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chrisnj

XVS650 Dragstar Advice

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Hi

New to the forum (will post in new users area very soon) and looking at buying a 2005 XVS650 (not had a ride yet, but have sat on one) and have some questions I've not fully been able to find answers on from reading the forum.

1. Seat height…MCN reviews says its 710mm. When I sat on one it seemed quite low and much lower than I remember the HD Fat Boy I tried a few weeks back which is supposed to be 690mm. Can anyone confirm the height?

2. I'm 6ft and worried if this will be too low for me? Anyone else with one this tall and ok? Maybe its just a thing to get used too. Riding a BMW F650 at the moment which is fairly tall in comparison

3. Bike will live outside on a drive (with a cover) and could go for 2 or 3 weeks without being used sometimes. Will the battery be ok or will it go flat? BMW I have is great for this and not had any battery issues but where BMW is bad is it has a chain so not so good leaving that unused and exposed for so long, hence looking at the XVS650 as no maintenance shaft drive appeals .

4. I live in Surrey and work in London and 'might' consider commuting sometimes. Anyone use one of these to commute into central London? Always figured a cruiser is not a great bike for commuting in heavy traffic but thought I'd ask anyway?

5. Probably a red rag to a bull in a forum like this but ultimately I want a HD Fat Boy but not spending big money on that until I have a garage for it to live in. Looking at this XVS650 it looks like a good intro to the cruiser style of riding, has anyone here that rides a XVS650 also ridden a Fat Boy and how do they compare?

Thanks and be gentle with me on that last question :-)

Chris.

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Hi Cris and welcome to the forum. I can answer some of your questions, I'm sure others will be along to do the same.

- The draggie is an excellent intro to cruisers, not too heavy, not too big, and handles far better than she has any right to.

- Are you looking at the custom or classic model? I'm guessing the classic since that resembles the HD fatboy more.

- As long as the battery's good she can sit for 2-3 weeks with no problems, but it's probably a good idea to get a charger. Removing the battery is quite easy.

- Now, commuting: you can certainly use it for that, again, along with the handling, it' a suprisingly good commuter. Make sure you only do it in dry weather though, as the rear monoshock can get corroded and snap in two.

- I'm sure your height will not be an issue.

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Hi! Chris, Welcome, I am 6'1" and I have no problem comfortably riding my Classic. My son also has one and his sits for months and still starts easily, no charging the battery. I don't think this will be good for battery life in the long term but a can easily sit for a few weeks and will not cause an issue. I love mine and out here an XVS650 costs $12000 on the road new where as the Harley's are around $29000. An awful lot to pay for a little extra power and a name. I don't know what distances, road conditions, or traffic is like in England but I feel the XVS650 is an excellent and reliable commuter for me.

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I too am a Harley fan and will soon swap my belovid draggy for a HD but these XVS650 are so good at being the simple little machines as they are it will be very hard to see her go.

Im 5ft 6, so i cant really say much on the height question, other that my mate (who is 6ft some thing) rode my Betty into town the other day and he said he loved it so i guess there's no dramas there.

Commuting on a XVS650, well unless you throw away the stock seat and replace it with a thin bit of leather then these bikes are flipping great at slow speed, and keeping your ass tender free. the only thing these are NOT good at as a commuter is white lining in heavy traffic unless the cagers move out of your way to get the bars down the middle.

As like most bikes the paint on the XVS and a HD isn't great so if left out side with no cover or other forms of rust prevention then you are going to be kicking yours self looking at flacking paint.

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1. Irrelevant. You are not riding with your feet on the floor. What matters more is the distance from seat to peg.
A lot of short riders choose Cruisers based on the seat height (and bullshit commonplace remarks about the seat height, from places like MCN), before discovering how much of a stretch it is to the controls.

2. Depends on what makes you so tall.
I'm 5' 11" with a 33" inside leg, so it was a little small for me but I still managed for several years without issue.
If you're concerned about seeing over traffic, get the tallest bike you can find... but there will still be vehicles that block your view anyway.

3. The battery should be fine, but try and keep it charged if possible. If you can't plug it into the mains, get a solar charger and leave that on there.

Maintenance-free shaft-drive is great (even though there is still some occasional maintenance required). However, this is not a lazy bike - It's covered in chrome and will need frequent cleaning to keep the rust and corrosion at bay.

4. If you can ride it well, the Drag will serve you just fine in the middle of London. The three biggest issues you will face involve busses (who will just pull out on you), office girlie-girls (on pink scooters, who don't have a clue how to ride) and filtering in general (the bike is almost 3' wide, so you will need to learn your filtering limits).
Personally, I never had a problem.

5. They are Cruisers. They ride like Cruisers, they behave like Cruisers. Somewhere on here is a long post of mine explaining the characteristics of riding a Cruiser vs other types of bike.

The HD is heavy, rattley and generally feels like the old-fashioned, outdated tech it really is. By comparison, the Drag just feels far nicer and better suited to European road riding.
Get an HD if you want... I wouldn't touch it if you paid me!!

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Thanks guys for your words of wisdom all useful stuff.

I'm not too worried about filtering as I should be doing a fair bit of biking in the US as the years roll on and you're not allowed to do that there so don't want to get too used to it, although I know that would be the main advantage of commuting on a bike into London. I'm guessing for me its not really going to be a regular thing as much as I would like it too so was just interested on any experiences. I'm not far from the A3 so its dual carriage way for a good part of the journey then the sh#t roads that we get in our capital once you're 10-15 miles out.

