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2011 Performance Cruiser Smackdown Conclusion

Monday, June 20, 2011

Justin Dawes – 5’10”, 225 pounds – Triumph Thunderbird Storm
2011 Triumph Thunderbird Storm
2011 Triumph Thunderbird Storm
2011 Suzuki Boulevard M109R LE
2011 Suzuki Boulevard M109R LE
2011 Triumph Thunderbird Storm
Which bike would I slap my hard earned cash down on? It’s an easy decision for me; it would have to be the Triumph. The Harley has got the looks, and the Suzuki has got the performance. But the Triumph has enough of both. I can live with the fact it isn’t the fastest in a straight line, because I know I would have more fun on this bike in the twisties chasing and passing squids on repli-racers in full leathers. At $13,899, the price tag will leave me enough left in the bank to replace footpegs on a regular basis.

Ray Gauger – 6’5”, 180 pounds – Triumph Thunderbird Storm
With my wallet on the line, I’d spring for the Triumph. It’s a good balance between long-haul comfort and curvy road performance with a motor that’s plenty powerful enough to get the job done. Add in the always classy, blacked-out color scheme and iconic dual headlights and you’ve got a hard ride to pass up. Especially with the lowest sticker price of the group.
Brian Steeves – 5’9”, 165 pounds – Suzuki Boulevard M109R LE

I would choose the Suzuki. I think with a little accessorizing, and motor performance enhancements, this would be a fun, bad ass performance cruiser. Hell, I was even impressed that with a big, banging the rev-limiter clutch drop and healthy yank on the bars, I was able to get the bike to bust out an 11 o’ clock wheelie. Squeak out a few more ponies from the motor, and power wheelies on this bike are totally feasible.
Joey Agustin – 6’1” 160 pounds – Suzuki Boulevard M109R LE
If I had to choose between one of the cruisers as my favorite to purchase, I am at a split decision between the Suzuki and the Triumph. They both seemed to be great, but lacked in the same categories as each other. So my final decision... is the Suzuki. I just liked more things about it. I think the curb appeal, handlebars, dual gauges and over all comfort gave it that little bit of an edge over the Triumph.
Tim Muto – 5’9” 200 pounds – Triumph Thunderbird Storm

The Triumph is my personal honest winner. This powerful side-by-side twin has brute-force roll on power. The ground clearance is decent. I like the fit and finish of the motorcycle, and the transmission works very smoothly. It has a nice overall appeal to it and definitely has a lot of bang for your buck as it is the least expensive of all the cruisers in its class. The Storm handles the corners like a champ and cruises down the highway with the best of them. It is a nice feeling knowing that you did not have to break the bank to have a good ride.
Bobby Ali – 5’9”, 175 pounds – Triumph Thunderbird Storm
The Ducati would be my first choice as it might just be the coolest bike I have ever ridden. No, I don't think it should be in the same segment as the other bikes; this bike has such amazing performance and the technology is impressive! It is great for city riding with tunable power band modes, and the seating position is great for long rides as well as being aggressive for the canyons. The looks of this bike is so different than any of the other bikes, it just stands out! But since it is a cheater, I guess I would take the Triumph.

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2011 Performance Cruiser 0-100-0mph
2011 Performance Cruiser 0-100-0mph
2011 Performance Cruiser 1/4 Mile Times
2011 Performance Cruiser 1/4 Mile Times

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boscoe   August 5, 2011 09:57 AM
Having ridden all these bikes, I agree with your analysis of the Thunderbird S, which absolutely kicks butt! There would be one in my garage today - except the (relatively) local Triumph dealer didn't return phones or emails. Neither did corporate. Guess business is good! Meanwhile, I was less than impressed by the Diavel - even though I tried so hard to like the thing. You are right. The electronics are hellish! And my experience with exotic Italian cars makes me very wary of their interpretation of the motorcycle game boy. Yes, the Ducati delivers gobs of power. It also lugs, jerks and stutters under 4,000 rpm and isn't exactly friendly for stop-and-go traffic or even mildly busy suburban streets. Comfortable? Nope. The seat locks you in. You can't move forward or back. Or side to side. Perfect bike? Basta! You guys must be smokin' something other than tires.
BATMAN   July 19, 2011 07:28 AM
Did I miss something here? Who does the quarter mile for you guys? By far the slowest times I've seen, by over a second in some cases...
GB   July 10, 2011 04:31 AM
looks to me like the American companies have work to do. I am really surprised the hammer did so poorly, having riddden a vegas since 04 i thought the hammer would do better.
sololobo   June 22, 2011 01:50 PM
Where the hell was the Road Warrior? I would of loved to have seen that in there somewhere. Did they stop making them? Is the Raider a better performance bike than the Warrior? AHH WELL, now I want that Ducati so bad it doesn't matter anyway...
TonyDee   June 22, 2011 06:46 AM
What the hell people? The story is not about the Vmax.
harley1   June 21, 2011 10:17 AM
Unfortunately, Glen, I didn't get an invite to the party! The nerve of those guys, having fun flogging these beasts without me. Naw, I would have loved to have participated, it was simply a matter of time constraints. I was already on assignment when they were testing so I couldn't do both. Could have provided some good insight though, seeing as how I just rode the 2011 Raider n Laughlin, did the Triumph Thunderbird Storm before that, and have tested both the M109R and the Victory in the past. I still haven't got a chance to ride the Diavel though, but would love too. Spent about a month on the 2010 V-Max last summer, your weapon of choice, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Of course, it's hard to keep that thing under triple digits, so I'm glad it had to go back before I ended up in jail or at least with some spendy tickets.
Bully   June 21, 2011 09:34 AM
I think they decided the totals and then worked backwards on this one. The scores dont add up to the performance numbers! Oh yes the boulevard has a serious problem or the testers hand slipped, just look at the torque curve
Glen   June 20, 2011 03:03 PM
dabimf, First Vmax is a 4-cylinder bike and this was a 2-cylinder comparison. Second the Vmax is unsafe. Someone would have probably been killed if they tried a 0-100-0mph test on the Vmax. I only race mine at my own risk on the track.
dabimf   June 20, 2011 02:26 PM
Why wasn't the Yamaha VMax tested? It's as much a cruiser as the VRod or Ducati.
Glen   June 20, 2011 01:44 PM
Well get Bryan back from the barbeques, bikini's, and bikes shows and back to work.
rpminihan   June 20, 2011 11:47 AM
Where is the 0-60 on the Harley?
Hutchy   June 20, 2011 11:36 AM
Bryan was on the road while they were testing these bad-boy cruisers. He's still here though! If you guys didn't notice, the Diavel is sick and eth V-Rod is fast. No surprise there.
Glen   June 20, 2011 11:31 AM
Why wasn't Bryan Harley in on this?
Glen   June 20, 2011 11:28 AM
I have a stock 2009 Vmax, beat a Diavel this year at the strip, will be selling it for a Harley Vrod because it's that much better.
morvegil   June 20, 2011 10:55 AM
I have a 2008 night rod special. I am selling it and getting a Diavel. its that much better.
TonyDee   June 20, 2011 07:41 AM
I've heard the Ducati sport was faster in the 1/4 mile then you guys posted. I guess it's not as fast of a 460LB+ naked sport bike as we've been told. Looks good for Harley this time out. Thanks for leaving the Vmax out this time, however you should of had the Triumph Rocket.