2017 - 2019 Triumph Bonneville Bobber
A 1200 cc plant pushes the classic-looking frame on the new-from-2017 Triumph Bonneville Bobber. Much like Harley-Davidson’s Softail, it comes built to look like an old hard-tail. The result is a modern ride with very deep roots traceable back to the Speed Twin 5T of the late ’30s. There are plenty of other little historical touches here and there, and though this is no replica piece, it can serve as a sort of rolling museum.
2018 - 2019 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim
Harley-Davidson and the custom-bike culture have always gone hand-in-hand, and the updated-in-2018 Softail Slim makes for a rolling tribute to both. The Slim rides on the same, newly-revamped frame as the rest of the fake-hardtail family for the unmistakeable geometry and dated look that you just can’t get from a traditional swingarm. Bobbed fenders and blackout paint tie right into the custom trends of yesteryear quite nicely, but it’s the 107 cubic-inch Milwaukee-Eight V-Twin and its 100-plus pounds of torque that drives the Slim past “historical-tribute” turf right into viable power-cruiser territory. Since the whole point of the original bobbers was to provide a more thrilling ride, I find this pairing of power and panache to be entirely fitting.
2018 - 2019 Harley-Davidson Street Bob
The Harley-Davidson lineup underwent some serious changes for MY2018, and the chopped-down, Dyna-based Street Bob was rebuilt and reintroduced as a Softail model before the Dyna family was cut from production in its entirety. Not only did it switch to Harley’s faux-rigid style frame, but the frame itself was completely reinvented to the point where it bears little resemblance to the original that saw the light of day for the first time back in ’84. Sure, it still has that classic Softail visage, but the factory achieved it in a totally different way this time, and any perceived similarities are only skin deep. To add to the revamp, the Street Bob was on the receiving end of a beating-heart transplant with the addition of the then-new-to-cruisers, Milwaukee-Eight 107 powerplant that brings over 100 pounds of grunt to the table. The Street Bob has more power, new frame, and a new family/model combination as it rolls into 2019.
Ducati Diavel 1260 S - Media reveal
2016 - 2019 Ducati XDiavel / XDiavel S
It’s safe to say that “cruiser” isn’t exactly the first word that comes to mind when I think of Ducati, or even the third, yet here we are with the XDiavel and its slightly dressier, “S” trim package that carries the brand into uncharted waters. The “X” is meant to signify the cross and blending of the two worlds — cruiser and sport — and the end result is what the factory calls a “Techno-cruiser” due to its melding of Italian performance DNA and a more cruise-tastic rider triangle than you normally see from this brand. Powered by a 1,262 cc Testastretta engine, the XDiavel duo put the “sport” in “sport-cruiser” and opens the performance field to folks that ordinarily wouldn’t have such an option.
2017 - 2019 Kawasaki Z900
Kawasaki steps up its bid to grab a slice of the growing naked-bike market with the Z900 ABS. As demand for the genre increased, so have expectations of performance along with polished looks. Kawi built this ride to replace both the Z800 and Z1000 moving forward into the 2017 model year, so buyers should expect to find plenty of both of those qualities. Aside from the 948 cc engine, what did the factory throw on this all-new bike to make it competitive in a minimalist, sportster/roadster market? Let’s check it out and see.
2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 / 1260 S
Italian powerhouse Ducati hits MY2019 with an all-new pair of Diavel models for the sport-naked sector: the Diavel 1260 and 1260 S. Both toe the family line as far as aesthetics are concerned, and they even run the same exact Testastretta powerplant so the differences between the two essentially come down to the trim package and chassis features. Performance and safety go hand-in-hand with a number of top-shelf electronic goodies to help you keep all that power under control. This bike is truly a rolling tribute to Ducati’s ingenuity, and the best is under the hood hidden away from plain sight, so today I want to delve into this pair and see how it stacks up against some of the likely competition from Japan or maybe elsewhere in Europe.
2009 - 2019 Suzuki TU250X
2018 - 2019 Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic
After a revamp for the 2018 model year, Softail underpinnings are all radically different than the originals, but the overall classic look of the Heritage Classic remains largely unchanged for the requisite historical tie-in. Harley put a new emphasis on the Softail lineup with plenty of performance-driven custom designs for the fiery-eyed pegdraggers out there, but for someone looking for an old-school cruiser and tour bike, the Heritage Classic is your Huckleberry.
2016 - 2019 Suzuki Boulevard S40
Suzuki pushes the venerable Boulevard S40 line into the 2019 model year with naught but a few extra touches to the paint. In fact, little has really changed with this ride since it came out in 1988 under the LS650 “Savage” moniker, and that honest simplicity is one of the main draws for this compact sled. Unfortunately, therein lies one of its biggest flaws as well. Air-cooled and carbureted, I imagine its low 652 cc displacement is the only reason it is able to meet emissions, and I fully expect tightening regulations to eventually strangle this line. At the very least, said laws may force it into the 21st century with fuel injection and a water jacket and radiator, but that’s speculation. Today, I’m going to delve into what we know to be true and take a look at the brushed-up S40 as it sits for MY19.
