Comparison test Honda VT 750 C2-Kawasaki VN 800 Classic


Comparison test Honda VT 750 C2 / Kawasaki VN 800 Classic

End of the line longing

Or how you can also get your kicks in Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt.

Caught. So you too. After all this years. Isn’t it true that up to now you’ve only looked at such motorcycles with your buttocks – right? And now this: your nose is stuck between the pages of a cruiser story. Sure, that stays between us. Promised. And comfort yourself: you are not alone. The number of avowed opponents of chrome is decreasing from day to day. The other day we even heard of a horde of converted superbikers.
“Easy riding” no longer means either riding a Harley or making a fool of yourself in the saddle of an embarrassingly decorated soft chopper. With the wave of cruisers, a load of serious Japanese custom bikes spilled onto the market. Heavy device with which one can be unabashedly seen. Affordable in terms of price, technically okay.
The latest example: the Honda VT 750 C2. A thoroughly successful contribution to the topic of »beautiful thrones«. Stylistically impeccable. Long. Flat. Wide. The tank as big as Switzerland, the headlight housing the size of a wash tub, the handlebar ends spread over half the city district. Princely relationships, from front to back, and not a single disturbing element in between.
Bad for Kawasaki. If the VN 800 Classic was previously considered the beauty queen of the upper middle class, this hegemony is considerably shaken by the appearance of the Honda. Sure – if you want to own the most detailed replica of a Harley-Davidson Softail your own, you will always choose the VN: Rigid frame appearance, stacked side pipes, black and silver V2 engine with chrome-plated valve covers, 45 degree cylinder angle and a circular one in the middle Air filter housing. America as it lives and lives – at half the price: plagiarism costs 15,490 marks, an original around 30,000.
Honda is already involved with 13790 brands, but has to do without gimmicks like the Hardail look. The rear of the VT is supported on the two-arm swing arm by means of conventional struts. In addition, the two manifolds of the C2 open into a common silencer. For some people, sacrilege. But if you ask me … I see, you didn’t ask. After all, you are old enough to see for yourself. And you have probably already seen that the VT exhaust system is not a conventional two-in-one system. In fact, the exhaust gases from the two cylinders are released into the open through separate ducts. Exactly: You can recognize it by the two tubes that look so boldly out of the back of the pot.
What else comes out back there? Very little. In terms of sound, the VT could almost be seen as an electric scooter. Good for the environment, bad for the mind. As is well known, the ear goes with you. The great pleasure that falls by the wayside becomes apparent when sound-reinforcing sound barriers line the path. Forays through narrow streets, for example, are accompanied by a friendly plotters that bring back memories of the VW Beetle. The same applies to the Kawasaki.
But even without spitting big sounds, the two are well received, receive appreciative whistles as they drive past, are admired from all sides while loitering. Should you ever decide on a motorcycle of this type, you must be aware that from that day on you will always be on stage. You will be asked about your “really beautiful machine” everywhere. Cruisers are one of the means of communication of our time. Young and old feel compelled to take an interest.
Seriously, you can get the greatest athlete under your bum and nowhere near getting the attention. Plus, you don’t have half as much fun with it – at least in inner-city show business. If only because of the seating and dress code, which is nowhere looser than in the saddle of such a stunner. Dressed casually on the protruding handlebars of a VT or VN, pushing it over the Revue Mile – that feels pretty good. With the Honda even a little better than with the Kawasaki, since the VT is lower and wider overall. In the saddle of the C2 you are completely boss, sit on the longer lever and direct the action from above.
