2014 Harley-Davidson Low Rider Preview

Longtime Harley heads will surely be familiar with the Low Rider name. First introduced in 1977, the Low Rider was a rugged bike for the rugged rider. For 2014, after a five-year hiatus, Harley-Davidson is bringing the Low Rider name back. Now with a host of upgrades to ensure riders of all sizes will feel at home. Pricing starts at $14,199 for Vivid Black, jumping to $14,929 for the Brilliant Silver/Vivid Black or Amber Whiskey/Vivid Black two-tone color schemes. 

Based on the Dyna chassis, forward thrust comes courtesy of the venerable Twin Cam 103 engine H-D says puts out 99 ft-lbs at 3500 rpm. Michelin provides the Scorcher tires and suspension is handled with a 49mm fork in front and twin coilover shocks in the rear with progressive springs.

The Motor Company used the same customer-led development process used for Project Rushmore. Through this, the product development team realized the Low Rider would have to appeal to a vast array of body sizes. To do this, Harley utilized three key features: a two-position seat, an adjustable handlebar riser, both easily adjusted using simple hand tools, and footpegs that are relocated two inches forward from the standard Dyna platform. True to its name, the Low Rider’s seat height is just 25.4 inches.

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2014 Triumph Thunderbird LT – First Ride Teaser

Triumph is in the middle of hosting its world launch of its two new cruisers for 2014, the Commander and Thunderbird LT. Our boy Evans is on the scene in San Diego, California, where he spent yesterday testing the LT. We kept him mostly out of the bar in the evening to hammer out a quick-ride review in advance of his full test of the LT and Commander, the latter which he’ll be riding today.

Triumph gathered the world moto-press in San Diego to allow them to sample the latest additions to the Thunderbird line. Since the LT and the Commander are heavily influenced by the American cruiser market, Triumph thought it would be best to show off the bikes stateside. Additionally, San Diego also offers a wide variety of roads to better demonstrate the capabilities of these two new bikes.

The big news for the LT and Commander is the new frame designed to give the load-carrying capability and the handling characteristics Triumph desired for the new T-Birds. The wheelbase is about two inches longer at 65.6 in. Countering the extra distance between axles, the frame’s rake angle has been brought in from 32 degrees to 29.9 degrees, and the trail distance shortened 0.7 in. to 5.2 in. The new chassis is visually discernible between the tank and the steering head where it appears noticeably longer. This change is to accommodate the shrouded fork and the windshield (with optional lowers) of the LT.

If you were a fan of the Thunderbird Storm’s parallel-Twin engine, you’ll feel the same gravitational pull towards the LT. Using a mechanically unchanged 1,699cc powerplant, the LT’s engine receives a new airbox and exhaust system.

Rolling on spoked rims, the Thunderbird’s whitewall radial tires are an industry first. Triumph had Avon develop the tires specifically for the LT. The whitewalls are not just painted on; they are an integral part of the tire’s sidewall.

Riding the LT immediately highlights what Triumph has done with the Thunderbird’s handling. The bike steers easily regardless of speed. Turn-in is quick for a relatively long, 836-lb. motorcycle. The bike happily holds or changes lines in corners and gives no hint of standing up when braking while leaned over.

The engine offers ample power throughout its rpm range. Riding on a winding road was as simple as placing it in fourth gear and using the throttle as a rheostat to dial in the power. The one issue with the engine was the transmission with some notchiness in the lower gears, but another journalist said his LT did not suffer from the same symptom. We’ll have to wait for the full test on that one.

There’s tons more to tell you about the Thunderbird LT, but this is just a little tease while I get a chance to write up a more detailed review of the LT and Commander.

If you can’t wait for another taste of the newest Thunderbirds, Triumph has graciously given us the introductory video below which was used at the beginning of the press briefing before our first day of riding. Enjoy.

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2013/2014 Ducati Diavel Strada Review

Ducati’s Diavel has been an odd Duc since its 2011 inception, going partway down a cruiser path but not fully committing to the segment’s form-ahead-of-function paradigm. The regular Diavels can feel a bit confused – it’s sort of a cruiser but one from a new sub-breed.

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2014 Harley-Davidson FXDF Fat Bob Review

A wise man once said, “Speak softly and carry a big, fat stick.” Or something like that.

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2014 Star Roadliner S Review

Setting yourself apart from the 45-degree, air-cooled population inhabiting cruiserdom is a difficult task. Style your V-Twin a bit too liberally and you attract only eccentrics while ostracizing the general cruiser enthusiast. Maintain conventional cruiser fashion and you’re just another dot in a Seurat painting of Harley-Davidson.

