V-Star 650--flatfooting isn't everything
submitted by The Trout in the Milk
When I bought my first bike I had only one criterion--the
ability to flatfoot (on a good day I might make 5'1"). But I found out
fast that flat-footing isn't everything; in fact, I found that out the
first time I sat on a Shadow VLX. It felt like sitting on a cow. Then I
tried a V-Star. Oh, it felt good. So I bought it.
But there was something I hadn't considered. The V-Star is a great bike,
and I loved the one I had, but I never realized until I actually started
riding just how wide those handlebars are. At almost a yard apart, the
handlebars on a V-Star are designed for someone with loooong arms. And
the reach...was beyond my reach. Same for the foot controls. My riding
position looked like a hunchback sitting down with her feet straight in
front of her, trying to touch her chin to her knees! I could do it, but
after 75 miles my back was in agony.
A set of Baron's handlebar risers brought the grips about 4" closer to
me, so I lost the osteoporosis look, but the bars were still a yard
apart, and for the year and a half that I owned that bike, I spent most
of it looking like a swooping buzzard. It made curves really hard to
deal with because I felt off-balance with my arms spread so wide.
The stock seat needs to be firmed up, or you should substitute a Mustang
Touring Seat. The bike's range (about 200 miles on one tank of gas)
usually far exceeded my butt's range! And if you're a bit on the
vertically challenged side, consider getting narrower handlebars.
V-Stars from 2001 onward, I believe, offered floorboards instead of foot
pegs, which is wonderful news to those with short legs; I wish I'd had
them myself, but mine was a '99.
Summary: The V-Star is a great bike in every respect, powerful (as long
as you don't do two-up in the hills, or try to go above 90mph on the
interstate), smooth, and is beautiful to look upon. Just be careful if
you are short--check your arms and back as well as your legs, because
flat-footing isn't everything!
Thanks to "The Trout in the Milk" for submitting this personal review.
Trout says, "I've been riding off and on almost 4 years (long story).
Had the fever all my life but not able to indulge until I hit 40, and
now life is sweet. Started with a V-Star 650 and now ride a Virago 1100.
Member of WOW and AMA, and hope soon to join "Women in the Wind"!"
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