Cruiser comparison test: Honda VTX 1300 S, Kawasaki VN 1600 Classic


Cruiser comparison test: Honda VTX 1300 S, Kawasaki VN 1600 Classic

Damn long hard

Handy six-centimeter chunks, wheelbases begging in the parking bay, real cruiser feeling from the Far East ?? Hardly conceivable twenty years ago. But nothing is impossible these days.

The year is 1981. Dietmar K. waves shaggy hair and air guitar to the sound of the Cologne rock group BAP. He wears duckbill shoes, tie-dyed overalls with a painted peace sign and adores motorcycles with an integrated sense of freedom. A Kawasaki Z 440 LTD and a Honda CM 400 T are parked in the shared garage. Not bad. But Dietmar K. dreams of a Harley. Because he actually hates plagiarism. A real feeling, he tells his girlfriend, cannot be copied.
The times have changed. Instead of BAP there are planks and the Japanese engineers responsible for cruisers outbid each other in terms of vehicle length, seat depth and cubic capacity. Outwardly, they have long since tied with ancestor Harley. The latest examples: the new models VTX 1300 S from Honda and VN 1600 Classic from Kawasaki. Both cost 11,390 euros each and skillfully put their “long and low” design in the spotlight on the promenade of vanity. It is chrome-plated, it flashes, it sparkles on almost every of its retro-designed curves. Showtime every time. Even when parking. With vehicle lengths of 2.62 meters (Honda) or 2.52 meters (Kawasaki), finding suitable parking spaces is almost a mission.
And maneuvering when stationary is a feat. The Kawasaki weighs 345 kilograms, the Honda 324. So it is of little use that both flirt with low centers of gravity and low seat heights of just 700 millimeters. But let’s leave that. Lightweight construction and filigree would go against the real feeling. What Dietmar K. raves about. What makes a cool cruiser. Transferring calm and serenity to its driver. And this requires weight, power from low speeds and vibrations that work like a good massage.
It’s a bird-riddled Sunday morning in March, 7:20 a.m. The sun hangs in the sky like an open egg, the thermometer shows 3 degrees. The two engines start working at the push of a button with a subtle roar. The Honda carburetors require assistance from the choke for two kilometers in city traffic. The Kawasaki runs right and accelerates. Injection makes it possible. Honda’s sound engineers should be praised for this. Despite the displacement shortfall of 241 cm³, the VTX 1300 S sounds more adult and bassier than the VN 1600 Classic. Does the sound also correspond to the character of the engines?
Both manufacturers win the fight against annoying vibrations by using balance shafts. At Honda there are two, at Kawasaki only one. Both the Kawa’s 50-degree V engine and the Honda’s 52-degree V engine have both connecting rods rotating on a crank pin. Real V-engines. Guarantee for a real feeling, right? In this case, there is emotion between theory and reality. It may be that the fidgety, dull wave of the rotating masses on the Honda is not perceived as unpleasant. In direct comparison to the velvety, massaging swing of the Kawa engine, however, it is nothing more than the unsuccessful attempt of a twelve-year-old to charm his teacher with a sticky mustache.
Although the Honda engine has a long stroke, it conveys agility and maneuverability in contrast to the short stroke Kawasaki counterpart. It looks much more lively. That could indicate smaller centrifugal masses. On the other hand, the more closely geared transmission, which would also cut a good figure in a CBR, gives the Honda Cruiser slightly better readings despite the displacement deficit. Stop! It does not matter. Because cruising is not about speed, but serenity. And the Kawasaki twin knows that? it is based on the well-known VN 1500 engine, but has five millimeters more stroke ?? to convey perfectly. The fact that the torque and acceleration values ​​are only slightly behind the Honda despite the cruiser-compatible gear ratio speaks for the torque plus of the VN 1600. From the basement up to 4000 rpm, the Kawa provides significantly more torque. The VTX is left behind. Of the promised 75 HP and 123 Nm at 3000 rpm, only 64 HP and 103 Nm gathered on the MOTORRAD dynamometer. Measured on the coupling. Let us leave the Newton-kilo force comparisons. Both machines have ample power. The driving experience is more important.
Honda has its flagship cruiser, the mighty VTX 1800 and its little sister, the VTX 1300 S, developed and manufactured in America. Almost in the cradle of the real feeling that Dietmar K. praised. An advantage? Sure, the saddle is wide, the running boards are cool, the handlebars are nicely curved and the tank so wide and long that you could play two games of chess on it at the same time. But strangely enough, the Kawasaki’s saddle is wider and more comfortable, the handlebars are even sweeter and the tank is just as playful. Above all more harmonious. Everything fits together on the VN 1600 Classic. Handlebar offset, sitting posture, view.
It’s huge. Far in the distance, the chrome-plated round headlights pound the wind, the speedometer is easy to read, and the sun lasciviously shows a few square centimeters more chrome than on the Honda. In addition, you can’t get rid of the feeling of being able to reach absolutely every destination in the world with this powerful Kawasaki thing. Not that the Honda doesn’t convey that illusion. No. It just doesn’t do it as consistently as the Kawasaki.
This also applies to the chassis. At the latest when wrinkle-free highways are lost in the rearview mirror and East German reality throws itself in front of the wheels, the suspension elements of the Honda wave the white flag. The fork of the VTX hangs unloaded almost halfway in the springs. It is underdamped, often blocks when braking and is quickly overwhelmed when driving with a passenger. The latter also applies to the spring struts, which are adjustable in five positions, and the braking system. Although this is very easy to dose, the front 336 single disc lacks stamina when driving downhill with a passenger. Your task is made even more difficult by the fork working on the stop and the front wheel stamping as a result. The front 130 millimeters of spring travel, in conjunction with slight load changes, ensure restlessness when cornering happily. The choice of lines is slightly watered down, the surprisingly handy Honda lacks stability and steering precision.
The 23 kilogram heavier Kawasaki demonstrates how easy it is. Their fork works sensitively without being spongy, the suspension struts are a little underdamped, but the spring base and rebound can be adjusted several times and master all driving situations satisfactorily. The chassis has reserves. The same applies to the braking system. The rear brake of the Kawasaki reacts quite poisonously, in connection with the front 300 double disc, the deceleration is impeccable for cruiser conditions. But where there is light, the shadow is not far. In addition to the pulsating motor, the seat position is primarily responsible for the highly praised cruiser feeling of the VN 1600 Classic. The driver sits far back. The feeling for the front wheel is lost a bit. One is almost surprised that the commands initiated via the infinite handlebars actually reach the bike without any delay. Kawasaki’s thickness can be juggled precisely through the curves, but it is not really handy. More of astonishment. Who trained the mountains of iron so well??
D.ietmar K. has long been married. He has three children, wears gray single-breasted suits and has to pay off his house. It’s not enough for a big Harley. But maybe for the real feeling. Because the VN 1600 Classic gives away the feeling of the only real “kiss my ass” feeling. It massages the soul and the eye equally. The Honda engineers should be detained again. Brakes, fork, cruiser gearbox. Headlights and fenders. Yes, you read that right. Because what real cruiser freak wants to polish chrome-plated plastic?

