The VX800 FAQ: Comfort
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9. Comfort

9.1 Fairings/Windshields

Here are some fairing references contributed by Robert Hasenhuendl:

Tim Morrow wrote this regarding his National Cycle Plexistar II, which he uses in the winter months only:

"Installation - dead simple; good instructions, simple hand tools. The only difficult part is that the handlebar clamps are hard to slip under the wires from the control groups, and they don't like to close down onto the handlebars without significant torque being applied to the allen wrench you use to fasten them. Excellent hardware, and a good finish on the edges of the screen. Use - creates a (subjective) 15-20 degree difference in riding comfort. On days when the morning commute is 25 degrees, I can wear clothing normally more suited to 40 degrees. Hands, face, neck, chest, and arms all stay significantly warmer than without the screen. Complaints? Some wind buffeting on the upper third of my helmet (I'm 5'8", 30-inch inseam, 32-inch sleeve) and wind hitting me in the back and pushing me slightly forward at highway speeds... ...I recommend this windshield to those who, like me, don't want a permanent fairing. If I had it to do over again, I think I'd order the slightly larger Plexifairing II in hopes that all the air would be diverted completely over my head."

Regarding how to reduce turbulence, Brian Smith posted the following (the Streetshield GT he refers to is made by National Cycle):

"The key to getting clean, low-turbulence air over the top of any shield is to allow sufficient air to flow around the back side of the fairing. Take a look at the motorized windscreens on the new BMW touring bikes. They have what could be called a huge air gap between the top of the body work and the bottom of the fairing. This allows a lot of air to flow in up the back side of the wind shield. This air does two things: 1.) It fills the dead air capsule just enough to prevent the violent reverse flow that happens when the wind goes up and over the shield and then comes back around only to hit the rider in the back of the helmet. You see this effect in convertible cars. With the top down, invariably you will notice that the hair on the heads of the passengers is being pushed forward by the reverse flow wind blast off the windshield. Porsche has solved this problem on their new Boxster by installing an air dam in back of the passengers headrests. & 2.) The flow of air up the back of the shield reduces the strength of the shear layer coming off the top of the shield. The shear layer is that zone where the air velocity changes very quickly from essentially zero behind the shield to the speed of the air you're driving through. It also tends to push the shear layer farther up than if there were no air coming up the back of the shield. Some windshields which are designed to fit snugly against the top of the headlight housing will do a good job of deflecting air off of the lower torso but generally won't help keep your helmet in still air."
"Since I am 5' 9", my helmet rides in relatively clean air with the StreetShield. My line of sight is slightly above the top of the shield. I have it mounted so that there is about a 2 to 3 inch air gap between the bottom of the shield and the tach/speedo gauge cluster. The gauge cluster tends to turn the air and force it up along the back of the shield. The StreetShield is also wide enough to keep air off of my shoulders and arms."
"Motorcycle aerodynamics is a highly experimental science(?!). Feel free to try different set ups. I'm sure you'll hit on something that will work for you. Good luck in your quest for an ideal windshield."

9.2 Handlebars

Robert Hasenhuendl contributes:

"(Bar-End Weights) I've changed bars twice since I got my VX and haven't noticed any more vibration without the bar-end weights that the stock handlebars have."
"(Handlebars) In order to get a more aggressive driving position, I installed flat bars (Tommaselli model 226 Flat Bar or Emgo Flat Bar). I didn't have to change any of the hardware to install them. They do make you lean more forward, but not too much. They have to stay relatively flat otherwise they'll knock the tank when you go from lock to lock. The switch assemblies (horn/turn signals & starter) have to be angled downwards a lot, so much in fact, that the horn button is out of site and *almost* inaccessible. The Tommaselli flat bars are shorter than the ones I had last year (I don't know what they were) and with the grips installed one inch past the end of the bars, the clutch cable-arm is right up against the handle-bar clamps. A set of bar-end weights would probably solve the problem by bringing the grips back out to the end of the bars."
"In an attempt get a more aggressive driving position without risking damage to my tank, I installed a set of Tommaselli model 233 Road Racing style bars which actually veer forward, then back and down. I didn't change any hardware when I installed these, but I did have to play around with the clutch cable-arm (position, not shape). Because of the way they are angled, they can be installed either way (upside down, or right-side up). I originally had them installed upside down, this gave me an even more aggressive driving position than having them right-side up, but are uncomfortable due to the fact that most of my upper-body weight is now supported by my wrists and palms. I now have them installed right-side up. The driving position is less aggressive than before, but still more than the flat bars."