2015 - 2019 Suzuki Boulevard C50 / Boulevard C50T
Suzuki unveiled the Boulevard C50 back in 2005 after renaming its “Volusia” bike of prior model years. The C50 and C50Ts carry straight into 2019 with a mid-displacement engine to serve as Suzuki’s mid-size cruiser and weekend tour bike. Smooth acceleration and comfortable seating combine with laced wheels and classic styling to keep the C50s on the list of middleweight contenders in the two-wheeled market.
2016 - 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic / 900 Classic LT / 900 Custom
Kawasaki created its Vulcan line back in 1984 in an attempt to capture a slice of the American cruiser market, and it is still alive and kicking in 2019. The family includes a trio of models from the boulevard bruiser “900 Classic” to the heritage-style “900 Classic LT” and the home-cooked “900 Custom.” A 900 cc, V-twin mill and 600-plus pound curb weight put the range firmly in the mid-size cruiser category and give it the mass one expects to find an American cruiser.
2017 - 2019 Triumph Street Cup
Triumph expanded its Bonneville Street Twin family a bit to include the new-in-2017 Street Cup. The SC brings the café-tastic vibe of the Thruxton to a smaller engine bracket with a 900 cc mill, thus opening up the club-racing world to entry-level riders and offering experienced riders the option of downsizing for convenience without giving up too much in the way of fun. Sporty and quick, this ride seems to be everything one would expect from a contemporary café racer.
2015 - 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero / Vulcan 1700 Voyager
Kawasaki’s Vulcan 1700 line is well established with the Vaquero and the Voyager — a bagger and full dresser, respectively — both come with ABS and, as the name suggests, the 1700 cc engine in the V-twin configuration with liquid cooling and a six-speed transmission. Ready for a cruise around town or hitting the open road, the Vulcan 1700s are well fitted and all-around solid.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero and Vulcan 1700 Voyager.
2015 - 2019 Yamaha V Star 250
If you’re a carburetor fan, you’re still in luck for a 250 cc commuter bike with the 2019 V Star 250 from Yamaha. Simple, classic cruiser good looks and scooter-like fuel economy make the V Star 250 a no-nonsense choice for a budget-minded or entry-level rider.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha V Star 250.
2018 - 2019 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy
Harley-Davidson’s Fat Boy survived the Great Purge of 2017 that saw so many models eliminated from the Softail and Dyna lineups as the former absorbed the latter. The FLSTF joins the rest of the all-new-in-2018 Softail range with a completely reworked frame and a choice between the 107-inch and 114-inch Milwaukee-Eight powerplant. New design features add to the aesthetics and clearly mark these Fat Boys as members of the New Guard.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy.
2018 - 2019 Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe
With the Softail Deluxe, Harley-Davidson brings a strong dose of nostalgia and antique design and with it comes H-D’s Big-Twin powerplant — the Milwaukee-Eight 107 — and its 109 pound-feet of stump-pulling torque that turned in a stronger top-gear roll-on than any previous engine family before it with the same 45-degree V-Twin. The charm and engine lope that even the oldest fans of the brand would recognize wasn’t lost and ABS, security and oodles of laid-back, classic vibes are included in the standard equipment package, so this is truly a melding of two technologically-distinct eras.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe.
2016 - 2019 Suzuki Boulevard C90 B.O.S.S.
There can be no doubt that the American cruiser market is heating up, and Suzuki looks to capitalize on that class popularity with its Boulevard C90 Blacked-Out Special Suzuki (B.O.S.S.) model. Powered by a 1,462 cc V-twin engine, the C90 B.O.S.S. lives up to its name with black-out styling and agile handling for that sinister boulevard-bruiser look and feel. Let’s take a look at what Suzuki is doing to maintain a foothold with buyers in the U.S. cruiser market.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki Boulevard C90 B.O.S.S.
2016 - 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan S / S Cafe / S SE
As the lightest bike in the Kawasaki cruiser lineup, the Vulcan S appeals to a variety of riders with adjustable footpegs and options for seat height and handlebar position. Carrying the same low and lean profile of the bigger Vulcan cruisers, the S stable combines Ninja-derived power and handling with the comfort and personalization capabilities of Kawasaki’s Ergo-Fit components
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Vulcan S, Vulcan S Café and Vulcan S SE.
2018 - 2019 Harley-Davidson Low Rider
Powered by the Milwaukee-Eight engine with a total of 110 pound-feet of torque, the agile Softail frame brings heretofore unseen performance to the Low Rider. Harley-Davidson is digging deep to give us better handling and more power and the Low Rider is a prime example.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Low Rider.