In the motorcycle world, cruisers can have a tricky reputation. Many “serious” bikers prefer great hogs while others enjoy high-speed machines. Yet cruisers are popular for offering a tremendous sleek performance well suited for long road trips. Harley-Davidson has long led the way in terms of top-notch cruisers, but seeing some of that power face with the company’s fortunes faltering in the last few years. This has led international companies to step up, especially in Japan.
Given this is a nation already producing beautiful motorcycles, it’s no shock Japan has its share of great cruisers. A few are classics that stand tall with any U.S. machine while others are less known yet offer excellent performance. Here are ten Japanese cruisers that put any Harley machine to shame and worth tracking down in the U.S.
10 Yamaha Star Roadliner S
Yamaha’s Star Roadliner S is clearly a ride meant for experienced bikers. Even its chrome design screams out power, and it backs it up with a 1854cc air-cooled V-twin engine making 81-horsepower.
Light for its design at 725 pounds, the Roadliner can hit 0 to 60 in four seconds and a top speed of 125 mph. Surprisingly discontinued in 2018, the Roadliner is well worth buying used for a cruiser that can easily outdo a Harley in style and power.
9 Kawasaki 1700 Voyager
As fitting its name, the Kawasaki 1700 Voyager is well-suited for road trips. At 900 pounds, this is a bike built for distance, not high speeds but can still push 100 mph, and the cruise control up to 85 mph aids it on longer roads.
The advanced ABS also aids in stopping quite quickly for a bike this big, and the high-tech additions can allow you to listen to some great tunes on the road. For a perfect cross-country cruiser, the Voyager is a safe bet.
8 Honda CTX700
If one is looking for a well-balanced cruiser, the Honda CTX700 is the way to go. It’s not too overwhelming for rookie riders, while veterans can enjoy its proper power. The 670-cc, parallel-twin engine offers manual-clutch transmission to aid its performance.
The seat is well-placed for comfort, and the options of streamline or cargo fit whatever trips a rider wants to take. It may be older but still an elegant cruiser.
7 Yamaha VMAX 1700
The original Japanese cruiser is still one of the best. Recently, Yamaha dropped the Star branding to return the VMAX to glory. The 1700 is the best of the lot with 200 hp and can run 9’s like a sports car.
The recent “Heritage” design may be a bit lacking at “just” 170 hp and 100-feet of torque. But there’s a reason the VMAX has been so beloved by bike freaks for 35 years and just improving with age.
6 Suzuki Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S.
Technically the name of the Suzuki Boulevard M109R means “Blacked Out Sports Special.” But “BOSS” fits it like a glove. The 110 hp powers through a shaft drive with 1783cc and excellent handling thanks to its style.
The top-notch shock suspension aids its performance on the road. Not to mention it just looks cool with that design, so one will genuinely feel the boss of the road riding it.
5 Honda Rebel 500
Developed in 2016, the Honda Rebel 500 is just the speed machine the old 250 should have been. A fine 45-hp parallel-twin engine pushes the 67 mm bore and 66.8 mm stroke for a top speed of about 95 mph.
It’s a fascinating mix of an old-style chopper with high-tech LCD gauges and terrific handling. The flat-footed rests and low seat height helps make it a comfortable ride for elegant cruising.
4 Suzuki VS1400 Intruder
Maybe just a bit out of step with today’s machines, the Suzuki VS1400 Intruder was one of the best bikes on the market for two decades. The design was terrific as the 1360cc V-twin engine was specially placed with the pistons for style, so they didn’t stick out much.
The 575-pound weight was also a factor in allowing it to hit 105 mph and handle beautifully. It may seem overlooked, but this is a terrific old-styled cruiser.
3 Honda Fury
The culmination of years of work, the Honda Fury is a bike anyone would want to own, let alone folks from Japan. Unlike other Japanese cruisers, it has a conventional fork, which aids its performance immensely.
The 1312cc liquid-cooled V-twin is capable of 1800 cc for the 2020 version, but even older ones can put out serious torque. It handles like a dream, and its unique style helps it live up to its name as a furious machine.
2 Yamaha Bolt R-Spec
A regular Yamaha Bolt may seem underpowered. They made up for that with the R-Spec. The original 2013 version was impressive, and Yahama keeps improving every year.
For 2020, the R-Spec possesses a 942cc, 4-valve air-cooled SOHC V-twin with a 5-speed TC for a top speed of nearly 110 mph. Throw in an excellent 51mpg fuel economy, and this is the Bolt to get over a regular one.
1 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero
Now it’s true not many folks buy a Harley for its high-tech applications. Yet there’s something awesome about having a cruiser bike with an LCD interface and iPod compatibility.
The Vulcan 1700 Vaquero offers top-notch performance as well with the 1700 cc V-twin and 6-speed gearbox promising 175 mph with excellent braking. For those who like a little tech with a beautiful ride, this is a great choice.
content: ‘/ 10’;
These New Cars Probably Won’t Even Last You 5 Years