2005 V-ROD Herculean Rafter
by Kirk Johnson
you ever wanted more than one bike? You know what I mean, one
for touring, a one for show, one for night outings and one
with the ability to pass anything on the road. Well I found a
ride that’s all this in one! I know most people take the
time to customize their ride just they way they want it and ride
it and love it. But sometimes you want a little different ride.
ridden a lot of motorcycles in the past few years. And no matter
what ride I am on there is always a little something missing.
Bobbers are very popular. They look great, but they are not very
comfortable. Choppers even have a more sinister look. But again,
not a cruiser and they are hard to turn in short spaces. Baggers
are great for the road and usually around town. They have ample
storage and stability, but not very fast and unless really decked
out, not as sexy as a Bobber or Chopper.
you can see there are almost always trade offs. Then along came
Jerry and his V-ROD. Now the V-ROD is a great ride all by itself.
The stock V-rod is not very sexy, but a good performer and a
bike that is great for general riding. It does not have the rumbling
thunder of the big twins, but it does have fair storage if equipped
right. It can be a pretty sporty ride and at the same time, it
is a bike you can spend the entire day on without feeling uncomfortable.
2005 V-ROD that my friend, Jerry, bought about a year ago was
the B model with the black frame. From there he took full advantage
of the look to paint all sheet metal black and chrome all polished
metal. He then replaced the solid disk wheels with chrome wheels.
bike also has Progressive 440 shocks, Progressive fork springs,
performance fork oil, and a Superbrace
fork brace; all of which
adds immensely to the bike’s stability and handling. All
polished aluminum has been replaced with chrome and crinkle black
powder coat ala’ Night Train. A Cary Fass seat is used
for street work and a Sundowner seat and Boss Bags go on for
to give the ride a little personality he purchased the license
plate with the name Rafter.
Remember back in the days of black and white television there
was a weekly series called Have Gun Will Travel; the protagonist
of which was a freelance gunfighter of some accomplishment who
went by the nom de plume "Paladin." His horse, a black
stallion of Herculean speed, strength and stamina was named "Rafter." Along
with the license plate he also displays the symbol of a knight on
what most people consider the fuel tank or air breather cover.
he has built a great looking ride with only one thing missing.
To be consistent with the stallion with Herculean speed he decided
to punch the current 1,130 cc to 1,320 cc or 80 cu. inches. He
also flowed and ported the heads and added Megacycles 450/480
cams. All of this work was done by Sam Terranova of New River,
AZ. Now the Stallion was producing a respectable 130 HP at the
spending a couple of months with the new stallion and liking
what he has done, he got to thinking that if a little horsepower
increase were good, more would be better. To find out if this
was true he went over to Custom Performance and talked to Nick
Trask. It wasn’t long after that he installed the
Trask Turbo system.
bike now produces just under180 HP. And by doing this several
interesting things happened. He ended up with a lot more horsepower
and a lighter machine that produces a great rumble.
remember, he traded the solid disk wheels for the chrome ones.
That reduced the weight of the bike by about 20 pounds. By installing
the turbo system and removing the stock exhaust he again reduced
the weight of the ride by about another 20+ pounds. At the same
time by taking the stock exhaust off the right side of the bike,
he made the bike more neutral in weight distribution. This made
the ride even better.
Turbo system exhaust also improved the sound effects from the
exhaust on the black stallion of Herculean speed, strength and
stamina. When you fire it up, it makes the most distinct sound;
one that is so solid and hard – not loud – just solid.
When you hear it you know you have a tiger by the tail. When
riding, it actually rumbles and crackles a little. When on the
throttle, you can tell this is one serious machine.
stock V-ROD comes in at around 600 lbs. Now his ride is about
550-560 lbs. Add a 150-pound rider to this hot rod with 180 HP
and you get an astonishing 3.88 pounds per HP. Actual numbers
came out to a Peak horsepower of 178, which occurs right at the
rev limiter setting of 9,400 RPM. The power curve is still climbing
at that point so a higher RPM might result in slightly higher
peak horsepower. The motor produces 100 horsepower at 4,600 RPM.
So that’s a pretty broad band of available useful thrust.
Torque peaks at 131 ft lbs at 5,600 RPM.
about fast, this thing is like lightening. But only when you
really want it. The turbo just quietly sits there waiting for
your request. Without the throttle twisted you would never
know you had this incredible power making this ride about as
docile as it gets. You can be very comfortable parking this bike
in a tight spot to turning around in the middle of the street
to running down the road for days at a time. You also have a
ride that you want to be seen on with all of the great cosmetic
you twist the throttle you are propelled down the road like a
rocket. I do not know of any faster street able bike. Not even
the Viper V10 has anything on this bike. The reason is uniform
across the playing field. Traction! Obviously the Viper has more
potential, you just can’t get it down to the payment without
spinning the tire and losing traction. I know, I have been on
the Viper. This HOT ROD is a little squirrelly in first gear
and if not on good concrete, second gear comes into play. When
you twist the throttle at 60 mph, it takes less than 4 seconds
to push through 125. The needles are a blur, as is the scenery.
Although I have not been there, the rev limiter will stop your
forward acceleration at about 155. And that was only a couple
of seconds away.
the happy juice turned on, the V-rod gets close to 40 mpg. Not
bad for a ride that can break the 10-second barrier in the quarter
mile at will. What more could you want?
of the best all around rides on the street. Docile, easy to stop,
start – even in tight places or in a parking lot. With
all of the custom cosmetic upgrades it is a great looking ride.
It is so fast it will put such a grin on your face that hurts.
With saddle bags and a windshield and a t-bag, you can cruise
for days. This V-rod gets great gas mileage and handles fantastic.
The only down side is the fuel tank. And this is the case on
all V-rods with the exception of the Street Rod. It only has
a 3.8 Gal capacity. But not to fear, they have a 5+ gallon tank
just about to be released. I did notice after riding hard for
a short time and then stopping, you have to sit on the bike like
a seriously hung cowboy that dresses right. That is because of
the heat that comes of the turbo. You find you’re self-sitting
with your right leg stretched out from the bike. Aside from that,
I did not see any down sides to this great bike.
ride gets an easy 5 out of 5 spokes from me.
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