Cruiser motorcycles are the ultimate statement piece, being endlessly customized and morphed into highly unique creations, giving everyone a chance to express themselves through the machines between their legs. A great cruiser motorcycle is a blend of an overall relaxed posture, classic styling, and most of all, lots and lots of torque. Getting out on the open road is the goal for cruisers, but looking good on Main Street is equally as important for the chrome clad class.
To be included in the cruiser category, the bike should have a seat position that is lower then the fuel tank, with handlebars that come back towards the rider so their arms are not over extended. Seats will be large and pleasing, and foot rests are forward from the riders hips, with floorboards being a welcome addition. Often favoring form over function, wide and low stances are a common theme in cruisers, adding on a smattering of extra trim pieces that adorn long, flowing body panels from tip to tail. Engines are classically large displacement V-twins, but other multi-cylinder formats will serve well if not too bulky. Lastly, there should be enough low end grunt to make highway on-ramps a blast while balancing enough top end speed to sustain interstate cruising speeds without ringing it out too much. Keeping all of this in mind, take a look at our top picks for cruiser motorcycles that you can swing a leg over this year, and hopefully you will find one that matches your individual style.
Honda Rebel 500
Ranking as the entry level cruiser, in both price and displacement, the Honda Rebel 500 makes up for its small size by bringing large amounts of fun. The peppy parallel twin puts down the lowest power and torque figures on the list, but tips the scales at about half the weight of the heaviest hogs on the highway, which provides nimble handling and quick maneuvering. If you won’t be spending too much time at highway speeds and are looking for a relaxed ride in tighter urban areas, the Rebel 500 will fit the bill perfectly.
Engine: 471cc Parallel-Twin
Horsepower: 46 hp
Torque: 32.9 lb•ft
Yamaha Bolt R-Spec
Yamaha’s Bolt line of street influenced bobber have been a popular addition to their cruiser line up since being added 5 years ago. Positioned to be an accessible entry to the cruiser category, the Bolt R-Spec has tons of room for customization as the rider grows with the bike, and the larger displacement promises years of enjoyment for any level rider. The V-Twin pushes adequate power and torque, with the light curb weight ensuring the ride is agile and playful. Yamaha outfits the R-Spec with upgraded rear shocks, suede trim on the seat, and special paint and graphic combos.
Engine: 942cc V-Twin
Horsepower: 47 hp
Torque: 59.3 lb•ft
Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom
Kawasaki has been a long time player in the metric cruiser market with their Vulcan series rolling out of production continually for over 30 years. Being offered in 650, 900, and 1,700cc displacements, the Vulcan 900 Custom hits our list for offering a customized look right off the showroom floor. A 21-inch front wheel, riser handlebar stem, and low-slung saddle are all touches usually reserved for post purchase add-ons, though you will find them all factory on the Custom. Forward controls inhibit a relaxed posture, and wide drag bars provide excellent stability, making the Vulcan 900 a comfy cruiser with a unique look.
Engine: 903cc V-Twin
Horsepower: 50 hp
Torque: 58.2 lb•ft
Choppers have long been a statement piece for riders, as their long stance serves only for form while cutting into some of the riding performance. Honda is not usually known for abstract forms, generally keeping to more conservative designs, but they have pushed the limits of factory equipped rides with the Fury. With a wheelbase stretching nearly six feet, the chassis features a sloping top line that position the handlebars well above the riders chest. Lean lines on the tank and body keep the overall appearance sleek, with chrome adornments highlighting the blacked out engine cylinders and bottom end. Keep in mind that the 1300cc V-Twin assures that there is still plenty of go to accompany all that show.
Engine: 1312cc V-Twin
Horsepower: 67 hp
Torque: 78.9 lb•ft
Suzuki Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S.
