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After my trip to France in the summer 2004 it was time to have the bike serviced and for the second time that year I headed down to my mechanic Holtug MC. After talking in the shop for a while as they started to work on my bike I convinced the owner (or was it him that convinced me) to let me try a used Honda VTX 1800 he had just taken in.

That is one huge mother of a bike and it had all the bells and whistles; wind screen, studded saddlebags and a pair of Cobra exhausts. The bike was from 2001 and had 34.000 km (21.000 miles) on the clock. But the previous owner had taken so good care of it that it looked brand new.

I’ve tried a few of the bigger cruisers and I guess I’ve gotten used to the road capabilities (or lack there of) of that motorcycle type . But the VTX 1800 actually rides, even though with its almost 350 kg (770 lbs) it’s quite a hand full. Well you don’t feel as if you’ve been shot out of a canon when twisting the throttle, but it pulls away real nice. Actually I found my self cruising slowly down the back roads with 110-120 km/t (75 MpH). But I swear Mr. Police it felt like I was going 80 km/t (50 MpH).

The VTX 1800 is very high-tech for a cruiser, having both hydraulic clutch, upside-down fork, cast aluminium wheels and a Dual Combined Brake Pressure Equalization System. The Brake system means that when pressing the back brake some of the pressure is channelled to the front brakes as well. All in all these features makes the VTX a very easy handling and modern cruiser.

There’s no doubt this bike could take you to the end of the world and back with 160 km/t (100 MpH) which is not the case for many of the cruisers out there. But then again should it be? If you are in the market for one of the big eastern cruisers, this bike deserves to be on your short-list. It rides and sounds insane and is technically more advanced than the Motor Company competitors, but it lacks the 100 years of history. So I guess it’s a question of being a HD fan or not, cause the price is almost up there with the Milwaukee’s.

Rating after riding a couple of hours: First impression rating 3/5 helmets
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428 Responses to “Honda VTX 1800 – The biggest V-twin I’ve ever ridden.”

  1. OzarkMark  March 8th

    Hey Nick,
    Try cruisercustomizing.com
    They have nearly everything on the market for your VTX. Good luck!

  2. roger  March 20th

    i love this web site, i just bought my first 2005 honda 1800r, took a short ride on it last friday night. took it to my local handa shop for its first 8,500 miles service, it has 9,500 miles on it. when i get back from work will go pay for that then i am havinf new tires put on it. thats about all it needs. was wanting a big bike for my wife and i to take some trips on the road and came across this one, one owner, always kept inside. babied. and best of all, $5,700.00, keep the wind in you face, roger

  3. Joel D.  April 12th

    I was riding an 1100 and on a slow Friday afternoon started surfing Ebay for 1800’s. I put a rediculous bid on one in Chicago thinking someone would come in behind me and outbid. Nope…45 minutes later I owned my first 1800C. It’s a 2003 model…although they haven’t changed much in design with the newer models. I flew from DC to Chicago to pick it up and ride it home. The ride home was great and I thought I’d reached Nirvana. But when I got home and hit DC traffic for first time I thought I’d made a big mistake. I’m not too big a guy and the VTX is a BIG bike. But after a few times working through the traffic and getting the feels I realized I was one happy VTX owner. I’ve since moved from DC to Stuttgart, Germany, and had the bike shipped over with me. My wife and I ride everywhere and we’ve seen a lot of Europe on it. I hope to sell it before I punch out at the end of the year and buy a newer model when I return to DC. Keep the shiny side up, Dudes!

  4. Blinker  April 12th

    @Nick O
    I had a similar problem. I found that, if you get the wires and cables out from under the tank, you’ll have a lot more room. I used a 4 up riser which made the cables pretty tight. Barely tank to tank. But I got run over, so, in the rebuild leaving the cables out from under the tank gave me all the room I need.

    I admit I’m a big guy. I’m comfortable now. I can use the risers and the added slack lets me pull the bars down a bit more. Which makes then fit better. And, yeah, I thought about just buying a newer bike, rather than pay the thousands the dealer wanted to install new bars and cables.

  5. Steve R  April 23rd

    Yo Guys, I just got the bike I wanted for along time. A 05 VTX 1800 N with 1905 miles on it. This is one awsome beast. Balanced well, smooth ride and more power than I ever dreamed of. Can’t wait till my first road trip, very soon.

  6. Steve R  April 23rd

    Oh by the way I got the bike for $5250.00 and the greatest guy owned it since new. He took it to local mechanic and had the tank, lines and injectors cleaned out, filled it with gas, oil change, tires pumped to specs and even gave me a new helmet with it. But the best of it is he trailered it over 600 miles and delivered it too my door at no charge. One great deal and now a new friend for life.

  7. Steve R  April 23rd

    Yo nick google up honda vtx 1800 acessories and you will find everything.

