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2005 V-ROD


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The 2005 V-ROD Herculean Rafter

by Kirk Johnson
Nov 2006

Have 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.

I have 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.

As 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.

The 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.

The 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 long trips.

Now 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.

Now 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 rear wheel.

After 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.

The 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.

First, 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.

The 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.

The 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.

Talk 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 upgrades.

Once 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.

Without 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?


One 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.

This ride gets an easy 5 out of 5 spokes from me.

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Ride safe.


© 2005 phoenixbikers.com; This material may not be published, reproduced or linked to in part or whole
without the permission of Kirk at phoenixbikers.com.