Harley-Davidson Sportster and 8 other hugely underrated Cruiser bikes
As the name suggests, cruiser motorcycles are designed and built for long lazy rides. Bikers who choose to buy cruisers are much more interested in enjoying the ride, with their reclined seating position, raised handlebars, and front footrests than in getting to their destination quickly.
The first cruisers were launched in the 1930s by American motorcycle builders like Indian and, of course, the legendary Harley davidson. While Harley-Davidson remains the most famous name in 21st cruise bikes of the century, rivals from Japan and Europe also created cruisers that would give even classic Hogs a run for their money.
Harley-Davidson Sportster – uncomfortable to drive
Cruisers are an extremely popular type of motorcycle, especially with older riders, but there are some models that are grossly underestimated and need to regain their reputation. The Harley-Davidson Sportster obviously has many positive qualities, as the bike has been in almost constant production since the first model was released in 1957.
However, some great pilots have found that Sportster models have a really uncomfortable driving position, which doesn’t quite match the cruiser’s reputation for being a fun motorcycle to ride.
Yamaha Virago – Too light
Hailing from Japan, the Yamaha Virago was first sold in 1981. After being almost completely redesigned in 1984, the Virago was relaunched as a cruiser-style motorcycle, creating a threat to Harley-Davidson in their territory.
The Yamaha Virago has the reputation of being a rather light motorcycle, which can cause cyclists to get blown away on windy days, but it also has its benefits if you want to twist your wrist.
Triumph Rocket III Roadster – Not for beginners
Triumph is a British motorcycle manufacturer with a long history of creating iconic motorcycles, aside from a few years in the financial wilderness! They launched their Triumph Rocket III in 2004, followed by the Roadster version of the bike in 2010.
Unlike many cruiser-style bikes, the Triumph Rocket III Roadster packs a punch on the road, with Triumph describing him as the âultimate muscle streetfighterâ. With all of that power comes extra weight that can create handling and braking issues on the road, especially for inexperienced riders.
Suzuki Intruder 750 – Small engine
Another Japanese take on the classic cruiser style, Suzuki Intruder is the name given to a range of variable horsepower and displacement bikes that were in production between 1985 and 2005.
Initially launched with a 700cc engine, the lower end of the Intruder range was increased to 750cc when the United States set that figure as the maximum for bicycles imported into the country duty-free. Production of the Suzuki Intruder 750 ended in 1991, but there are many used models that are worth buying despite its relatively small engine.
Honda Magna – Designed for serious cyclists
The elegant Honda magna cruiser is a woefully underrated motorcycle, with many riders put off because of the saddle height. This makes the Magna a great option for taller riders, but those with vertical difficulties may find it difficult to reach the footrests.
The Magna was released in 1982, with production ceasing in 2003, and the bike is powered by Honda’s incredibly powerful V4 engine, giving you a lot more bang for your buck than with many other cruising bikes.
Moto Guzzi MGX-21 – Handling issues
Italian motorcycle manufacturers like Ducati and Aprilia are best known for their big and powerful sports bikes, but the Genoa-based company Moto Guzzi has adopted cruiser-style motorcycles with some success.
The Moto Guzzi MGX-21 is a larger version of the company’s popular Moto Guzzi California cruiser; the 21 in the name of the bike comes from the fact that it has a 21 inch front wheel. These large wheels add to the impressive appearance of the bike, but they can have a huge impact on the performance of the MGX-21 and in particular its handling.
Triumph Bonneville America – Risk of rust
Cruiser motorcycles are still considered a very American motorcycle, so when British manufacturer Triumph wanted to create a new cruiser, they decided that there was no point in being subtle about the name; the Triumph Bonneville America.
This stylish motorcycle was only produced for two years between 2007 and 2008, although it is built on the long history of the Triumph Bonneville cruiser which was first sold in the 1950s. It may look fine when new, but owners will need to take great care of all that chrome if they are to avoid rusting.
Honda Rebel 500 – Too small
The Honda rebel 500 cruiser was released by the Japanese manufacturer in 2017 and was designed with some retro cues to look like vintage cruiser models. Any biker who wants a cheap motorcycle to own and ride could do a lot worse than test the Honda Rebel 500.
Not everyone likes this minimalist look, however, and the Rebel has been criticized for being too simple and small to be useful for anything other than on the go.
Yamaha VMAX – Few changes since 1985
First launched in 1985, the Yamaha VMAX is a power cruiser, motorcycles that combine the style of a cruiser with a powerful sports bike engine. The VMAX won the Bike guide Bike of the Year award in 1985, but until 2007 Yamaha made only minor changes to its appearance and engineering.
Some bikers see this as a downside, but Yamaha lives by the old adage that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The original Yamaha VMAX was and remains a great motorcycle, and there was no need to make any changes just to be able to launch a new model every year.
Next: 5 Cool Cruising Bikes We Love To Ride (5 We Wouldn’t Hit With A 10ft Pole)
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