Cruisers 101

cruiser

Laid-back, chrome plated easy riders which still deliver that tingle of freedom and an emotional ride. Not fast, but quick enough to see off most cars. The big daddies are Harley-Davidson – original and still the best for many. A big, torquey, lazy V-twin engine in a low slung chassis with classic styling, simple suspension and brakes. Harleys come with the lifestyle thrown in. Its dealers are superb and you’ll feel part of a close community. Many Japanese cruisers are Harley clones.

Good for:

Traditional motorcycling looks and low-revving lazy engine throbbery. Easy riding, whiling away the hours heading for nowhere in particular. Chugging along at the front of the queue instead of snarling in anger at the back. Kicking back and enjoying the freedom and independence as you glide through traffic. Impressing non-motorcyclists who all know what a Harley is.

Not so good for:

Being anywhere for a particular time. As soon as you start to hurry the magic disappears and the cruiser shortcomings (a relative lack of power, clumsy handling and lazy brakes) very quickly get frustrating. No weather protection leaves you vulnerable to the elements and the screens the makers fit to some models don’t work properly at 21st century speeds.

Harley’s Sportsters (883 and 1200cc) are cheap, simple and easy to handle. There are dozens of new and used Japanese equivalents – they’re all good, and all pretty much identical too, so buy the one you find for the right price, or in the right colour, or at a dealer you trust.

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