Harley Davidson V-Rod Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I bought my R in November of 07 because I was in need of a sport tourer and the Honda CBR 929 wasn't a good replacement for the BMW R1100RS, my previous ride. I settled on the R because I got such a great deal and the dealer was close by and known to me, bought a Buell from them in them in 96, and the local BMW dealer closed and moved about an hour and a half away.
My initial impression of the R was not good because it's weight really put me off. Going into turns I thought I had to really clamp on the brakes ahead of time because the momentum the bike carried. At the beginning I was reluctant to get much above 4 k revs because of my experience with the Buell and its 1200cc motor and thinking that all Motor Company motors are low end torque and no revs. This season I finally kicked it up and started thrashing the R like I used to thrash the Beemer. Now I follow our group's official squirrel run leader in second gear ranging from forty to eighty without touching the brakes. The throttle controls acceleration as well deceleration like a rheostat. The R's low center of gravity makes riding tight switchbacks a scream. I love it.
It's obvious that the R is not a success. Mine was built in 0105 ! Hell the Motor company probably has misgivings over the whole VROD line. Whatever, I believe that they should pursue VROD development, but make the bikes more capable. Anything other than the R is too low and scrapes around too easily. On the other hand the motor is fantastic and once it broken in like mine it has low level hum at speed that tells you that its in its zone. The R to ST project is a step in the right direction. Bring back the rake the front three inches, but then make the rear swing arm three inches longer and engineer a mono shock in back there. Maybe place the swing arm pivot a little lower to raise the rear equal to the front with its reduce rake. Finally get a on a weight reduction program. There is an easy 100 lbs. that can be eliminated from this beast. The mono shock being a start in that direction. Those front forks look way over built.
Then the Motor Company could expand the range a little and market sport tourers like the R1100RT which is probably the bike I would like to have if the dealer were close by. The marketing boys should have no trouble differentiating between air cooled Road Kings and water cooled VROD Bahn Burners.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,332 Posts
Back in December 2005 I was at the Long Beach Bike Show looking at the then brand new Street Rod on the Harley display. Some guy in a Motor Company shirt walked up to me and asked "Vell, vat do you tink?" "What the hell is a German doing working for Harley Davidson" I asked? "Ahm zee plotform managah" was his reply. To make a long story short, Harley hired a German designer and road racer to act as lead designer of the R. He knew all the BMW R&D guys from racing and is quite fluent in things BMW as a result. He knows what Europeans want from a bike and that was the intended audience. It's high price relative to it's competition, when VAT is added, is what killed it.
Interestingly, this man stated his great disappointment was that he felt he could have knocked 100 lbs off the bike "with my eyes closed" to use his exact words, but there was no interest in or budget for this. Loosing that much weight would have required quite a bit of weight loss in the engine itself and Harley wasn't interested in spending the money on such a redesign.
The suspension is not especially heavy. The same basic fork legs grace other bikes from other manufacturers. The swingarm is actually quite light. The rear pulley and isolator is pretty heavy and so are the solid axles and exhaust system. The big weight loss would have to have come from shrinking down the engine and with that the rest of the bike could be made smaller. I put XR-1200 wheels on my R (nice improvement in handling btw, but difficult to adapt the rear wheel) and only lightened the bike by five pounds, and 1 1/2 pounds of that was switching from the stock front axle to the tubular XR part, shared with '08 and later V-Rods. That was an expensive five pounds!
I agree I would dearly love to see a competitive sport touring V-Rod. I was kidding a dealer a few weekends ago when one of the owners rolled her eyes at my recent purchase of a used FXRT fairing for an R project. I told her I was making up for Harley's neglect to build such a bike themselves instead of always rehashing the old Geezer Glides. She just shook her head and laughed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, I was hoping for your response

The suspension is not especially heavy. The same basic fork legs grace other bikes from other manufacturers. The swingarm is actually quite light. The rear pulley and isolator is pretty heavy and so are the solid axles and exhaust system. The big weight loss would have to have come from shrinking down the engine and with that the rest of the bike could be made smaller. I put XR-1200 wheels on my R (nice improvement in handling btw, but difficult to adapt the rear wheel) and only lightened the bike by five pounds, and 1 1/2 pounds of that was switching from the stock front axle to the tubular XR part, shared with '08 and later V-Rods. That was an expensive five pounds!
Really disappointed by your view of the suspension parts not reducing weight much since I rather expect the Motor Company not to invest in redesigning the motor to a lower weight.
 

·
boredom kills
Joined
·
2,323 Posts
Carbon Fiber sadly does not exist in the HD world. You could probably save a couple of pounds with carbon fiber engine covers and not have to redesign the entire engine.
 

