Tag Archives: Honda VTX 1800

Polaris is out for blood!

Well Harley Davidson better pick up the pace because Polaris is out for blood. Polaris now has two contenders to devalue the HOG stock prices. You’ve got the old one-two-punch with Victory motorcycles and now the Indian motorcycles. Harley-Davidson better start bobbing and weaving and get to a neutral corner. Well maybe not to a neutral corner anyhow.

Polaris is going to have a tough epic battle against Harley Davidson. I’m talking Star Wars epic battle! The movie where the evil half robot dude says to Luke Skywalker, “I am your father, Luke.” Got the picture now? Sure, smashing the other manufacturers of snowmobiles and side-by-sides is on Polaris’ resume. But now they’re on a path that has seen other manufacturers fall to the wayside.

Let’s take for instance one of the motorcycles that I own. The Honda VTX 1800 which became available to the public in 2002. This baby has a powerful V-twin and all kinds of other amenities which make it a really nice motorcycle for cruising. Honda sure thought they had a product which was going to pull the air out of Harley Davidson’s sail. Honda tried emulating the aftermarket parts business, customer experience and tried creating a “Honda VTX” tribe. In 2008 Honda stopped manufacturing the VTX 1800, boom there it is, complete and total annihilation. Not even a blip on Harley-Davidson’s radar screen.

2005HondaVTX

Next in the ring was Kawasaki with their Vulcan 2000. Another super-sized V twin making gobs of torque and horsepower. A little bit of a change up from the Honda which had a water-cooled cylinder jackets. The Kawasaki had a head cooling system to remove the unwanted heat from this 2000 cc engine. I guess cooling the heads gave this motorcycle more street cred with the Harley Davidson disenfranchised. I got a chance to ride this motorcycle and it did have one problem maneuvering at low speeds was a definite workout. Kawasaki removed it from the lineup in 2010. Another blip on the radar screen.

Yamaha on the other hand is still producing cruiser motorcycles that try to compete in Harley Davidson’s market segment. They’ve actually started a second company which they referred to as “Star.” Yamaha refuses to give up even though they have lackluster sales numbers in this market segment. Their motorcycles are considerably cheaper than Harley Davidson’s motorcycles, but I guess that’s not enough to distract someone from finding a Harley Davidson dealer.

The only real contender is Victory. That’s right, Victory, sort of a fitting name considering what their objective is. Might even have a subliminal message thing going on. Victory is in second place in the large displacement cruiser market. Every time I read this fact I am utterly amazed that an American motorcycle manufacturer was able to push the Japanese and the British to the curb. I’ve ridden the Victory motorcycles on several occasions and if I didn’t have a Harley brain, I’d own a Victory motorcycle.

Polaris’s latest salvo is in the form of the Indian motorcycle brand name. They’ve purchased the brand name from some holding company. Reviving an old nemesis seems like part of Polaris’s master plan for domination. Twenty-seven months later, they have three motorcycles for sale to the public. No doubt they’ve got all of the Victory trials and tribulations incorporated into design and manufacturing of these new motorcycles. I’ve ridden all three of the Indian motorcycles and I wish I had more garage space.

I especially like the Indian Chieftain which is going to be a game changer. In my mind the chieftain was design to go head-to-head with Harley Davidson’s Street Glide. The Street Glide is a very popular model for those people wishing to own a Harley Davidson in the 40s to 50s age bracket.

The two models are pretty much in the same price range. Each one of them has some sort of advantage over the other. So this should be a very interesting time for Harley Davidson.

Harley Davidson’s brand loyalty has been written about thousands of times in books, articles, journals, white papers, blogs and so forth. Used as lecture material in major business colleges. Studied under an electron microscope by other motorcycle manufacturers. This loyalty is definitely a powerful tool that can be used to hedge the onslaught of any new contender.

What does Las Vegas say about this epic battle. I have no idea. If there was a roulette table that had motorcycle manufacturers names on the wheels instead of numbers, I’m putting my money on Harley Davidson.

Running with the pack

Got a chance to take a nice long ride on my Honda VTX 1800 last weekend.  Spent about 7.5 hours traveling across the state of Illinois. Or the state of ILL as I like to call it. Stopped a few times to fill up the fuel tank and leave some fluids.  Didn’t stop to eat anything, kept riding. I rode with some members from the Jersey Pine Cruisers.  They’re located in Des Plaines Illinois. A lot of Goldwing riders, but anyone with a motorcycle is allowed to join in on the rides. Certainly they are a cast of characters, no doubt about that.

My VTX is about 6 years old now, almost one dog year.  Honda stopped making the 1800cc version of the VTX in  2008. Although, they’re still making the 1300 cc version of the VTX. This motorcycle was Honda’s first salvo at trying to increase their market share in the cruiser market. This is a very completive sector of the overall motorcycles market. In reality this was a pretty lofty goal to try to gain market share in this sector.

Honda was aiming to take away from Harley Davidson. Like I said, a pretty lofty goal to say the least. Harley Davidson really has lock on this market. They should. They have created a culture that has crossed race, gender, age and just about every other barrier known to the human race.  Maybe, Harley Davidson should be given a grant from the Federal Government to solve world peace. Just an idea, couldn’t hurt.

Back on track, my ride on my VTX 1800. This motorcycle seems to fit me like glove. Not like the OJ glove either. It’s like the motorcycle and I are like Lego blocks. I just snap in and go. Lego blocks are those things you played with as a kid and step on as an adult. Looking down at your foot right now and thinking “Shit, I haven’t stepped on one of those damn things in a long time.”

There was a time when my VTX 1800 was more of a torture device then a motorcycle. Couldn’t ride it to long before I had a lot pain, everywhere. I rode it for about 2 years before I decided to change the seat. I just had to get rid of the stock seat. Replaced it with a Mustang seat.  The funny part about this is how quickly the new seat changed my riding experience. They first thing that went through my mind was, “Why in the hell did wait so long to do this?” Old dog, new tricks would be the correct answer.

It was perfect day to ride a motorcycle. Not hot or windy, just a beautiful day. One day that I will remember for a very long time. Pushing my motorcycle through the turns. Cracking the throttle full open to hear the engine roar. Watching the gas tank shake as the RPMs increase. Seeing the digital speedometer display 90 MPH and thinking to myself “Man, this is just too fun!”

Only downside was I couldn’t stop to take any pictures or videos. Had the digital camera and the Flip video camera with me. These guys don’t like to stop for anything but fuel. Saw a lot of things that I would have liked to take pictures or video of. Oh well, one day I will make the trip by myself. But still I’ve got the mental pictures and videos in my brain. Plenty of space in there. Just worried about the refresh rate.

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