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V-Star 650--flatfooting isn't everything

submitted by The Trout in the Milk

When I bought my first bike I had only one criterion--the ability to flatfoot (on a good day I might make 5'1"). But I found out fast that flat-footing isn't everything; in fact, I found that out the first time I sat on a Shadow VLX. It felt like sitting on a cow. Then I tried a V-Star. Oh, it felt good. So I bought it.

But there was something I hadn't considered. The V-Star is a great bike, and I loved the one I had, but I never realized until I actually started riding just how wide those handlebars are. At almost a yard apart, the handlebars on a V-Star are designed for someone with loooong arms. And the reach...was beyond my reach. Same for the foot controls. My riding position looked like a hunchback sitting down with her feet straight in front of her, trying to touch her chin to her knees! I could do it, but after 75 miles my back was in agony.

A set of Baron's handlebar risers brought the grips about 4" closer to me, so I lost the osteoporosis look, but the bars were still a yard apart, and for the year and a half that I owned that bike, I spent most of it looking like a swooping buzzard. It made curves really hard to deal with because I felt off-balance with my arms spread so wide.

The stock seat needs to be firmed up, or you should substitute a Mustang Touring Seat. The bike's range (about 200 miles on one tank of gas) usually far exceeded my butt's range! And if you're a bit on the vertically challenged side, consider getting narrower handlebars. V-Stars from 2001 onward, I believe, offered floorboards instead of foot pegs, which is wonderful news to those with short legs; I wish I'd had them myself, but mine was a '99.

Summary: The V-Star is a great bike in every respect, powerful (as long as you don't do two-up in the hills, or try to go above 90mph on the interstate), smooth, and is beautiful to look upon. Just be careful if you are short--check your arms and back as well as your legs, because flat-footing isn't everything!

Thanks to "The Trout in the Milk" for submitting this personal review. Trout says, "I've been riding off and on almost 4 years (long story). Had the fever all my life but not able to indulge until I hit 40, and now life is sweet. Started with a V-Star 650 and now ride a Virago 1100. Member of WOW and AMA, and hope soon to join "Women in the Wind"!"

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