2021 BMW R 18
BMW finally resolves the curiosity it has been cultivating over the last year with the online (due to coronavirus concerns) unveiling of its boss new cruiser, the R 18. This model wants a chunk of the retro-cruiser market with a faux rigid rear end and old-school geometry, but it ain’t all about the looks. This machine carries the largest boxer-twin engine that Beemer has ever mounted in a bike frame. In spite of its simple, clean look, there is plenty of ride-control wizardry under the hood.
2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard
Harley-Davidson makes some progress on its “100 new bikes” promise with the mid-year release of the new Softail Standard. The Standard presents a combination of old-school and custom features over a rather minimalist design, and that has the effect of keeping the price down to make this the least expensive Big Twin the MoCo has to offer. It also makes for a great starting point for you would-be bike customizers out there who are looking for a suitable platform.
Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th Anniversary
Harley-Davidson marks three decades of production for one of its most-iconic families with the release of the 2020 Fat Boy 114 30th Anniversary model. This machine proudly displays DNA from H-D’s immediate post-WWII era all the way down to the old-school frame geometry that mimics the rigid rear ends from way back in the day. Harley powers it with its largest production engine and wraps the whole project in a unique graphics package complete with a limited-edition serial number and 2,500-unit limited production run for an extra bit of exclusivity.
1932 - 1958 Rikuo RT2
Sometimes a motorcycle tells a story, and the Rikuo RT2 spins a tale of cooperation and national interdependency that preceded a period of strife with connections that contemporary readers may find surprising. It takes us back to the Great Depression, when the Harley-Davidson Motor Company struck a deal with Japanese manufacturer, the Sankyo Seiyako Corporation, and sold them the plans and tooling to produce their VL model in-country. The rest, as they say, is history, and this machine was named by The Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan as one of the 240 landmark machines of the Japanese Automotive Technology. It also has the distinction of having served armies on both sides of the Pacific theater during World War II.
2020 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th Anniversary Limited Edition
Becoming a part of the Softail range in 2018, the Fat Boy received a massive upgrade on the reinvented Softail chassis, powered by the Milwaukee-Eight engines. Celebrating 30 years of this monster, the 2020 model gets a blacked-out theme, converting the satin-chrome outlook to a sinful looking “Vivid-Black” theme. And running this evil hooligan is the thumping Milwaukee-Eight 114 V-twin engine.
2020 Honda Rebel 300 / 500
Honda rolls into the new decade with the first overhaul to its newest-generation Rebel range. It has only been a few years since the classic Rebel line was replaced by the current iteration, and the added features are largely due to feedback from the new rider base. New suspension components improve the ride along with upgrades to the lighting and clutch pack to increase overall safety and expand its buyer base.
2015 - 2019 Suzuki Boulevard M50
Suzuki’s Boulevard M50 cruiser carries into 2019 with more of that custom American style that made it popular ever since it evolved from the old Intruder. Low-slung good looks join the 42-horsepower, 805 cc V-twin and faux-rigid frame for a package that’s meant to drive the imaginations of entry-level riders who might appreciate the style but be uninterested in worshiping at the Altar of Harley. Moderate power and a low seat height makes it appropriate for the young and/or inexperienced, and the lack of excessive electronic fandanglery makes it relatively easy to service and maintain, which is always a bonus for the uninitiated.
2016 - 2020 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” stablemate carrying the brand into uncharted waters. The “X” signifies 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.
2019 - 2020 Ducati Diavel 1260 / 1260 S
Italian powerhouse Ducati hit 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 run the same 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.
2020 ARCH Motorcycle KRGT-1
Arch Motorcycle, the brand new makers of the “American Power Cruisers,” has updated its flagship model, the KRGT-1 for 2020. Featuring over 20 major changes, and more than 150 newly designed and manufactured components, this $85,000 machine harks on the ‘obsession for an amazing soul’ for Keanu Reeves and his vision.
To up its badassery status, the machine now gets bestowed with beefier brakes, Arch spec Öhlins, fancy materials, enhanced electronics, and some fine aesthetic refinements. The 2032cc S&S twin-cam V-twin drive remains the workhorse but is tuned to deliver greater torque and power. Then, of course, is the bespoke ergonomic and aesthetic package to tailor the KRGT-1 to every individual’s spec.
FYI, KRGT is the initials of Hollywood’s Keanu Reeves and the self-taught engineer Gard Hollinger.
2018 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200
Harley-Davidson expands the Sportster family with the new-in-2018 Iron 1200. Retro is in, so the ’70s-esque paint and custom touches drawn from that era give the Iron 1200 plenty of nostalgic value. Power comes from the venerable Evolution engine to the tune of 73 pound-feet of torque to give this ride modern performance that belies the dated veneer. A classic dish with custom spices, the new Iron 1200 raises the Iron stable’s displacement ceiling to draw new customers from a market that has been in decline for over a decade.
