Top Speed Top Six Cruisers to consider for beginners
For the newbies who love the laid-back reclined riding styles that make covering vast expanses of asphalts a pleasureby Sagar Patil, on LISTEN 06:48
Being the closest thing to flying without leaving the ground, Cruisers have been the incarnation of the ‘30s to ‘60s American lifestyles. And if this is the way you want to get into the world of motorcycles, I guess you have taken the first step in the right direction. Feeling the wind in the air, the smell of cut grass on the countryside, the constant changes in the temperatures, cruisers can show you all these feelings and more at the twist of the throttle.
These six machines are our top pick come with plenty of low-end torque, forward set footpegs, and a laid-back reclined riding position defining any modern-day cruisers. All of this without breaking our banks.
Introduced in 2008, the V Star 250 replaced the Virago 250 but was essentially the same bike spec-wise. Here we have an air-cooled, 60-degree V-twin in the house that would give out 78 mpg. The 2020 model is a carry-over from last year that gets classic styling cues, chrome details, laced wheels, round headlights, and more to keep the retro all intact.
Lightweight and with a seat height of 27 inches, this lends itself to the starter-bike market with Telescopic forks at the front and twin rear shocks. The 282 mm single front disc and rear drum brakes are adequate at best. MSRP: $4,349.
Although not an all-new motorcycle, this refreshed entry-level cruiser from Honda meets the eye with a sportier outlook while still being lightweight, with a manageable engine and excellent fuel economy. Thickly padded saddle, LED lighting, updated dash are some of the updates seen for 2020. The Rebel 300 gets the 286cc liquid-cooled single, which makes around 30 hp and 20 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed gearbox keeps the rpm in the usable range.
The engine, frame, wheels, and handlebar remain unchanged, but the suspension internals are updated at the 41 mm fork at the front to improve action, and Nitrogen gas is now being used in the shocks. A single-pot caliper binds the 240 mm rear and 296 mm front disc and has ABS as an available option. MSRP: $4,499.
The Suzuki Boulevard S40 takes a timeless single-cylinder design, Air-cooled and carbureted, the only reason it can meet emissions. A 652 cc total displacement is one of the largest, single-cylinder four-stroke engines currently in production and gives out 55 mpg.
A traditional double-downtube/cradle frame holds the whole thing together with an equally mundane, yoke-style, two-side swingarm to finish it off. Traditional telescopic, coil spring, oil damped setup at the front sees nothing in the way of adjustment, and the short, coil-over rear shocks spring the ass-end with the obligatory adjustable spring preload. Brakes are a mixed bag with a hydraulic caliper and single disc upfront, but an old-fashioned drum brake in back. MSRP: $5,799.
Carrying a legacy of over eight decades, the Bullet channels the ’50s or ’60s with its intentionally outdated panache. Mechanically, however, it is still the same Classic 500 with the 499cc Single Cylinder, four stroke, Twinspark, air-cooled mill producing a healthy 28 hp power and 31 lb-ft max torque. This starts bright and early with a strut front fender over a good, old-fashioned laced rim.
The bike’s ride quality is assured by front 35mm telescopic forks (130mm travel) and rear twin gas-charged shock absorbers with 5-step adjustable preload (80mm travel). A 280 mm front disc and twin-pot caliper slows the front wheel, but the rear wheel comes with a quaint little 153 mm drum for middling stopping power. The Bullet 500 EFI will set you back a cool $4,999 MSRP, and it can be had in black or Forest Green.
Yamaha’s motto for the SR400 is “everything old is new again," and nothing speaks more to that than a kickstarter and tubed tires. Re-introduced to the American market after a long absence, the SR400 still shows the remnants of the old British bike style it was originally meant to emulate in the 1970s. A 399 cc, “thumper” engine drives this classic ride. The engine cranks out a modest 24 ponies at 6,400 rpm, and 21 pound-feet of torque at the 5,500 rpm peak.
A classic, yoke-style swingarm springs off the dual, external, coil-over shock absorbers that also come sans adjustment, which is a little disappointing simply because the little spring-preload bezel would not detract from the overall panache one bit. A single hydraulic caliper and 298 mm brake disc binds the front wheel, and the factory took the retro-route and installed a 150 mm mechanical drum in back. MSRP on the 2018 SR 400 is $5,999.
Although not an all-new motorcycle, this refreshed entry-level cruiser from Honda meets the eye with a sportier outlook while still being lightweight, with a manageable engine and excellent fuel economy. Thickly padded saddle, LED lighting, updated dash are some of the updates seen for 2020. The Rebel 500 gets the 471cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin, which makes around 45bhp and 44Nm of torque, and this time there is a new assist-and-slipper clutch.
The engine, frame, wheels, and handlebar remain unchanged, but the suspension internals are updated at the 41 mm fork at the front to improve action, and Nitrogen gas is now being used in the shocks. A single-pot caliper binds the 240 mm rear and 296 mm front disc and has ABS as an available option. MSRP: $6,199.