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2011 Bagger Cruiser Shootout Conclusion

Monday, July 11, 2011

The 2011 Street Glide was the champ in the curves thanks to its light steering and good cornering clearance.
The Vaquero turns in to corners easily and is solid as a rock in the turns.
Even with Harley-Davidsons optional PowerPak the Street Glide was the least powerful bike in our 2011 Bagger Cruiser Shootout.
The 2011 Street Glide won our bagger Cruiser Shootout by just one point.
Adam Waheed - 6’0”, 175 pounds - Harley-Davidson Street Glide

I would buy the Harley-Davidson because it is the best overall bike. It doesn't feel as fast as the rest of the bikes but I am in love with the character of the engine. The fueling and throttle response is spot-on perfect and the exhaust note is exquisite. You wouldn't even need to put any pipes on it as it sounds bad-ass stock. It's also a very comfortable motorcycle and offers excellent handling for a bike that weighs in excess of 800 pounds. Heck if I could get a good deal at the dealership I'd take this bike over a lot of other more sport-oriented street bikes.
Ray Gauger - 6’5”, 180 pounds – Kawasaki Vaquero
If I ever decided to drop down 17K on a bagger, I would spring for the Kawasaki Vaquero. I’m a techno geek, so I love all the features and gizmos from the fully functional stereo to the cruise control, not to mention the nostalgic awesomeness that is the Vaquero’s retro dash. It’s an all-around good package that can be made near perfect with a few bolt-on parts and customization. The fact that it’s got the lowest cost of entry is just icing on the cake.
Ken Hutchison – 5’8”, 185 pounds – Harley-Davidson Street Glide
It is tough to beat an original. This motorcycle felt lighter, was faster through the twisties and fit me perfectly. The seat is comfortable and the riding position was so spot-on that I could ride it all day and not feel uncomfortable. That was not the case with the other two baggers in this test. There are things I do not like about the Harley like the smallish and funky saddle bags but they still work. I thought the electronics could have a much better layout, too. Other than that it comes down to how it feels when you are riding it and in this test, riding through epic scenery and twisty canyon roads the H-D is the bike of choice for me.
Justin Dawes – 5’ 10”, 225 pounds – Harley-Davidson Street Glide
After the very first 15 minutes on the Street Glide, I knew it was my pick if I were to drop a considerable chunk of change on a bagger. However, I wasn’t entirely sure it would win this shootout, as the Kawasaki and Star both had some great features that trumped the Glide. Sure, a banging stereo and a monster motor are nice, but it boiled down to the issue of the comfortable riding position and sweet handling. I could ride the Harley-Davidson all day long, and I can’t say the same for the other two.

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2011 Bagger Shootout Fuel Milage
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2011 Bagger Shootout 0-60

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Piglet2010   September 2, 2011 11:09 PM
LJ - Indeed, I do not understand the attraction to the v-twin engine (though I wouldn't mind having a Honda NT700V, with its almost silent v-twin mostly hidden behind the bodywork). > > TonyDee - Harley-Davidson is the "correct" brand, just ask any one of their brainwashed fans who hate all other bikes out of ignorant prejudice. :( > > Scoot - I hate loud pipes, and will work to keep ahead of anyone with them so I don't have to listen to the horrible noise. Of course, their owner's likely have severe hearing damage, so they do not mind as much.
raw6464   August 29, 2011 06:28 AM
If you take out the subjective categories like "Engine Character" and "Cruiser of Choice", re-evaluate in the real world what an additional $4K dollars makes you have to pay for a Harley and it would certainly tilt the scales away for it. A strong argument can be made comparing motorcycles with a 22% deviation in price is comparing apples and oranges. Weighting a 22% increase in cost in the same ballpark as MPG is not the real world. Add 22% in upgrades to the Metrics in the categories they need improvement and the outcome would be much different.
Glen   July 19, 2011 06:51 PM
Stash905, Everybody is childish on this site from time to time. I enjoyed the spread but made a joke instead of a thoughtful comment because it was too easy of a play on words to do so.
Stash905   July 19, 2011 11:27 AM
It is obvious to me that LJ and Scoot have some childish issues with Harley Davidson. Their comments are stupid and just show their plain ignorance.
Scoot   July 15, 2011 04:43 PM
How much is Harley paying you to pick there reworked 1960 parts bike. It is obvious that the Kawasaki is light years ahead of any Harley. When Harley decides to bring out a "new" bike instead of last years bike with a new color or name maybe I might consider one. I hate going into a Harley dealer. It is a nightmare with all the guys with beer guts, tattoos and pony tails, 3 foot handle bars and loud exhaust. I can not figure out why the Harley guy must show off with loud exhaust. Maybe it they feel inferior with the 60 horsepower so they think the loud exhaust will at least sound more power full.
TonyDee   July 13, 2011 01:34 PM
There is no "correct brand". Just some are better then others at certain things. Harley's the king of cruisers, not the highway. Bmw is the king of bing, just ask Jay Leno, Harrison Ford, and Alton Brown. Surprisingly in my opinion only, I think the new fad of bullet bikes with saddle bags is silly. But that's just me.
wildpig   July 13, 2011 08:35 AM
BMW IS THE KING OF DORK............. AND THEN U GOTTA BRING A WHEELBORROW FULLA MONEY TO KEEP A BMW MAINTAINED.................. YOU CAN KEEP THE BMW --I know i bought one after 50 yrs of ridin the correct brand -- HD
LJ   July 13, 2011 07:55 AM
If you want to cruise the highway buy a Goldwing or a BMW K 1600 GTL. No matter who makes the v-twin they will all suck at highway speeds and you will look like a dork riding one.
Justin Dawes   July 12, 2011 07:47 AM
guambra2001 - that's really how close this shoot out was, just a different seat or a better stereo or a smoother ride could have made all the difference in the points. For me it was the closest comparison I've been involved in. Frosty - Heed is on the road for a few days, so give him some time to respond. I'm assuming you are the same height as him, but for my shorter frame the buffeting wasn't noticeable on any of the bikes until around 75 mph. Thanks for the comments and questions. JD
Mitch   July 11, 2011 07:17 PM
Hmm I wonder what it would take to take to put the Yamaha mill and Harley tranny into the Vaquero. =)
Glen   July 11, 2011 05:46 PM
After a couple of drinks at the bar I'd ride a bagger. But I realize we're talking about saddle bags so it will take a few more to ride a bagger with saddle bags but I draw the line at missing teeth.
guambra2001   July 11, 2011 03:45 PM
Awesome shootout I'll take the Kawasaki Vaquero all day over the Harley, you can just get a a custom seat for 300 bucks. I mean with an low entry price you can customize it the way you want and still have money left over. Not only that but the harley already came equiped with the "power pack" and it just adds to its already high price.
frostyballs   July 11, 2011 03:25 PM
hey Waheed how was the wind buffeting on the street glide with a full face helmet
GB   July 11, 2011 10:15 AM
my bad, didn't see the part about the Victory sending the wrong bike.
GB   July 11, 2011 10:12 AM
why no Victory cross country?