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Neither the 1300 nor the 1800 has more than two or three "common problems" (reality says the are maintenance or wear items - not problems).
Go own a Harley of the same model year as the VTX you're talking about and learn quickly about "far more problems".
Dated info Nate. Believe it or not, BMW and Triumph have a worse service record, over all, than Harley does. Make no mistake, Harley had some reliability issues over the years, and even as recently as the early Twin Cams. Virtually any 103, and M8 is a pretty solid platform. Like any bike, it's when you don't keep up with the scheduled service things go bad. I fully admit that, for the most part, the Japanese motorcycles are very reliable as far as motorcycles go. AND, that have been in the past when Harley ... not so much. And like with any motorcycle you purchase used, you really never know what you are buying until you know what you bought.
 

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I'll toss my 2 cents into this discussion. I bought my VTX1300S brand new in 2004 and I still have it and ride every season. I do all the work on my bike and have kept up on all of the service work throughout the years.

The only problem I have ever had was (I believe) sometime in 2006, my stator quit and I had to replace it. I have not heard of anyone else who has owned a 1300, having a stator problem, must have been just mine. This past Spring I replaced all 6of the wheel bearings - one rear bearing was in real bad shape. Other than those two items, my VTX1300 has been the best and most trouble free bike I have ever owned, and I have had a few over the past 50+ years of riding.
There have been a few stator deaths.
Mine died in 2011 at 104,942 miles.
Probably another two dozen died.
1300 and 1800
 

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Dated info Nate. Believe it or not, BMW and Triumph have a worse service record, over all, than Harley does. Make no mistake, Harley had some reliability issues over the years, and even as recently as the early Twin Cams. Virtually any 103, and M8 is a pretty solid platform. Like any bike, it's when you don't keep up with the scheduled service things go bad. I fully admit that, for the most part, the Japanese motorcycles are very reliable as far as motorcycles go. AND, that have been in the past when Harley ... not so much. And like with any motorcycle you purchase used, you really never know what you are buying until you know what you bought.
I know Harley has come a long way. That's why I specifically stated "of the same model year".
The 88 ci with 5 speed transmission was even a big improvement over the engines of the 1990's, but they are still more problematic than the VTX bikes - by far.
That was my point.
I'll give ya that the 103, 110, and Milwaukee engines are even greater improvements for Harley (wouldn't mind having one myself). But of the bikes of the same model years as the VTX, you can't find many that were more reliable than either the 1300 or the 1800.
Excellent point about the BMW and Triumph bikes having lower reliability ratings.
 

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Virtually any 103, and M8 is a pretty solid platform.
While I agree that the 103 is a big improvement from the past, according to most HD owners I know, they'd like to see their Milwaukee 8's doing an impersonation of a boat anchor, instead of stuffed between the frames of their bikes.
 

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... And like with any motorcycle you purchase used, you really never know what you are buying until you know what you bought.

I like that. Makes perfect sense :thumbup:


...
I'll give ya that the 103, 110, and Milwaukee engines are even greater improvements for Harley (wouldn't mind having one myself). But of the bikes of the same model years as the VTX, you can't find many that were more reliable than either the 1300 or the 1800.
....

There are a couple of significant problems with some of the M8s Nate, and primarily in the touring line, it's still a new platform and somethings have yet to be ironed out.

I would agree on the same model years statement. In fact I'd be willing to bet that the VTX, 1300 and 1800, had the fewest problems of any motorcycle from all other brands in those model years when it was being produced.


While I agree that the 103 is a big improvement from the past, according to most HD owners I know, they'd like to see their Milwaukee 8's doing an impersonation of a boat anchor, instead of stuffed between the frames of their bikes.

You sure? Of all the M8 owners I've read posts from on the HD board the vast majority report positively on the new platform, and many of them specifically mention the smile on their face each time they twist the wick. It's not a bulletproof powerplant yet but there are already reports of 100K milers without issue, and they flat out go when you want them to.
 