Technical data: Honda VTX 1300 S

HONDA VTX 1300 S, water-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 52-degree V-engine, transverse crankshaft, two balance shafts, one overhead, chain-driven camshaft each, three valves per cylinder, hydraulic valve lifters, rocker arms, dry sump lubrication, constant pressure carburetor, Ø 38 mm, transistor double ignition, uncontrolled catalytic converter, electric starter. Bore x stroke 89.5 x 104.3 mm, displacement 1312 cm³, rated output 55 kW (75 PS) at 5000 rpm, max. Torque 123 Nm (12.5 kpm) at 3000 rpm Pollutant values ​​(homologation) CO 4.59 g / km, HC 0.62 g / km, NOx 0.19 g / km Power transmission Mechanically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, five-speed gearbox, cardan. Chassis double loop frame Steel tube, telescopic fork, stanchion tube diameter 41 mm, two-arm swing arm made of steel profiles, two spring struts, adjustable spring base, front disc brake, Ø 336 mm, double-piston caliper, rear disc brake, Ø 296 mm, single-piston caliper. Tires 140/80 -R 17; 170/80 -R 15 tires tested Dunlop D 404 F, K 555 J Chassis data Steering head angle 58 degrees, caster 144 mm, wheelbase 1670 mm, spring travel f / h 130/94 mm. Dimensions and weights Seat height * 700 mm, weight with a full tank * 324 kg, Payload * 193 kg, tank capacity / reserve 18 / 3.7 liters. Two-year warranty with unlimited mileageColors black, redPrice 11,390 euros Additional costs approx. 170 euros * MOTORCYCLE measurements

