2004 Honda VTX: 2004 Honda VTX 1800C
Background: My 2004 VTX 1800C was my second VTX and my 3rd Honda. I have approximately 20,000 miles in the saddle on the VTX, so I consider myself a semi-expert on the bike.
Performance: The bike will do 0-60 in a shade under 4 seconds and is not is quick as the 1800F, which has shorter overall gearing. Top end on the bike ranges from 125-135 mph, depending on rider weight, road conditions, and mock up of the bike (windshield, bags, etc.). The bike is great for blasting down the street in between stoplights, and only a handful of stock cars could keep pace with you to the next light; however, make sure there is a next light because in the quarter mile even a lowly Mustang with some juice is going to catch you. The bike will hit the low 12s in the 1/4 mile, but, again, rider weight, riding ability, and mock up of the bike are factors here.
Reliability: Excellent. I never had a single problem on this bike. My previous model, an S variant, had to have a replacement water pump, and it seems about 10% of those bikes had that problem, but that was an '02 model. They cured that and the fouled plugs (the bike ran a little rich early in the model run, according to some) along the '03 model year.
Comfort: Comfort on the C model, which is the original variant of the VTX is only average, but cruisers as a whole are not comfort bikes, so this is not a mark-down or strike against the bike. The bike is built for those about 5'10 -6' tall. If you are shorter, you might be stretched out more than you like and if you're taller, you might find yourself wanting for more leg room. The reach to the bars was perfect for me, and I found the footpegs to be comfortable but only for trips less than a 100 miles. If you're going on the interstate or an extended ride, you'll want floorboards or a heel shelf to support your legs because the wind hitting them will tire out the flexors in your legs, as you will ultimately strain to keep your legs up on the pegs. Having a thick cleat on your boots would help but only marginally so.
Quality and Craftsmanship: See my review of the 2002 VTX, as the quality and craftsmanship highlighted there applies to this bike as well.
Additional notes: Judged against its most direct competitors--the Yamaha Warrior, the Suzuki M-109R, and the Kawasaki Vulcan 2000--the Honda is the most well rounded. The Yamaha is a better handler but less powerful, not as fast in the 1/4 mile, and not quite as comfortable. The Suzuki is equivalent in performance terms, but I have not ridden one, so I can't comment on the comfort. From appearances, it would seem to be the closest in most regards to the VTX except in style (it's one of the uglier designs, if you ask me). The Vulcan 2000 is faster in roll-ons because of its immense torque, but 1/4 mile still goes to the VTX. Comfort is going to be equivalent, and perhaps the only flaw on the Vulcan is its stock seat, but the stock seat on most of these bikes is the first or second item to go, along with the stock pipes.
The VTX overall is a cut-above the cruiser norm in terms of performance and reliability with decent comfort and nice aftermarket support. I highly recommend it to riders of all skill levels. It might be a bit heavy for females and small riders, and the weight may prove difficult for novice riders, but with a little practice, the weight will become a non-issue. The VTX is a well-rounded bike and represents one of Honda's finer cruiser offerings.
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