Performance handling is not a characteristic used to describe cruisers, but Suzuki set out to change this stereotype with their Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S. Beginning with an inverted fork up front and a mono shock in the rear, the M109R is built to excel in the twisties while still being great for jaunts down the boardwalk. The high back seat and wide forward controls provide a comfy ride stance, and the riser stem bring the drag bars right back for an excellent reach. Finished in blacked out trim with small hints of vibrant color, Suzuki is able keep the badass appeal on high.
Engine: 1783cc V-Twin
Horsepower: 123 hp
Torque: 118 lb•ft
Triumph Rocket III Roadster
Being exotic in the cruiser category can be a descriptor for any number of reasons, and the Triumph Rocket III Roadster is a unique entry for numerous reasons. First, being the Rocket is the only English made bike on the list, as Brits have not commonly been associated with producing gargantuan road beats, though this sure is coming in at the heaviest bike on the list. Triumph makes up for this with another oddity by utilizing a three cylinder inline power plant boasting near 2300cc of cylinder capacity, cranking the largest torque number in the roundup. Lastly, large brakes and plush suspension keep the Rocket III in control while barreling down the highway.
Engine: 2294cc Inline 3 Cylinder
Horsepower: 148 hp
Torque: 163 lb•ft
Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe
Harley-Davidson might be the most synonymous name in the US for motorcycles of any variety, having been produced for 115 years, and the Softail Deluxe embodies the classic look defined for the cruiser category. With the name of the game for Harley being set yourself apart from the thousands of like models out there, the Softail Deluxe is an endlessly customizable base to build a unique bike from. The throaty V-Twin grunts heavy, providing bitchin roll on power, while still carrying its momentum well at highway speeds. If you need a motorcycle that has soul in spades, Harley-Davidson can be the only hog that fits the bill.
Engine: 1753cc V-Twin
Horsepower: 77 hp
Torque: 109 lb•ft
The Indian Chief is definitely the most storied bike on the list, with the first model rolling out of production in 1922. The big twin continues to have a classic appeal, retaining the broad, sweeping fenders, broad handlebars, and illuminated figurehead that have defined the Chief since the beginning. The western style saddle and ample floorboards provide a comfortable posture, while the 2-into-1 exhaust backs up the renegade attitude. Indian packed on the modern conveniences as well, with ABS brakes, cruise control, and keyless ignition ensure the Chief fits into the 21st century.
Engine: 1811cc V-Twin
Horsepower: 76 hp
Torque: 119 lb•ft
Ducati is name that up until recent years was only akin to ultra high performance race bikes that appear to be capable of anything except cruising. This changed with the introduction of the XDiavel, the least sporty and most cruisery model produced to date, though still embodying the high output characteristics the Italian manufacturer is known for. The XDiavel crushes all other bikes on the list in terms of power, but tips the scales at the second heaviest cruiser included. Ducati infused the chassis with tech that keeps the portly rig highly maneuverable, while not losing the relaxed stance that inhibits great low-speed riding. Though with max torque being reached at 5,000 rpm, it does not look like there will be much time spent going slow on the XDiavel.
Engine: 1262cc L-Twin
Horsepower: 152 hp
Torque: 93 lb•ft
Moto Guzzi MGX-21
If space age materials are a must have on your bike, Moto Guzzi has you covered with their beastly MGX-21. Covered in carbon fiber, including the front wheel, body panels, and integrated hard cases, outfitting the rig to be tour ready. Moto Guzzi describes this as their eXperimental model, though continuing to embody the classic spirit of the Guzzi name. Utilizing the unique transverse V-Twin engine style that is synonymous with the 95 year old manufacturer, the MGX caps off the meaty cylinders with hot red heads for a unique look in their offerings. Blending futuristic design with tried and true performance, Moto Guzzi’s MGX-21 is a cruiser that has style for miles.
Engine: 1380cc Transverse V-Twin
Horsepower: 97 hp
Torque: 89 lb•ft
PRIMER: HOW TO BUY YOUR FIRST MOTORCYCLE
If you are in the market for a cushy cruiser and it’s going to be your first bike, take a look at this article for everything you need to know about making your inaugural motorcycle purchase.