I get what you mean about the seat height being less important than peg reach. That seemed fine on the one I sat on and that I am looking at, the bit I was worried about was whether it would get difficult or uncomfortable when coming to a stop and needing to put the feet down. It didn't seem an issue on the FatBoy I rode but the draggie felt lower when I sat on it so hence my interest in seat height. Anyway if someone with 33" inside legs is ok then I think I am 32" so should be fine. I guess a quick test ride will answer that better for me than any debate here.

I have to disagree about the negative comments on the HD's though :-) No offence and each to their opinion I guess. A few weeks ago I got to ride 2014 models of the Softtail Breakout, Dyna Fat Bob and the Softtail Fat Boy. None rattled, didn't feel as heavy as the stats indicate and overall were all a great ride. Although the Breakout was bit of a beast but in a nice way. The Dyna Fat Bob was actually a really easy bike to ride and I could see myself even commuting on that one if I had it it rode that well, but at the moment £12.5k for the Fat Bob and £16k+ for the other two is just too much for me when the bike would mostly live outside and consequently will suffer so a lot of money to drop. The £3.5k I'm looking at spending on a 2005 XVS whilst still a lot of money is a bit more palatable to me if I have a bit of rust to sort out in a couple of years.

Sounds like the XVS will be a good next bike for me though while I crave the HD's a bit more and sort out my garage situation.

One more question. The XVS I'm looking at is a Classic I think looking at the mud guards front and rear so has the extra weight I'm reading about. How easy is it to strip some of this off to lighten the load so to speak with out resorting into hacksaws so I might preserve some of the resale value when I one day move on?

Thanks

Chris.

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Sadly (so i learned the other day) the XVS classic has metal mudgaurds and the custom has plastic ones so unless you are going to swap them over there isn't much you can do to lighten it. unless it has got panniers, sissy bar and rack, spot lights or any other tat, take it all off and stick it in the loft for when you sell the bike on.

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I wouldn't worry too much about the additional weight, as T'task says, its a Cruiser so unless you are going to have a drag race with a custom you won't really notice the difference.

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One more question. The XVS I'm looking at is a Classic I think looking at the mud guards front and rear so has the extra weight I'm reading about. How easy is it to strip some of this off to lighten the load so to speak with out resorting into hacksaws so I might preserve some of the resale value when I one day move on?

It can be done... might look rather odd, though.

Mudguards are there for a reason, too.

Incidentally, have you looked at Yamaha's new 950 Bolt?

All the bling and good looks of an 883 Sportster, but all the things the HD sadly lacks, too!!

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Incidentally, have you looked at Yamaha's new 950 Bolt?

All the bling and good looks of an 883 Sportster, but all the things the HD sadly lacks, too!!

What.....like brakes???

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Incidentally, have you looked at Yamaha's new 950 Bolt?

All the bling and good looks of an 883 Sportster, but all the things the HD sadly lacks, too!!

I did a like for like spec compare on both bikes and they look more or less evenly matched. I'd be genuinely interested to hear from people who've ridden both and can comment. Generally, I'm not a fan of HD bikes, although aesthetically pleasing I think they are vastly overpriced for what they are and teh after-sales and service are very expensive.

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I'd be genuinely interested to hear from people who've ridden both and can comment.

Most reviews say pretty much what I did - Looks like a Sportster, but performs far better in all areas.

There's a guy round Reading with an all-black Bolt and a Stars & Stripes helmet. He certainly looks very happy!!

Actually, that might even be X-Kid from here...

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Still considering the £3.5k 650 Dragstar and going to have another look at it tomorrow. While out for a ride today though I stopped by my local Yamaha dealer and looked at a new XVS950A in all black. They are offering at on 0% finance over 2 years with £2.5k down. Seemed a good deal to me and quite tempted. Nice looking bike. They don't have one as a demo though so bit worried about buying without riding. Is that normal for bikes I'm quite new to bikes so don't know. Would never buy a car without trying a similar one first.

Anyone got views on the 950 that they want to share / comparisons to 650?

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They don't have one as a demo though so bit worried about buying without riding. Is that normal for bikes I'm quite new to bikes so don't know. Would never buy a car without trying a similar one first.

Sort of normal...

Most dealerships have demo bikes, but they're often shared between branches within one area, especially if they're uncommon or very new models.

I remember everyone was after a test ride on the Honda DN01 at one stage. There were demo models around, but the dealers had to pre-book it and there was only one bike for the whole of Berkshire and surrounding.

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Sort of normal...

Most dealerships have demo bikes, but they're often shared between branches within one area, especially if they're uncommon or very new models.

I remember everyone was after a test ride on the Honda DN01 at one stage. There were demo models around, but the dealers had to pre-book it and there was only one bike for the whole of Berkshire and surrounding.

Thanks kind of figured that was the case. I guess the market is more limited / profit margins smaller and a lot of model choices with bikes.

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They just have to be careful.
Obviously sales are still slumped from recession.

But everyone was desperate to see and try the DN01. It was originally a Japan only model. We whined, we bitched, we complained...
Honda shipped 10 over and passed them around dealers.
We had a look and went, "Oh.... is that it??!!".

It was crap, it barely sold any units and it would have been a disaster for Honda to ship a load to each dealer.

Unlike a Fazer or a CBR600, the Bolt is not a mass market bike. It's very nice-looking and probably rocks, but it does not have a large target demographic or anything.

Just ask, see if they can get one in for you to try. I'd reckon it's worth it.

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I've not long had my 2016 XVS650 Custom, I'm 6'4" and built like a brick outhouse. I use the bike as a daily commute and love it. Plenty of power and handles well. 

How did you get on?

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This post is 4 years old, not sure if you will get a reply as folks come and go, the original poster has not been on since 2014.:shrug:

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