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Best Cruiser of 2013

Moto Guzzi’s all-new 1400cc cruiser, the California 1400, lifts the legendary Italian marque from a quirky also-ran to a formidable, modernized opponent. The muscular-yet-elegant California combines chic Italian styling with modern technology and pavement-eating power, resulting in a motorcycle that’s so complete and so completely beyond its predecessor that it narrowly missed being our Motorcycle of the Year. Yeah, it’s that good.

The old California was a decent motorcycle, but not without its quirks. Its deficiencies and quaint funkiness were at once charming and annoying. But the new-from-the-ground-up California Custom and its Touring fratello (with windshield, saddlebags and revised ergonomics) make the old California as distant a memory as Roberto Begnini.

Powered by the largest 90-degree V-Twin ever produced by a European manufacturer (also the smoothest big-inch V-Twin ever), the new California easily stands on its own merit against established cruisers, including Harley-Davidsons. The California’s electronic rider aids make it more technologically advanced than most other motorcycles, boasting standard cruise control and ABS, plus switchable rider modes and traction control – a first for any cruiser, anywhere. At $14,990 (add $3K for the Touring model), the California isn’t cheap, but it’s less expensive than most American V-Twin cruisers. And you won’t find one with better handling, grippier brakes or a smoother-shifting transmission.

It’s too soon to put the impressive new 2014 Indians we recently reviewed in the Best of 2013 list, so this category wasn’t really all that close. The California stands out as something truly special. It retains Guzzi’s traditional charm but is enhanced by a vastly superior powerplant, useful (and class-leading) electronics, and a visual presence that looks outstanding riding down the boulevard. For bringing a different kind of cool to the staid cruiser category, the Moto Guzzi California is our 2013 Cruiser of the Year.

Read More:
2013 Moto Guzzi California 1400 Touring Ambassador Review
2013 Moto Guzzi California 1400 Custom Review
2013 Moto Guzzi California Review: Emissary Of The New Guzzi – Video
Designer Galluzzi Discusses The New Moto Guzzi California 1400 – Video
Ten Questions With Piaggio’s VP Of Design, Miguel Galluzzi

Best Cruiser Honorable Mention: Star Bolt

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2014 Indian Motorcycle Review: Chief Classic, Chief Vintage and Chieftain

In what had to be one of the most anticipated reveals in motorcycle cruiser history, Polaris boldly used the backdrop of the world’s largest motorcycle rally to unleash the latest generation of Indians on the motorcycling community. On the steps of the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and in the shadow of the Black Hills, notice was served with a loud and clear report: Indian Motorcycle is back.

As with all great expectations, the risk of anticlimax is real. But after spending a few days aboard the newest American cruiser, two things are as clear as a Sioux war cry: One, when it comes to disappointing its purists, Indian has no reason to worry; and two, that little motorcycle company in Wisconsin had better get busy acknowledging that it just might have a border war on its hands.

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2014 Indian Chief - Reinventing an Icon

We’ve now ridden the new Indian Chief and confidently predict that it will make a massive splash in the cruiser market. Our full review will soon follow, but there’s a lot of ground to cover in telling the Chief’s story.

Who Is Indian?

Polaris Industries, owner of Victory Motorcycles, acquired the rights to Indian in 2011 and immediately set out to develop a premium new cruiser platform. Polaris’ 15 years of Victory experience has been used to good effect, creating in the Chief an amazingly refined motorcycle for a clean-sheet design.

And Polaris should not be taken lightly. With recent market domination in ATV and UTV markets from successful Ranger and RZR models, plus Victory Motorcycles, Polaris has become the number-one powersports OEM in North America in terms of market share, beating Harley and Honda et. al.

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2013 Light-Heavyweight Touring-Cruiser Shootout - Video
2012 250cc Cruiser Shootout - Video - Motorcycle.com

“I haven’t ridden in eight years, so I feel like a beginning rider. Again.”

Those are the words of Melisa Ganzon, a long-time friend of Editor Duke. A graduate from the MSF Basic RiderCourse more than 11 years ago, Melisa has three years of riding experience under her belt.

However, her extended absence from two wheels (to start a family), along with her petite female stature and willingness to step back up to the plate created an epiphany in our collective Motorcycle.com mind: Melisa is an ideal candidate to participate in our 250cc Cruiser Shootout.