·
pronounced "shane"
Joined
·
441 Posts
I don't know the exact weight difference, but I was told that my switch to the Rinehart 2-1 exhaust dropped around 20 lbs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
99 Posts
The R is what it is. it will never be a BMW type sport tourer without a lot of money being spent and even then, it would be lacking.
Forget about the engine/transmission but if I had an unlimited budget and some pretty decent fabricating skils I would do the following:
The body work should all be replaced with Carbon Fiber. There is a guy on ebay that sells everything (fenders, airbox cover, and radiator sides) for around $800.
Loose the exisiting exaust. Replace it with a V&H 2 into one like Philthy has or have a custom one built using very light materials.
Lose the steel inner fender and have someone fabricate an aluminum or fiberglass one to replace it.
Aluminum hadlebars maybe?
And finally, replace the steel frame with a custom made aluminum or carbon fiber one. You can have the fork rake changed at the same time.
That's my two cents.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Very Nice

I don't know the exact weight difference, but I was told that my switch to the Rinehart 2-1 exhaust dropped around 20 lbs.
I just checked your uploaded images. VERY NICE. That Rinehart 2-1 exhaust, how quiet? I like quiet.

BTW I like the DX fairing and relocated turn signals. What about the Headlamp? It looks more straight up cafe racer. I like the whole look of your R, I'll just keep mine white and blue, beemer colors.

This looks like a good winter project when my shop is planning to adjust the valves, flush the radiator, change tires and all the other stuff.
 

·
pronounced "shane"
Joined
·
441 Posts
I just checked your uploaded images. VERY NICE. That Rinehart 2-1 exhaust, how quiet? I like quiet.

BTW I like the DX fairing and relocated turn signals. What about the Headlamp? It looks more straight up cafe racer. I like the whole look of your R, I'll just keep mine white and blue, beemer colors.

This looks like a good winter project when my shop is planning to adjust the valves, flush the radiator, change tires and all the other stuff.
The RH 2-1 is not at all quiet. It is an entire system, not just a slip-on (like the even noisier CFR exhaust), and takes a bit of creativity to get it mounted (lower the back end to clear the swing arm, space the right foot controls out 1/4 inch). I love the sound over stock, but if quiet is your MO, better stick with stock. If you like stock quiet but don't like the looks of the R's stock mufflers, you might think about switching to some DX cans (they have rounded ends).

The DX fairing does raise the lighting up a bit. If you go with the fairing, go with the upgraded bulb as the stock DX light is not bright enough. This modification was very straight forward; you will need a DX wiring harness.

One thing you might consider on the DX fairing is:
http://www.speed-point.com/english/opengb.html
They've got a DX fairing with a mounting bracket that allows you to hide the instrument cluster down inside the fairing. I think you'll have to hunt around the site to find it. They've changed the site since last I visited.

I've also had the seat shaved down which gives the bike a little different look than stock. I've got short legs and have had to do a lot to get it to fit me. I too am a cafe fan and wanted a sportster for years for that very reason - until I rented a v-rod and fell in love with the engine.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,332 Posts
Really disappointed by your view of the suspension parts not reducing weight much since I rather expect the Motor Company not to invest in redesigning the motor to a lower weight.
The wheels themselves are not all that heavy. The rear pulley and isolator is, but the wheels themselves are not outrageuosly heavy. The fork legs are common with a bunch of other bikes and are good quality Showa parts. There isn't anything to lighten in them.
The big chunk is that engine. Compared to the largest KTM or Aprilia V-twins it's huge. And it's heavy. The size of the engine drives the huge frame dimensions, so this too ends up weighing more than necessary.
I put XR-1200 wheels on my R. The front wheel weighs 16.5 lbs, the rear 18 even. Both are bare wheel weights, no bearings, tires, brakes or pulleys attached. Those are light wheels. They are made by Enkei and are fine quality wheels by any standard. I also changed to the later model hollow front axle. Overall, compared to the stock parts, I saved a whopping five pounds. You aren't going to obtain much weight reduction in the R's suspension. I learned that expensively, but I did do nice things to the bike's steering so I'm happy anyway.
You might knock another ten to fifteen lbs off the bike by changing the exhaust, but you will probably pay a price in terms of noise, and maybe loose some horsepower doing this. Making the bike meet government noise regs might not allow for such a weight reduction.
The big weight savings had to come from the engine, and that would have required Harley to do a major redesign, which was too costly for the Street Rod project management to justify. That is where this German fellow said he could have trimmed that 100 lbs. If you think that is unbelievable, consider that BMW lost over 60 lbs off the engine and transmission of the big GS when they redesigned the engine from an 1150 to a 1200, back around 2004.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,332 Posts
The R is what it is. it will never be a BMW type sport tourer without a lot of money being spent and even then, it would be lacking.
Forget about the engine/transmission but if I had an unlimited budget and some pretty decent fabricating skils I would do the following:
The body work should all be replaced with Carbon Fiber. There is a guy on ebay that sells everything (fenders, airbox cover, and radiator sides) for around $800.
Loose the exisiting exaust. Replace it with a V&H 2 into one like Philthy has or have a custom one built using very light materials.
Lose the steel inner fender and have someone fabricate an aluminum or fiberglass one to replace it.
Aluminum hadlebars maybe?
And finally, replace the steel frame with a custom made aluminum or carbon fiber one. You can have the fork rake changed at the same time.
That's my two cents.
I have the stock exhaust, not a V&H.