Rick Blunden writes:

"I installed a late model (1990's) Yamaha Seca II handlebar to my VX with no changes to cables or hoses. The Seca bar is narrower, flatter, and lower than the stock VX bar, and it creates a comfortable forward lean for the rider. I did not install bar weights, and my mirrors are clear at all speeds except idle. When pushed from lock to lock, the bar does not hit the tank. I had to drill holes in the Seca bar to accept the clamp-on electrical housings, and I shortened the VX plastic throttle tube so I could install shorter hand-grips. The choke cable is routed outside its wire guide at the speedometer, the clutch cable runs through the wire guide at the speedometer, and the throttle cable and front brake hose are routed outside of their wire guide at the tachometer. This is a clean and simple installation that allows the rider to avoid grabbing so much wind and still maintain a high level of comfort with no windshield at speeds less than 70-75 mph. I paid $10 for a good Seca bar at a mc wrecker. For someone looking for a lower, flatter bar, this option is worth considering."

9.3 Seats

I happen to really like the stock VX seat. It gives me room to move around on a long trip, and the slope up to the rear seat is in the perfect place to tilt my pelvis forward and keep my back straight.

But many folks don't like the seat. Corbin makes a VX seat, and here's what Ron Lotton said on the list:

" that I am using the Corbin seat, I'm quite pleased. I'll point out some of the things that I have noticed."

" - You sit lower. A combination of a dished out butt area and rounded, instead of square edged, sides in the thigh area make for a shorted reach to the pavement."

" - The seat is much heavier than stock. I would guess that it is 10 lbs. heavier."

" - It completely cures the "sliding down hill" syndrome and I feel more in control when breaking hard."

" - It is very comfortable for trips that are less than 100 miles in one sitting. (Though other people have reported how comfortable it is to tour on, I have only had the opportunity to test it up to one hour at a time.)"

Charlie Keefe likes his home-modified seat:

The Road to Comfort

I used the above site to customize the stock VX seat. I bought one sq. foot of their Atomic foam and cut out the section in front of the stock seat's step. I also moved the step back 3/4" for more room. I cut out the stock foam the same thickness of the Atomic stuff (which is about 1 1/2" thick I believe). I glued the new stuff in and filed it down to match the old tapers and to customize the the seat to my own ass-print. I used a hand plane and rough coarse sandpaper to shape the AF.

The old seat would sack down after about an hour and force my torso back and my knees up. The Atomic foam doesn't sack and because it sits on at least 1" of old foam, you get the benefits of another layer of vibration control that you don't get from a Corbin seat. I left the cover loose for 100 miles where I could reshape any area that I wanted. After that, I secured the cover and have been very happy with the results as I like the stock seats basic shape.

9.4 Luggage

Suzuki offered luggage as an option for the VX, but you probably won't find it anymore, since it was discontinued. It was made by Krauser.

Givi makes really good luggage, and several VX owners have reported success with it on their bikes. The company has a web site at

The total width of a VX with their E45 bags installed is 40". One E45 bag will hold two full-face helmets, the E36 bag won't even hold one. The E360, on the other hand, will hold a full face helmet.

Here's some pertinent info, as of 10/96:

        Wing Rack: $139

        Mounting Kit: $46 (varies from bike to bike; model specific)

        E360 Luxia bags: $156.50 each

        E50 Top case: $183

        Total: $498 without the top case; $681 with the case, plus shipping.

        Givi Concessionaires USA

        805 Pressley Road, Suite 101

        Charlotte, NC 28217

        Phone: (704) 679-4123  Fax: (704) 679-4133

They also have an email address:

It seems to be important to brace the Givi bags to keep them from "flapping", by bridging them at the rear. The side brackets will flex and may eventually break otherwise. Apparently Givi makes such a brace, but Tim Morrow fashioned one from 1"x3/16" steel strap, bent in a square-U shape. The base of the U is 13-3/4" wide, passes between the license plate and the fender, and is bolted to the fender. The arms extend forward with a hole at 8-3/16" which mates with the bolts (longer replacements, actually) that attach the sidemounts to the brackets that go forward to the passenger footrests. Click to read Rick Blunden's erudite sharing of his Givi installation experience . Givi may have improved their design since Rick wrote that -- Jim Chen reported not having any clearance problems during the installation.

9.5 Racks

Suzuki sold a small combination passenger backrest and luggage rack as an option. The rack was very small -- the one I saw looked like it would hold a single sleeping bag bungied to it, and not much more. I'm told it's useful for carrying a spare helmet.

If you have the Suzuki backrest, you should knokw this, contributed by Steve L.:

"In 1993 Suzuki issues a Service Bulletin with a fix for the Backrest. Suzuki manufactured 2 'U' shaped brackets that bolt upside-down over the thin metal 'wings and onto the frame bolts below them.' I recently discovered this bulletin and visited my dealer. Suzuki informed them that the brackets were no longer available, but the dealer could fabricate them to dimensions supplied by Suzuki and Suzuki will cover the bill."

Givi also makes a "Monorack" for the VX, which allows mounting just a top case.