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First Ride: 2008 Star Raider - Motorcycle.com

Does the world need another cruiser, or custom-like cruiser for that matter? Yamaha offshoot Star Motorcycles thinks so, and as evidence of the motorcycle company's confidence it unveiled the Star Raider in September of this year. We recently took home a test unit to find out how it performs.

When Harley-Davidson's announcement that it would be scaling back its shipments for the third quarter of 2007, and Victory's modest 2008 retail sales projections were pointed out, Bob Starr (really, that's his name), Yamaha’s General Manager of Corporate Communications, reminded us that the cruiser segment is still the largest part of the industry and that Star "wants to be a big part of that." Derek Brooks, Product Planning Manager for Star Motorcycles, explained that when the Raider project began over two years ago, Star knew then that the growth of the industry wouldn't last, “but that there were still opportunities to be had.”

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2009 Dirico Motorcycles Review - Motorcycle.com

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2009 Johnny Pag Motorcycles Review - Motorcycle.com

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2012 Confederate X132 Hellcat Preview - Motorcycle.com

Hellcat, the most affordable motorcycle in Confederate’s portfolio, enters 2012 as a new model with different nomenclature, reduced complexity and increased performance. Underpinning the Hellcat’s upgrades is a new V-Twin engine of unit construction, with cases milled from billet aluminum.

The X132 is the third generation of the Hellcat model from boutique manufacturer, Confederate Motorcycles. According to Confederate founder and CEO, Matt Chambers, it’s the most significant Hellcat to date.

“This is our 911 moment,” Chambers says referring to Porsche’s iconic and eternal 911 sports car. “We have achieved with the X132 Hellcat a foundation that isn’t simply this year’s girl.”

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2012 Cleveland CycleWerks Tha Heist Review - Motorcycle.com

We want to like Cleveland CycleWerks, the small, start-up OEM from this author’s home state of Ohio. But affection isn’t the first emotion felt when the footpeg assembly and tail light vibrate loose within the initial 50 kilometers of riding a 2012 Heist model.

Why kilometers? Because the one and only gauge on tha Heist delivered to us predominantly displays the metric measurement. A less legible mph resides below the kph readout, but the gauge’s odometer also records kilometers traveled.

If tha Heist were a fast motorcycle, the foreign gauge may help explain why you were exceeding the posted speed limit, but tha Heist is not fast. And even if it were, tha Heist’s architecture is constructed for neither speed nor comfort. Tha Heist is about image, more specifically, a maverick image at an affordable price.

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2012 Harley-Davidson Sportster SuperLow Vs. Triumph America [Video] - Motorcycle.com

According to a 2008 NYTimes.com blog article, the average cost of a new bike in 2007 was in excess of $12,000. Considering the world economic climate of the past few years, there’s not much reason to think bikes have become any less expensive. But all is not lost.

If you’re eager to have a user-friendly ride – specifically in the ever-popular cruiser category – that won’t break the bank and yet still offers reputable performance, quality craftsmanship, appealing styling and is welcoming of new and/or returning riders, then gaze upon the Harley-Davidson Sportster SuperLow and Triumph America.

Both motorcycles provide comfortable riding positions. The Harley is better suited to riders with short inseams, which might include plenty of female riders looking for that first motorcycle. The America’s layout is such that it accommodates a wider range of statures, including folks standing six-feet-plus. But that’s not to imply the America is too big for petite frames, as its seat height is only 0.3 inch taller than the SuperLow’s 26.8-inch saddle.

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2011 World Cruiser Shootout [Video] - Motorcycle.com

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Harley-Davidson has a lot to blush about. Harley motorcycles unarguably serve as the icon for the form of motorcycle known as a cruiser.

For decades other motorcycle manufacturers have glommed onto the cruiser theme. Some brands unabashedly produce models that look as much like a Harley as possible – Harley clones – without getting into legal hot water, while others just strafe the notion of a cruiser simply by creating a machine with the general look and feel of a cruiser: a neutral if not relaxed riding position and some chrome in just the right amount.

When we contemplated the fact that Harley has inspired so many other brands to interpret the cruiser form, we thought we’d conduct a cruiser comparison review that’s something of an experiment.

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2012 Honda Fury Vs. 2011 Yamaha Star Stryker [Video]
2011 Bagger Cruiser Shootout - Motorcycle.com

As long as demand for cruisers remains high in the U.S., you’ll keep seeing plenty o’ cruiser reviews on this site. And that’s just fine by us here at Motorcycle.com, especially when it comes to exploring the burgeoning bagger sub-segment.