Even out in the country, the Honda gives a confident impression. At least as far as the chassis is concerned. Contrary to all fears about its enormous size, it can be easily maneuvered through the area. Initial uncertainties in tight turns settle after it has been ensured that the arm length is still sufficient to keep both hands on the grips even with the handlebars turned. From then on, the pleasure of sailing begins, and a little later the last common prejudices regarding the lurching behavior of such battleships go overboard: The VT always stays on course. With or without a list.
The somewhat more unwieldy Kawasaki is different: even on the straight, it is affected by a slight tendency to swing from around 100 km / h. And in faster, bumpy bends, the VN 800 provides such touching moments that you prefer to take the gas off for a moment so that the load can calm down. Serious stability problems are not to be feared, but a somewhat more moderate pace is recommended on winding stretches anyway, since the Classic is completely free of lean angles when a change of direction is approached.
“So what,” you say knowing the philosophy that such big ships are designed for contemplative strolling anyway. Now the character of the Kawasaki engine doesn’t encourage you to ponder thoughtfully, it’s more likely to urge you to let off steam. However, in order to be able to fully develop its performance, the short-stroke Vau-Zwo desires higher speeds. In itself not a sinful desire, but rather frowned upon among devout followers of the pure cruiser doctrine: There, only the power that comes from the lowlands is considered a true blessing.
But at least: at least the Kawasaki can, if you are only willing to open the gas properly. With measured 57 hp at 7200 rpm, it degrades the middle class – in general – to a half-strength company and the Honda – in particular – to a tranfunzel. Anyone who switches from a VN 800 Classic to the VT 750 C2 cannot help but fear that the Honda could fall into a coma at any time: 45 hp and 249 kilograms of live weight that have to be dragged along – so the 750 is on the poverty line. Words like acceleration and pulling power seem as inappropriately as sparklers on Good Friday.
Nevertheless, the C2 unit proves its style and is even more powerful in the lower speed range than the Kawasaki engine. According to the test bench report, the three-valve engine already develops its maximum torque of 66 Newton meters at 2600 rpm. However, he asks to refrain from trips to higher speed regions. And – believe it or not: with time you start to like the sleeping pill mentality of the Honda engine because you learn to be humble and discover that the world is at its most beautiful between 70 and 90 km / h. You know: every religion produces strange flowers.
In matters closer to the ground – such as suspension, damping and braking – the UN and the VT are treading similar paths: Neither of the two allows themselves major weaknesses in these areas, and none of them excel particularly positively. While the Honda treats minor inconsistencies in tar beings more sensitively and passes on larger events unfiltered, the reverse is true for the Kawasaki. The front brake systems are on the same level and belong to the “pack in and wait” sort. Fortunately, this always results in somewhat acceptable delay values. At least when it comes to solo performances. With two people on board, the heavyweights require fairly long run-off areas. Also with the help of the rear drum brakes.
From an ergonomic point of view, there are no objections whatsoever to using a pillion passenger. On both the Honda and the Kawasaki, double partners will find a comfortable seat with enough legroom. Many so-called touring motorcycles offer far less luxury. In terms of suspension comfort, however, only the VN goes through as a reasonably functioning box of two. Relationship crises are inevitable at the Honda, which hits the front and rear not much less jagged. But this can be thwarted elegantly if the unscrewable hump is secretly removed and the VT becomes a single-seater. A welcome side effect: With the rear fender exposed, the C2 looks even more casual.
UAnd that’s exactly what it’s all about – being casual: looking casual, gliding around casually, greeting casually, grinning casually and casually letting the others do their thing. Cruisers are tolerant. Less than two hours in the saddle of such a vehicle and you no longer know how to spell the word stress. Your longing for peace and freedom is gaining a face. Even on Saturday afternoons in a large Swabian city that is currently being ravaged by the “big sweeping week”.