2016 - 2020 Yamaha Bolt
The Yamaha Bolt continues into 2020 with that classic "bobber" style, high tank, and short wheelbase, folks expect to see in old-school styling. Powered by an air-cooled V-twin engine, but with a plenty of technology on board, the Bolt is a good in-between size: not too small that you’ll outgrow it soon and not so big that it is intimidating for new riders. The bobber-style solo seat, easy cruisin’ rider triangle, and naked-bike look make the Bolt a choice little bar hopper or commuter ride.
2016 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Iron 883
When Harley-Davidson makes changes to the Iron 883, they stay faithful to at least one important aspect – performance. While XL models have never been known as ’fast’ bikes, they certainly have a well-deserved reputation as ’quick’ bikes. Nothing in the Harley world comes out of the hole like a Sporty, or handles the corners like one, and the Iron 883 maintains that tradition with aplomb. Bikes like this show how the XL line has not only survived, but also thrived in the entry-level and sport-minded American markets.
2017 - 2019 Honda Rebel 300 / Rebel 500
Honda brought one of its most recognized model families into the 21st century with a complete overhaul of the much celebrated Rebel range in 2017. Available as the Rebel 300 and 500, this reworked line features water-cooled mills and fuel-injection induction control to meet modern and near-future emissions standards. A sportier look greets the eye this time around, though the Rebel still targets the same small-[cruiser-mot392], entry-level market.
2015 - 2020 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 C50T carry straight through into 2020 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.
2015 - 2020 Suzuki Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S.
Introduced as the bad-ass brother of Suzuki’s M109R, the Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S. carries forward into MY20 with its 109 cubic inch (1,783 cc) engine. Yeah, B.O.S.S. stands for ’Blacked Out Special Suzuki’, but I’m gonna call it ’Blacked Out Super Sweet’. It might not be the fastest cruiser on the market, but it is definitely a power-cruiser and it really wants to go when you let out the clutch.
2015 - 2020 Yamaha V Star 250
If you’re a carburetor fan, you’re still in luck for a 250 cc commuter bike with the 2020 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.
2020 Indian Chief Dark Horse
Indian Motorcycle spruced up its Chief Dark Horse ahead of MY2020 with an agile frame that delivers lighter handling than before to give this boulevard bruiser a sporty new element. Historical references abound throughout the design, as do old-school custom touches, but power comes from a modern V-twin to the tune of over 100 pound-feet of torque for upscale performance.
2020 Indian Scout Bobber Twenty
With its recent success on the Flat Track circuit and burgeoning footprint in the worldwide market, it’s easy to forget that Indian Motorcycle is actually America’s oldest bike manufacturer, and the marque reminds us of its deep roots with the new Scout Bobber Twenty model. This bike takes us right back to the custom bikes of the early 1900s with bobbed sheet metal, blackout treatment, and laced wheels on a modern chassis that mimics the geometry of the old-school hardtail bikes. A modern V-twin delivers 100 ponies for your riding pleasure, and ABS protection is available on all the colorways to deliver some modern safety as well.
2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S
Harley-Davidson’s cruiser line isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind for a performance-oriented street machine, but that changes with its newly refurbished Softail Low Rider S model. The steering geometry is sharpened for the sake of agility, and as for power, the torque-rich, Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine delivers the goods with well over 100 pounds o’ grunt ready to be unleashed on the public roads. Harley gives the Low Rider S with coastal-style design touches that sets it apart from the pack and begs for customization.
2015 - 2019 Suzuki Boulevard M90
Around the turn of the century, the cruiser style had evolved into fat tires, lots of chrome, wide bodies and pegs out front to give you that almost slouched, relaxed riding posture. Since then, cruiser style has cycled back to "old school." They’ve lost some weight and slimmed down, creating a low and lean version of a sport look. If your vision of what a cruiser should be is stuck in the fat tires and wide body — think of it as "old new-school" — Suzuki has the Boulevard M90 that’s right up your alley.
2018 - 2020 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-Davidson 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.
2019 Triumph Rocket 3 R / Rocket 3 GT
Triumph rolled out a mid-year release in July of 2019 with a new pair of Rocket 3 models (not to be confused with its established Rocket III lineup) that brings an extra-muscular powerplant, plus 11-percent horsepower, to the table along with an undeniably sporty bent that moves the line firmly into sport-cruiser territory. These new rides by the British heavyweight still maintain a relaxed rider’s triangle even while they offer a choice between mid-mount foot controls (Rocket 3 R) and forward foot controls (Rocket 3 GT) to bridge the gap between around-town riding and long-distance comfort. In spite of the plethora of changes, both are still readily recognizable as members of the Rocket family.