  8. Darryl  May 20th

    I bought my VTX 1800 two years ago. At the time I lived in Alabama and was riding a Honda Shadow 1100 Sabre 2005 model. I have no complaints about it at all. My wife and I made a lot of trips to Panama City Beach Florida for bike week and other places. When I bought it it was a bike I really enjoyed and the other big thing it was in my price range at the time. We took time and a few more dollars and dressed it up and it’s one nice machine. Two years ago through hard work and my wife’s help I saved enough and we bought the new 1800 VTX. I can tell you they tried to sell me the 1300 at the Honda shop and tried to tell me that the 1800 was too heavy and that I would not be happy. Well they were wrong. It handles great in and out of traffic. I’m 53 and have some problems from the gulf war. At first I was worried that it would be hard to move around if I had to push it back but not the case. It moves easily and the balance seems to be fine. I would not buy anything else. It’s a choice I’m glad I made. I know that the 1300 is a nice bike because I have ridden one but for the price I paid I feel the 1300 would have been the wrong choice. I agree with a lot of you it is a big machine but once your on the road and you have two or three thousand miles behind you on one you’ll be happy with your choice. I think the only thing I wish was different is I have the C model and it has the short fenders, I would like to have fenders like my 1100 has. By the way the reason I still have the 1100 is because it is the first bike my wife helped me dress up. I ride it every once in a while around town to keep her in good shape. The big difference is when your trying to make a quick move those carburetors just aren’t as responsive as fuel injection. Any one who is thinking about the 1800 I say go for it. You will not be disappointed. It travesty well and is a comfortable bike.

  9. Joel D.  May 23rd

    Darryl…totally on the same page as you with regard to your choice to go with the 1800. I said as much in my earlier blog. I ride the C model, too. A 2003. I’m in Germany now but when I return to the US next year I plan on getting a later model…2009 probably. As for performance I’m not sure if there’s much difference between the other VTX models so I’ll likely stick with the C. Anyway, keep the shiney side up and enjoy the ride.

  10. MN VTX  June 9th

    Friends, I need your help. My 1800 is ill and not able to perform. I need to know what medicine it requires. I starts fine and idles as always. Once it gets under any load at all, it stalls out. I just need to reprime it and then start it and same thing all over again. Unfortunately I got about a mile, a very hilly mile from home until it decided to kill for the first time. It is about 72 miles into a tank of gas where I typically get 125 miles, so appears gas should be ok. I did wash it recently, so maybe water. To the best of my knowledge (two years) it is on the same fuel filter. Oh yeah, maybe 6 tanks of gas ago it was completely stripped and repainted. Hoping one of you have been here and can tell me what I need to do to make my baby better. If it is a fuel filter, are they hard to do? One more hint, if this helps, it did die on the freeway (70 MPH) maybe two weeks back (two tanks of gas ago). That time it started right up. Help please, I am in MN and 5 out of our ten annual riding days are gone already…. 🙂

  11. David Packer  June 9th

    Sorry for your troubles. I had a Honda Nighthawk that used to do that and turned out to be electrical. Look at regulator too.

  12. Tony in Ky  June 11th

    I have a 2008 VTX that has 6000 miles. I was wondering if all VTX’s have a really loud gear box. When I change gears there is a really loud clank. Had the oil changed at 4000 miles with synthetic oil but didn’t make it any better. Seams to have gotten louder. Any suggestions?

  13. David Packer  June 11th

    That’s the bike, they all do that. Especially the big clunk into 1st gear. It’s normal for the VTX.

  14. Doug C.  July 2nd

    I own a 2003 VTX 1800 R that now has 43,000 miles on it. Bought it as a leftover in 2004, right out of the box for $9300. Added a set of National Cycle Cruiserline saddlebags, Memphis Shades windshield and a truck load of chrome, including Hardchrome Double-walled Kicker pipes that give it a serious roar. For me, the VTX is the coolest looking cruiser out there, certainly the best handling.

    Still on the original set of brakes, too, though the fronts will need changing shortly. I hate using the brakes. Engine braking with a full 1800CC engine works better for me. Besides, accelerating is much more fun.

    Anyways, regarding the transmission, mine has always had a definite metallic clunk to it during shifting, yet I’ve never experience any problems as a result. In fact, the only real “repair” work I’ve ever had to do is replace the fork seals, which will be done this week. Front brake disk replacement, too, but that’s more a maintenance issue.

    From a cost of ownership, this bike stands head and shoulders above its peers. Looks are purely subjective, but dollars and cents spent on repairs and maintenance are not and this bike has been a winner from day one for me. I hope the rest of you have the same experience.

    Ride safe, have fun!

  15. Steve R  July 6th

    Hey MN VTX, sounds like you have a clogged fuel filter. Change it and you will be ok and use premium gas also.

  16. Steve R  July 6th

    yo MN VTX the clunking sound is the hydraulic clutch and is a normal sound for these big guy bikes.

  17. David Packer  July 6th

    VTX1800 get 87 octane fuel.

