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Old 08-24-2011, 05:16 AM   #1
seruzawa
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Default Cruisers: Britain's Joke On The USA.

Where did today's cruisers come from? Cruisers were a development of manufacturers who were trying to emulate choppers. So, where did choppers originate?

Choppers were the result of the mods by American servicemen who had returned from WWII service in Europe. In Europe they had ridden mainly British motorcycles. They were pleased with the lower weights = better handling, stopping, acceleration and especially the foot controls. Yep after WWII HDs still had hand shifting. So these pioneers bought Harleys and removed as many components as they could in an effort to make the bikes LIGHTER. They were in effect trying to make Triumphs, BSAs and AJSes out of Harley-Davidsons.

In the 1970s the manufacturers started offering lightly modified standard bikes as faux-choppers. This was accomplished by putting different tanks and seats and other bits on regular production bikes and calling them fancy names like "Superglide" or "Specials."

Then in the 1980s the Japanese started offering more closely designed copies of Harley's with the Virago and Shadow, followed by the Vulcan and Intruder. The Harley Wars were on. These new bikes had smaller displacements. And worse the power outputs were abysmal. Take the 750 Shadow. With its low redline... comparable to a Norton 750... there was no reason that a Shadow couldn't have the same output. Yet Honda "tuned for torque" and put out an incredibly weak-sister bike. This is laughable as no one ever complained that a Norton 750 was shy on torque. This may have been part of a devilish Japanese plan to effeminize American riders, sort of softening up the USA for a later military attack. (This may have worked as witness the large numbers of cowardly "anti-war" peaceniks, willing to knuckle under to the Jihadis.)

Flash forward to the 2000s. Now the manufacturers are doing everything they can to make these contraptions heavier than ever. Sure, they have increased the power output a bit on some models, making them the equivalent of early 80s KZ750s. Ironically the lightest big V-Twin is the Harley-Davidson Dyna-Glide. But the cruiser has become entirely the opposite of the original concept with the clone models reaching a staggering 750+ lbs. And people lap this up making it the single biggest sale segment by far. The lightest, best handling cruisers once again are the BonnieTriumphs, though even they've become subject to the "ever increasing weight" disease.

Maybe once again users will start removing the components from the Road Stars and Vulcans and Victories in an attempt to make the weights somewhat reasonable... but I think not.

Well done. Three Bronx cheers. God has a sense of humor after all.
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Old 08-24-2011, 06:15 AM   #2
jmdonald
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Default Hmmm?

I thought Britain's joke on the US was Tony Blair.
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Old 08-24-2011, 06:37 AM   #3
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Tony Blair was Britain's joke on Britain.
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:33 AM   #4
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Where's Maggie when they need her huh?...

I always felt the Japanese lost something in the translation. In copying HD they also copied the low horsepower, apparently assuming that's what people wanted. The worst of it is that the Japanese have a heritage of cool bikes in their own right, why on earth they feel the need to spin off some 50's burger joint fantasy is beyond me.

Just think how much fun a modern version of the RD350 would be, or an updated but original looking 900 Kaw. or a modern Suzuki Stinger, it'd be the perfect city bike and more fun than a pillowcase full of puppies. I'd be happy to give Seruzawa's left nut for an updated Kawasaki Mach 111.... both of them for that matter, Even Honda's venerable sohc 750, CL305 and 160 Dream would be cool. How about a street version of Mike the Bike's 250 6 cylinder?

instead we get some stupid greaser tough guy bullsh*t on a fake In'jun....it's enough to make a dog barf.
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:10 AM   #5
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It's interesting you would post this. Just yesterday the kid and I were driving home on the Turnpike. We passed a pickup with a chopper on a trailer. Looked like a Big Dog or maybe an AIH. I laughed and said "that's the only way they'll get that bike anywhere. On a trailer." The kids says: "Why would they make a bike they couldn't ride?" So I 'splained to him about how it started with simple mods like fork extensions for cornering and then morphed into the ridiculous turds we see today.

To Sarnali's comment: "The worst of it is that the Japanese have a heritage of cool bikes in their own right, why on earth they feel the need to spin off some 50's burger joint fantasy is beyond me." Yeah, exactly. The coolest bike I saw in the '70's was a CB750 - engined chopper. It had all the design language of the choppers of the day, but a smokin hot (for the time) motor that looked, sounded, and ran like no HD ever could.
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