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You sure? Of all the M8 owners I've read posts from on the HD board the vast majority report positively on the new platform, and many of them specifically mention the smile on their face each time they twist the wick. It's not a bulletproof powerplant yet but there are already reports of 100K milers without issue, and they flat out go when you want them to.
I've seen more than a few reports of some M8's burning down with less than 5,000k on the clock. A couple of them with less than 1,000 even. Maybe these were earlier engines? Not sure, but it was problematic enough to give the engine a "rep" for reliability issues.

As for the smile with the throttle twist....I'm betting its a big improvement from what they're used to seeing from "Harley", but by no means is an M8 a power house. The stock 107 and even 110 dyno in the low-80's at the tire. That's less than our 1800's put out 16-years-ago?

I guess when they start shelling out the bucks for the multi-stage upgrades they start to come alive, but that's not something I'd be willing to do with an engine with an already questionable track record?!?

One a side note, I was just checking out a buddies new (to him) 2017 Road Glide Screaming Eagle 110 and the thing was just beautiful. While I still believe that Harley's are waaaaay overprice and you're most certainly paying a premium to be part of the "cool kids club", there's no arguing their fit and finish is second to none. Makes me wonder how the VTX would compare if Honda still made it today?

God I wish Honda would start building power cruisers again. :(
 

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I've seen more than a few reports of some M8's burning down with less than 5,000k on the clock. A couple of them with less than 1,000 even. Maybe these were earlier engines? Not sure, but it was problematic enough to give the engine a "rep" for reliability issues.

As for the smile with the throttle twist....I'm betting its a big improvement from what they're used to seeing from "Harley", but by no means is an M8 a power house. The stock 107 and even 110 dyno in the low-80's at the tire. That's less than our 1800's put out 16-years-ago?

I guess when they start shelling out the bucks for the multi-stage upgrades they start to come alive, but that's not something I'd be willing to do with an engine with an already questionable track record?!?

One a side note, I was just checking out a buddies new (to him) 2017 Road Glide Screaming Eagle 110 and the thing was just beautiful. While I still believe that Harley's are waaaaay overprice and you're most certainly paying a premium to be part of the "cool kids club", there's no arguing their fit and finish is second to none. Makes me wonder how the VTX would compare if Honda still made it today?

God I wish Honda would start building power cruisers again. :(

You, me, and many others wish the same thing.


I looked at every other brand before replacing my VTX with a Harley Deuce. Traded that in pretty quickly for my Fat Boy. I have no regrets.


As I've said in other posts, I believe my FB would leave my VTX off the line. But my VTX would outrun it in the long haul. What makes me smile and enjoy this bike tremendously is the massive grunt it has a low speeds and rpms, above 2K and up to 4K). And mine is completely stock. My VTX 1800 could not compare.
 

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There are a couple of significant problems with some of the M8s Nate, and primarily in the touring line, it's still a new platform and somethings have yet to be ironed out.

I would agree on the same model years statement. In fact I'd be willing to bet that the VTX, 1300 and 1800, had the fewest problems of any motorcycle from all other brands in those model years when it was being produced.

The sumping issue with the M8 has largely been isolated to those doing stage 3/4 upgrades without oil pump upgrades. I am amazed at how many people do this with a brand new engine. I am not aware of too many other issues with the M8 that couldn't be attributed to a QC issue in manufacture. In that though, I think it is very important to remember that the number of M8s Harley sold in the US would exceed any other single engine configuration for a motorcycle sold in the same time period. Odds are if there is a QC issue, one would see larger numbers of them, that's just simple math.


I agree, the VTX was an incredibly solid platform. They aren't the only ones either. The Star (Yamaha) 1700 and 1900 air cooled pushrod engines have been a solid performer for an air cooled engine. Research shows they were not without their little personality quirks either.
 

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I've seen more than a few reports of some M8's burning down with less than 5,000k on the clock. A couple of them with less than 1,000 even. Maybe these were earlier engines? Not sure, but it was problematic enough to give the engine a "rep" for reliability issues.

As for the smile with the throttle twist....I'm betting its a big improvement from what they're used to seeing from "Harley", but by no means is an M8 a power house. The stock 107 and even 110 dyno in the low-80's at the tire. That's less than our 1800's put out 16-years-ago?

I guess when they start shelling out the bucks for the multi-stage upgrades they start to come alive, but that's not something I'd be willing to do with an engine with an already questionable track record?!?

