03 VL800 racing engine? - Suzuki Volusia Forums : Intruder Volusia and Boulevard Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-23-2019, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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03 VL800 racing engine?

Hey, everyone
I need some info. I've recently brought my 03 VL800 down to school and there are several interstates surrounding my college that I use to shorten travel time. Of course, the speed limits range from 65-70 mph. I've ridden at this speed a few times and I'm wondering if traveling at this speed for any prolonged time is over taxing the engine. The bike can do it, but gets buzzy at that speed. For context, the bike has 31k miles but is very well maintained and does not burn oil. I just don't have the money to rebuild an engine, being a poor grad student, so if I am taxing the performance of an 800c.c. Engine I would like to know from people who have delt with this model. Thanks for all future advice.
Best, J.

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-23-2019, 03:44 PM
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Those speeds aren't doing it any good. It's only 800cc. If you want to run those speeds, I suggest you buy a DJ drive. It's a rear drive out of a VL1400 or 1500. It's a different gear range so it lowers your RPM's. I love mine and have been on a few trips of over 1000 miles at hiway speeds.

I can head East or West, it doesn't matter as long as it's on 2 wheels.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-23-2019, 04:50 PM
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You will actually make your engine work harder with a DJ drive
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-23-2019, 06:16 PM
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The bike is not designed to be operated at modern interstate speeds. It is plain out of gas at speeds above 70. It becomes a target at 80. Your engine will not last long wringing it out at those speeds. Seriously. If you have to ride the interstate, buy a different bike.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-24-2019, 09:26 PM
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If you do run at that speed keep a VERY VERY close eye on the oil level. Low oil will kill these engines in a heartbeat. Get a mirror on a extendable handle (auto parts store) and check your oil daily. Remember check the oil with the bike standing up, not resting on the kickstand.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-28-2019, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by scorpion46 View Post
Those speeds aren't doing it any good. It's only 800cc. If you want to run those speeds, I suggest you buy a DJ drive. It's a rear drive out of a VL1400 or 1500. It's a different gear range so it lowers your RPM's. I love mine and have been on a few trips of over 1000 miles at hiway speeds.

You know, perspective is an interesting thing. The first bike I actually owned was a 1982 Kawasaki 250 LTD -- 246cc, single cylinder, whopping 17hp and an enormous 2.1 gallon gas tank. The thing was a torture rack on wheels. The seat was a killer. And buzzy? After 30 minutes hands and feet went numb unless you constantly flexed and rotated them. It would hold about 75 at full throttle -- heck, I recall one day, no wind, full throttle, full-tuck, going juuust slightly downhill, I hit 90. Whoooweee!


But -- I was young and hearty, and I put 18500 miles on the danged thing in just 2 years, probably 2/3 of them on the Interstates, 100 miles between gas stops and 50 between butt-rest stops. The little bugger never faltered or failed, never burned a drop of oil. I ended up selling it to a county sheriff's deputy who retired recently. Ran in to him a few months ago and asked him about it. Amazingly, he still has it. It's still running, although it needs work (I bet!) and is not currently roadworthy, and he told me he's taught 3 grandchildren to ride on it. I asked if he'd sell it back to me -- no way. He said he has another grandkid about ready to ride.


Now my long-distance bike is my '08 C50. Compared to that Kawi, it is a veritable Rolls Royce. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but as far as I am concerned anyone who says 800cc is not enough for Interstate travel is, quite simply, wrong. It's not the fastest thing on the road, to be sure, but if you need 75-80 mph all day long, it'll do it without breaking a sweat. Will it break 100mph? I don't know. I have had it up to 90 a few times, and it was still putting out some pull, but who cares? 90's plenty fast for me, thanks. I ride solo, and wouldn't really care to double up on it with Big Mama plus luggage, but for me and my stuff -- plenty of poke to go around. As far as buzz, the only buzz I feel is just what you're going to get with any fairly decent-sized V-twin, and not nearly as bad as some.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 07:22 AM
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My daughter lives in Charleston, so I visit the area quite frequently. My first ever trip down there was on my C50. All the way from Pittsburgh with my wife on the back of the bike, a week's worth of clothes for both of us crammed into the saddlebags. We made that trip once and only once on that motorcycle. The speed limit on 77 and 26 is posted at 70. If you aren't doing 80, then you're a target as even the rigs running cargo containers will run you over. Sure, the bike can do 80 and even hold that speed on relatively flat ground. But it is spinning the engine at over 5k rpm - with a 6k redline. You're wringing the thing's neck at that point and there's not any throttle left to get out of the way.

It simply isn't made to be ridden like that.

Current Bikes -->
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Past Bikes ----->

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-1991 Harley Sportster 883 XL
-2000 Yamaha XV125
-2003 Piaggio Fly
-2004 Suzuki LS650 - 04-2005 to 07-2008
-2005 Boulevard C50 - 07-2008 to 5-2012
-2012 Vulcan 900 - 05-2012 to 05-2015
-2008 Yamaha FZ6 - 11-2008 to 04-2017
-2006 Star Virago - 05-2011 to 06-2017


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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 02:49 PM
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I attempted to get my C50 to 100mph. According to the dash it pegged out at maybe 102-103, but using the GPS speed on my phone only registered about 95 actual, with a slight downhill. The dash reads a typical 7-8% faster than actual. Texas interstate traffic tends to move 80-90mph (the speed limit is often 80 outside of cities, and there's one toll road where it's 85- traffic moves about 100). I was staying with left lane traffic, but it didn't have a ton in reserve, and up grades it was WOT. Maybe at that 102-103 indicated it was nudging the limiter, who knows.

I can certainly see 2 up with luggage being asked to hold 80+ being uncomfortable- it's only 45ish horsepower. It can't pull it's stock 5th gear to redline unless you're going down a massive hill, so I can't really see the benefit of upping the final drive ratio further. I guess for gentle riding you might eek out a little better mileage, but it's not like this engine has loads of torque to spare to turn taller gears. It needs that lower gearing to barely get out of it's own way stock.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 07:39 PM
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"
Now my long-distance bike is my '08 C50. Compared to that Kawi, it is a veritable Rolls Royce. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but as far as I am concerned anyone who says 800cc is not enough for Interstate travel is, quite simply, wrong. It's not the fastest thing on the road, to be sure, but if you need 75-80 mph all day long, it'll do it without breaking a sweat. Will it break 100mph? I don't know. I have had it up to 90 a few times, and it was still putting out some pull, but who cares? 90's plenty fast for me, thanks. I ride solo, and wouldn't really care to double up on it with Big Mama plus luggage, but for me and my stuff -- plenty of poke to go around. As far as buzz, the only buzz I feel is just what you're going to get with any fairly decent-sized V-twin, and not nearly as bad as some."


I didn't say it won't do it, I just stated that you're not doing the bike any good at those constant speeds. My DJ drive dropped my rpm's down to 3500- 3600 at 65. That's actual 65mph as we know the speedo registers fast. At 55, your actually running closer to 49.

I can head East or West, it doesn't matter as long as it's on 2 wheels.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 08:43 PM
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Columbia to Charleston on I26, I won't drive in a car! Insanity all the way, and I wouldn't do it on any bike, even a Hayabusa. When I go down there, I take the back roads and enjoy the scenery.
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