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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.

Honda Announces 40th Anniversary Gold Wing and Other 2015 Models

2015 Honda Gold Wing ABS

Rider Magazine Staff
September 4, 2014

Hot on the heels of its summer introductions of three new 2015 models—the CBR300R, CB300F and NM4—Honda has announced the return of several cruiser, touring and dual-sport models. The 2015 model year marks the 40th anniversary of the Gold Wing, and Honda is celebrating with a commemorative 40th Anniversary... Read more »

Cutting-Edge Cruisers—Snapshots Reviews

Ready to rumble are, from left, the Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe, Victory Boardwalk, Indian Chief Classic and Moto Guzzi California 1400 Custom ABS. (Photography by Kevin Wing)

Bill Stermer
September 2, 2014

Ready to rumble are, from left, the Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe, Victory Boardwalk, Indian Chief Classic and Moto Guzzi California 1400 Custom ABS. (Photography by Kevin Wing) There was a time, not that long ago, when in motorcycle terms cruisers were considered something less—simpler machines that... Read more »

2014 Indian Chief Classic

2014 Indian Chief Classic

Bill Stermer
September 2, 2014

Those full fenders and classic flowing lines will garner the Indian rider plenty of attention. (Photography by Kevin Wing) The original Indian motorcycle company began in 1901, but then faded away in the early 1950s. Two recent attempts to revamp the brand failed in the early 2000s, then Polaris Industries,... Read more »

2014 Moto Guzzi California 1400 Custom ABS

2014 Moto Guzzi California 1400 Custom ABS

Bill Stermer
September 2, 2014

Its seating positionand adjustable suspension make the Guzzi the sportiest machine here. You immediately realize there’s something different about this bike when you notice its more aggressive, almost sporty stance. At 708 pounds, it’s the lightest in our test and it’s also the only one of these... Read more »

2014 Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe

Bill Stermer
September 2, 2014

Designed for smaller, shorter riders, the Harley offers a lower seat height and brings the grips in closer. With its classic style and air-cooled, 45-degree V-twin motor, the Harley-Davidson has served as the iconic American-made motorcycle for more than 110 years. In its current form, the motor displaces... Read more »

2014 Victory Boardwalk

Bill Stermer
September 2, 2014

The Boardwalk offers a relaxed seating position within a hot-rod styling package. (Photography by Kevin Wing) The Victory brand was started by Polaris Industries in 1998 as a means of addressing the lucrative big-inch V-twin market that Harley-Davidson largely had to itself. The bikes are built in Minnesota... Read more »

2015 Indian Scout—Review

2015 Indian Scout

Greg Drevenstedt
August 27, 2014

The red paint, tan solo seat and black-and-chrome headlight nacelle may be old-school, but the new Scout is anything but a nostalgia project. Bold designs for the frame and engine are the new Indian’s interpretation of what the company would be building today had its operations continued uninterrupted... Read more »

2015 Victory Magnum – First Ride Review

2015 Victory Magnum in Ness Midnight Cherry

Greg Drevenstedt
August 14, 2014

Victory’s new Magnum is a “big wheel bagger” with a 21-inch front wheel, slammed rear end, triple-tone paint and a 100-watt audio system. Photography by Riles & Nelson Motorcycle customization trends ebb and flow. Choppers, with their spindly, raked-out forks, beach-ball rear tires... Read more »

2015 Victory Magnum—First Look

2015 Victory Magnum in Plasma Lime.

Rider Magazine Staff
July 28, 2014

2015 Victory Magnum in Plasma Lime. Victory Motorcycles has added another new bike to its 2015 lineup alongside the Gunner bobber. This time it’s a nice variation on the Cross Country called the Magnum with a custom 21-inch front wheel (vs. the standard 18-inch). The back of the bike has been slammed... Read more »

2014 BMW K 1600 GTL Exclusive Road Test

2014 BMW K 1600 GTL Exclusive

Greg Drevenstedt
June 30, 2014

Despite its 807-pound wet weight, the Exclusive has light, precise handling. Heat shield where exhaust header meets the silencer is now larger. When BMW’s K 1600 GTL streaked onto the scene for 2012, packing a 1,649cc in-line six that sends 135 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheel,... 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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