My point with weight loss was that HD's engineering would have had to redesign the V-Rod engine to loose the 100 lbs I mentioned, and that would have put the Street Rod project way over budget. I never intended to impy an industrious owner could find ways to shave 100 lbs off our engines.
I think it would take a lot of work and money to loose more than 25 lbs off a Street Rod. What could one reasonably do? Loose 5 lbs with XR-1200 wheels (that's all you save) and 20 lbs at most with an aftermarket exhaust. Then what? I guess you could buy one of those carbon fiber XR-1200 front fenders Adrenalinemoto sells. After that about all that is left is to toss the whole rear fender and replace it with one of those shorty rear fenders from Ricks of Germany. How much weight is that going to save? Another five pounds if that? Maybe we saved 35 lbs and spent thousands of bucks doing so.
As for the R's sport touring prowess, I have BMW's in the garage too, but the R will run with them in most situations. I figured out how to mount hard luggage on it and spent around a grand doing so, which compares favorably to the cost of some aftermarket kits. The Supersport Windshield does a good job in anything but rain. It's a pretty good sport touring bike blessed with great steering feel. I'm never guessing what the front tire is telling me on an unfamiliar twisty road, and that qualitty lets me ride with confidence.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
399 Posts
It fits no niche

Pretty new to the R scene with about 1200 miles on my just bought '06. I was intrigued by the bike from it's intro. The price was too high new and I never figured a 650lb. (GAWD!) anything would actually be FUN to ride. Wow,was that wrong. This bike is immensely gratifying to ride and Rs can now be picked up cheap. Recessions are cool! So far it's stayed stock except for a DFO and a 30T cog. I have owned and ridden a VAST assortment of M/Cs from trials to rockets to baggers.

At my current 52 years of deterioration, this is a fantastic bike. It's amazing how well it rails mountain roads and it's got enough steam to be entertaining without front end lofting,wheelspin insanity. I'm surprised how well I like it. The fat lady can dance...

H-D didn't know how to market it. The M/C press couldn't really classify it. The price was way high for some supposed "youth market". It's amazing they even made the bike at all. My local dealer said they only sold 1 and they are vrod fluent.
 

·
pronounced "shane"
Joined
·
441 Posts
One mod that hasn't really been discussed in this thread are the BlackStone Tek carbon fiber wheels. I have no idea how much weight savings it'll beget. Swampboogiedoug has them. They're expensive. Here's the company's website.
http://www.blackstonetek.com/
Swampboogiedoug said that Revolution Manufacturing in Atlanta was having a sale on them for $2,600 a pair and to contact Mike at [email protected]. This was about a month ago that he told me all this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
399 Posts
Mass vs cost

Done some mass redux projects,especially XL streetrackers. It's possible to get a pre rubber Sporty to about 450lbs. in a stock frame with the fender horns sawed off and a bunch of other stuff discarded or replaced. With a good street tuned 80 HP motor it's very fun. Looking at the Street Rod, I do not see much possible for significant fat removal. It's a massive bike to the core.

We put some of those CF wheels on an Aprilia race bike. Very nice stuff but on a big bike like the R it would be a pretty slim return on the dollar. Maybe we could fill our frames with hydrogen:)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,332 Posts
One mod that hasn't really been discussed in this thread are the BlackStone Tek carbon fiber wheels. I have no idea how much weight savings it'll beget. Swampboogiedoug has them. They're expensive. Here's the company's website.
http://www.blackstonetek.com/
Swampboogiedoug said that Revolution Manufacturing in Atlanta was having a sale on them for $2,600 a pair and to contact Mike at [email protected]. This was about a month ago that he told me all this.
XR-1200 wheels are $318 each and VRSCX/VRSCAW brake rotors are about $300 each. How much weight savings does that $2600 buy you? I though about carbon fiber wheels too, put the price still tightens my sphinky.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Frugal

Schoen's bike looks great, but I got to back off on loud pipes. I live in a cul de sac and its a pretty tight neighborly feel and while no one will complain to my face, I don't need the grief. So stock exhaust stays.

The Cafe race DX fairing looks great, but I just did a 1000 mile round trip to Vermont last weekend, can't do that without the HD windshield I have on my R now. So that stays.

I am really happy with my R now that I have learned to flog it like I stole it so its a keeper as is. Once the budget allows, money is better spent adding another bike to the fleet, beside the Vespa, something completely different, like a Triumph Daytona 675.
 

·
In the Shark Tank!!!
Joined
·
1,633 Posts
The Cafe race DX fairing looks great, but I just did a 1000 mile round trip to Vermont last weekend, can't do that without the HD windshield I have on my R now. So that stays.
Get the large shield that fits the D, get longer arms for shield that fit hte R and then you have the best of both worlds. The D/DX headlight cover and the windshield that fits.
 

·
Locktite Queen
Joined
·
2,037 Posts
Try the small X screen, it helped me quite a bit but then again I'm not that tall at 5' 7".

BTW, I dropped 24.4 lbs with the buell wheel conversion...and that's after I had them chromed :) Thank-you BADV-R for the awesome deal! The handling improvement was unbelievable.....I could drop more weight if i gave up my stock exhaust but it sounds too sweet with the vmod II baffles to give up.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top