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2003 Honda VTX1800C – SN413

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Stunning 1 owner from new 6000 miles VTX1800C.

Just serviced and new rear tyre fitted at a cost of over $500.

Unmarked and 100% original, very hard to find like this.

This independent article below sums up the bike.

Honda was curiously missing from the large V-Twin motorcycle cruiser market before the release of the VTX 1800; yet, the company’s smaller Shadow model had been a success, so why hadn’t the big Japanese manufacturer made a greater commitment?

As we all know, bigger is better, especially when it comes to performance cruisers.

Unknown to the public the development of the VTX actually started as early as 1995, the inspiration came in the form of the Zodia.

The Honda Zodia was a wildly popular concept bike that made its way across the world stage from motorcycle show to motorcycle show in 1995.

With its long and low stance with inverted forks, dual-chromed shocks, shaft drive and sleek chrome-hooded headlight, the VTX 1800 was the natural production bike that would follow in its footsteps, albeit slight watered down in terms of its radical design elements.

Five, very quiet years later at the turn of the millennium, Honda unveiled the V-Twin Extreme 1800, or the VTX1800.

The VTX1800 featured the largest displacement production V-twin engine in the world at the time of debut, surpassing the Yamaha XV 1600 and winning the big twin battle, at least for a while anyway.

One of the most formidable production V-twin bikes of its day, according to Honda, the VTX produced 159 Nm of torque at under 3,000 rpm and 101 horsepower at 5000 rpm.

A liquid-cooled, 52-degree V-twin engine with 4-inch cylinder bores and 1,795 cc power the brutish VTX 1800. At the time the VTX boasted Honda’s largest-ever connecting rods and cylinders to accommodate the bore and stroke, each measuring 101mm by 112mm in diameter and stroke, respectively.

The cylinder heads each has a single-overhead camshaft operating two intake valves at 36 mm, and a single 45 mm exhaust. Its two 42 mm throttle bodies supply air to the Denso 50-psi high-pressure fuel injectors. The fuel is delivered through 12 nozzle orifices in each injector, producing an atomized fuel mixture that is highly combustible, for maximum efficiency and power.

The 18.8 kg forged steel crankshaft spins endlessly after being ignited by two iridium tip spark plugs placed in each cylinder. A driveshaft is used to transfer power from the five-speed gearbox to the rear wheel.

When compared to a standard one-piece construction, the crankshaft on the VTX 1800 employs bolted weights to reduce weight by 4 kg and narrows the crankcase by approximately 50 mm.

Offset crankpins help smooth out the power relative to the typical single-crankpin engine which allow for a higher redline, a system first used by Honda on the 1983 Shadow to produce the perfect primary balance.

In addition to this Honda also added dual counterbalance weights on the primary shaft and rubber mountings to reduce the rocking couple vibrations to ensure the rider wouldn’t been shaken to pieces from that brute of an engine.

The engine actually produced such strong “power-pulses” during the prototype stage that the exhaust would try to vibrate its way off the bike. Thankfully Honda resolved this long before the bike hit the dealer showrooms.

The gearbox case houses the oil tank inside of itself within a special closed-crankcase dry-sump oil arrangement. The outcome is an engine that revs more freely for more power and has a lower engine height for better rider ergonomics and a low seat height.

Manifold Air Pressure (MAP) sensors were used as part of Honda’s programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) system’s induction system until the standard throttle position sensor took over at larger throttle opening values.

Additionally, the VTX 1800 included an emission control system that used air injection and a catalytic converter that was controlled by the ECU to lower hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides to levels that satisfied emissions regulations.

Once the engine starts those handsome chrome two-into-one exhaust system produces a deep baritone of an exhaust note, imagine Pavarotti warming up in a low key. The huge engine has excellent torque down low as you’d expect from a V-Twin and yet, somewhat surprisingly, likes to rev out hard on top.

It makes you question why Honda gave the bike five gears at all because the engine is so adaptable that second gear can manage the majority of speeds for any urban settings and third gear will just let you blast up and past the majority of speed limits even on the faster motorways.

The VTX has the traditional squat, muscular attitude of a performance cruiser thanks to its tubular steel frame. Front wheel travel is 130 mm thanks to a large, 45 adjustable 45 mm inverted front fork and is comfortable yet responsiveness when hitting some rougher road lumps and bumps. While chrome dual shocks with a cutting-edge internal valve system are used for the rear suspension that offers 100 mm of wheel travel for the rear.

To put the VTX’s power to the ground and offer great grip, a wide, low, 130/70R-18 radial front tyre and a more aggressive 180/70R-16 radial rear tyre is mounted on the attractive, satin-finish cast aluminium wheels.

The VTX’s sports prowess is more related to appearance and straight-line acceleration than it is to riding on winding roads. It doesn’t flick into turns like a sports bike does due to its enormous wheelbase.

It turns slowly, and steering feels heavy, but it does corner confidently and keeps a smooth line through bumpy bends as the suspension neatly absorbs the knocks while maintaining the bike’s tracking. Don’t forget it’s a big bike and acts accordingly.

The VTX 1800 comes equipped with a modified linked braking system (LBS) which is linked back to front. Pulling the front hand brake lever activates two thirds of the front brake pistons on each caliper. Stepping on the rear pedal activates both rear pistons, plus the middle piston on each front caliper.

