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2011 Harley Rocker C vs 2011 Star Stryker

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

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2011 Harley-Davidson Rocker C Cruiser Comparison Video
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Long, low, lean and mean, we put the 2011 Harley-Davidson Rocker C to the test in a head-to-head comparison against Star Motorcycles' 2011 Stryker in the Rocker C Comparison Video.
Harley-Davidson knows a thing a two about customizing factory bikes. Yearly it releases its Custom Vehicle Operations line showcasing the best paint, shiniest chrome and highest performance you can buy straight from The Motor Company. But custom-quality bikes aren’t relegated strictly to its high-end CVO line. In 2008, it introduced the Rocker C to its Softail family, a stretched-out and slammed factory custom with a chopped front fender, a fat back tire and a look that pays homage to the hard tails of old thanks to hidden horizontally mounted coil-over belly shocks. The Rocker C gets its name in part thanks to a rear fender mounted to the swingarm that “rocks” with the rear suspension to maintain its tire-hugging position over the 240mm rear Dunlop. The bike also gets the full Harley treatment of high-dollar paint under deep clearcoating on a tank that’s finished by hand.

Other manufacturers have recently realized there is a market for bar-hopping bikes, especially in the American cruiser-loving demographic. Granted, these motorcycles are more suited for rumbling down the Sunset Strip than serious iron butt road trips, but scooting around on a thumping V-Twin with your front end kicked out at a heavy rake carries a certain machismo to it. Honda realized this fact last year when it released its 2010 Fury, a big leap from the conservative styling of its previous cruisers. Not to be outdone by its adversaries, Star Motorcycles introduced its own factory custom chopper in October when it invited a bunch of throttle-happy motojournalists to sample its latest cruiser, the 2011 Star Stryker.

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2011 Star Stryker Cruiser Comparison Video
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Star Motorcycles enters the factory custom chopper foray with the introduction of its 2011 Stryker. We match it up against Harley's reigning bar hopper, the 2011 Rocker C in this Star Stryker Comparison Video.
These bikes are all about image, so to ensure that the Stryker had competitive styling chops, Star enlisted the services of custom builder Jeff Palhegyi, whose work has graced the pages of many a motorcycle magazine. Star also sourced an outside design company, GKDI out of California, to help dial in the Stryker’s styling. The result is a raked-out chopper with a high, open neck that drops down to a low-slung saddle with a wide, custom-painted tank sandwiched in between. Tall up front, fat out back with burly pipes sweeping down its right side, the Stryker serves the Star Motorcycle line as a factory custom chopper.

Both bikes feature long telescopic forks, the Rocker C’s 19-inch front hoop stuck out at a 37-degree fork angle with the Stryker’s 21-inch tall front wheel chopped out even more at 40 degrees. The bikes are both stretched out long, with the Rocker C’s 69.2-inch dimensions just a tad more than the Stryker’s 68.9-inch measurements. Forward mounted controls and pull back handlebars mean upright ergos are almost identical in the low-riding seats with a rider’s arms up slightly higher on the Rocker C thanks to a five-inch chrome riser. Nestled within the tubular steel double cradle frames of both motorcycles sits a potent V-Twin engine. The rigid-mounted, air-cooled Twin Cam 96B of the Rocker C has a 280cc advantage over the liquid-cooled, counter-balanced mill of the Star Stryker. But what it lacks in displacement, the Stryker compensates for litheness at 78 pounds lighter than the Harley, with the Rocker C tipping our scales laden at 722 pound while the Stryker weighed in a comparatively svelte 644 pounds in running order. Both bikes also sport a wide rear profile as Harley equipped the Rocker C with a 240mm rear tire while Star mounted a 210mm chunk of rubber on the back of the Stryker.

To test the merits of these around-town cruisers, we headed to our favorite SoCal watering hole, Cook’s Corner. We did label these as bar hoppers after all, right? But we weren’t there for the biker bar atmosphere or cold beer. We actually utilized the twisting roads of Trabuco Canyon and the surrounding area to see how these bikes dealt with tight corners and steep grades. Next up were stints on the speedway also known as the 405 to test how well they maneuvered in highway traffic and to find out more about the quality of ride they provide on grooved surfaces and bumpy pavement. We threw in some cruises along the Pacific Coast Highway to catch the sun setting over the Pacific for good measure before our final test, a few street drags to find out which beast could get up to freeway speeds the fastest. How’d the two match up? Read on.

2011 Rocker C Photo Gallery
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IBGearhead   May 23, 2011 06:19 PM
I find this conversation rather amusing. This group hates that group and that group hates this group. If you stand back and just read through the B.S. that is coming out of this set of posts, it is ironic that adult males in this day and age are so ignorant and arrogant. I'm sure that my spelling and grammar will be criticized by someone in here but who cares. No spell check available and being a mechanical engineer it is not worth the time to look all of it up.

If you had read and even had the abillity to comprehend what the writer and testers were saying; they qualified and quantified their outcome and what their personal choice would be and why. Objectively looking at the numbers and evaluating based strictly on performance along with fit and finish vs the cost difference they chose the Stryker. Paint quality, finish and their style they prefer the Rocker C. The fact that they preferred more chrome is typical. Most people do but some of us like less bling and more ride time.

Recently, I was looking at several different bikes and am not set on any one company. I started out by leaning toward the HDs and then looked at all the rest. I mean I looked at everything that is factory. Kawasaki, suzuki, yamaha, victory, you name it I evaluated it. My initial choice was the Road Glide from HD, the Fury and Interstates from Honda, the Vaquero from Kawasaki, nothing really from Suzuki, and the Stryker, Raider S and the Stratoliner S from Yamaha. I was all over the board on it but I was searching for something. As I stated I am an engineer so I can afford whatever I want but being an engineer hard numbers take precedence and the realist realizes that you can't sell a design if it isn't pretty at any price point: hence the Pontiac Aztec. One of the most functional and versatile vehicles on the road but so ugly only my father would buy one. He is a pure function person. To get back to the point I looked at the Stratoliner because of a comparrison on this web site. It really enlightenned me on some of the things I was looking for and would like to thank them for their help. I ended up with the Stratoliner S. It was a 2009 hold back that I have put every mile on (New). They were dead on about everything on it and I find myself liking it more and more every day.

The point is not what you ride but that you ride. If you are one of the morons on either side of the fence that thinks that if you don't ride what I ride then you are beneath me and stupid; then the actual riders will just have to tollerate you because you will never get it. You will never understand what riding is all about.
Dude -Ken Johnson  January 12, 2011 12:03 PM
wow, you just paid $20k for your bike and had to put how much into it to make it look ok? you are a true HD sheep
Raider dave -junk  January 11, 2011 02:36 PM
The stryker will have hydraulic lifter problems and YAMAHA wont FIX it.
Zippy -you bought a Rocker...  January 11, 2011 02:43 AM
...so you are the one!

PS "donny greys solo seat" is that like a Danny Gray seat?
Ken Johnson -Custom rocker  January 10, 2011 12:34 AM
Well I bough a rocker c and put a few different things onto it .12 lift with racing bars , donny greys solo seat , head winds 4/1/2 head light , custom image mirror`s , foot pegs , and going to get a set of different rims , and rake it too 13 dregree`s . You`ll think different when you see this rocker pal !
Zippy -ditto  January 5, 2011 03:36 PM
Ditto, stryker aint no beauty either!
Dude -butt ugly  January 4, 2011 02:44 PM
that rocker has to one of the ugliest bikes Hd has put out.