Beyond the obvious benefit of carrying your crap in the standard saddlebags, many of these light-duty touring Twin-powered boulevard bombers come with luxurious accoutrements to make miles in comfy saddles more pleasurable.

A sizeable windscreen – if not a full batwing fairing – protects against windblast, which is often exacerbated by a cruiser’s relaxed fists-in-the-wind seating position. And some manufacturers stuff the bar or frame-mounted fairing full of niceties, like a comprehensive radio tuner/CD player and/or MP3 combo along with switches or switch blanks ready for auxiliary lighting and so on.

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In a battle between two audacious motorcycles we bring together Triumph’s Rocket Roadster III and the venerable VMax from Star for a monster motor mash-up! Both of these behemoths offer endless gobs of power, but that is where the similarities end.
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2010 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Classic Vs. 2010 Triumph Thunderbird - Motorcycle.com

With some choices in life—especially non-essential issues—it seems the heart always has a voice on the matter. Desire and the strong urge for instant gratification often bully our impartial, logical side, leaving us perplexed and frazzled when we would otherwise make a snap but prudent decision.

A scenario plays out in our head: “Should I go with affordable and sensible, or shiny and expensive?”

On the matter of looking for a new motorcycle, well, that’s when the heart adds its passionate complexity.

To get a sense of what some manufacturers other than Harley-Davidson think the American consumer wants in his or her cruiser, we looked to Kawasaki’s Vulcan 1700 Classic and Triumph’s Thunderbird.

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Take five motorcycles. All but one are V-Twins (10 years ago an endangered species, now one of the dominant motorcycle engines). All sized from 1100 to 1500cc, all weighing 550 or more. All with four or five gears, none with seat heights above 29 inches. They're painted different colors, but if you think that we can't tell them apart by anything other than the paint -- well, you're pleasantly wrong. How different can they be? That's the question non-cruiser aficionados always ask, and it's usually answered one way "If you have to ask, you don't understand."

Even if you've never sat on a cruiser in your life, it's actually easy to understand their appeal. They are motorcycles for the dietetically challenged. No thin people need apply. The svelte look silly in the ample tractor-based seat of an American style cruiser. Fat guys own cruisers. It's fair enough: Fat guys look ridiculous in full leathers, especially after shoe-horning their beerguts behind sculpted gas tanks of sportbikes so their arms wave in the air like beetles. And as the keep-fit fad dies among baby boomers (Who can face a two hour workout every day for the rest of their lives?) potential cruiser owners will soon become the majority of the motorcycle riding population.

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Unless you've been under the proverbial rock for the last year and a half you couldn't have missed all the chatter in the mainstream media about the burgeoning motorcycle market. It seems as though motorcycles, motorcyclists and anything related to them have a bounty on them with the way articles crop up on a daily basis. And unless you were comatose under that rock you also couldn't help noting that a very large part of that media talk focused --almost to a fault-- a great deal on anything that remotely resembled a cruiser.

Although many of you might like to think that MO staffers have been living comfortably under that rock, blissfully ignorant of the world -- or at least the world of motorbikes -- around us, we would beg to differ.

Fear not intrepid reader! We've not been asleep, merely sleepy-eyed. MO has been keenly aware for a number of years as to just how important cruisers are as part of a regular motorcycle diet. As proof of such we've assembled, yet again, what we think is a good cross-section of bikes. To drill down a little further beyond the broad category of cruiser bikes, we focused our beam on what has recently become a sub-category called "power" cruisers.

Many bike makers claim that the face of the cruiser owner is getting younger. Yet he or she still craves the performance that they may have been weaned on in their early riding experiences, and they're not ready to be lumped in with the rest of the bar-hoppers.

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Looks, sound and feel.

Those are the three things we judge our cruisers by here at MO. There once was a time when only a genuine Harley-Davidson product could give us what we wanted in a cruiser. The offerings from Japan and Europe would be grotesquely-styled approximations of what some committee of marketing, engineering and accounting executives thought we `Mericuns would buy. And buy them we would -- if the resulting products were cheap enough.

Much has changed in the last ten years. Triumph is once again a force to be respected in the USA, with record-breaking sales every year. Arlen Ness is designing stylish factory customs for snowmobile maker Polaris, and Yamaha is launching a whole new product line to entice upscale cruiser buyers. Harley-Davidson is no longer the only option for a big, stylish, envy-inducing cruiser.