Technical data: Kawasaki VN 1600 Classic

KAWASAKI VN 1600 ClassicMotorWater-cooled two-cylinder, four-stroke, 50-degree V-engine, transverse crankshaft, one balancer shaft, one overhead, chain-driven camshaft, four valves, rocker arm, hydraulic valve clearance compensation, wet sump lubrication, electronic intake manifold injection, engine management, uncontrolled catalytic converter with E secondary air system -Starter.Bore x stroke 102.0 x 95.0 mm Displacement 1553 cm³ Nominal output 49 kW (67 HP) at 4700 rpmMax. Torque 127 Nm (12.9 kpm) at 2700 rpm Pollutant values ​​(homologation) CO 3.47 g / km, HC 0.31 g / km, NOx 0.25 g / km Power transmission Hydraulically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, five-speed gearbox, cardan shaft. Chassis, double-loop frame off Steel tube, screwed right beam, telescopic fork, stanchion tube diameter 43 mm, single-joint two-arm swing arm made of steel tubes, two spring struts, air-assisted, adjustable rebound damping, double disc brake at the front, Ø 300 mm, double-piston caliper, rear disc brake, Ø 300 mm, double-piston caliper, tires 130/90 H 16 ; 170/70 HB 16 tires tested Bridgestone Exedra G 721, G 722 Chassis data Steering head angle 58 degrees, caster 168 mm, wheelbase 1680 mm, spring travel f / h 150/95 mm. Dimensions and weights Seat height * 700 mm, weight with a full tank * 345 kg, payload * 178 kg, tank capacity 20 liters.Warranty for two years with unlimited kilometers.Colors: red, black.Price: 11,390 euros; Additional costs: 105 euros

MOTORCYCLE measurements

         Measured values ​​Manufacturer Kawasaki VN 1600 Classic Honda VTX 1300 S Top speed 180 * 178 * Solo km / h Acceleration Solo 0-100 sec 5.6 5.5 0-140 sec 12.1 11.4 0-200 sec Pull-through Solo (with pillion ) 60 – 100 km / h sec 6.0 5.7 100 – 140 km / h sec 8.0 7.6 140 – 180 km / h sec Speedometer deviation effective / display 50, 100 50/48 100/96 50/48 100/96 Super normal fuel consumption at 100/130 km / h liters / 100 km 4.2 / 6.4 4.1 / 6.1 Country road liters / 100 km 5.7 5.2 Theoretical range country road km 351.0 346.0 * manufacturer information

2nd place – Honda VTX 1300 S

4800 euros cheaper than her big sister with 1800 cm³ ?? That is not by accident. No injection, U-Kat, suspension elements and brakes from the cheap shelf. And that’s how the VTX 1300 S drives. Easy, when everything stays easy. But tricky when the road surface has more than five waves per 100 meters. Honda’s bill ?? we mix VT 1100 and VTX into a hit ?? has not worked objectively. In terms of sales, however, it does. The 1300 is almost sold out.

1st place – Kawasaki VN 1600 Classic

Hats off. The concept is consistent. The “long and low” design implemented excellently and the driving dynamics convincing. In addition, the Kawa manages like no other Japanese cruiser to convey an independent feeling of happiness. In direct comparison to a 1449 Harley twin, the engine still looks soft, and the sound could be more martial. But the Honda easily plays the harmonious overall package of feeling and function on the wall.

MOTORCYCLE measurements

Drive Honda VTX 1300 SKawasaki VN 1600 ClassicFahrleistungenHochstgeschwindigkeit301111Beschleunigung3087Durchzug30109MotorAnsprech- / Lastwechselverhalten201516Leistungsentfaltung302224Starten1057KraftubertragungKupplung1067Schaltung201314Getriebeabstufung1068Gesamtubersetzung1099Gesamt200105112FahrwerkGeradeauslaufstabilitat302122Stabilitat Solo401620Fahrverhalten in Kurven401821Lenkprazision301417Handlichkeit30109Fahrwerksabstimmung Sozius301016Gesamt20089105SicherheitBremsenVerzogerung / Betatigungskraft301519Bremsdosierung301918Bremsverhalten with Sozius1037ABS / Verbundbremse3000FahrwerkSchraglagenfreiheit2056Bodenfreiheit1077Lenkerschlagen / Shimmy201920Bremsstabilitat1057Aufstellmoment the Bremsen1089Licht / SichtFern- / Abblendlicht201011Sicht forward / hinten1089Gesamt20099113AlltagstauglichkeitWartungfreundlichkeit1098Theoretische Reichweite201515Zuladung20107Ausstattung3069Handhabung2078Gesamt1004747KomfortSitzkomfort Fahrer401922Sitzkomfort Sozius2068Windschutz2000Laufruhe Mot or201115Total1003645Subtotal property evaluation800376422Economy and environmentProcessing201416Warranty301515Consumption (highway) 301917Inspection costs302026Maintenance costs201515Exhaust gas values301818Value for money401213Total200113120Total1000489542

Performance chart

There is no substitute for displacement. Especially when cruising relaxed, many Newton meters are the bringer at low speeds. The clear winner: the Kawa

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