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1998 VLS 400 Steed with Springer forks
Classic Honda cruiser in excellent condition
You may be interested in the Steed because of its rakish good looks, but it actually has quite an interesting back story.
VLS stands for V-twin Lowdown Springer and this Steed is often called a Steed Springer in reference to the spring-type front forks more commonly referred to as girder forks. Though the Steed 400 VLS seems like the logical culmination of Honda’s efforts to build an American Custom bike or cruiser, it was actually more of an attempt to keep up with the fashion of the time.
The original Steed 400 came out, to very mixed reviews, in 1988 at the height of the racer replica boom in Japan. In the late 80’s, Honda technology was a step ahead of the competition and the Steed 400 raised eyebrows with Japanese Hondanistas because, instead of breaking new ground, it harked back to older days - Harley engines that vibrated too much! Although the Steed engine (NC25E) was based on the same engine developed for the BROS 400 product 2 (itself a revolution in V-Twin technology) the Steed version was tweaked to make the Steed engine vibrate more like an authentic American Custom/Cruiser bike!
Against all odds and as is often the case with popular films - critics be damned - the Steed 400 was a runaway success! As the passion for race replicas faded in the early 90s sales for the Steed 400 in Japan took off and by 1993 it was the best selling bike over there. By the time our Springer version came out in 1998 more than 80,000 units had been sold! Young folk loved the Steed and it was considered a great base for bespoke works and custom builds. From bobbers to choppers and all sorts of variations on the American Custom style the Steed was the base. So much so, that today it is very difficult to find a Steed it in its original Honda genuine condition. We know - we have been buying Steeds for about 20 years and 9 out of 10 have been customized!
Hence the Steed VLS Springer. Honda had noticed what its customers were doing and with the Springer tried to create a machine with more character and more of a Custom feel …the front wheel went from 19 inches to 21; the iconic chrome spring style front forks; a lower ground clearance and a smaller more rounded gasoline tank; the engine with more power at low and medium revs; a smaller more stylish headlight. All beautifully combined to give us the 1998 Steed 400 VLS. Due to new emissions regulations production for the Steed 400 ceased in 2002.
Dating to 1998 only 6,500 units were scheduled for production including the VLX version so very few Springers were produced and as it was 500 pounds more expensive fewer VLSs were sold than VLXs. This makes the Springer a very rare bike.
The speedometer on our Springer is after market and reads 7,758km but we are unable to certify this. That being said, the quality of the chrome and the shine on the paint leads us to believe that this is a low mileage machine. There are some other modifications - after market seat and handlebars. Overall condition is really good. One of our favorite bikes here at Seven Seas, we hope it goes to someone that will take good care of it .
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