Good question man, I could see lots of opinions on this. I was discussing this on the meanie forum a while back too. The answer seems to vary depending on when a riders awarness of motorcycles really took off. The evolution of motorcycles from the first engine on 2 wheels up to today seems to only become obvious after several years of being interested in motorcycles. Where you jump in on that evolutionary scale seems to guide how you categorize certain motorcycles. We were trying to categorize the meanie and with everyone's different backgrounds and experience levels, it seemed futile. Let's try it with the VN750. I think I'd call it a small to medium sized v-twin cruiser.
In fact, for a comparison, maybe we could get opinions on the meanie as well. How would you categorize it? I've heard "muscle cruiser," "big v-twin," "sport bike on steriods," you name it. I've been riding for 3 years and the meanie is my second bike after the uber tourquey VN750. I think I'd categorize the meanie as a medium to big v-twin cruiser. I'd say it's a big cruiser but now-a-days there's so many 1600's, 1700's, and 1800's out there - I don't know if a 1500 still qualifies as a "big" bike. Kawi even has a 2000 cc bike out now. Anyway, here's a larger pic of a bone stock 2002 mean streak:
LP is right concerning the time line question,I have been around bikes since the late 60's ,early seventies.And been riding myself since about 1975 or so
It pretty well is a question of how much you have seen the everyday motorcycle change over the years.
Hey LP I always referred to the meanie a as a powercruiser.It was the first really fast stock Vtwin I had ever ridden.
As a little side note on the meanie,the first one we got in at Paintsville Kawasaki,Where I was the only bike mechanic,that worked for them at the time. the Meanstreak was a surprise when I put it together.Part of my job was to test ride a bike after final assembly,pre-sale.
I was impressed by the inverted forks,the really impressive Braking system and the overall look of the bike,Then I got to ride it.
After a little shake down cruise (to make sure I hadn't missed any thing)I rode it a little harder and it truly impressed me with it's light handling,surefootedness and stopping abilities.
I had ridden about everything we sold at that point and I had told Joe ,the owner) that I didn't know why he rode an 800 Classic ,since the 750 seemed to be a lot better handling and faster to boot.Joe was a novice and he also wanted people to see him on the newer Designed Classic so it would get people to start coming into the store.He had the Honda Shadow customer's in mind.
Then along came the Meanstreak. I never even put it in the show room.I went inside and told Joe that he needed to ride that bike and tell me what he thought a bout it.After a little coaxing he went out and slung a leg over it. Then he started it and took off,he was gone all of ten minutes and came back grinning,told me to clean up his 800 and put it inside to sell.I laughed at him and said, why?I'm buying this one for me was his reply.
As for the V2k(vulcan 2000) it has been around as long as the meanie,but was not nearly the seller that the meanie was.