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Chicago, August 2005 -

Great news! The Rods finally had their second child. They named him 'Street.' Only trouble is, he and his brother 'V' don't get along too well. Such sibling unrest is unusual for the normally tight-knit Harley families. The typical Harley family of bikes is a very similar set of siblings. Despite the cosmetic variances within each model family, be it Dyna, FX Softail, FL Softail, Sportster, or Electra Glide, the riding experience remains quite similar.

The same cannot be said for the brothers Rod. When these two go out to play together, Street gets bored cruising boulevards. V gets uncomfortable leaning hard into fast corners. Street likes Ginger. V wants Mary Ann. On paper the differences between the new 2006 VRSCR Steet Rod and the original VRSCA V-Rod are notable, but few in number. However, when the rubber meets the road these bikes could be from different continents. Which actually stands to reason. While the V-Rod is aimed squarely at the US power cruiser segment, the Street Rod is built to tackle the EU.

It's often said that Harleys can't be compared to other motorcycles, only other Harleys. Recognizing this, when the Street Rod was introduced there was only one option: a head-to-head comparision with its older brother. To make it even more interesting we decided to not run the bikes in lane-splitting, canon-carving Southern California. No. They should be run where they were created, the MidWest. To top it off, we thought we would even get a diversity of opinion. A street rider and a touring rider.

Are you Orange or Black?

2005 V-ROD

-Forward foot controls
-32° lean angle
-49 mm conventional fork
-Rake/fork angle of 34/38°
-Four-piston Hayes brakes
-292 mm front rotors
-Revolution V-Twin
-115 hp and 74 ft. lbs.
-Cast aluminum disc wheels
-3.7 gallon fuel tank
-Slash-cut dual
-26 inch seat height.
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"You're older than you've ever been, and now you're even older, and now you're even older, and now you're even older. You're older than you've ever been, and now you're even older... and now you're older still" - from the song, "Older", by They Might Be Giants

As the sinister bitch goddess, Time, marches on, she offers us all sorts of little clues as to the increasing proximity of our inevitable decay and demise. The sprained ankle that should have been healed after two weeks is still nagging us two months later. The bald spot at the back of our heads is sprinting feverishly to meet the bald spot at the front. The women who want to date us already have kids, and the women we want to date are young enough to be our kids (theoretically of course).

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You want a big cruiser but you don't need a large 1500 cc behemoth that weighs close to half-a-ton fully loaded. You want something you can cruise down the boulevard on but you want to be able to handle a corner or two. You want classic styling but you insist on reliability as well. If these are your guidelines, then Honda and Yamaha might have what you're looking for in the guise of the Honda Shadow American Classic Edition and Yamaha V-Star 1100. The ACE and V-Star have a few things in common: Both sport requisite V-twin powerplants (75° for the V-Star and 45° for the ACE) and both possess typical Japanese refinement. Aside from these similarities, the two rides are very different machines.

While both machines are shaft driven, the ACE uses the shaft housing as the swingarm. Although this arrangement is effective, it's a bit lacking style-wise. However, the whitewall tires and the classic fenders

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Over the years the staff of Motorcycle.com no matter the regime usually hasn't been one for the conventional view. We often come up with some silly premise for pitting a bunch of bikes not usually seen in the same circles together, or arbitrarily choose a location to ride off to and generate some screwy videos, photos and commentary. We're not like everyone else, and that's why you love us, right? So, with one last opportunity before year's end, we conjured up another comparo with a hint of fun and irreverence to close out 2007.

Choppers after several years of seeing them being built on TV, some of the major OEMs are now building their own. The Victory Vegas Jackpot was one of the first out of the gate, offering flamboyant style and a 250mm rear tire that was the fattest available on a large-scale production bike. Then, this past summer, Harley-Davidson debuted its chopper/bob-job Rocker, providing the most daring Softail yet. We knew we had the brewing of a shootout when we saw the Star Motorcycles Raider this fall, as the Yamaha-built cruiser was the first Japanese custom that embraces the chopper phenomenon. Theyre the three bikes currently offered from major OEMs which best exemplify the outlaw chopper movement, what were terming Mainstream Choppers.

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As the cruiser market grew along with the rest of the industry at near exponential rates over the last 15 years, so did displacement and the performance level of some cruisers. Now theres an unofficial subset of this segment where the words muscle, power or performance may be used along side the word cruiser.

Sure, performance cruisers still have most of that essential cruiser profile. But a lot of them also stop well, are agile, powerful enough, and comfortable enough to catch the eye of a consumer that may be considering an altogether different style of bike.

