How to choose a cruiser motorcycle


To choose a cruiser motorcycle, you first need to determine what you intend to use it for and what style of cruiser motorcycles you like. Thereafter, you need to inspect the motorcycles you are considering and also do some research on each one in advance.

Overview

In this article, we discuss how you should choose your cruiser motorcycle. I also added a list of recommendations that can help you choose one as a new rider.

We’ll discuss the following:

  • What you intend to use your cruiser motorcycle for
  • What styles of cruiser motorcycles you like
  • Comparing cruiser motorcycles
  • Cruiser recommendations
  • Buying new or used

What you intend to use your cruiser motorcycle for

I wouldn’t say a cruiser is more challenging or more natural to ride than a sportbike, but cruisers and sportbikes handle differently. So it’s certainly something you should keep in mind.

If you are uncertain about which category you want to go into or if you want a more comfortable ride than a sportbike, you may also consider a naked bike.

You will need to determine what you are going to use your motorcycle for. Do you want to make long-distance trips? Maybe you want to go camping? You might want a pillion seat to ride with your spouse on weekends or drop the kids off at school. You need to make a list of all these types of things.

Once you know exactly what you are going to use it for, you can start looking at other aspects that might make or break a deal.

What styles of cruiser motorcycles you like

The style of a cruiser means more than just the looks or shape, it also includes the sound. While there are many styles of cruiser motorcycles, you always have the option of customising your ride the way you want it to be.

Below is a list of things you might consider looking at:

  • Modern or “I’m an old school”
  • Chrome or “I don’t like cleaning that much”
  • V-Twin sound or “I just want to ride”
  • Customizable or “upgrading after I learn to ride”
  • Affordable or “Just take my money”
  • Long trips or “I want to ride around town”
  • Pillion seat or “This is my freedom machine”

Comparing cruiser motorcycles

When choosing your cruiser motorcycle, you should make some tables to compare the motorcycles you are interested in. Here, I’ve broken the table into smaller tables just because I’m limited to space on a page. You will most likely have all this information next to each other on your own spreadsheet.

Once you’ve made a table with all the cruiser motorcycles that you want to consider, you can start looking at this information and decide what is important to you and what isn’t.

CruiserPriceEngine
H-D Iron 883$ 8,999883cc V-Twin
H-D Superlow$ 8,699883cc V-Twin
Honda Rebel 500$ 6,199471cc Twin
Honda Shadow Phantom$ 7,899745cc Twin
Indian Scout Sixty$ 8,999999cc V-Twin
Kawasaki Vulcan 650$ 7,099649cc Twin
Yamaha Bolt$ 7,999942cc V-Twin
CruiserFinal driveTorque
H-D Iron 883Belt68 Nm / 50 ft.lb
H-D SuperlowBelt69 Nm / 51 ft.lb
Honda Rebel 500Chain45 Nm / 33 ft.lb
Honda Shadow PhantomShaft65 Nm / 48 ft.lb
Indian Scout SixtyBelt89 Nm / 66 ft.lb
Kawasaki Vulcan 650Chain63 Nm / 46 ft.lb
Yamaha BoltBelt76 Nm / 56 ft.lb
CruiserSeat heightWeight (dry)
H-D Iron 883760 mm / 30 in247 kg / 545 lbs
H-D Superlow705 mm / 28 in258 kg / 569 lbs
Honda Rebel 500690 mm / 27 in185 kg / 408 lbs
Honda Shadow Phantom655 mm / 26 in233 kg / 514 lbs
Indian Scout Sixty650 mm / 26 in245 kg / 540 lbs
Kawasaki Vulcan 650705 mm / 28 in210 kg / 463 lbs
Yamaha Bolt690 mm / 27 in230 kg / 507 lbs

Cruiser recommendations

These cruiser motorcycles are arranged in alphabetical order according to manufacturer and model. There are, of course, many other cruiser motorcycles on the market and even more when you consider buying pre-owned cruisers.

These are just some of the newer cruiser models that are popular:

  • Iron 883 – Harley Davidson
  • Superlow – Harley Davidson
  • Rebel 500 – Honda
  • Shadow Phantom – Honda
  • Scout 60 (Sixty) – Indian
  • Vulcan 650 – Kawasaki
  • Star Bolt – Yamaha

Iron 883 – Harley Davidson

The Iron 883 might be one of the most expensive on this list but definitely looks good as a modern cruiser. Also, if the sound is everything to you, the Iron 883 is most definitely the winner amongst these motorcycles without any modifications.

Top speed: 170km/h (106mph)

Fuel capacity: 12.5L (3.3 gallons)

Iron 883 sound

Superlow – Harley Davidson

The Superlow might not be in the 2020 model range, but you could still pick one up used. If you are a chrome guy or girl, this bike has more than enough for you to polish. It has the same V-Twin engine that the Iron 883 has, so the sound is absolutely divine.

Top speed: 167km/h (104mph)

Fuel capacity: 17L (4.5 gallons)

Superlow sound

Rebel 500 – Honda

Tough the Rebel 500 is great to look at and comes at a reasonable price but it lacks the cruiser sound you might be looking for. Still, it is one one the most popular choices amongst beginner riders and it’s very customisable.

Top speed: 167km/h (104mph)

Fuel capacity: 11.4L (2.9 gallons)

Rebel 500 sound

Shadow Phantom – Honda

The Shadow Phantom might be more comfortable than stylish but still produces a decent sound from its V-Twin liquid-cooled engine. This could also be a good purchase if you are not looking to sell anytime soon as it delivers 65Nm.

Top speed: 151km/h (94mph)

Fuel capacity: 14L (3.7 gallons)

Shadow Phanom sound

Scout 60 (Sixty) – Indian

The Scout 60 has the biggest engine capacity in this list, but don’t think that this makes it less of a new rider bike. It also has the lowest seat height in the list, making it easy to get on and off.

Top speed: 160km/h (100mph)

Fuel capacity: 12.5L (3.3 gallons)

Scout 60 sound

Vulcan 650 – Kawasaki

The Vulcan 650 has the stylish looks of a modern cruiser but has a pretty dull sound to it when you have stock exhaust, and no aftermarket exhaust will give you the V-Twin sound because the Vulcan 650 has an inline twin.

Top speed: 170km/h (106mph)

Fuel capacity: 14L (3.7 gallons)

Vulcan 650 sound

Star Bolt – Yamaha

The most exciting thing about the Bolt is the V-Twin engine that it holds, and it sounds good as long as you keep the rpm’s lowish. The Bolt has a very classic look to it, though you wouldn’t find much chrome on it.

Top speed: 163km/h (101mph)

Fuel capacity: 12.1L (3.2 gallons)

Star Bolt sound

Buying new or used

Purchasing a pre-loved motorcycle with a few scratches would be the smart choice. Cruisers are built to last longer than a sportbike, and that makes buying used more acceptable for cruiser riders.

You may even find a few cruisers with low mileage because so many wear out their live-to-ride t-shirts and sell their cruisers before reaching a thousand miles.

You could start searching for used motorcycles on cycletrader.com.

Final words

I hope you found this article useful or interesting at the very least. If you did, you might consider subscribing to my monthly newsletter.

Featured image by ashamcha on Instagram.

I always try to keep my articles interesting and informative. And I’m always thankful when they are shared on social media platforms or Pinterest.

Two Motion

I don’t see myself as an expert in every topic of motorcycling but my articles usually relate to new experiences that are relevant at the time of writing.

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