2012 Women’s Cruiser Shootout For My Money

Jan Plessner | May 21, 2012

The 2012 Honda Shadow Spirit was the lightest bike we tested.
Test riders Jody, Sarah and Vickie selected the 2012 Honda Shadow Spirit as their For My Money selections.
The 2012 Triumph America was one of the first British rides for many of our testers.
Jan and Tania liked the Triumph America for their For My Money pick in the 2012 Women’s Cruiser Shootout.

Jody Hemingway – 4’11”, 110 pounds – Honda Shadow Spirit

The Honda is definitely my overall pick for comfort, speed and handling! I would pick a different color though. Although price is important to me, it is not a factor when it comes to safety, comfort and confidence on the road.

Tania Satchwell – 5’3”, 130 pounds – Triumph America

It was a toss up between the Honda and the Triumph for me. But today I base my decision on power, comfort and overall performance. Being a Kiwi, I didn’t think I would ever trust those Brits to make such an awesome motorcycle (just joking).

Honestly, I wouldn’t have looked twice at the Triumph on the showroom floor. The paint and color scheme is just a standard classic cruiser look. The first time I heard it start up, I laughed at how quiet it was. This brings me to the life lesson we are all familiar with: “You should not judge a book by its cover.”

After spending some time on the Triumph America, this would be the bike for me. The engine has a lot of torque and feels like it continues to pull through top speed. The seat and controls are comfortable. I could ride this motorcycle to the East Coast and back.

Jan Plessner – 5’3”, 148 pounds – Triumph America
I really think all of the bikes in our test have something to offer. I would be proud to own them all. I’d take the Harley around town, to bike nights and up to the lookout just so I could hear it wind through the canyon. The Honda would be my “go to” machine. As the testing proved, it topped the scoring in six of the nine subjective categories. It is a top-shelf package by a top-shelf company. I’ve logged plenty of miles on the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom, and there is no denying that it is the most beautiful machine in the bunch.

But when I’m riding cruisers, I crave three things more than anything else: fun, comfort and confidence. The Triumph America completely surprised me on all levels. This was my first Triumph experience and hopefully not my last. I enjoyed it from the minute I threw my leg over to the last minute of my last session. I even like the name of the model.

Sarah Schilke – 5’4”, 140 pounds – Honda Shadow Spirit
The Harley was the most maneuverable and in my mind, was the most typical cruiser of all the bikes. The Kawasaki Vulcan had the best cruiser image. The Triumph was the best performance-wise, but I think the number one value was in the Honda.

Every piece of the Honda Shadow Spirit just seemed to fit and flow together creating sleek lines and good balance. In my mind, the Honda delivered the best package of performance, comfort and looks.

Vickie Norton – 5’8”, 145 pounds – Honda Shadow Spirit
Overall, I’d have to say the Honda was my favorite bike for the same reasons it dominated the top spot in so many categories. It is what I’d buy with my cash. Surprisingly, it is the least expensive bike. I think it is safe to say that I wouldn’t buy the bike in orange. (Hey Honda, how about matte black or custom midnight blue?)

Jan Plessner

Contributing Editor| Articles | A former PR/marketing maven for Kawasaki, Jan has long been an advocate for women riders and now turns freelance writer. With more than 20 years in the motorcycle industry Jan serves as editor of LadyMoto.com.