Witness Suzukis latest introduction, the Boulevard M90. During the bikes U.S. launch this past fall in Monterey, CA, Mel Harris, vice president of American Suzuki Motor Corporation, says the M90 fills a gap that existed not only in Suzukis own product line, but also in the market.

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Shootout: 2010 Honda Shadow RS Vs. 2010 Harley-Davidson 883 Low
Godzilla Cruisers Shootout - Motorcycle.com

Godzilla name is the property of Toho Films, Ltd.

Is bigger better?

Since we're all Americans here, we don't even have to ask that question. Of course it is.

 And nowhere is that more true than in the land of the cruiser motorcycle.

Just 10 years ago, Motorcycle.com posted its first heavyweight cruiser comparison test. Back then, "big" was 1,100cc, and "huge" was 1,500. Things have changed. Cruisers are bigger, with better

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2006 Light-Middleweight Cruiser Comparison - Motorcycle.com

Bigger is better, right? When you're talking cruisers, you bet it is. In the last ten years, we've seen enormous growth not only in the size of the US cruiser market, but also the size of the cruisers themselves. Where an 1100cc machine was considered big in 1995, it's now dwarfed by 800-pound, 1800, 2000 and even 2300cc behemoths. And don't get us started on the two-wheeled muscle car that is the Boss Hoss.

Even the "middleweight" category is getting bigger, not unlike the very consumers they are being sold to. Those of you who suffered through Gabe's V-Star 1300 introduction report may have been as scandalized as he was to find that a bike with a 1.3-liter engine -- the same size as a Geo Metro or Mazda Miata -- is a "middleweight" cruiser, according to Yamaha. Logically, then, the Kawasaki Vulcan 1400, the Suzuki M90 (which is 1,474cc) and Honda's VTX1300 are all middleweights as well. These are machines with heft.

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Excelsior-Henderson Vs. RoyalStar - Motorcycle.com

Those looking for a bargain cruiser, and not willing to settle for less than 1300cc's, need look no further than the Yamaha Royal Star, produced since 1996, and the Excelsior-Henderson, produced in 1999 and 2000.

Both can be found in showroom condition, sometimes even still in the crate, for less than ten grand.

I bought my Yamaha, still under warranty for six grand, and my E-H for less than eight grand, both fully loaded with bags, sissy bar & pad, and windshield. Both have floorboards, heel and toe shifters, and Harley-like styling and riding position.

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2001 H-D FXSTD Deuce Vs. BMW R1200 C Phoenix - Motorcycle.com

Swing low, sweet chariot...

Torrance, California, January 7, 2001 --

"Dayam foo, dat shiznit is TIGHT! What iz dat? Itz a Harley, right?"

"Uh, yea... It's a Softail Deuce."

"A Deuce? Shi*, dat shi* iz DOPE!"

In typical fashion, Minime beat HackFu to a "rustic" diner. As he was removing his gear, a "local" had approached him in regards to the motorcycle he was riding. We join the conversation already in progress.

"Uh, sure... its, um, dope."

They proceeded to discuss international politics and the slumping Blue Chip, when...

"Oh, TRIP, whass dat?"

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Road Star Vs. Fat Boy Comparo - Motorcycle.com

The latest and most serious threats to the Fat Boy's boulevard-king status come from Kawasaki's 1500 Vulcan Classic FI(which we sampled earlier this year in Daytona), and Yamaha's Road Star. We had a chance to swing a leg over the new Road Star at the Star line Intro in San Diego, California a few months ago and came away impressed with what lead engineer, "Wacky" Macky Makino and his crew of engineers came up with. We knew that these big bruisers from Japan would be serious competition for Harley and had to see how they stacked up.

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1998 Polaris Victory V92C

Thursday, June 26: Minnesota-based Polaris Industries, renowned manufacturer of snowmobiles, ATVs and watercraft, unveiled to the world its newest venture, the Victory V92C motorcycle, touted to be the largest V-twin cruiser bike in production.  

This announcement, long anticipated in the motorcycle world, brings the number of American motorcycle manufacturers up to four.  

"We've been working on this for a long time and we're confident we have the best cruiser bike on the market today."

All 28 members of the Victory design team were on hand to show the fruits of three years of their labor. "We started in our Roseau [Minnesota] plant," said Engineering Manager Geoff Burgess, "but when things got rolling, we decided we would be better served by moving the project down to the Osceola [Wisconsin] plant, since that's where the engine crew was located. Of the original group, only six of us made the transfer. The remaining 22 people were hired from outside the company.

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