek and low V-Rod swaps chrome and polish for matte black and menace. A fuel-injected, 120 horsepower version of Harley's 1130 cc liquid cooled Revolution V-Twin powers the beast and delivers impressive (say it like James Earl Jones) performance. The Night Rod is as quick as many full-on sport bikes -- capable of 11-second quarter-mile runs. And besides, when you're this bad to the bone, there's no need to run away from anything. Front forks feature a steep 36 degree, chopper-style rake - while the rearview's defined by a huge (240 mm wide) rear tire that leaves an impression wherever you go. The frame, wheels, tank and cowling - even the brake calipers and lines - are all finished in dress black, with thin-line orange pinstripes for accent. The flowing exhaust pipes are a work of art. Nothing else on the road looks like this bike - or runs like it. The only downside to the V-rod is its heft price tag. But no one said being top dog was going to be a cheap date.

For the cross-country trekker:

* 2007 Moto Guzzi Norge 1200 (MSRP $14,990 ) Long distance comfort for two (plus their gear) is what the Norge is all about; yet it's also an easy to handle bike in close-in, city-type riding thanks to a fairly short wheelbase and surprisingly reasonable weight - just 542-lbs., light for a full-size tourer. Enhancing its road trip capabilities are integrated hard bags, excellent wind protection from its large windscreen and fairing (with both leg and mud guards), plus a large capacity six-gallon fuel tank, standard ABS and an optionally available Tom Tom GPS unit with Bluetooth wireless built into the instrument cluster. The Norge also features a high-output alternator to run accessories such as heated suits and gloves. It is powered by the traditional Guzzi engine - an air-cooled 90 degree V-twin (in this case, developing 95 hp) working through a six-speed gearbox and shaft drive. The Norge isn't cheap, but it is very well-equipped - and very distinctive. If you're looking for a cross-country machine that can handle all four seasons - with different drummer looks and attitude - you'll want to check this one out.

* 2007 Yamaha Stratoliner S (MSRP $16,580) The "S," as Yamaha likes to say, stands for "shiny" - and they're not exaggerating. The Stratoliner is the pinnacle of Yamaha's Star line of big cruisers - with the heart of the matter being a thunderous 1854 cc 48 degree V-Twin that delivers pavement-rippling torque (123.7 lbs.-ft) and class-leading acceleration and roll-on performance. The huge fuel-injected twin is air-cooled and features self-adjusting hydraulic lifters for minimal maintenance. Shifting the five-speed transmission is made easier via a hydraulic-assist clutch, as on most modern passenger cars. Belt drive is standard. This is a big machine - almost 800 pounds at the curb. That's 1,000-plus with you on it. But the weight - and a suspension set up for excellent damping and "soft touch" rebound control - give it superb over-the-road smoothness. Highway manners are further enhanced via floorboards mounted on rubber inserts to isolate engine vibration, two-piece "heel or toe" shifter and quick-detach passenger backrest and windscreen - both of which can be removed without tools. Design highlights of this bike include a beautiful cast aluminum swingarm, "neo-streamliner" fork shrouds, "grandather clock" speedo, seamless teardrop tank with no visible welds - and highly polished 12 spoke aluminum mag rims. The Stratoliner is available in Black Cherry and Charcoal Silver.

And for the lone wolf:

* American Iron Horse Outlaw (MSRP - bike specific and not cheap ) The Outlaw is for those who want a bit more individuality than a mass-produced bike can offer. Each Iron Horse is built to the customer's individual specs - everything from paint and graphics to custom seats and in-house designed wheels and multiple engine options (there are three versions of the S&S "super sidewinder" V-twin, ranging from 111 cubic inches to 124 cubic inches). Like one-off, custom-built choppers and power cruisers, the Outlaw features a stretched, tubular steel Pro Street-style frame (including A-frame rear swingarm), 42 degree front rake, hidden shock suspension, billet and chrome custom trim pieces - and plenty of bad-boy attitude. But unlike most custom-built bikes, the Iron Horse comes with a full factory warranty - and a nationwide dealer network.

END

mrblanche
06-05-2007, 09:50 PM
What...no Big Dog? ;D