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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.

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 »

2013 Middleweight Metric Cruiser Comparo

These four boys of the boulevard have the sound, look and feel of larger cruisers, but smaller engines and lower prices.

Greg Drevenstedt
June 5, 2013

My favorite comfort foods, heart-warming and artery-clogging classics like mac-and-cheese, buttermilk biscuits and pulled-pork barbecue, are straightforward and uncomplicated, each prepared with a short list of ingredients and easy techniques. But many cooks have been fooled by such simplicity, following... Read more »

2013 Honda Shadow Aero Review

2013 Honda Shadow Aero

Greg Drevenstedt
June 5, 2013

Like Kawasaki’s Vulcan line, Honda has had Shadow cruisers in its lineup since the early 1980s. Over the past three decades, engine displacements have gone up and down, models have come and gone. But since the 1,100cc Shadow Sabre was retired in 2007, the Shadow pedigree has lived on in the middleweight... Read more »

2013 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic Review

2013 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic

Greg Drevenstedt
June 5, 2013

In Roman times, Vulcan was the god of fire. In the 1960s, Vulcan came to be known as the home planet of Spock on Star Trek. And in 1984, Kawasaki began using the name Vulcan for its line of cruisers, which over the years have ranged from 399cc up to a ground-pounding 2,053cc. These days, Vulcans come... Read more »

2013 Star V Star 950 Review

2013 Star V Star 950

Greg Drevenstedt
June 5, 2013

Of the four motorcycles in this comparison, the Star V Star 950 has the most distinctive look. Ever since Yamaha created Star Motorcycles as a separate brand for its cruiser division, the company has carved out a distinct niche in the segment. Last year, Star launched the Raider SCL (Star Custom Line)... Read more »

2013 Suzuki Boulevard C50 SE Review

2013 Suzuki Boulevard C50 Special Edition

Greg Drevenstedt
June 5, 2013

Japan’s Big Four have been fierce competitors for decades, and they’ve all been making cruisers geared toward the American market since the Reagan era. Suzuki gave its cruisers menacing names like Intruder, Marauder and Savage, as well as Volusia—named for the Florida county that encompasses Daytona... Read more »

2013 Star V Star 1300 Deluxe Road Test

The Star V Star 1300 Deluxe is ready for a serious tour or the hirsute commute, with good wind protection and storage.

Mark Tuttle
June 4, 2013

Got your eye on a custom dresser, a “bagger,” eh? Can’t say I blame you. Stripped and slammed cruisers are so five years ago. They may have a wicked minimalist look, but actually riding one is another story—us baby boomers are gettin’ too old for narrow seats and suspension with one lousy inch... Read more »

2013 Suzuki Boulevard C90T B.O.S.S. Road Test

Suzuki’s C90T classic cruiser series finally returns, based on the M90 platform with a liquid-cooled engine.

Arden Kysely
May 31, 2013

Long and low, black as night and trimmed with just enough chrome to entertain the eye, Suzuki’s 2013 Boulevard C90T B.O.S.S. (Blacked Out Suzuki Special) cuts a figure worthy of favorable commentary, or so was my experience after spending a month with this machine. But a spiffy black suit isn’t enough... Read more »

2014 Indian Chief to be Unveiled at Sturgis, Pricing Released

1-2014-Indian-Chief-teaser

Press Release
May 14, 2013

Following the reveal of the all-new Thunder Stroke 111 engine at Daytona Bike Week, Indian Motorcycle has announced that the revival of the Indian Motorcycle brand will debut with the introduction of the 2014 Indian Chief. First introduced in 1922, the legendary Indian Chief is historically the brand’s... Read more »

Harley-Davidson’s 2013 FXDB Street Bob Tour Test

The re-constructed bell-tower tells the traveler that he has arrived at Mission San Miguel.

Clement Salvadori
May 6, 2013

“Give me a road-trip report,” says Editor Tuttle, tossing me the keys to the Harley Street Bob. “Let me know if the modifications we asked for made it into a decent cruiser-touring bike.” Bob is your basic big twin, styled like a 1950s bobber, when it was the fashion to cut down, or bob, the... 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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