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2003 Suzuki Marauder Comparison

Thursday, August 21, 2003
Six Grand Cruiser Shootout
The Suzuki Marauder 800, with a 16-inch front wheel, is the only bike in our test to come with a sub-19-incher.
While none of the bikes are particularly tall, Honda boasts the lowest seat height at 26.6 inches, a welcome feature for shorter riders. Furthermore, the saddle is one of the most comfortable of the bunch. However several taller riders felt pressure on the tailbone on long rides. The suspension on the Honda draws plenty of praise. While the forks on the Suzuki may be a touch soft when braking, the Honda's 41mm fork, with 5.1inches travel, might not be as easy over bumps and dips, but the stiffer suspension feels better on twisties and tight corners.

The brakes on the Shadow are pretty good considering the bike only has one disc brake, a 296mm disc with twin-piston caliper. The rear brake is a traditional drum, but we were never in dire need of additional braking support like we were on the Harley Davidson.

Honda's attention to detail goes beyond the mechanical aspect of the bike. The controls are most visible on the Honda and easily accessible. The materials are on par with the Sportster and look like they belong on a bike that has double the price tag. Its only detail shortfall is being the only bike of the group not to have a hinged fuel cap.

In nearly every shootout there always seems to be one bike which does everything quite well, but doesn't stand out until final analysis. In our recent 600cc sportbike shootout it was the all-round capable Yamaha R6. In this case it is Suzuki's middleweight offering.

2003 Suzuki Marauder Highs & Lows
Highs
  • Excellent styling
  • Competitive performance
  • Beefy front tire gives
Lows
  • Saddle bags don't come on the stock version.
  • Weak exhaust note
The Marauder's name is likely derived from the fact that the Japanese manufacturer appears to have looted the H-D design department. When lined up next to the Sporty, the Marauder actually looks eerily similar to its American counterpart. So much so that on several occasions passerbys would act surprised to read "Marauder" on the side of the tank.

Thanks to its H-D-inspired paint scheme the Marauder is a fine looking machine and is the only one in the group to utilize a beefy 130-series front tire. Our test model came with a windscreen and a set of soft leather saddlebags, neither of which come on the stock Marauder.

Check out the "Bottom Line" of the 2003 $6,000 Cruiser Shootout.

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Comments
Peter Lafrenz -Sportster 883R  October 2, 2009 02:35 PM
I bought a 2003 Sportster 883R brand new in 2004.This is one of the most rewarding bikes I have ever ridden.Its certainly not fast and it may vibrate a little but the brakes(double front disk on the R model)are really good.The fuel mileage is one of the best I haver ever measured on any bike.I havent done anything to the engine and I dont think that I will.The Sportster is the coolest looking bike along with the Triumph bonneville and Norton commando 850.Amazing that you can still buy a bike which started life in 1957 and still look as good as it did when it first apeared to the public.I dream of an Electra glide but I dont think that I will ever own one because it will mean that in order to could afford one,I will have to sell my Sportster and I couldnt imagine parting with my Sportster.I will recomend the Sportster to everybody who would like to ride an old fashioned modern motorcycle with good gas mileage and minimal maintenance.It is also a very good beginners motorcycle too because of the modest power.If you have been without a motorcycle for many years and would like to try once more, the Sportster will remind you just how a real motorcycle felt back then,only without all the hassles from yesterday.Go ahead,buy a Sportster and enjoy!
Vince -2003 Sportster  April 8, 2009 12:51 PM
I bought an 03 sporty brand new and it is the most disappointing motorcycle I have ever ridden. It is such a pooch I have long contended that there is something wrong with it. Everyone at the dealership said "oh just let it get get broken in" "it'll lossen up" well $8200 and 7000 unsatisfied miles later and new pipes and carb jetting and air cleaner mods and it still sucks. I should have bought a used big twin because this thing is junk
jimmy haddock -suzuki Marauder VZ800  March 6, 2009 10:08 PM
Hi,Dudes/Sisters, Just this morning, I brought a 2000 Suzuki Marauder VZ800cc cruiser.. The bike came with a windshield,sissybar,new tires, but, no saddlebags..I had talked the manager to let me have some saddlebags, I would need them for when I go on the road for a trip.. There is no place to put things, without saddlebags....I rode the bike for about 30 miles, and the bike is JUMPING JEHOSEPHAT great to ride down the rode to where ever the bike would take you.......