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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.

Harley-Davidson Announces its 2016 Lineup

2016 Harley-Davidson Iron 883 and Forty-Eight

Rider Magazine Staff
August 23, 2015

Harley-Davidson’s lineup expands for 2016, with two new Dark Custom models, two new S Series limited-edition cruisers and the return of the Road Glide Ultra. Elsewhere in the lineup are improvements in performance, styling and features to existing models. 2016 Harley-Davidson Iron 883 and Forty-Eight 2016... Read more »

Rider Comparo: 2015 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Limited | 2015 Honda Gold Wing | 2015 Indian Roadmaster

Cresting June Lake Loop (California Route 158), with the snowcapped eastern Sierra Nevada in the background, are three of the biggest, most luxurious touring bikes available. Harley-Davidson’s Electra Glide Ultra Limited (left) has roots that go back to the original Electra Glide of 1965 and the introduction of the Batwing fairing in 1969. Honda’s Gold Wing GL1800 (center) celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Though it shares a name with the original from 1947, the Indian Roadmaster (right) is a new model for 2015.

Greg Drevenstedt
August 5, 2015

Cresting June Lake Loop (California Route 158), with the snowcapped eastern Sierra Nevada in the background, are three of the biggest, most luxurious touring bikes available. Harley-Davidson’s Electra Glide Ultra Limited (left) has roots that go back to the original Electra Glide of 1965 and the introduction... Read more »

2015 Indian Roadmaster

Two-tone Indian Motorcycle Red/Ivory Cream is stunning and adds $1,200 to the price.

Greg Drevenstedt
August 5, 2015

Two-tone Indian Motorcycle Red/Ivory Cream is stunning and adds $1,200 to the price. Although Indian lays claim to being American’s first motorcycle manufacturer, in this group the Roadmaster is the new kid on the block. After the original company was shuttered in 1953, years of darkness and confusion... Read more »

2015 Honda Gold Wing

Two-tone Candy Red/Black is the best-looking GL1800 paint scheme yet. Stripe down the middle has ghosted “40th Anniversary” logos.

Greg Drevenstedt
August 5, 2015

Two-tone Candy Red/Black is the best-looking GL1800 paint scheme yet. Stripe down the middle has ghosted “40th Anniversary” logos. Honda developed the Gold Wing to be its flagship, a boundary-breaking example of what was possible from the world’s leading motorcycle manufacturer. From the GL1000... Read more »

2015 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Limited

Decked out in Radioactive Green (the custom color costs $1,300 extra), the Ultra Limited cuts a classic V-twin touring cruiser profile.

Greg Drevenstedt
August 5, 2015

Decked out in Radioactive Green (the custom color costs $1,300 extra), the Ultra Limited cuts a classic V-twin touring cruiser profile. When Harley-Davidson launched Project Rushmore for 2014, the customer-driven enhancement program was said to be the most extensive and important in the company’s 110-year... Read more »

Indian Motorcycle Announces its 2016 Lineup

2016 Indian Motorcycle lineup

Rider Magazine Staff
July 29, 2015

The 2016 Indian Motorcycle lineup. Ahead of the 75th anniversary of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally kicking off next week, Indian Motorcycle has announced its 2016 model lineup, which includes the Scout and five models on the Chief platform. 2016 Indian Scout ABS 2016 Indian Scout (ABS) Powered by a liquid-cooled,... Read more »

Moto Guzzi Unveils Eldorado and Audace, Announces Pricing

2016 Moto Guzzi Eldorado 1400

Press Release
March 25, 2015

Moto Guzzi USA unveiled the new 2016 pre-production Eldorado and Audace (ow-dah-cheh) models for the first time in North America, alongside the entire 2015 model range at the 74th annual Daytona Bike Week. Prices for the new 2016 models were also announced. 2016 Moto Guzzi Eldorado 1400 will be available... Read more »

2016 Victory Magnum X-1 – First Look Review

2016 Victory Magnum X-1

Rider Magazine Staff
March 8, 2015

The 2016 Victory Magnum X-1 is a big-wheel bagger with high-end billet wheels, a 200-watt audio system, an LED headlight and custom paint. Named after the Bell X-1, the plane that broke the sound barrier with legendary test pilot Chuck Yeager at the controls, the new Magnum X-1 is the latest loud-and-proud... Read more »

2015 Star Bolt C-Spec – First Ride Review

2015 Star Bolt C-Spec

Greg Drevenstedt
March 3, 2015

The 2015 Star Bolt C-Spec offers café racer style in a cruiser package. photography by Brian J. Nelson Star Motorcycles hit a home run in 2014 with its all-new Star Bolt, a minimalist “urban performance bobber” powered by the torquey, 942cc air-cooled V-twin from the V Star 950. With its solo saddle... Read more »

Middleweight Touring Cruisers: Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic LT, Star V Star 950 Tourer, Suzuki Boulevard C50T, Triumph America LT

motorcycle cruiser comparison

Greg Drevenstedt
January 6, 2015

All of the bikes in this comparison offer the same touring features and similar components, but they differ in terms of engine size (and in one case, configuration), air vs. liquid cooling, ergonomics, wind protection, handling and styling. (Photos by Kevin Wing) Baggers, with their broad fairings and... 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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