There’s a lot to consider when choosing the right machine for you as cruisers come in many shapes and sizes, with a thriving custom scene, but as a type of bike they share some characteristics. A low, often feet-forward, riding position being one of them.
Performance and safety
With the focus less on speed than style, character and presence, most cruiser-type bikes don’t aim to deliver cutting edge performance. Some misinterpret this as meaning they are safer. They’re not. Cruisers may have lower top speeds and less acceleration than more sporty bikes, but they also don’t have the braking or cornering performance. Statistically, cruisers are no less likely to be involved in the most serious accidents.
The main objective consideration is the size of machine. Then it really is a personal choice. Cruisers tend to be heavy; some very heavy. For those of smaller stature, machines at the lighter end of the scale make sense. Experience and training also come into it. These machines are not the most maneuverable, and can be a handful at low speeds if you are less than confident.
Choosing a cruiser
Lighter, lower capacity machines aren’t entirely without style and presence. They’re also more economical to buy and run. If you’re getting back into biking after a lay-off, or you’ve just passed your test, there’s plenty to hold your interest.
Yamaha’s Virago and Suzuki’s Intruder are 250cc machines that have put many riders onto the cruiser path. Step up to light middleweights like the V Star, Boulevard 50, Honda’s VT750S or some of Harley Davidson’s smaller Sportster range, and you’ll get a machine that carries off the swagger of something bigger while being easy to manage. From there, however, you can go as big as you dare. Right up to Triumph’s 2.3 litre Rocket III or the 429kg of a Harley CVO.