When only the rear brake pedal is used, an inline proportioning valve delivers pressure on the front caliper centre pistons. There’s plenty of feel and feedback, you won’t likely sense that it’s linked, and the system helps you come to a stop, quickly and safely when you call on it to.

The stock seat is broad and well-shaped, a two-piece unit that’s comfortable and dampens any rogue vibrations from Honda’s engine. The passenger seat is wider and serves well as a low back rest and is easily removable if you wanted that clean ergonomic look.

The foot pegs are relatively low forcing the riding position into a more relaxed posture. This, combined with the comfortable seat makes long distance riding feel quite effortless on the lower parts of your body. Though if you are going to spend a significant amount of time on the faster roads then I’d recommend investing in the additional front windshield Honda offers. Your neck and upper back will thank me later.

The VTX 1800 boasts a single sleek, chrome plastic-encased headlamp up front. Follow its lines backward to the unique chromed nacelle on the extended fuel tank. The nacelle incorporates the fuel filler cap and various warning/indicator lights.

Positioning them on the tank prevents the chromed handlebar from becoming cluttered with it just having to accommodate the single dial analog speedometer. The whole thing looks like it came from the centre console of a classic Rolls-Royce, it’s a slick unit and a spectacular thing to look at.

The rear fender rails made of machined billet aluminium with their slots and the chromed cover over the rear master cylinder cover scream of Honda’s attention to detail in all the little touches that make the VTX not just “another big cruiser.”

The chromed bullet indictors with their transparent lenses and amber bulbs seem bespoke. The bespoke street-rod appearance is completed with a silver finish on crankcases and cylinders with machined fin edges. The VTX’s street rod appearance is enhanced further by its chopped front and rear steel fenders.

Having handlebars that are semi-swept allows for a comfortable, upright riding position. Comfortable cushioned large-diameter handgrips with triple-clamp assembly and polished aluminium handlebar switch housings are attached.

Alongside the aforementioned windscreen, Honda offered a huge range of accessories to further that custom look for each owner. A passenger back rest, sissy bar, side racks, soft luggage options, chrome engine guards, a solo rack, highway pegs, mini boards, even twin headlights became available later on. With all these available it’d be hard to see why any two VTX’s would ever look alike.

Honda VTX 1800 Spec

  •  Engine:                 Liquid-cooled, 6 valve, SOHC, V-twin
  • Capacity:              1795 cc
  • Max Power:        107 bhp / 78 kW @ 5,000 rpm
  • Max Torque:      163 Nm / 120.2 lb ft @ 3,000 rpm
  • Gearbox:             5-speed manual
  • Top speed:         134 mph / 216 kph
  • Fuel capacity:     15.5 L / 4.3 US Gal
  • Seat height:        695 mm / 27.3 inches
  • Wet weight:       338 kg / 745 lb


How fast is the Honda VTX 1800?

Honda’s VTX is still faster than many of the stock V-twin motorcycle cruisers on the market today. With its 12.5 seconds at 105.5 mph quarter-mile time the beefy 1,195 cc V-Twin will keep pulling hard all the way up until its top speed of 134 mph!

Many sports bikes will certainly have the legs on the VTX but with a 0 to 60 time of 3.7 seconds, you’ll certainly be giving them a run for their money away from the lights.

Buying a used Honda VTX 1800

The VTX1800 didn’t really take off in the UK motorcycle market despite Honda’s attempts. On its initial launch in 2001 the VTX1800’s RRP was £10,000 and just a few years later in 2003 had a huge £1,300 price cut.

Despite it not capturing the hearts and minds of the UK motorcycle cruiser fans the VTX holds it’s value well, just like most Honda’s do and whereas the prices are not looking to jump up any time soon, if you buy one you’ll have peace of mind that you could probably sell it on again for a similar price that you purchased it in a couple of years if you wanted to.

There are only a few available in the UK at this time with many more in the US. In the UK you’ll be looking around 6.5k – 7.5k mostly dependant of mileage.

The UK only received the VTX1800N model as Honda were unsure of how well it would take to the market and didn’t want to over produce. A good call by Honda it would seem.

Is the Honda VTX 1800 a good bike?

When compared to the original Zodia concept motorcycle from which it evolved, the VTX1800 is a more “down-to-earth” performance cruiser. However, it is suitable for everyday use, reliable, and boasts a fantastically thrilling engine. Although it didn’t last long, it was a great addition to the large motorcycle cruiser market.

If you were in the market for one, you’d probably end up with a one-of-a-kind machine thanks to the hundreds of options Honda provided over the few years it was manufactured (at least in the USA).

However, I can’t see the VTX1800 being a good financial investment because it didn’t catch on, and it’s unlikely that it will become a classic unless there is a revival of the huge cruiser style in the near future.

I recently reviewed the Kawasaki Vulcan S 650 and honestly wasn’t impressed. I’m not really a cruiser fan and the Kwacker really didn’t do it for me, it lacked, well everything. The VTX1800 however, turns things up to 11!

Big cruisers should be just that, BIG, shiny and have a powerplant to match. The Honda does that in spades and is quality built to last. I’m still not a cruiser guy but if I was to start looking the Honda VTX1800 would certainly be in the running.



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