Ventura makes a "Bike-pack" system, which replaces the grab handle with either a short rack or a tall one, over which one of their soft packs can be fitted. Both racks mount on the same set of L-brackets, so you can use both pretty easily. The soft packs come in several sizes, and can be zipped together, for pretty huge capacities. Ventura is a New Zealand company -- the importer is Headgear Specialties, in Edmonds, WA -- (800)688-6439. Anthony Thompson had this to say:

"The rack consists of two bars which replace the handhold/bungee hook bars at the back of the bike and a separate rack which slips over the ends of the bars. Two styles of racks are available, I bought the small sport bike rack. In theory you could have one rack and different mounting bars for different bikes. Quality is excellent other than the paint which rubs off where the bungees are wound around it. Installation was absolutely bolt on."

9.6 Throttle Locks

Sometimes called "cruise controls", a throttle lock can help reduce hand and wrist fatigue on long trips. Several people report that the "NEP Cruise Control Model CC-4" installs on the VX with no trouble at all. I believe you can also get a device called a Throttlemeister, which replaces the right hand end weight with a twisting lock mechanism. They're more expensive, but apparently very well made, and they definitely make one that fits the VX.

In the cheapo category, you can also use a large rubber O-ring. The trick is to store it on the bar end-weight, and roll it up against the grip when you need it. Caterpillar (the tractor company) has one that works well: Yellow O-ring (Part# 8M4991 - $2.70) - Black O-ring (Part# 5H7370 - $2.00).

9.7 Heated Grips

If you ride in cooler weather, you know that your hands can get cold, and that insulated gloves can only do so much. You can get electrically heated gloves (and vests, and chaps, and socks...) to help with this. You can also install heated grips. They're not as warm as gloves, but the advantage is that they're always there, ready to be used on a cool evening or rainy day. And there are no extra wires to wear. A very cheap solution that several of us on the mailing list have used is to use Kimpex heaters. They're thin wraps that go under your stock grips. They're very cheap: only $20 or so, and they're available from Dennis Kirk (in the dirt bike catalog) among other places. (They're really made for snowmobilers, but don't try other snowmobile grip products -- snowmobile grips are identical left and right, unlike motorcycles.) You simply remove your grips, stick the Kimpex plastic and foil wraps on the bars, and reinstall your grips. To use the Kimpex wraps on the VX, you'll need to do some surgery to the throttle sleeve, to remove the tabs that keep the stock grip from slipping. Be sure and wire the heaters to a switched power source.

The only downside to the Kimpex under-grip heaters is that the throttle side will heat faster, since a) the grip on that side is thinner, and b) the heater is insulated from the bar by the throttle sleeve. One can insulate the left-side bar, then put on the heater wrap, and get a second throttle grip to go over it. This works well. Any thin grip for a 7/8" bar works well as insulation -- one person used the grip from his floor jack.

9.8 Other accessories

Lift Handle

From Tim Morrow:

"The Suzuki factory accessory lift handle is a folding steel handle with a rubber grip that bolts to the frame of the VX using an existing bracket that you can find on the left side of the bike - between the bracket for the passenger peg and the rear shock mounting boss. It folds down and out of the way... This was offered in the U.S. and is sold in the parts department, not the accessory department. It is Suzuki part 43900-45810... it fits fine with the GIVI WingRack system, and makes hefting the bike onto the centerstand MUCH easier."

By the way, there was a thread on the list regarding correct use of the centerstand. The preferred method seemed to be to: Kick the side stand down with left foot before dismounting. Dismount to left side of cycle. Firmly grasp (with your right hand) the rail behind and below the rear plastic side panel, or the lift handle, or your givi rack. Grasp the left grip with your left hand, merely to "aim" front wheel. Press the center stand to the ground with right foot, and tilt the bike away from you until both feet of the stand are in contact with the ground. Shift all your body weight onto your right foot (which is on the extension of the center stand) while lifting with the right hand. The trick is to use your weight on your right foot and not the strength of your back or right arm. The center stand of many bikes, including the VX, provides good mechanical advantage as a lever. It was noted that you can really hurt your back trying to heave the bike backwards on the bars while holding the center stand down and astride the bike.

Fender Extension

Also from Tim:

"The rear fender extension is a Euro-part, an inexpensive and easy bolt-on that vastly reduces the amount of gook splashed up onto the back side of the bike in bad weather. I had a friend who was in England on business, and she visited a Suzuki shop there and ordered it for me. As I recall, it cost about $22 U.S. (13-14 pounds). Any British Suzuki dealer should be able to order and ship you one."

Spare Keys

If you need a duplicate key for your VX, you can use a common automotive blank as a replacement: one poster suggested a Curtis blank, code number YM59, and another a Cole DA24 (this one was also marked "X114"). These are both Datsun blanks. Another uses an ILCO blank marked "X179 SUZ12"

9.9 Body Repairs

Randy Ashurst reports an excellent experience with a fellow named Chuck who is based in Heber Springs, Arkansas. We don't have much else other than Randy's very strong endorsement based on the quality of the repairs and the price.

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