400cc Cruisers

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by DesmoNut, Sep 17, 2011.

  1. DesmoNut

    DesmoNut Active Member

    I think I might be in the market, someday soon, for a 400cc cruiser. Thing is, I know absolutely nothing about them, having been a sports bike enthusiast - small classic sports bikes especially - for the past 40 biking years.

    I've had a quick look on various websites and there seem to be 6 models that crop-up pretty frequently; Honda 400 Steed & Shadow, Yam 400 Dragstar & Virago, Suzi 400 Intruder and Kawasaki 400 Vulcan.

    Can anyone offer any advice that might help in making a choice? I live in rural Khon Kaen and decent mechanics are not too easy to find here, although that's not a big problem since I do my own maintenance.

    I'm well aware of the limitations of these things re. performance & handling so am not particularly interested in that sort of information. More the practicalities of living with the bikes - reliability, durability of finish, comfort, fuel economy, etc. Shaft drive or chain? Official imports and therefore having a green book or grey import without? Is there a good selection of after-market stuff? Hope you get the idea. All the models I mention seem to be priced very similarly. I've seen the occasional 600 version of some of these for sale and might also consider one of those but really I'm leaning towards the 400s.

    I'm a short, lightweight bloke - average Thai size, I suppose - and would use the bike for days out locally - 400-500 km round trips - with my wife on the back; she's small too. She hates speed which is why speed isn't a consideration.

    Anything relevant gratefully received. Thanks.

    Martin.
     
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  3. Ozjourno

    Ozjourno Ol'Timer

    Sounds like you have absolutely picked the right mark given your size and ride expectations. The only offer I make regarding performance, concerns your environment. Cruisers have little ground clearance which, on the flat, is a benefit. However, especially where there are two of you on the bike, riding in mountainous environments means you will dig a lot of holes in the road on the corners if you are in even a moderate hurry.

    Cruisers are generally built like a battleship, easy to clean and maintain, very well finished and these days the ergonomics have been refined to such a point that all day riding will leave you refreshed and crucially, without a sore back and forearms. The Honda 400 would be my personal favourite. Size, handling, finish, technological sophistication and the extensive service network are all plusses.

    Add a decent windscreen and a set of panniers and it seems to me you will be comfortable, dry and ready for the big trips. On top of that, the low stress placed on the very reliable 400s means you will not need a decent mechanic past your first service.

    And the 400 is 10 steps ahead of say the Honda Phantom 200....and a quick look at the impressive reputation of that little plugger should help reaffirm that the 400 will do the job nicely.
     
  4. Ricohoc

    Ricohoc Ol'Timer

    I have a 400 Drag Star -- shaft drive -- and I love the bike in every way. It is good and convenient even in town to maneuver through traffic and has enough get up and go and pickup to keep from getting run over by those in cars who like to cut into your lane too quickly or try to nudge you to the side of the road. The 200cc Phantom wasn't enough to keep up with highway traffic. The 400cc gives just enough power to escape the potential hazards.

    I would never buy a bike without a green book. That's just me. I have heard of a few stories of big bikes being seized, but it is rare. In fact, I have never been stopped on my big bikes, only on my scooter when darting through town. I don't want to take the chance of spending that kind of money on something and then have it impounded overnight without recourse.

    When riding with my wife on the back -- one of Thailand's CSIs -- I have noticed a slight decrease in my ability to pass on the highway. It is not even an issue with the 1600cc. I don't even know she's on the back of that one.

    Good luck in your search, Desmonut! :thumbup:
     
  5. DesmoNut

    DesmoNut Active Member

    Thanks for your contributions, Ozjourno & Ricohoc. Some good info. to consider there.

    I've never really liked the looks of the Steed so I think that's out, plus it's chain final drive. The shaft drive of the Dragstar & Shadow would swing it for me but can't really make a choice until the two bikes can be inspected. But THE most important consideration is ...... will Mrs. DesmoNut be comfortable on the back??? In that respect, they both look very similar in pictures.

    Big Cycle Udon Thani seems to have a good selection of bikes, but pricey I'm told. Khon Kaen - my nearest city - doesn't seem to have the same level of choice unless someone can tell me differently.
     

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