One a side note, I was just checking out a buddies new (to him) 2017 Road Glide Screaming Eagle 110 and the thing was just beautiful. While I still believe that Harley's are waaaaay overprice and you're most certainly paying a premium to be part of the "cool kids club", there's no arguing their fit and finish is second to none. Makes me wonder how the VTX would compare if Honda still made it today?

God I wish Honda would start building power cruisers again. :(

I feel timeline for horsepower comparisons is irrelevant as these are completely different engines aside from the number of cylinders they have.


If Honda was still making the VTX today it would still be a dual pin crank, overhead cam engine and if it were freshened up maybe 4 valves per cylinder instead of 3, it would still have a stamped and seamed tank and it would still have more plastic than a Harley. AND none of that is bad, even the plastic. These cost cutting measures made it slightly more accessable. Price wise, for a 1800, my bet is that it would be in the neighborhood of $20K. The FB starts at $19K and a Street Bob starts at $14.5K. That's the thing, people see the price tags for the baggers and touring bikes and WOW, they are expensive (not that $14.5K is not a lot of money for a SB) but no one sees those less expensive bikes. When a Valkyrie is $18K, it becomes an issue of what do you really want, and apples should be compared to apples.
 

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I feel timeline for horsepower comparisons is irrelevant as these are completely different engines aside from the number of cylinders they have.


If Honda was still making the VTX today it would still be a dual pin crank, overhead cam engine and if it were freshened up maybe 4 valves per cylinder instead of 3, it would still have a stamped and seamed tank and it would still have more plastic than a Harley. AND none of that is bad, even the plastic. These cost cutting measures made it slightly more accessable. Price wise, for a 1800, my bet is that it would be in the neighborhood of $20K. The FB starts at $19K and a Street Bob starts at $14.5K. That's the thing, people see the price tags for the baggers and touring bikes and WOW, they are expensive (not that $14.5K is not a lot of money for a SB) but no one sees those less expensive bikes. When a Valkyrie is $18K, it becomes an issue of what do you really want, and apples should be compared to apples.
Hard to say what configuration the engine (or the bike itself) would be. I often wonder just how close that concept drawing of a 2nd Gen VTX was, to making it to fruition before Honda pulled the plug in North America? It may have been a revised version of the old 1800, or it may have been something completely new? One thing the Japanese companies aren't afraid to do, that Harley Davidson has always been sceptical about, is evolve. How many styling and engine changes have the Metrics had in the last 20-years, vs HD?

As far as price point goes....also hard to say, though my feeling is your price point for the VTX might be on the high side? After all, bikes like the Suzuki M109R that were around when the VTX was still in production are still built today and would likely be their direct competition and price range....and they start at around $15k US. And while the Street Bob is in that price range, it would be more akin to the VTX 1300 (or whatever modern variation of it would be) by comparison, IMO.

That being said....the new Fat Bob is one sexy MoFo. Up until the last couple of years, HD wasn't even on my radar as far as potential bikes. Gotta tell you though....if i do ever decide to give up my VTX, that Fat Bob, the Fat Boy, or the new Breakout would be serious front runners for next bike.
 

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Hard to say what configuration the engine (or the bike itself) would be. I often wonder just how close that concept drawing of a 2nd Gen VTX was, to making it to fruition before Honda pulled the plug in North America? It may have been a revised version of the old 1800, or it may have been something completely new? One thing the Japanese companies aren't afraid to do, that Harley Davidson has always been sceptical about, is evolve. How many styling and engine changes have the Metrics had in the last 20-years, vs HD?

As far as price point goes....also hard to say, though my feeling is your price point for the VTX might be on the high side? After all, bikes like the Suzuki M109R that were around when the VTX was still in production are still built today and would likely be their direct competition and price range....and they start at around $15k US. And while the Street Bob is in that price range, it would be more akin to the VTX 1300 (or whatever modern variation of it would be) by comparison, IMO.

That being said....the new Fat Bob is one sexy MoFo. Up until the last couple of years, HD wasn't even on my radar as far as potential bikes. Gotta tell you though....if i do ever decide to give up my VTX, that Fat Bob, the Fat Boy, or the new Breakout would be serious front runners for next bike.

