Remember the previous generation Moto Guzzi California? The Italian take on an all-American genre of motorcycling didn’t quite lure the typical cruiser set away from Harley-Davidson, Victory or even Japanese cruisers in the way the company had hoped. But that didn’t stop Guzzi from trying (and doing a much better job with the current iteration of the California). In this week’s Church feature, we go back to 2003 and Jason Roberts review of the Moto Guzzi California Titanium. Long story short: he wasn’t a big fan. However, that didn’t stop him from noticing its appeal. Read Jason’s thoughts below, and be sure to visit the photo gallery for more hi-res pics.
This week’s Church feature takes us back to 2002 and the introduction of the Victory Vegas. The latest model from the “other” American motorcycle manufacturer, the Vegas is the result of new-age design and engineering. Designed from the ground up via computer programming, tweaks, changes and modifications could quickly be implemented before production began. The result? Well, here’s Calvin Kim to tell you how he got on with it.
In last week’s Church feature, we showcased the competent, if not boring, Kawasaki Vulcan 800 classic. This week, we turn our attention to Suzuki’s interpretation of a middleweight cruiser: the Intruder Volusia 800. While occupying a similar space in the cruiser landscape as the Kawasaki, according to Brent Avis, who penned the story, the Suzuki goes about its business in an entirely more entertaining fashion. Jump ahead 13 years to present day, and it almost seems strange to call Kawasaki the tame OEM and Suzuki the exciting one. But such were the days back then. Check out Avis’ review of the Volusia 800 below and transport yourself back to 2002.
It’s kinda funny when I look back on it. Swanky downtown Los Angeles location, circa June 2013. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres are served. Then someone finally pulls the wraps off the guest of honor: the early-release 2014 Star Bolt. Star employees beam with shameless pride about the new model bike that seems little more than a ripoff of the long-existing Harley-Davidson 883 Sportster.
There likely won’t be any arguments if I said the 2002 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Classic won’t win any beauty contests. However, it’s also hard to deny that the little Vulcan is an agreeable, comfortable cruiser to ride. In this week’s Church feature, we take a look back at the ol Vulc 800, through the eyes of none other than our own John Burns. Here, he makes arguments about why the Vulc is a good motorcycle, if you can stomach the fact that riding one also means you have to be seen on it.
When Moto Guzzi announced a pair of early-release 2016 models based on the California 1400 platform, the Italian manufacturer created a new model in the Audace and looked to its past for the second. Readers who are familiar with the bikes that have come out of the Mandello del Lario factory over the years will immediately recognize the Eldorado name for the past relationship with the state of California, forging the link to the model line on which this 2016 model is based.
When you create the largest V-Twin manufactured in Europe and have placed it in a pair of cruisers that have garnered favorable reviews – one of which was named the Motorcycle.com Best Cruiser of 2013 – the natural thing for a motorcycle company to consider is how else can the stable of motorcycles based on this DNA be enlarged.
Harley-Davidson’s V-Rod was supposed to be the answer to the nay-sayers who clamored that The Motor Company was stuck in the past and couldn’t produce a contemporary powerplant. Considering the engine is still around in H-D’s lineup today is a signal that, at the very least, Harley hasn’t given up on its first mass-produced liquid-cooled engine. In 2002 MO had the opportunity to throw a leg over the then-new VRSCA V-Rod, and in this week’s Church feature, we revisit that test to see what our editors thought of Harley’s rendition of a sportbike.
Sometime during the start of the new millennium, the cruiser manufacturers made a push toward producing models that could best be described as “muscle cruisers.” These bikes packed big engines into minimal frames with big shoulders and mean street cred. The Honda VTX1800 featured in last week’s Church feature is one such motorcycle. These bikes were an attempt to appeal to current cruiser customers while also grabbing the attention of, say, a sportbike rider looking to hang up his or her leathers for something less committed. This week we bring you another in the muscle cruiser category: the 2002 Yamaha Road Star Warrior. Boasting over 100 lb.-ft. of torque and a front end inspired by the YZF-R1 sportbike, the Road Star Warrior was an aggressive attempt by the Yamaha/Star brand to bridge the gap between cruiser and sport buyers. What did we think of it? Read our first impressions below from the Warrior’s new model introduction.