  18. MN VTX  July 6th

    Thank you for the help. I could not find my original post, but the clunking is gone, so I am guessing that when I put on new tires and they serviced the rear differential, that took care of it. As for the not running higher than an idle, well the original owner put on a power commander and used wire nuts. Note to all home mechanics, BUY A SODERING IRON, PLEASE. Any recommendations on a horn upgrade? I do not want the big semi style horns, but I do want to increase the decibles by at least 2X. then a chrome wrap for the radiator and I think I will be done playing for this year……

  19. norris in CA  July 9th

    my bike has over 80,000 miles on it now, and it still is running great!! MNVTX I think it was you that was wondering about the clunking noise in the trans, I have had it for the entire time. I think its normal, but mine gets worse from time to time. I found that the shifter lever gets dirty inside it and becomes hard to shift. I dont know if others have that problem, but when I would change the oil I would take it off and clean it our and put some chain grease in it and it would sound alot better. lol now I have just resorted to squirting a little WD40 on it until the next time it needs it. BUT over 80,000 miles and really nothing to complain about!! I dont think u could say that about a Hardley!! lol I ride my bike everyday, I used to live in AZ, now in CA so the riding season is all year.
    Anyway, all u guys take care, RIDE SAFE AND BE WELL!!!!

  20. Andy  December 29th

    I ride a 07 VTX 1800C, bad ass is all i have to say, love the feel, look, sound and the power. Good buddy of mine rides a M109 and the VTX consistantly out pulls the ‘Zuke. Both bikes are stock. 20 miles on mine when i purchased it and still less than 5000 on it. Still have my pristine 86 V45 for the days i want to feel 10000 rpm’s. Wouldn’t trade either one of them for anything. Ride safe and god bless!!!!

  21. norris in CA  December 29th

    hey Andy, not tooo many posts lately,I was at the International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, CA and talking to the Honda person there. I am not liking that they quit producing the VTX line back in I think 07 was the last year wasn’t it??–and not even the 1800cc V-twin engine at all. I hate that they moved production of all bikes back to Japan. BUT I do like the fact that mine was made in the US and is bigger than the newest stock Hardleys. ;-)haha I really do think that anything on 2 wheels is great!! I ride a 2003 VTX 1800S and I love it. It is my only vehicle and I am on it everyday!! I have over 83,000 miles on it and it does need a clutch, but I am babying it and it is still doing well!! I run metzler 880’s on the front and Kenda 645?? (I think that is the tire model)on the rear. I used to run the Kenda Kruz on the rear, but I am trying this other model. Life if good on a Honda VTX… 😉
    take care have a great time, RIDE SAFE, BE WELL!!!

  22. Andy  December 30th

    Yeah Norris, it must be nice to have biking weather year round. I live in eastern Canada and our biking season is usually mid-May till around early October. My father in law rides a VTX 1300 which is also a nice bike…i have been to California a few times (long haul trucker) and the state is beautiful, would love to be able to do some riding out there!!!

  23. norris reber  April 25th

    not too many have posted for a while, Andy if u see this, it u pull a dry van and empty out in Soutern Utah chances r u will get a load of hay to Long Beach area, I work at a place called Overweight Container Logistics. get a load here and see us in SoCal;-) OK now, I am having a problem and I need some help and suggestions. I have a starting problem. Starter is good and battery is fine, it turns over good, but it won’t fire right off. This morning it took around 3-5 minutes of cranking before it finally fired. The Fuel pump is working well, I hear it working and kicks off when pressure is up. I changed spark plugs, so they r good. Could it be the stator magneto?? most times it does end up firing, but one day I am afraid it isn’t. ANY ideas would be appreciated!!

  24. Daniel  January 21st

    I love my VTX 1800T. Rode it from the Puget Sound to San Diego and back. Never had a hitch and had a comfortable ride.

    I got the bike sponsored and a $100 check to spend on the bike any way I’d like. Check out my video

  25. David  July 1st

    I’ve owned bikes for over 40 years. Got a 2002 VTX 1800C recently and love it. The bike has V&H performance exhaust and a hyper-charger. The rest is stock. It’s a bitch!

    .. live hard, ride hard (Canadian)

  26. Steve  July 28th

    I spoke with a guy who is travelling Europe on one. Made me think about my day job…

  27. Norris in CA  January 18th

    I haven’t posted here for a while, and it looks like no one has for a while. My 2003 VTX 1800S has over 93,000 miles on it and it is still going strong. My clutch has been a little soft for a couple years. If I am going up an incline and I gun it, it slips a little. I have been babying it and it does OK so far. I live in the Long Beach, CA area, if anyone is around here, I go to 5 (Five) Star Motorcycle for service and repairs. When I lived in Arizona I had the tools and place to do some of my own stuff, but here in CA things are a little different. Anyway, I am still on mine everyday and riding strong!!!! I still don’t understand why Honda decided to discontinue this bike, it has been a solid bike for me!! Take care you all, RIDE SAFE!!!!!!!

  28. Norris in CA  October 18th

    hmmm no one posts at all anymore. I am still on my VTX 1800. It has a little over 105,000 on it now, with very little problems. There was one thing…..if anyone has a problem with it starting, sometimes it takes a while of cranking before it fires….check the wires on the nuetral switch on the shifter. Other than that mine is running great!! I did buy a little 150cc Chinese scooter to use if and when my bike goes to the shop. This last time with the starting problem, it took a LONG time for them to finally track it down. If anyone still reads this, RIDE SAFE ALWAYS!! 🙂

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