Yup, too true. The Japanese are not afraid to evolve, change, experiment, ride the wave. Unlike Harley, they have not built a culture on their platform. If Harley were to go water cooled, overhead cams, and dual pin cranks, well then it's a V-Rod, and for some reason Harley just didn't do really well with that. Creating a culture served them very well at one time, but that is now biting them in the arse.


If, for instance, Honda were to move the Goldwing to a V-Twin platform, I sincerely doubt it would be without a great deal of noise from their current loyalists. People love that flat 6 for power and smooth, uber reliable operation. That's the problem with creating a platform your core customers demand. Unlike Harley though, Honda is incredibly diverse, and has the resources to make both a V-Twin option and a flat 6 option. Harley can't afford to alienate the faithful, but they can sit still either. It's a fairly unique situation, and they, without a doubt, need to do some re-inventing of themselves. To do so while keeping the faithful happy will be interesting.


Price point is kinda based on what Star is getting for their big twins, but they really don't have a big twin cruiser anymore. Their 1300 isn't small by any stretch, but it's not 1800cc big either. Seems fewer ccs costs fewer dollars.
 

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There have been a few stator deaths.
Mine died in 2011 at 104,942 miles.
Probably another two dozen died.
1300 and 1800
my 2007 1300 stator died in dec 2015 @38,595 miles, have put 43,000 on new stator
 

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Discussion Starter #35
Wow, I didn't think this was going to draw this much attention. We seem to have got off topic some, but that is ok. A couple years ago I was interested in a demo Triumph with under 100 miles at a very good price then did some research only to find out that model had issues so I passed. I believe it was the 1700cc Thunderbird 2015 model.
 

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Wow, I didn't think this was going to draw this much attention. We seem to have got off topic some, but that is ok.
I'll say we have. Harkon and vtox now have me watching non-stop video's of Fatboy's and Breakouts. Better hope one of these bad boys doesn't come into my price range anytime in the rear future....I might have to convert! lol
 

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With the merging of the dyna line into the softails there are now 10 different softails. Prices start at 14,500. That's close to as much as a new VTX1800 Spec 3 in 2007. I don't see how the HDs could be considered unaffordable when comparing them to the same class from other manufacturers.
 

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With the merging of the dyna line into the softails there are now 10 different softails. Prices start at 14,500. That's close to as much as a new VTX1800 Spec 3 in 2007. I don't see how the HDs could be considered unaffordable when comparing them to the same class from other manufacturers.
That is not completely fair though.

The accessories for HD are generally more expensive. And the bikes themselves often require a fair bit more work to the motor.


Wile I wont discount buying a HD, they still are not bikes for the masses. That title belongs squarely to the Japanese bikes.
 

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Except the Japanese are having as much trouble in this market. And some seem to have given up trying very hard. If HDs seem expensive now, think of what will happen if they're competition goes away.
 

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I don't think at this point, HD's direct competition are the Metrics. You are going to have those that either accept metrics, or don't....no matter how good they are. If anything, an alternative to HD for them is going to be Indian. Then of course there will be those die hards that won't consider Indian, because they're owned by a Japanese company....completely ignoring the fact that their "All American Harleys" are about 45% Off Shore at this point themselves, anyway.

Different flavours, I guess.

Bottom line, is that if I were buying new today, the only Metric still building a bike in my flavour is Suzuki. All the others seem to have dropped the "muscle cruiser" altogether and are building these limp wristed "cafe racer" wannabe's, or all out baggers. HD has the opportunity to really capitalise here. I just hope they're smart enough to see it.

There are A LOT of HD dealerships still out there pushg that "boys club" mentality. They rely on repeat sales from those who already own Harleys and the odd new riders. From what I've been led to believe, they aren't interested in picking up the metric crowd....which is a mistake, because there are currently a lot more of them on the road right now, than anything else. If they expect to stay in business....that "exclusivity" mindset has to go away and the "everyman's bike" mentality has to start shining through.

They seem to finally be building the product....now they've just got to figure out a way to market it to the people.
 
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