Cruiser motorcycles are defined by the unchanging formula of a laid-back reclined riding position, footpegs set at the front, and large motors with plenty of low-end torque. This is what birthed the 30s to 60s American lifestyle of bikers and, in their nasty selves, biker gangs.
Fast-forward to the 21st century, cruiser bikes are getting faster, more comfortable, and cultural. Over the years, we’ve seen big players such as Ducati and Harley-Davidson build amazing cruiser bikes that have taken the market by storm. But which ones of these packed a punch?
In this piece, we’ll go through 10 cruiser bikes that rewrote the cruiser bikes performance formula.
10 Ducati Diavel 1260
The 2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 is a masterpiece from Ducati. This cruiser bike perfectly blends power, comfort, and ride quality for an all-round motorcycle. And to do this, Ducati had to recast the Diavel for the 2019 year.
This cruiser bike is fitted with a Testastretta DVT 1262cc V-Twin engine that produces a staggering 157hp at 9,250rpm. The rear tire is fat, measuring 240mm, with the Diavel also donning a low-slung stance.
Despite the size of the rear tire and the bike’s low-slung nature, the Diavel still handles nicely and provides a comfortable yet powerful ride for the biker.
9 Indian Scout
This 1133cc DOHC V-twin cruiser bike is no slouch on the road. According to Indian, the V-Twin motor in this cruiser bike delivers a respectable 100hp and 72lb-ft of torque at 6,000rpm. Couple this with its 558lbs light-weight, and you get to understand why this cruiser bike fits in the most powerful category.
Thanks to its torquey engine and lightweight, the Indian Scout is capable of delivering gustier performance on the road compared to other bikes in its class. Indian also did a great job of designing this bike, borrowing a lot of its aesthetics from classic cruiser bike styling.
8 Honda Goldwing
The Honda Goldwing has proven time and time again that it’s among the most reliable, most powerful, and most utilitarian cruiser bikes you can get in the market. The Goldwing is so good, that Honda offers it in five different versions.
The standard trim Goldwing comes along with the double-wishbone front-end that Honda patented. This specific trim has been rumored to resemble the F6B – a stripped-down, lighter bagger that had a lean angle of more than 40 degrees.
For the standard trim Goldwing, the 1833cc engine outputs a massive 125hp that is sufficient to not only haul weight around but also give this bike incredible performance compared to other cruisers of its size.
7 Honda Fury
Honda took a big risk with the Fury and it paid off. Close to over ten years ago, the Fury made its debut in the market promising unreal power, ride quality, and chopper-style design. To date, Honda has been excellent in delivering that promise.
The 2019 Honda Fury packs a 52-degree, 1312cc SOHC V-Twin engine that’s coupled to a five-speed gearbox. What makes this cruiser bike a fan’s favorite is the ever-evolving design and Honda’s clever way of keeping this bike well within the affordability range of most of its fans.
6 Triumph Rocket III Roadster
For over 15 years, the Triumph Rocket has been a great cruiser motorcycle for the market. And in their latest build, the Rocket III, Triumph has managed to win over the cruiser bikes aficionados with a bike that’s powerful, reliable, and great to ride.
Unlike most bikes in its class, this British masterpiece packs an inline-3 engine, with a capacity of 2294cc. This huge capacity is necessary to compensate for the Triumph’s rather heavyweight. And thanks to the increased capacity, the Rocket III also packs a torquey engine that makes all that weight disappear on the throttle.
5 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom
The Kawasaki Vulcan 900 is another long-running cruiser bike that has been in the market for over 30 years. With every release, Kawasaki has made sure that the bike still carries the Vulcan recipe of great performance and improved handling. And for the 900 Custom, Kawasaki indeed manufactured a better bike.
Compared to the 900 Classic, the 900 Custom is fitted with a slightly different chassis geometry and a narrower seat. These changes make the new 900 a more effective cruiser. As far as the power unit goes, the liquid-cooled V-Twin didn’t get any major upgrades, but the 900 Custom still packs a heavy punch on the road.
4 2019 Yamaha VMAX
The Yamaha VMAX literally takes everything to the max. And the mind-blowing numbers start right at the heart of the cruiser bike – the engine. The 2019 Yamaha VMAX is fitted with a 1679cc, 65-degree, four-valve per cylinder, V4 that produces 170hp at the tap.
What makes the VMAX very desirable is how the bike smoothly handles accelerations from this beastly engine. This is while using modern technology such as ride-by-wire throttle. The powertrain is also tuned to handle the massive power coming from the V4 thanks to the addition of a slipper clutch.
3 2019 BMW K1600B
The 2019 BMW K1600B is a mashup of a sports bike and touring bike to create one of the best Bavarian cruiser bike creations. The K1600B is even considered one of the most powerful yet utilitarian cruiser bikes ever built by BMW.
This bike sources its power from an inline-6 that’s transversely tucked into the bike’s frame for a more compact build. Despite the tight fit, this inline-6 still manages a huge displacement of 1649cc, giving the engine an output of 160hp at 7,750rpm. The torque comes even earlier, with a peak torque of 129lb-ft being reached at 5,250rpm.
2 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114
Harley-Davidson has, for decades, been the undisputed king of manufacturing cruiser bikes. And in their vast collection, the Harley-Davidson FXDR 114 is among those that stand out. This bike was released after Harley launched nine new Softails in 2018.
What makes the FXDR 114 special is that it received the biggest of the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engines. The particular design fitted in the FXDR brags of 1868cc of displacement, outputting 90hp, and a peak torque of 119lb-ft. This bike only weighs 668lbs, which means a lot of this power can be felt right on the throttle.
1 Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe
The Softail Deluxe isn’t just powerful – it’s also very expensive. This high-end cruiser bike packs not only the latest in performance from Harley-Davidson but also one of the best ride quality and handling you can ever get.
The power unit of the Softail Deluxe is a Milwaukee-8 107. This big twin-engine has 8 valves and 1750cc engine displacement for a powerful and torquey engine. Most of this torque comes in the low ranges, which means the Softail can start delivering performance right when the revs are building up.
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