The air gauge that came with my VN750 fits just fine (old fashion stick tire gauge version). However I always use my electronic tire gauage, which requires bending the air valve stem to get it to fit (as you described). I don't force the stem into a too sharp of an initial angle, and once the stem is inserted in the gauge, there is enough room for me to straighten the stem back out to get the reading. There seems to be no more air lost than with this method, than with the gauge that fits properly.
I use the same process when adding air with my bicycle pump (a standard Joe Blow model); bend the stem slightly and gently to get the air hose connected, then straight it back out to during inflation. Tire valve stems should be replaced anytime the tire is serviced (for any vehicle), so I'm not worried about premature failure due to this procedure.
Chris Glennon - Portland, OR