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Cruiser + Touring Motorcycles

Cruiser + Touring Motorcycles includes two of the most popular motorcycle categories, accounting for nearly three out of every four on-highway motorcycles sold in the United States. According to sales data from the Motorcycle Industry Council for 2012, motorcycles classified as “Cruiser” accounted for 32.3% and those classified as “Touring” accounted for 41.9% of total on-highway units sold. As discussed in Cruiser motorcycle guides, most cruisers are classically styled motorcycles that highlight the exposed engine–usually an air-cooled V–twin–and metalwork such as chrome exhaust pipes or heavy fenders. They typically offer a relaxed, feet-forward riding position favored by riders who, as the name implies, enjoy cruising down Main Street or their favorite back road. Touring motorcycles, which includes some cruisers as well as other types of bikes, are designed for long-distance travel. Touring motorcycle reviews look for typical details like a windshield (and sometimes a fairing) to protect the rider from wind, a comfortable seat and attached luggage, such as hard or soft saddlebags and possibly a trunk. Baggers, a nickname for motorcycles equipped with saddlebags, straddle the cruiser and touring categories and they’re very popular today.

2014 Honda CTX1300 First Look

2014 Honda CTX1300 Right Side

Mark Tuttle
November 4, 2013

With a 200-series rear tire, low 29.1-inch seat height and relaxed seating, the CTX1300 is a new-think cruiser-tourer. Honda has adroitly filled a niche in the entry-level motorcycle genre with its two twin-cylinder CTX models, which are based upon the 670cc parallel twin first introduced in the NC700X.... Read more »

2014 Triumph Rocket III Touring Road Test

2014 triumph rocket III touring

Mark Tuttle
October 9, 2013

Bigger is better. Go big or go home. There’s no replacement for displacement. Super size me! We were using those phrases a lot about 10 years ago. Back then, a gallon of gas cost about a buck-fifty and the players in the cruiser market were battling to see who could build the biggest and baddest. Hot... Read more »

Moto Guzzi’s California 1400 Touring in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains

Lone Pine and the almost-dry Owens Lake

Clement Salvadori
October 4, 2013

Back roads make me happy. Two lanes, little traffic, preferably with lots of curves and undulations, rather like the better parts of California Routes 58, 120 and 178. Lots of gear changes, lots of lean, maybe a little braking on occasion when the yellow and black warning sign says 30 mph and the speedo... Read more »

Popular Honda Motorcycles Return for 2014: Shadow, 1300 Custom and Rebel Cruisers, XR650L

2014 Honda Interstate

Greg Drevenstedt
September 6, 2013

In addition to the nearly two-dozen all-new or improved models that Honda has released since 2012, Big Red is bringing back other popular bikes in its lineup with new colors and prices. Returning for 2014 are the Shadow and 1300 Custom lines of cruisers, as well as the Rebel cruiser and XR650L dual-sport. “These... Read more »

2014 Moto Guzzi California 1400 Touring Road Test

The California 1400 Touring offers a classic style.

Greg Drevenstedt
September 4, 2013

Flashback to 1970. Richard Nixon is in the White House, American troops are in Vietnam and the AMC Gremlin is in dealerships. Little known in the U.S. at the time, Moto Guzzi captures a slice of the lucrative police market with a full-dress version of the Eldorado 850, which was more powerful, more maneuverable,... Read more »

2014 Honda CTX700 Road Test

The 2014 Honda CTX700.

Mark Tuttle
September 3, 2013

If you’re an experienced motorcycle enthusiast, you’ve probably pigeonholed these new Honda CTXs as just beginner’s bikes and are about turn the page. Not so fast. That’s what any number of us old-timers thought when the NC700X/DCT was introduced, too. After testing it thoroughly (Rider, November... Read more »

2014 Harley-Davidsons: Project Rushmore

Precision liquid cooling helps stabilize cylinder head temperatures in the 2014 Harley Ultra Limited. All of the new baggers get restyled front fenders, fairings and luggage, too.

Mark Tuttle
August 28, 2013

Like a cavalry charge of the Rough Riders led by Teddy Roosevelt waving his cowboy hat in the air, Harley-Davidson recently launched eight new Touring models under the auspicious banner “Project Rushmore,” a customer-driven enhancement effort it is unabashedly calling the largest and most important... Read more »

2014 Indian Chiefs — First Ride

2014-Indian-Classic-featured

Greg Drevenstedt
August 9, 2013

Everyone loves a good comeback story. Inspirational people, from Abraham Lincoln to Walt Disney to Rocky Balboa, were knocked down but not out, rising up to become stronger and more resilient than ever. Post-AMF Harley-Davidson and Hinckley-based Triumph made legendary comebacks, and now—finally—Indian... Read more »

Victory Motorcycles Announces Its 2014 Lineup

Victory-Ness-Cross-Country

Press Release
July 29, 2013

Celebrating its 15th anniversary, Victory Motorcycles announced its 2014 lineup at the Polaris Industries dealer meeting in Washington, D.C. Headlining the new model year motorcycles are the Cross Country 8-Ball, the Cross-Roads 8-Ball, the new Cross Country Factory Custom Paint program and a limited-edition... Read more »

2013 Honda CB1100 Road Test

An admirable view from any perspective. The CB1100 was first offered in Japan and Australia as a 2010 model.

Mark Tuttle
July 1, 2013

Take a look around your garage. Is there an old radio that’s been tuned to a classic rock station for as long as you can remember? A bunch of Craftsman tools crowding a few precious Snap-On items in an old toolbox covered with fading stickers from Bell, Bates, NGK, Torco, and S&W or Mulholland... Read more »

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Cruiser + Touring Motorcycles, Who Uses Them?

Because America is renowned for its wide-open spaces and we love the open road, Cruiser + Touring Motorcycles are very popular in road tests. The cruiser style was invented in the U.S. in the early 1900s by companies such as Harley-Davidson, Indian and many others. Even today, the three major U.S. motorcycle manufacturers–Harley-Davidson, Victory and Indian–build cruisers and touring motorcycles exclusively. In an attempt to capture some of the American cruiser market, all four major Japanese manufacturers–Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha–as well as European manufacturers such as Triumph and Moto Guzzi, build cruisers. Most motorcycle guides suggest that Cruisers appeal to motorcyclists who place a lot of importance on style and, due to their limited cornering clearance and laidback riding position, less importance on performance. Cruisers often have low seat heights, allowing riders of all sizes to put both feet firmly on the ground when stopped. According to the reviews and road tests, Touring motorcycles appeal to anyone who wants to ride comfortably all day or for days on end.


Cruiser + Touring Motorcycle Standouts

The brand most associated with cruisers is Harley-Davidson, a company based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that has been building motorcycles since 1903. Harley-Davidson has several model families, including Sportster, Dyna, Softail, V-Rod, CVO and Touring. Victory Motorcycles and Indian Motorcycle, the other two major American motorcycle manufacturers, are both owned by Minnesota-based Polaris Industries. Victory builds cruisers (Boardwalk, Judge), baggers (Cross Roads) and touring bikes (Cross Country Tour, Vision), and Indian builds very classically styled cruisers (Chief Classic) and touring bikes (Chief Vintage). Cruisers are also manufactured by Honda (Fury, Shadow), Ducati (Diavel), Kawasaki (Vulcan), Moto Guzzi (California), Suzuki (Boulevard), Triumph (Speedmaster, Thunderbird) and Yamaha/Star (V Star, Raider). Road tests can be found for most Touring motorcycles, including variations on the models listed above with windshields and saddlebags, as well as more performance-oriented models like the Honda Gold Wing GL1800 and BMW K 1600 GTL.

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