Pros: Outstanding cruiser, comfort, a real looker on the street!
Cons: Just a step behind the Honda Gold Wing in power.
I just put over 600 mile on the new 2003 Yamaha Venture Midnight Edition...
(Allow me to fuss and tingle for a moment before I write a straight forward review...ok, I've shaken myself and made my mouth close that all day smile! Really...I'm fine now)
I did some serious soul searching before I made the plunge into the "Big-Boy" touring department. I read every single magazine review from Motorcycle Rider, Cruiser, Rider, and Cycle World, and was convinced that the authors of each magazine was hell bent on confusing me even more!
I mean, one rider/author loved the Gold Wing for it's "wonderful" handling. But then he'd write how the Harley had a "special feel" to it! Then he'd go on and add..."the Venture's sound system and smooth approach to traveling makes me want to get that bike and take it cross country."
Talk about confusion! They all wrote similar articles like the above mention author/rider and I mean I was dumb-founded!
So I did the logical thing...I test rode each one.
I know you're wondering how I did this, so give me one quick sentence to explain...
...I have a pretty cool job in Washington DC and sometimes, when I flash my "shield" it gets me over! (Those of you out there who understand the lingo, know what I'm talking about!)
...I first tested the Gold Wing, seeing that Honda was having a special where if you had a valid motorcycle license, you could do a demo ride.
Let me tell ya...the Wing is a monster! Turn the throttle, and BOOM...away you go! The bike flat out runs, and is so smooth! I fell in love. (So why didn't I buy it? Hold your horses and let me finish)
I then test rode the Harley. This was an easy task seeing that many of my buddies own the Ultra Classic.
I enjoyed the "mystic" of the Harley. You know, the low grumble of the pipes as you pull away from the traffic light. The looks you get from the ladies as you casually ride by. The Harley tradition in this country, especially on the east coast. I loved every minute on the bike! (So why didn't I buy it? Hold on, let me finish!)
Then I found a Yamaha Venture. This my friends was no easy task. Alot of dealers don't carry the Venture on their show rooms, so I had to call around the area to finally locate a dealer who had one out. I then had to beg, borrow and beg some more to get a demo ride.
Once I did, I was really impressed! I expected the worst, and as we all know, when you expect the worst, and get a better result than expected it makes for a pleasant experience.
The Venture's ride was as smooth as the Gold Wing. It was a bit top heavy at first, (it's the heaviest of the 3, weighing 807 pounds) but made up the problem with 180 front tires and 190 rear tires.
The sound system was the best of the three, with the Venture's 14 watt per channel speaker system that was easy to hear at 70 mph. The other 2 bikes have front speakers only, (you can buy the rear speakers as options)and sounded really "mushy" at highway speeds.
I really loved the luggage space on the Venture. The "trunk" has enough room for 2 full face helmets, coffee mugs, and probably my wife's make-up kit if she was there! It was hugh! The saddlebags were also enormous, making the Venture's cargo area the best of the three.
The bike was powered by the V-Max supplied engine. Need I say more! So it's not slow by any means!
It comes standard with AM/FM/Cass/CB 4 speakers, 2 electrical outlets, hookups for the rear passenger sound system and a looks to die for!
Now..the ultimate question. Why didn't I buy the
Gold Wing or the Harley since I "Loved" them so much!
EASY question to answer...THEY COST TO DAMN MUCH!!!!
The Honda Gold Wing with the audio package similar to the Venture would have costed 21,500.00 dollars! (17,688.00 without)
The Harley Ultra Classic is stocked like the Venture, and costs a mere 22,400.00 if you can find one!
The Venture, Special Edition loaded with speakers, CB, nice fat tires, air shocks, enormous cargo room, studded seats, cool special paint job, and the most important factor, looks good to the ladies, costs...are you ready for this?
But hold your horses, if you act now, dealers are willing to get you on the bike for around 15,300.00 out the door!
The bike it awesome! No it's not as fast as the Gold Wing, but it'll keep up. And if you are reading this review, that means you don't really care about speed because you should be close to 40 years old and want comfort and a nice ride!
I would seriously look at the Venture if you are in the market for a Touring Cruiser! The other 2 are excellent machines, but if you want a cruiser with style, comfort, all the amenities necessary to take a 2k or 3k trip out of the show room, the Venture is the bike for you!