1st place

It hits the nerve, this VT 750 C2: The Honda wins this comparison not only in terms of points, but also on an emotional level. There is usually not so much charisma to buy. The view of the lamp housing, fork bridge and tank alone is worth its weight in gold. And those broad handlebars, that feeling of sailing – so beautiful. In terms of styling and feeling, Honda pulled out all the stops. Even with the chassis, there was no slouch. But why the engine was cooked on the back burner remains a mystery: 45 HP is a little little for a modern 750 unit.

Choppers, the cruiser with a difference

Cruising – sailing with powerful engines on a small flame – is nothing new. The devices suitable for this are called and were called choppers. They are characterized by the fact that they make renunciation a principle and only carry the bare essentials with them. In theory at least. Practically, if they come from Japan, they carry all sorts of blinds around with them – mostly made of plastic, but beautifully chrome-plated. Indispensable insignia of “real” choppers are spoked wheels – large and narrow at the front, small and thick at the back – narrow-chested tanks and handlebars approach the driver in adventurous curves. As a frame filler – there is largely agreement – vauformat two-cylinder, which – for the most part – produce around 50 hp regardless of the displacement, for example in the Suzuki VS 800 Intruder (13,790 marks), the mother of all modern Japanese choppers, which exemplarily shows what it apparently matters. Namely on the appearance: lots of chrome, impressive wheelbase, an internally modern, externally rustic-trimmed engine, thick exhaust pipes. And what not. Namely on the function: The Intruder has a really bad chassis and an inhuman seating position. It is much better to sit on the Yamaha XV 750 Virago (13,480 marks), a holdover from the times when choppers still had the attribute “soft” and were built for motorcycling. So it happens that you sit comfortably relaxed on the XV and gratefully note that the machine is agile and drifting through the area at a predictable course. An energetic 54 HP engine and brakes, which rightly bear their name, help here. Something like that comforts the fact that the Yamaha is optically from the day before yesterday. The Kawasaki VN 800 (14,290 marks) has found a reasonable middle ground between old virtues and contemporary styling. The frame in the rigid frame look, the 55-PS-V2 with the round air filter housing and the thick side pipes – it all smells like Harley. And tastes even better: the engine has a lot of thump, and the chassis offers reasonable comfort and predictable handling. Yep

2nd place

Now it has happened: The VN 800 Classic has to pass on the title of “best cruiser” to the Honda. Of course, this doesn’t make the Kawasaki any worse, it is and will remain a custom bike with the predicate “particularly valuable”. If only because of the powerful engine, which is still the master of its class. Compared to the Honda, the Classic mainly lacks independence, both in terms of design and feel. However, from an objective point of view, it lost a bit of ground, had the unwieldy, more unstable chassis and cost 1700 marks more than the VT.

The competitors on thick soles

Front wheels living on large feet, tanks the size of a medium-sized picnic table, sweeping handlebars on which you could easily hang a load of laundry to dry – these are the most obvious features of the cruiser class. Running boards instead of footrests are allowed, but do not have to be, and there are no rigid rules for the engine either: V2 units are very welcome and clearly outnumbered, but there is nothing wrong with V4 engines or even six-cylinder boxers In the cruising middle class, only the Honda VF 750 C (16,855 marks) dares to commit to multi-cylinder drive technology. With great success: Your high-tech 90-degree V4 produces 87 highly cultivated horsepower at a lively 9000 rpm – enough to drive the approximately five hundred pound VF to the 200 km / h threshold in no time at all. Too much dynamic? The chassis says no: the machine runs smoothly in a straight line, does not spin in fast corners, brakes properly and can be controlled with a light hand. The Yamaha XVS 650 Drag Star (11,990 marks) has almost half as much power as the Honda: 40 hp, which are prepared at a leisurely 6500 rpm in a 70-degree two-valve V2. The 231 kilogram drag star cannot be said to have exuberant temperament. But that’s a good thing, because the softly tuned, stubbornly wobbly chassis in tight corners has the motto “no sports” on its flag. No, the Drag Star likes it cozy, and then the “something inside” engine characteristics fit. The Suzuki VZ 800 Marauder (12290 Marks) with its 50 hp from a water-cooled 45-degree four-valve V2 is not exactly a power pack, accelerates and pulls quite well thanks to “only” 219 kilograms. In real life, however, the engine, which appears strenuous at higher speeds, and insensitively acting spring elements, thwart the feeling of sovereign gliding. That only happens on smoothly rolled boulevards – and there the Marauder is a decent cruiser after all. Yep

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