Classic cruisers are less likely to go out of fashion and implicit out of production as long as there are enough guys that prefer classic jeans, leather jackets and helmets instead of leather interiors and fancy onboard computers. That’s what Suzuki reckons and some of the best proofs of this fact are the 2009 Boulevard C90 and C90T models which keep on going in the style that consecrated the VL 1500 Intruder more than a decade ago.
Following an easy to anticipate existence, the 2009 Suzuki C90 and C90T models uncover their Boulevard DNA from the very first time you lay your eyes on them or on their specs sheet. They may look like refined locomotives (which isn’t necessarily bad), but the engine is a fuel-injected 1,462cc, air-cooled, OHC, 45-degree V-Twin so there’s plenty to expect from that. Like on any two-wheeled long hauler, there is a five-speed constant mesh transmission and shaft drive so our expectations are met successfully.
Also, by featuring a double-cradle steel frame, linked suspensions and dual-disc front brake, the C90 shows even more reasons why Suzuki had to offer two models based on this platform. The Touring stands out due to the additional equipment consisting mainly in a custom windshield, passenger backrest and roomy saddlebags, but you can always go for the Classic model and accessorize it as you’re heart demands.
In 1998 Suzuki introduced the VL 1500 Intruder LC, a touring cruiser motorcycle which was to develop into Boulevard and which at that time was powered by the same air-cooled, 1,462 cc, 45-degree V-Twin engine only that carbureted. This formula extracted 67 hp at 4,800 rpm and 114 Nm at 2,300 rpm from the newly debuting engine and despite the entire bike’s weight was 644 lbs, the power to weight ratio was a decent one for those with a free spirit.
The gearbox and final drive are the exact same units as the ones found on it today. The front brake relied on a single 300mm disc.
Although considered by its manufacturer a “Legendary Classic”, the Intruder looked more like a Marauder, but that didn’t bothered nobody. In the late 1990s, they used bright dual-tone color schemes and starting with the new millennium they became more serious about the colors of choice.
The year 2002 brought twin disc brake at the front so this Intruder’s braking performance stopped being a thing worthy to be put under the question mark.
For its final year of manufacturing under the VL 1500 Intruder LC name (2004), the bike got four-way emergency flasher and high beam passing switch, multi-reflector turn signals, hydraulic valve lash adjusters, hydraulic clutch and back-torque limiter for smoother downshifting.
In 2005 Suzuki came out with a totally new cruiser with a new name (Boulevard C90) and a corresponsive touring model, the Boulevard C90T. The engine’s torque and acceleration were increased by the GSX-R-derived electronic fuel injection system with Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve System and Auto Fast Idle System while the Suzuki Composite Electro-chemical Material ensured a longer engine life (not that the Intruder engine broke down easily). Performance figures now were: 66 hp at 4,800 rpm and 115 Nm at 2,800 rpm.
Suzuki continues to use this formula with great success today. Only color schemes and other styling cues change as the years pass.
2009 Star V-Star 1300 Tourer
There’s plenty to deal with on the cruiser market so if you’re considering buying the Boulevard C90 or the C90T we suggest you to take in consideration great alternatives such as the V-Star 1300 and V-Star 1300 Tourer. Both models are powered by a comparable and fuel-injected 1,304cc, liquid-cooled V-Twin; SOHC, four-valves per cylinder engine. There is also a five-speed transmission, but the belt final drive is one of Star’s characteristics and it can also be found on their biggest V-Star models. With timeless looks and affordable prices ($10,290 for the base model and $11,290 for the Tourer) the difference between a Star and a Boulevard consists pretty much in the customer’s tastes.
2009 Honda VTX1300R
Honda offesr almost equally priced competing models, the VTX1300R ($9,999) and the VTX1300T ($11,299), but none features fuel injection. The engine is a 1,312 cc, liquid-cooled, 52-degree V-Twin and the retro looks are also there so these bikes are well worth being mentioned under this heading.
2008 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Classic
Kawasaki also offer their Vulcan 1500 Classic as powered by a carbureted, 1,470cc, liquid-cooled; SOHC, four-valve per cylinder, 50-degree V-Twin engine mated to a five-speed tranny and featuring shaft final drive. But this doesn’t feature a touring sibling. Still, it features the smallest MSRP: only $9,699 for the standard painted model.
Technically, the Suzuki Boulevard C90 has evolved, but visually it is almost the same harmoniously built cruiser that was first presented as the Intruder back in 1998. It is long, low and massive despite not being the largest in the lineup, but the C109R similarities are definitely there. Start with the massive front wheel and headlight, the thick fork and handlebars and if you’re not convinced, probably that 3.7 gallons tank and two-into-two slash-cut exhaust will make a difference.
But thinking things over, you’ll come to realize that the C90 actually inspired the creation of its bigger sibling, the C109R, and that’s even better news. I mean, this bike featured custom-styled aluminum wheels, spacious and yet low seat (27.6 inches) a decade ago. The fenders could have been more rounded, but I guess this is the only way they fit the 150mm (front) and 180mm (rear) wide tires without reminding of the custom style.
Colors available for the 2009 Boulevard C90 are Black and Gray.
The 2009 Boulevard C90T stands out furthermore thanks to a tall windshield, leather saddlebags, studded seat and backrest as well as the dual-tone paintjobs (Black/Gray, Orange/Black) and the white wall tires. Also, the touring model is 292mm longer than the simple one and weighs 19 kg more.
Suzuki latest technology and classic style are the defining features for both these models and the key to their successes. But maintaining the prices at a competitive level is always an inspired solution and especially now that the economical downturn will send more and more people on two wheels. So the MSRP for the 2009 Suzuki Boulevard C90 is $10,699 and the one of the C90T is $11,699. Keep in mind that we’re talking about class leaders here!
However things may evolve in the world of cruisers and tourers, the Boulevard C90 was a trendsetter when it first came out in 2005 and riders are most likely to stick to that. And in this case, the few more bucks at the starting price reflect the build quality and innovative features, not unjustified demands of a recently affirmed Japanese maker.