If any category of motorcycling best represents the all-American “bigger is better” mentality, the cruiser segment is it. For 2002, Honda took this theme to heart with the introduction of the VTX1800, and for this week’s Church feature we travel back 13 years and revisit the 1800’s press intro in Santa Barbara, California. With a V-Twin engine so large, it was no surprise the central talking point revolved around it. That said, in typical Honda fashion, the rest of the machine received considerable thought as well. Read on to see just how the 2002 MO crew got on with Honda’s big, bad cruiser.
In this Church feature from 1999, we look back at one Australian company with a big vision. Hunwick Hallam was a partnership between Australian Rod Hunwick and engineer Paul Hallam, to create their own take on motorcycling. While Australian Superbike racing was what the company may be most known for in Australia, the thought of producing the Boss Power Cruiser was arguably a bigger goal for the company. Actual prototypes were eventually made, and the duo had sights set firmly on the cruiser-happy American market. The bike drew eyeballs, but not much funding as the thought of buying an new motorcycle from an unknown company was a tough sell. Ultimately, Hunwick Hallam faded away, its dream never fully being realized. However, Hunwick would later go on to co-found the popular motorcycle custom shop Deus Ex Machina. This report from contributor Ken Edwards provides a few details about the Power Cruiser.
For this week’s Church feature, we’re going to party like it’s 1999 with the help of the 1999 Yamaha Customs. You might recognize them now as Star Motorcycles, but even today we go back and forth with calling the Tuning Fork cruisers Yamaha or Stars. YamaStars, maybe? Anyway, here we look back at some new for ’99 YamaStars and take a ride aboard the Royal Star Venture, a bike still available – and largely unchanged – today. Check it out below, and if you’re a Royal Star Venture owner, tell us what you think of it in the comments section.
“One of my favorite cruisers,” is how MO’s own Evans Brasfield describes the Victory V92C, aka the first Victory motorcycle. His fondness for the V92C comes from a long road trip he took aboard the “other” American cruiser, which left a lasting imprint on our cruiser editor. Now, almost 17 years later, we’re revisiting the launch of the 1998 Victory V92C for this week’s Church feature. The words come from contributor Edward K. Randolph, and it’s interesting to note Polaris CEO W. Hall Wendel, Jr.’s comments about Victory’s existence and the desire to expand Polaris’ reach in the powersports realm. Of course, with Polaris now in control of Indian, one would think the investment in Victory has paid off. With that, enjoy this trip down memory lane.
Triumph’s Rocket III is a British interpretation of a classic American mantra: “there’s no replacement for displacement.” It’s huge 2.3 liter inline-Triple was a torque monster and ate up flat roads for breakfast. So for 2008, Triumph decided to civilize the Rocket III a tad by introducing the Rocket III Touring. Fittingly, Triumph chose San Antonio, Texas as the locale to host the international press launch for it, allowing the world’s moto-media to experience the expanse of Texas blacktop. MO’s European Correspondent, Tor Sagen, was at the launch, where he can’t help but compare the Rocket to a Harley big twin. Read his thoughts below and be sure to visit the photo gallery to see more pictures.
Cruiser riders want what the rest of us want, don’t they? Round black pneumatic tires that hold air, provide good traction in the wet and dry while providing a smooth quiet ride. Yes, they want those things, and they also want a tire that produces orange smoke when lit off. Otherwise, we’re all one big happy family. Where sport and touring bikes have mostly settled on 17-inch diameters front and rear, with usually a 3.5-inch front and a 5- or 6-inch wide rear wheel, cruisers are less standardized. And where sportbike riders will overlook a little harshness for the sake of handling and grip, cruiser riders tend to be more concerned with ride comfort and long life. Since tire engineers aren’t having to deal with 150-mph-plus top speeds, they’re able to give it to them. Looks are important too. Buying decisions can be heavily influenced by tread pattern, and cruiser riders are swayed by whitewalls and crazy-wide rears on their choppers. Luckily, there’s a tire for every rear. Let’s try to keep it in some semblance of alphabetical order, shall we? (The orange smoker starts with an “S.”)