Friday, 16 October 2009

The Best Cruiser Motorcycle of 2009

Triumph Thunderbird 1600

It's been cruiser utopia for the last decade or so, with every major manufacturer jumping into the market to piggyback on Harley-Davidson's astounding success for the feet-forward crowd. Harley's iconic 45-degree V-Twin has spawned an endless succession of imitators, many of them excellent in their own right. But we don't think we're alone in seeing this genre as a little bit stale. That's one reason why Triumph's new T-Bird made such an impression on us, as its parallel-Twin (a zero-degree Vee) stands apart in a sea of clones. Its 270-degree firing order supplies the requisite thumpity-thump exhaust note, but both its character and layout are unique. This might be a moot point if the 'Bird wasn't blessed with clean, graceful lines that follow a well-worn formula yet are distinct. And for those of you who like cruising on curvy roads in addition to the straight ones on the way to the cafe, the Trumpet can cut an inside track as tight as anything in its class.
Triumph's Thunderbird twists the cruiser mold by eschewing a V-Twin powerplant in favor of a character-rich parallel-Twin that retains a link with Triumphs of yore. Clean lines penned by an American designer are attractive without being too derivative, and a stout chassis encourages riding on twisty roads instead of avoiding them.

Honorable Mention – Suzuki Boulevard M90

Suzuki's M90 Boulevard combines unique styling, excellent handling and strong braking to create an unbeatable value in the power-cruiser segment.

Combine the look of a more powerful cruiser with comfortable ergos, handling and stability rarely if ever found in cruisers; grace it with a bigger Twin than any other bike in its class, then bring it at a price at or below the competition, and you’ve got yourself undeniable value. This is the exact scenario of Suzuki’s Boulevard M90. Looking a whole lot like its bigger, meaner M109 brother, the M90 gives power-cruiser fans the look they want matched to V-Twin power that surely has Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha scratching their heads at the M90’s $9,999 tag. In today’s economy, value makes the perfect partner to performance.

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