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Running on Fumes

4-Bike Cruiser Shootout Underway

Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Do you need V-Twins with monstrous displacement powering nearly a half ton of weight to ride a “real” cruiser?
MotoUSA rides four mid-displacement offerings to find out. Our V-Twin cruiser test roster includes the following:
The 2007 H-D Sportster is an affordable entry-level performer for those wishing to own a piece of the Harley V-Twin mystique.
How will the Sportster hold up against its metric rivals?

  • Harley-Davidson Sportster 883 Low: H-D’s no frills entry-level machine, with an attractive entry-level price of $6999.
  • Honda Shadow Phantom: Liquid-cooled 52-degree Twin with shaft drive and blacked-out look for MSRP of $7999.
  • Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom: Another blacked-out liquid-cooled metric, the Kawi has a large skinny front wheel pushed by 903cc and can be had for $8349.
  • Yamaha Star V-Star 950: A metric, but sporting Star’s air-cooled 942cc mill, the Yamaha entry costs $8090.
Every one of them sports less than 1000cc and well under 10K MSRP, making for a more affordable entry into the cruiser flock. But how do they ride? Which delivers the best bang for the buck?

Well, we aren’t finished riding them quite yet. Stay tuned, as the test should be coming your way later this month.
Post Tags: cruiser shootout, entry-level cruisers
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Comments
Tom -Comments on Suzuki C 50 February 4, 2010 07:36 AM
I can tell you my impression of my 2009 C 50. Just bought last September. Sweet ride. I tried all of the others. It was the best balanced of the bunch to me. Handles like a much lighter bike. You can flick through a corner with just a little hip flick and an easy press. Very forgiving also. Good power and good ride. I commute two hours a day on the highway. I live in Maine so I one of the reasons I chose the C 50 was the liquid cooled engine along with the fuel injection. It let me extend my riding season into November. Got to love it. I have had it on warm days, above 43, just a few days ago as a matter of fact. Too bad you couldn't have got one for the test. Oh and the MSRP was 7199, that was for the custom. And the APR was ridiculous 1.99.
MItch -Irksome. February 3, 2010 07:04 PM
irksome. I know what you mean about cruisers being awash with the whole "lifestyle marketing". But I don't really see how Triumph is that much different. I see how they have designed and advertised the Thunderbird and to me it looks like the typical cruiser except the pistons are in a different alignment. Granted it runs a little differently but you see just as many RUBS posing next to their Americas, Speedmasters, & Rocket 3's as you do any other Shadow or Harley cause that is who they are marketed towards.
Matt -Triumph (Spoiler Alert =) February 3, 2010 06:32 PM
I agree with putting the Triumph in the test as well. I think it would have made for better variety since we have all seen this same shoot-out played out before. #1 will go to the Star, #2 & #3 will be fought out by the Vulcan & Shadow (although I would lean more towards the Vulcan taking the second spot) and #4 will go to the Sportster.
irksome -? February 3, 2010 05:20 PM
Pity you didn't include a Triumph Speedmaster. More so since all these bikes are v-twins. I only hope that if you test some larger cruisers rather than entry-level, you'll include a Thunderbird. At 51, I'm starting to think about trading my trusty Speed Triple for a cruiser; the Thunderbird is the only one I would honestly consider, except maybe a Rocket III Roadster but what can you compare that to?. I have no desire to ride a v-twin, American or Japanese. To me, these bikes require a pirate costume and the requisite attitude to go with it."Pretend to ride, ride to pretend" doesn't cut it with me; I've been at this for over 35 years and I don't pretend; I ride a frickin' motorcycle, not a lifestyle statement.
Hutch -Bikes in the Test February 3, 2010 12:21 PM
Bronzetitan: Unfortunately the 2010 Suzuki M50 is not available at this time and has still yet to even have an MSRP or release date provided to Suzuki Dealers either. As far as the Triumph goes, yeah, that would have been a good addition but alas, we couldn't get the Triumph in time either. We can only use the bikes we have access to so hopefully you can include any info you know about the other bikes in the Talk Back once the test is posted live on the site.

bronzetitan -That is all? February 3, 2010 11:44 AM
Maybe there are some constraints not discussed here, but what about Triumph or Suzuki? These companies offer options in that fall in the same categories as these four. Especially since your site does not seem to have anything at all about the Triumph Speedmaster or the America. I personally own a Boulevard M50 and chose it over several of the options you have their. How would this bike or any of its Suzuki counter parts pit against those four options.
Desmolicious -Make sure to ask the question.. February 3, 2010 11:29 AM
When you do the wrap up, make sure to also ask the question, which bike would you buy with your own money?
This is the defining test. You're going to put this bike in your garage with your own hard earned $ and keep it for a long time...