What is the best small cruiser motorcycle?

There are a few small cruiser style motorcycles to choose from and some are better than others. Choosing the right one for you would almost require you to do a personality test as they fit some people better than others. One of the best and most popular small cruisers is the Honda Rebel 500.


In this article, we look at some of the best small cruiser motorcycles on the market and try to compare them in a way that would make it easier for you to see what you really need or desire from a motorcycle.

These are some of the best small cruiser motorcycles that you could buy (A-Z):

  • Kawasaki Vulcan S 650
  • Harley-Davidson 883 Iron
  • Honda Rebel 500
  • Honda Shadow Phantom

Kawasaki Vulcan S 650

Kawasaki Vulcan S 650 sound

Spec sheet

Max power44.5 kW / 61 hp @ 7500 rpm
Max torque63 Nm / 46.5 ft.lb @ 6600 rpm
Final driveChain
Seat height706 mm / 27.8 in
Wet weight223 kg / 492 lbs
Price (est.)$6,555

If you like the look of a muscle bike and want something with a similar style, then you might consider the Vulcan S 650. It has a sleek aerodynamic design that isn’t like most cruisers. It kind of makes me think of the first bullet trains that were designed for speed.

The Vulcan S 650 could take you up to a top speed of 165 km/h 105 mph which is considerably satisfying for a cruiser. Although, the sound it makes is not delightful at all.

If you are worried about whether this motorcycle is too big or too small for you, Kawasaki has you covered. They have what they call Ergo-Fit which is basically different footpegs, seats and handlebars to fit the specific rider. So the bike is tailored to your own size.

Harley-Davidson 883 Iron

Harley-Davidson 883 Iron sound

Spec sheet

Max power33.6 kW / 45 hp
Max torque73 Nm / 53.8 ft.lb @ 3750 rpm
Final driveBelt
Seat height683 mm / 26.9 in
Wet weight256 kg / 565 lbs
Price (est.)$8,999

If you insist on riding a Harley-Davidson and love the sound they make, you might consider the Iron 883. Although it’s not a traditional style cruiser, it still has many of the looks that other Harley-Davidsons have. You could think of it as the baby brother of Harleys who decided that black is the new black.

This is a perfect starter bike for Harley enthusiasts who don’t have much experience riding. The seat is also quite low which makes it a suitable bike for shorter riders as well.

The 883 Iron could take you to a top speed of 170 km/h or 106 mph but speed is not what makes it attractive to potential buyers. This is a bike that people like because of how it sounds. Yet, it still doesn’t have that exact unique rhythm that other Harleys have. You might be interested in this article: Why do Harley-Davidson motorcycles sound so distinct?

Honda Rebel 500

Honda Rebel 500 sound

Spec sheet

Max power29 kW / 39 hp @ 7650 rpm
Max torque40 Nm / 29.9 ft.lb @ 6200 rpm
Final driveChain
Seat height691 mm / 27.2 in
Wet weight185 kg / 408 lbs
Price (est.)$6,499

If you are someone who wants to get from point A to point B and don’t care much about performance, you might consider the Rebel 500. It’s a good motorcycle for commuting. Not only that but, it is the perfect starter bike for any beginner rider. If you want to know why, you should read this article: Is the Honda Rebel 500 a good starter bike?

If you are wondering why the Rebel 300 isn’t also on this list, it’s because the Rebel 300 is for a specific group of riders that need the bike to be as light as possible. This doesn’t mean that it is easier to ride, though.

The Rebel 500 could be perfect if you swapped the stock exhaust for something that doesn’t make it sound like Justin Bieber and if you had some decent brakes on it. Still, it looks really good and gets you where you need to be.

Honda Shadow Phantom

Honda Shadow Phantom sound

Spec sheet

Max power33.5 kW / 44.9 hp @ 5500 rpm
Max torque65 Nm / 47.9 ft.lb @ 3500 rpm
Final driveShaft
Seat height655 mm / 25.8 in
Wet weight251 kg / 549 lbs
Price (est.)$7,899

If you are into sleek bikes that resemble the style of WW2 motorcycles, then you might consider the Honda Shadow Phantom. It’s style isn’t all that historical, it reminds me of something between old and new, kind of like a hot rod. It has the aesthetics of the old but inside is all the new tech.

It’s perfect for cruising down those routs that none else cares to ride but it’s still quite capable on the highway.

The Shadow Phantom doesn’t do much more than what most road speed limits allow. It only has a top speed of 145 km/h or 90 mph which is alright if you want to cruise, right? What this bike really needs is saddlebags and that’s about it.

Final words

I don’t think there is a bike that suits everyone but some are better than others in various ways. These four motorcycles are what I believe to be the best small cruiser motorcycles and one of them might fit your style and personality. I hope this article was helpful to you.

Featured image by herr_beard 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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