The Vento line of scooters and motorcycles was born in San Diego, California in 1996, with their manufacturing plant located in nearby Mexico. They quickly switched plants to Laredo, Texas, in order to market it as an ""American-made"" motorcycle. By 2008, they were bankrupt, along with several other motorcycle manufacturers. Introduced in 2005, the V-Thunder is considered to be a cruiser/touring model, with its classic styled front and rear fenders, four gallon tank, and characteristic instrumentation.
The 2005 V-Thunder features a fuel-injected, air-cooled, 249 cc, V-twin engine, with a mere 24.1 horsepower and 11.6 lb-ft of torque. It will hit speeds of 65-70 miles per hour, but only on flat roads or when traveling downhill. As always, performance is enhanced in direct proportion to the driver's weight. The steel-framed bike was designed as a low-end entry-level cruiser, so look for an easy-going, no-frills riding experience. The belt-driven, five-speed transmission has a standard heel-toe shifter, which is a nice touch.
The front suspension is telescoping fork type, without dampening. A twin-sided swing arm suspension with an adjustable spring preloaded shock – again, without dampening – is featured on the rear of the V-Thunder. Some riders have complained that the ride is stiff, so aftermarket shocks might be a nice addition. Unusual for its year, it comes standard with anti-lock hydraulic disc front and rear brakes, making stopping fairly efficient. The cruiser rides on 16-inch aluminum wheels. The gas tank holds 3.4 gallons, and the estimated mileage is around 65 miles per gallon.
Carrying on the classic cruiser image, it has a pair of factory-installed studded leather saddlebags with matching two-up vinyl seating, at 27.8 inches high. The windshield completes the look, and it also comes with its own storage cover. While it does have handy front and rear helmet lock sites, no standard rack is available, so look for something that will adapt for extra storage. Instrumentation is analog, with a speedometer which includes a trip reset, a tachometer, and low fuel warning light. Its fuel gauge is located in the 3.4-gallon tank, along with the ignition lock. Unlike most bikes in this class, it does have an alarm system. The driver has a set of floorboards, while the passenger has the normal footpegs. The V-Thunder is an electric or kick start bike, for those who don't maintain their batteries.
The seat height of 27.8 inches is typical of the cruiser style, designed to let the rider sit low and relaxed in the scoop seat. The passenger rides slightly higher on the two-piece seat, mounted directly to the rear fender. The windshield is also standard, as are the crash bars – both are nice touches that are usually added aftermarket. For a small entry-level cruiser, this isn't a bad choice. However, since the company has gone out of business, be aware that you will be replacing parts with another acceptable replacement (which are readily available with a bit of searching).